Week 4: Vocabulary

by Meaghan Doyle

acacia
any of a large genus (Acacia) of leguminous shrubs and trees of warm regions with leaves pinnate or reduced to phyllodes and white or yellow flower clusters

aegis
protection

aquifers
a water-bearing stratum of permeable rock, adiposity sand, diagnosis or gravel

Basque
a member of a people inhabiting the western Pyrenees on the Bay of Biscay

cacique
a native Indian chief in areas dominated primarily by a Spanish culture

candelillas
a shrubby spurge native to southwest Texas and Mexico, having densely clustered, erect, essentially leafless stems that yield the multipurpose Candelilla wax

catatonia
catatonic schizophrenia

chonchon
a mythical bird creature in Chilean folk myth

colocolo
a small striped cat native to the western central South America

cumulonimbus
cumulus cloud having a low base and often spread out in the shape of an anvil extending to great heights

desultory
marked by lack of definite plan, regularity, or purpose

doleful
full of grief

ecclesiastical
of or relating to a church especially as an established institution

eugenics
a science that deals with the improvement (as by control of human mating) of hereditary qualities of a race or breed

ex-votos
a votive candle offering

factotum
a general servant

ideologue
an impractical idealist

incubi
evil spirits that lie on persons in their sleep; especially : one that has sexual intercourse with women while they are sleeping

junta
a council or committee for political or governmental purposes; especially : a group of persons controlling a government especially after a revolutionary seizure of power

larch
any of a genus (Larix) of northern hemisphere trees of the pine family with short fascicled deciduous leaves

majolica
earthenware covered with an opaque tin glaze and decorated on the glaze before firing

malheureux
unhappy; miserable

mendicants
beggar

merendero
picnic spot

metawe
jar of 1 to 3 liters

mote con huesillos
a traditional Chilean summer-time drink consisting of a sweet liquid syrup made with dried peaches (huesillo) and mixed with fresh cooked husked wheat

nimbus
a luminous vapor, cloud, or atmosphere

occluded
closed up or blocked off

ocher
an earthy usually red or yellow and often impure iron ore used as a pigment

ontological
relating to or based upon being or existence

osteology
a branch of anatomy dealing with the bones

patina
a superficial covering or exterior

ranchera
Mexican folk song

succubi
demons assuming female form to have sexual intercourse with men in their sleep

unvanquished
undefeated

unwonted
being out of the ordinary : rare, unusual

Week 4: Locations

by Sara Corona Goldstein

Mondragón, seek San Sebastián, approved Spain – Lola’s favorite poet is institutionalized in an insane asylum here. She lives here for a while. (p. 165)

Barcelona – Amalfitano and Lola live here with their daughter, this site Rosa. Lola says that she met and slept with the poet at a party he and the gay philosopher have here. (p. 165, 167)

Pamplona, Zaragoza – places Lola and Imma stay on their way to San Sebastián. (p. 166-167)

Mondragón cemetary – Lola is driven here by Larrazábal who she sleeps with and later lives with; she also lives here a short time. (p. 175)

Bayonne, Landes, Pau, and Lourdes, France – Lola travels to these places during her time in France before settling in Paris. (p. 180).

Paris – Lola has a job and a son (Benoit) here. (p. 181)

Sant Cugat, Barcelona – Amalfitano is living here with Rosa when Lola visits them for the last time. (p. 183)

Buenos Aires – Duchamp comes up with the idea of hanging a geometry book on a clothesline outside while staying here. (p. 191)

Rianxo, La Coruña – Rafael Dieste, author of Testamento geométrico, is born here in 1899. (p. 195)

Santiago de Compostela – Dieste dies here in 1981. (p. 195)

A merendero, 10 miles outside Santa Teresa – Amalfitano, Rosa, Professor Pérez, and her son take a trip here. (p. 199, 204)

Colonia Lindavista, Santa Teresa – Amalfitano’s house is here. (p. 199)

Los Zancudos, outside of Santa Teresa – Marco Antonio Guerra takes Amalfitano here, where they drink Los Suicidas mezcal. (p. 215)

Santiago de Chile – Lonko Kilapán publishes O’Higgins is Araucanian here in 1978. (p. 216)

Week 4: Dreams

by Daryl L. L. Houston

185: Amalfitano dreams of Lola walking down the side of a mostly deserted highway, purchase fearless, nurse bearing the weight of her suitcase.

187: Never, approved even in dreams, has Amalfitano been to Santiago de Compostela.

201: The first time Amalfitano hears the voice in his head, he wonders if it’s part of a nightmare.

202: Lola appears in Amalfitano’s dreams along with two old friends, waving from behind a fenced park and (somehow) a room full of dusty philosophy books.

206: Amalfitano dreams of a woman’s voice talking about signs and numbers and history broken down and the American mirror. He then switches to a dream in which he’s moving toward a woman who was only a pair of legs at the end of a dark hallway.

217: “Maybe [Amalfitano] dreamed something. Something short. Maybe he dreamed about his childhood. Maybe not.”

227: Amalfitano dreams about the last Communist philosopher of the 20th century, who turns out to be a drunken Boris Yeltsin singing a sad song of a Volga boatman who commiserates with the moon about the human condition. Yeltsin explains to Amalfitano what the the third leg of the human table is (apparently magic, the first two legs being supply and demand). He then shows Yeltsin his missing fingers (or their void), drinks some more, talks about his childhood, resumes singing (“if possible with even more brio”!), and disappears into a streaked crater/latrine.

Week 4: Clueless

by Maria Bustillos

Oscar Amalfitano is a bewildered man. He’s got no idea how he even wound up in this horribly dangerous town. Young girls are getting abducted and killed here, hospital all the time, viagra and he has got the sole care of a young daughter. My own daughter is about the same age as Rosa Amalfitano, information pills and if we were living in Santa Teresa, you can bet your sweet bippy that that kid would not be just blithely waltzing around to the movies, not unless she were under armed guard. What is he thinking?!

Notice, though, how Amalfitano has consistently been at the total mercy of these women. So Lola wants to go off with some poet, Oscar peels off some cash for her. Rosa wants to go to a movie, hey okay, see you later. Part of the trouble with Amalfitano is, he’s like Hamlet, kind of. He’s stuck, largely because he has no faith in the significance of his own actions, so it’s like he just can’t move. He is outside all these games everyone else is playing; he can’t understand them. For example, he is neither macho, nor is he gay. He likes Archimboldi just fine, but his head wasn’t turned by Archimboldi as the heads of the critics were. He’s not doing any of that stuff; he’s just a human being, just trying to figure out what the hell is going on. Professor Pérez’s attempt at romancing him meets with near-total bafflement. Unlike the other men we’ve seen so far (with the possible exception of Morini,) Amalfitano’s basic interface with the world is not sexual (or gender-derived, I should maybe say.) Plus he is nice. He won’t say to anybody such phrases as, the hell you will! Over my dead body! etc.

So he’s not really equipped to deal with this reality.

Amalfitano loved Lola, and he loves Rosa; is this the weakness that makes him incapable of protecting them? You love them, so you can’t say no to them?  But they’re putting themselves in such danger. (As I read this all my mom-feelings were going absolutely wild. Go after her! I’m inwardly shrieking.) I have to say, I completely part company with the author, here, if he’s trying to tell me that love weakens men, makes them incapable of protecting, as in, love means never having to prevent a crazy woman from hitchhiking out of a town full of murderers. (?)  Then scan the paper with your heart in your throat for some kind of horrible news the next day (echoing the faux-plane crash of Espinoza, remember? Another horror that failed to materialize.)

Because there are all these women getting killed in Santa Teresa. How do you deal with this? Maybe it is, in fact, impossible. You’re up against it, and you have to keep on and hope for the best. About eighteen years ago, my own city, Los Angeles, was basically going up in flames. As in, on fire. It’s hard to believe now, but in fact we really did all behave as if it were a minor inconvenience, tried to get on with our lives, and quite a lot of that meant ignoring the enormity of the smoke in the air, guys with guns on the roof, the burnt shell of what had been a shopping mall. The place I’m thinking of (on Pico, near La Brea) is a tidy supermarket now, it has got a Bank of America in front just as if nothing had happened. There’s not the smallest sign. You let the elements have their way with you, and hope for the best. At some point, though, for some people, the reality won’t let you do that.

In this way, I think the volume of Dieste is a symbol for Amalfitano himself. A rational book, a book about geometry, to serve for a rational man, the Unhappy Readymade: http://www.toutfait.com/unmaking_the_museum/Unhappy%20Readymade.html

The book, like the man, is the plaything of the elements. That’s why Amalfitano is in such a panic about the book’s fate, every time he comes home. There is horror and dread kind of circling him, inexorably, and circling the book, and maybe that is what is driving him mad. How he can be spending even one moment making these incomprehensible diagrams of philosophers when he ought to be locking his daughter in her room while he buys them a pair of plane tickets out of there is beyond me. I have not been able to make head or tail of these diagrams, at least not yet, but I hope someone else here has worked on them, and will enlighten us. It really irritates me, though, that Plato should be below Aristotle in the first diagram, when clearly Plato is always above Aristotle, always the in higher, more rarefied, more ethereal air.  I guess that is the one diagram that kind of makes sense, because Heraclitus really kind of gave birth to both Aristotle and Plato, you could say?

Now, Lola. I’ll be coming back to her but for the moment, I will say that Lola is another person who has been driven straight off her trolley by literature. She’s the flip side of the critics. Her fangirlhood has literally made her lose contact with reality completely. Just like them. More on that tomorrow.

Week 4: Pages 163-228

The Part About Amalfitano

The second Part of 2666 is devoted to Professor Oscar Amalfitano. As Steve mentions in the comments of the previous post, healing this is a dense section, maybe the most dense of the entire novel. We’ll do what we can to unpack some of the details. There are so many topics to cover that it will be hard to cover them in one week (much less one post). I’ll focus on a couple of points today and a couple tomorrow.

The beginning is ominous (or at least bizarre):

I don’t know what I’m doing in Santa Teresa, Amalfitano said to himself after he’d been living in the city for a week. Don’t you? Don’t you really? he asked himself. Really I don’t, he said to himself, and that was as eloquent as he could be.

Amalfitano’s wife Lola travels to see her favorite poet, who lives in the insane asylum in Mondragón, near San Sebastián. Oddly, the poet is never named. This makes me think that the poet is a stand-in for Bolaño. Bolaño always considered himself a poet first and foremost and yet he felt trapped by the commercial appeal of fiction. It could be that the poet is a stand-in for Amalfitano as well.

San Sebastian is a town on the northern coast of Spain, near Bilbao and Pamplona, in Basque country. There are many places around the world named San Sebastián—usually named after the Christian martyr Saint Sebastian, who has been depicted shot through with arrows. Also, depictions of the saint have included a subtext of homosexuality, leading many gays and lesbians to adopt Saint Sebastian as the patron saint of homosexuals (c.f. Derek Jarman’s Sebastiane). It’s no coincidence that Bolaño has imprisoned his gay poet in the city named for the patron saint of homosexuals. Mondragón is a small town south of San Sebastián on the Autopista del Norte (AP-1). Mondragón is home to a psychiatric hospital, but it is most famous as the headquarters of the worker cooperative MCC. When Lola finally sees the poet in the asylum, the first word he says to her is “perseverance.”

A few more tidbits:

page 173: “When Imma had finished reading a poem about a labyrinth and Ariande lost in the labyrinth and a young Spaniard who lived in a Paris garret, the poet asked if they had any chocolate.” What poem is this? Borges? “Ariadne auf Naxos” by Heinrich Wilhelm von Gerstenberg?

page 189: how about the beautiful paragraph in the middle of this page? “They turned the pain of others into memories of one’s own” reads almost like a mission statement for 2666.

page 189: “the afternoon when he’d ranged over his humble and barren lands like a medieval squire, as his daughter, like a medieval princess, finished applying her makeup in front of the bathroom mirror” This felt like an explicit connection between Amalfitano and Don Quixote. Both have delusions of grandeur, but in some ways it’s Amalfitano’s wife Lola who goes on an adventure (to find the poet). Amalfitano is not daring enough to even track down the full lineage of the Dieste book: “For an instant Amalfitano envisioned a pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago” (p. 187), but of course he does nothing except consider the thought.

page 200: “The word chincuales, said Augusto Guerra, like all words in the Mexican tongue, has a number of senses.” I found myself nodding vigorously in agreement at this statement. A couple of months ago I came across the phrase “gatos hidraulicos” and thought “hydraulic cats?” But I discovered that gato has about about ten different meanings, all depending on context and geographic location (hydraulic car jacks, in this case).

page 204: Do we think Bolaño knows the University of Phoenix is not exactly a top-tier university?

page 205: Amalfitano wakes up in the car, sweating. But why is Professor Perez also sweating? Did she molest him?

page 209: “Have you asked yourself whether your hand is a hand?” I think Edwin Johns has the answer to that one.

Link Roundup

Here are some places that are either following along for the group read or have written about our project:

Grinnell College Libraries Book Review

Biblio Filmes

Bibliographing

Things I’ve Lost

Infinite Zombies

Bleakonomy

The Daily Snowman

SarahBBC

Another Cookie Crumbles

Alone with each other

Naptime Writing

I just read about that

Please leave a comment with a link if you are following along on your own site!

The Ever-Popular Tortured Artist Affect

by Maria Bustillos

Quite early in these proceedings, information pills Terrell Williamson wrote in a comment:

In reading the portions about Edwin Johns, stuff it occurred to me that Johns’s cutting off the hand with which he painted “for the money” is akin to Bolaño’s giving up writing poetry to focus on fiction “for the money” to support his family.

I’ve been wondering about that ever since, increasingly, as we’ve come to know something more about the sad case of Edwin Johns, and also about the sad case of Roberto Bolaño. Difficult though it is to believe, this book is the work of a gravely ill man. He was waiting for a liver transplant. Accounts differ as to the source of Bolaño’s illness: Benjamin Kunkel (of all people) stated quite flatly (in a highly MFA-flavored 2007 piece in LRB) that Bolaño’s liver had been damaged as the result of addiction to heroin; Bolaño’s family disputes this account. There is doubt, it looks like. Bolaño was very young, certainly, to have been suffering from liver disease.

Loads of interesting details are available in this recent NYT article: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/28/books/28bola.html (Highly recommended.)

It’s clear from a piece that appeared in El Mundo right after his death that Bolaño had been hopeful about getting through the transplant surgery okay. I’ve translated the relevant bits below. Spanish readers will find a number of interesting links on the page.
http://www.elmundo.es/elmundolibro/2003/07/15/protagonistas/1058255270.html

PADECÍA PROBLEMAS HEPÁTICOS
El escritor chileno Roberto Bolaño fallece en Barcelona a los 50 años

El escritor chileno Roberto Bolaño, de 50 años, ha muerto a las 2.30 horas en Barcelona tras sufrir complicaciones en una enfermedad hepática que padecía y para la que se preparaba para un trasplante, según ha informado el diario chileno ‘La Tercera’ y han confirmado fuentes cercanas a la familia.

Precisamente por esta operación -un trasplante de hígado-, Bolaño, una de las plumas chilenas más brillantes de la última década, pospuso su próxima novela, titulada ‘2666’, de la que él mismo dijo que sería su obra más ambiciosa.

“No estoy para hacer el trabajo que exige la novela. Son más de mil páginas que tengo que corregir, es un trabajo como de minero del siglo XIX”, dijo el escritor al diario La Tercera a mediados de junio.

“Procuro ahora hacer un trabajo más reposado. Voy a corregir la novela sólo después de la operación”, había señalado al matutino chileno.

En la entrevista, Bolaño se refirió a la esperada operación de trasplante: “El doctor dice que me va a avisar cinco horas antes y en ese tiempo tengo que pedir perdón, hacer mi testamento y poner mi alma en funciones. Estoy tercero en una lista para recibir el trasplante”.

Tras residir en Chile, México y Estados Unidos, Bolaño se trasladó a España en 1977. Pasó sus últimos años en la localidad gerundense de Blanes, donde vivía con su mujer Carolina López y sus dos hijos. En los comienzos se vio obligado a realizar diversos trabajos eventuales, desde comerciante hasta vigilante nocturno.

HE SUFFERED FROM LIVER PROBLEMS
The Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño succumbs at age 50

The writer Roberto Bolaño, aged 50, died at 2:30a.m. in Barcelona after suffering complications of an illness of the liver, for which he was preparing for a transplant, according to the Chilean newspaper La Tercera, and confirmed by sources close to the family.

Precisely because of this operation, a liver transplant, Bolaño, one of the most brilliant literary lights of the last decade, postponed his next novel, entitled ‘2666’ which he himself said would be his most ambitious work.

“I’m in no shape to do the work the novel requires. There are over a thousand pages that I have to correct, it’s a job akin to being a miner of the 19th century,” said the author to La Tercera in mid-June.

“I’m looking to do more restful work. I’m going to correct the novel after the operation.”

In the interview, Bolaño referred repeatedly to the expected transplant.  “The doctor says that he’s going to let me know five hours beforehand, and in that time I must ask pardon [for my sins,] make my will and activate my soul.* I am the third on a transplant list.”

After living in Chile, Mexico and the United States, Bolaño relocated to Spain in 1977.  He spent his last years in the area around Blanes, where he lived with his wife Carolina López and their two children. At first he found himself obligated to do odd jobs, from trader to night watchman.

********

Returning now to Edwin Johns. The four critics are joined in a certain way over the painter, but in a manner different from their communion over Benno von Archimboldi. Norton introduces the other three to his work; to Morini directly, and to Pelletier and Espinoza through Morini. Morini is fascinated by the story, so much so that he makes a pilgrimage to the insane asylum to question the weirdly intimidating Johns. “I’m not an artist,” he tells Johns, who replies, “I’m not an artist either. Do you think you’re like me?”

“Honestly, I don’t know,” Morini replies.

One thing is certain: Bolaño depicts a substantial divide between artists and others. I suspect that this is an authentic conviction for him, that is, he himself believes this, rather than observing it to be a commonly-held or noteworthy belief. But what is he saying constitutes an “artist”?

One way of looking at this is, Johns is considered an artist simply because he lopped his own hand off. Absolutely, this act created, for him, a succès de scandale. The world outside the novel does not lack for parallel examples, the most obvious being the performance artist Chris Burden, who in 1971 staged his own shooting as a sort of art-happening (admittedly, one with less permanent consequences.) For Johns to mutilate himself, not in a performance but “for money” as he claims, focused the world’s attention on both himself and his painting. Can we assume that he cared deeply enough about the latter to relearn how to do it with his remaining hand? Was his self-mutilation really just cynical, mercenary? Self-loathing? Just a show? Or was it the final existential shriek that brought public attention to something of genuine value, something that he was so committed to, so much that he was ready to make any sacrifice in order to get that attention?

A simpler, really kind of banal reading is: the hand symbolizes the artist’s talent. In order to find fame the artist has to betray his own gift. In this reading, we’re looking at shorthand for pandering.

A third reading is that it really is a heroic act to cut off your own hand. It requires balls, people will be scared shitless of you forever, and you wind up in a comfortable Swiss chalet with nobody to bother or hassle you, attended by charming women, surrounded by a gorgeous landscape.  So which is it?

* the phrase is “poner mi alma en funciones,” a phrase you would ordinarily use not of a soul but more like, say you are president, and you’ve hired someone to do an important job but they haven’t really started working yet. So you say, “I’m going to put this guy in the game.”  As in, crank it up.

Week 4: The Part About Amalfitano

It’s President’s Day here in the US and I have the day off from work and so I haven’t fully prepared our overview of the Part About Amalfitano yet. It’s all coming later today or tomorrow. BUT one of our excellent followers has this great recap (and a beautiful image). I encourage you all to check it out:

http://iloveyousomething.com/2010/02/15/the-part-about-amalfitano/

And I encourage you to post your thoughts about Amalfitano and Lola & Rosa in the forums.

Week 3: Vocabulary

by Meaghan Doyle

capricious
governed or characterized by caprice : impulsive, hospital unpredictable

charreada
the original rodeo developed in Mexico based on the working practices of charros or working hands

Chicano
an American and especially a man or boy of Mexican descent

chilaquiles (photos)
a traditional Mexican dish of tortillas, viagra sale salsa, visit eggs or chicken, cheese, sour cream, and refried beans

coquetry
a flirtatious act or attitude

corrido
a popular narrative song and poetry form, a ballad, of Mexico

Cuba Libres
is a highball made of Cola, lime, and white rum

epistolary
contained in or carried on by letters

flagellants
a person who scourges himself or herself as a public penance

grandiloquently
a lofty, extravagantly colorful, pompous, or bombastic style, manner, or quality especially in language

lassitude
a condition of weariness or debility : fatigue

limpet
one that clings tenaciously to someone or something

lintel
a horizontal architectural member spanning and usually carrying the load above an opening

maquiladores
a foreign-owned factory in Mexico at which imported parts are assembled by lower-paid workers into products for export

mezcal
a distilled alcoholic beverage made from the maguey or agave plant that is native to Mexico

munificent
characterized by great liberality or generosity

onomatpoeic
the naming of a thing or action by a vocal imitation of the sound associated with it (as buzz, hiss)

orography
a branch of physical geography that deals with mountains

proscenium
the part of a modern stage in front of the curtain

serape
a colorful woolen shawl worn over the shoulders especially by Mexican men

socratic
of or relating to Socrates, his followers, or his philosophical method of systematic doubt and questioning of another to elicit a clear expression of a truth supposed to be knowable by all rational beings

solicitude
attentive care and protectiveness

virile
energetic, vigorous

Week 3: Characters

by Brooks Williams

Augusto Guerra

Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Letters in Saint Teresa, remedy makes the introduction to Amalfitano (112).

Oscar Amalfitano

Acts as a guide for Norton, Espinoza and Pelletier in Saint Teresa.  Translated The Endless Rose in 1974 (116).  He is from Chile.  The Critics are fond of him (130).  Norton’s initial impression “was of a sad man whose life was ebbing swiftly away…” (114).

“Exile must be a terrible thing,” said Norton sympathetically.

“Actually,” said Amalfirano, “now I see it as a natural movement, something that, in its way, helps to abolish fate, of what is generally thought of as fate.”

“But exile,” said Pelletier, “is full of inconveniences, of skips and breaks that essentially keep recurring and interfere with anything you try to do that’s important.”

“That’s just what I mean by abolishing fate,” said Amalfitano.  “But again, I beg your pardon.” (117)

Has a copy of Rafael Dieste ‘s Testamento geometrico hanging on his clothesline.

Appears to have a close relationship with Augusto Guerra’s son (128, 130).

Rector Negrete

Rector at the University of Santa Teresa.  Tall, lightly tanned (111).  Norton, Espinoza and Pelletier attend a party at his home (127).

Augusto Guerra

Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Letters at the University of Santa Teresa (112).  Makes the introduction, by letter, between Amalfitano and Norton, Pelletier and Espinoza.

Doktor Koenig

“German” magician and member of the Circo Internacional in Santa Teresa.  Visited by Amalfitano and The Critics (132).  Turns out he’s an American named Andy Lopez.  His act entails making living things disappear – moving from small (flea) to large (child).

Albert Kessler

Mentioned (138).

Rebeca

Girl who sells rugs in the market.  High school age, wants to become a nurse (125).  Espinoza has a romantic relationship with her and takes her and her brother (Eulogio) under his wing.  She has a sister named Cristina (147).

Eulogio

Rebeca’s little brother (149).  Works with Rebeca in the market.


p60
Rodrigo Fresán (1963 – ) – Argentinian writer and journalist.  He was a close friend of Bolaño.

p103
Zócalo -A massive plaza in the center of Mexico City.  The word zócalo translates to “base” or “plinth”.

Plaza Santo Domingo – A plaza surrounding the Church of Santo Domingo in Mexico City.  In the plaza, writers can be found with typewriters, willing to draft legal documents, etc for illiterate people.  “Unfortunately, this area is also very well-known for the falsification of documents.”  (Maybe that’s why Archimboldi wanted to go there…)

Angel on Reforma – A victory column featuring a bronze angel (representing law, war, justice and peace) perched at the top.  The column is at the center of a roundabout in central Mexico City.  It was built to commemorate the centennial Mexico’s War of Independence.  It looks similar to the Victory Column in Berlin.

p105
Mikhail Bulgakov (1891 – 1940) – Russian novelist and playwright.  His most famous work is The Master and Margarita, a novel Bulgakov spent ten years writing and rewriting.  It was in its fourth draft when Bulgakov died and was finished by his wife in 1941.

Situationists – An international revolutionary group active from 1957 – 1972.  The situationists rejected capitalism and held that mass media manufactured a false reality that attempted to cover up the degradation of the working class at the hands of capitalism.

p106
Marcel Schwob (1867 – 1905) – French symbolist writer.  Translated Robert Louis Stevenson to French.
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 – 1894) – Scottish writer.  Author of Treasure IslandThe Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Kidnapped (among others).

p107
Silvio Berlusconi (1936 – ) – Italian Prime Minister and billionaire.

p113
Willie Nelson (1933 – ) – American country music singer and songwriter.

p114
Martin Heidegger (1889 – 1976) – Hugely influential German philosopher who questioned the fundamental question of “being”.

p117
Günter Grass (1927 – ) – German writer.  Nobel Prize (Literature) in 1999.
Arno Schmidt (1914 – 1979) – German author and translator.

p118
Franz Kafka (1883 – 1924) – German writer.  Notable works include The Metamorphosis and The Trial.
Peter Handke (1942 – ) – Austrian controversial avant-guard novelist and playwright.
Thomas Bernhard (1931 – 1989) – Austrian controversial playwright and novelist.

p121
PRI– The Industrial Revolutionary Party.  Formerly a socialist party, the PRI occupies the center-left of Mexican politics.  The PRI was the dominant political party in Mexico for much of the 20th century.
PAN– The National Action Party.  Theoretically neither a left or right-wing party, the PAN can generally be viewed in a christian context and thus currently occupies a place in Mexican right-wing politics.  The president of Mexico has been a member of the PAN since 2000.
Paul Valéry (1871 – 1945) – French symbolist poet.

p127
Louis-Ferdinand Céline (1894 – 1961) – French writer.  Real name was Louis-Ferdinand Destouches.  Notable works include Journey to the End of the Night.

Pierre Drieu La Rochelle (1893 – 1945) – French writer and Nazi collaborator.
Charles Maurras (1868 – 1952) – French writer.  Believed in fascism, but did not support Hitler and the Nazis

p131
The Gorgons – The children of Phorcys and Ceto.  “the term commonly refers to any of three sisters who had hair of living, venomous snakes, and a horrifying gaze that turned those who beheld it to stone. Traditionally, while two of the Gorgons were immortal, Stheno and Euryale, their sister Medusa was not, and was slain by the mythical hero Perseus.”

p133
Rafael Dieste (1899 – 1981) – Spanish writer.
Testamento geometrico – I found this

p136
Pierre Michon (1945 – ) – French writer.  Notable works include Small Lives and The Origin of the World.
Jean Rolin (1949 – ) – French writer and journalist.  Notable works include L’organisation.

Javier Marías (1951 – ) – Spanish novelist and translator.  Since 1986 all of his protagonists have been translators.  Notable works include A Heart So White.

Enrique Vila-Matas (1948 – ) – Spanish novelist.  Notable works include Bartleby & Co. and Montano’s Malady.





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