lunes, 26 de septiembre de 2011

Llorenç Riber

Llorenç Riber
por J.R. Wilcock [traducido del italiano por Joaquín Jordá]
Italia, 1972

Una de las biografías inventadas más absurdas de La sinagoga de los iconoclastas, de Wilcock (un libro que fue uno de los cianotipos posmodernos de La literatura nazi en América, de Bolaño), Llorenç Riber es una obra re divertida que trata de un director catalán, obsesionado con los conejos, cuyas producciones raras incluyen una versión musical de las Investigaciones filosóficas, de Wittgenstein.  Como corresponde a un relato de esta índole, el compilador de este homenaje documenta la vida del artista con carácter juguetón por medio de cuatro reseñas críticas de sus obras escritas por otros y el fragmento de un guión inédito de una obra teatral de Riber que se llama Tristán e Isoldo (una puesta al día gay del clásico medieval).  Aunque no tengo la menor idea de cómo ustedes reaccionarían al sentido de humor que se encuentra acá, no podía dejar de reírme a carcajadas con los pormenores biográficos falsos (dicho haber sido devorado por un león en una página, Riber es después llamado "el director prematuramente devorado" en la próxima página [242]) o las varias reseñas simuladas (Tête de Chien tiene tanto éxito en Lausanne que Riber "fue llamado a saludar hasta ocho veces"; sin obstante, el crítico entonces añade que "para un director, triunfar en Suiza es como recibir una cesta de huevos de regalo" [246]).  Al hablar de esto, una de las reseñas fingidas--la reseña escribida por un tal Matteo Campanari para Il Mondo en Roma--es particularmente interesante para razones imprevisibles.  Veamos si yo pueda hacer justicia a esta anecdóta literaria poco conocida.  Resulta que Wilcock, después de trasladarse a Italia de su Argentina natal, se convertió en un crítico de teatro suplente en algún momento.  Tan aburrido por la tarea de ir al teatro, el excéntrico Wilcock comenzó a escribir reseñas sobre espectáculos inventados por un semanario romano bajo un seudónimo. En este momento, ¡no es de sorprender que la revista fuera llamada Il Mondo, que el crítico estrafalario se llamara Matteo Campanari, y que una de las producciones falsificadas fue presentado por un director que esté mejor conocido como Llorenç Riber!
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One of the wackier fake biographies from J.R. Wilcock's La sinagoga de los iconoclastas (available in English as The Temple of Iconoclasts and a work that's one of the indisputable postmodern blueprints for Roberto Bolaño's Nazi Literature in the Americas), "Llorenç Riber" is a super funny piece of writing that celebrates a rabbit-obsessed Catalan theater director whose bizarre list of credits includes a musical version of Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations among several other way off-Broadway oddities.  As befits a narrative of this nature, the compiler of this would-be homage playfully documents the artist's life with a selection of four critical pieces on his work composed by others and an extract from Riber's own unpublished play Tristán e Isoldo [Tristan and Isoldo], a sort of gay update of the medieval romance.  While I have no idea how many of you would embrace the absurdity of all this as much as I did, I couldn't stop laughing at either the faux biographical tidbits (said to have been killed by a lion on one page, Riber is then referred to as "el director prematuramente devorado" ["the prematurely devoured director"] on the very next one [242]) or the various mock reviews (Riber's Tête de Chien is so warmly received in Lausanne that the director's asked to come out for eight curtain calls; however, the reviewer then cynically notes that "para un director, triunfar en Suiza es como recibir una cesta de huevos de regalo" ["for a director, being lauded in Switzerland is like receiving a basket of eggs as a gift"] (246).  Curiously enough, one of the mock reviews that's most interesting--the one penned by one Matteo Campanari for Il Mondo in Rome--isn't particularly interesting for any of the reasons you might expect from the above.  Let's see if I can do this obscure literary anecdote justice.  As the story goes, Wilcock at one point in time became a substitute theater critic in Rome after moving to Italy from his native Argentina.  However, the eccentric writer was so bored by the chore of theater-going that he started inventing reviews of fabricated plays with made-up facts and casts and submitting the pieces to an Italian weekly under a pseudonym.  At this point, it should come as no surprise that the weekly was called Il Mondo, that Wilcock's pseudonym was Matteo Campanari, and that one of the fake directors Campanari-Wilcock wrote about was none other than our good friend Llorenç Riber!

Fuente/source
Héctor Libertella, ed.  11 relatos argentinos del siglo XX (Una antología alternativa) [11 20th Century Argentine Narratives: An Alternative Anthology]. Buenos Aires: Editorial Perfil, 1997, 241-266.

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8 comentarios:

  1. Where is everybody? I Quacked this, or Bleated it, or whatever you do on Twitter, just this morning, with key quotes that should have made it irresistible. Absolutely amazing.

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  2. *Tom: Thanks a bunch for pimping the post and, more importantly, for your reassuring question and comment here--you just saved me from unleashing a passive-aggressive "J.R. Wilcock: two posts, zero comments" entry tomorrow, ha ha. By the way, Wilcock's a gas when he's on and his own biographical tidbits are like something out of his stories--apparently "he" and "Campanari" used to attack each other in the arts pages of the Roman papers!

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  3. I'm wondering how a philosophy book can be adapted into a musical. Tee-hee.

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  4. This sounds truly, truly enjoyable.

    That non-comment has been sitting in a tab on my browser for a couple of days, but apparently I don't have anything more to add. I do, however, embrace its absurdity. :-)

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  5. I admit, I've never heard of him. (I have read a writer Llorenç Villalonga, who at least has the same surname). I think it's easiest if I get on with learning French - they seemed to have translated quite a few of his novels.

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  6. *Rise: Tee-hee, indeed! One of Wilcock's sham critics actually addresses your searching question, explaining: "La primera dificultad era el fondo musical. Cualquiera habría elegido casi automáticamente Webern, dado que entre el músico y el filósofo existieron tantos vínculos y analogías, comenzando por la letra inicial del apellido" ["The first difficulty was the musical background. Anybody else would have almost automatically settled on Webern given that there were so many similarities and ties between the musician and the philosopher, beginning with the first letter of their last names"](252)! But contrarian that he is, Riber decides on Beethoven and Haydn instead...

    *Emily: I'll always prefer a non-comment to a no-comment if I have a say in the matter, ha ha, but no problem or pressure either way. However, I do think this Wilcock fragment might be just about tailor-made for a queen of the absurdity-embracing aesthetic such as yourself. Cheers!

    *Obooki: I've only read the one book by Wilcock, but it was good to revisit him with this selection from it since I'd forgotten how funny and off his rocker he was at times. Now I need to make time to get to Marcel Scwob's Vies imaginaires since that's another crackpot fake biographer I've read very little of until now.

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  7. I've not heard of this one either, but I did enjoy Nazi Literature in the Americas. It reminds me of Mawrdew Czgowchwz (Mardew Gorgeous) by James McCourt which is about a fictional opera singer and features several wonderful fake reviews.

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  8. *James: Belated thanks for the tip on that unpronounceable McCourt novel--not sure why the fake review thing hasn't taken off in literature since it's such an ingenious idea!

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