28 abr. 2009

Once in a while something will fall into place: a connection or idea that confirms the direction a project seems to be heading. Today I was reading something on María Zambrano, the Spanish philosopher. I had known, vaguely, that she had been in Cuba and known Lezama Lima, etc... but all of a sudden I realized she had been much more active in Lezama's circle and with the journal Orígenes than I really knew. Now Zambrano, whom I had intuited would play a part in the argument I was constructing, becomes the missing link between Lezama and Valente. Maybe Valente would have known and loved Lezama without Zambrano (I'll have to find out) but I find this connection highly suggestive.

I worry that I am re-writing The Twilight of the Avant-Garde, which will appear in about a month from now. My argument in my new book project is that Lorca needs to be put at the center of Spanish modernism (as he is not, surprisingly, in Spain). Once he is established there, then literary history looks quite different from the story that puts Guillén / Salinas / Alonso at the center of things. The other part of the argument is that high / late modernism in Spain derives from this alternate tradition (Lorca, Zambrano) even when it doesn't acknowledge this filiation openly.

I know you're thinking I should get off the modernist high horse already. But there is also the principle of scholarly writing that you should "dance with the one what brung you." In other words, write out of your strengths. If it works well, do it again.

1 comentario:

Jordan dijo...

Wasn't thinking that about modernism. I was, however, prompted to look more closely at the weight I've placed on the role of individuals in literary moments -- and whether I call sufficient attention to the individual's capacity for pulling together other people's disparate ideas.