Margaret Schwartz and Macedonio Fernández

May 26, 2009

Margaret Schwartz, whose translations of Macedonio Fernández we published in an earlier issue of eXchanges, has been working on the Argentinian writer’s most famous work, The Museum of Eterna’s Novel, which will be published by Open Letter Books next January. The latest issue of The Quarterly Conversation includes an excerpt:

Horrible art and the accumulated glories of the past, which have always existed, are a result of the following: the sonorousness of language and the existence of a public; without this sonorousness, only thinking and creating would remain; without a clamoring public, art would not be drowned. Under these conditions, Literature would be pure art, and there would be many more beautiful works than there are at present: there would be three or four Cervantes, the Cervantes of the Quijote, without the stories, Quevedo the humorist and poet of passion, without the moralizing orator, various Gómez de la Sernas. We’ll be liberated from the likes of Calderón, the Prince of falsetto, from lack of feeling, which is poor taste itself; from the likes of Góngora, at least from time to time, with his exclamations of “Ay Fabio, o sorrow!” We’d have three Heines, each of sarcasm and sadness, or D’Annunzios to limitlessly versify passion. Happily, we would have only the first act of Faust, and in compensation various Poes, and various Bovaries—with their sad affliction of loveless appetite, despicable and bloody—and this other, lacerating absurdity: Hamlet’s lyric of sorrow, which convinces and breeds sympathy, despite the false psychologism of its source.

Good stuff! Congratulations, Margaret!

-ar

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