New Directions in Remedios Varo Scholarship: Archival Investigations

The main focus of my Spring 2022 Academic Leave was to conduct research in support of a new edition of my translation of writings by the Spanish artist Remedios Varo (Anglès, Spain, 1908—Mexico City, 1963). In 2018 my book-length translation of her literary works, Letters, Dreams & Other Writings, was published by Wakefield Press (Cambridge, MA). The book has since sold out. In Winter 2022, shortly before my Academic Leave began, I learned that a new edition of the translation would be authorized by the estate. The new edition would include a revised introduction and additional translations of new texts from Varo’s archive, which was recently bequeathed to the Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City.

Remedios Varo, Fragment of a Letter

I traveled to Mexico City during my academic leave to visit the archive, which contains Varo’s notebooks, papers, sketches, drawings, photographs, books and personal items. Its recent availability to scholars enriches and deepens Varo studies and offers new directions in scholarship. I was one of the first investigators to visit the archive. 

With the help of the archivist in charge of the Varo collection, I spent five days reviewing, page by page, the twelve notebooks kept by Varo that have survived, along with various folders of loose papers and letters. It was exhilarating to discover a few short stories that to the best of my knowledge have never been published before in Spanish. These will make excellent additions to the new edition of the translation, which I am currently working on.

I also co-organized a roundtable of scholars and curators who have specialized in Remedios Varo studies to present their ongoing research and propose new directions. The roundtable will take place at the upcoming virtual conference of the ISSS (International Society for the Study of Surrealism) in November 2022.