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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Matador's Mistress (Manolete), 2008

Manolete and Lupe Sino
(Moj Salon Za Durenje)
no copyright infringement intended

Passionate love, intense and torrid as only a corrida can be. Two beings in close intimacy, yet enemies. You painfully need the other, you know too well that in the end you'll kill or you'll be killed, but the need is too intense, impossible to resist. The fatal moment will come, and still you'll realize that it's been worth.

For Manolete the fatal moment came in the bullring of Linares: the 28th of August, 1947. It was there he met his last bull. The fatal encounter, el momento de la verdad. Gored by the beast he passed away several hours later. His mistress Lupe Sino was not admitted to stay with him during the agony. Spain of 1947, enforcing traditionalist values, totally male-oriented. Manolete's love for a free woman like Lupe Sino was very badly received.

Since then, each year on the 28th of August a bunch of roses is put in the arena, on the place where he fell. His memory slips in legend. In the words of Ricardo Delgado and Francisco Caño, he was second to none, in a class of his own. Maybe the greatest bullfighter of all times. And the words of Delgado and Caño come in my mind again, standing tall, erect, and with his body close to the beast: two beings, intimate, yet enemies.

Manolete and Lupe Sino / Adrien Brody and Penélope Cruz
no copyright infringement intended

A Matador's Mistress, a movie made by Menno Meyjes in 2008, recreates the portrait of the great matador and brings justice to his long-time mistress. Adrien Brody plays Manolete, and their physical resemblance is uncanny: both very slim, emaciated, very tall, and that mournful expression even in the moment of a smile, like radiating an awareness of fatality, a surrender to destiny. Just another great quixotic wanderer in a glorious line of noble and insane hidalgos. Spain, country of illusory windmills and impossible dreamers ... As for Penélope Cruz (physically very distinct from Lupe Sino, while her huge talent makes this irrelevant), she brings in the role pathos and stamina, and makes the point of the movie. Through her play, it is no more only about a man's passion, it is shared, brutal and total, each one is equally human and beast, victim and villain, innocent and sorcerer.

A Matador's Mistress, 2008
Buika/Mamita, soundtrack
(video by st. forester)

The cinematography is exquisite, with a refined use of colors, with a subtle insertion of original black and white photos and footage, suggesting the atmosphere of those years and the universe of the bullrings. However, all this is here in the movie just a pretext! A Matador's Mistress is not a biopic, far from that. The story goes exclusively in rapid flashbacks, calling flash-forwards that jump again in the past. Their chaotic arrangement seems to defy any logic, but this is on purpose. This movie is a meditative poem about the complementarity of Eros and Thanatos: love and corrida as expressions of a unique truth, our fundamental quest for el momento de la verdad.

Muerte de Manolete por el toro Islero de la ganadería Miura
Linares, Jaén, 1947
(video by CosoTejares)

The skin of Islero, the bull who gored and killed Manolete, is exposed in the Museo de Taurino in Córdoba. His skull is exposed at Restaurante Parrondo in Madrid.

photo by Marcos Mayorga, 2009
no copyright infringement intended

(Iberic and Iberic-American Cinema)

Friday, December 26, 2014

August Kopisch, Die Heinzelmännchen zu Köln, 1836

mit bei Münzeinwurf beweglichen Figuren
(am Aufgang zum Drachenfels, Siebengebirge, 2004)
created by Yoshi
no copyright infringement intended

Die Heinzelmännchen (little house gnomes) are said to have done all the work of the citizens of Cologne during the night, so that the inhabitants of Cologne could be very lazy during the day. According to the legend, this went on until a tailor's wife got so curious to see the gnomes that she scattered peas onto the floor of the workshop to make the gnomes slip and fall. The gnomes, being infuriated, disappeared and never returned. From that time on, the citizens of Cologne had to do all their work by themselves. This legend was first written down by the Cologne teacher Ernst Weyden (1805–1869) in 1826 (Cöln's Vorzeit. Geschichten, Legenden und Sagen Cöln's, nebst einer Auswahl cölnischer Volkslieder. Cöln am Rhein, Pet. Schmitz, 1826, p. 200–202). It was translated into English by Thomas Keightley and published 1828 in his book The Fairy Mythology. In 1836 August Kopisch published his poem based on the legend.

With these Heinzelmännchen I have my own story. I was a small kid, and a lady that was our neighbor read me one evening the poem by Kopisch. She read it in German, translating in Romanian every line. I was too small to read in German, and she was doing her best to teach me the language of Kopisch and Brudern Grimm. The poem had a subtle beauty, and a subtle meaning, difficult to explain in plain words, and the memory of that evening and of that story followed me throughout the years with a strange fascination.

Here is the original along with an English version. It's my Christmas gift for you all. Enjoy!

Wie war zu Köln es doch vordem
Mit Heinzelmännchen so bequem!
Denn, war man faul,... man legte sich
Hin auf die Bank und pflegte sich:
Da kamen bei Nacht,
Ehe man's gedacht,
Die Männlein und schwärmten
Und klappten und lärmten,
Und rupften
Und zupften,
Und hüpften und trabten
Und putzten und schabten...
Und eh ein Faulpelz noch erwacht,...
War all sein Tagewerk... bereits gemacht!

Die Zimmerleute streckten sich
Hin auf die Spän' und reckten sich.
Indessen kam die Geisterschar
Und sah was da zu zimmern war.
Nahm Meißel und Beil
Und die Säg' in Eil;
Und sägten und stachen
Und hieben und brachen,
Und kappten,
Visierten wie Falken
Und setzten die Balken...
Eh sich's der Zimmermann versah...
Klapp, stand das ganze Haus... schon fertig da!

Beim Bäckermeister war nicht Not,
Die Heinzelmännchen backten Brot.
Die faulen Burschen legten sich,
Die Heinzelmännchen regten sich –
Und ächzten daher
Mit den Säcken schwer!
Und kneteten tüchtig
Und wogen es richtig,
Und hoben
Und schoben,
Und fegten und backten
Und klopften und hackten.
Die Burschen schnarchten noch im Chor:
Da rückte schon das Brot,... das neue, vor!

Beim Fleischer ging es just so zu:
Gesell und Bursche lag in Ruh.
Indessen kamen die Männlein her
Und hackten das Schwein die Kreuz und Quer.
Das ging so geschwind
Wie die Mühl' im Wind!
Die klappten mit Beilen,
Die schnitzten an Speilen,
Die spülten,
Die wühlten,
Und mengten und mischten
Und stopften und wischten.
Tat der Gesell die Augen auf,...
Wapp! hing die Wurst da schon im Ausverkauf!

Beim Schenken war es so: es trank
Der Küfer bis er niedersank,
Am hohlen Fasse schlief er ein,
Die Männlein sorgten um den Wein,
Und schwefelten fein
Alle Fässer ein,
Und rollten und hoben
Mit Winden und Kloben,
Und schwenkten
Und senkten,
Und gossen und panschten
Und mengten und manschten.
Und eh der Küfer noch erwacht,
War schon der Wein geschönt und fein gemacht!

Einst hatt' ein Schneider große Pein:
Der Staatsrock sollte fertig sein;
Warf hin das Zeug und legte sich
Hin auf das Ohr und pflegte sich.
Das schlüpften sie frisch
In den Schneidertisch;
Da schnitten und rückten
Und nähten und stickten,
Und faßten
Und paßten,
Und strichen und guckten
Und zupften und ruckten,
Und eh mein Schneiderlein erwacht:
War Bürgermeisters Rock... bereits gemacht!

Neugierig war des Schneiders Weib,
Und macht sich diesen Zeitvertreib:
Streut Erbsen hin die andre Nacht,
Die Heinzelmännchen kommen sacht:
Eins fähret nun aus,
Schlägt hin im Haus,
Die gleiten von Stufen
Und plumpen in Kufen,
Die fallen
Mit Schallen,
Die lärmen und schreien
Und vermaledeien!
Sie springt hinunter auf den Schall
Mit Licht: husch husch husch husch! – verschwinden all!

O weh! nun sind sie alle fort
Und keines ist mehr hier am Ort!
Man kann nicht mehr wie sonsten ruhn,
Man muß nun alles selber tun!
Ein jeder muß fein
Selbst fleißig sein,
Und kratzen und schaben
Und rennen und traben
Und schniegeln
Und biegeln,
Und klopfen und hacken
Und kochen und backen.
Ach, daß es noch wie damals wär!
Doch kommt die schöne Zeit nicht wieder her!

How it once was
With fairies so nice!
Then, when man was lazy, he could lie
On a bench and look only after himself:
Then they came by night
As expected.
The little men would swarm
And turn and buzz
And pull
And pluck
And hop and trot
And clean and scrape...
And when a lazy bones awoke,
All his day's work was... already finished.

The carpenters laid themselves
On the bench and stretched.
And then came the ghostly crowd
And saw, what there was to be carpentered.
Take chisel and axe
And the saw in haste!
They sawed and stuck
And chopped and broke,
Coughed up
And cut back,
And took aim like hawks
And set the beams...
And when the carpenters saw...
Snap! stood the whole house ... finished there!

With the bakers there was no emergency,
The fairies baked bread.
The lazy lads lay around,
The fairies stirred themselves -
And groaning there
With sacks so heavy!
They kneaded heartily,
And labored furiously,
And beat
And shoved,
And scoured and baked
And pounded and chopped.
The lazy lads snored like a choir...
And shortly the bread was baked!

By the butcher it went the same:
Journeymen and apprentices lay in peace.
At then came the little men there
And butchered the pig every which way.
It all went so fast
Like the mill wheel in the wind!
They banged with cleavers,
They sliced on the butcher's block,
They rinsed,
They rummaged,
And mingled and mixed
And filled and wiped.
When the journeymen opened their eyes...
Bang! the sausage hung ready for sale!

By school kids it was this way: it holds
That they didn't stay home anymore.
Their homework just left undone,
But the fairies did that especially well.
They wrote quickly
Like the wind.
They added and painted,
They numbered and figured
And doodled
And clambered about,
They read, erased,
They made things, and copied.
And as the school kids expected...
QED! everything was accomplished.

Once a tailor had a great problem:
To finish a regal coat;
He dropped his tools and laid down
Since he didn't want to think about it.
Then they slipped in
Around the tailor's table:
They cut and adjusted
And sewed and stitched,
And fastened
And fit,
And stretched and looked
And pulled and jerked.
And when the tailor awoke...
The Mayor's coat was all made!

Curious was the tailor's wife
And she made it her own business:
She strew dried peas the other night
That the fairies might come to seek them out:
One ventured out,
And was beaten in the house,
And one came down the stairs
And was caught by the tub,
They fell from
They cried aloud and shouted
And screamed bloody murder!
She leapt after them hearing the noise.
With the light: ssh, ssh, ssh, they were all gone!

Alas! Now are they all disappeared
And none here any more!
One can't find the peace once had,
But must do everything himself!
One must be very diligent
In one's own work now,
And scratch and scrape
And run and trot
And spruce things up
And iron,
And pound and cut
And cook and bake
Alas, for it's not like it once was!
That lovely time
Will never come again!

Heinzelmännchenbrunnen in Köln - Detail
(Künstler: Edmund und Heinrich Renard)
image by © Raimond Spekking, / CC BY-SA 3.0, 2007
no copyright infringement intended

(August Kopisch)

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August Kopisch

August Kopisch
source: Karl Friedrich Gustav Könnecke, Bilderatlas
zur Geschichte der deutschen Nationallitteratur
Zweite, verbesserte und vermehrte Auflage
Marburg: Elwert, 1895
no copyright infringement intended

Poet and painter in love for Capri and its Blue Grotto (that he saw first time in the 1830's, and re-made famous to their contemporaries), rendered in German Dante's Divine Comedy, translated some Italian folk songs, and re-told in verses some German folk stories.

(German and Nordic Literature)


Sunday, December 21, 2014

El Portuñol Americano

hablando portuñol
no copyright infringement intended

El portuñol americano (tal vez mejor dicho portuñol brasileño) nació en múltiples variantes en las fronteras brasileñas, mezclando español y portugués para las necesidades de comunicación de todos los días de las poblaciones allí: La Triple Frontera (el cruce de fronteras entre Brasil, Paraguay y Argentina, cerca de las cataratas del Iguazú), el portuñol riverense (también conocido como fronterizo - fronteiriço en portugués - o misturado) en la frontera uruguayo-brasileña, La Línea en la frontera entre Brasil y Venezuela, el portuñol cobijeño en la frontera brasileña-boliviana, el portuñol leticiano en Las Tres Fronteras (el área amazónica donde se encuentran las fronteras de Brasil, Perú y Colombia). Así el portuñol es un híbrido teniendo - de una manera libre, espontánea y creativa - componentes de las dos lenguas hermanas. No es un lenguajo estandardizado, hecho y derecho, más bien un ejercicio capricioso y mato que se inventa día a día. Un brasileño necesita conseguir comprendido por sus vecinos bolivianos o argentinos o colombianos, y viceversa. Eso es el portuñol.

Aquí hay un video divertido con algunos jóvenes colombianos que están tratando de hablar portugués en su viaje brasileño. El resultado es una especie de portuñol.

Los Irracionales Cap. 3 - "Portuñol"
(video by LosIrracionales)

(La Española - or Hispaniola)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Aniuta de Chéjov / Chekhov's Anyuta

Por la peor habitación del detestable Hotel Lisboa paseábase infatigablemente el estudiante de tercer año de Medicina Stepan Klochkov. Al par que paseaba, estudiaba en voz alta. Como llevaba largas horas entregado al doble ejercicio, tenía la garganta seca y la frente cubierta de sudor.
Junto a la ventana, cuyos cristales empañaba la nieve congelada, estaba sentada en una silla, cosiendo una camisa de hombre, Aniuta, morenilla de unos veinticinco años, muy delgada, muy pálida, de dulces ojos grises.
En el reloj del corredor sonaron, catarrosas, las dos de la tarde; pero la habitación no estaba aún arreglada. La cama hallábase deshecha, y se veían, esparcidos por el aposento, libros y ropas. En un rincón había un lavabo nada limpio, lleno de agua enjabonada.
-El pulmón se divide en tres partes -recitaba Klochkov-. La parte superior llega hasta cuarta o quinta costilla...
Para formarse idea de lo que acababa de decir, se palpó el pecho.
-Las costillas están dispuestas paralelamente unas a otras, como las teclas de un piano -continuó- Para no errar en los cálculos, conviene orientarse sobre un esqueleto o sobre un ser humano vivo... Ven, Aniuta, voy a orientarme un poco...
Aniuta interrumpió la costura, se quitó el corpiño y se acercó. Klochkov se sentó ante ella, frunció las cejas y empezó a palpar las costillas de la muchacha.
-La primera costilla -observó- es difícil de tocar. Está detrás de la clavícula... Esta es la segunda, esta es la tercera, esta es la cuarta... Es raro; estás delgada, y, sin embargo, no es fácil orientarse sobre tu tórax... ¿Qué te pasa?
-¡Tiene usted los dedos tan fríos! ...
-¡Bah! No te morirás... Bueno; esta es la tercera, esta es la cuarta... No, así las confundiré... Voy a dibujarlas...
Cogió un pedazo de carboncillo y trazó en el pecho de Aniuta unas cuantas líneas paralelas, correspondientes cada una a una costilla.
-¡Muy bien! Ahora veo claro. Voy a auscultarte un poco. Levántate.
La muchacha se levantó y Klochkov empezó a golpearle con el dedo en las costillas. Estaba tan absorto en la operación, que no advertía que los labios, la nariz y las manos de Aniuta se habían puesto azules de frío. Ella, sin embargo, no se movía, temiendo entorpecer el trabajo del estudiante. «Si no me estoy quieta -pensaba- no saldrá bien de los exámenes.»
-¡Si, ahora todo está claro! -dijo por fin él, cesando de golpear-. Siéntate y no borres los dibujos hasta que yo acabe de aprenderme este maldito capítulo del pulmón. Y comenzó de nuevo a pasearse, estudiando en voz alta. Aniuta, con las rayas negras en el tórax, parecía tatuada. La pobre temblaba de frío y pensaba. Solía hablar muy poco, casi siempre estaba silenciosa, y pensaba, pensaba sin cesar.
Klochkov era el sexto de los jóvenes con quienes había vivido en los últimos seis o siete años. Todos sus amigos anteriores habían ya acabado sus estudios universitarios, habían ya concluido su carrera, y, naturalmente, la habían olvidado hacía tiempo. Uno de ellas vivía en París, otros dos eran médicos, el cuarto era pintor de fama, el quinto había llegado a catedrático. Klochkov no tardaría en terminar también sus estudios. Le esperaba, sin duda, un bonito porvenir, acaso la celebridad; pero a la sazón se hallaba en la miseria. No tenían ni azúcar, ni té, ni tabaco. Aniuta apresuraba cuanto podía su labor para llevarla al almacén, cobrar los veinticinco copecs y comprar tabaco, té y azúcar.
-¿Se puede? -preguntaron detrás de la puerta.
Aniuta se echó a toda prisa un chal sobre los hombros.
Entró el pintor Fetisov.
-Vengo a pedirle a usted un favor -le dijo a Klochkov-. ¿Tendría usted la bondad de prestarme, por un par de horas, a su gentil amiga? Estoy pintando un cuadro y necesito una modelo.
-¡Con mucho gusto! -contestó Klochkov-. ¡Anda, Aniuta!
-¿Cree usted que es un placer para mí? -murmuró ella.
-¡Pero mujer! -exclamó Klochkov-. Es por el arte... Bien puedes hacer ese pequeño sacrificio.
Aniuta comenzó a vestirse.
-¿Qué cuadro es ése? -preguntó el estudiante.
-Psiquis. Un hermoso asunto; pero tropiezo con dificultades. Tengo que cambiar todos los días de modelo. Ayer se me presentó una con las piernas azules. «¿Por qué tiene usted las piernas azules? », le pregunté. Y me contestó: «Llevo unas medias que se destiñen...» Usted siempre a vueltas con la Medicina, ¿eh? ¡Qué paciencia! Yo no podría...
-La Medicina exige un trabajo serio.
-Es verdad... Perdóneme, Klochkov; pero vive usted... como un cerdo. ¡Que sucio está esto!
-¿Qué quiere usted que yo le haga? No puedo remediarlo. Mi padre no me manda más que doce rublos al mes, y con ese dinero no se puede vivir muy decorosamente.
-Tiene usted razón; pero... podría usted vivir con un poco de limpieza. Un hombre de cierta cultura no debe descuidar la estética, y usted... La cama deshecha, los platos sucios...
-¡Es verdad! -balbuceó confuso Klochkov-. Aniuta está hoy tan ocupada que no ha tenido tiempo de arreglar la habitación.
Cuando el pintor y Aniuta se fueron, Klochkov se tendió en el sofá y siguió estudiando; mas no tardó en quedarse dormido y no se despertó hasta una hora después. La siesta le había puesto de mal humor. Recordó las palabras de Fetisov, y, al fijarse en la pobreza y la suciedad del aposento, sintió una especie de repulsión. En un porvenir próximo recibiría a los enfermos en su lujoso gabinete, comería y tomaría el té en un comedor amplio y bien amueblado, en compañía de su mujer, a quien respetaría todo el mundo... ; pero, a la sazón..., aquel cuarto sucio, aquellos platos, aquellas colillas esparcidas por el suelo... ¡Qué asco! Aniuta, por su parte, no embellecía mucho el cuadro: iba mal vestida, despeinada...

Y Klochkov decidió separarse de ella en seguida, a todo trance. ¡Estaba ya hasta la coronilla!
Cuando la muchacha, de vuelta, estaba quitándose el abrigo, se levantó y le dijo con acento solemne:
-Escucha, querida... Siéntate y atiende. Tenemos que separarnos. Yo no puedo ni quiero ya vivir contigo.
Aniuta venía del estudio de Fetisov fatigada, nerviosa. El estar de pie tanto tiempo había acentuado la demacración de su rostro. Miró a Klochkov sin decir nada, temblándole los labios.
-Debes comprender que, tarde o temprano, hemos de separarnos. Es fatal. Tú, que eres una buena muchacha y no tienes pelo de tonta, te harás cargo.
Aniuta se puso de nuevo el abrigo en silencio, envolvió su labor en un periódico, cogió las agujas, el hilo...
-Esto es de usted -dijo, apartando unos cuantos terrones de azúcar.
Y se volvió de espaldas para que Klochkov no la viese llorar.
-Pero ¿por qué lloras? -preguntó el estudiante.
Tras de ir y venir, silencioso, durante un minuto a través de la habitación, añadió con cierto embarazo:
-¡Tiene gracia! ... Demasiado sabes que, tarde o temprano, nuestra separación es inevitable. No podemos vivir juntos toda la vida.
Ella estaba ya a punto, y se volvió hacia él, con el envoltorio bajo el brazo, dispuesta a despedirse. A Klochkov le dio lástima...
«Podría tenerla -pensó- una semana más conmigo. ¡Sí, que se quede! Dentro de una semana le diré que se vaya.»
Y, enfadado consigo mismo por su debilidad, le gritó con tono severo:
-Bueno; ¿qué haces ahí como un pasmarote? Una de dos: o te vas, o si no quieres irte te quitas el abrigo y te quedas. ¡Quédate si quieres!
Aniuta se quitó el abrigo sin decir palabra, se sonó, suspiró, y con tácitos pasos se dirigió a su silla de junto a la ventana.
Klochkov cogió su libro de medicina y empezó de nuevo a estudiar en voz alta, paseándose por el aposento.
«El pulmón se divide en tres partes. La parte superior...»
En el corredor alguien gritaba a voz en cuello:
-¡Grigory, tráeme el samovar!

no copyright infringement intended

In the cheapest room of a big block of furnished apartments Stepan Klotchkov, a medical student in his third year, was walking to and fro, zealously conning his anatomy. His mouth was dry and his forehead perspiring from the unceasing effort to learn it by heart.
In the window, covered by patterns of frost, sat on a stool the girl who shared his room — Anyuta, a thin little brunette of five-and-twenty, very pale with mild grey eyes. Sitting with bent back she was busy embroidering with red thread the collar of a man’s shirt. She was working against time... The clock in the passage struck two drowsily, yet the little room had not been put to rights for the morning. Crumpled bed-clothes, pillows thrown about, books, clothes, a big filthy slop-pail filled with soap-suds in which cigarette ends were swimming, and the litter on the floor — all seemed as though purposely jumbled together in one confusion...
“The right lung consists of three parts...” Klotchkov repeated. “Boundaries! Upper part on anterior wall of thorax reaches the fourth or fifth rib, on the lateral surface, the fourth rib... behind to the spina scapulæ...”
Klotchkov raised his eyes to the ceiling, striving to visualise what he had just read. Unable to form a clear picture of it, he began feeling his upper ribs through his waistcoat.
“These ribs are like the keys of a piano,” he said. “One must familiarise oneself with them somehow, if one is not to get muddled over them. One must study them in the skeleton and the living body... I say, Anyuta, let me pick them out.”
Anyuta put down her sewing, took off her blouse, and straightened herself up. Klotchkov sat down facing her, frowned, and began counting her ribs.
“H’m!... One can’t feel the first rib; it’s behind the shoulder-blade... This must be the second rib. . . . Yes . . . this is the third . . . this is the fourth. . . . H’m! . . . yes. . . . Why are you wriggling?”
“Your fingers are cold!”
“Come, come . . . it won’t kill you. Don’t twist about. That must be the third rib, then... this is the fourth... You look such a skinny thing, and yet one can hardly feel your ribs. That’s the second.. that’s the third... Oh, this is muddling, and one can’t see it clearly... I must draw it... Where’s my crayon?”
Klotchkov took his crayon and drew on Anyuta’s chest several parallel lines corresponding with the ribs.
“First-rate. That’s all straightforward.. Well, now I can sound you. Stand up!”
Anyuta stood up and raised her chin. Klotchkov began sounding her, and was so absorbed in this occupation that he did not notice how Anyuta’s lips, nose, and fingers turned blue with cold. Anyuta shivered, and was afraid the student, noticing it, would leave off drawing and sounding her, and then, perhaps, might fail in his exam.
“Now it’s all clear,” said Klotchkov when he had finished. “You sit like that and don’t rub off the crayon, and meanwhile I’ll learn up a little more.”
And the student again began walking to and fro, repeating to himself. Anyuta, with black stripes across her chest, looking as though she had been tattooed, sat thinking, huddled up and shivering with cold. She said very little as a rule; she was always silent, thinking and thinking ...
In the six or seven years of her wanderings from one furnished room to another, she had known five students like Klotchkov. Now they had all finished their studies, had gone out into the world, and, of course, like respectable people, had long ago forgotten her. One of them was living in Paris, two were doctors, the fourth was an artist, and the fifth was said to be already a professor. Klotchkov was the sixth... Soon he, too, would finish his studies and go out into the world. There was a fine future before him, no doubt, and Klotchkov probably would become a great man, but the present was anything but bright; Klotchkov had no tobacco and no tea, and there were only four lumps of sugar left. She must make haste and finish her embroidery, take it to the woman who had ordered it, and with the quarter rouble she would get for it, buy tea and tobacco.
“Can I come in?” asked a voice at the door.
Anyuta quickly threw a woollen shawl over her shoulders. Fetisov, the artist, walked in.
“I have come to ask you a favour,” he began, addressing Klotchkov, and glaring like a wild beast from under the long locks that hung over his brow. “Do me a favour; lend me your young lady just for a couple of hours! I’m painting a picture, you see, and I can’t get on without a model.”
“Oh, with pleasure,” Klotchkov agreed. “Go along, Anyuta.”
“The things I’ve had to put up with there,” Anyuta murmured softly.
“Rubbish! The man’s asking you for the sake of art, and not for any sort of nonsense. Why not help him if you can?”
Anyuta began dressing.
“And what are you painting?” asked Klotchkov.
“Psyche; it’s a fine subject. But it won’t go, somehow. I have to keep painting from different models. Yesterday I was painting one with blue legs. ‘Why are your legs blue?’ I asked her. ‘It’s my stockings stain them,’ she said. And you’re still grinding! Lucky fellow! You have patience.”
“Medicine’s a job one can’t get on with without grinding.”
“H’m!... Excuse me, Klotchkov, but you do live like a pig! It’s awful the way you live!”
“How do you mean? I can’t help it... I only get twelve roubles a month from my father, and it’s hard to live decently on that.”
“Yes... yes...” said the artist, frowning with an air of disgust; “but, still, you might live better... An educated man is in duty bound to have taste, isn’t he? And goodness knows what it’s like here! The bed not made, the slops, the dirt... yesterday’s porridge in the plates ... Tfoo!”
“That’s true,” said the student in confusion; “but Anyuta has had no time today to tidy up; she’s been busy all the while.”
When Anyuta and the artist had gone out Klotchkov lay down on the sofa and began learning, lying down; then he accidentally dropped asleep, and waking up an hour later, propped his head on his fists and sank into gloomy reflection. He recalled the artist’s words that an educated man was in duty bound to have taste, and his surroundings actually struck him now as loathsome and revolting. He saw, as it were in his mind’s eye, his own future, when he would see his patients in his consulting-room, drink tea in a large dining-room in the company of his wife, a real lady. And now that slop-pail in which the cigarette ends were swimming looked incredibly disgusting. Anyuta, too, rose before his imagination — a plain, slovenly, pitiful figure . . . and he made up his mind to part with her at once, at all costs.
When, on coming back from the artist’s, she took off her coat, he got up and said to her seriously:
“Look here, my good girl... sit down and listen. We must part! The fact is, I don’t want to live with you any longer.”
Anyuta had come back from the artist’s worn out and exhausted. Standing so long as a model had made her face look thin and sunken, and her chin sharper than ever. She said nothing in answer to the student’s words, only her lips began to tremble.
“You know we should have to part sooner or later, anyway,” said the student. “You’re a nice, good girl, and not a fool; you’ll understand . . . .”
Anyuta put on her coat again, in silence wrapped up her embroidery in paper, gathered together her needles and thread: she found the screw of paper with the four lumps of sugar in the window, and laid it on the table by the books.
“That’s . . . your sugar . . .” she said softly, and turned away to conceal her tears.
“Why are you crying?” asked Klotchkov.
He walked about the room in confusion, and said:
“You are a strange girl, really... Why, you know we shall have to part. We can’t stay together for ever.”
She had gathered together all her belongings, and turned to say good-bye to him, and he felt sorry for her.
“Shall I let her stay on here another week?” he thought. “She really may as well stay, and I’ll tell her to go in a week;” and vexed at his own weakness, he shouted to her roughly:
“Come, why are you standing there? If you are going, go; and if you don’t want to, take off your coat and stay! You can stay!”
Anyuta took off her coat, silently, stealthily, then blew her nose also stealthily, sighed, and noiselessly returned to her invariable position on her stool by the window.
The student drew his textbook to him and began again pacing from corner to corner. “The right lung consists of three parts,” he repeated; “the upper part, on anterior wall of thorax, reaches the fourth or fifth rib . . . .”
In the passage some one shouted at the top of his voice: “Grigory! The samovar!”

(Una Vida Entre Libros)



Thursday, December 18, 2014

Gordon Parks: Evening Wraps At Dawn, Park Avenue, 1956

Evening Wraps At Dawn
Park Avenue, 1956
photo by Gordon Parks
(The Old New York Page)
no copyright infringement intended

Those were the days. And those were DRESSES, by God (Corbie Mitleid)

All they're missing is a '56 Cadillac Sedan de Ville (John J. Timmel)

New York City in the 1950's was a gritty, funky, glamorous town (Ruth Mili Cruz)

Great shot. I'd love to know the whole story - where they were the night before and whether they wound up together afterwards (Ken Balch)    ---- my guess is some fancy ball then horn and hardart :) (The Old New York Page)

(Gordon Parks)

(New York, New York)


Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Poem in Old French - and a Poem in Basque

Caballero y Escudero
ca. 1650
(shared from, Veterodoxia)
no copyright infringement intended

An engraving from some three hundred sixty years ago (joined by a text written in a refined antiquated French) led me to have a glimpse into the Basque language! How could be that ?!! Let me say, it was a fantastic adventure, roller coaster would be an appropriate name.

I have read some place that once upon a time Devil himself wanted to tempt the Basques, but firstly he had to learn their language. After years of effort he gave up. Seemingly Basques are the only people immune to any devilish temptations. Good for them! On the other hand, obviously the Devil didn't know how to use Google Translator.

But let me tell you the story as it has been unfolded.

I found the image above this morning, on the Facebook page of Veterodoxia (where one can find always something of great cultural interest): a very old engraving, French as it seemed, however related more to the Spanish universe of hidalgos and their fights with windmills and stuff. A caballero and his escudero, but, my God, what a  gavroche image, deconstructing any myth and any history lesson about knights and their greatness!

On the bottom of the engraving some rhymes, as I said in a refined antiquated French:

La vielle a la main et l’espee au costé,
Pour ne point déroger a ma valeur antique;
Ie morgue le Destin avecque gravité,
Et fais le Capitain monté sur ma bourrique.
Bien que mon sort cruel me deût combler d’ennuis,
Et qu’aujourdhuy pour moy la guerre soit mauvaise;
Ie rends graces à Mars en l’estat oú ie suis,
De ce qu’il a sauvé le moule de ma fraise

The author of this engraving (and maybe also of the rhymes, or just commenting the rhymes, whichever comes first) was somebody named Mathieu (his signature was at the very bottom: Mathieu excudit. Cum Privil. - which would translate to something like Mathiew printed it, all rights reserved).

The Veterodoxia page indicated a probable date for the engraving (1650) and a comment, this time in Spanish: El caballero español, cojo y ridículamente montado en un borrico, ha cambiado su habitual guitarra por una cinfonía, símbolo de la mendicidad (the Spanish knight, lame and ridiculously mounted on a donkey, has changed his habitual guitar to a hurdy-gurdy, symbol of begging).

That this engraving was a very ironic (to put it mildly) comment to the great history of Spanish knights, that would be beyond any doubt. That it was coming with that superb flavor of good old days French, it was also crystal clear. But what about cinfonía and what about that vielle (la vielle a la main)?

Good question. The help came unexpectedly from someone who was able to learn Basque language from scratch (no relation to anything disputable intended): Caroline Phillips was born in California, moved to the South of France and learned Basque and Spanish, speaking them fluently. Plus she is passionate about antiquated musical instruments. So, the weird word is hurdy-gurdy, a stringed instrument that produces sound by a crank-turned, rosined wheel rubbing against the strings. French name it la vielle à roue. Italians name it la ghironda, Spaniards name it la ghironda or cinfonía.

Egunsentia, Oihan, goizero da sortzen
Maitatzeko girela digula aitortzen
Hain hurbil bihotzaren taupada urruna
Maitatzeko ez bada alperrik duguna

That's Basque language! Here is an English rendering:

Oihan, every morning the dawn appears
Confirming that we are here to love each other
The beating of a heart far away yet so near
Means nothing if it has no one to love

(La Española - or Hispaniola)

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Jacob Riis: A Downtown "Morgue" Men Drinking in a Dive Bar, c1890

A downtown Morgue men drinking in a dive bar
photo by Jacob A. Riis, c. 1890
(The Old New York Page's Photos)
no copyright infringement intended

Danish-born Jacob August Riis (1849-1914) was a social reformer and photojournalist. He is best known for his 1890 book How the Other Half Lives, which brought public attention to New York's squalid housing, sweatshops, bars, and alleys. The City Museum holds the complete collection of images that Riis used in his writing and lecturing career, including photographs he made, commissioned, or acquired. These depict men, women, and children of many nationalities at home, work, and leisure. This collection contains vintage prints, glass-plate negatives, and lantern slides, as well as a set of recently produced prints from all of Riis's original negatives.

Jacob August Riis (May 3, 1849 – May 26, 1914) was a Danish American social reformer, muckraking journalist and social documentary photographer. He is known for using his photographic and journalistic talents to help the impoverished in New York City; those impoverished New Yorkers were the subject of most of his prolific writings and photography. He endorsed the implementation of model tenements in New York with the help of humanitarian Lawrence Veiller. Additionally, as one of the most famous proponents of the newly practicable casual photography, he is considered one of the fathers of photography due to his very early adoption of flash in photography. While living in New York, Riis experienced poverty and became a police reporter writing about the quality of life in the slums. He attempted to alleviate the bad living conditions of poor people by exposing their living conditions to the middle and upper classes.

(America viewed by Americans)

(New York, New York)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Elena Poniatowska

Elena Poniatowska
(acrílico sobre cartulina, Waldo MatuS)
no copyright infringement intended

What would have happened if Cervantes were to come to the Americas, let's say nowadays? Maybe his hero would have been a lady, a grand dame of sorts, very left wing, una princesa roja if you like, fighting for women and for the poor.

Mexico's Grand Dame of Letters, journalist and author, intense on social and political issues, focused on the situation of women and disenfranchised people; born in 1932 in Paris, Elena Poniatowska spent her whole life in Mexico; her most influential works are literary constructions melding historical facts and accounts from very common people (that have witnessed those facts from their everyday perspective), all this using a free, colloquial style, the whole leading to a deconstruction of political myths (to be replaced with new myths: that's what politically intense writers do); La noche de Tlatelolco (1971) is dedicated to the 1968 repression of students in Mexico City - Poniatowska went out on the streets in the neighborhood and began interviewing people while there was still blood on the streets - that way started the writing of the novel; Fuerte es el silencio (1975) uses accounts of the families of disappeared political prisoners; Nada, nadie, las voces del temblor (1988) is about the 1985 Mexico City earthquake and the incompetence and corruption of the government afterwards; these are only a few glimpses in her œuvre; in 1994 she interviewed Subcomandante Marcos; Poniatowska is still active, proof is the video below, where she makes a strong point about the tragedy of Iguala:

Domingo 26 de octubre: a un mes de la ausencia de los 43 muchachos desaparecidos de la Normal Rural de Ayotzinapa por la Policía Municipal de Iguala, Guerrero reclamamos aquí en el centro del país, en la capital de México, la presencia de los muchachos y pedimos a cielo abierto y en voz alta: “Regrésenlos”

(Una Vida Entre Libros)


Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Juan, Capitulo1

No princípio era o Verbo, e o Verbo estava com Deus e o Verbo era Deus
(fonte de São João Evangelista, em Bom Jesus de Braga)
foto: Joseolgon, 2012
no copyright infringement intended

In principio erat Verbum et Verbum erat apud Deum et Deus erat Verbum / La început era Cuvântul şi Cuvântul era la Dumnezeu şi Dumnezeu era Cuvântul / Au commencement était le Verbe, et le Verbe était en Dieu, et le Verbe était Dieu / В начале было Слово, и Слово было у Бога, и Слово было Бог / In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God

Una vez alguien me dijo que consideraba Juan 1 como un texto con una consistencia lógica perfecta, como un programa de ordenador o un teorema algebraico: ninguna palabra en el texto era indefinido y cada definición fue lógicamente completa. Cada vez que me encuentro con el texto de Juan 1, me llama la atención por su belleza especial, derivado de su lógica sin fallo.

Ayer leí en El País un elogio para el castellano: una maquinaria de relojería perfecta, en la que hay un lugar para cada cosa y cada cosa busca su lugar.

Juan 1 y el castellano ...

Cristo, el Verbo hecho carne - Juan capitulo 1

1 EN el principio era el Verbo, y el Verbo era con Dios, y el Verbo era Dios.

2 Este era en el principio con Dios.

3 Todas las cosas por él fueron hechas; y sin él nada de lo que es hecho, fué hecho.

4 En él estaba la vida, y la vida era la luz de los hombres.

5 Y la luz en las tinieblas resplandece; mas las tinieblas no la comprendieron.

6 Fué un hombre enviado de Dios, el cual se llamaba Juan.

7 Este vino por testimonio, para que diese testimonio de la luz, para que todos creyesen por él.

8 No era él la luz, sino para que diese testimonio de la luz.

9 Aquel era la luz verdadera, que alumbra á todo hombre que viene á este mundo.

10 En el mundo estaba, y el mundo fué hecho por él; y el mundo no le conoció.

11 A lo suyo vino, y los suyos no le recibieron.

12 Mas á todos los que le recibieron, dióles potestad de ser hechos hijos de Dios, á los que creen en su nombre:

13 Los cuales no son engendrados de sangre, ni de voluntad de carne, ni de voluntad de varón, mas de Dios.

14 Y aquel Verbo fué hecho carne, y habitó entre nosotros (y vimos su gloria, gloria como del unigénito del Padre), lleno de gracia y de verdad.

15 Juan dió testimonio de él, y clamó diciendo: Este es del que yo decía: El que viene tras mí, es antes de mí: porque es primero que yo.

16 Porque de su plenitud tomamos todos, y gracia por gracia.

17 Porque la ley por Moisés fué dada: mas la gracia y la verdad por Jesucristo fué hecha.

18 A Dios nadie le vió jamás: el unigénito Hijo, que está en el seno del Padre, él le declaró.

19 Y éste es el testimonio de Juan, cuando los Judíos enviaron de Jerusalem sacerdotes y Levitas, que le preguntasen: ¿Tú, quién eres?

20 Y confesó, y no negó; mas declaró: No soy yo el Cristo.

21 Y le preguntaron: ¿Qué pues?
¿Eres tú Elías?
Dijo: No soy.
¿Eres tú el profeta?
Y respondió: No.

22 Dijéronle: ¿Pues quién eres? para que demos respuesta á los que nos enviaron.
¿Qué dices de ti mismo?

23 Dijo: Yo soy la voz del que clama en el desierto: Enderezad el camino del Señor, como dijo Isaías profeta.

24 Y los que habían sido enviados eran de los Fariseos.

25 Y preguntáronle, y dijéronle: ¿Por qué pues bautizas, si tú no eres el Cristo, ni Elías, ni el profeta?

26 Y Juan les respondió, diciendo: Yo bautizo con agua; mas en medio de vosotros ha estado á quien vosotros no conocéis.

27 Este es el que ha de venir tras mí, el cual es antes de mí: del cual yo no soy digno de desatar la correa del zapato.

28 Estas cosas acontecieron en Betábara, de la otra parte del Jordán, donde Juan bautizaba.

29 El siguiente día ve Juan á Jesús que venía á él, y dice: He aquí el Cordero de Dios, que quita el pecado del mundo.

30 Este es del que dije: Tras mí viene un varón, el cual es antes de mí: porque era primero que yo.

31 Y yo no le conocía; más para que fuese manifestado á Israel, por eso vine yo bautizando con agua.

32 Y Juan dió testimonio, diciendo: Vi al Espíritu que descendía del cielo como paloma, y reposó sobre él.

33 Y yo no le conocía; mas el que me envió á bautizar con agua, aquél me dijo: Sobre quien vieres descender el Espíritu, y que reposa sobre él, éste es el que bautiza con Espíritu Santo.

34 Y yo le vi, y he dado testimonio que éste es el Hijo de Dios.

35 El siguiente día otra vez estaba Juan, y dos de sus discípulos.

36 Y mirando á Jesús que andaba por allí, dijo: He aquí el Cordero de Dios.

37 Y oyéronle los dos discípulos hablar, y siguieron á Jesús.

38 Y volviéndose Jesús, y viéndolos seguir le, díceles: ¿Qué buscáis?
Y ellos le dijeron: Rabbí (que declarado quiere decir Maestro) ¿dónde moras?

39 Díceles: Venid y ved.
Vinieron, y vieron donde moraba, y quedáronse con él aquel día: porque era como la hora de las diez.

40 Era Andrés, hermano de Simón Pedro, uno de los dos que habían oído de Juan, y le habían seguido.

41 Este halló primero á su hermano Simón, y díjole: Hemos hallado al Mesías (que declarado es, el Cristo).

42 Y le trajo á Jesús.
Y mirándole Jesús, dijo: Tú eres Simón, hijo de Jonás: tú serás llamado Cephas (que quiere decir, Piedra).

43 El siguiente día quiso Jesús ir á Galilea, y halla á Felipe, al cual dijo: Sígueme.

44 Y era Felipe de Bethsaida, la ciudad de Andrés y de Pedro.

45 Felipe halló á Natanael, y dícele: Hemos hallado á aquel de quien escribió Moisés en la ley, y los profetas: á Jesús, el hijo de José, de Nazaret.

46 Y díjole Natanael: ¿De Nazaret puede haber algo de bueno?
Dícele Felipe: Ven y ve.

47 Jesús vió venir á sí á Natanael, y dijo de él: He aquí un verdadero Israelita, en el cual no hay engaño.

48 Dícele Natanael: ¿De dónde me conoces?
Respondió Jesús, y díjole: Antes que Felipe te llamara, cuando estabas debajo de la higuera te vi.

49 Respondió Natanael, y díjole: Rabbí, tú eres el Hijo de Dios; tú eres el Rey de Israel.

50 Respondió Jesús y díjole: ¿Porque te dije, te vi debajo de la higuera, crees? cosas mayores que éstas verás.

51 Y dícele: De cierto, de cierto os digo: De aquí adelante veréis el cielo abierto, y los ángeles de Dios que suben y descienden sobre el Hijo del hombre.

(video by enridi)

Y vuelvo a El País, y su elogio para el castellano: la lengua es lo más grande que tenemos, lo que nos explica el mundo y nos permite explicarnos al mundo.


(Una Vida Entre Libros)

Monday, December 08, 2014

Georges Méliès: Le Voyage dans la Lune (1902)

a group of astronomers indulged in pataphysics travel to the moon by being shot in a capsule from a giant cannon, are captured by Selenites, escape, and return to the earth (John Oswalt); loosely based on Jules Verne's De la terre à la lune and Autour de la Lune, also on H. G. Wells' The First Men in the Moon, written and directed by Georges Méliès, assisted by his brother Gaston, Georges Méliès being also the lead personage, a guy named Professor Barbenfouillis (wiki); the film runs 14 minutes if projected at 16 frames per second, which was the standard frame rate at the time the film was produced (mittinscat1).

(Georges Méliès)


Sunday, December 07, 2014

Un Mundo Maravillioso

Un mundo maravilloso - 2006
no copyright infringement intended

If the elite in a country decides to follow a neoliberal strategy, the world would become marvelous, un mondo maravilloso. I mean it would become marvelous for them, for the elite. It would be like in a fairy tale: solid contacts with the big shots in the international boards, participation to international meetings, having there historical speeches ... and the fairy tale could go on further: becoming the president of one of those international boards, even thinking at a Nobel for economy or whatever, why not? Life offering everything with generosity, for that's what life is for the elite: a neoliberal fairy tale.

What about the rest of the society? Take the middle class: it means a house, a car and a job. Just a decent life, nothing more. Is it possible? Well, nobody knows it for sure. The middle class is another kind of fairy tale, I mean you'll never know if it's more than a fairy tale.

What about the dirt poor ones? It depends on the fairy tale you want to believe in. In the neoliberal fairy tale, poverty has been eradicated, period. Thus if you see a poor compadre on the streets, he is a freaking lazy drunkard, an impostor paid by the opposition media to impersonate a compadre. Better to forget about, or are you a freaking Communist? There is also another narrative for these compadres, it's their own fairy tale: the present situation is just a temporary accident, soon they will enter the middle class. Sancta Simplicitas!

Well, because all of this is a fairy tale, it happens sometimes like in fairy tales: one of those compadres, the poorest of the poor, el más pobre de los pobres, enters suddenly the rangs of the middle class following a fluke accident that looks like attempted suicide. The opposition media exploits the event. In order to solve the embarrassing situation, the guy is offered a house, a car, and a job. This leads to a sarabande of fake attempted suicides, as each poor compadre wants to be middle class también. And the elite realizes that, rather than eliminating poverty, they should eliminate the poor ones: a new law declares poverty a felony and any poor compadre is thrown in jail. Sounds impossible? Just think twice.

Un mundo maravilloso, the 2006 movie of Luis Estrada, is just that: a fairy tale with some more fairy tales within. Damián Alcázar plays the bum who will experiment that having one day as a rich man is better than a life as poor. ¡Es mejor una día de rico que una vida de pobre!

Now, wait a little: you'll say that right wing policies are bad, thus you should vote the left wing. Just so? Think twice. Or watch the other movies of Luis Estrada. La Ley de Herodes, 1999: the left wing party rotting in corruption and abuses. El Infierno, 2010: mafia and authorities perfectly nested. La Dictadura perfecta, 2014: corruption across the whole political spectrum, manipulation through media, elections as a farce.

(Luis Estrada)


Saturday, December 06, 2014

Thomas Piketty, El Capital según Carlos Fuentes

Una militante del PT con una camiseta de Dilma Rousseff en Brasilia
(Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters en El País)
no copyright infringement intended

En 1865, Karl Marx afirmó que fue leyendo a Balzac como más aprendió sobre el capitalismo y el poder del dinero. En 2014 uno tendería a decir lo mismo: basta con actualizar los autores y los países. En La voluntad y la fortuna, un magnífico lienzo publicado en 2008, pocos años antes de su muerte, Carlos Fuentes hace un retrato edificante del capitalismo mexicano y de las violencias sociales y económicas por las que atraviesa su país, a punto de convertirse en la narconaciónque hoy cubre las primeras planas de los periódicos.

Thomas Piketty sobre Carlos Fuentes y su La voluntad y la fortuna en El País:

(quizá Engels hizo esa afirmación, no Marx: a veces incluso Piketty puede estar equivocado, nadie es perfecto)

(Thomas Piketty)

(Carlos Fuentes)

Labels: , ,

Friday, December 05, 2014

Roberto Bolaño

Roberto Bolaño
photo by Jerry Bauer
no copyright infringement intended

yesterday my friend Adrian Rezus mentioned two personages from Bolaño's novels in a Facebook post: both personages are related to the Romanian space (it's a Romanian space completely imagined by Bolaño, just for the sake of his literary universe, no fucking connection with reality) - the first personage is hundred percent invented, a general named Eugenio Entrescu !!! (what a freaking name for a general!) and he appears in La literatura Nazi en América; the second is no more no less than Dracula himself (2666); after reading the post of Rezus, I found on the web a blog authored by a guy pretending to be no other than General Entrescu (though Bolaño left his hero crucified some place in Ukraine in 1944, so maybe it's a case of resurrection); and I remembered that two years ago I had read another Facebook post, by Junot Diaz (Living by the Book), mentioning two of Bolaño's books (Nocturno de Chile and Llamadas Telefónicas) in his shortlist of the best of the best; so to speak Roberto Bolaño was big: a novelist, short story writer and poet, completely bohemian for all his life, wondering through Chile, Mexico, Salvador, France and Spain, supporting himself with the most menial jobs (dishwasher, bellhop, garbage collector, that kind of stuff) while writing his books during nights; extremely intense politically, Trotskyist, immersed in the revolutionary movements of Latin America of the last decades;  Amberes (written 1980, published 2002) is a loose prose-poem novel considered as the big-bang of Bolaño's world; La literatura Nazi en América (1996) is an entirely invented encyclopedia in the ironic register of fascist Latin and North American writers, coming out as blinded by their mediocrity and self-mythification (among them the Entrescu guy, hony soit qui mal y pense); Estrella distante (1996), takes one of the portraits from the previous novel and develops it in the context of the Pinochet regime; Llamadas Telefónicas (1997) is a collection of fourteen short stories, considered among the greatest things Bolaño ever wrote (whatever that means); Los Detectives Salvajes (1998) is a polyphonic narrative walking the reader through years, continents, and literary movements - it calls in mind Cortázar; Nocturno de Chile (2000) takes place in one evening, and it is written as a single long paragraph: the deathbed confession, hallucinatory and defensive,  of a Chilean Jesuit priest and poet, failed as a priest and failed as a poet; 2666 (published posthumously in 2004) is a 1100 page novel with manifold themes, exploring the 20th century degeneration through a wide array of characters, locations, time periods, and stories within stories (info and quotes source: wikipedia)

(Una Vida Entre Libros)