sábado, 11 de agosto de 2018

La boda de Hitler y María Antonieta en el infierno

La boda de Hitler y María Antonieta en el infierno [Le nozze di Hitler e Maria Antonietta nell'inferno] (Emecé, 2003)
by J.R. Wilcock & F. Fantasia [translated from the Italian by Ernesto Montequin]
Italy, 1985

A total ringer for inclusion in the Spanish and Portuguese Lit Months 2018 line-up given that the Argentina-born J.R. Wilcock (1919-1978) abandoned Spanish as his writing language after he traded in the land of Borges for the land of Pasolini in the year of our Lord 1957, La boda de Hitler y María Antonieta en el infierno [The Wedding of Hitler and Marie Antoinette in Hell] is, on the other hand, about as ridiculous and as farcical as you might expect from something with such a festive title and snazzy diabolical cover art.  Even if its own authors concede that it's perhaps "un texto que conviene regalar en vez de leer" ["a text that's better suited to give away than to read"] (119), don't heed that advice until you've savored the bad jokes about Marie Antoinette's wedding-threatening crush on Garibaldi ("Está loca por él, aunque se dejaría cortar de nuevo la cabeza antes que admitirlo" ["She's crazy about him even though she'd let her head be cut off again before she'd admit it"]) (11), listened in on Cagliostro's quackish confession to Seneca ("El estudio de la delincuencia y del ocultismo son los únicos pasatiempos dignos para un hombre de cierto gusto" ["The study of crime and occultism is the only worthy hobby for a man of refined taste"]) (23), overheard the horndog in hell act of piacere-seeking Gabriele D'Annunzio: "¡Ah, las diablesas...qué hembras excitantes!" ["Ah, the she-devils...what exciting females!"] (77).  In the afterword, one Du Garbandier--who I've since learned is a character borrowed from Flann O'Brien's The Third Policeman--pays tribute to Wilcock's career as a paid fake critic with a doctored quote from that very same Flann O'Brien novel: "La belleza de la lectura de una página de La boda de Hitler y María Antonieta en el infierno reside en el hecho de que inevitablemente conduce al lector a la feliz convicción de que él no es, de todos los imbéciles, el más grande" ["The beauty of reading one page of The Wedding of Hitler and Marie Antoinette in Hell lies in the fact that the reader is inevitably led to the conclusion that he, of all idiots, isn't the biggest one of all"] (117).  Word.

J.R. Wilcock and friend

2 comentarios:

  1. I love the title. Based on it, If I just saw the book I would think that it was either terrible or terrific. I also love the cover art. I also like the quote about idiots.

    1. It's kind of both "terrible" and "terrific," Brian. An absurdist goof. I like Wilcock a lot, though, and this collaboration of his with the mysterious F. Fantasia had me chuckling throughout.