In the Shadow of the Patriarch
November 16, 2009 8:31 PM   Subscribe

Gabriel García Márquez's romance with power. During the youth of García Márquez’s grandfather, Colonel Nicolás Márquez Mejía, who was born in 1864 and died in 1936, a number of presidents and government ministers--almost all of them lawyers from the conservative camp--published dictionaries, language textbooks, and treatises (in prose and verse) on orthology, orthography, philology, lexicography, meter, prosody, and Castilian grammar.

To the horror of the Royal Spanish Academy and its American counterparts gathered in Zacatecas, Mexico, the celebrated author--lord and master of "Spain’s eternal presence in the language"--declared himself in favor of the abolition of spelling. The snub was the final victory of liberal Colombian radicalism over conservative grammatical hegemony. The ghosts of General Uribe Uribe and Colonel Márquez smiled in satisfaction.
posted by infinite intimation (9 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
one hundrad yers of solotude.
posted by nola at 8:36 PM on November 16, 2009 [2 favorites]

Philology (hotforwords. Youtube's resident philologist.)
Castillian grammar
posted by infinite intimation at 8:54 PM on November 16, 2009

¿Cómo hacer un babbé?
posted by felix betachat at 8:55 PM on November 16, 2009 [6 favorites]

It must be noted that Gabo's unabashed pandering to ("revolutionary") power can't be helping him these days, as Hugo Chávez (bestest friend of his bestest friend Castro) warmongers against Colombia.

This said, I'm perhaps biased here, as great-grandson of a member of the Royal Spanish Academy. García Márquez is a great writer, though, although I quite prefer his old frenemy Vargas Llosa.
posted by Skeptic at 12:12 AM on November 17, 2009

> It must be noted that Gabo's unabashed pandering to ("revolutionary") power can't be helping him these days

While I agree with you, and hate to see him sucking up to Castro, I trust you take a similar attitude toward Vargas Llosa's unabashed pandering to neoliberal country-destroying ideology.
posted by languagehat at 6:18 AM on November 17, 2009

¿Kómo aser un babbé?
posted by yarly at 7:21 AM on November 17, 2009

I don't think I have the time to read the rest of the article, but after the first page I have no idea what it's about. It starts out talking about Marquez's love of dictionaries, thanks to his grandfather. then it talks about how he wants to abolish spelling, and how happy that would make his grandfather. I was even shocked to be reminded he was reviewing a book. somewhere in the hodge podge of every single detail about marquez's life he could cram into the introduction of the article, I had forgotten I was reading a book review.

so, since this is way tl;dr, and I'm clearly at sea, here: what is this article about?
posted by shmegegge at 8:29 AM on November 17, 2009

what is this article about?

As with many such long-form magazine pieces, the meat is in the middle. The article is probably best summarized by the following graf:

The bond between grandfather and grandson--researched in detail by Martin--explains the grandson’s need to create that original fiction and to cling to it. "We were always together," remembers García Márquez in his memoirs. They even dressed alike. At home "the only men were my grandfather and me." Separated in early childhood from his parents and surrounded by a herd of "evangelical women"--his grandmother, his aunts, Indian maids--"for me, grandfather was complete security. Only with him did my doubts disappear and did I feel my feet firmly on the ground and myself well established in real life." "Beached in the nostalgia" of that stout and half-blind old man with his black-rimmed spectacles, the grandfather who celebrated his grandson’s "birthday" each month and praised his precocious talent as a story-teller and made him retell the plots of movies when he came home from the theater, García Márquez viewed his grandfather with a worshipful and indulgent sentimentalism, as the incarnation of love and power. "I was eight when he died ... something of me died with him … since then nothing important has happened to me." In Martin’s opinion, this was no exaggeration: "One of the strongest impulses in García Márquez’s later life was the desire to restore himself to his grandfather’s world," which meant inheriting "the old man’s memories, his philosophy of life and political morality," a political morality that fit into a single phrase: "I’d do it all over again."
posted by dhartung at 10:26 AM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

what is this article about?

From Gerald Martin's excellent reply to this inane ideological rant:
In this case, I repeat, Enrique Krauze has not reviewed a book about the life and work of Gabriel Garcia Marquez: he has written an essay — exactly as the whole Mexican intellectual class could have predicted — about the relationship between Garcia Marquez and Fidel Castro. Because Castro is one of his great obsessions. [...] A summary, then, of Krauze's essay: Gabriel Garcia Marquez is Fidel Castro's lackey (like La Jornada, I suppose, that publishes Castro's columns every week); and — he doesn't say so, but it is the article's theme, his strategy to delegitimize me — I am Garcia Marquez's lackey.
posted by RogerB at 12:17 PM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

« Older Lytico-Bodig, the mysterious killer of Guam   |   "We've lost sight of the numbers." Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments