1 mar. 2011


Genius was originally the genius of a place (genius loci), a protective spirit distinctive to a particular place. For Alexander Pope, the relevant category would have been "wit," not genius, but the French for wit is "esprit" which is a cognate of spirit or sprite. The genius who inspires the poet eventually became the poet as genius, the fusion of poet and muse. From there it is a short step to the genius of Ray Charles or Albert Einstein: any extraordinary talent or intelligence, or even the narrow upper edge of the distribution of a standardized test.

Lorca's duende is a kind of local spirit, like a leprechaun, generalized to a principle of cultural authenticity or exceptionalism. Spain is the country of the duende. So this involves a return to the idea of a genius loci, a local habitation and a name.

So the question would be: what is involved in separating or re-combining the poet and the genius or spirit standing outside of the poet. Does inspiration come from me, or from outside, as Jack Spicer argued?

1 comentario:

Denise Low dijo...

I like your getting back to the original Spanish experience of duende, not the knee-jerk literary dictionary response.