29 nov. 2010

I've been playing around with the idea of counter-reformation poetics. What I mean by this is a very specific tradition that looks to Spanish mysticism (16th century) in order to create a Spanish cultural poetics for the modern age. There are a few dots I haven't connected yet, but the figures I am looking at are María Zambrano, José Lezama Lima, and José Ángel Valente, with some Unamuno thrown in. My basic question is how secular intellectuals can sign on to this project. Zambrano and Lezama were both practicing Catholics, of course, but their models are influential on many other, much more secular thinkers.

Mysticism almost has to do the work that the enlightenment does for other national traditions.

The notion of the counter-reformation was invented much later, and the term itself is fairly charged. I'm using it with some trepidation but also with some deliberate provocation.

2 comentarios:

Clarissa dijo...

"Mysticism almost has to do the work that the enlightenment does for other national traditions."

-I hope you are not one of those people who still subscribe to the outdated and pernicious notion than Spanish Enlightenment was somehow absent, non-existent, weak, or based exclusively on "borrowings" from the French. Massive research has proven that this view of the Spanish Enlightenment is completely misguided.

Jonathan dijo...

Good point. No, it's not anything to do with my own position on the Spanish Enlightenment, but with this narrative of Spanish weakness; the idea that the Enlightenment, Romanticism, etc... are weak in Spain has a lot to do with my project, but I take a skeptical view of those "narratives of lack" generally. You still have to acknowledge those views in intellectual history, though.

In other words, what did Unamuno, Américo Castro, Valente,Subirats, think of the strength of the Spanish enlightenment? Do they view it as strong, non-derivative? In some sense the narrative of the weakness of the enlightenment of the Spain keeps the enlightenment weak--as intellectual influence.

Take another example from another period. Look what Américo Castro did with the Humanist tradition. First, he explains its importance in an early book. Then, when his narrative shifts, he minimizes it again, saying there is no Erasmus in Cervantes, because it doesn't fit his narrative any more.