María Zambrano and Rosa Chacel, Two Confessions. Trans. by Noël Valis and Carol Maier
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These are surprising and thought-provoking confessions by two remarkable Spanish thinkers and authors – María Zambrano (1904–1991) and Rosa Chacel (1898–1994). Noël Valis and Carol Maier provide the first complete English-language translation of these essays with excellent supplementary material. Their translations preserve the beauty and rhythm of the original Spanish texts. Though “confession” as a concept is central to the book, neither Zambrano’s nor Chacel’s essay is a personal confession. Zambrano’s reads ultimately as a spiriritual or poetic meditation, and Chacel, herself a novelist and poet, presents what can be considered mostly an intricate literary study, although in its final segment she refers to it as a meditation.
The renowned Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset (1883–1955) -- Zambrano’s and Chacel’s teacher -- said, “I am myself and my circumstance, and if I do not save it, I cannot save myself.” Zambrano wrote her Ph.D. thesis on Spinoza, under Ortega’s guidance,...