April 19, 2021

Ulysses trips | Babelia

Ulysses trips | Babelia


1. Comics

The best thing will be that he gives as unread the excessive, deliberately scandalous and unapologetically apodíctico titular 'The great American novel is a comic', with which the Babelia of my soul last week, in reference to that summit (yet another) of the graphic novel that is Sabrina (Salamandra), by Nick Drnaso (Palos Hills, Illinois, 1989). With this of the "great American novel" (in the exclusive sense that the Americans give to the term) the same thing happens as with the Messiah of the Jews: they only believe in their future advent the orthodox irredentists, who are still waiting for the coming of the leader anointed who will save his people from their eschatological anxieties, and will settle the accounts with evil in the last Armageddon. Similarly, the "great American novel" (GNA), that text of almost sacred fiction that would represent in a finished and canonical way the culture, experience and language of the Americans at a given moment, will never come because it is already here , has always been: the honor has fallen, among many others who knew how to rise from the pile to represent the Zeitgeist, the anguish, the feelings and the hopes of the Americans (or a substantial part of them), in novels such as Moby Dick (Melville, 1851), The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Twain, 1884), The Great Gatsby (Scott Fitzgerald, 1925), Absalom, Absalom (Faulkner, 1936), The invisible man (Ralph Ellison, 1952), Beloved (Toni Morrison, 1987), The infinite joke (Foster Wallace, 1996); and, fortunately, we continue counting. Each of them represents a fragment of that GNA eternally made and eternally to be made, as it happens in any literature. As for the American comic, something similar happens. Seen with perspective, the last half century has been prodigal in masterpieces of the graphic novel sustained on a fabulous substratum of drafters and screenwriters: from late Victorian pioneers like Richard Outcault, whose series Yellow Kid (1895) showed for the first time the balloon as an expression of the character's saying (in this case, of a parrot), until the silver age of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in Marvel, passing through the iconoclast Robert Crumb, a link without the that a good part of the subsequent evolution can not be understood. So nah: there is no graphic GNA, but many coexist. Think, to cite an essential sample of the unstoppable and fertile incorporation of women into gender in, for example, the autobiographical Fun Home, a tragicomic family, by Alison Bechdel (2006, in Reservoir Books). And leave your (possible) prejudices aside: when you go to a good bookstore in search of reading, do not forget the great graphic novels (also, of Spanish authors and scriptwriters); they will take a surprise, and if they try them, they repeat.

Trips of Ulysses

2. Two prizes

Short trip to Barcelona to attend the Annual Brief Library Award ceremony. And the winner wasDays without you, of Elvira Sastre, a young poet (27 years old) from whom I have not yet been able to read anything and of which the hundreds of thousands of followers on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook are underlined. Let's see: woman, poet, youth, social networks; all a candy for the marketing department of one of the three great literary ships of Planet (the others are Tusquets and Destino). And, for now, I do not say much, hopefully when I read it I find that the winning novel is up to the awards, for example, The outskirts (1958; Luis Goytisolo I was 23 years old), The city and the Dogs (1962; Vargas Llosa, 26 years old) or Last afternoons with Teresa (1966; Marsé, 33 years old), just to mention some of the golden age and more phallocentric of the award (there was no woman awarded until 1971 by the Cuban Nivaria Tejera, whose Sleepwalker in the sun no one remembers anymore). I took advantage of the banquet after the proclamation of the winner to see friends and choose a table without enemies, which is not always easy. And the hotel night and the two AVE journeys, to finish the great An Odyssey, by Daniel Mendelsohn (by Seix Barral, precisely), a new example of that protean, inexhaustible and multiform quality of the narrative, which is the epithet, as well as the hero Odysseus, of "the one with the many resources" , the "fecunda in tricks". Indeed, Mendelsohn gives a new twist to the literary narrative in this exciting memoir of a familiar odyssey of our time (so was his model, the old adventure drama in which Odysseus, Telemachus, Penelope and old Laertes meet again, many years later, and rebuild their own family, eliminating the suitors and propitiating one of the happiest endings of literary history), mixing it with elements and techniques of fiction-including what the structuralists called mise en abîme– and with an intelligent critical and historical review of the first "novel" of Western culture. For a long time (and many trips, like Odysseus) I did not read a book so enthusiastically. His reading was a reward for me.

Trips of Ulysses

3. Tintinology

Until the grim Le Monde He fights bravely for warding off danger and selling newspapers. That is why the promotion of offering its readers a collection of each of the cars (1/24 scale) that the hero Tintin uses in his adventures has been invented, since he only needs a place in the Pantheon of France, for more than both he and Hergé, his father, were Belgians. And is that the intrepid adventurer has just turned 90 and is still alive and kicking. If you want to know everything about one of the most famous comic characters do not miss Tintin-Hergé, a life of the twentieth century, the passionate summa tintinesca by Fernando Castillo who has just reissued Fórcola.

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