Της ημέρας….Χούλιο Κορτάσαρ

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Ο Χούλιο Κορτάσαρ γεννήθηκε σαν σήμερα το 1914, στις Βρυξέλλες.

«Αν δεν έγραφα αυτό το βιβλίο εκείνη την εποχή, μάλλον θα έπεφτα στον Σηκουάνα», είπε ο Αργεντίνος συγγραφέας, αναφερόμενος στο μυθιστόρημα «Το κουτσό» (“Rayuela” στο πρωτότυπο). Διάβασα άπειρα επαινετικά για το βιβλίο και τη μετάφραση που ανυπομονώ να το ξεκινήσω, σύντομα ελπίζω.

Βρήκα, όμως αυτό το διήγημα στο γνωστό ιστολόγιο «Μπονζάι» και το παραθέτω:

*Ἀλ­λη­λου­χί­α τῶν κή­πων* (Continuidad de los parques)

ΕΙΧΕ ΑΡΧΙΣΕΙ νὰ δι­α­βά­ζει τὸ μυ­θι­στό­ρη­μα ἐ­δῶ καὶ λί­γες μέ­ρες. Τὸ εἶ­χε ἀ­φή­σει για­τὶ με­σο­λά­βη­σαν ἐ­πεί­γου­σες ὑ­πο­θέ­σεις καὶ τὸ ξα­νά­πια­σε στὸ τρέ­νο, γυρ­νών­τας στὸ κτῆ­μα του· ἀρ­γὰ-ἀρ­γὰ ἀ­φη­νό­ταν νὰ τὸν τρα­βή­ξει τὸ ἐν­δι­α­φέ­ρον, ἡ πλο­κή, ἡ πε­ρι­γρα­φὴ τῶν προ­σώ­πων. Τὸ ἴ­διο βρά­δυ, ἀ­φοῦ ἔ­γρα­ψε ἕ­να γράμ­μα στὸν πλη­ρε­ξού­σιό του καὶ συ­ζή­τη­σε μὲ τὸν ἐ­πι­στά­τη γιὰ τὸ μί­σθω­μα ἑ­νὸς χω­ρα­φιοῦ, ξα­νά­πια­σε τὸ δι­ά­βα­σμα στὴν ἠ­ρε­μί­α τοῦ ἀ­να­γνω­στή­ριου, ἀ­π’ ὅ­που ἡ θέ­α ἁ­πλω­νό­ταν στὸ πάρ­κο μὲ τὶς βε­λα­νι­δι­ές. Χω­μέ­νος στὴν ἀ­γα­πη­μέ­νη του πο­λυ­θρό­να, μὲ τὶς πλά­τες γυ­ρι­σμέ­νες πρὸς τὴν πόρ­τα γιὰ ν’ ἀ­πο­φύ­γει τὴν ἐ­νο­χλη­τι­κὴ πι­θα­νό­τη­τα κά­ποι­ων ἐν­δε­χό­με­νων πε­ρι­σπα­σμῶν, χά­ι­δευ­ε ποῦ καὶ ποῦ μὲ τὸ ἀ­ρι­στε­ρό του χέ­ρι τὸ πρά­σι­νο βε­λοῦ­δο καὶ στρώ­θη­κε νὰ δι­α­βά­ζει τὰ τε­λευ­ταῖ­α κε­φά­λαι­α. Ἡ μνή­μη του εἶ­χε συγ­κρα­τή­σει χω­ρὶς κό­πο τὰ ὀ­νό­μα­τα καὶ τὰ χα­ρα­κτη­ρι­στι­κὰ τῶν κεν­τρι­κῶν ἡ­ρώ­ων· σχε­δὸν ἀ­μέ­σως πα­ρα­σύρ­θη­κε μὲς στὴν ψευ­δαί­σθη­ση τοῦ μυ­θι­στο­ρή­μα­τος. Ἀ­πο­λάμ­βα­νε μὲ πα­ρά­λο­γη σχε­δὸν ἡ­δο­νὴ τὸ ὅ­τι ἀ­πο­μα­κρυ­νό­ταν λί­γο-λί­γο, ἀ­ρά­δα τὴν ἀ­ρά­δα, ἀ­π’ ὅ,τι τὸν πε­ρι­τρι­γύ­ρι­ζε, καὶ πὼς αἰ­σθα­νό­ταν πό­τε-πό­τε τὸ κε­φά­λι του ποὺ ἀ­κουμ­ποῦ­σε ἀ­να­παυ­τι­κὰ στὸ βε­λοῦ­δο τῆς ψη­λῆς ρά­χης, καὶ ὅ­τι τὰ τσι­γά­ρα ἐ­ξα­κο­λου­θοῦ­σαν νὰ βρί­σκον­ται κον­τὰ στὸ χέ­ρι του, καὶ πὼς πέ­ρα ἀ­πὸ τὰ με­γά­λα πα­ρά­θυ­ρα, τὸ ἀ­ε­ρά­κι τοῦ δει­λι­νοῦ χό­ρευ­ε κά­τω ἀ­πὸ τὶς βε­λα­νι­δι­ές. Λέ­ξη μὲ λέ­ξη, ἀ­πορ­ρο­φη­μέ­νος ἀ­πὸ τὴν πο­τα­πὴ τε­λι­κὴ ἐ­πι­λο­γὴ τῶν ἡ­ρώ­ων, ἐ­νῶ ἀ­φη­νό­ταν νὰ χά­νε­ται στὶς εἰ­κό­νες ποὺ σχη­μα­τί­ζον­ταν καὶ ἀ­πο­κτοῦ­σαν χρῶ­μα καὶ κί­νη­ση, πα­ραυ­ρέ­θη­κε αὐ­τό­πτης μάρ­τυ­ρας τῆς τε­λι­κῆς συ­νάν­τη­σης στὴν κα­λύ­βα τοῦ δά­σους. Πρώ­τη μπῆ­κε ἡ γυ­ναί­κα, φο­βι­σμέ­νη· τώ­ρα ἦρ­θε ὁ ἐ­ρα­στὴς μὲ τὸ πρό­σω­πο γρα­τζου­νι­σμέ­νο ἀ­πὸ τὸ τί­ναγ­μα ἑ­νὸς κλα­διοῦ. Τοῦ φι­λοῦ­σε ὑ­πέ­ρο­χα τὶς γρα­τζου­νι­ὲς γιὰ νὰ στα­μα­τή­σει τὸ αἷ­μα, ἐ­νῶ αὐ­τὸς τρα­βι­ό­ταν ν’ ἀ­πο­φύ­γει τὰ χά­δια, δὲν εἶ­χε ἔρ­θει γιὰ νὰ ἐ­πα­να­λά­βει τὴν τε­λε­τουρ­γί­α ἑ­νὸς πά­θους κρυ­φοῦ ποὺ τὸ συγ­κά­λυ­πταν ἕ­νας σω­ρὸς φύλ­λα ξε­ρὰ καὶ μυ­στι­κὰ μο­νο­πά­τια. Τὸ στι­λέ­το ἔ­γι­νε χλια­ρὸ ἀ­κουμ­πών­τας στὸ στῆ­θος του, καὶ ἀ­πὸ κά­τω χτυ­ποῦ­σε ἡ ζα­ρω­μέ­νη ἐ­λευ­θε­ρί­α. Ἕ­νας λα­χα­νια­στὸς δι­ά­λο­γος ξε­τυ­λι­γό­ταν μέ­σα στὶς σε­λί­δες σὰν ἕ­να πο­τά­μι ἀ­πὸ ἑρ­πε­τά, καὶ εἶ­χε τὴν αἴ­σθη­ση πὼς ὅ­λα εἶ­χαν ἀ­πο­φα­σι­στεῖ ἀ­πὸ πάν­τα. Ὣς καὶ αὐ­τὰ τὰ χά­δια ποὺ τύ­λι­γαν τὸ σῶ­μα τοῦ ἐ­ρα­στῆ σὰν γιὰ νὰ τὸν συγ­κρα­τή­σουν καὶ νὰ τὸν με­τα­πεί­σουν, σχε­δί­α­ζαν φρι­κτὰ τὸ πε­ρί­γραμ­μα ἑ­νὸς ἄλ­λου σώ­μα­τος, ποὺ ἔ­πρε­πε ὁ­πωσ­δή­πο­τε νὰ ἐ­ξον­τω­θεῖ. Δὲν εἶ­χαν πα­ρα­λεί­ψει τί­πο­τα: ἄλ­λο­θι, συμ­πτώ­σεις, πι­θα­νὰ λά­θη. Ἀ­πὸ τὴ στιγ­μὴ ἐ­κεί­νη τὸ κά­θε λε­πτὸ εἶ­χε τὴ σκο­πι­μό­τη­τά του, ὑ­πο­λο­γι­σμέ­νη μὲ κά­θε λε­πτο­μέ­ρεια. Τὴν ἄ­γρια καὶ ἀ­μεί­λι­κτη σκη­νὴ ποὺ τῆς ἔ­κα­νε, μό­λις ποὺ δι­έ­κο­πτε πό­τε-πό­τε ἕ­να χέ­ρι νὰ χα­ϊ­δέ­ψει ἕ­να μά­γου­λο. Ἄρ­χι­σε νὰ νυ­χτώ­νει.

Χω­ρὶς νὰ κοι­τά­ζον­ται, δε­μέ­νοι σφι­χτὰ στὸ ἔρ­γο ποὺ εἶ­χαν νὰ ἐκ­πλη­ρώ­σουν, χω­ρί­στη­καν στὴν πόρ­τα τῆς κα­λύ­βας. Ἐ­κεί­νη ἔ­πρε­πε ν’ ἀ­κο­λου­θή­σει τὸ μο­νο­πά­τι ποὺ τρα­βοῦ­σε κα­τὰ τὸ βο­ριά. Ἐ­κεῖ­νος, στὸ ἀν­τί­θε­το μο­νο­πά­τι, γύ­ρι­σε μιὰ στιγ­μὴ νὰ τὴν δεῖ νὰ φεύ­γει, μὲ τὰ μαλ­λιά της λυ­τά. Μὲ τὴ σει­ρά του ἄρ­χι­σε νὰ τρέ­χει κι αὐ­τός, κα­τα­φεύ­γον­τας στὰ δέν­τρα καὶ τοὺς φρά­χτες, ὥ­σπου ξε­χώ­ρι­σε μὲς στὴ μα­βιὰ ὁ­μί­χλη τῆς χα­ραυ­γῆς τὴν ἀ­λέ­α ποὺ ὁ­δη­γοῦ­σε στὸ σπί­τι. Τὰ σκυ­λιὰ δὲν ἔ­πρε­πε νὰ γα­βγί­σουν, καὶ δὲν γά­βγι­σαν. Τὴν ὥ­ρα αὐ­τὴ ὁ ἐ­πι­στά­της δὲν ἔ­πρε­πε νὰ εἶ­ναι ἐ­κεῖ, καὶ δὲν ἦ­ταν. Ἀ­νέ­βη­κε τὰ τρί­α σκα­λο­πά­τια τῆς ἐ­ξώ­πορ­τας καὶ μπῆ­κε. Μέ­σ’ ἀ­π’ τὸ αἷ­μα ποὺ βού­ι­ζε στ’ αὐ­τιά του τοῦ ἐρ­χόν­ταν ἀ­κό­μα τὰ λό­για τῆς γυ­ναί­κας: πρῶ­τα μιὰ γα­λά­ζια αἴ­θου­σα, ὕ­στε­ρα ἕ­νας δι­ά­δρο­μος, με­τὰ μιὰ σκά­λα μὲ χα­λί. Στὸ πά­νω πά­τω­μα, δυ­ὸ πόρ­τες. Στὸ πρῶ­το δω­μά­τιο κα­νείς, στὸ δεύ­τε­ρο κα­νείς. Ἡ πόρ­τα τοῦ μι­κροῦ σα­λο­νιοῦ, καὶ ὑ­στέ­ρα, μὲ τὸ στι­λέ­το στὸ χέ­ρι, τὸ φῶς ἀ­πὸ τὰ με­γά­λα πα­ρά­θυ­ρα, ἡ ψη­λὴ ρά­χης μιᾶς πρά­σι­νης, βε­λού­δι­νης πο­λυ­θρό­νας, τὸ κε­φά­λι τοῦ ἄν­τρα ποὺ κά­θε­ται στὴν πο­λυ­θρό­να δι­α­βά­ζον­τας ἕ­να μυ­θι­στό­ρη­μα.

Πηγή:

https://bonsaistoriesflashfiction.wordpress.com/2018/07/04/julio-cortasar-allilouchia-ton-kipon/

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On this day…. Jorge Luis Borges

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By Beti Alonso

The Aleph

by Jorge Luis Borges

O God! I could be bounded in a nutshell, and count myself a King of infinite space…

Hamlet, II, 2

But they will teach us that Eternity is the Standing still of the Present Time, a Nunc-stans (as the schools call

it); which neither they, nor any else understand, no more than they would a Hic-stans for an Infinite greatness

of Place.

Leviathan, IV, 46

On the burning February morning Beatriz Viterbo died, after braving an agony that never for a single moment gave way to self-pity or fear, I noticed that the sidewalk billboards around Constitution Plaza were advertising some new brand or other of American cigarettes. The fact pained me, for I realised that the wide and ceaseless universe was already slipping away from her and that this slight change was the first of an endless series. The universe may change but not me, I thought with a certain sad vanity. I knew that at times my fruitless devotion had annoyed her; now that she was dead, I could devote myself to her memory, without hope but also without humiliation. I recalled that the thirtieth of April was her birthday; on that day to visit her house on Garay Street and pay my respects to her father and to Carlos Argentino Daneri, her first cousin, would be an irreproachable and perhaps unavoidable act of politeness. Once again I would wait in the twilight of the small, cluttered drawing room, once again I would study the details of her many photographs: Beatriz Viterbo in profile and in full colour; Beatriz wearing a mask, during the Carnival of 1921; Beatriz at her First Communion; Beatriz on the day of her wedding to Roberto Alessandri; Beatriz soon after her divorce, at a luncheon at the Turf Club; Beatriz at a seaside resort in Quilmes with Delia San Marco Porcel and Carlos Argentino; Beatriz with the Pekingese lapdog given her by Villegas Haedo; Beatriz, front and three-quarter views, smiling, hand on her chin… I would not be forced, as in the past, to justify my presence with modest offerings of books — books whose pages I finally learned to cut beforehand, so as not to find out, months later, that they lay around unopened.

Continue reading:

http://web.mit.edu/allanmc/www/borgesaleph.pdf

Arendt vs Thoreau

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It is not often that a neighbourhood squabble is remembered as a world-historical event. In the summer of 1846, Henry David Thoreau spent a single night in jail in Concord, Massachusetts after refusing to submit his poll tax to the local constable. This minor act of defiance would later be immortalised in Thoreau’s essay ‘On the Duty of Civil Disobedience’ (1849). There, he explains that he had been unwilling to provide material support to a federal government that perpetuated mass injustice – in particular, slavery and the Mexican-American war. While the essay went largely unread in his own lifetime, Thoreau’s theory of civil disobedience would later inspire many of the world’s greatest political thinkers, from Leo Tolstoy and Gandhi to Martin Luther King.

Yet his theory of dissent would have its dissenters, too. The political theorist Hannah Arendt wrote an essay on ‘Civil Disobedience’, published in The New Yorker magazine in September 1970. Thoreau, she argued, was no civil disobedient. In fact, she insisted that his whole moral philosophy was anathema to the collective spirit that ought to guide acts of public refusal. How could the great luminary of civil disobedience be charged with misunderstanding it so profoundly?

Thoreau’s essay offers a forceful critique of state authority and an uncompromising defence of the individual conscience. In Walden (1854), he argued that each man should follow his own individual ‘genius’ rather than social convention, and in ‘On the Duty of Civil Disobedience’ he insists that we should follow our own moral convictions rather than the laws of the land. The citizen, he suggests, must never ‘for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislation’. For Thoreau, this prescription holds even when the laws are produced through democratic elections and referenda. Indeed, for him, democratic participation only degrades our moral character. When we cast a ballot, he explains, we vote for a principle that we believe is right, but at the same time, assert our willingness to recognise whatever principle – be it right or wrong – the majority favours. In this way, we elevate popular opinion over moral rectitude. Because he places so much stock in his own conscience, and so little in either state authority or democratic opinion, Thoreau believed that he was bound to disobey any law that ran counter to his own convictions. His theory of civil disobedience is grounded in that belief.

Thoreau’s decision to withhold his financial support for the federal government of 1846 was, no doubt, a righteous one. And the theory that inspired that action would go on to inspire many more righteous acts of disobedience. Yet despite these remarkable successes, Arendt argues that Thoreau’s theory was misguided. In particular, she insists that he was wrong to ground civil disobedience in the individual conscience. First, and most simply, she points out that conscience is too subjective a category to justify political action. Leftists who protest the treatment of refugees at the hands of US immigration officers are motivated by conscience, but so was Kim Davis – the conservative county clerk in Kentucky who in 2015 denied marriage licences to same-sex couples. Conscience alone can be used to justify all types of political beliefs and so provides no guarantee of moral action.

Second, Arendt makes the more complex argument that, even when it is morally unimpeachable, conscience is ‘unpolitical’; that is, it encourages us to focus on our own moral purity rather than the collective actions that might bring about real change. Crucially, in calling conscience ‘unpolitical’, Arendt does not mean that it is useless. In fact, she believed that the voice of conscience was often vitally important. In her book Eichmann in Jerusalem (1963), for example, she argues that it was the Nazi officer Adolf Eichmann’s lack of ethical introspection that enabled his participation in the unimaginable evils of the Holocaust. Arendt knew from the experience of Fascism that conscience could prevent subjects from actively advancing profound injustice, but she saw that as a kind of moral bare minimum. The rules of conscience, she argues, ‘do not say what to do; they say what not to do’. In other words: personal conscience can sometimes prevent us from aiding and abetting evil but it does not require us to undertake positive political action to bring about justice.

Thoreau would likely accept the charge that his theory of civil disobedience told men only ‘what not to do’, as he did not believe it was the responsibility of individuals to actively improve the world. ‘It is not a man’s duty, as a matter of course,’ he writes, ‘to devote himself to the eradication of any, even to the most enormous, wrong; he may still properly have other concerns to engage him; but it is his duty, at least, to wash his hands of it…’ Arendt would agree that it is better to abstain from injustice than to participate in it, but she worries that Thoreau’s philosophy might make us complacent about any evil that we aren’t personally complicit in. Because Thoreauvian civil disobedience is so focused on the personal conscience and not, as Arendt puts it, on ‘the world where the wrong is committed’, it risks prioritising individual moral purity over the creation of a more just society.

Perhaps the most striking difference between Thoreau and Arendt is that, while he sees disobedience as necessarily individual, she sees it as, by definition, collective.

Arendt argues that for an act of law-breaking to count as civil disobedience it must be performed openly and publicly (put simply: if you break the law in private, you’re committing a crime, but if you break the law at a protest, you’re making a point). Thoreau’s dramatic refusal to pay his poll tax would meet this definition, but Arendt makes one further distinction: anyone who breaks the law publicly but individually is a mere conscientious objector; those who break the law publicly and collectively are civil disobedients. It is only this latter group – from which she would exclude Thoreau – that is capable of producing real change, she implies. Mass civil disobedience movements generate momentum, apply pressure, and shift political discourse. For Arendt, the greatest civil disobedience movements – Indian independence, civil rights, and the anti-war movement – took inspiration from Thoreau but added a vital commitment to mass, public action. In sharp contrast, Thoreau believed that ‘there is but little virtue in the action of masses of men’.

‘On the Duty of Civil Disobedience’ is an essay of rare moral vision. In it, Thoreau expresses uncompromising critiques of the government of his era, while also capturing the powerful feelings of moral conviction that often undergird acts of civil disobedience. Nevertheless, it is Arendt’s account of the practice that is ultimately more promising. Arendt insists that we focus not on our own conscience but on the injustice committed, and the concrete means of redressing it. This does not mean that civil disobedience has to aim for something moderate or even achievable but that it should be calibrated toward the world – which it has the power to change – and not toward the self – which it can only purify.

Source:

https://aeon.co/amp/ideas/change-the-world-not-yourself-or-how-arendt-called-out-thoreau?__twitter_impression=true

4 3 2 1 …..

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Βαρύ και ασήκωτο. Κυριολεκτώ. Διαβάζεται, όμως, απνευστί. Τουλάχιστον το ένα τρίτο που διάβασα μέχρι στιγμής. Τέσσερα παράλληλα μονοπάτια ζωής για τον Φέργκιουσον. Τέσσερις Φέργκιουσον που θα ζήσουν τέσσερις εντελώς διαφορετικές ζωές, όπως διαβάζουμε στο οπισθόφυλλο. Η τύχη των οικογενειών τους αποκλίνει. Οι έρωτες, οι φιλίες και τα πάθη τους είναι αντίθετα. Ωστόσο κάθε εκδοχή της ιστορίας του Φέργκιουσον διατρέχει το κατακερματισμένο πεδίο της Αμερικής των μέσων του 20ου αιώνα σε ένα μεγαλόπνοο μυθιστόρημα για το δικαίωμα στην ύπαρξη και τις ατελείωτες εκδοχές της, για την αγάπη και την πληρότητα της ζωής. «Πρωτότυπο και σύνθετο».

Sunset….

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The whole sky was a sheet of flame! It was as if Turner himself had come back to welcome him, to give him a last sunset before the end.

It was like watching a stained-glass window being slowly shattered.

— Lawrence Durrell, The Avignon Quintet

J.M.W. Turner, The Scarlet Sunset

Bitter Lemons by Lawrence Durrell

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Cloudy, rainy weather. Winter ante portas. Hot coffee and the wonderful autobiographical book by Lawrence Durrell from the days he spent on Cyprus.

Bitter Lemons

By Lawrence Durrell

In an island of bitter lemons
Where the moon’s cool fevers burn
From the dark globes of the fruit,

And the dry grass underfoot
Tortures memory and revises
Habits half a lifetime dead

Better leave the rest unsaid,
Beauty, darkness, vehemence
Let the old sea-nurses keep

Their memorials of sleep
And the Greek sea’s curly head
Keep its calms like tears unshed

Keep its calms like tears unshed.

 

 

Writing about… «The Second Coming» by William Butler Yeats(13/6/1865–28/1/1939)

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W.B. Yeats 1907 by Augustus John OM 1878-1961

W.B. Yeats  by Augustus John OM , 1907

«Yeats began writing the poem in January 1919, in the wake of the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and political turmoil in his native Ireland. But the first stanza captures more than just political unrest and violence. Its anxiety concerns the social ills of modernity: the rupture of traditional family and societal structures; the loss of collective religious faith, and with it, the collective sense of purpose; the feeling that the old rules no longer apply and there’s nothing to replace them.»

“The Second Coming” is a magnificent statement about the contrary forces at work in history, and about the conflict between the modern world and the ancient world. Put in his own words:

The end of an age, which always receives the revelation of the character of the next age, is represented by the coming of one gyre to its place of greatest expansion and of the other to its place of greatest contraction… The revelation [that] approaches will… take its character from the contrary movement of the interior gyre…

The Second Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

 

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?