20 jul. 2004

The culture of homage and commemoration tends to emphasize the
established image of a poet. It does not encourage creative re-readings.
Witness the recent celebration of the 100-year anniversary of Neruda's
birth. Of course, I shouldn't expect anything more profound from journalistic
accounts.

Dalí was a Francoist. He had some good things to say about Hitler, too.
That was the cause of his expulsion from the surrealist group.
Yet commemorations of Dalí have to soft-pedal this aspect of his career.
One writer in El País recently observed that, if Dalí was not a Francoist,
then no one was! Nobel prize winner Cela wasn't a Francoist either.
Everyone was just a monarchist or a Catholic democrat.
The dictatorship didn't exist! And Neruda never sang the
praises of Stalin, either. Alberti was not a life-long communist, but
merely a picturesque literary patriarch. etc....

The point is not that we should view Dalí only through his association with
the generalísimo, or Neruda as only a Stalinist, but that we shouldn't give
a simplified, sanitized account of these figures.