Federico y Wilde: Readings 2017

MENIPPUS: My dear coz—for Cerberus and Cynic are surely related through the dog—I adjure you by the Styx, tell me how Socrates behaved during the descent. A God like you can doubtless articulate instead of barking, if he chooses. CERBERUS: Well, while he was some way off, he seemed quite unshaken; and I thought he was bent on letting the people outside realize the fact too. Then he passed into the opening and saw the gloom; I at the same time gave him a touch of the hemlock, and a pull by the leg, as he was rather slow. Then he squalled like a baby, whimpered about his children, and, oh, I don’t know what he didn’t do. Lucian of Samosata, Dialogues of The Dead, 4 (21)

Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis Transcribed from the 1913 Methuen & Co. edition, is a book for the living. Jesús Cotta‘s Rosas de Plomo Amistad y Muerte de Federico y Jose Antonio (February 2015) ISB: 978-84-16128-47-1 is a book of what in Spanish grammatical terms is called futuro imperfecto, An imperfect future in other Words, a book solely for speculation, a military book designed to whitewash the legacy of Franco. Succinctly put, De Profundis is about unjust laws; Rosas de Plomos a simple military apology.

The common thread between the books is quite a simple humane universal understanding of suffering and how two people describe this emotion which affected two literary stars of yore who became baptized as Christians on their own volition but only after undergoing personal distress. Or so it seems for the likes of me at this year and time. From afar It is easy to judge two giants. Oscar Wilde and Federico García Lorca. Wilde describes his ordeal in Jail in a semi-biographical form and García Lorca has Cotta to draw us the pain and suffering García had had to be subjected to as he went through the ordeal of persecution by two ideological fronts in the Spanish civil war.

Jesús Cotta’s book was a bit more of a drag because I kept questioning the speculative nature of the narrative, mind you, his speculative narrative is a well done study in the events that led to the arrest and persecution of García Lorca. His portrayal of García Lorca left loads to be desired and him speaking for him was just a drag. No pun intended. Cotta’s discussion of García Lorca’s homosexuality is rather grandiloquence. It created confusion in me since I assume, like everybody else does, that he was homosexual. But his grandiloquence knows no limit. Especially when he digs into his jail time and how his Christian credentials come into play as he is being charged by the Franco regime for being this and that. Jail time is quite a personal experience and I have no doubt García Lorca underwent a rather strenuous time as he traversed his personal calvary. The psychological roller coaster does indeed put one through a series of emotional states which all lead to a reaffirmation of the bible.

Oscar Wilde’s De profundis was more rather interesting as it was. Mind you, the book I read is in the public domain and as I scoured about the net for info on the ISBN I came across information which detailed that my read version is incomplete. It does though present the gist. The notes weren’t supposed to be released before 1960. I am guessing rather against Oscar Wilde’s wishes. My reading of the letter was more in relation to the mental suffering Oscar Wilde went through while in prison. I was particularly struck by the many biblical references and comparisons used to describe the mental agony of the prison stay. The suffering was ameliorated by using the bible and the Christ as a source of comfort and lastly to reaffirm faith in the Christ. This use of the bible to come close to one’s God in order to seek relief from the daily strain of prison life is rather interesting because it manipulates the brain to better understand the world around us. Although Oscar Wilde prefers the term humbling I suppose. It humbles one’s position in the world to better adjust us to the present realities, in this case for him, his imprisonment.

It sort of bothers me to see this in two great writers being exposed to a redemption which was not true to the nature of redemption. Would they have continued their lifestyle had they not endured the cruelties of political establishments that condone behaviors and threats the way they do? In Oscar WIlde’s time, the Victorian period and their decency laws and in García Lorca’s period, the Franco regime during the white terror purge? Does it require to be in prison or endure distress in order to come close to God? It is easy to question from a position such as mine since I don’t endure that but the mind is inquisitive as well as curious. As I read both books, I often wondered if García Lorca ever read De Profundis. It seems he did, according to Ángel Sahuquillo in Federico García Lorca y la cultura de la homosexualidad (2007) ISBN-13: 978-0-7864-2897-7 pages 34 and 35 (thanks Google!).

As much as my reading these days, I rushed the reading somewhat and only fund out much more about the books as I wrote this. I missed alot and hopefully, I will be better prepared for the next book I have recently read as well.


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