The Lining of Our Souls: excursions into selected paintings of Edward Hopper

Rolando Pérez

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In ‘the lining of our souls‘ Hopper’s characters come alive. Mr. Pérez has the characters in the paintings talk directly to us about their lives and converse with each other late into the night. What Mr. Perez’s work offers the reader is a key into each one of the very specific worlds depicted in the 21 selected paintings. Additionally, one should add that the Cuban-born, Rolando Perez (whose work has been selected for inclusion in The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature; Norton, 2002) has written a book that transcends the traditional, stringent margins of ethnic literature, and respectfully collapsed the Cuban into the American, with an original vision of Americana.

from the foreword by Gail Levin

“The prose poems represent Pérez’s emotional engagement with Hopper’s evocative images. Sometimes he dwells on the “unending” silence. Yet since Perez’s poems include both dialogue and explicit references to sounds that occasionally suggest the theater, it will not surprise the reader to learn that he has also written plays. Perez not only supplies the content of conversations he imagines carried on by the figures in Hopper’s paintings, but he also describes sounds: a character’s voice, the “sound of the sea,” or of the “crickets outside” overheard by the couple standing on the bare porch in the painting called Summer Evening. Elsewhere, other sensations include the scent of “the perfume in her hair.”

Excerpts from The Lining of our Souls


Rolando Pérez is professor of Spanish and Latin American literature and philosophy at the Romance Languages Department of Hunter College—CUNY. He is the author of numerous publications on the Neo-Baroque, and the relation between literature, the visual arts, and philosophy. He has written on Severo Sarduy, César Vallejo, Alejandra Pizarnik, Octavio Paz, as well as on Bartolomé de Las Casas, Enrique Dussel, Gilles Deleuz & Félix Guattari, Emmanuel Lévinas, Alain Badiou, and François Laruelle. Pérez is also the author of a number of literary works, some which have been anthologized in The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature (2012). His most recent publication, Severo Sarduy and the Neo-Baroque Image of Thought in the Visual Arts was published in 2011 by Perdue University Press. 2016 saw the publication of of two edited books of essays, Agorapoetics: Poetics after Postmodernism, and Filosofía y culturas hispánicas: nuevas perspectivas, co-edited with Nuria Morgado. And in 2017 of La comedia eléctrica, a translation by Óscar Curieses of The Electric Comedy was published by Amargord Ediciones in Madrid.

Rolando Pérez