viernes, 1 de noviembre de 2013

German Literature Month, the Argentinean Literature of Doom: Año 2, and the 2014 Caravana de recuerdos Ibero-American Readalong

With Novemberfest suddenly upon us, I'd like to put in a belated plug for the German Literature Month festivities being hosted by Caroline of Beauty Is a Sleeping Cat and Lizzy of Lizzy's Literary Life.  Still not sure what I'm going to read for the event this time around, but I'm guessing that this is probably a good excuse to indulge in some more vitriol from our good friend Karl Kraus in between the more civilized Fausts and the Magic Mountains and the Julius Echter Hefe-Weissbiers and whatnot.
Speaking of civilization and barbarism, I'd rudely almost forgotten that the motorcade for the 2013 expedition to the lands of the Argentinean Literature of Doom was almost two months behind schedule.  What a boludo!  That said, the 2012 ALoD intro post should still explain the concept well enough for anybody with too much time on their hands.  But for you, the impatiently clock-watching and coffee-swilling bloghopping aesthete, here's an even shorter explanation: you either read and write about any piece of Argentinean literature in November or December and then tell me about it so I can include a link in a monthly wrap-up post or you challenge me to read and write about any piece of Argentinean literature with you at a mutually agreeable time in November or December and then we both blog about it and I include the links in a monthly wrap-up post.  Not sure what to read?  Of course, everybody who is somebody needs to read Roberto Arlt's mad, iconic doom bible Los siete locos [The Seven Madmen] at some point in their reading lives.  But here are some other worthwhile ideas from last year's intrepid ALoD participants:

Amateur Reader (Tom), Wuthering Expectations

Miguel, St. Orberose

Richard, Caravana de recuerdos
Facundo.  Civilización y barbarie by Domingo Faustino Sarmiento
Siete noches by Jorge Luis Borges
Boquitas pintadas by Manuel Puig
Cómo me hice monja by César Aira
La Vida Nueva by César Aira
"El Fiord" by Osvaldo Lamborghini

Rise, in lieu of a field guide
This Craft of Verse by Jorge Luis Borges
"The Golden Hare" by Silvina Ocampo

Séamus, Vapour Trails
Hopscotch by Julio Cortázar
Too pressed for time to participate in the Argentinean Literature of Doom: Año 2 in November or December on such short notice?  No worries because the ALoD: A2 will unofficially morph into the 2014 Caravana de recuerdos Ibero-American Readalong in January (clarification: for our purposes, "Ibero-American" will be defined as having to do with all literature produced on the Iberian Peninsula--i.e. in addition to works written in the Romance languages, also including those composed in Arabic, Basque, Hebrew, and Latin--and all literature from the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking countries in the Americas).  In other words, you have a full 14 months to read at least one measly Argentinean short story, poem, novel, or screed with me and only two months less than that to read something from one of the other countries' bodies of work.  So although what follows is a full year of structured group reads planned for 2014, I foolishly remain open to being challenged to read any other Ibero-American work of literature of your choice not penned by obvious losers.  More details on all this in a moment, but without further ado here are the titles I invite you to read along with me:

Roberto Bolaño's 2666 [2666]
Spain/Chile, 2004

Ibn Hazm de Córdoba's Tawq al-Hamamah [Spanish: El collar de la paloma; English: The Ring of the Dove]
Al-Andalus, c. 1022

José Saramago's O Ano da Morte de Ricardo Reis [The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis]
Portugal, 1984
w/Richard of Shea's Zibaldone
& Rise of in lieu of a field guide

The Golden Age: Poems of the Spanish Renaissance
Spain/New Spain, Middle Ages & Siglo de Oro
[translated by Edith Grossman in 2007]

Augusto Roa Bastos' Yo el Supremo [I, the Supreme]
Paraguay, 1974
w/Séamus of Vapour Trails

Tirso de Molina's El burlador de Sevilla [The Trickster of Seville]
Spain, c. 1630

Guillermo Cabrera Infante's Tres tristes tigres [Three Trapped Tigers]
Cuba, 1967
w/Richard of Shea's Zibaldone

Jose Hernández's Martín Fierro [The Gaucho Martín Fierro]
Argentina, 1872 & 1879

Macedonio Fernández's Museo de la novela de la Eterna [The Museum of Eterna's Novel (The First Good Novel)]
Argentina, 1967 [posthumous]

Nicanor Parra's Poemas y antipoemas [Poems and Antipoems]
Chile, 1954

Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quijote de la Mancha [Don Quixote]
Spain, 1605 & 1615
w/Richard of Shea's Zibaldone
& Scott of seraillon

Juan Rulfo's El Llano en llamas [The Plain in Flames and/or The Burning Plain and Other Stories]
Mexico, 1953
Although I respect you all too much to shill for these books too shrilly (i.e. it's getting late, and it's time to put this post to bed), I thought I'd say a couple of words about why I decided on these particular titles for the poorly-named Ibero-American Readalong.  The Bolaño, the Ibn Hazm, and the Cervantes are all favorites that I've been meaning to reread for a while.  I'd imagine that the Ibn-Hazm is the least well known of the three to most Caravana readers, so I'll just mention that it's a "treatise on love" originally written in Arabic poetry and prose that I really enjoyed the first time around.  Naturally, it's doing double duty here as a work from "medieval Spain" [sic] and as a representative of the various non-Spanish language literatures of the Iberian Peninsula.  The Saramago, Roa Bastos, Cabrera Infante, and Macedonio Fernández novels, on the other hand, are just works that I've long wanted to read--with the exception of The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis, which is more of a recent obsession thanks to Miguel of St. Orberose's Saramago writing rampage a while back.  I'd initially thought about including Machado de Assis' 1891 Quincas Borba to add a Brazilian and a 19th century novel to the list, but in the end I couldn't resist the idea of substituting Borges acquaintance Macedonio Fernández's Museo de la novela de la Eterna instead because the idea of a "novel" full of some 50 prologues seemed too good a provocation to pass up on (of course, I realize that if my provocation is successful enough, I might end up reading Macedonio alone).  The poetry choices, all highly recommended by Tom of Wuthering Expectations by the way, are mostly dehumiliations years in the making.  The exception here is the Grossman anthology, much of which I believe I've read before, but that should make a nice intro to Siglo de Oro poetry newcomers and a nice refresher for me--especially since I usually dodge poetry on the blog. I also hope to add another short Sor Juana piece or two to the mix if things work out. Finally, El burlador de Sevilla (frequently attributed to Tirso de Molina) and Juan Rulfo's El Llano en llamas are here to represent Spain's Golden Age theater and the Latin American short story respectively.  Having read many if not most of the Rulfo stories before, I thought that the writer's lean, austere writing style might make a nice epilogue to the showy pyrotechnics of Don Quijote.  In any event, that was the plan.

If you're interested in reading any of these with me, please note that I intend to post on most of them within the last three days of the month in question.  Barring the occasional procrastination,  I'll round up links at that time and include them on my review posts for discussion.  A few exceptions: 2666 will be split up into parts 1-3 in January (ending with "The Part about Fate") and parts 4-5 in February (beginning with "The Part about the Crimes").  Since I'll also be reading Ibn Hazm in February, I might post on one or the other work during the last week of the month rather than just the last three days.  By all means, post whenever you want to throughout the readalong, though.  Similarly, Don Quijote will be split up into Book I (the 1605 work) in November and Book II (the 1615 work) in December.  I'll likely post on Rulfo's stories after I finish the Cervantes, but do whatever works for you if you're joining for both.  If you're not interested in any of these titles but you're interested in challenging me to something not on the menu, just get in touch by e-mail or with a comment so we can work something out.  I would have loved to have included something by Onetti or Saer or a Catalan author, for example, but there just weren't enough months in the year.  Any takers?

21 comentarios:

  1. great Idea richard I will try and join in a readalong or two I have read three already from the list and blogged them and another before I blogged but others appeal so will try ,all the best stu

    1. Stu, thanks, awesome--it'd be nice to have your company for a read or two. By the way, your Cabrera Infante write-up was the one that made me decide to include Three Trapped Tigers on the readalong list (I'll have to post a link to that review of yours at some point, but I had no end of technical problems when I was putting the post together last night and gave up on adding extra review links). Cheers!

  2. Many tempting readalongs here. I will certainly try to join in on I, The Supreme which I picked up over the summer. The Rulfo is high on my list of books to acquire so may join that too. The Arlt, with that recommendation, must also be fast tracked.
    And I have to complete my second (hop along) reading of Hopscotch.
    The Bolaño and Quijote are also tempting rereads - it's almost 30 years since I read Quijote and 2666 only got a small write up on my blog as I hadn't really got into writing longer pieces at the time I read it.

  3. Séamus, I greatly look forward to you possibly joining me for I, the Supreme and any of the others you might have time for (rereads or otherwise). I've been blown away by what little I've dipped into of the Roa Bastos novel previously, but it's a little like Hopscotch in terms of the almost intimidating nature of its size and its idiosyncratic prose vision--had been afraid, in fact, that might have beeen one of the titles I would have to read alone! I suspect you might really dig the Arlt, but I understand that title is a little harder to find in translation than his debut, Mad Toy (also highly recommended). By the way, thanks again for contributing to the ALoD last year; it would have really been a shame if Cortázar had been left off the list. Cheers!

  4. Oh yeah, don't miss Arlt. Among the craziest of the crazies, the doomiest of the Doomsters. I think I can find a little fragment of Doom during the next couple of months.

    I'll join in on the Parra, too. Who knows what else. El burlador de Sevilla is a marvel. Who knows what else. I am reading Grossman's version of Luis de Góngora now, where she is making the best of a brutal job. I hope she keeps working on these Siglo de Oro projects.

    Good list; good luck.

    1. Tom, excited to hear about your likely Doom, Parra and "what else" participation. Love your Arlt description, too. Thanks, by the way, for your ongoing support for the ALoD mission. I actually just saw that you had Góngora on tap and was looking forward to hearing what you made of him in the extended-length format (I find him and Garcilaso very rewarding but tough sledding at times). It's been a long time since I've read any Siglo de Oro writers with any regularity (well, other than Quevedo's Buscón a few years back), but I'm looking forward to revisiting them via the readalong and maybe checking out one or two of those Longfellow translations that I remember you raving about. Manrique's "Coplas" was one of the selling points of that Grossman anthology for me, for sure (what a marvel, to borrow your phrase). That should be some good stuff to talk about if anyone tunes in that month.

  5. As always, an irresistible reading plan. Glad to see this readalong has become an annual affair. I think I ran out of Argentinean writers on my shelf for this festival of Doom (what a great "countermovement" to the Boom). So I'll possibly reread an Aira book.

    For the Ibero, the only book I currently have is The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis so I'd like to join you there. I'm planning to read some other writers too, one of them The Tragedy of Fidel Castro which you recently reviewed. I'm also contemplating reading some of Lispector's short stories. I haven't given up on her yet.

    One other good thing is this readalong complements well Richard's (Shea Zibaldone's) Kingdom of Redonda gig.

    1. Rise, thanks to you as well for being such a dedicated and enthusiastic contributor to the ALoD enterprise. An Aira reread when confronted with an empty book larder? That's hardcore! I saw that the Saramago was on your pending list a while back, so I'm glad to hear that things worked out in such a way that we'll be able to tackle that one together. Also, interested in seeing what your other choices might be for the Ibero-American thing. Thanks, too, for the reminder about Richard's Kingdom of Redonda readalong. It'd kind of slipped my mind a little since he announced it so long ago, but I should probably look at it again for organization purposes (I'd like next year to be less procrastination-filled than this one' been although I did finally finish my first Russian novel out of my last three tries--for shame!).

  6. No, no, no, you're not allowed to do this to me! I already have my 2014 reading all planned out and now you want to entice me to all these fabulous reads (many of which are already on my list)?

    Now I'm faced with the impossible prospect of trying to fit all my previously planned reads into the same time-frame as your schedule above. Decisions, decisions...

  7. Amanda, the great thing about this list is that you can take all year to conform to the schedule. No worries on that end! I understand your concern, though; half the reason I posted the list was to force myself to stop putting off all those titles I've been meaning to read. It'd be nice if you could join for a work or two, but good luck with your other plans if you're too busy. Cheers!

    1. Ah, but "to force myself to stop putting off all those titles I've been meaning to read" - this is why I should at least plan/try to join in for Don Quixote - I've been meaning to finally read the whole thing for 15 years now!

    2. OK, I'll count you in for DQ then, Amanda. No pressure! :D

  8. I'm going to adjust my read-along to sync with you on 'Three Trapped Tigers'

  9. I'm definitely up for the Saramago and Cervantes. This is a solid list!

    1. Richard, great news about the sync-up and for your company during the Saramago and Cervantes group reads to boot. Should be a good time!

  10. Such a banquet! I'll rustle up some Doom (why not?) and hope to join you for Cervantes at least, and probably Saramago and another one or two of the others.

    1. Scott, welcome back from vacation--great news on all fronts! I've signed you up for the Cervantes for now and will be happy to add you to any others once you have more time to think about which ones you want to do. Until then, I'm particularly curious to see which Doom hors d'oeuvre you decide to rustle up for the "banquet." Cheers!

  11. Thanks for the shout out Richarda and sorry I'm so late to this . . . I'm not as often online.
    Nice readaong list but I can't commit to anything. I hope I can t least manage my own readalong.

    1. No worries, Caroline. I've decided at long last to read Roth's The Radetzky March for your German Lit Month, but I hope to squeeze another title in if all works out by the end of the month. As far as next year's readalong, I understand completely. I naturally hope (but am not really expecting) to have some company for most of the titles, but I share the same commitment-phobia these days with reading time always being in such relatively short supply. Cheers!

  12. After some twitter convincing I just may join in for 2626, or at least my best intentions are to.

    1. Victoria, thanks so much for joining! No worries if it doesn't work out for you, of course, but it'd be nice to have your company for the discussions. Cheers!