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Author Topic: Latin American Literature  (Read 19743 times)
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pugetopolis
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« Reply #315 on: September 01, 2007, 07:46:57 PM »



Adrogué

“The ancient aura of an elegy / still haunts me when
I think about that house— Jorge Luis Borges, “Adrogué”


I don’t understand how time passes—
Sometimes so slowly it aches…
Other times time too quickly,
So quickly it’s all blood and tears…

How many times have I forgotten—
Only to wake up with him in my arms:
The young Minotaur god in the garden…
Virgin as the roses in the pubes
Of the first Adam of Paradise?

It happens this way—the 4th dimension
Opens up like a garden of a thousand
Forking paths—a mirrored labyrinth
From which there is no escape…
No escape…

There is this plantation patio—
Old voodoo drums in the background.
The kid is frozen in a dark fountain
And it takes a kiss to wake him.

I know him because I’ve seen him—
A rich planter in Port-au-Prince:
Jacques Tourneur’s teenage son—
I Walked with a Zombie (1943).

In the humid shade the fountain—
Dripping dripping intermittently…
The strange smell of eucalyptus
The indistinct statue hazy ruins.

The night takes on the sloth—
Of old nostalgic loves and then
That’s when the glistening statue
Comes to life and looks at me.

This is the world of Night—
Beloved world of lust & jasmine
So dear to Rimbaud my master
And his slave Verlaine.
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« Reply #316 on: September 01, 2007, 08:28:29 PM »



"Adrogué entered literature through Jorge Luis Borges’ eerie parable “Death and the Compass,” set where Borges and his family summered in a hotel (now demolished) with a turret like Triste-le-Roy’s in the story, with strong-smelling eucalyptus trees in the park, and fountains. Borges told Victoria Ocampo in 1967 about Adrogué: “When I think of Adrogué, I do not think of the actual Adrogué dilapidated by progress, by telephones and motorbikes, but of that tranquil, lost labyrinth of quintas, plazas, and streets that met and diverged, with iron railings.” Just the scent of eucalyptus, anywhere in the world, threw him back to that place. Estela Canto’s personal memoir of her times with Borges evoked Adrogué’s Hotel Las Delicias, where the Borges family spent summer because they could not afford the grander Mar del Plata hotels: “In the forties Las Delicias was a rundown building, with a nostalgic charm, and the unexpected elegance of the new poor. Palm trees and ferns in flower boxes vanished, but the great windows with red, blue and yellow glass rhombi fascinated Borges. In “Death and the Compass” he described these rhomi, giving them a magical meaning.” The most desolate vision of this place comes from Borges’ poem titled “Adrogué,” published in 1969, in which Borges intensely recreates this place where he was happy. Amidst its dust and jasmines and eucalyptus trees with their “medicinal smell,” he remembers every detail from” mica paving stones” to a “lion’s head” and the red and green colored glass. But the past is a “closed circle,” inaccessible to Borges who is made of “time, blood and death’s agony.”—Jason Wilson, Buenos Aires, New York: Interlink, 2007.
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« Reply #317 on: September 02, 2007, 12:27:35 AM »



"En cualquier parte del mundo en que me encuentre cuando siento el olor de los eucaliptos, estoy en Adrogué. Adrogué era eso: un largo laberinto tranquilo de calles arboladas, de verjas y de quintas; un laberinto de vastas noches quietas que mis padres gustaban recorrer. Quintas en las que uno adivinaba la vida detrás de las quintas. De algún modo yo siempre estuve aquí, siempre estoy aquí.  Los lugares se llevan, los lugares están en uno. Sigo entre los eucaliptos y en el laberinto,  el lugar en que uno puede perderse. Supongo que uno también puede perderse en el Paraíso. Estatuas de tan mal gusto y tan cursis que ya resultaban lindas, una falsa ruina, una cancha de tenis.  Y luego, en ese mismo hotel "Las Delicias", un gran salón de espejos. Sin duda me miré en aquellos espejos infinitos. Muchos argumentos, muchas escenas, muchos poemas que he imaginado, nacieron en Adrogué o se sitúan en ella. Siempre que hablo de jardines, siempre que hablo de árboles, estoy en Adrogué; he pensado en esta ciudad, no es necesario que la nombre". (1981)
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« Reply #318 on: September 02, 2007, 01:03:07 AM »

Supongo que uno también puede perderse en el Paraíso. Estatuas de tan mal gusto y tan cursis que ya resultaban lindas, una falsa ruina....

This is pretty funny if I am translating it correctly....it seems he is equating the ruins (and other monuments, (except Androgue?)) with kitsch. 

De algún modo yo siempre estuve aquí, siempre estoy aquí.
And this is almost religious in its depth:  Somehow (some ways?) I have always been here, will always be here.

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« Reply #319 on: September 02, 2007, 06:04:02 PM »

"En cualquier parte del mundo en que me encuentre cuando siento el olor de los eucaliptos, estoy en Adrogué. Adrogué era eso: un largo laberinto tranquilo de calles arboladas, de verjas y de quintas; un laberinto de vastas noches quietas que mis padres gustaban recorrer. Quintas en las que uno adivinaba la vida detrás de las quintas. De algún modo yo siempre estuve aquí, siempre estoy aquí.  Los lugares se llevan, los lugares están en uno. Sigo entre los eucaliptos y en el laberinto,  el lugar en que uno puede perderse. Supongo que uno también puede perderse en el Paraíso. Estatuas de tan mal gusto y tan cursis que ya resultaban lindas, una falsa ruina, una cancha de tenis.  Y luego, en ese mismo hotel "Las Delicias", un gran salón de espejos. Sin duda me miré en aquellos espejos infinitos. Muchos argumentos, muchas escenas, muchos poemas que he imaginado, nacieron en Adrogué o se sitúan en ella. Siempre que hablo de jardines, siempre que hablo de árboles, estoy en Adrogué; he pensado en esta ciudad, no es necesario que la nombre". (1981)
The wikipedia entry on Adrogué has a loose translation from the Spanish; I don't have Spanish but I have some Borgese, so I'll give it a shot:

In whatever part of the world I find myself, when I come upon the scent of eucalyptus, I am in Adrogué. Adrogué is just this: a large quiet labyrinth of high tree-lined streets, of gates and manors; a labyrinth of vast quiet nights that my parents enjoyed wayfaring. Manor-fronts in which one could divine the life behind the facades. In some way, I have always been here, I am always here. These places accompany oneself, these places are within oneself. I wander among the eucalyptus and in the labyrinth, the place that one can lose oneself. One might as well lose oneself in Paradise. Pretentious statues in poor taste but pretty still, a fake ruin, a tennis court. And then, in the same hotel "Las Delicias", a grand salón of mirrors. Without doubt I found myself in those infinite mirrors. Many arguments, many scenes, many poems that I imagined were born in Adrogué or were situated there. Whenever I speak of gardens, whenever I speak of trees, I am in Adrogué; I have thought of that city, which it is unnecessary to name.

And with the eucalyptus in Adrogué once again:

Let us consider a life in whose course there is an abundance of repetitions: mine, for example. I never pass in front of the Recoleta without remembering that my father, my grandparents and great-grandparents are buried there, just as I shall be some day; then I remember that I have remembered the same thing an untold number of times already; I cannot walk through the suburbs in the solitude of the night without thinking that the night pleases us because it suppresses idle details, just as our memory does; I cannot lament the loss of a love or a friendship without meditating that one loses only what one really never had; every time I cross one of the street corners of the southern part of the city, I think of you, Helen; every time the wind brings me the smell of eucalyptus, I think of Adrogué in my childhood; every time I remember the ninety-first fragment of Heraclitus, "You shall not go down twice to the same river," I admire its dialectical dexterity, because the ease with which we accept the first meaning ("The river is different") clandestinely imposes upon us the second ("I am different") and grants us the illusion of having invented it; every time I hear a Germanophile vituperate the Yiddish language, I reflect that Yiddish is, after all, a German dialect, scarcely colored by the language of the Holy Spirit. These tautologies (and others I leave in silence) make up my entire life. Of course, they are repeated imprecisely; there are differences of emphasis, temperature, light and general physiological condition. I suspect, however, that the number of circumstantial variants is not infinite: we can postulate, in the mind of an individual (or of two individuals who do not know of each other but in whom the same process works), two identical moments. Once this identity is postulated, one may ask: Are not these identical moments the same? Is not one single repeated term sufficient to break down and confuse the series of time? Do not the fervent readers who surrender themselves to Shakespeare become, literally, Shakespeare?

http://www.androhsu.com/phpwiki-1.3.10/index.php?pagename=BorgesOnMemory
(misattributed therein to "A New Refutation of Time", unless there's a new new refutation?)

refining...
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« Reply #320 on: September 02, 2007, 06:35:59 PM »



Supongo que uno también puede perderse en el Paraíso. Estatuas de tan mal gusto y tan cursis que ya resultaban lindas, una falsa ruina....

This is pretty funny if I am translating it correctly....it seems he is equating the ruins (and other monuments, (except Androgue?)) with kitsch. 

De algún modo yo siempre estuve aquí, siempre estoy aquí.
And this is almost religious in its depth:  Somehow (some ways?) I have always been here, will always be here.


Adrogué seems to be the ultimate archetypal City of Borges’ literary imagination—the ultimate labyrinthine Paradise from whence so much of his work flows.

 Adrogué may seem kitschy today—the statues vulgar and petty, the motorcycles, the modern day rush and bustle of traffic—but then it’s his boyish and adolescent imagination we’re talking about here. And the obvious stimulus trigger of eucalyptus to his memories and flashbacks of Argentina back then.

The smell of eucalyptus in SF hits me the same way—eucalyptus seems to always remind me of that city by the bay. And the times I spent there as a young hippy on Nob Hill…later publishing my first book of poetry there. SF, City Lights, Gay Sunshine Press, the Muse—all of it comes back to me with the gentle odor of Eucalyptus.

As does the smell of magnolia, honeysuckle and wisteria from humid, semitropical Louisiana…and Baton Rouge the old Banana Republic Deep South city of the dead with its sad Huey P. Long campus still living in the Thirties…

Sometimes I think that smell has its own memory—its own way of reaching out to us from the fourth dimension of dreams and childhood remembering—that isn’t accessible to the rational left-brain discursive prose we’re used to when it comes to writing memoir or discussing books…

According to my trusty SDL translation machine, your two passages seem to translate this way:

Supongo que uno también puede perderse en el Paraíso. Estatuas de tan mal gusto y tan cursis que ya resultaban lindas, una falsa ruina....

“I suppose that one can also be lost in the Paradise.  Statues of so badly flavor and so vulgar that already they turned out to be pretty, a false ruin.”

De algún modo yo siempre estuve aquí, siempre estoy aquí.

“Of some way I always was here, always I am here.”

I read this as Borges discussing Adrogué as the ur-city of his Argentine imagination—just as Yoknapatawpha County is the ur-place of William Faulkner’s American imagination.

These archetypal “magic realist” labyrinthine ruins—these are the places where writers and poets lose themselves. It is by being lost that the Narrative of the fourth dimension becomes known. It’s through telling, retelling, looping back, getting lost, moving deeper and deeper into the Maze—that in my humble opinion the meaning of Adrogué to Borges can be found. It's like stepping back into the Heraclitus flux ("You shall not go down twice to the same river") and experiencing the Moment again whatever that Moment was that haunts you or takes you down a Labyrinthine path into the forked paths or the Library of Babel or the Circular Ruins or the Works of Herbert Quain or Tlön, Uqbar or Orbis Tertius...

Here is the complete translation of that seminal passage:

"Anywhere of the world in which find me when I feel the smell of the eucalyptuses, I am in Adrogué.  Adrogué was that: a long tranquil labyrinth of wooded streets, of iron gates and of fifth; a labyrinth of vast quiet nights that my parents liked to travel through.  Fifth in which one guessed the life behind the fifth.  Of some way I always was here, always I am here.  The places are carried, the places are in one.  I continue between the eucalyptuses and in the labyrinth, the place in which one can be lost.  I suppose that one can also be lost in the Paradise.  Statues of so badly flavor and so vulgar that already they turned out to be pretty, a false ruin, a tennis court.  And then, in that same hotel "The Delights", a great parlor of mirrors.  Without doubt I looked at myself in those infinite mirrors.  Many arguments, many scenes, many poems that have imagined, they were born in Adrogué or they are situated in her.  Provided that I speak of gardens, provided that I speak of trees, I am in Adrogué; I have thought about this city, is not necessary that the name". 


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« Reply #321 on: September 02, 2007, 06:50:49 PM »



"I think of Adrogué in my childhood; every time I remember the ninety-first fragment of Heraclitus, "You shall not go down twice to the same river," I admire its dialectical dexterity...

Are not these identical moments the same? Is not one single repeated term sufficient to break down and confuse the series of time? Do not the fervent readers who surrender themselves to Shakespeare become, literally, Shakespeare?[/i]

http://www.androhsu.com/phpwiki-1.3.10/index.php?pagename=BorgesOnMemory
(misattributed therein to "A New Refutation of Time", unless there's a new new refutation?)

This is why I'm interested in "magic realism."

As I mentioned to Hoffman above:

I read this as Borges discussing Adrogué as the ur-city of his Argentine imagination—just as Yoknapatawpha County is the ur-place of William Faulkner’s American imagination.

These archetypal “magic realist” labyrinthine ruins like Adrogué—these are the places where writers and poets lose themselves. It is by being lost that the Narrative of the fourth dimension becomes known. It’s through telling, retelling, looping back, getting lost, moving deeper and deeper into the Maze—that in my humble opinion the meaning of Adrogué to Borges can be found. It's like stepping back into the Heraclitus flux ("You shall not go down twice to the same river") and experiencing the Moment again whatever that Moment was that haunts you or takes you down a Labyrinthine path into the forked paths or the Library of Babel or the Circular Ruins or the Works of Herbert Quain or Tlön, Uqbar or Orbis Tertius...


One can step into the Heraclitus flux again and again...by telling, retelling, looping back, getting lost, moving deeper and deeper into the Maze as both Borges and Faulkner did. Borges seems to use interesting almost surrealist models like the Library of Babel to do this House of Mirrors trick. Faulkner seems to stick closer to home by letting the novel itself be the Gate through which his storytelling powers mature, develop and awe us lucky Readers...

Or rather perhaps seduce us down the meandering path into our own Adrogué-esque imaginations?

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« Reply #322 on: September 02, 2007, 11:18:11 PM »

http://www.vqronline.org/articles/1991/summer/irwin-journey/

Scroll south to II for Faulkner.

Cf
http://www.library.vanderbilt.edu/speccol/haagao.shtml
I hadn't realized that Borges' translation was the conduit between Faulkner & GGM etc ...

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« Reply #323 on: September 03, 2007, 12:17:54 AM »


Excellent link. Thank you.

"One can perhaps see most clearly Faulkner's influence reenforcing that of Poe in Borges' third detective story, "Ibn Hakkan al-Bokhari, Dead in His Labyrinth," where the situation of the two young men puzzling over the facts of a very old murder and constructing alternative stories to explain what really happened is strongly reminiscent of the situation of Quentin and Shreve in Absalom, Absalom! And in a sense Borges' self-definition as a writer depended upon his ultimately convincing himself of that very fact which Quentin, in the city of Poe's birth and his own death, never seemed able to convince himself—that he didn't hate the South."

http://www.vqronline.org/articles/1991/summer/irwin-journey/
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« Reply #324 on: September 03, 2007, 12:25:14 AM »

"Borges' most explicit examination of his own "southerness" as a writer, and consequently a particularly instructive instance of the influence of Poe on his work, is to be found in the short story with which he ends the 1956 collection Ficciones—"The South."

...As the narrator says, "An old sword, a leather frame containing the daguerreotype of a blank-faced man with a beard, the dash and grace of certain music, the familiar strophes of Martin Fierro, the passing years, boredom and solitude, all went to foster this voluntary, but never ostentatious nationalism." The opposition that Borges draws in the tale between the urban north and the rural south, between Buenos Aires (as a city of emigrants and the descendants of emigrants, a city of imitation Europeans) and the pampas (where all those traits that are distinctively Argentinian are to be found) amounts to a symbolic geography in which the journey to the South will be acted out."


http://www.vqronline.org/articles/1991/summer/irwin-journey/
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« Reply #325 on: September 03, 2007, 12:31:47 AM »

"But where Borges on his recovery wrote a short story (a story in which Menard's work of doubling the Quixote is a figure for Borges' work of doubling Poe's detective stories), Dahlmann on his recovery makes a trip to the South. This parallel equates the journey to the South with the act of writing, in particular, with the attempt at some new type of writing, some imaginative exploration. And here again we see the influence of Poe, for in several of his best known stories Poe figuratively represents the act of writing as an exploratory journey into terra incognita, into some new realm of the human imagination."

http://www.vqronline.org/articles/1991/summer/irwin-journey/
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« Reply #326 on: September 03, 2007, 12:41:14 AM »

"Riding the train to his ranch, Dahlmann occupies himself by reading the first volume of The Thousand and One Nights that he had acquired on the day of his accident, feeling somehow that he is "traveling into the past and not merely the south." Disembarking at a station near his ranch, Dahlmann becomes involved in a senseless quarrel in a cafe with three drunken toughs, and one of them challenges him to a knife fight. Dahlmann knows that he should refuse, that he does not have a chance, but he has chosen the life of the South and part of that life is this death. Dahlmann is without a weapon, but suddenly an old gaucho—"in whom Dahlmann saw a summary and cipher of the South (his South)—threw him a naked dagger, which landed at his feet, It was as if the South had resolved that Dahlmann should accept the duel.... He felt that if he had been able to choose, then, or to dream his death, this would have been the death he would have chosen or dreamt."[/i]

http://www.vqronline.org/articles/1991/summer/irwin-journey/
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« Reply #327 on: September 03, 2007, 12:43:41 AM »

Thus it is that in Borges' second detective story, "Death and the Compass," the criminal concludes his intellectual duel with the detective, who, says Borges, thought of himself as "a kind of Auguste Dupin," by trapping and killing him at the fourth point of the compass, which is to say, in the South."

http://www.vqronline.org/articles/1991/summer/irwin-journey/
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« Reply #328 on: September 03, 2007, 01:40:48 AM »

Las Palmeras Salvajes and The Wild Palms

http://www.library.vanderbilt.edu/speccol/haagao.shtml

This is a very interesting essay. It begins with a very brief succinct distinction between Faulkner and the magic realists.

“Jorge Luis Borges published a Spanish translation of William Faulkner's The Wild Palms in 1940, which Gabriel Garcia Marquez and other Latin American writers have cited as a major influence on their work. Although many similarities exist between Faulkner's work and the writings of the magical realists, two differences are apparent even to the layman. Firstly, Garcia Marquez is in some ways an "easier read" than Faulkner, even to a native English speaker. Secondly, the fantastic element is much more apparent in Garcia Marquez than in Faulkner. When reading Faulkner, one asks, "what does that sentence mean?" When reading Garcia Marquez, one asks "how can what that sentence obviously means, be possible in  realistic, or even internally consistent world?". Both Faulkner and the later magical realists are attempting to do justice to a world filled with ambiguity and confusion. Faulkner does so by creating confusion as to what objective situation his words are referring to, whereas the magical realists specify their object clearly, but present the reader with an object whose internal logic is ambiguous and confusing. It would make sense for Borges' translation of Faulkner to be an intermediate step in this progression. I contend that this translation does provide such a step, both by reducing the purely linguistic ambiguity and confusion in Faulkner's original, and perhaps also by introducing some confusion into the referent of that language.”

Then it goes into Borges’ critique of Faulkner’s novel techniques as "menos atrayentes que incomodas, menos justificables que exasperantes" ("less attractive than uncomfortable, less justifiable than exasperating"). Borges’ style is "quizas mas apretado que el de Faulkner" ("perhaps tighter than that of Faulkner").

Then it gets more complicated—for example, Borges cutting a 165 word Faulkner sentence to 111 words. What happens when this happens? It’s not just a slide from English into Spanish…

Faulkner is known for his “super-sentences”—mammoth uber-sentences that create a tremendous “cognitive load” on the reader. Although simply shortening the sentence length is only a crude measure of the linguistic difficulty of translation—certain words are loaded:

“The narrative voice explains that a character eschews both pajamas and cigarettes because his father had once said that these objects were "for dudes and women". The word "dude" may be used here to refer to a regional stereotype, or to allude to gender-based stereotypes and homosexuality. By translating "dudes" as "maricas", Borges commits to the second interpretation. Unfortunately, since the word is only used once in the original text, we can't observe whether Borges would have translated it differently in another context.”

And then there is the matter of time.

Borges outdoes Faulkner—by decreasing language difficulty and increasing conceptual difficulty.

For example, Faulkner’s troublesome sentence:

"as you have been ever since there was a not-you to become you, and will be until there is an end to the not-you by means of which alone you could once have been"

Borges translates as:

“…the not-you is not only necessary for the existence of you, the purpose of the not-you is to enable your existence.”

Which gives new meaning to the whole paragraph in The Wild Palms:

“I was outside of time. I was still attached to it, supported by it in space as you have been ever since there was a not-you to become you, and will be until there is an end to the not-you by means of which alone you could once have been - that's the immortality - supported by it but that's all, just on it, non-conductive, like the sparrow insulated by its own hard non-conductive dead feet from the high-tension line, the current of time that runs through remembering, that exists only in relation to what little of reality (I have learned that too) we know, else there is no such thing as time.” (p. 137)

Borges replaces "else there is no such thing as time" with "outside of this, time does not exist." Borges thus simplifies and complexifies at the same time.

“Instead of just describing the characters subjective experience of time and stating that no more objective perception is possible, Borges goes the extra step and begins to speak of a truly relative universe. Not only is it impossible to be sure that subjective experience corresponds correctly to objective reality, it is now quite possible that seemingly contradictory statements (time exists, time does not exist) can be simultaneously true in whatever objective universe does exist. Faulkner's phrase does not suggest that a universe without time would be possible, whereas Borges all but challenges us to picture it.”

Thus Borges puts a “magic realist” spin on Faulkner…



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« Reply #329 on: September 03, 2007, 10:08:14 AM »

There was a place like Adrogue, long after Borges'Adrogue was gone, it was called Mendeville, and you could reach it by train from Villa Lugano, the same dirth roads and the same iron fences, only smaller and not as grandiose as the old Adrogue, it smelled of burnt leaves and grasses in the evening, and it had that melancholic sadness of the things you know without knowing, when you're still too young to know, that they won't last long and that what you're seeing is not the present but shards of the past that still remains unaware of the present. Mendeville and Adrogue are today only names of places which are no longer Mendeville and Adrogue.
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