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The Ingenious Gentleman and Poet Federico García Lorca Ascends to Hell

The Ingenious Gentleman and Poet Federico García Lorca Ascends to Hell

CARLOS ROJAS
TRANSLATED BY EDITH GROSSMAN
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 224
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt32bhfv
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  • Book Info
    The Ingenious Gentleman and Poet Federico García Lorca Ascends to Hell
    Book Description:

    In Carlos Rojas's imaginative novel, the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca, murdered by Francoist rebels in August 1936, finds himself in an inferno that somehow resembles Breughel's Tower of Babel. He sits alone in a small theater in this private hell, viewing scenes from his own life performed over and over and over. Unexpectedly, two doppelgängers appear, one a middle-aged Lorca, the other an irascible octogenarian self, and the poet faces a nightmarish confusion of alternative identities and destinies.

    Carlos Rojas uses a fantastic premise-García Lorca in hell-to reexamine the poet's life and speculate on alternatives to his tragic end. Rojas creates with a surrealist's eye and a moral philosopher's mind. He conjures a profoundly original world, and in so doing earns a place among such international peers as Gabriel García Márquez, Philip Roth, J. M. Coetzee, and José Saramago.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-19528-6
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. TRANSLATOR’S NOTE
    (pp. ix-xiv)
    EDITH GROSSMAN
  4. THE SPIRAL
    (pp. 1-48)

    I thought the dead were blind, like the ghost of that Gypsy girl in one of my poems, who peered into the cistern in the garden and didn’t see things when they were looking at her.

    I was wrong. For the dead everything is unanimous presence at a perpetually unreachable distance. All you lived, all you thought, any chimera fantasized on earth becomes at once possible and inaccessible in hell. It’s enough to evoke an event or a dream for it to be immediately represented, with perfect precision, in this almost darkened theater where I suffer alone, perhaps for eternity....

  5. THE ARREST
    (pp. 49-88)

    I don’t know whether I’m accused of having been born or having been murdered. I sense only that, whoever my judges may be, if I’m acquitted I’ll sleep in forgetfulness and be free of my memories.

    As soon as they appeared, those words on the window faded. They might have been fleeting, but I had no doubt I had seen them. How I would prepare for a trial, alone and not knowing the charges, struck me as grotesque and senseless. The absurdity of the situation filled me with an unexpected hilarity no less irrational than this supposed trial of mine....

  6. DESTINY
    (pp. 89-136)

    On stage the question in gold letters imprinted on the wall of the Civilian Government Building of Granada faded away. All that remained was the stain that outlined the shadow of a rabbit. Then the wall and door to the governor’s office merged, as if sinking gradually into deeper and deeper waters. Finally the set appeared, empty of memories and filled with shadows. It was then, when he turned in his seat, that he saw the stranger sitting beside him, almost elbow to elbow, shoulder to shoulder. He had emerged unexpectedly in the alabaster light from the passageway.

    He gave...

  7. THE TRIAL
    (pp. 137-203)

    The bolt slides and the same soldier who tried to hit me with his musket (“How do you dare, wretch? In my presence!”) opens the door. Startled at first, then immediately terrified, I recognize him by the childish dewiness that still fills his eyes.

    “Move, you son of a bitch, the governor wants to question you!”

    “The governor? …”

    “You’re lucky, you damn queer. The governor is as good as a saint. If I didn’t have orders from him to bring you to his office in one piece, I’d squash you like a scorpion, you fucking red, and we’d save...

  8. Back Matter
    (pp. 204-205)