By Jose Asuncion Silva
Misplaced in a shipwreck in 1895, rewritten prior to the author's suicide in 1896, and never released till 1925, Jose Asuncion Silva's "After-Dinner dialog" (De sobremesa) is certainly one of Latin America's best fin de siecle novels and the 1st one to be translated into English. possibly the one top paintings for figuring out turn-of-the-twentieth-century writing in South the United States, "After-Dinner dialog" can also be brought up because the continent's first mental novel and an excellent instance of modernista fiction and the Decadent sensibility. Semi-autobiographical and extra very important for sort than plot, "After-Dinner dialog" is the diary of a Decadent sensation-collector in exile in Paris who undertakes a quest to discover his loved Helen, a imaginative and prescient whom his fevered mind's eye sees as his salvation.Along the way in which, he struggles with irreconcilable urges and temptations that pull him in each course whereas he endures an atmosphere detached or adverse to non secular and highbrow targets, as did the modernista writers themselves. Kelly Washbourne's first-class translation preserves Silva's lush prose and experimental type. within the advent, the most wide-ranging in Silva feedback, Washbourne areas the lifestyles and paintings of Silva of their literary and historic contexts, together with a longer dialogue of ways "After-Dinner dialog" suits inside Spanish American modernismo and the Decadent move. Washbourne's perceptive reviews and notes additionally make the unconventional obtainable to normal readers, who will locate the paintings strangely clean greater than a century after its composition.
Read or Download After-Dinner Conversation: The Diary of a Decadent (Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Series in Latin American and Latino Art and Culture) PDF
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Extra info for After-Dinner Conversation: The Diary of a Decadent (Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Series in Latin American and Latino Art and Culture)
Sobremesas appear frequently in the novel as well. TRANSLATOR’S INTRODUCTION 23 Moreno-Durán36 is instructive on this score, noting the search for la Maga in Rayuela as a parallel of Fernández’s obsessive search for Helen, displaced muses both. “Holy Water and Spanish Fly” Excedunt enim spirituales consolationes, omnes mundi delicias et carnis voluptatis. Nam omnes mandance aut vanae sunt turpes. —Imitat, Book II, ch. X37 The Catholic piety that motivated them endures in me, transformed into an atheistic mysticism.
In short, time has revealed Nordau’s attacks for what they are: character assassinations disguised in objective language and aimed at reducing the status of their targets. In many respects he falls in with the very positivist doctors whom Fernández reads and to whom he resorts with almost hypochondriacal desperation. Let us turn our attention to madness. We would do well to consider madness first in terms of its cachet, not as degenerative but in its ecstatic or aesthetic potential. Clearly Fernández’s revulsion in the doctor’s waiting room, where his malaise is felt to be of another, higher, aesthetic order than that of the broken and pathetic patients assembled there, points to an unwritten code whereby the artist’s distemperments are superior in that they are a product or catalyst of aesthetics.
I enjoy weeping, I enjoy my despair. . It would be cruel to have me die when I am so accommodating. . [I]n the very midst of my prayers for happiness, I find myself happy at being miserable. 67, cited in James, 83– 84n2 It may help to consider these apparently masochistic tendencies in the light of Lionel Trilling’s remark on “how pervasive and deeply rooted is the notion that power may be gained by suffering” (161) and indeed, “[I]n the nineteenth century the Christianized notion of the didactic suffering of the artist went along with the idea of his mental degeneration” (162).
After-Dinner Conversation: The Diary of a Decadent (Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Series in Latin American and Latino Art and Culture) by Jose Asuncion Silva