viernes, 31 de enero de 2020

The 2020 Argentinean Literature of Doom: January

Rodrigo Fresán

Richard, Caravana de recuerdos
Mantra by Rodrigo Fresán

To my knowledge, I was the only doomster to review something for the 2020 Argentinean Literature of Doom this month but no worries since we have 11 months left for the rest of you to catch up to the furious pace of that start of mine.  Still, here's a related ALoD tidbit to beef up the lone link above.  In Pepe Fernández's June 29, 2003 "El país de Juan Rodolfo Wilcock" ["Juan Rodolfo Wilcock's Country"], which I hope to return to later in the Doom calendar year, there's a series of great anecdotes having to do with Argentine turned Italian Borges and Silvina Ocampo and Pier Paolo Pasolini pal/writer and actor and translator J.R. Wilcock.  Would you like to hear the one about the talking cat?  Wilcock, who was meeting with Gigi Proietti at Wilcock's home in Italy to discuss a translation of Marlowe's Doctor Faustus, "exponía sus ideas con una voz calma" ["was calmly expounding his ideas"] according to memoirist Vittorio Gassman "cuando un gato cruzó la habitación diciendo claramente: 'Me voy porque ustedes me aburren'" ["when a cat crossed the room clearly saying, 'I'm leaving because you two are boring me'"].  "El escritor continuó hablando imperturbablemente.  Al cabo de un instante, Gigi no pudo más y preguntó, estupefacto: 'Pero... acabo de ver pasar un gato, ¿no?  'Sí, sí, es mi gato.'  'Me imaginaba pero, ¿habla?'  Y Wilcock, secamente: 'Sí, pero no siempre.  Así que como decíamos, Fausto...'" ["The writer continued speaking as if nothing had happened.  After a moment, Gigi couldn't take it any more and, stunned, asked, 'But...did I just see a cat pass by?'  'Yes, yes, that's my cat.'  'I thought so, but he talks?'  Wilcock, drily: 'Yes, but not all the time.  So as we were saying, Faust...'"].

10 comentarios:

  1. They clearly had no idea cats get bored sometimes and sulk and just leave the room. Anyway, the year is long. I can re-attempt Arlt and his jolly novel.

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    1. Revisiting "Arlt and his jolly novel"? Wonderfully doomy, my friend!

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  2. I have wanted to add to this challenge. And I hope I will. I ended up not watching the Argentinian movie, and I am caught up reading just two books, but time consuming ones. However, I enjoyed this post and the reminder, and I may surprise you with an addition to this challenge any moment.

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    1. You have the rest of the year to join in, Silvia, so no rush at all. I just spent two weeks not finishing a Henry James novel and then reading a 206-page Mexican novel, so I can relate to the idea of time consuming reading. Hope your luck turns out better than mine did satisfaction-wise, though!

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  3. I actually did read something relevant in January, the poems of Borges from the 1920s, but I have absolutely nothing to say about them.

    Lunatic anecdotes about Argentinean writers is a great way to fill out the space. There is no shortage.

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    1. Borges' '20s poems are a very mixed bag from what little I can remember of them. "Lunatic anecdotes about Argentinean writers," as you point out, are much less so. I think I've just telegraphed some of my future reading...

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  4. I enjoyed that anecdote, thanks for sharing! Also, a good reminder that I really do need to start thinking about reading some Borges...

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    1. So many choices (genres, moods) with Borges! Glad you liked the Wilcock story--it always makes me laugh, and I'm a dog guy much more than a cat man.

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  5. Seeing Arlt mentioned in the comments brings to mind a question. I read a translation of The flamethrowers recently but have seen no mention of it in press or online and was wondering if you'd come across it as I initially had concerns about the veracity of the translator.

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    1. I haven't seen or heard much about that translation, jeffcoll, but what you say is very interesting because I feel like I've heard that complaint before (perhaps in regard to another Arlt translation, I can't remember). Arlt is somewhat tricky to translate in my amateur's experience, though; I tried my hand at translating his great short story "Las fieras" for fun several years ago but eventually gave up in part because the richness of Argentinean Spanish underworld slang for "pimp" and "brothel owner" just can't be matched in English! Anyway, thanks for the question.

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