Diàlegs sense fronteres - Diálogos sin fronteras - Dialogues without Frontiers

A human being comprises diverse but mutually compatible identities. I can be at once Barcelonan, Parisian, Marrakshi and claim my Cervantine nationality. Write in Spanish and feel at home in Barcelona and not in Madrid. Walk down the Rambla, the Ribera or the Raval and be inspired by the same immediately emotional warmth towards the urban and social landscape that I feel in Tangier, the pink-ochre city of the Atlas where I live or my haunts as an idler and inveterate burner of shoe leather in the deuxième, dixième and dix-huitième arrondissements. I wander, ramble and lose myself in the passageways described by Baudelaire and Walter Benjamin, now home to Turks, Hindus and Pakistanis. I hear a stimulating variety of languages, enjoy a space in perpetual motion, and pick up the day’s gossip, the contradictions in society. And to write is to accept that these contradictions exist in the writer’s innermost self. One must be, and I try to be so, politically correct in the arena of civic society, in the defense of causes that are ethical and rational: the struggle against injustice, poverty, racial or ethnic discrimination, the struggle for equality for both sexes, legal abortion, a law for de facto couples, gay marriage, etc. But in the area of literature there is no room for any kind of correctness. The creation of poetry and novels—like an individual’s sexual fantasies—cannot be measured with the rod of social or moral correctness, unless one wants it to become an instrument for didacticism and doctrinal therapy. If an essay or newspaper article requires ethical, political criteria and clarity of thought, the novel does not, because it is a product of the rational and irrational whole man, made up of intellect and instincts, a hub of unresolved antagonisms and multiple identities.

From a wonderful and inspiring essay by Juan Goytisolo on the Words without Borders site (Currently featuring literature from Catalunya). Translated from the Spanish by Peter Bush.

1 comentario:

LA dijo...

Ooh, I like that long quote. Esp. the first sentence.