Friday, 6 January 2017
ON GONGORA AND GONGORISM
Don Luis de Góngora is followed by a signifcant number of researchers, like any great poet. They are called gongoristas or Gongorists. The adjective is gongorista, or gongorist (in English). One could say that e.g. the adjective "mentido" is typically gongorista, or gongorist, or even gongoresque.
Are there many Gongorists, persons who can read don Luis' works in detail? The outcome of a recent investigation indicates that the number might be as low as 50, worldwide, although this result will surely be discussed at length. Gongorists do respect one another greatly, that is a certainty. Most of them (not all) are found in Europe: Prof. Robert Jammes (Université Le Mirail, Toulouse, France) and Prof. Joaquín Roses (Head of the Cátedra Luis de Góngora, Universidad de Córdoba, Spain), to name just a few.
No one ever studies the huge oeuvre of poetry written by don Luis (and the few plays which have been recovered so far). It's a way of life, mainly because the research involves so much time. Any noun, any verb, any adjective may have a meaning which - so far - has not been understood properly. ("What's don Luis' primera verdad exactly?") In the world of Gongorism simple answers to simple questions simply do not exist; at times speakers refuse to answer questions from the audience.
Don Luis' poetry has been translated. Readers often appreciate the results. They shortchange themselves, because the original texts cannot be translated. ("Let one expert do all the work, so that millions may enjoy Góngora's texts?") Don Luis wasn't a man of compromise when he spoke about pigs and pearls. He would have disliked any contemporary simplified, retweeted "Googledades".
I studied the relationship between Luis de Góngora and Federico García Lorca, a relationship which proved to be as complex as it is extensive. The ten years (or so) which it took to argue this relationship are only a drop in the ocean of time. Many scholars in Spain and elsewhere have dedicated most of their lives to the study of don Luis' oeuvre. Me too, without realizing it.
During the seventies I studied classical guitar with Louis Ignatius Gall, one of Segovia's pupils. After that I studied the works of Federico García Lorca with Dr. Luis Sáchez Cuñat, a personal friend of the late Jorge Guillén. It was during this study that I realized that there was a relation with Góngora to be detected.
My study was approved by prominent academics in Spain (Prof. María Clementa Millán, Prof. Javier Díez de Revenga), and published in the USA by the University Press of the South in New Orleans.
While living in the Albayzín of Granada I discovered the "Camino de Santiago" in the far north of Spain, and became a true veteran of the pilgrim road to Galicia. I owe the pilgrims a lot!
However, the poetry of don Luis is in my blood, not the guitar, nor the Flamenco or the adventure of long distance walking.
Don Luis will not be studied. It' s a way of life.
|The rare "Versos de Góngora" (1927) |
bought in a bookshop in Córdoba for 5000 Pts (bound in leather)
|A Mexican book, published by Anita Arroyo (1978), |
bought in Mexico City for 18 Pesos.
It is very "complete".
|A publication by Juan Ramón Jiménez (1969) |
bought for 400 Pts in a Granadine bookshop.
|Lorca's "Romancero gitano" (Mexico: 8th print 1963) and (right) the|
first print of his "Gypsy Ballads" in Buenos Aires in 1943.
|Maybe one of Lorca's sources of inspiration?|
There is a long street full of second hand book shops in Mexico City behind the cathedral. I bought the first Argentine edition of Lorca's RG there for 16 Mexican Pesos, some 10 years ago. The check-out man noticed the mistake (price: just over US$1=), but let it go. See: pictures above.