Thursday, July 24, 2014

Dr. Konrad Ratz (December 20, 1931 - May 22, 2014)

I was very saddened to learn of the death of my friend, Dr. Konrad Ratz, translator, researcher, and writer whose contributions to our understanding of Maximilian von Habsburg and Mexico's Second Empire I admire more than I can say. Among his many works, all of them major contributions:

Tras las huellas de un desconocido: Nuevos datos y aspectos de Maximiliano de Habsburgo (Link goes to my note in English about this excellent and very illuminating book.)
Los viajes de Maximiliano de Maximiliano en México(co-authored with Amparo Gómez Tepexicuapan)(Link goes to my comments for the book's presentation in Chapultepec Castle, Mexico City.)
Correspondencia inédita entre Maximiliano y Carlota
El ocaso del imperio de Maximiliano visto por un diplomático prusiano
Maximilian und JuárezBand I Das Zweite Mexikanische Kaiserreich und die RepublikBand II Querétaro-Chronik
The musical:

Very few researchers can work in both Spanish and German, fewer still with the skills to research Mexico's most complex and transnational period of the 19th century. We are fortunate indeed that Dr. Ratz dedicated so much effort and so many of his years to these tasks.

From the note his son Wolfgang sent out (my translation from the Spanish):

He began his professional life in Bilbao as a translator for the automobile industry. After moving with his family to Vienna, he worked for many years as an economist and translator for the Austrian Chamber of Commerce. Following that, as Director of the Fund to Promote Research, he had the opportunity to support many innovative projects and young entrepreneurs. He also worked to help create similar institutions in various countries, among them, Mexico. In 1975 he received the Austrian Decoration for Arts and Science.
... As a historian, he dedicated his life to researching Maximilian von Habsburg, and especially so during his retirement when he considered Mexico his "adopted country" and spent many marvelous years there with his second wife, Herta, making many unforgettable friendships.
Throughout his life, music was a great passion. The musical "Maximiliano - el Sueño de una Corona" was debuted successfully in Querétaro and Mexico City.
Open to all cultures, his life created bridges among Austria, Spain, Switzerland, and Latin America.

COMMENTS always welcome.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Luis Reed Torres' Biographies of Two Mexican Monarchist Generals, Joaquín Miramón and Manuel Ramírez de Arellano

As mentioned in my previous post, there was a conference held recently on Maximilian at Mexico City's Centro de Estudios de la Historia de México which had a spectacular lineup of scholars. The final speaker in the series, not in the original announcement, was Mexican historian Louis Reed Torres, who gave a wide-ranging and very entertaining talk with many rare photographs and special emphasis on his two recent biographies, both important contributions to our understanding of Mexico's Second Empire and the French Intervention:

*Joaquín Miramón, El General Olvidado
Herido y prisionero, Juárez ordenó que lo mataran
(Vida y muerte del Hermano Mayor de Miguel, 
Según su Archivo Militar y sus Documentos Privados)

[My translation of the above:
Joaquín Miramón, The Forgotten General
Wounded and taken prisoner, his death was ordered by Juárez
(The Life and death of the older brother of Miguel, 
according to his military records and private documents)]


*El Artillero de Maximiliano
(La Azarosa Vida del General Manuel Ramírez de Arellano, 
Niño Héroe de Chapultepec, Ideólogo Nacionalista y 
Amigo Fraternal de Miguel Miramón, 
Según su Archivo Inédito y sus Escritos)

[My translation of the above:
Maximilian's Artilleryman
The adventurous life of General Manuel Ramírez de Arellano,
One of "Boy Heroes" of Chapultepec, Nationalist Ideologist and
Close Friend of Miguel Miramón, 
According to his Unpublished Archive and Writings]

General Ramírez de Arellano, head of the Mexican Imperial Artillery, was the of the few to have escaped death in Querétaro in 1867. After that, as Reed Torres puts it, "his life was a novel." Ten years later, on the point of returning to Mexico, he died of Roman fever in Remini, Italy.

To get copies of either or both books, contact rosaura.tapia (at) hotmail (dot) com

Here's hoping these can be made available in Kindle!

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P.S. I will be speaking (in Spanish) with my translator, Agustin Cadena, about my novel based on the true story, The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire (El último príncipe del Imperio Mexicano) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 as part of the conference on Maximilian in fiction at Mexico City City's National Palace. The entire conference, which runs several more weeks, is free and open to the public. Click here for the full line up and more information.

Biblioteca Francisco Xavier Clavigero in the Universidad Iberamericana in Mexico City

Two great conferences on Maximilian here in Mexico City-- one recently concluded at the Centro de Estudos de la Historia de México, and another is in progress in Mexico's National Palace, both free and open to the public and with a wide variety of accomplished scholars.

I wanted to note one of the talks from the former which took place on June 2, 2014: Teresa Matabuena's about the magnificent holdings related to the Second Empire in the archives of the Universidad Iberoamericana's Biblioteca Francisco X. Clavigero. She mentioned just a few of them-- from my notes:

1. The manuscript "Les Vaincus du 5 du mai" (The Defeated of May 5)
by a French soldier, decorated with his own very elaborate and beautiful little paintings of birds and flowers. (Quite extraordinary to see.)

2. Folletería (Pamphlettes)
Including "Reseña de las Fiestas de la Independencia" and "Calendario Histórico de Maximiliano."

3. Revistas (Magazines)
Among them: El Museo Universal, a Spanish magazine thast was published bimonthly, and included many articles and notes on Maximilian; and L'Illustration, Journal Universal, a French magazine.

4. Books
Over 400, including L'Empire de Maximilien by Paul Gaulot, Paris, 1890; a copy of the very rare Reglamento del ceremonial de la Corte (the first edition of 1865); Estudios de grabados por autores mexicanos, a specially bound edition of 186(?) owned by Maximilian.

5. Concha Lombardo Collection
Concha Lombardo was the wife of General Miramón, a key figure in the Second Empire and one of the two generals exceuted in 1867 with Maximilian. While the Miramón papers are in Palermo, Italy, this one contains many crucial items for anyone studying the period and its violent end.

6. A photographic album of some 200 personalities of the period
The original has been returned to its owner, but a complete copy is in the catalog.

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P.S. My talk about my novel, The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire, El ultimo príncipe del Imperio Mexicano, together with my translator, the noted writer and poet Agustín Cadena, will be on Tuesday 15 of July in the conference in the National Palace. More about that here.

Who was Francisco Xavier Clavigero? An 18th century Mexican Jesuit and historian of note. Among his many works is The History of [Lower] California, translated from the Italian by Sara E. Lake, Stanford University Press, 1937. (Why Italian? There's a story.) I relied on Clavigero quite heavily in the section of my book, Miraculous Air: Journey of as Thousand Miles through Baja California, the Other Mexico, about the tragedy of the Jesuit missions. So just hearing his name, it seems like a little wave from an old amigo.


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