BAS editor Stephen Hart makes his out-of-print Critical Guide available to Bulletin readers.
The first edition of this Critical Guide of Gabriel García Márquez’s Crónica de una muerte anunciada (1981) was commissioned in the late 1980s by Professor Alan Deyermond when he was Head of the Critical Guides Series and Head of the Department of Spanish at Westfield College, University of London, along with the Business Manager at that time, Stephen Cooper.
The Critical Guides Series was a flourishing enterprise created as a result of the ongoing partnership between the Spanish Department and the booksellers, Grant & Cutler. I was teaching Crónica de una muerte anunciada to first-year students in Westfield at the time, and it proved to be a very popular text, mainly as a result of its brevity, but I also liked to think that it was appreciated because of its elegance. In many senses it is a perfect little text: every word has been used by García Márquez with a clear sense of purpose, and my original aim in writing this Guide was to demonstrate this.
Another of its attractions was that almost every Latin American scholar seemed to have written on it. There was therefore a vast variety of interpretations of the novel, which was intriguing.
By the time the first edition came out in 1994 I had moved to the Department of Spanish and Italian at the University of Kentucky. When the second edition came out eleven years later, I was teaching at University College London. The main difference between the two editions was the fifth chapter added to the second edition, which drew out the implications of the preceding four chapters.
In my opinion, Crónica de una muerte anunciada is Gabo’s second best novel, the first being Cien años de soledad because of the swarm of allusions to a myriad of literary texts that hover over it. I am pleased that the Bulletin of Advanced Spanish is making this photocopy of the second edition available, and I hope it will be helpful to students preparing for exams.