Saturday Nov 10, 2012
Albuquerque, NM 87102
Website: Click to Visit
More events at
Felipe de Ortego y Gasca for a special discussion.
Bless Me, Ultima is a remarkable work amongst a string of literary works that have enshrined Rudolfo Anaya as the “Grandfather of Chicano Literature.” Since its publication in 1972 the novel has been beset with criticism about its content and its characters, namely that its content is vulgar resulting in the book being banned and burned. Why would anyone want to burn a book about a seven year-old boy growing up in the llanos of New Mexico whose father wants him to be a rancher and whose mother wants him to be a priest? Some critics say that the main character Ultima and other story components comprise gross depictions of witchcraft and Satanism. More distressingly, however, is that those who want to burn the book are Americans. Despite the barrage of adverse criticism, Bless Me, Ultima has become an American classic and a “family favorite of Laura Bush, one of her 25 Books to Read.”Dr. Felipe de Ortego y Gasca is currently Scholar in Residence & Past Chair of the Department of Chicana/o & Hemispheric Studies at Western New Mexico University, and Professor Emeritus of English with the Texas State University System. He also serves as Editor-in-Chief of “ABC-CLIO Greenwood Encyclopedia of Latino Issues Today.” He is considered the principal scholar of the Chicano Renaissance and founder of Chicano literary history “with Backgrounds of Mexican American Literature”, first study in the field. His essay on “The Chicano Renaissance” is a landmark text in the Chicano literary movement. The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. For a full calendar of events for The Big Read, visit library.cabq.gov.