Isabel Allende, James Baldwin, Philippe Soupault, Zoltán Egressy, Caleb Carr
Uit: Eva Luna (Vertaald door Margaret Sayers Peden)
“My name is Eva, which means "life," according to a book of names my mother consulted. I was born in the back room of a shadowy house, and grew up amidst ancient furniture, books in Latin, and human mummies, but none of those things made me melancholy, because I came into the world with a breath of the jungle in my memory. My father, an Indian with yellow eyes, came from the place where the hundred rivers meet; he smelled of lush growing things and he never looked directly at the sky, because he had grown up beneath a canopy of trees, and light seemed indecent to him. Consuelo, my mother, spent her childhood in an enchanted region where for centuries adventurers have searched for the city of pure gold the conquistadors saw when they peered into the abyss of their own ambitions. She was marked forever by that landscape, and in some way she managed to pass that sign on to me.
Missionaries took Consuelo in before she learned to walk; she appeared one day, a naked cub caked with mud and excrement, crawling across the footbridge from the dock like a tiny Jonah vomited up by some freshwater whale. When they bathed her, it was clear beyond a shadow of doubt that she was a girl, which must have caused no little consternation among them; but she was already there and it would not do to throw her into the river, so they draped her in a diaper to cover her shame, squeezed a few drops of lemon into her eyes to heal the infection that had prevented her from opening them, and baptized her with the first female name that came to mind. They then proceeded to bring her up, without fuss or effort to find out where she came from; they were sure that if Divine Providence had kept her alive until they found her, it would also watch over her physical and spiritual well-being, or, in the worst of cases, would bear her off to heaven along with the other innocents. Consuelo grew up without any fixed niche in the strict hierarchy of the Mission. She was not exactly a servant, but neither did she have the status of the Indian boys in the school, and when she asked which of the priests was her father, she was cuffed for her insolence. She told me that a Dutch sailor had set her adrift in a rowboat, but that was likely a story that she had invented to protect herself from the onslaught of my questions. I think the truth is that she knew nothing about her origins or how she had come to be where the missionaries found her.“
Isabel Allende (Lima, 2 augustus 1942)
Uit: The Cross Of Redemption
„Why I Stopped Hating Shakespeare
Every writer in the English language, I should imagine, has at some point hated Shakespeare, has turned away from that monstrous achievement with a kind of sick envy. In my most anti-English days I condemned him as a chauvinist ("this England" indeed!) and because I felt it so bitterly anomalous that a black man should be forced to deal with the English language at all — should be forced to assault the English language in order to be able to speak — I condemned him as one of the authors and architects of my oppression.
Again, in the way that some Jews bitterly and mistakenly resent Shylock, I was dubious about Othello (what did he see in Desdemona?) and bitter about Caliban. His great vast gallery of people, whose reality was as contradictory as it was unanswerable, unspeakably oppressed me. I was resenting, of course, the assault on my simplicity; and, in another way, I was a victim of that loveless education which causes so many schoolboys to detest Shakespeare. But I feared him, too, feared him because, in his hands, the English language became the mightiest of instruments. No one would ever write that way again. No one would ever be able to match, much less surpass, him.
Well, I was young and missed the point entirely, was unable to go behind the words and, as it were, the diction, to what the poet was saying. I still remember my shock when I ﬁnally heard these lines from the murder scene in Julius Caesar. The assassins are washing their hands in Caesar's blood. Cassius says:
Stoop then, and wash. — How many ages hence
Shall this our lofty scene be acted over,
In states unborn and accents yet unknown!
What I suddenly heard, for the ﬁrst time, was manifold. It was the voice of lonely, dedicated, deluded Cassius, whose life had never been real for me before — I suddenly seemed to know what this moment meant to him. But beneath and beyond that voice I also heard a note yet more rigorous and impersonal — and contemporary: that "lofty scene," in all its blood and necessary folly, its blind and necessary pain, was thrown into a perspective which has never left my mind.“
James Baldwin (2 augustus 1924 – 1 december 1987)
Ne retournez pas la tête
Etends les bras
et devant toi regarde
et seulement devant toi
C’est un pays notre pays
qui doucement s’approche
Nos pas nos secondes
conquièrent ce sol et cette destinée
Nous pouvons saisir l’air
comme un oiseau
et atteindre ce fleuve
cette lumière qui chante
nous pouvons murmurer
avec cette foule cette mer ces maisons
murmurer notre joie
la joie de tous ta joie et la mienne
ce grand chant
de l’aube au crépuscule
Vers la face de notre étoile
Voici devant nous
notre pays et notre vie
ne regrette plus
Car si une fois une seule fois
tu tournais la tête
tu perdrais en ouvrant les mains
ce trésor qui est une seconde
une unique seconde
de ce temps notre temps
Philippe Soupault (2 augustus 1897 – 12 maart 1990)
Uit: Portugál (Vertaald door Ryan Craig)
„Radish(to Publican) Tell me now, Lajos bátyám! Will there be a call for tender, or will there be
PublicanHe wants five litres per week. Then there won’t be.
PublicanI’m telling you, he wants five litres per week. Then there won’t be.
RadishSince he became mayor, he can be talked to. They say he was a rare bad beast
when he was party secretary .
PublicanYeah. This is different now. It’s democracy.
RadishDemocracy. Why, what was it before?
PublicanThe same. But the people’s.
PublicanA people’s democracy. It was a people’s democracy until then.
RadishWhy, what do we have now?
PublicanThat was a people’s democracy, this one’s plain. Don’t you get it?
RadishI do. Tell you honest, I like politics. I like talking about it. So, plain democracy. Now.
That’s why he can be talked to.
PublicanYeah. That’s what democracy does. The plain one.
RadishIt does. And it gets women consciousness.“
Zoltán Egressy (Boedapest, 2 augustus 1967)
Uit: The Alienist
„I know that one of them was a woman. I remember loving all of the characters – and kind of wishing that I was back in time and part of the group. And the whole setting of New York in 1896 was SO well done – I truly felt like I was reading a novel that had been written IN the 1890s – it had such a breath of reality to it, and it made me look at the streets of Manhattan in a new way (especially Union Square – although I was unable to find the Union Square section this morning … so I’m wondering if that was actually from his second book Angel of Darkness?) Don’t know. I remember almost nothing about The Alienist – no plot points, nothing … But I do remember these elements very well.
I wonder why on EARTH it hasn’t been made into a film. It seems like it is MADE for a Hollywood movie treatment … it feels very cinematic to me, inherently dramatic – with a great cast of characters …
I liked the book so much I even read the second one in the series (which, I think, stopped at 2) – and that one I wasn’t so wacky about. But I think he should have kept going. I would have definitely kept reading. The main draw about the book was the group of investigators and their interactions – it was a pleasaure to read about them.
Anyhoo, I flipped thru the book this morning and was amazed by how much I didn’t remember. And I couldn’t find the Union Square section which I DID remember and wanted to excerpt … so here’s another excerpt I tripped over, that seems to capture the true time-machine appeal of this book.“
Caleb Carr (New York, 2 augustus 1955)
Zie voor nog meer schrijvers van de 2e augustus ook mijn blog van 2 augustus 2011 deel 2.