Carnegie Mellon University
October 04, 2016

Polansky Publishes Student-Friendly Version of Famous Spanish Novel

Polansky Publishes Student-Friendly Version of Famous Spanish Novel

Susan Polansky, head of the Department of Modern Languages and teaching professor of Hispanic Studies, recently published an unabridged, student-friendly version of the famous novel “Tristana,” written by the prolific and highly regarded Spanish writer Benito Pérez Galdós.

“Tristana” is one of seventy-seven novels written by Galdós and was first released in 1892. The book addresses the role of women in society in nineteenth-century Spain, a theme Galdós explores through the title character, Tristana, and her relationships with two male characters in particular.

Polansky has put out a new edition of the book to help students develop their reading and critical thinking skills in Spanish, and to give them better access to Galdós’s masterful character descriptions.

“Drawing inspiration not only from Spanish tradition but also from his European peers, Galdós brought to life in his writings the intensely vivid and personal worlds of myriad characters of all ages and social conditions,” Polansky said.

The new book includes an introduction by Polansky that familiarizes readers with the author, the time period in which he was active, and one of his best known works, “Tristana.” It also includes cultural notes, marginal glosses, and a glossary to improve skills, foster understanding, and help draw readers further inside the text.

Several Carnegie Mellon students supported the project: Amelia Britton (current student), Natalie Giannangeli (Dietrich College 2015), and Charlotte Himeles (Dietrich College 2016) engaged in independent study of Galdós and his works, helped Polansky develop questions for discussion, and flagged words, phrases, and cultural references that needed to be explained or translated. A fourth student, Marilu Lundeen (Dietrich College 2013), was also involved in many aspects of the project, collaborating with Polansky for more than two years.

Known for her long-standing love of Spanish language and culture and her dedication to students, Polansky published a similar book in 2008 – a student-friendly edition of the novel “Abel Sánchez” by Miguel de Unamuno. Both books are part of the Cervantes & Co. Spanish Classics series, published by European Masterpieces.