A life in art and literature

The relationship between painting and literature was the focus of a recent symposium honoring Charles Howard Candler Professor of Spanish Literature Carlos Rojas, who retired this spring after a career at Emory that spanned thirty-five years. Some one hundred and fifty of Rojas' past and present colleagues and students gathered to discuss the subject, one of longstanding interest to him.

"It is an eloquent testimony to Carlos' achievements and mentoring role that so many of his former students, now scattered throughout the land, have returned to join us for this program," said Professor of Spanish Ricardo Gutierrez-Mouyat, who organized the conference with acting department chair Michael Solomon. "We offer this symposium as a gift and token of our admiration."

At the event, Rojas suggested the relationship between art and literature lies at the heart of his explorations of the work of artist Salvador Dali and poet Federico García Lorca. "When they met in Madrid in 1923, Dali couldn't paint his nose, as they say in Spanish, and Lorca was a very bad poet," Rojas says. "Two years after that encounter, they became one of the greatest painters in the twentieth century and one of the greatest poets. The key is lying somewhere down there in the relationship between the visual and the verbal."

Rojas' work has gained renown throughout the Spanish-speaking world, especially in his native Spain. The author of more than thirty acclaimed works of fiction and scholarship, he has received several prestigious prizes for his novels, including Spain's National Prize for Literature in 1968 for his novel Auto de Fe. His 1979 study of Lorca's work won that country's Nadal Award. (Photo by Kay Hinton)

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