Art and Anger pp 210-235 | Cite as

Hello Columbus

  • Ilan Stavans


I have been fascinated by Christopher Columbus since I was a little boy. The legend of his Sephardic blood, the vision of him as either the traitor or the savior of the oppressed, the coincidence of his arrival in the Bahamas in 1492, Spain’s annus mirabilis—the year of the final unification of Castile and Granada by the Catholic kings and of the official edict proclaiming the expulsion of the Jews from the Iberian peninsula—these historical facts and ancestral rumors were enthusiastically promoted by my part-Russian, part-Mexican grandmother, a descendant of a globe-trotting family with previous incarnations in Eastern Europe, Palestine, and South America. Our delightful afternoon conversations, which took place regularly during a period of almost a decade in her old-fashioned living room, transformed her opinions into stimulating fantasies that haunted me for a long time and left stamped indelibly on my mind a sense of the heroic and the futile.


Iberian Peninsula Gold Mine Science Fiction Fiction Writer Commercial Route 
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© Ilan Stavans 1996

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  • Ilan Stavans

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