A conversation for SPAN 312 about Gabriel García Márquez’s most famous book, One Hundred Years of Solitude. With Gerald Martin and Jon Beasley-Murray.
It is perhaps because ultimately Macondo is so full of the ghosts of the motley cast of characters that have wandered through the book’s pages, that García Márquez can only put an end to it all by shouting “enough!” and bringing on a cataclysmic hurricane that tears the whole place down.
The book militantly refuses regimentation, but is aware that “proliferation” can also be a “plague,” even as it flirts with excess at every turn.
Here, the signs and impact of the sovereign, the legacy of a bitter past, are everywhere to be seen. But he is haunted by murmurs, voices, that never entirely go away.
It is the fact that in Haiti—and the Americas more generally—two (or more) perspectives rub up against each other and clash, shattering the notion that they can harmoniously be contained within the same organic totality, that provokes the surprised awe and wonder that Carpentier reports experiencing, and attempts to recreate in this novel.
A conversation for SPAN 312 about Jorge Luis Borges’s collection of translated stories and other short texts, Labyrinths. With Daniel Balderston and Jon Beasley-Murray.
Borges exposes secret complicities, as when apparent oppositions hide more fundamental similarities. But he is also concerned with how novelty and change emerge from repetition, how real difference arises from the most minor of variations.
Mistral takes advantage of her status as representative, and the representational capacities of language, to make visible the traces of what otherwise escapes the official order of things.
A conversation for SPAN 312 and RMST 202 about Pablo Neruda’s Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair. With Brianne Orr-Alvarez and Jon Beasley-Murray.
A great writer not only writes great work, but also, more fundamentally and importantly, changes our sense of what great work is, and even charts a new role for the writer in society.