13 dic. 2010

What Lorca Knew

So the title of my book is What Lorca Knew. I came across and interesting example that illustrates what my title means.

I often teach Antonio Machado y Álvarez's anthology Cantes flamencos y cantares alongside of Lorca's great book of poems Poema del cante jondo.. This seems logical: the father of Spanish folklore (and also the father of the poets Antonio Machado and Manuel Machado!) right before Lorca's neopopularism. I do this in both undergraduate and graduate courses and it seems to work well. Well it turns out that (at least according to some scholars at least) Lorca did not know of the existence of the father of Antonio Machado when he was writing his lecture "Arquitectura del cante jondo" and his Poema del cante jondo. in the early 20s. These scholars can't exactly prove a negative, but I can't prove that Lorca did know of Machado y Álvarez and his work in flamencología. This is very strange. Lorca and his good friend the composer Manuel de Falla wrote of deep song without knowing of the labor of the previous generation of Spanish folklore.

Here, then, is a question of determining "what Lorca knew." My intuition is that Lorca had to have known of Machado y Álvarez, but I can't support this in the face of more knowledgeable scholars who claim the opposite. If he didn't, the his achievement is all the more remarkable, because he was working blind, without even the most minimal knowledge of the field. After all, I knew of Machado y Álvarez when I was a mere assistant professor, and quite ignorant of Flamenco.

2 comentarios:

John dijo...

"What Lorca Knew" strikes me as a very happy title, at least in part because the last chapter of my favorite Dickinson book, and one of my favorite books on poetry in general, is "What Emily Knew" -- such a strong, summative title that when I read your title I immediately thought of the other book, momentarily thinking it the title of that book. The other book's title is, alas, "Emily Dickinson," making it hard to find, unless you know the author's name, which is Helen McNeil.

Best wishes with your book.

Jonathan dijo...

Well, I'm glad she didn't use it for her title (of the book), because I can still be somewhat original.