Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The News from Iberia

The Encyclopedia of Spanish in the World, published each year by the Instituto Cervantes, has some surprising news for Hispanophiles this year. According to Madrid's El Pais of Oct. 19, 2006, the newest edition of the Encyclopedia reveals that Pablo Neruda and Gabriel García Márquez have surpassed Miguel de Cervantes in Internet searches for Spanish-language writers.

The breakdown, for those of you keeping score at home:

Neruda 34%
GGM 15%
Cervantes 14%
Borges 8%

In visual arts, Picasso and Dalí run away with it:

Bald head 45%
Funny moustache 29%
Goya 7%
Miró 7%

As far as overall "Spanish icons" go, that is, "cultural icons who represent Spain in the realm of the arts", the results are more, ahem, "diverse":

Picasso- more that 150,000 hits
Dalí - more than 100,000 hits
Julio Iglesias- 52,000 hits
Antonio Banderas - 45,000 hits

Does the fact that Latin American writers have surpassed the author of "El Quijote" tell us more about the end of Empire than we already knew? Does this survey confirm, more than anything, that the Internet IS the Encyclopedia of the 21st century? All Betty has to add is: "Pedro and Penélope were robbed!"

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