Translation of Alfonsina Storni’s Cimbelina En 1900 Y Pico / Cymbeline in 1900-and-Something and Polixena Y La Cocinerita / Polyxena and the Little Cook

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Alfonsina Storni was one of the leading feminist poets and playwrights in Latin America at the beginning of the twentieth century. Storni's poetry has been widely translated and has received various studies and criticism On the other hand, her theater has been mostly neglected until the present. The translation of Two Pyrotechnic Forces consisting of Cimbelina en 1900 y pico (Cvmbeline in 1900-and-something) and Polixena y la cocinerita (Polyxena and the Little Cook) gives scholars and students in the fields of Latin American literature, women's studies and world theater the opportunity to study rare examples of theater written by a woman on very controversial and progressive issues at the beginning of the twentieth century. Storni's farces are a striking example of experimental language to portray and criticize social and political realities. The plays also constitute an iconoclastic approach to the theatrical canon, since Polyxena and the Little Cook is based on Euripides' Hecuba and Cymbeline in the 1900-and-Something parodies the creation of another great name, William Shakespeare The translation is furnished with an introduction that reviews the whole theatrical production of Storni in relation to the historical and social developments of her time and places her work within the context of the literature and theater of Argentina and the Southern Cone. It emphasizes the role of Storni's plays in the foundation of a lineage of female playwrights on the Argentine stage.


“Alfonsina Storni (1892-1938) is one of the most famous Latin American writers of the twentieth century and is best known as a poet. Her work as journalist and playwright has only just started to receive critical attention in recent years. Therefore, the English translation of two of her dramas for adults is crucial to spread knowledge about this aspect of Storni’s work, particularly in the academic and theatrical realms … Unfortunately, Storni’s early death precluded the possibility of continuing this kind of experimentation in her dramatic work. The innovative character of her last plays placed her at the forefront of theatrical development in her time, although the emphasis still given to the message and Storni’s lack of experience with this kind of writing place some difficulties for the dramatic resolution of the Two Pyrotechnic Farces. Such effect is essentially due to the boundary between tragedy and farce that regulates the staging of any drama in which both genres coexist. This point should be considered in order to better appreciate the obstacles faced by the translator, Dr. Evelia Romano. She met the challenge with rigor and enthusiasm and emerged victorious. In addition to the excellent translation, the exhaustive introduction serves “to stage” the work of Storni as a playwright for future researchers and performers. Nevertheless, I will stress some of the characteristics of these two plays to demonstrate the relevancy of their translation as well as the difficulties they presented … the value of Two Pyrotechnic Farces is not confined to being a simple test of dramatic innovations or an important document of women’s history in Argentina at the beginning of the twentieth century. The excellent translations that follow will make these plays accessible to all interested in Storni’s work. Let’s hope that they will also motivate theatrical producers to finally bring them to the stage.” – (from the Commendatory Preface) Dr. Nora Parola-Leconte, Université de Paris XII Val-de-Marne.

“Alfonsina Storni, a major Argentine feminist, earned her reputation as a poet and playwright and today is rightfully situated as one of Latin America’s leading writers. Straddling the breakthrough esthetics of the avant-garde of the 1920s and 30s and the early activism for women’s rights in modern Argentina, Storni brought into her work the plight of women in society, with their restricted cultural and economic roles, while she also celebrated the far-reaching formal possibilities of plot, design, and language in the context of theatrical art. Cymbeline and Polyxena, “two pyrotechnic farces,” as Storni preferred to call them, turn themes from classical antiquity on their head to defend the role of women. These works assure Storni’s reputation as one of the most radical playwrights of her time. In this volume, Evelia Romano makes available a much needed bilingual edition of these theatrical scripts. The introduction traces Storni's long career in theater, her detail to literary form, and firmly positions her as a forerunner in the struggle for social justice. With a fine translation and an up-to-date critical bibliography, this book is a welcomed addition to the growing scholarship on Latin American women.” – Francine Masiello, Sidney and Margaret Ancker Professor in the Humanities, Professor of Spanish and Comparative Literature, University of California at Berkeley

“Romano's wonderful translation is an essential classroom text, worth assigning for the introductory essay alone. Romano deftly places Storni in context, tracing the social realities of early twentieth-century Argentina, the literary worlds Storni moved in (both Latin American and European), and the feminist politics that were beginning to change the way people in Buenos Aires lived their most intimate lives. Romano's clear, non-nonsense presentation pays off enormously. For once, Storni comes through as a human being rather than as an inaccessible archtype of doomed genius.The plays themselves are a revelation. Storni displays, again, the finely-honed feminist sensibility that marks her poetry, but with a political clarity and social subtlety that is perhaps only possible in theater.” – Ann Farnsworth-Alvear, Director of Latin American and Latino Studies and Associate Professor of History, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

“This bi-lingual edition of two farces by the Argentine playwright,Alfonsina Storni, offers a fresh new voice of modern drama and theatre from a country frequently overlooked as a source of modern writing and performance. Storni's plays focus squarely--and humorously--on class and gender tensions, which aligns them with themes of modern drama throughout the West in the period 1880-1935. She is especially acute in revealing the conflict between women's private lives and their roles as public citizens in a socially stratified culture.Romano's dual-language presentation of the plays suits them for the Spanish language and literature classroom, where students can read them silently or aloud in dialogue form. The lively and readable translations offer students opportunities to consider nuances of meaning as they move between the Spanish and English versions of the text.Romano's Introduction, bibliography, and notes suggest research directions for advanced students curious about talented but overlooked or forgotten writers of the modern period. This edition of carefully prepared plays is timely and has many uses--it brings to English readers the works of an important Argentine voice; it reveals how modern theatre emerged in Argentina; and it shows how Alfonsina Storni used dramatic literature to represent the dilemma of the educated middle-class woman caught between conflicting personal and private expectations.” – Professor Katherine E. Kelly, Texas A&M University

Table of Contents

Short Bibliography of Alfonsina Storni's Poetry, Essays and Theater
Suggestions for Further Reading
Translator's Note
Cimbelina en 1900 y pico. Farsa trágica en prosa. Un prólogo, seis actos breves y un epílogo
Cymbeline in 1900-and-Something. Tragic Farce in Prose. Prologue, Six Short Acts and Epilogue
Acto I
Act I
Acto II
Act II
Acto III
Acto IV
Act IV
Acto V
Act V
Acto VI
Act VI
Polixena y la Cocinerita. Farsa trágica en prosa y verso. 1 acto y epílogo
Polyxena and The Little Cook . Tragic Farce in Prose and Verse. One Act and Epilogue
Primer acto
Act I
Epílogo / Epilogue

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