Sunday, September 02, 2007

More Goytisolo Links

From the TLS, a very entertaining open letter written by Juan Goytisolo to the Spanish literary establishment. It was written in 2001 but it is very interesting to read:

The decision taken by the Cervantes Prize Jury last December is conclusive proof (if any were needed) of the putrefaction at the heart of Spanish literary life: the triumph of fawning and tribal cronyism, of insiders, godfathers and back-scratchers. The vehement declarations of love by the laureate, Francisco "Paco" Umbral to the Secretary of State for Culture ("Oh, my love, I owe you so much! You've made a man of me. I'm really one of yours. I'll do whatever you want"); his vulgar, insulting remarks to the other candidates ("That's fucked you lot", "I've got the big'un!"); his cringe-making thank-yous to those "who worked their backsides off for me" - including the star critic of El Pais -are inconceivable in any other country. In trendy Spain, ever on the up, according to our Prime Minister, the almost total absence of criteria of value means that anything goes. Media spin passes for culture, and few voices are raised in protest. A resigned acceptance of the powers that be dominates the literary world, as in those happy days under General Franco.

He is perhaps less grumpy now that the conservative Spanish prime minister Aznar is gone. Also another interesting interview from bookforum:
PB: Paradoxically, your fiction written outside Spain in this new vein was to be a rediscovery of Spanish literature. I'm thinking of Count Julian.

JG: Count Julian was an attack on the founding myths of Spanish traditionalism and on the altars of family, fatherland, and church—but not in the manner of the pamphleteer. I was out to create a new literary language. A new way of experiencing the world required the destruction of the Spanish literary canon and traditional models of good literary Spanish, an anticanonical dialogue with the tree of Spanish literature. I wanted to add something to the tree. Cervantes, in Don Quixote, parodies not just the chivalric romances of his day but also its literary structures through a new poetry of language. In my novels, I engaged in a dialogue with authors marginalized or concealed by Spanish academic tradition; with Saint John of the Cross in The Virtues of the Solitary Bird; with the Archpriest of Hita, the Spanish Chaucer, in Makbara; with Cervantes everywhere.

I had linked to another excellent interview in a previous post.

No comments: