Franco, Jean 1924-
FRANCO, Jean 1924-
PERSONAL: Born March 31, 1924, in Dukinfield, England; naturalized United States citizen; daughter of William (a shopkeeper) and Ella (Newton) Swindells; married Juan Antonio Franco (marriage ended); children: Alexis Parke. Education: University of Manchester, B.A. (first-class honors), 1944, M.A., 1946; King's College, London, B.A. (first-class honors), 1960, Ph.D. (Spanish), 1964. Hobbies and other interests: Swimming, horse racing.
CAREER: Educator and cultural critic. University of London, London, England, lecturer at Queen Mary College, 1960-64, reader at King's College, 1964-68; University of Essex, Colchester, England, professor of Latin-American literature, 1968-72; Stanford University, Stanford, CA, professor of Spanish and comparative literature, 1972-82; Columbia University, New York, NY, professor of Spanish, beginning 1982, then professor emerita, 1996—.
MEMBER: Latin-American Studies Association (founding member; treasurer, 1965-67; vice chairman, 1967-68), Modern Language Association.
AWARDS, HONORS: Guggenheim fellowship, 1976-77.
(Editor) Cuentos americanos de nuestros dias, Harrap (London, England), 1965.
(Editor) Short Stories in Spanish, Penguin (Harmondsworth, England), 1966.
The Modern Culture of Latin America: Society and the Artist, Praeger, 1967, revised edition, Penguin (Harmondsworth, England), 1970.
(Editor) Horacio Quiroga, Cuentos escogidos, Pergamon Press, 1968.
An Introduction to Spanish-American Literature, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 1969.
A Literary History of Spain, Volume VII: Spanish-American Literature since Independence, Harper (New York, NY), 1973.
Poetry and Silence: César Vallejo's Sermon upon Death: The Seventeenth-Annual Lecture Delivered at Canning House, on 10th May, 1972, Grant & Cutler, 1973.
César Vallejo: The Dialectics of Poetry and Silence, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1976.
Plotting Women: Gender and Representation in Mexico, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 1989.
(Editor, with Juan Flores and George Yúdice) On Edge: The Crisis of Contemporary Latin-American Culture, University of Minnesota Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1992.
Critical Passions: Selected Essays, edited by Mary Louise Pratt and Kathleen Newman, Duke University Press (Durham, NC), 1999.
Contributor of introductions to books, including W. H. Hudson, La Tierra purpurea; Alla lejos y hace tiempo (translation of Far away and Long Ago), Biblioteca Ayacucho (Caracas, Venezuela), 1980; In Other Words: Literature by Latinas of the United States, edited by Roberta Fernandez, Arté Público Press (Houston, TX), 1994; and Ecrire le Mexique, Presses de la Sorbonne Nouvelle, 1999. Editor of Latin-American section, Penguin Companion to Literature, Volume III: United States and Latin America. Contributor of essays to journals and other periodicals, including Times Literary Supplement, TDR, and Spectator. Editor of Tabloid (journal), beginning 1980.
Franco's works have been translated into Spanish.
WORK IN PROGRESS: The Absent Bourgeois, a series of essays on the relation between literature and popular and mass culture in Latin America.
SIDELIGHTS: Jean Franco is an academic as well as a respected specialist on Latin-American culture and literature. She has written and edited many books in her area of expertise, ranging from literary history to poetry to gender issues in Latin America. Franco's César Vallejo: The Dialectics of Poetry and Silence, published in 1976, was the first full-length study in English of this major Peruvian poet.
In 1999 a collection of Franco's essays from the last three decades was published as Critical Passions: Selected Essays. Marcial Godoy-Anativia, writing for the NACLA Report on the Americas, called the book "an impressive chronicle of the work of the one of the foremost critics of Latin American culture and literature." The book is separated into four sections, highlighting the main topics of Franco's work: feminism, popular culture, literature, and Mexico. Godoy-Anativia also noted that this compilation gives the reader a close look at the skills of a "feminist critic whose commitment to social justice and uncompromising insistence on the historical and political dimensions of aesthetics and culture" have greatly influenced the work of other scholars focused on cultural criticism of Latin America. Marcus Vinicius Freitus, writing in World Literature Today, remarked that Critical Passions "well represents the poststructuralist approach to literature."
The Decline and Fall of the Lettered City: Latin America in the Cold War presents Franco's theories regarding the shifts that took place within Latin-American literature during the cold war era of the mid-twentieth century. In this work she contends that these changes came about because literature suddenly became a component of the region's political environment as writers focused on topics surrounding Socialist Realism and couched within their books arguments for the preservation of cultures and the granting of political freedom. This shift toward a politicized, localized focus resulted in a declining appreciation for Latin-American literature just as it was gaining recognition among a world audience. Mark L. Grover of Library Journal praised The Decline and Fall of the Lettered City as "well-crafted and so original."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Quarterly, September, 2001, review of Critical Passions, p. 511.
Comparative Literature, winter, 1993, Sharon Larisch, review of Plotting Women: Gender and Representation in Mexico, p. 92.
Feminist Review, autumn, 1992, Carmen Ramos Escandon, review of Plotting Women, p. 105.
Hispanic American Historical Review, May, 1979; November, 1990, Silvia M. Arrom, review of Plotting Women, p. 681; November, 1995, Helen Delpar, "Mediating Two Worlds: Cinematic Encounters in the Americas," p. 653; August-November, 2001, p. 771.
Journal of Latin American Studies, May, 1990, Judith Adler Hellman, review of Plotting Women, p. 412.
Library Journal,May 1, 2002, Mark L. Grover, review of The Decline and Fall of the Lettered City: Latin America and the Cold War, p. 100.
Modern Fiction Studies, summer, 1992, Pamela Finnegan, review of Plotting Women, p. 501.
Modern Language Journal, September, 1978.
NACLA Report on the Americas, May, 2000, Marcial Godoy-Anativia, review of Critical Passions, p. 48.
New Statesman and Society, December 15, 1989, Amanda Hopkinson, review of Plotting Women, p. 35.
New York Review of Books, December 21, 1978.
Signs, review of Plotting Women, p. 382.
Times Literary Supplement, July 14, 1989, Michael Wood, review of Plotting Women, p. 778.
World Literature Today, spring, 1990, Sonja Karsen, review of Plotting Women, p. 282; summer, 2000, Marcus Vinicius Freitas, review of Critical Passions, p. 691.