Soon after I started this blog last summer, the project editor at the Southern Illinois University Press found me and asked if I was interested in copyediting a book for them. Given its daunting name of Mestiza Rhetorics: An Anthology of Mexicana Activism in the Spanish-Language Press, 1887–1922, I had to decide whether I was interested enough and qualified to work with old-fashioned Spanish-language texts written in a period of Mexican history I was not extremely familiar with. I’m glad I said yes.
The job involved reading the original, checking the translation, and copyediting the essays that introduced each writer, who included Hermila Galindo, pictured here. Here’s the first sentence the volume editors, Jessica Enoch and Cristina Devereaux Ramírez wrote about this woman: “As a writer, newspaper editor, and public speaker, Hermila Galindo (1886–1954) helped introduce the concept of feminism to Mexican audiences.”
The book turned out to be worthwhile, and I will be proud to show it to friends and colleagues. I found Jessica and Cristina to be a joy to work with. While the translations were quite good, I found a few typos, as well as a few better word choices and more felicitous punctuation. In return the editors added the following to their acknowledgments: “Beth Chapple helped move the anthology through its final stages, and her editorial translations were meticulous and thorough.” In addition, the book reminded me in many ways of the anthology compiled by Janet Chapple that I copyedited: Through Early Yellowstone: Adventuring by Bicycle, Covered Wagon, Foot, Horseback, and Skis (2016). Both anthologies include writing that comes across to modern ears as flowery. But in both cases, reading about the ideas in the original words adds quite a bit to the experience.
Photo credit: Found on a web page of the Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social in Mexico City: https://ichan.ciesas.edu.mx/puntos-de-encuentro/hermila-galindo-acosta/