Thursday, January 08, 2009

Literature: Some Prophecies

As Fosco mentioned previously, he's been having a literary love affair with Roberto Bolaño's novel 2666 (lauded by even the semi-literate as the best novel of 2008). Well, Fosco has done some more reading in the Bolaño canon and he's pretty impressed. Fosco recently finished Bolaño's thin novel Amulet, and it's pretty excellent (although a little less temporally conventional than is 2666!). The narrator is the self-proclaimed "Mother of Mexican Poetry" who is trapped in a university bathroom during the military occupation of the UNAM in 1968. During her captivity, the narrator offers a retrospective on the future (and sometimes the distant future). Part of her retrospective takes the form of prophecies about literature in the future. The prophecies are weird, funny, and probably contain lots of in-jokes about twentieth-century Latin American writers (who Fosco knows almost nothing about). Enjoy!

Then I took a deep breath, hesitated, let my mind go blank and finally said: These are my prophecies.

Vladimir Mayakovsky shall come back into fashion around the year 2150. James Joyce shall be reincarnated as a Chinese boy in the year 2124. Thomas Mann shall become a Ecuadorian pharmacist in the year 2101.

For Marcel Proust, a desperate and prolonged period of oblivion shall begin in the year 2033. Ezra Pound shall disappear from certain libraries in the year 2089. Vachel Lindsay shall appear to the masses in the year 2101.

César Vallejo shall be read underground in the year 2045. Jorge Luis Borges shall be read underground in the year 2045. Vicente Huidobro shall appeal to the masses in the year 2101.

Virginia Woolf shall be reincarnated as an Argentinean fiction writer in the year 2076. Louis-Ferdinand Céline shall Purgatory in the year 2094. Paul Eluard shall appeal to the masses in the year 2101.

Metempsychosis. Poetry shall not disappear. Its non-power shall manifest itself in a different form.

Cesare Pavese shall become the patron saint of Seers and Lookers in the year 2034. Pier Paolo Pasolini shall become the patron saint of Escapees in the year 2100. Giorgio Bassani shall emerge from his tomb in the year 2167.

Oliverio Girondo shall come into his own as a children's writer in the year 2099. The complete works of Roberto Arlt shall be adapted for the screen in 2102. The complete works of Adolfo Bioy Casares shall be adapted for the screen in 2105.

Arno Schmidt shall rise from his ashes in the year 2085. Franz Kafka shall once again be read underground throughout Latin America in the year 2101. Witold Gombrowicz shall enjoy great prestige in the environs of the Río de la Plata around the year 2098.

Paul Celan shall rise from his ashes in the year 2113. André Breton shall return through mirrors in the year 2071. Max Jacob shall cease to be read, that is to say his last reader shall die, in the year 2059.

Who shall read Jean-Pierre Duprey in the year 2059? Who shall read Gary Snyder? Who shall read Ilarie Voronca? These are the questions I ask myself.

Who shall read Gilberte Dallas? Who shall read Rodolfo Wilcock? Who shall read Alexandre Unik?

A statue of Nicanor Parra, however, shall stand in a Chilean square in the year 2059. A statue of Octavio Paz shall stand in a Mexican square in the year 2020. A rather small statue of Ernesto Cardenal shall stand in a Nicaraguan square in the year 2018.

But all statues tumble eventually, by divine intervention or the power of dynamite, like the statue of Heine. So let us not place too much trust in statues.
Carson McCullers, however, shall go on being read in the year 2100. Alejandra Pizarnik shall lose her last reader in the year 2100. Alfonsina Storni shall be reincarnated as a cat or a sea-lion, I can't tell which, in the year 2050.

The case of Anton Chekhov shall be slightly different: he shall be reincarnated in the year 2003, in the year 2010, and then in the year 2014. He shall appear once more in the year 2081. And never again after that.

Alice Sheldon shall appear to the masses in the year 2017. Alfonso Reyes shall be killed once and for all in the year 2058, but in fact it shall be Reyes who kills his killers. Marguerite Duras shall live in the nervous system of thousands of women in the year 2035.
If we accept this, that means there is at least one reincarnation of Anton Chekhov currently bopping around in the world somewhere. Anyone seen him (or her, I suppose)?

Also, it's kind of a pity that Fosco will be long dead in the early 2100s. That's going to be an exciting time! Thomas Mann as an Ecuadorian pharmacist. Sweet.

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