If you took a college literature class in the 1960s or later, you likely remember The Norton Anthology of English Literature. If not, check with your back and arms, which may have more painful memories of the book. Weighing in at 4.3 pounds, the 1st volume of the 2006 edition is over 3,000 pages and currently weighing down the backpack of a college student near you.
That said, there's more to the Norton Anthology than English literature these days. Last fall, the series published The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature, a work that embodies the theme of National Hispanic Heritage Month this year: “Many Backgrounds, Many Stories . . . One American Spirit.”
In the words of Booklist writer Donna Seaman, the editors "have gathered a glorious chorus of 201 voices spanning five centuries and diverse traditions." Among those voices are contemporary writers like Julia Alvarez and Junot Diaz as well as many other well-known and lesser-known Chicano, Cuban-American, Puerto-Rican, and Dominican-American writers past and present. Fiction, poems, essays, letters, drama and diaries all have a place in this ambitious volume, which illuminates, educates and at its best, enchants.
National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15th to October 15th, began in 1968 with Hispanic Heritage Week and was expanded to a month in 1988. It's a time to celebrate the contributions of American citizens of Spanish, Mexican, Caribbean, and Central and South American descent.
To learn more about National Hispanic Heritage Month visit this website hosted by the Library of Congress, where you'll find audio and video clips of Hispanic veterans and much more.
To experience Spanish dance live here at the library, sign up for Spain's Dancing Rhythms performed by Chicago's own on Sunday, September 25th at 2 p.m. Register online here or at the 1st floor information desk.