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Holding Court: Sara Muñoz-Muriana

Photo of Sara Muñoz
Sara Muñoz-Muriana, Department of Spanish & Portuguese

Holding Court is an interview series that features the authors of the new books on display in the King Arthur Flour café in Baker-Berry Library. 

In this week's edition, we talk with Sara Muñoz-Muriana, Assistant Professor of Spanish, and author of "Andando se hace el camino" : calle y subjetividades marginales en la España del siglo XIX.  Madrid: Iberoamericana, 2017.  Sara specializes in 19th century literature from Spain, and teaches classes teaches classes on the literature and culture of Spain from the 18th and 19th centuries.

What is your book about?

My book studies the street in connection with a number of marginal figures --prostitutes, beggars, female shoppers, ragpickers, the unemployed or adulterers--that populate the Spanish literary productions of the 19th century.

Where do you get your ideas?

Everywhere! Reading the newspaper, watching TV, or listening to the Spanish news, I couldn't help but establish connections between the great political and economic unrest in Spain today and the 19th-century characters in my literary works. And I have to say, my ideas take shape and become organized when I am outside running, an activity that I've been doing regularly and that has kept me sane!

What does research look like for you? What element of research could you not live without?

For me, research doesn't always happen when we are busy in front of the computer. That's why I try to get away from the computer as much as possible, and sit down and read novels as people would have read them in the 19th century. Trying to recreate the reading and living experience of the time when these works were published is an essential part of my research.

What do you think the library of the future will look like?

Honestly, I hope the library of the future looks very much like the library of today: a nice combination of physical materials and electronic resources. Baker-Berry does an awesome job in giving us access to online materials as well as materials from other libraries that are not here. As much as I like physical books, it would be great if in the future we could have immediate access to books that are not in Baker. The dream of any scholar would be to access any material with the touch of a button --in other words, if everything would be digitalized!

What advice would you give to an aspiring scholar or writer?

Do something you are really interested in!

And finally, what do you read for fun?

I have recently discovered Scandinavian crime fiction, and precisely because it is so different to what I do as a scholar, it is something that I like to read to relax and have fun!

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