I'm tired, people. As I'm preparing for my Birthday trip to St. Louis this weekend, I need to do everything well ahead so that the grading for next week is done, the classes and the mini-quizzes are prepared. I've been working since 9 am today with a short nap during the day. And there is still a class to prepare and mini-quizzes to grade.
In my Survey of Spanish literature course, we finally got to the stuff that represents my main area of specialization. We will be reading two of my favorite writers Luis Martin Santos and Juan Goytisolo from tomorrow on. And it turns out that it is a lot harder for me to prepare classes on these writers than, say, on Arcipreste de Hita or Espronceda whom I know and like a lot less. It is very difficult to squeeze all the knowledge I have on these authors and everything I have to say about them into two short lectures. I could probably spend the entire 50 minutes assigned to the lecture on Goytisolo quoting his work from memory.
When I first read Goytisolo's greatest novel Count Julian, my Spanish was still pretty weak. Most of Goytisolo's literary allusions which abound in the novel went right over my head. Still, the very first sentences of this novel, whichI consider to be the best novel of the XXth century not just in Spain but anywhere in the world, gripped me like no text had ever done before or since:
Mind you, no translation can do justice to Goytisolo's text. It is worth learning Spanish just to read the novel, in my opinion. The best thing about this novel is the pure, undiluted rage that the narrator expresses towards every accepted piety he can find. And then, after declaring a cruel war on stereotypes, cliches and reductive ideologies, he ends up creating his own set of stereotypes and binary oppositions that is just as reductive that the one he battled against. Count Julian loses his war against ideology but his spectacular defeat produces the most magnificent and profound work of literature I have ever encountered.
This, of course, is my own reading of the novel. Many people would disagree with it. That is precisely where Count Julian's power resides. It is a novel that establishes a dialogue of its own with all readers who are ready to abandon themselves to the breathtaking adventure of reading it.
And now I think I'm ready to go and prepare my class. Blogging rocks, everybody.