“I thus kept the original title Quevedo
on its centenary to record
of this different version than every century
delivery of a poet, as major proof
of the fire that thus resists them. Past
already too long
of these eventualities,
I just have to call him
simply Quevedo, knowingly
that you can’t pretend to cover
who, by adventure, will remain
Fina García Marruz
He recommended the literary critic Francisco de Sanctis that the best way to understand and write about a legal professional is to put himself in his situation, that is, judge him from within. By the way, when Fina García Marruz refers to the arrival and journey of José Martí by other authors it says: “it does not write ‘from’ them, but ‘from’ them”. This critical resemblance warned by her in repairing in martyred recurrences allows us to consider more than methods and procedures, awareness of style; indeed, a conscience of style where relating greed negotiates with declared mimicry.
But isn’t the treatment of one side of subordination and other freedom a conflict? Writing from within tempts for training, but adds a worrying effect: particular conquests can be lost, without need, in other people’s domains. Who is spoken of does not need to be added more merit, only mediation of one reading that leads to another and something else: the intervention, with all the permission of the world of writing, from an author to a biography, from one work to an essay… Let’s call it better generosity, but first intellectual courtesy for being a reasoned and vehement record of a writer/reader coming back more than once over another’s books.
What has Fina García Marruz done not “since” Francisco de Quevedo (1580-1645), but “with” one of the most prolific Spanish-American authors before and after the Golden Age? Always return to Madrid to understand not so much his Spanish or Spanishism and his time, but the complex man with the diverse author, the one who amen to write about antagonistic pairs without any squeamishness of bitterness (quite the opposite), examined yesterday’s humanity, his time and the future with the overview of the social or cultural anthropologist. However, in “The Sonnets of Love and death of Quevedo” Fina is categorical.
“We never find in Quevedo the feeling of the pure past or future, nor of the present without stain: everything in it is seen in transit, all bitten, and gnawed, but also pierced by the arrow of the Child-Love that gives at the point of the heart, of the Being whom he called – to contrast it with his ‘dust in love’– ‘All in love’. And that point that will hardly ‘presume’ that will break the fence of the Hours, what do you look for in them, to satiate them and satisfy them – that Love is a matter of two – and what is the cross of what is ‘beyond’ and the incessant transcendence of time? If life does not answer you, can ‘the last shadow’ answer it, which will stop the incessant becoming, death can answer you?” 1
How much did Quevedo read? What is your tributary? What makes him a classic? How enemy was he of Góngora? What were Martí’s criteria on the author of Dreams and Speeches, The Life of the Sought, The Cradle and the Burial…? Was Juan Goytisolo as bad a person as he confessed a few years ago?
The book of Quevedo (Ediciones Huso, 2016), by Fina García Marruz, cannot separate the man from the writer as if the work, ungrateful, sought to transcend itself. Approaching it, the author recognizes the sublime and insorcible vastness of Spanish. For those who keep the worst of the person and want to know it through legends or epocale gossip, the National Prize for Literature, in the section “Quevedo and the letters of his time” recalls: “There is the fly reader, who only perches on faeces and detritus, and the bee reader, who likes to go to honey, because he only sees in it essence. Let us leave inventive and ‘prematic’, ‘confusion sonnets’, to enter the highest areas of his poetry, those of the poems he dedicated to time, love and death”.2 Does he arrive with the specialization of man and work through quevedesca prolongation? Not with one, not through the other. The reader Fina, a poet already celebrated on national and foreign grounds, is one of our most notorious and at once covert essayists.
In addition to books focused on the Martyred orb and that of Juana Borrero for example, as well as on publications and other figures from the Cuban colonial centuries, García Marruz is the author of Darius, Martí and the American germinal, Juana Borrero and other essays and Talking about poetry, a medullary book, because she organized at the time the aesthetic creed of an author who, relying on the martyred counsel of “Knowing various literatures is the best means of freeing yourself from the tyranny of some of them”, recommends overcoming national borders if it is readings and associations.
With the first edition of Quevedo in Mexico (Fund of Economic Culture, 2003) and now in Spain by Editorial Huso, a request looms as a result of the disrecognise. When will we access the Cuban edition of a work that led him to register the influential literary critic Adolfo Castañón as “one of the most ambitious and significant among those produced by the Critical Hispanic-American essay at the end of the twentieth century”? Question that stimulates another: Will there be any more unpublished texts on the stationery of the only survivor of the Origins group? Perhaps, but this is not necessary to reput your already published essay prose. With Quevedo Fina García Marruz reaffirms as our most important cuban essayist alive. Poetic prose hers, debtor of criticism as a martyred art and disciple for the subject and language of her admired Maria Zambrano. Read if not from the Spanish philosopher her lecture “Quevedo y la conciencia en España”, one of the five published in Notebooks of the Universidad del Aire del Circuito CMQ.
More than conceptism in the formal, Quevedo is a replica in force for its stubbornness of looker. He watched the human world to rebuke him, not to guide him. Nothing further from who, above all, tried and managed to stoke equivalent or greater impropers than anything he expressed in writing or face to face. He wasn’t a coward. His sword, which he did not name because he was naming other matters, was as well known as his singular mirrors. Lame and short-sighted, he took refuge in writing. It is said that he traveled with about a hundred books and still sought the moment for creation. “Since he breaks down to write Quevedo, we see him less bent than beautifying the world, as poets have always wanted, in reflecting it in all its deformity, and still increasing it.”3
History and biography, account and examination fragment quevedesca literary production. With these eight proposals of readings/writings, she seduces the most – and at least – knowledgeable of Quevedo. Fina García Marruz shares what began as a dialogue and insists on being so: dialogue with the author and with the work, dialogue with the reader and, at every step, with herself. Ω
1 Fina García Marruz: Quevedo, Madrid, Ediciones Huso in collaboration with The Infinite Island, 2017, p. 145.
2 Ibid., p. 62.
3 Ibid., p. 19.