Figures of Transcontinental Multilingualism 3643909535, 9783643909534

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Figures of Transcontinental Multilingualism
 3643909535, 9783643909534

Table of contents :
Contents
Configuration of the Book • K. Alfons Knauth & Subha Chakraborty Dasgupta
Imagining Relation through Words in Amitav Ghosh’s Sea of Poppies • Subha Chakraborty Dasgupta
Autour de Les Indes Lézenn d’Édouard Glissant: Entre la Poétique du Voyage et la Poétique de la Relation • Tumba Shango Lokoho
The Figure of East West India in History and Literature • K. Alfons Knauth
Para um mapa crioulo e sonâmbulo de imbricações luso-afro-indianas • Biagio D’Angelo
Mapping Multilinguality in Medieval Indian Literary Culture • T. S. Satyanath
Journeys of Myths and Words between Indian and European Cultures • Ramona L. Ceciu
Die Anbahnung kultureller und sprachlicher Beziehungen zwischen Europa und China durch den italienischen Jesuiten Matteo Ricci, alias Li Madou • Hans-Georg Grüning
Montage as East-West Poetic Configuration. Ezra Pound’s Translation of Chinese Images • Andrés Claro
Saturn über El Monte: Salvador Plascencias The People of Paper • Monika Schmitz-Emans
La figura universal y multilingüe del dragón-serpiente • Graciela N. Ricci
List of Contributors

Citation preview

K. Alfons Knauth, Subha Chakraborty Dasgupta (Eds.)

Figures of Transcontinental Multilingualism

... Lungenwind streift über das Gaumensegel ... el EXPL.ORADOR ... e.xhala su ... Descubrí¡Miento! ... mise en scène ... d.un quiproquo ... mu.l.ti.langue.s ... EAST & WEST I.NDIES il.limit.e.d ... d.eux I.ndes ... oph.idiennes ... mordiéndose la cola ... Make it new ¡OURO.BOR.OS! ... Zunge.n zeigen ... f.éminemment bi.fides ... Kali & Coatlicue ... e.mbrassant dé.vor.ant ... l.as I.ndias o.rientales & occi.dent.ales ... Zäh.ne.zeigen ... Che s’imbarchino ... interprêt.r.es weltlittéraires ... of ... LIT.ERRATA & LITERA.TRUE ... in.spiré.s par ... Hermès ... soufflant ... het.erog.l.ott ... diph.tongues ... in tutte le lingue ... contre vents et marées ... de la ... P.AN.GLO.PHO...NIE ... du ... todo.inglés.tout.cinglé ... VORTEX.t ... quere.lla.rse ... i.nter. l.ingual.mente ... i.n ... I.NTER.LETTO ... ren²n ! Mensch ... ... faire le tour ... ¡incontournable! ... du Globe et du Verbe ... en ... PALINDR.OM.E ... I am OM ... ... J’aime le MO ... t ...

Lit

K. Alfons Knauth, Subha Chakraborty Dasgupta (Eds.)

Figures of Transcontinental Multilingualism

poethik polyglott Herausgegeben von

Britta Benert (Université de Strasbourg)

Rainier Grutman (University of Ottawa)

K. Alfons Knauth (Universität Bochum)

Band 4

LIT

Figures of Transcontinental Multilingualism edited by

K. Alfons Knauth and Subha Chakraborty Dasgupta

LIT

Umschlagbild: Dichtungsring-Montage (Fragment) aus: Dichtungring 50 (2017) Autor: Queneauth

This book is printed on acid-free paper.

Bibliographic information published by the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data are available on the Internet at http://dnb.d-nb.de. ISBN 978-3-643-90953-4 (pb) ISBN 978-3-643-95953-9 (PDF) A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

©

L

IT VERLAG GmbH & Co. KG Wien, Zweigniederlassung Zürich 2018 Klosbachstr. 107 CH-8032 Zürich Tel. +41 (0) 44-251 75 05 E-Mail: [email protected] http://www.lit-verlag.ch Distribution: In the UK: Global Book Marketing, e-mail: [email protected] In North America: International Specialized Book Services, e-mail: [email protected] In Germany: LIT Verlag Fresnostr. 2, D-48159 Münster Tel. +49 (0) 2 51-620 32 22, Fax +49 (0) 2 51-922 60 99, e-mail: [email protected] e-books are available at www.litwebshop.de

Contents

Configuration of the Book K. Alfons Knauth & Subha Chakraborty Dasgupta Imagining Relation through Words in Amitav Ghosh’s Sea of Poppies Subha Chakraborty Dasgupta Autour de Les Indes Lézenn d’Édouard Glissant: Entre la Poétique du Voyage et la Poétique de la Relation Tumba Shango Lokoho The Figure of East West India in History and Literature K. Alfons Knauth Para um mapa crioulo e sonâmbulo de imbricações luso-afro-indianas Biagio D’Angelo Mapping Multilinguality in Medieval Indian Literary Culture T. S. Satyanath

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Journeys of Myths and Words between Indian and European Cultures 137 Ramona L. Ceciu Die Anbahnung kultureller und sprachlicher Beziehungen zwischen Europa und China durch den italienischen Jesuiten Matteo Ricci, alias Li Madou Hans-Georg Grüning

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C ONTENTS

Montage as East-West Poetic Configuration. Ezra Pound’s Translation of Chinese Images Andrés Claro

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Saturn über El Monte: Salvador Plascencias The People of Paper Monika Schmitz-Emans

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La figura universal y multilingüe del dragón-serpiente Graciela N. Ricci

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List of Contributors

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Configuration of the Book K. Alfons Knauth & Subha Chakraborty Dasgupta

The present volume is the fourth and last volume of an ICLA/AILC project on the general issue of “Mapping Multilingualism in World Literature”. These four volumes open up a new series of critical studies called poethik polyglott, published by L IT Verlag. The first volume was dedicated to the topic of Multilingual Literature and Translation (2011), the second to the Imagery and Ideology of Multilingualism in Literature and the Media, in particular the myth of Babel and the figure of the Labyrinth (2014), whereas the third volume was focused upon the multiple relationship between Migrancy and Multilingualism in World Literature, including its aquatic and terrestrian imagery in a both historical and systematic perspective (2016). The starting point of this last volume was the XIth International Conference of the Comparative Literature Association of India (CLAI) under the theme “The Journey of Comparative Literature: India and Beyond”, held in January 2013 at Jadavpur University (Kolkata), where the last colloquium of the ICLA Research Committee “Mapping Multilingualism in World Literature”, hosted by Professor Subha Chakraborty Dasgupta, took place. The volume investigates outstanding figures and configurations of the Transcontinental Imaginary and Ideology1 of literary and cultural Multilingualism. Before giving a detailed summary of the various contributions (p. 4–19) we briefly present the ‘figurative’ line of the volume. Its first focus is the geocultural figure of the ‘Indies’, the transcontinental pluralization of India within the AmerIndian continent, where the oxymoronic figure of East West India emerged, followed by a series of inversions of an ideological and imaginary, a political and a rhetorical kind. This shifting figure conveys quiproquos and chiastic configurations, cross1

The term ‘ideology’ is used in the general sense of an open or closed “system of ideas and ideals” (The Oxford Dictionary of English, Third Edition, 2010).

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cultural, subversive and interlingual processes, climaxing in some paronomastic and palindromic formations with a highly significant semantic and ideological charge in and around the works of V.S. Naipaul, Gabriel García Márquez and Aldous Huxley. The mapping of these and the following figures offers a condensed and mobile imago mundi2 covering large areas and eras of geocultural globalization (cf. A LFONS K NAUTH). The multiplication and differentiation of the Indies also concerned the Indian Ocean, Amitav Ghosh’s ‘Sea of Poppies’ (cf. S UBHA C HAKRABORTY DASGUPTA), which in the 19th century became a cross-road of forced transcontinental migrations, of coolitude, of a ‘pychotropic’ commerce creolizing Indian, African and colonial European tongues. The ludic and oniric figures of Afro-Indian coolitude (Khal Torabully) and of transcontinental Luso-AfroIndian sonâmbulismo (Mia Couto) (cf. BIAGIO D’ANGELO) transcended the Caribbean context and concretized the apparently abstract, yet mythic, concept of Édouard Glissant’s la Relation. Against the abyssal background of a historic configuration, the tricontinental and eventually worldwide slave trade, draining a ‘dysfigured’ humanity, Relation begins as the figurative process of désirade, the desire of a poetic reconfiguration and transfiguration of human relationship, initiated with Glissant’s epic poem Les Indes / Lézenn (cf. T UMBA S HANGO L OKOHO), where the ‘Indies’ are deterritorialized on their way towards what Glissant later called a creolizing Tout-Monde. The ‘désirade’ of an ‘oceanic’, idiomatically profuse and diffuse Tout-Monde constitutes a sort of Erfüllungsfigur (Erich Auerbach), a prefiguration of an asymptotic fulfilment, coextensive with the literary text. Alongside the multifarious figures of multilingualism subsists the opposite figure of ‘mutilingualism’, at first in the form of an existential ‘nihilingualism’ or oriental ‘mu’, but also in the form of an ideological ‘glottophagy’, the muting and silencing of other tongues by imposing an exclusive global language. P/anglophony, colonial and neo-colonial English and Globish, tends to dominate World Literature and ignores, except in the form of translation, the abundant tongues of entire continents or subcontinents such as Africa and India. This kind of ‘mutilingualism’ is both performed and counteracted in the present volume. One strategy of counteraction is the disfiguration of colonial English itself through selective solecisms, caco2

For a modern concept of imago mundi see Andrés Claro’s essay Imágenes de Mundo (Santiago de Chile: Ediciones Bastante 2016), part of which may be found in his essay “Montage as East-West Configuration” in the present volume.

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graphy and cacophony, and above all hybridization (cf. C HAKRABORTY DASGUPTA). Another strategy is the metalingual display of polyglossy, of languages and tongues, by means of linguistic, literary, oral and cultural analysis, along with the figurative representation of absent languages through pars pro toto or quotation (e.g. Sanskrit kavya = ‘figurative style’ or ‘poem’), in all, the suggestive evocation of the diversity and beauty of the muted tongues (cf. T.S. S ATYANATH). Beside the cultural Indo-European expansion of the Indies in Romanticism, including its forerunners in former times and in supposedly marginal spaces like Romania (cf. R AMONA C ECIU), and beside the traditional globalization of the Indies, a definite geocultural division between East India and China, to which the sinological and sinophile Jesuits Matteo Ricci and Athanasius Kircher contributed considerably, has been realized since the 17th century. On a global scale, the general figure of the Orient and the Occident gradually superseded that of East West India, though Chinese Hong Kong still became a British colony by means of the Honorable East India Company in the middle of the 19th century. Thus, and nevertheless, specific Sino-European figures were emerging at different levels, intercultural, interlingual and personal ones. Apart from the just mentioned Matteo Ricci alias Li Madou (cf. H ANS -G EORG G RÜNING), the verbovisual and numeric sign and sinogram of the cross (cf. p. 13) is one of them, despite an ideological dysfunction of its chiastic equilibrium. Another one is the modernist figure of montage that originated in the translatory encounter between Occidental and Oriental poetry, between metaphor and parallelism, imagist and ideogrammatic language and writing, in particular that of Ezra Pound and Li Po (cf. A NDRÉS C LARO). Figures with a transcontinental and even universal horizon, mapped on a local ground, can be often observed in the Chicano area of California, for instance in El Monte, as it occurs in the contemporary U.S. American novel The People of Paper by Salvador Plascencia. The multilingual configuration is basically a U.S. – Mexican, a Chicano one, but it is diversified by European, African and Asian features, all of them vaulted by an astronomic and mythological constellation. There is also the performative figure of the making of the multimedial book, while the main medium is the book itself, along with its literary figures, the ‘manifold’ people of paper, imagined in the shape of a Japanese origami (cf. M ONIKA S CHMITZ -E MANS).

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The most specific and universal figure of both multilinguality and transcontinentality is the cosmic Ouroboros, the bifid serpent or dragon biting its own tail while circulating around the disk or globe of the world. With its bicephalous and bidirectional (or amphisbaenian) variants, the global Ouroboros presents a recurrent (or palindromic) and ambivalent (or enantiodromic) configuration, in parallel with the global figure of East West India (cf. supra p. 1-2). It has been represented in the mythologies of African, Oriental and Occidental cultures as a divine figure of continuous creation, destruction and universal communication, embracing and devouring the whole world and itself. The bifid serpent is the ‘archetypal’ figure of bifurcation of the one language into the many tongues of multilingualism. Beside mythology and literature, somatic and cosmic multilingualism, bifidism and human psyche, it configures the semiotic language of molecular biology, in particular the double helix of DNA, likely to be linked to the Mercurial caduceus. The ophidic figure might be an interdisciplinary key to the synthesis of cultural, cosmic and scientific language (cf. G RACIELA N. R ICCI). We now leave the synopsis of the manifold figurations of multilingualism and proceed to a more detailed and dialogical summary of the single contributions to this volume. In her paper “Imagining Relation through Words in Amitav Ghosh’s Sea of Poppies” the Indian scholar S UBHA C HAKRABORTY DASGUPTA (Jadavpur University, Kolkata) explores the world of intertwined languages in its many manifestations, both in specific regions and in the course of voyages across seas and oceans, as it appears in the Sea of Poppies, a text in Amitav Ghosh’s Ibis trilogy. Ghosh draws upon several glossaries of hybrid English and Anglo-Indian or Hindustani words, and constructs his own as well, attributing it to a character in the novel with whom he himself is linked thereby setting in motion a continuity, for the history of intertwined or hybrid words carries within it human stories that civilization needs to remember. One of the central events in the narrative, Chakraborty Dasgupta suggests, is language itself as it interconnects with diverse others, foregrounding the multiple nuances that are a part of the great drama of the opium trade spread across many continents, and that itself also gets linked with the past of the slave trade. A range of dialogic potential at the phonic, morphologic, syntactic, semantic and pragmatic levels of language is explored in the text with varied functions and consequences. On the one

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hand, the intertwined language is in certain ways linked with power in the colonial context, and on the other, it is used to subvert the very dynamics of that power. Then again, there is a whole spectrum of intra- and interlinguistic usages with reference to the varied characters in each language community. The non-transparent or the opaque that enters the domain of language in the context of such usages, in its turn persuades the reader to engage with otherness and in the case of interlinguistic usage, to perform the language. Then again there is a ludic impulse linked sometimes with erotic nuances, undercutting any one perspective to multilingualism or its implications, and playing with meaning itself. Moving into the area of the oceanic, the functions and nuances of the intertwined languages multiply manifold; in fact, they assume a chaotic dimension at one stage, as human contacts and relations multiply in a dizzying range. Multilingual usage in this context gets imbued with a dynamic and vibrant quality that stands for life itself amidst all its challenges, while its formative impulse seems to be onomatopoetic, echoing sounds from nature and navigational gestures and then again taking up echoes from other languages, both decomposing and recomposing sounds, and making them come together in a striking syntax. At the heart of multilinguality is the nomadic, a story of different kinds of exiles and migrations. The nomadic is linked with a worldview, Chakraborty Dasgupta argues, that valorizes the contingent and the relative, the ever-shifting perspective based on a constant series of changing relations, and that is different from singular mainstream drives of profit and loss, and in other contexts of discovery and conquest. There are also simultaneously various levels of intermingling and juxtapositions, of the awe-inspiring with the trivial, the comic with the not-so comic and with a steady core of the tragic in human situations. The density of the interlinked words and languages in the text also uncovers a different potential in history under the larger one of limitless greed and brutality, and that is one of infinite relationships, a phenomenon characterized by Édouard Glissant as a modern form of the sacred (La Poétique de la Relation, 1990). The ‘relational’ point of view, with a special focus on the figure of the plural Indies, has been taken up by the African scholar T UMBA S HANGO L OKOHO (Sorbonne III, Paris) in his study “Autour de Les Indes Lézenn d’Édouard Glissant : Entre la Poétique du Voyage et la Poétique de la Relation”. The concept of relationalism implies the postcolonial ‘transfigu-

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ration’ of the stigmatized Indies that have been marked indelibly by slavery and slaughter of Indians and Africans caused by European conquerors and colonizers striving for commercializing human beings and monetizing natural and cultural goods. The ‘transfiguration’ of a disfigured East West India is, above all, a poetic one, along with the ideological implications of the Poetic Word and the word poetic. It is the main purpose of both the Afro-Caribbean writer and the African scholar to demonstrate this poetical and ‘relational’ principle, that might also be called “poethik polyglott”. The scholar begins with a rhapsodic presentation of the epic poem that includes an historical overview of the discoveries (Le Voyage), the conquests (La Conquête), the triangular slave trade (la Traite), the abolition and the independence of the colonized countries (Les Héros). The European dream of exotic otherness and the desire of an Indian cornucopia (L’Appel) is amplified and intensified by the surprising coupling of an Eastern and Western India, even if it is merely an imaginary and figurative one. Yet, the glorious navigations of the explorers and conquerors are crossed by the miserable navigations of the slavers. Victorious and vicious dynamics are concomitant at first, then it comes to a violent clash ending up in the shipwreck of colonization, along with liberation from slavery. The historical matter is conveyed by an epic chant, by subsequent sequences of a now poetical (chap. La poétique du voyage de conquête) and now prosaic ductus and diction (chap. La prose de la Traite). Finally, there is an outlook on future relationship (La Relation) whose maritime drive is liable to deliver the energy for another circumnavigation around a new globe of hope, later called “le Tout-monde”. The miserable navigation of African slavery within the glorious navigation toward Eastern and Western India has been transformed by Glissant into the figure of a wandering and creolizing India, the “désirade” of an ever renewing and creolizing relationship: “les Indes renouvelées” (Poétique de la Relation 1990: 21). However, the ever flowing Relation reposes on the ever lasting memory of slavery – “[la] désirade où la souffrance gît” – as its very condition. This is a fairly specific reconfiguration of the historic figure of East West India. The poetics of Relation implies a “Relation through Words” (see Subha Chakraborty Dasgupta’s paper), the real or imaginary co-presence of other tongues, an intralinguistic (e.g. “désirade”) or interlinguistic (e.g. “Lézenn”) creolization of language. This basic characteristic of Glissant’s poetics is discussed by Shango Lokoho in the final paragraph “Les Indes

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Lézenn comme défi poétique du multilinguisme”. It is marked by the permanent co-presence of the Creole and French tongues in the binomial Les Indes Lézenn, the bilingual edition of Glissant’s epic poem Les Indes translated and further pluralized by the creolist Rodolf Étienne. In his study on “The Figure of East West India in History and Literature” K. A LFONS K NAUTH (Ruhr-Universität Bochum) explores the evolution of an emblematic issue of globalization, with special regard to its multilingual configuration in some literature of the Americas, in particular of the Caribbean area. The oxymoronic figure of East West India developed from an accidental quiproquo to several quite substantial conceptions of geopolitical and geocultural relationships. At first, the figure mapped the circular movement of global conquest and political power, encompassing the American West and the Asian East, with Europe in the hegemonic centre. While, basically, Portugal was going East and Spain was going West, their territorial conquests and spheres of influence happened to overlap at some place and time (Brazil 1500, Philippines 1521/1565) in the course of their transoceanic travels and circumnavigations. Eventually, the Spanish Monarchy claimed the incorporation of the Far East Asian territories of the Indias orientales into the American, thus Spanish, Indias occidentales, exploiting the confusion around the exact mapping, the geographical delimitation and definition of Orient and Occident. On the one hand, the puzzling figure of East West India and West East India favoured imperial and transcontinental expansion; on the other hand, it stimulated relativistic and reversible world views, transcultural relationships, along with a displacement of the European centre, but also a deconstruction of the Edenic or Spiritual Indies. Last, but not least, the East West Indies become a ludic and critical figure of pluralization, of coolitude, of a translingual and crosscultural imagination on a global plane. The both real and imaginary contact between West Indians and East Indians in and around the Caribbean area since the 19th century has been at the core of this ‘transcontimentality’, before culturally disseminating to the creolized ‘Indies’ of other Oceans and continents (see Subha Chakraborty Dasgupta’s, Tumba Shango Lokoho’s and Biagio d’Angelo’s contributions to this volume). A special chapter is dedicated to the deconstruction and reconfiguration of the traditional figure in some novels and essays of the Londoner ‘East Indian Trinidadian West Indian’ V.S. Naipaul. Other reconfigurations are highlighted in Mário de Andrade’s Macunaíma, Gabriel García Márquez’

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Cien años de soledad and Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands La Frontera, apart from quite distant European forerunners like Rabelais and Leopardi. Finally, some cosmic and cosmopolitan transfigurations of the East West Indian figure, including interlingual aspects, are looked at in the literary work of Haroldo de Campos and Aldous Huxley. In his paper “Para um mapa crioulo e sonâmbulo: imbricações lusoafro-indianas na literatura africana” (For a Creole and Somnambulist Mapping of Luso-Afro-Indian Translingualism in African Literature) the Italian scholar B IAGIO D’A NGELO (University of Brasília) offers a comparative analysis of an outstanding figure of contemporary lusophone literature against its colonialist background: the postcolonial redesigning and rewriting of the (underlying) triangular slave trade between Europe (Portugal), Africa (Angola) and America (Brazil), and of the imperialist navigation to India along the African Coast (Moçambique). The historical figure of the triangular trade and, to a certain extent, the figure of European East-WestIndian colonization, is changed into a figure of transcultural and translingual dynamics, tending towards a globalizing “literatura-mundo”. However, this worldwide process is ‘rooted’ in a ‘particular’ African ground, at a local, national or continental level. The postcolonial reconfiguration of the lusophone space has been tackled in different ways by three paradigmatic authors and works: the Angolan writer José Eduardo Agualusa through his novel Nação crioula (Creole Nation, 1997), the Mozambican writer Mia (Emílio) Couto through his novel Terra sonâmbula (Somnambulist Land, 1992), and the Angolan writer Luandino Vieira with his three stories published under the title Luuanda (1963), referring to the name of the capital of Angola. The triangular figure has been redesigned explicitly by Agualusa’s historiographic fiction Nação crioula, while in Luandino Vieira’s book Luuanda the historic configuration is an implicit one. On the other hand, Mia Couto’s Terra sonâmbula opens up the space of the Indian Ocean in order to illustrate a new transcultural and transcontinental identity navigating in a liquid “pátria” between Moçambique and India. All three books have in common the imaginary building of a “desired” and “somnambulist” community, weaving a multiple and mobile, national and African identity. The principal feature of this identity and its literary expression is its creolized and transcontinental lusophony comprising significant elements of indigenous African languages. Biagio d’Angelo, and

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partly the African authors themselves, develop their translingual and transcultural figures and concepts within the context of writers and thinkers like the Brazilians Guimarães Rosa and Mário de Andrade, the Indian Homi Bhabha, and the Afro-Caribbean Édouard Glissant. The Indian comparatist and linguist T.S. S ATYANATH (University of Delhi) investigates multilingualism in a wide historical context, that of medieval Indian cultures, particularly of the South, in their oral, literary, performative and inscriptional manifestations. Satyanath’s paper “Mapping Multilinguality in Medieval Indian Literary Cultures” is focused on the density of language diversity, of the presence of multiple religious and sectarian traditions, the necessity of the co-construction of texts maintaining manifold structural similarities and, therefore, on the particular robust mechanisms present in the system guaranteeing the sustenance of the multicultural and the multilingual as composite and evolving parts of a large pluralist order. The medieval period in India, from the 8th to the 18th centuries, divided into the early and the late medieval period, marked a new stage in the growth of a densely layered culture with elements from diverse regions constantly engaged in interactions. T. S. Satyanath goes into a holistic study of the dynamics of this multilingual culture and the various built-in mechanisms that enabled its growth and evolution. The origin of multilingualism is traced to the movement of various communities of people and in the Indian context he attributes it to the movement of Buddhism and Jainism from their places of origin to the Western and Southern regions, necessitating translations and interpretations from Pali/Prakrit into local languages. He points out repeatedly that the movement of texts was not confined to the process of translation from one language to another or even unidirectional translation from the cosmopolitan (Sanskrit) to the vernacular. It was rather a multidirectional and continuous process where texts and many languages formed a part of royal or stately acts of inscriptions, of scholarly writing of grammatical texts and of various sectarian traditions of composing literatures and oratures. Where texts were concerned there were commentaries and interpretations from several sources and traditions, and there was also a demarcation of different languages for different parts of a text. Grammars too were conceived within a multilingual tradition where languages were located in a continuum. Later T.S. Satyanath shows how a ritualistic tradition, the vratkatha, also shared a similar structure where different lan-

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guage usage was concerned, and he uses it as a model to demonstrate the multilingual impulse at the core of varied cultural formations. Satyanath also maintains that print culture led to misunderstandings and sometimes erasures of the multilingual context as it excluded the commentaries and interpretations in different languages present in manuscripts from the edited versions. However, the oral in its many forms, continued to be vibrant for a long period of time, while several institutions such as the monastery contributed to the preservation of the multilingual dynamics. Within the larger spectrum there was a constant movement of languages between the oral and the literary, the oral and the performative, and within particular oral and written languages complementing each other and constructing evolving systems in each case. The author also demonstrates that when it came to itinerant oral traditions, like that of the Kinnari Jogis singing their tale of the Mahabharata moving between Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, the multilingual dimension increased manifold, and they served to forge or strengthen links between languages, cultures and also religious denominations. Within the context of globalization and the consequent language endangerment along with an increasingly depleting trend of multilingualism all over the world, the scholar suggests that enhanced acts of translation, interpretation and commentary, engagements with each other’s texts, particularly among vernaculars located at the margins, could provide a model for sustaining multilingualism today. In her paper “Journeys of Myths and Words between Indian and European Cultures” the Romanian scholar R AMONA L. C ECIU (Jadavpur University, Kolkata) takes up the concept of the dialogical self from the domain of psychology to suggest that there are many relatively autonomous selves in the ‘landscapes of the mind’ and, moving through time and space, each of these selves can be in dialogic relation with one another. In such a situation it would be natural to think of a heterogeneous world system with numerous ‘Easts’ and numerous ‘Wests’ so that comparative frameworks privileging certain clusters and areas of comparisons and marginalization of others would not arise. (Western) Europe, America and regions from the Non-West seem to be more privileged areas, and the author demonstrates that a literature and culture from the periphery of Europe such as Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania etc. tend to occupy a more marginal space than Indian literature in the matrix of world literature as they “fall under

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a veil of invisibility or under sweeping generalizations” of European literatures. This premise leads her to explore the manifold and the multilingual processes of interconnections among diverse cultures and the multilayered shared heritages that exist among them, in particular the transcontinental dynamics at work in the longstanding relation between India and Europe. She begins with histories of Romania, the different pathways through which a nation, a language and a literature were forged, analyzing the context of their relationship with ‘Europe’ and ‘Europeanization’ and pointing out several hegemonic interventions from outside that were resisted, while the movement to diverse spaces and cultures continued. Moving to the domain of language, Ramona L. Ceciu analyzes numerous cases of syntactic and semantic identity, derivations and etymological connections between words belonging to Romanian and Indo-Aryan languages. On another plane, she refers to the circulation of myths, legends and images between Europe and India, tracing its paths through diverse cultures and suggestive of a perpetually mobile zone of cultural interactions. Her focus is on The Ballad of the Walled-up Wife, one of the most famous construction myths of all times found particularly in Eastern Europe, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Albania, Turkey, India and Japan with many variants and many settings in which the wall becomes substituted for a well, a church, a monastery or a bridge. The ballad has been commented upon extensively as well, though not often from larger comparative perspectives. In India the ballad occurs in various forms in Santali folklore, in the Kangra valley and in the South, specifically in Telugu- and Kannada-speaking regions, and Ramona L Ceciu studies the Santali story of The Seven Brothers and Their Sister together with the Romanian Ballad of Master Manole. The difference of connotations in the Indian and the Western contexts revolves deeply around foundational beliefs such as the reincarnation of souls in the Indian, and the transcendence of the material sphere to attain the divine in the Western, among many others, but there are also similarities in terms of archetypes such as that of sacrifice and appeasement to gods, connotations associated with the sacrifice of a woman, regenerative principles associated with sacrifice etcetera. Hence, the cultural self in the past that one may invoke with relation to such myths is actually constituted of accretions from many cultures, while the ‘individual’ self that is an autonomous part of the cultural is in constant dialogue with the many. The ballad also draws upon the common vocabulary between Romanian and Sanskrit, and that evokes

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memories of Vedic and non-Vedic sacrificial stories, moving in different directions again. Future possibilities seem to lie in the deprovincialization of cultures, and the central trope in the process is multilingualism. The Italo-German comparatist H ANS -G EORG G RÜNING (Università di Macerata) offers an overview of the first intensive cultural, ideological and idiomatic interactions between China and Europe, in particular Italy and Germany, in and through the work of the Italian Jesuit Matteo Ricci, called Li Madou. Father Ricci was the pioneer of the Catholic mission in China and the very first European living at the court of Beijing during the bloom of the Ming dynasty under emperor Wanli at the beginning of the 17th century. Grüning’s article “Die Anbahnung kultureller und sprachlicher Beziehungen zwischen Europa und China durch den italienischen Jesuiten Matteo Ricci, alias Li Madou” (Matteo Ricci, alias Li Madou: Paving the way for cultural and linguistic relationship between Europe and China) starts with an analytic synopsis of the corpus of editions and translations of Ricci’s Commentari della Cina that illustrates the large diffusion and multilingual amplification of that work in Europe from the Baroque era to the Enlightenment. Then, the scholar sketches some principles of Ricci’s missionary strategy conceived as an intercultural and almost transcultural activity where both cultures are considered as equal and ready for a mutual exchange, a traffic and translatio between two different worlds and minds. In fact, China was perceived and appreciated as another world, “un altro mondo”, according to Ricci’s own words, being worth assimilation, and even alienation. The assimilation began with the adoption of another tongue and a new name that turned out to be Li Madou: Ricci Matteo entering into an – onomastically and heteroglossically – reversed world. The assimilation was completed with his burial in Chinese earth, in a monumental tomb in Beijing. Yet, in exchange, the Jesuit would not refrain from converting Chinese Taoists or Confucionists into Catholics. It is well known that his most spectacular conversion was that of the later Ming minister Xu Guangqi, who, as a Christian, became Paulus Xu, thus a rather asymmetric exchange. Both of them, Matteo Ricci alias Li Madou and Xu Guangqi alias Paulus Xu, conspicuously feature on an emblematic page of Athanasius Kircher’s China Illustrata, dressed as mandarins, with their names written in Latin and in Chinese characters, framed by a long procession of little crosses and with one big crucifix between them in the very centre of the picture. The figure

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of the cross is quite ambiguous. According to Kircher and Ricci, the numerous crosses found in China engraved for instance on stones and even in the Chinese name for Christians are vestiges of the first mission accomplished by the legendary Apostle Thomas. On the other hand, the cross is a genuine Chinese character meaning the number 10 or X, as both Ricci and Kircher have pointed out3 , and it is the Chinese symbol of perfection. Obviously, the sinographic cross is seen, especially by Kircher, as a sort of ‘heilsgeschichtliche Erfüllungsfigur’, a prefiguration of Christ and Christianism in Chinese culture. This intercultural asymmetry was to be gradually adjusted when Matteo Ricci’s Confucionists and Taoists happened to excel their Christian homologues in European eyes since the Enlightenment. This evolution which reaches from Ricci to Leibniz and Goethe, in a non-linear way via Erasmus Francisci, Nicola Longobardi, Du Halde, Melchior Grimm, Friedrich Schiller and others, is philologically traced back by Grüning in the second half of his study. Grüning also takes into account the contradictions between progressive and regressive dynamics in the religious, the philosophical and the literary fields. He focuses particularly on Goethe’s ideological development toward a pantheist Weltanschauung as a result not only of Spinoza’s philosophy, but also of the discussions on the nature of the Divine around the Confucionist concept of Tien-Chu or Lord of Heaven (“Signore del Cielo”) and around Ricci’s dispute with the “idolatrous” Sanhoai, who doesn’t appreciate at all this Lord of Heaven, whom he considers equal to human beings, similar to the Spinozian equivalence of Deus sive Natura. All in all, the – not only rhetorical – figure of “Matteo Ricci [alias] Li Madou” might be considered a pathbreaking example for an intercultural and interlingual chiasm. It could even be seen as the prefiguration of a modern cross-cultural concept, if the cross hadn’t been interpreted in a predominantly Christian way. A modern paradigm of Oriental-Occidental translatio is presented by the Chilean scholar A NDRÉS C LARO (Universidad de Chile) in his comprehensive study “Montage as East-West Configuration. Ezra Pound’s Translation of Chinese Images”. The critic demonstrates that Ezra Pound’s prin3

A. Kircher: China Monumentis Illustrata. Amsterdam 1667; unveränderter Nachdruck Frankfurt/M.: Minerva 1966, p. 35-36, 233-234; M. Ricci: Della entrata della Compagnia di Giesù e Christianità nella Cina (ed. Maddalena Del Gatto, Macerata: Quodilibet 2000, p. 93).

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ciple of montage, developed at first in his early collection of translated Chinese poems called Cathay (1915) which contributed to revolutionize English and Western poetry, is not only a re-orientation of euro-centred literature and of global translatio studii, but a reconfiguration of poetic form and representation as such. As a result, montage ‘formally’ emerged as “a hybrid figure of mixed origins”. In order to illustrate the complexity of cultural transfer or translatio studii in the field of translation between Eastern and Western languages and literatures, Claro starts with the presentation of Pound’s iconical notice on the front cover of Cathay. This notice synoptically displays, in the shape of an inverted cone, the creative translation process leading to East-Western Cathay: it goes from the Chinese poems by Li Po (jap. Rihaku) to Ernest Fenollosa’s English translation and notes, via a Japanese sinologue – Pound’s professor, ignoring English – and via an auxiliary Japanese-English interpreter – up to Ezra Pound himself. Besides retranslating in Cathay Fenollosa’s translation of Li Po’s poetry, Pound was to edit Fenollosa’s essay The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry (1918), whose ideas had inspired his own translational poetry and poetics since he was handed over the manuscript after the author’s death in 1908. In the first chapter on “East-West Poetic Figurations” Claro analyzes the principles of Pound’s creative transpositions of the Chinese images into the English language, with constant reference to Fenollosa’s notes and with close comparisons between Fenollosa’s more prosaic and Pound’s more poetic translations. The basic principle is the English re-creation of Chinese imagery, rooted in the pictographic writing system and in the syntactic isolation, the asyndetic juxtaposition of discrete pictographic images stimulating a vivid dynamic between the imagistic figures in the reader’s mind. While Pound’s translations aim mainly, in accordance with the principle of phanopoeia, at an adequate, yet creative, verbovisual figuration, the ‘equivalence’ of Chinese and English melopoeia, i.e. phonic and rhythmic figuration, and of logopoeia, i.e. cultural and allusive figuration, is either reduced or completely left apart, due to historic and linguistic resistance or to the poet’s personal ignorance, as he declares himself. Another principle of Chinese writing is the cosmic correspondence between nature and literature, first the word considered as a natural and moving thing, and secondly the verbovisual configuration of invisible cosmic correlations between things, switching from pictograph to ideogram. Its

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symbolic matrix is the figure of Yin & Yang which constitutes the dynamic parallelism of correlative and complementary pairs of all kinds. In a series of lucid interpretations, Andrés Claro, so to speak, ‘carves the dragon’ by working out some subtle stylistic couplings or “dynamic imagistic arrangements” in classical Chinese poetry, namely in Li Po’s couplets, quatrains and octets, heteroglossically transfigured in Ezra Pound’s Cathay. Claro’s interpretation includes the philosophical value of imagistic figuration, where he notes, with reference to contemporary sinologues, the significant linkage between the Taoist principle of cosmic correspondence and the Chinese word wen which designates literature through the meaning of ‘pattern’, especially the stirring figure of parallelism. This goes along with a comparative analysis of Oriental and Occidental conceptions of cosmic and literary figures, of parallelism and metaphor. In his second chapter “East-West Metaphysical Configurations: from ideological criticism to the transcendental revolution of montage”, the scholar looks at the more or less ‘discrete’ and ‘discreet’ modes of montage within the context of the work of Ezra Pound: the more ‘discreet’ and a bit less ‘discrete’ Cathay versus the more ‘discrete’ and less ‘discreet’ The Cantos. At the same time, he considers the modes of montage in the larger context of Western Modernism in the fields of literature, the arts and the media, with a focus on T.S. Eliot, on Picasso and on Sergei Eisenstein’s essay “The Cinematographic Principle and the Ideogram”. Since montage is substantially linked to the aspect of history, the scholar investigates the double connexions between the context of World War I, in which Cathay is embedded, and the topic of ancient history in Cathay, on the one hand, and on the other hand, the connexions between ancient and contemporary world history, including World War II, in and around The Cantos. Against the background of Chinese ‘ideogrammaticality’, The Cantos induced a new form of representation in epic poetry where ideogrammic and idiomatic fragmentation and ideological polyvalence become overwhelming and eliminate intentional meaning and anticipatory historical sense, while staging it in an erratic way. The performative and imagistic impact is predominant, very much like Walter Benjamin stated in his Passagen-Werk regarding the phenomenon of Modernity. Both world views, the traditional Occidental dualism of two separate worlds with its static mode of metaphorical figuration and the dynamic ideogrammic figuration of correlated immanent worlds in Oriental poetry and Taoism are

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finally disconnected from Modernity. They are replaced by the poetic and ideogrammic figure of the interruptive and instantaneous event that generates flashes of impersonal meanings and multiple perspectives on a possible past and future, lacking both origo and telos. Still, in the broken figures of montage there is also a partial remembering of disiecta membra: the configuration of interlingual and intermedial couplings of Chinese and European characters, of translational parallelisms in The Cantos, not only Sino-English, but also Sino-German, Sino-Greek, and furthermore Egyptian-English pairs. They work as a multiple écart, semantic, phonic and graphic, either in praesentia or in absentia: a complex montage of converging and diverging idioms, images and ideas; in all, a vortex/t on a global scale4 . In her study entitled “Saturn über El Monte: Salvador Plascencias The People of Paper” M ONIKA S CHMITZ -E MANS (Ruhr-Universität Bochum) looks at a very special book constellation, displayed in the Saturnine novel of a contemporary Chicano writer. A Hispanic author with an English title, ruled by a Roman God located in a Californian sky, opens up, right from the start, a transcontinental, multilingual and metafictional dimension, in addition to the intermedial shape of the book. In fact, the novel constitutes what the critic terms a “Buch-Roman”, i.e. a novel that consists in its constitution as a book, a verbovisual object and subject interacting with the reader who gets involved in a conflict between the ‘divine’ author Saturn and his literary creatures, the “people of paper”. The display of graphic and typographic devices – such as black patches in a textual passage used as a strategy of occultation and illegibility against Saturn’s attempt to establish total control and authority – intervenes in that conflict staged as a metaliterary event. However, the metafictional conflict overlaps with a historical and political one: the tensions and clashes between U.S. American society and Mexican immigrants, and furthermore the historical background of European conquest, colonialism and slavery, and their U.S. American sequels. The many voices of the book, typographically represented by a widespread double column layout, is a conspicuous characteristic of its non-linear and often simultaneous polyphony, whose intertextual line, carefully sketched by the critic, gives it a specific relief and resonance. 4

See A. Knauth: “The OdySea of Polyglossy”. In: Id. & Ping-hui Liao (eds.): Migrancy and Multilingualism in World Literature. Berlin: L IT 2016. Chapter “6b. Ezra Pound: The Cantos”.

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Yet, the most concrete polyphony is achieved by the interplay, the consonance and dissonance of different languages, mainly English and Spanish, but also some French, Latin, Gaelic, African, AmerIndian, Japanese and (allusive) Sanskrit elements. Monika Schmitz-Emans highlights the predominant Hispanic names, toponyms and words that are linguistic ‘leads’ of the novel. They introduce an onomastic overtone and ambivalent meanings into the basically American English novel, around the semantic halo of words like “la Fe”, “Merced”, “Salvador” and “Santos”. The passages on “Margarita” reveal the Mexican origin and the original name of Hollywood star Rita Hayworth in a kind of Chicano performance. The scholar also incorporates the onomatopoetic “Natursprache” of somatic sounds as well as the silent sounds of the so-called BALLAD OF P ERFIDY, and furthermore the somatic and erotic meaning of Anglo and Chicano ‘tongues’. Since the book’s “Prologue”, the Japanese word “origami” is a key word for the art of creating People of Paper. The Asian compound, which contains the word ‘cami’ (= paper), might even be associated – by way of an interlingual paronomasia – to the name of Saturn’s temporary lover, the African girl Cameroon, whose pet name is “Cami”. And Cami, whose “bee” nature is praised by Saturn not only during their “honeymoon”, may recall the Sanskrit word “Kama”, the God of Love, whose bowstring is made of bees sending their stings or arrows fletched with a flower into the hearts of lovers. A wondrous trilingual and transcontinental ‘traffic’ of words. In her observations on “Vielschriftlichkeit”, the manifold scriptural structure of the novel, Monika Schmitz-Emans focuses on, among others, the pictures of the writing and signifying hand. The enigmatic ring hovering over the hand on the two title pages of The People of Paper is seen as both an (ironical) matrimonial symbol and as the symbol of Saturn, the writer of the People of Paper and its circular constellations. Still, at the end of the novel, the migrants Federico de la Fe and his daughter Little Merced, walking out of the page, escape from Saturn’s authoritarian ring. The volume concludes with an extensive study of a universal symbol and its multilingual implications, “La figura universal y multilingüe del dragón-serpiente” (The Universal and Multilingual Figure of the SerpentDragon), offered by G RACIELA N. R ICCI (Università di Macerata). At first, the author gives a survey of the Dragon and Serpent as an imaginary figure interacting on a global scale in the fields of myth, literature, anthropol-

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ogy, psychology, neurosciences, molecular biology, linguistics and rhetoric, ethics and ecology. All these fields are connected in different ways to the ophidian figure and make it a major tool of handling reality. The imaginary species of Ouroboros – the all-embracing snake devouring its own tail – becomes the perfect symbol of a transcultural, multilingual and transdisciplinary globalization. The starting point of Ricci’s exploration is Jorge Luis Borges’ concept or concetto of the dragon seen as a “monstruo necesario”, a “necessary monster” that indicates the intrinsic link existing between the imaginary and the real sphere (chap. I-II). After resuming the evolutionary role played by the Ouroboros in C.G. Jung’s archetypal psychology (chap. III), the scholar shows how this dynamic and ambiguous figure might be underlying the evolution of Borges’ literary work and of his personal identity, including their marked multilingualism (chap. III.1). Then she demonstrates the creative function of various types of snakes and dragons in some multilingual works of Latin American and Chicano literature, while underscoring their contrasting values in AmerIndian and Christian world views. Here and elsewhere, she also takes into account some relevant ophidian configurations in Chinese, Indian, Egyptian and Greco-Roman mythology, in particular around the Mercurial caduceus (chap. IV). The main goal of this study is the intertwining of the cultural language of the ophidian figure with the molecular biological and psycho-neurocognitive one, in the footsteps of Jeremy Narby’s book The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge (1998) (chap. V-VIII). Based on Shamanic rituals, visions, pictures and songs in different Amazonian and Australian areas and on scientifically controlled – though controversial – experiments with the hallucinatory drug ayahuasca, certain equivalences, metaphorical and metonymic ones, can be established between the mythological or archetypal figure of Ouroboros and Mercurial caduceus and, on the other hand, the very similar visions of Shamans and anthropologists. Furthermore, there is the tempting hypothesis of an equivalence between the ophidian archetype and the DNA double helix, seen as a biomolecular ‘caduceus’. Their connexion might be considered not only a metaphorical and imaginary one, but also a real one, as the author argues on the ground of biophotonic and wave genetic experiments evoked or undertaken by Jeremy Narby and others, though on the brink of a ‘Biology of Belief’ as it has been theorized by Bruce H. Lipton. Some comparative reflections

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on scientific and cultural discourse, especially the biomolecular DNA code and its metaphorical descriptions, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the rhetoric of Shamanic visions, poetry and songs, raise the question of a basic universal code of informational and communicational i.e. intentional units bifurcating into the innumerous cosmic and human languages and discourses (chap. VIII). In her conclusion, Graciela N. Ricci calls on the multidisciplinary interplay of ecological, scientific, ethic and poetic forces in the overall issue of global survival. These forces are represented by the universal figure of the multi-lingual Draco and Ouroboros, which, by the way, is also inherent in the figure of Taijitu and its Yin and Yang inscribed in the Globe on the front cover of Leonardo Boff’s and Mark Hathaway’s book The Tao of Liberation: Exploring the Ecology of Transformation (Orbis Books 2009), cited on the last page of Ricci’s essay.

Acknowledgments The editors would like to thank the autors for their contributions to this volume and also Dr. Dieter Hamblock (Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik, Technische Universität Dortmund) for his linguistic revision of the book’s paratexts and of the paper “East West India in History and Literature”. We are grateful as well to the L IT team, coordinated by Martin W. Richter, for its efficiency and patience during the publishing process. And finally we express our gratitude to the Comparative Literature Association of India (CLAI) and to the International Association of Comparative Literature (ICLA/AILC) for their intellectual and material support.

Imagining Relation through Words in Amitav Ghosh’s Sea of Poppies Subha Chakraborty Dasgupta Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India

I Hybrid words, their lives and destinies Words! Neel was of the view that words, no less than people, are endowed with lives and destinies of their own. Why then were there no astrologers to calculate their kismet and pronounce upon their fate? The thought that he might be the one to take on this task probably came to him at about the time when he was first beginning to earn his livelihood as a linkister1 – that is to say during his years in southern China. From then on, for years afterwards, he made it his regular practice to jot down his divinations of the fate of certain words. The Chrestomathy then, is not so much a key to language as an astrological chart, crafted by a man who was obsessed with the destiny of words. Not all words were of equal interest, of course and the Chrestomathy, let it be noted, deals only with a favored few: it is devoted to a select number among the many migrants who have sailed from eastern waters towards the chilly shores of the English language. It is, in other words, a chart of the fortunes of a shipload of girmitiyas2 : this perhaps is why Neel named it after the Ibis3 .

Glossaries of pidgin, creole and various kinds of intertwined languages, take up the destiny of words and along with it microhistories of some of the darkest periods in civilization, and as the words are preserved, so are the histories. The words are often also a testimony to some of the human 1

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3

A ‘linkister’ is “a three-way interpreter between Chinese, pidgin and English” (Ghosh 2011: 163). A ‘girmitiya’ is an indentured laborer. The etymology of the word has been explained later in the text. Amitav Gosh: “The Ibis Chrestomathy”. In: www.amitavghosh.com/chrestomathy.html, accessed on 14 May 2015.

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bondings at work in the course of the dark periods. In this paper I will try to look at some of the ways in which multilingual frameworks operate, their situation within an instant, a given time, and a longue durée, a single space and the tout-monde, that is between the power structures of past colonial regimes and newer ones of globalization along with reverse patterns of newer communities entering new situations of relationships, and in general the infinite maze of open possibilities. I will do this with reference to Amitav Ghosh’s Sea of Poppies (2008), the first book of the Ibis trilogy where English words and syntax break up in a never-ending series to include a host of other languages with a multitude of nuances and functions. The excerpt quoted above appears on Amitav Ghosh’s webpage where the readers find a glossary of words from The Ibis Chrestomathy, which is more than a glossary: a “divination of the fate of certain words”, presented as a story that takes off from Sea of Poppies (2008), and that draws upon other glossaries in existence such as A.C. Burnell and Henry Yule’s Hobson-Jobson: A Glossary of Colloquial Anglo-Indian Words and Phrases4 (1886) and Thomas Roebuck’s An English and Hindoostanee Naval Dictionary (1813), sometimes taking issues with the British compilers in a playful manner and interweaving a whole network of time and space where each mixed language element comes alive with a rich human connotation. The imputed author of the Chrestomathy is a character from the Sea of Poppies, Neel Rattan Halder, one of those many zamindars of India whose wealth was taken away by unfair means by the British. Neel was turned into a convict deported to Mauritius (Mareech). His interest in language was kept alive by the shipload of indentured laborers speaking 4

Hobson-Jobson, as the subtitle states, is “A Glossary of Colloquial Anglo-Indian Words and Phrases, and of Kindred Terms; Etymological, Historical, Geographical and Discursive”, and weaves quotations, anecdotes and reminiscences, reconstructing intercultural life in British India. The glossary takes up words that enter English from Portuguese, Arabic, Persian, Indian, Chinese and other sources. It has a very wide range of scholarship and there are instances where the colonial agenda is critiqued along with those where they are upheld. Hobson-Jobson has had its followers through time and is popular as a text. It influenced the works of several Indian English writers with Salman Rushdie and Amitav Ghosh acknowledging its power over their writing, while at the same time demonstrating their sensitivity to the undercurrents in the language games. As Neil comments, “Is it not a commentary on the relationship of England and India that most of the Hind. [Hindustani] candidates for the Peerage of the English Verb pertain to grappling, grasping, binding, tying and whipping?” (Chrestomathy). The examples are puckrow, bundo, lagow, chawbuck etc., meaning ‘grasp’, ‘tie’ and ‘whip’.

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in various mixed tongues, and then in Canton by a motley group of erstwhile traders from different lands. The author, it is stated, also drew his inspiration from the Cantonese printer and translator Liang Kuei Ch’uan, the compiler of “a glossary of the Chinese jargon” whose title is translated as “The Red-Haired-People’s-Buying_and-Selling-Common-GhostLanguage” (Ghosh 2011: 252). The words in the Chrestomathy are fragile and in glissantien terms, contaminated, both slovenly and beautiful and sometimes barbaric, lacking the comfortable stability of a language. Yet again as Glissant would emphasise, “Mais ce que vous appelleriez barbarie est le mouvement inépuisable des scintillations de langues” (Glissant 1990: 115), that is, the ‘barbaric’ would be the basis of a sustainable conversation among people. The Chrestomathy will never reach completion, but would always be in a process, states the imputed author. It would, in other words, be “open, multilingual in intention, in contact with everything possible” (Glissant 1990: 44) as in the poetics of Relation. The author-narrator of the Ibis trilogy traces his lineage to this aristocrat, thereby putting within frame the perspective operative in the text – an author from a once colonized country looks back and reconstructs history from hybrid words, armed with as much archival material as possible and from many archives as well, ranging from the historical to the technological to the folkloric. The archives, more often than not, open up through intertwined languages.

II Hybrid words and the structuring of the narrative With several centres in the narrative, the prime event also seems to be language5 and the multiple ways in which different languages interact and intermingle, uncovering nuances of relations among people and communities, always working in different registers and both binding and separating people. Located outside the English-speaking world, sharing some of the contexts that appear in the text and placed between Bhojpuri, Bengali and English, my experiences as a reader, for instance, in the contexts of the language used, shift from the poignant to the hilarious, the outrageous to the tender; and it is language that in a way provides the structuring force of the text, and induces a participatory process. It does seem that the English used 5

See also Pop, Titus: “Amitav Ghosh’s Sea of Poppies – A Multicultural and Multilingual Narrative.” In: www.theroundtable.com accessed on 6 June 2016.

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in a large section will remain opaque to at least some extent to a non-Indian English speaking reader who in her/his turn will have to pause and engage with the words, in their materiality and their sensuality, and then with some help arrive at understandings that may be different with different effects. In some cases, this is true of the Indian reader as well, particularly in the second book, River of Smoke (2011), where the number of languages in contact multiplies enormously, each language touching the other, merging together the accents of many. The author is not just settling scores with history, inflecting the English language to the extent of making it opaque to ‘native speakers’, but is also trying to suggest that perfect understanding is an illusion and one can only proceed with conjectures and partial understandings that leave room for open spaces. The events in Sea of Poppies take place in 1838, a year before the Opium Wars between Britain and China and the novel has at its core the story of the opium trade that ruins agrarian systems in India and forces people to sign up as indentured laborers who would be taken to replace slaves in Mauritian plantations as Britain’s Slavery Abolition Act has come into place in 1833. The Ibis is the British-American ship that used to transport slaves before and that has set sail from Baltimore, Maryland to Calcutta, the centre of the opium and indentured labor trade, and that would soon under a British owner and shipmate set out for Mauritius with the ‘girmitiyas’, tracing a circuitous journey of oppression through time. The word ‘girmitiya’ in the text is explained as people “who were so called because, in exchange for money, their names were entered on ‘girmits’ – agreement written on pieces of paper. The silver that was paid for them went to their families, and they were taken away, never to be seen again: they vanished as if into the netherworld” (Ghosh 2008: 71). Slavery is not permitted any more but the institution survives under different names, and in this case, the ‘girmitiya’ takes on the identity of the slave. The ‘girmitiyas’ are, as the ox-cart driver Kalua feels, the “living dead”. Soon both Kalua and Deeti, the grey-eyed young girl from the village who has just lost her old, opiumaddicted husband and who has an uncanny foresight into the future, would join their ranks, though they do not know it when Kalua explains the word. Languages come together in different contexts and in different ways. They are not just mixed or hybrid. As the Ibis sets sail one hears strains of “Bismilláh ar rahmán ar rahím, hamdu’l’illáh al-rabb al-alamín . . . In the name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful, Praise to the Lord of all

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Creation” (Ghosh 2008: 371). And then “Ave maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum . . . Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee”, and finally the Gayatri Mantra “Om bhur bhuvah swah, tat savitur varenyam . . . O giver of life, remover of pain and sorrow” (Ghosh 2008: 371). The words emerge in distinct ways, with distinct body languages and with distinct emotions ranging from fear and awe to reverence and submission, from an entire people united within the body of the Ibis, whose very architecture is symbolic of the unthinkable horror of the slave trade, poised for a voyage across the tumultuous, unknown, unfathomable ocean. The Indians are also about to cross Kalapani or the Dark Waters, beyond which one cannot maintain caste purity, but then caste on the Indian Ocean would cease to matter. Before the ship sailed, there had been an enactment of a process by which words got transformed and identities switched – an ironical process for the individual who received a new identity altogether with the changing of his name as a result of the “stumbling tongue of a harried gomusta, and the faulty hearing of an English pilot who was a little more than half seas over” (Ghosh 2008: 284). Madhu Kalua, who in any case was changing his name for that of his father for the sake of anonymity, became Maddow Colver, and began a new life of a different kind of oppression and struggle, far removed from everything he had ever known. Maddow, the reader is told, will occur frequently among his descendants, and that is how history is peopled. Kalua is a man of magnificent physique, a chamar, the lowest in the caste system who has to keep his face averted even when he is driving for fear of meeting the eyes of the traveller, inevitably superior to him in class. He is subjected to the most abject of humiliations quite early in the novel by two young landlords having fun and taking what they call revenge for a defeat; and again when in the ship with Deeti who has taken him for a man and not as a caste entity, he is flogged mercilessly by a person from his village, who has recognized him and who has the position of a subedar on the ship. As the flogger bends down calling him a “scavenger dog” who would be dead before he has finished with him, Kalua asks the flogger from his native village, “‘Malik, what have I ever done to you?’ ‘Done? He said. Isn’t it enough that you are what you are?’ These words echoed through Kalua’s head as the subedar walked away, to begin his next run: Yes, what I am is enough . . . through this life and the next, it will be enough . . . through this life and the next, it will be enough . . . this is what I will live through, again, and again and again . . . ” (Ghosh 2008: 488). In

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the next few paragraphs Kalua would all of a sudden pull his hands free, snatch the lash back and snake it around the neck of the subedar, pulling it tight, leaving him dead on the deck. Kalua would soon be hemmed in, and almost dead would await his hanging the next day, when several other events would take place and he would find himself in a boat on the reckless sea. That would be the end of the first part. Ghosh is simply telling a story, often of great dramatic moments, in keeping with the harsh world of colonisers turned opium traders and their victims, along with brutalities of race and caste permeating the narrative. Later, at the end of the Ibis trilogy, the reader would get a glimpse of Deeti’s shrine “high up on the slopes of the Morne Brabant, at the southwestern corner of Mauritius” where there is a special chamber devoted to the episode of Maddow Colver, or the patriarch’s life that came to be known as ‘the Escape.’ Deeti, incidentally, was about to be immolated as sati when Kalua rescued her from the flaming pyre and took her in a boat across the river that wiped out her past and brought a new beginning to her life. In the Ibis, she would be known as Aditi6 . There on the slopes of the Morne Brabant, Deeti would be sitting narrating the story to a whole group of people, ending with the episode where all those who had escaped come together during the Opium War, and when the first war is over, manage to get hold of the Ibis and float away. A circular journey with a difference would begin for the Ibis, which is described towards the end of the trilogy by a character as a “marvelous vehicle of transformation” (Ghosh 2015: 606) even as it is a vehicle of a transformative hybridity.

III Intertwined words, their formative processes and their new identities As in the case of mispronounced names, so in the case of technical details related to navigation – a foreign word is taken for another and with all the resemblance of the foreign and the domestic, it gets a new habitat altogether, becomes a word in its own right in a no-man’s or every man’s land. There is also usually an added dimension in the changed word, a quality of sound and texture that contributes to the overall sensual richness of 6

‘Aditi’ means ‘un-bound’ and ‘free’, while ‘Deeti’ meant ‘splendour’ or ‘brightness’. The switching of names and hence of identity, which in any case is always fluid in the text, is significant.

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the text. As we find in the Chrestomathy “alzbel (“Roebuck”): thus did the ever-musical Laskari tongue render the watchman’s cry of “All’s well: how well . . . ”. Otherwise the sound pattern is duplicated in the native language of the lascars or seamen: ‘Foretopmen aloft’ is ‘trikatwalé úpar chal’, ‘All hands to quarters’ from the pilot is ‘Sab ádmi apni jagah’, ‘Haul together’, ‘lag sab barábar’, ‘heave you dogs, heave’, ‘habés – habés kutté, habés!’ The rhythm of the ship gets intermingled with the rhythm of the translated and mixed words and phrases, each carrying an echo, intermingling with another though in a different texture. The necessity of echoing is understood as the guiding principle of the sailor’s tongue even in the case of an abuse-word! The sea becomes veritably an ‘écho-monde’, in many different ways. We need also to remember at this point that when Zachary Reid, a chief player in the first part of the trilogy, and the son of a slave and her white master from Baltimore, had first entered the ship he had thought that the lascars were some kind of a people in a national identity, but was surprised to find that they came from far away places, from China and East Africa, Arabia and Malaysia, Bengal and Goa, Tamilnad and Arakan – the only thing they had in common was the Indian Ocean (Ghosh 2008: 13). And as far as the Laskari language is concerned, “that motley tongue spoken nowhere but on the water, whose words were as varied as the port’s traffic, an anarchic medley of Portuguese calaluzes and Kerala pattimars, Arab booms and Bengal paunch-wags, Malay proas and Tamil catamarans, Hindusthani pulwars and English snows” (Ghosh 2008: 104), it had meaning “under the surface of this farrago of sound”. Laskari incidentally, is not pidgin, nor creole, but a language in itself although employed “nowhere but on the water”. The ship, “the barque ouverte” (E. Glissant), is symbolic of transcontinental interactions, mergings and transformations, but the process, one often gets to feel, is perennial and the hidden life of words straddles many places and centuries for, as the Chrestomathy already pointed out, even some wellhabitated common words in Bengali like “abihowa”/abhowa or climate are actually a wonderful blend of Persian, Arabic and Bengali, in this case gracefully bringing together the wind (‘hawa’ in Persian) and the water (‘aub’ in Persian).

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IV Intertwined words and reconstructions of historical processes One of the primary effects of the hybrid language is to bring alive the world of the Britisher in colonial India with the use of a large range of distorted Hindi words, themselves often of Arabic, Persian, Portuguese or of other origin, in the context of everyday life in its numerous small details. And they are constantly juxtaposed with overtly British or exaggerated pseudo Victorian modes of life and living, creating contexts where one is forever assuming one for the other often in a riotous series of make-belief. The gossulkhana or bathroom appearing as goozle-connah in the text comes fitted with seemingly latest English gadgets and contraptions made to serve similar purposes – a shower, for instance, is a bucket with numerous holes where servants keep pouring water holding it over the head of the British master. The elaborate dining room has bearers standing behind each chair, “the masalchis with the sauce boat; the chobdar whose job it was to ladle soup from the sideboard tureen” (Ghosh 2008: 127) and others too from the baburchi khana7 , spelt as “bobachee-connah” in the text, gathered in the vestibule where the punkah-wallahs8 sit pulling fans with ropes attached to their toes, to see the newly arrived Paulette, the French girl, at the Burnham’s house. The others present are the “curry consumah”, the “caleefa” who roasts the kababs and the “bobachees” who cook the stew and the beef. Outsiders too are smuggled in and they are “the malis from the garden, syces and julibdars from the stables, durwauns from the gatehouse and even some beasties from the gang that kept the house supplied with water” (Ghosh 2008: 127). The ‘beasties’ are actually called ‘bheesties’ and the instance is symptomatic of the different nuances attached to the mispronounced words, sometimes offensive to the Indian reader and often humorous, exaggerating as they do the British way of pronouncing words. Life for the Britisher meant the service of as many individuals who were as many nameless beings identified by their respective services to the colonial master. 7

8

‘Baburchi’ is ‘chef’ and hence ‘baburchi-khana’ is the ‘kitchen’, though the word ‘khana’ seems to signify a ‘grand kitchen’. ‘Punkah’ means ‘fan’, and ‘punkah-wallah’ is the manual fan operator before the invention of the electric fan in India. There would be a large cloth fan on a frame suspended from the ceiling and that would be moved backwards and forwards by pulling on a rope.

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The passage also may raise the question of how many people went into the upkeep of a single family – a father, mother, a daughter and a young woman under their guardianship. However, the feudal tradition did not emerge with the British but was a part of the society, distorted in certain ways in the colonial landscape, and one had only to contrast it with the set up at Raskhally, the estate of Raja Neel Rattan Halder to see that the people there were often individuals and there was a minimal amount of bonding, if not on the part of the rich, then on the part of those who served. Incidentally, the whole group ignores Paulette, the newly orphaned girl whose father was an ardent French botanist, and who was brought up in the company of Indians outside the European society, when she speaks a fluent Bengali, for as she realizes they would only respond to the “kitchen Hindusthani that was the language of command in the house” (Ghosh 2008: 122). In circumstances that are demeaning for human beings, values turn topsy-turvy as well. The text in this context seemingly serves the same purpose as Hobson Jobson does, recreating the past, the glory of the Raj, and recreation of the past is never without a touch of nostalgia particularly to a certain section of the elite in colonial India, only in this case the piling up of such hybrid words and the bringing together of the group concerned serve to underline the absurdity entrenched in the workings of the institution. The Britisher in India speaking a hybrid language, often mixes words in his or her own fashion. There is James Doughty for instance, who introduces himself as “Formerly of the Bengal River Pilot Service; currently bespoke arkati and turnee for Burnham Bros” (Ghosh 2008: 25). He is in charge of the Ibis for a while before it sails with the girmitiyas. His voice and his words precede his entrance, “Damn my eyes if I ever saw such a caffle of barnshooting badmashes! A chowdering of your chutes is what you budzats need (Ghosh 2008: 25). Serang Ali has already announced him to the Second Mate Zachary Reid, “‘Misto Dumbcow hab come.’ ‘Who’s that?’ ‘Pilot. He too muchi dumbcowing”’ (Ghosh 2008: 24-25). “Dumbcow”, the Hindi/Bengali knowing Indian reader may figure out is from “dhumkana” or ‘scolding’. And then Mr. Doughty appears, “a stout irate Englishman pounding the deck with a Malaccan cane” and shouting “Has he given the kubber that my bunder-boat has lagowed?” (Ghosh 2008: 25). “Kubber” is from “khabar” or ‘news’, “lagowed” is an attempt to turn a Hindi or Bengali word meaning the ‘mooring of a boat’ into English by adding the past form “ed”, and the hybrid “bunder-boat” can only be

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guessed at by a non-Indian reader, although the context suggests the overall meaning of the statements. The comic element, along with the note of arrogance, is perhaps more perceptible to the Indian reader because of all the nuances in the language. The hybrid language and the humor at the Britisher’s expense in turn, however, humanize him and later too the narrative shows him as a fellow traveller, not completely inhuman as in the case of a few others, with failings and fragilities that could on certain levels be forgiven. It must be mentioned that the more sinister characters who take sadistic delight in torturing and humiliating human beings, making it almost the raison d’être of their lives, seldom use a mixed language with the verve of a Mr. Doughty. And speaking of verve, there are the Asians travelling from different shores who, if they are given the ability to speak in the narrative, outdo the Britishers in the zest, colour and vitality of their mixed language. Serang Ali tells Zachary Reid, “Malum Zikri! Captain-bugger blongi poo-shoo-foo. He hab got plenty sick. Need one piece dokto” (Ghosh 2008: 16). This is a language that is a vivacious response to the moment, creating its own rules drawing on the onomatopoeic. It is also perhaps symptomatic of a life force that is characteristic of the lascar, “forerunners of today’s migrants” (Ghosh 2008a: 58) living in the cramped belly of the ship and exposed to extreme dangers and difficulties. It also needs to be mentioned that Serang Ali on another occasion, will prove to be an expert navigator, with his own system “tup ka shooman”, unknown to Western science of navigation. Mr. Doughty is as proficient in using indigenous slang words profusely and seamlessly because he has been around for many years and one wonders about his sense of identity. And as if to satisfy the reader’s curiosity he himself comments, one has to use the native language, zubaan, pronounced ‘zubben’ by the Englishman, in order to “gubbrow the natives” – “gubbrow” from “ghabra dena”, that is ‘to make somebody nervous’. He further explains the word “zubben” to the young Second Mate Zachary Reid: “The zubben, dear boy, is the flash lingo of the East . . . Just a little peppering of nigger-talk mixed with a few guley’s. But mind your Oordoo and Hindee doesn’t sound too good: don’t want the world to think you’ve gone native. And don’t mince your words either. Musn’t be taken for a chee-chee.” “Guley’s”, one can assume, is “galis” or ‘abuse-words’, and hence it appears that using a hybrid language is also a ploy on the part of the British to keep their power intact with its clever and conscious manipulation. It is the

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verve and the humor in the tongue-in-cheek representation of the arrogant British through his colorful language use that allow the reader to accept and read on, to navigate a story where no norms of civilization seem to operate and where people are treated as dispensable objects with, of course, also glimpses of transformative warm human solidarity from time to time. If the Britishers in the colonial period speak in a hybrid language of distorted Hindusthani-mixed English, the English spoken by Indians is also of varied registers. Neel Rattan Halder, a bibliophile, speaks a bookish English that the Britishers sometimes make fun of while Nob Kissen Babu, a representative figure in the service of the Britisher, speaks a Bengali English, translating Bengali idioms all the time, keeping the Bengali syntax, mismatching words and evoking laughter. A typical sentence goes like this, “Miss Lambert? Why, I cannot believe! You have turned up in my backside? And wearing native garbs also. So nicely you have hidden your face I could not tell . . . But Miss, what are you doing in this nook and cranny, kindly can you inform?” (Ghosh 2008: 334). Again the full impact of the semiotic shift in the course of mimicking the Bengali language can be appreciated only by a Bengali reader knowing some English, while for the non-Bengali reader there may be a whole open-ended range of signifieds built into the structure. Whatever may be the case, language usage also serves to give a very distinct character to each individual, regulating perspectives in which he or she may be viewed in the narrative. Nob Kissen is a stooge of the colonial masters, and it is his desperate use of English to please his masters in most cases, that identifies him as such, although he has a private emotion based absurd project as well. He thinks Zachary Reid is actually a modernday avatar of Krishna and his own life is fulfilled as he is called upon by destiny to lead Zachary to become what he actually is. Neel Rattan Halder’s use of English, on the other hand, sets him apart as a colonial scholar who is proud of his knowledge of the classics in the language. He uses it with a dignity that again both holds and falls apart as the less knowledgeable native speaker makes fun of it for its archaic quality. “‘Is this little Rascal your Upper Roger, Raja Nil-Rotten?’ ‘The upa-raja, yes, Neel nodded. ‘My sole issue and heir. The tender fruit of my loin, as your poets might say.’ ‘Ah! Your little green mango!’ Mr Doughty shot a wink in Zachary’s direction. ‘And if I may be so bold as to ask – would you describe your loin as the stem or the branch?’ Neel gave him a frosty glare. ‘Why, sir,’ he said coldly, ‘it is the tree itself.”’ (Ghosh 2008: 107-8)

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The word “Rotten” for “Rattan” used by Mr Doughty may be noted, while elsewhere he uses the word “Rascally” for Raskhali, the estate of the Raja, to speak of the family time and again. On the other hand, the mixing of French and English, in the case of Paulette, comes across as an endearing naïveté eliciting a simple humor. “Personne will see us”, she tells Nob Kissen, and then “Tell me what is your idée?”(Ghosh 2008: 339). Questions of power games do not occur in the latter case. Single languages occur in the novel at two ends of a spectrum – the Bhojpuri of a community in the remote corners of India, uprooted and moving from one hopeless situation to another and the English of a trading colonial empire, a language of power and domination. The first as such is always inevitably rendered in a tone of poignancy foregrounding matters of the heart: Kabutri, the little daughter of Deeti, who is being left behind never to be reunited with her mother, tells her to bring glass bangles for her when she returns, ”Humré khátir churi lelaiya” (Ghosh 2008: 196), something that the mother will never forget in her life. Then again, Deeti chants an evening song as if by habit as she carries back the dead body of her opium addicted much older first husband from the Ghazipur opium factory, touching depths of memory of one returning home in the evening, “sãjh bhailé/ sãjha ghar ghar ghumé/ ke mora sãjh/ manayo ji. Twilight whispers/ at every door:/ it’s time/to mark my coming” (Ghosh 2008: 99). The conversation in English at Raskhally on the other hand, to give an example, has sinister overtones. Neel asks: “‘But Mr. Burnham! Are you saying that the British Empire will go to war to force opium on China?” [Mr. Burnham, the religious, arch-industrialist irately replies], “‘The war when it comes, will not be for opium. It will be for a principle: for freedom – for the freedom of trade and for the freedom of the Chinese people. Free trade is a right conferred on Man by God, and its principles apply as much to opium as to any article of trade. More so, perhaps, since in its absence many millions of natives would be denied the lasting advantages of British influence”’ (Ghosh 2008: 115).

When Zachary asks him how that is so, Mr. Burnham without mincing words states that it is the opium trade that has made British Raj in India possible and then a long invective on the relationship between religion and Free Trade follows. Incidentally, the entire conversation is undercut by the wandering attention of Neel to the old porcelain chamber-pot, mistaken for

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a vase by the housekeeper, at the centre of the table holding wilting water lilies. Neel introduces the subject in fact, to distract his guests from paying attention to the chamber-pot.

V Intertwined words and nomadic worldviews The different shades of emotion simultaneously intermingling with one another and the central position accorded to humor in a large part of the text subvert all rigidly held notions and suggest a valorization of the contingent and the ever-shifting perspective that is also marked by a robust and constant exchange in the domain of language. They are values linked with marginalized and nomadic worldviews as different from singular mainstream pursuits of profit and trade and in other contexts of discovery and conquest. However, the text occupies a middle space foregrounding both values of the marginalized in civilization, and those of a general pattern. Values in the mainstream, the text suggests, are determined by profit and loss in trade as the cornerstone of exchange. Even then, as scholars have pointed out, the author shows the potentials of still other kinds of exchange, apart from that of languages, and these are knowledge of plants, for instance, or artistic techniques leading to other cultural or civilizational possibilities. While historical details and the view of the longue durée in the narrative chart out a record of unharnessed greed accompanied with inhuman brutality, the smaller details that constitute a series of stories, of individual lives from many different cultures with many different languages, often get intertwined to form relationships and more, to assume responsibilities for one another. The narrative turns seemingly based on coincidences, accidents or even the unpredictable whims of individuals, serve the demands of a plot, but at the same time testify to what may be termed the chaos-monde, in the glissantian sense, a dizzying encounter of cultures particularly in the second book of the series, River of Smoke, of confrontations and complicities that lead to no particular point, but that is suggestive of a depth that constantly questions some of the abstract formulations at the core of humanistic thought. People move in unpredictable directions, destinies get changed in sweeping movements, personalities and identities are constantly switched willfully or otherwise. Paulette enters Ibis dressed as a boy, Zachary is Krishna to Babu Nob Kissen, Zachary himself hides his mixed identity, a king

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becomes a convict and so on, and all of these find their parallel in the vibrant untrammelled sequence of languages ever in the process of getting intertwined. Within this chaos, there are numerous instances from everyday life in the novel where characters risk their lives to save those of others – Jodu to save Zachary, Zachary to save a number of others and again instances where individuals come together to provide sustenance to each other and thereby initiate a kind of process where they themselves are transformed, as in the case of Neel and Ah-Fatt, Deeti and Kalua, Deeti and the other women in the ship, Paulette and Jodu and so on. Stories, it seems, are oriented towards exploring the possibilities of becoming more human by assuming responsibilities towards one another. The novel, while dwelling on the underside of history with all the negative traits and built-in hypocrisies, tries also to work on a different strand through language, and that is the never-ending circuit of intermingling, as fundamental perhaps as any other activity. There is again no value judgment attached to this as such, but then the mass of hybrid, mixed and multilingual words and phrases and the ever-recurrent process of mixing languages point to a constant series of intersubjective responses almost at a pre-philosophical, pre-cognate level. The pre-verbal, the glance, the intimate caretaking as in the case of Neel and Ah-Fatt, two convicts on board the Ibis, add to the languages of communication that make people enter into sustainable relationships, a part of the longue durée. The stories of all those relationships will be forgotten, but the merged words and syntax will remain as a testimony to xenophilia, which the author states is the “love of the other, the affinity for strangers – a feeling that lives very deep in the human heart, but whose existence is rarely acknowledged.” (Ghosh: 2012)

References Ghosh, Amitav: Sea of Poppies. London: John Murray (Publishers), 2008. — “Of Fanas and Forecastles: The Indian Ocean and Some Lost Languages of the Age of Sail.” In: Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 43, No. 25, 21, 2008a. 56-62. — River of Smoke. London: John Murray (Publishers), 2011. — Flood of Fire. London: John Murray (Publishers), 2015. — “Confessions of a Xenophile”, 2012. In: www.amitavghosh.com/essays/xenop hile/html accessed on June 5, 2016.

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Glissant, Édouard: Poétique de la Relation. Paris: Gallimard, 1990. Teltscher, Kate (ed.): Hobson-Jobson: The Definitive Glossary of British India (A Selected Edition) by Henry Yule and A.C. Burnell. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. Titus, Pop: “Amitav Ghosh’s Sea of Poppies – A Multicultural and Multilingual Narrative” 2012. In: www.theroundtable.com accessed on 6 June 2016.

Autour de Les Indes Lézenn d’Édouard Glissant: Entre la Poétique du Voyage et la Poétique de la Relation Tumba Shango Lokoho Sorbonne III, Paris, France

I Le voyage comme poétique générale « Combien sont-ils, et qui s’appellent sur la plage, hommes d’histoire, près de Gênes très-ouverte ? » (Livre XVIII, p. 52) « Trois jours, leur avait dit Colomb, et je vous donne un monde. » Le 12 octobre 1492, l’ancre fut jetée, face aux forêts, sous un soleil éclatant (Chant Deuxième, « Le Voyage », p. 54).

I.1 La dynamique hodéporique indienne Les Indes Lézenn (1956/2005)1 sont morphologiquement un poème en six chants structurés suivant un mouvement dynamique qui va de « L’Appel », Chant Premier (p. 16-53), en passant par « Le voyage », Chant deuxième (p. 54-83), « La Conquête », Chant troisième (p. 84-105), « La Traite », Chant quatrième (p. 106-152), et « Les Héros », Chant cinquième (p. 128-153), à « La Relation », Chant sixième (p. 154-171). En fait, il s’agit des esquisses poétiques de l’imaginaire de l’Inde tel que le poète le construit en réinterprétant l’histoire et la géographie de la DécouverteConquête de l’impérialisme occidental dès 1492. Le poème épouse alors les 1

Toutes les citations renvoient à l’édition bilingue Les Indes Lézenn, réalisée par Rodolf Étienne (Éditions Serpent à Plumes, 2005). La première édition du poème Les Indes. Poème de l’une et l’autre terre a été publiée en 1956 aux Éditions du Seuil ; dans le colophon, le poème est daté « avril-mai-juin 1955 ».

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grands délinéaments spatio-temporels de cette projection et de cette attraction de l’ailleurs à travers les différentes routes maritimes et les différentes navigations transocéaniennes menées par l’Occident chrétien et commercial alors dominé par le savoir maritime lusitanien et espagnol. En effet, deux puissances maritimes sont au cœur de cette aventure maritime de conquête et de découverte : l’Espagne et le Portugal. Ces deux nations vont suivre deux voies maritimes différentes : le Portugal par la route transocéanique Atlantique et Indienne en longeant les côtes atlantiques occidentales africaines et indiano-océaniennes de l’Afrique australe jusqu’en Inde et au-delà jusqu’à l’Extrême-Orient (Chine et Japon en particulier), tandis que l’Espagne suivra celle de l’Atlantique et du Pacifique (les Amériques et les Philippines). Certes, le mobile principal du voyage transmarin et transocéanique du Portugal et de l’Espagne est de prime abord celui de la route des épices, de la soie et de l’or. Mais, elle se transmuera en conquête à la suite du premier navigateur à s’y rendre des siècles après Marco Polo au XIIIe siècle, à savoir Christophe Colomb qui, au nom de la très chrétienne Reine Isabelle de Castille, va découvrir par hasard ‘les Indes’ en 1492, en réalité Guanahani, rebaptisé San Salvador, non loin des Bahamas. La transmutation de la recherche de la route des épices en conquête marque en même temps le début du processus de la transmigration occidentale et de la conquête des Amériques et d’une partie de l’Asie par l’Europe, ou plus exactement la « conquête des nouveaux mondes » pour parler comme Pierre Chaunu ou bien encore de la « conquête du monde » pour paraphraser Jean Meyer. Le poète est sensible à cela et le rappelle dans l’argument du Chant Premier : « 1492. Les Grands Découvreurs s’élancent sur l’Atlantique, à la recherche des Indes. Avec eux le poème commence. Tous ceux aussi, avant et après ce Jour Nouveau, qui ont connu leur rêve, en ont vécu ou en sont morts (p. 16). » Il ajoute : « Ceux qui partirent d’Espagne et du Portugal, convoitant l’or et les épices ; mais soldats et mystiques aussi [ . . . ] voici le port en fête, l’aventure qui se noue ; le rêve s’épuise dans son projet. L’homme a peur de son désir, au moment de le satisfaire (p. 16). » Et c’est là que véritablement l’élan poétique commence et que le poème s’ébranle. L’élan des Grands Découvreurs est un élan poétique épique. Ils sont, nous dit le poète, « soldats et mystiques aussi » au service d’une cause économique et politique, d’une idéologie, c’est-à-dire soldats de la foi et de la politique, au service du sabre et du goupillon à la fois. Répondre à l’appel du large, à l’attrait de l’aventure est une manière pour

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eux d’accomplir les volontés de leurs rois respectifs, de participer à la propagation de la foi et à l’expansion de la religion chrétienne, d’une part, et aussi de réaliser leurs propres rêves personnels, d’autre part. Pourquoi pas acquérir la gloire et la reconnaissance après avoir enduré tant de souffrances, de vicissitudes et de tribulations, après avoir ramené à bon port les marchandises tant convoitées, à savoir les épices d’abord et l’or ensuite ? Mais, l’argument d’ouverture est aussi le biais par lequel le poète anticipe sur l’autre versant de cette histoire de la conquête, de cette projection occidentale vers l’ailleurs convoité, désiré ou rêvé : l’Afrique, la Traite négrière et l’esclavage aux Antilles, en particulier : Le Chant mentionne les trois protagonistes de l’aventure maritime en question : « le père Labat, jacobin et corsaire », ensuite « nègre prophète », victime du père Labat, et surtout « Toussaint Louverture, esclave et libérateur d’Haïti » (p. 16). Résumons : Le poème, le Chant, l’aventure, la mer, les Indes, l’Inde, nous avons là réunis tous les éléments de l’épopée thalasso-cratique de l’Espagne et du Portugal dans le monde2 . Mais, l’Espagne et le Portugal sont ici la métaphore, le paradigme de l’Europe conquérante de la Renaissance et des Temps modernes jusqu’au moment du poème c’est-à-dire 1956, moment du début de la fin de la colonisation et du parachèvement de la décolonisation. Cependant, le poème ne s’exalte pas pour la conquête. Il y revient pour mettre en lumière la détermination et la foi qui pousseront les marins à braver des dangers pour accomplir leur mission avec ses conséquences multiples et d’abord celui des massacres en Amérique indienne ou dans les « Indes anciennes » comme on le verra.

I.2 Poétique du voyage de conquête Au commencement du poème donc, l’émoi et l’effroi : « Sur Gênes va s’ouvrir le pré des cloches d’aventures. / Ô lire d’airain et de vent, dans l’air lyrique de départs, / L’ancre est à jour ! [ . . . ] Ville, écoute ; et sois pieuse ! 2

Le Traité de Tordesillas de 1494 confirmant la bulle du Pape Alexandre VI Inter Caetera de 1493 va définitivement consacrer la division du monde entre le royaume d’Espagne et le royaume du Portugal. Il reconnaîtra également la mainmise du Portugal sur la côte atlantique africaine et ouvrira la voie à d’autres conquêtes portugaises sur les terres chinoises de Macao et indiennes de Goa, entre autres. L’Inde portugaise naîtra de cette aventure. Bref, la domination ibérique du monde commence dès ce moment jusqu’au réveil d’autres couronnes occidentales dès le XVIe siècle.

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Religion te sera faite dans nos cœurs, / Qui avons su l’émoi et la boussole, et d’autres œuvres sur la voile. . .» (Livre I, p. 18). Il advient que l’exaltation et l’émotion, en un mot, le lyrisme du départ, s’estompent à la suite de la prise de conscience a posteriori des dangers et des difficultés à affronter sinon réellement affrontés : « « Ce combat / « Fut d’écumes, de foi, de soleils et de sangs, / « Où l’or, taché de sang, avait sa part essentielle ; et la folie, sa part !» », clame « l’homme » (Livre II, p. 20). Affronter les dangers de la navigation pour accomplir sa tâche s’apparente à un combat épique contre les éléments, contre l’adversité hodéporique, contre l’infortune exotique. La gradation ascendante et le rythme quaternaire de l’énumération dans le second vers consolident l’idée même de l’épicité du combat engagé par les marins, par les navigateurs. Cependant, ce combat est sous-tendu par la cupidité (l’or, taché de sang) et la folie selon le dire du poète. Annoncé ainsi à ce moment d’avant le départ, il ne peut s’agir que de la préfiguration de ce qui pourrait arriver. Car, « la plage ne sait, à ce début, de quelle écume se fera / Sacre ou ravage ? Nul ne sait, pieds nus sur le sable nu, / De quelles Indes voici l’approche et la louange, ou quel ce capitaine / (Aveuglé de vents ou de diamants ?) / Que la voix sur la plage somme encore de partir, libérant la boucle d’amarre ? (Livre III, p. 22) » Partir ? Oui, mais vers quelle destination ? Les Indes ? Mais, lesquelles ? La foule qui, sur cette plage génoise, écoute, ignore tout de la terre lointaine, objet et but du voyage, ignore tout du capitaine en partance. Même les Indes sont pour elle une terre inconnue. Quel lien unit Gênes et les Indes ? Mystère. Il apparaît que la scène de la plage se donne comme prédiction et comme prévision. Comme celle où entre en scène le nègre des mornes (Livre IV, p. 24). Il annonce par avance l’arrivée prochaine du « bateau porteur de femmes nouvelles et de casseroles [ . . . ]» Evénement qui sera confirmé plus tard : « Mais le bateau ne vint-il pas à quai, caressant de sa voile humide / Le pays de carne et de mort ! (p. 24)» Le poème marque ainsi par là sa dimension prophétique. Dans la prophétie il y a quelque chose d’épique. L’événement précurseur est amplifié et marqué d’une sorte de grandeur effrayante. Il faudra pour le bateau en partance affronter l’océan parce qu’au bout du compte « il était riche de manguiers, de soies, d’épices, de venelles» (p. 32). Bref, « chacun s’écria que l’océan est force dure, qui s’éprouve, impure, et se nourrit de sa chair même ! » (p. 32).

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Le voyage vers les Indes par mer et par océan interposés est donc une épreuve pour l’homme, pour l’équipage. C’est aussi une aventure riche de promesses, mais pleine d’exigences. Il exige beaucoup de chaque marin : force morale, force physique, force de caractère et par-dessus tout résistance et endurance à la souffrance, à la douleur et aux tourments de l’âme et de l’esprit. Défi au Temps, à Cronos. Car l’océan est indomptable et exigeant envers les marins. Et le poète de relever : « Ils s’appellent, fameux, et se connaissent sur la plage, où le Temps les convie : / Au même sable, chaque fois, leurs pieds ayant tracé la gloire des marées ; / Rocs sur la mer, et inconnus de ceux des hautes terres, mais brisant mers et taillant villes !» (p. 38). Ces hommes qui s’apprêtent à défier la mer, l’océan, le Temps et l’espace durant des mois sont sacrés d’avance héros et héraut d’une histoire, celle de la projection de l’Occident vers l’Orient, « cet épais maïs de l’inconnu» (p. 26) : « Ô nul ne sait où vient, veilleur de lune, l’orient ; / Ni l’ouest ? L’ouest est un lac, est pâture de l’un où d’autres gobe-ciels / Naissants se mêlent à ceux qui mangent d’injustices et de crimes» (Livre XIV, p. 44). C’est sous ce signe et ce symbole que s’opère la Conquista, la Conquête de l’Orient par l’Occident pour ne pas dire des Indes par l’Europe : la convoitise, l’injustice et le crime. Le Chant Deuxième sous-titré « Le Voyage » l’illustre dès l’argument préambulaire. Il y a par-dessus tout d’abord le sentiment de Peur des dangers et fureurs des mers et océans inconnus : « La Peur. Durant les trois mois (une éternité) qu’ils furent sur l’infini de l’océan, ces marins connurent l’ambiguïté ; ils connurent que le Nord asile de l’aiguille, est double. Que ne souffrirent-ils pas (p. 54) ? » Et le poète de commenter : « L’homme sur la mer paie tribut à ses attaches séculaires, à son tranquille établissement. » Pourtant, de la peur de l’inconnu peut sourdre la grandeur : « La peur ennoblit ce qui est vénal, et peuple la mer de cathédrales étincelantes. C’est l’ascèse. Elle rend digne d’un sable nouveau cela qui n’est d’abord que ténèbre entre la Demeure et la Connaissance : l’inépuisable Voyage (p. 54).» Des « trois jours » promis par Colomb à ses matelots le Voyage durera trois mois d’effroi et de folie avant de toucher terre. Avant d’atteindre au « sable nouveau » que ne faut-il endurer ? Que sont ces « cathédrales étincelantes » qui courent les mers et les océans ? Et dans quel but ? Au bout du compte, l’affrontement de l’inconnu du voyage par-delà la peur est cela qui exalte la découverte de l’exotique, de l’ailleurs. Cela dignifie l’itinéraire qui mène du connais-

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sable ou du connu de la Demeure à la Connaissance ou à la découverte de l’ailleurs insu, inconnu et désiré. Par l’usage des capitales typographiques pour accentuer les termes Peur, Nord, Demeure, Connaissance et Voyage le poète introduit à la poétique du voyage par amplification, par hyperbole. La poétique hodéporique est Chant. Elle est sous le signe de la Lyre de Terpandre de Lesbos, musicien et poète de la Grèce antique, qui triompha à Sparte au VIIe siècle avant J.-C3 et Toussaint Louverture dans le Jura (Chant Premier, Livre X, p. 36). Le voyage est une épopée dominée par la peur et l’exaltation, par la mer imprévisible, par la météorologie inconnue et imprédictible, par l’éternité du Temps : « Voyage, sourd voyage, quand les ténèbres avaient leur part, et la folie». Ou bien : « Voyage ! Un monde de biscuits, de paris, de misère. Où c’est toujours minuit, / Car les heures ne peuvent fuir» (p. 56). La frégate est ainsi ballotée entre le silence des étoiles, du ciel et le silence ou le calme monotone de la mer : « L’étoile considère ; elle est silence, elle ne peut qu’elle préfère / La frégate dans les airs qui la salue d’un rond d’écume, et bleuit, / Ou la frégate sur la mer, sommet de son sillage qu’aucune écume ne trahit !» (Livre XIX, p. 56). La frégate prise entre l’immensité océanique et l’infini cosmique, frêle embarcation à la merci des caprices du Temps ne peut que susciter la sensation de terreur, de panique et en même temps d’espérance de toucher terre. Toucher terre, c’est la récompense suprême pour les matelots au sortir d’une navigation interminable et au sortir des aléas d’un long voyage tourmenté, d’une solitude sans fin. Au sortir des « ténèbres », insiste le poète. En effet, le poème rappelle la panique face à une mer tumultueuse et démontée, face à la maladie qui guette, face à l’incertitude viatique maritime : « « Vire à la poupe ! Carguez la voile du futur ! Buvons l’eau douce, et jetons à la mer, / Avec l’eau douce ceux qui veulent voir où vont les Dieux. Craignons l’impur scorbut, / Foudre de l’Invisible que nous injurions. Brisez les caisses. Par-dessus bord, les provisions !» (Livre XXI, p. 60). Le capitaine qui donne des ordres pour sauver ce qui peut l’être encore sait que la manœuvre qu’il engage est nécessaire à la survie et surtout absolument utile pour le futur. La question rhétorique qu’il pose et la réponse qu’il donne montre clairement l’impossibilité de se passer des Indes. Il 3

Lire Plutarque : De la musique. Édition critique et explicative par Henri Weil et Th. Reinach. Paris : Ernest Leroux 1900.

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conjoint ainsi dans son dire l’épopée qui s’écrit, se construit à travers le voyage et le mythe qui sous-tend fondamentalement l’épopée maritime à laquelle il participe. Ainsi : « Que nous valent ces Indes où nul ne sait si l’herbe pousse pour nos bouches, / Pour notre soif, notre liesse, en ce moment déjà de grande soif de vin !» (Livre XXI, p. 60). Et de répondre : « Mais qui peut ô marins, se déprendre des Indes ?» (Livre XXI, p. 60). Si la déprise indienne n’est pas possible, c’est que les Indes dans l’imaginaire occidental constituent une sorte de nec plus ultra exotique et ambivalent. Ambivalent nec/plus ultra de la conquête et de la découverte. On peut se prémunir contre « l’impur scorbut / Foudre de l’Invisible », mais pas des Indes. Atteindre les Indes, c’est comme accéder au Graal ! Alors, le marin est comme le Nathanaël gidien en attente de la fin : « Il dit : « Passe le temps, le temps qui passe me grandit» ; puis il a peur ! / Et c’est bruit de folie, d’histoire très ancienne dans sa tête. / Et c’est bruit d’or et de batailles dans son cœur» (Livre XXIII, p. 64). Aucun renoncement n’est possible. Les Indes attirent inévitablement. La gravitation poétique est à l’image de la gravitation hodéporique maritime : le marin affronte le temps, l’endure et s’endurcit dans ce combat parce qu’au bout du voyage, au bout du compte, il y a les Indes. Ainsi, par-delà la nostalgie du passé (Livres XXIV – XXV, p. 66-68), il faut répondre à l’appel de « l’or des dieux impies !» (Livre XXVI, p. 70). Autrement dit, si le premier appel hodéporique fut celui du « Chemin de la Soie4 » (Chant Premier, Livre XIII, p. 42), le deuxième est celui du « chemin d’or» (Chant Deuxième, Livre XXVI, p. 70). Dans les deux cas, le voyage ne fut jamais de tout repos comme les deux livres évoqués l’indiquent. Ce n’est qu’au prix de la sueur, du sang, de la douleur, de la solitude, voire même de la mort (Chant Deuxième, Livre XXVIII, p. 74 ; Livre XXIX, p. 76) que ces itinéraires furent possibles. Ils relièrent l’Occident à l’Orient et servirent plus tard à construire l’imaginaire occidental de l’Orient, à savoir l’orientalisme. Nous y reviendrons. Le Livre XXXII (p. 82) qui marque la fin du voyage, c’est-à-dire la fin de l’épouvante, et inaugure l’histoire nouvelle de l’Occident aux Indes (de l’Ouest et de l’Est), résume clairement l’épicité de ce long périple qui conduit aux Indes. En un premier mouvement le poète évoque l’exultation 4

Que l’on pense ici au Devisement du monde ou Le Livre des merveilles de Marco Polo au Moyen Âge.

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finale, l’exaltation de la fin du voyage : « Terre ! Tempêtes vaincues ! Vous, dieux inavoués ! Ô vœu des Mers !» (p. 82). En un deuxième mouvement, il condense en une évocation poétique puissante la relation entre le passé lointain et le présent : « Moyen Âge, Désert, fertilisés ! Ô Paraboles des vignes et des blés ! Pleur du Passé ! Ils ont connu la terre, ils reculent dans leur histoire pour la peser !» (p. 82). Le Moyen Âge, époque des contacts décisifs entre l’Occident, l’Orient et l’Extrême-Orient dont Marco Polo est la première personnification. L’aujourd’hui de cette relation permet de mieux réévaluer la distance spatio-temporelle parcourue et accomplie. D’hier à aujourd’hui la même passion, la même volonté, la même folie ont fixé l’action occidentale en Orient. Mais aujourd’hui une nouvelle page s’ouvre, l’ancienne se tourne mais ne se ferme pas complètement : « Ils s’assemblent sur cette plage, plage vierge, où il n’est point d’amarre. / Ils vont nouer commerce : et d’hommes et de dieux – mais le langage mûrit en eux ! – / Et d’épices, d’or, et de fièvre jaune !» (p. 82). Loin du Moyen Âge et à la fois dans la continuité voici les Temps modernes. Cette « fièvre jaune », maladie terrible, se transmue ici par métaphore en cupidité occidentale, en soif insatiable de l’or et en source de mort pour les autochtones. Faut-il le remémorer : l’an 1492 marque le début des Temps modernes ? Christophe Colomb en partance pour les Indes au nom de la Reine Isabelle de Castille, souveraine espagnole, croit découvrir les Indes alors qu’il se trouve en réalité dans les Antilles sur les côtés des Amériques. En 1498 le navigateur portugais Vasco de Gama découvre la route des Indes en passant par le Cap de Bonne Espérance dans l’océan Indien. C’est ainsi que le XVe siècle va devenir le siècle des expéditions et explorations maritimes vers les Indes et qui débouchent sur la conquête et la découverte des nouvelles terres, des « nouveaux mondes » par l’Occident. Ce sera l’objet de la deuxième grande parabole poétique de Les Indes Lézenn. Les Chants Troisième, « La Conquête » et Quatrième, « La Traite » l’illustrent. Les titres mêmes de ces chants sont emblématiques et performatifs. Le poème évoque de manière saisissante ces deux projections en flèche de l’Occident vers les Amériques indiennes qu’on a appelées les Indes occidentales par erreur : « Ces conquérants convoitèrent jusqu’à en mourir les mines du Nouveau Monde. Ils vainquirent le rivage, puis la forêt, puis les Andes, puis les Hauts-plateaux avec leurs villes désertées. Ils saccagèrent l’espace, dans leur fureur cupide et follement mystique. Tragique Chant d’amour avec la terre nouvelle (p. 84).»

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La conquête du Nouveau Monde s’accomplit comme violence absolue et comme tragédie sans nom. On connaît la charge incisive de Bartolomé de Las Casas contre la sauvagerie de la conquête espagnole dans sa célèbre Très brève relation de la destruction des Indes en 1552. Le poète n’ignore pas ces différents récits qui ont pour sujet et thème les Indes. Cette connaissance lui donne l’occasion d’énumérer les différents avatars du « Conquérant » : « Les noms divers du Conquérant : Cortès, Pizarro, Almagro, Balboa. L’assassin déchaîné : le père Valverde. Celui qu’il baptisa, avant de l’étrangler : Atahualpa, dernier amant de la terre rouge (p. 84). » L’alliance du sabre et du goupillon a pour résultat le désastre, la catastrophe pour les Indiens des Amériques : d’un côté, la violence religieuse catholique, de l’autre celle des Conquistadores comme on peut le lire dans le livre XXXVII (p. 94). Et le poète de le clamer : « Leur langage te sera viril, ô terre, ô femme éblouie, ton sang rouge mêlé à ta glaise rouge. / Eux, épais avec leur barbe ! Mais plus épaisse encore la parole du capitaine ! [ . . . ] Il avance, il est mirage, ô profondeurs sacrées des mines d’or et d’argent ! De baies en forêts, à la nue, puis aux villes, tu l’entends, le fier tonnerre» (p. 86). C’est que les conquérants usent en même temps du canon, de la bible et du missel pour piller, tuer, subjuguer et finalement conquérir : « Ô vierge ! L’alchimiste de votre corps, le voici, soldat de foi, / Et qui vous aime d’un grand vent de folie et de sang, il est en vous ! Venez sur le rivage de votre âme ! Tendez vos trésors à vos conquistadores !» (p. 88). Ou encore le chant du dénouement tragique : « Par Pizarre et par Cortez ! par tous les ventres de la nue ! et par l’épée ! / Plus une feuille qui ne soit marquée du sceau des arquebuses ! Plus une pierre, que n’ait pesée notre balance ! C’est justice» (Livre XXXIX, p. 98). Que de crimes au nom de la Foi chrétienne, de la convoitise de l’or et de l’argent ! La projection conquérante de l’Espagne et du Portugal – plus tard celle d’autres puissances européennes – vers les Amériques indiennes du fait de son ampleur et de sa diabolique efficacité s’achèvera par l’imposition de l’impérialisme occidental dans ce qui deviendra plus tard l’Amérique espagnole et en partie portugaise, c’est-à-dire l’Amérique latine. Et avant cela, elles sont caractérisées comme les Indes occidentales. Le poème relève l’aberration : « Et si les Indes ne sont pas de ce côté où tu te couches, que m’importe ! / Indes je te dirai. Inde de l’Ouest : afin que je regagne mon rêve. / Afin que rien ne soit perdu, de ce songe effaré ! L’image est bonne, et je la garde» (Livre XXXIX, p. 98). La fascination de l’Inde trans-

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paraît visiblement ici. Le conquérant qui interpelle cette terre s’autorise de la nommer ainsi pour préserver son image de rêve de l’Inde. Le voyage de conquête s’achève sur la prise totale des Indes occidentales par l’Espagne et le Portugal en une sorte de poétique négative où le rêve occidental, son désir de conquête, sa volonté de domination transfigure le rêve en cauchemar pour les Indiens des Amériques. Le poète est sensible à cela qui se trame sous le signe de la collision sanglante des histoires et de la violence de la conquête. Point de contact digne de ce nom : uniquement l’imposition de l’ordre et du discours européens.

I.3 De la « prose » de la Traite La représentation poétique hodéporique des Indes passe aussi par la géopoïétique de la Traite en tant que telle. En effet, la conquête des Indes occidentales a pour conséquence la recherche d’une nouvelle main-d’œuvre à même de se substituer à l’indienne. La Traite négrière va être près de trois siècles durant le cœur même du commerce triangulaire Europe-AfriqueAmérique pour les plantations des Amériques, de la Caraïbe et des Antilles. Le Poète martiniquais Aimé Césaire le chante dans son anti-épopée poétique, Cahier d’un retour au pays natal. Le lyrisme anti-épique césairien est à l’inverse du lyrisme épique d’Édouard Glissant. Celui-ci revient aussi sur la traite négrière dans Les Indes Lézenn avec une emphase et un enthousiasme épique de bon aloi : « La Traite. Ce qu’on n’effacera jamais de la face de la mer. Sur la rive occidentale de l’Afrique, les marchands de chair font provision. Pendant deux siècles le fructueux trafic, plus ou moins avoué, fournit les Iles, le Nord de l’Amérique, et à non moindre proportion, le Centre et le Sud» (p. 106). Il enchérit : « C’est un massacre ici (au réservoir de l’Afrique) afin de compenser le massacre là-bas. La monstrueuse mobilisation, la traversée oblique, le Chant de Mort. Un langage de déraison, mais qui porte raison nouvelle» (ibid.). En fait, la scène de la Traite est double : la scène terrestre où se joue le théâtre des cruautés de la capture des futurs esclaves et la scène maritime où la traversée de l’océan Atlantique ou Indien est en soi un voyage tragique, sans retour et sans fin vers cet ailleurs inconnu des « captifs traités ». La Traite est une trace maritime irréfragable, une tache indélébile sur la mémoire du monde, une page ineffaçable de l’Histoire. La mer / l’océan porte définitivement cette marque du temps et de l’histoire.

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Et la Raison a vite débouché sur la déraison : c’est au nom de la raison mercantile et de la cupidité économique que l’Europe a transformé des êtres humains capturés en objet de vente, en marchandise et plus tard en maind’œuvre taillable et corvéable à merci dans la Plantation dans les Amériques et les Caraïbes. Le Poète peut conclure en mettant en avant les deux points essentiels de cette géopoïétique de la Traite : « l’Inde de souffrance » succède aux « Indes du rêve» (p. 106) ; la réalité nouvelle ainsi créée porte la marque des contradictions de l’homme occidental. Il est le découvreur de l’ailleurs et l’auteur des massacres dans cet ailleurs (bourreau). Le poète peut s’adresser avec effroi et douleur au captif privé de tout : Où sont tes Indes, toi ? Où ta lumière ? Es-tu cœur d’homme qu’on charroie ? Cœur d’homme que l’on brûle, afin qu’il se souvienne de ce feu ? Après la plage constellée de gloire, après le temps où du désert s’accomplissait la soif et la mouvance trop égale, après aussi l’amour torride du sexe de profusion, amour si rare ! bientôt s’ouvre un océan de choses étroites, sombres, parmi ceux que l’on entasse dans la soute et que l’on mène à ton couchant ; pour y mourir en toi, recéleur (Livre XLIII, p. 108).

Le poète interpelle avec émotion le captif désormais sans boussole, sans repère, enfermé dans la cale du bateau négrier en vue de son transbord dans le lointain inconnu de l’exil ou traversant le désert saharien vers l’Orient proche ou médian, l’autre voie de l’esclavage transsaharien. Le poète conjoint dans le même élan poétique les deux voies importantes de la traite et de l’esclavage. Ces routes maritime et terrestre qui sont au cœur de la géopoétique de la Traite illustrent la volonté du poète de ne pas lisser les différentes traites. Mais, les Indes sont en même temps données à voir comme le lieu géométrique de la constitution de soi, comme le point de repère absolu de la poétique de la traite. La traite, c’est en son étymologie le commerce. Perdre les Indes, c’est perdre la géographie de son existence et de son identité. Le voyage erratique vers les terres nouvelles de malheur devient le comble, l’absolu de la tragédie du Nègre déraciné. Commence pour lui le Temps des ténèbres. Poétique hodéporique négative qui rejoint au fond celle des Indiens des Amériques. La question poétique « Où sont tes Indes, toi ? » signifie en réalité la dépossession absolue de l’Africain capturé aux fins de la Traite et de l’esclavage, notamment transsaharien (cf. le désert). Les Africains traités, les Nègres transbordés vont « peupler l’Inde énorme du malheur» (Livre XLV, p. 112). Privés de leur passé, de

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leur histoire, de leur terre (Livre XLVI, p. 114), ils entament la longue et interminable traversée sans fin et sans espoir : « Le sentencié tarit dans la chambre, une cale, parmi l’odeur de mer désespéré. Toute la nuit, par le hublot, il voit passer la lame. Elle conduit le jour d’après dans la ronce du jour d’avant. Et la parole est plus oblique et plus aride, s’il se peut. . . Traversée, nuit de glace» (p. 116). D’où la question poétique sans réponse : « Qui rêve de splendeur ? Qui a rêvé d’une île de senteur et de cannelle douce ? L’homme accomplit son océan ; il râle sa mer. Et il étouffe, cela est vrai» (p. 116). Ici la poétique de la Traite prend réellement son sens. Dire le malheur du transbordé. Produire poétiquement le Chant et la Parole de sa souffrance lors de la traversée océanique enfermé dans la cale et drapé de silence et de froid. Le négrier peut rêver de splendeur et d’îles merveilleuses, l’enfermé dans la cale ne le peut étant dans l’ignorance absolue du lieu, étant nu littéralement, vivant dans la réclusion totale (Livre XLVIII, p. 118) et surtout coupé de sa splendeur passée (Livre XLIII, p. 108). Le poète ne peut s’empêcher de le marteler poétiquement et de le rappeler avec force : On a cloué un peuple aux bateaux de haut bord, on a vendu, loué, troqué la chair. Et la vieillesse pour le menu, les hommes aux moissons de sucres, et la femme pour le prix de son enfant. Il n’est plus de mystère ni d’audace : les Indes sont marché de mort ; le vent le clame maintenant, droit sur la proue ! (Livre XLIX, p. 120).

L’image des Indes est celle du marché des esclaves, lieu de transaction et de marchandage du prix de l’esclave suivant une hiérarchie des prix et des critères de vente. « Marché de mort », nous dit le poète. En effet, ici l’homme noir, l’esclave perd sa qualité humaine et devient chose négociable. La mort de l’humanité de l’homme atteint son point ultime : « Ceux qui ont incendié l’amour et le désir ; ce sont Navigateurs. Ils ont tourné la face vers la forêt, ils demandent, muets, quelque parole. Langage, une autre fois, de nudité. Pour le muscle, tant de mots. Ô langage désert, et sa grammaire mortuaire ! Pour la denture, encore tant. . . Jusqu’à l’Oméga du monde nouveau !» (p. 120). Le poète rappelle la tactique ou la stratégie des négriers pour la capture et l’achat des captifs : la ruse de la parole qui conduira les captifs jusqu’aux « grandes Indes sans mystère». Et pourtant, cet acheminement sur la route de l’esclavage, ce voyage vers l’esclavage connaît son

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lot de révolte des captifs comme nous l’évoquent de manière saisissante ces fragments poignants du Chant IV, Livre L : Un d’eux, qui profitant d’une mégarde des chiourmes, tourne son âme vers la mer, il s’engloutit. Un autre abâtardi dont le corps est sans prairie, sans rivière, sans feu. Un qui meurt dans sa fiente consommée à la fétidité commune. Un ici qui sait sa femme enchaînée près de lui : il ne la voit, mais il l’entend faiblir. Et un qui sait sa femme nouée au bois là-bas d’un négrier : il ne la voit pas mais il l’entend partir. Un encore dont le gourdin a cassé quelque côte, mais on punit le marin peu économe du butin (p. 122).

On le voit dans cette première partie du tableau poétique de la condition du captif dans la cale du négrier : le poète procède par énumération et gradation croissante des malheurs du captif durant son voyage maritime vers l’esclavage. Le chemin maritime de l’esclavage est jonché de cadavres, parsemé de violence et marqué par moment par des suicides. Dans un second moment, le poète revient avec insistance sur le sort contraint du captif dont les désirs et la volonté sont ignorés par le navigateur, par le négrier. Et Un qu’on mène sur le pont, une fois la semaine, que ses jambes ne pourrissent pas. Un qui ne veut marcher, immobile en son sort déjà, qu’on fait danser sur la tôle de feu. Un qui attend l’inanition, il se refuse à avaler le pain mouillé de salaison ; mais on lui offre de ce pain ou du fer rouge sur la flamme, qu’il choisisse. Un enfin qui à la fin avale sa langue, s’étouffe, immobile dans sa bave. Cela se nomme d’un nom savant dont je ne puis me souvenir, mais dont les fonds marins depuis ce temps ont connaissance, sans nul doute (p. 122).

La représentation de la non-vie, de la survie du captif dans la cale du bateau négrier n’est pas sans rappeler la même représentation dans le Cahier d’un retour au pays natal d’Aimé Césaire. Ce morceau poétique d’anthologie montre que Les Indes de la douleur, de la souffrance et du malheur sont à Édouard Glissant ce que sont les Antilles grêlées de petite vérole à Aimé Césaire. A tous les deux s’est posée la question de la représentation poétique de l’irreprésentable, à savoir du sort des captifs dans le bateau négrier. En vérité, ils ont choisi la voie de l’amplification poétique pour peindre le tableau des horreurs et misères vécues par les captifs dans la cale. Glissant le résume bien dans le Livre XLIV (p. 110) : « Choses horribles, prose dure . . . ce furent, au matin, Indes ouvertes d’épopée, d’un corps venteux d’ambition.» Et le poète insiste sur son rôle prophétique, oraculaire face à

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ceux qui lui reprochent sa «strophe dure » qui parle « de ceux qui furent sur l’océan de mort » : « ils seront quelques-uns, aux talons furieux sur le tambour nocturne, et dont l’ivresse parlera : « Nous sommes fils de ceux qui survécurent» (Livre LI, p. 124). Récapitulons. La Traite ne peut se dire poétiquement en tant que telle. Parce qu’épreuve absolue de négation de l’homme, de l’être même de l’homme, parce qu’expression de la déraison humaine, elle ne peut que relever de la « prose dure », de la « strophe dure ». L’imaginaire poétique hodéporique de la Traite passe par l’énumération des conditions de la Traversée et des conditions de Vente du captif au marché des esclaves. La Traite relève de la description et de l’évocation poétique du marché des esclaves. La poétique est dans la déploration de la perte de la splendeur passée. Mais, contre l’oubli, contre l’amnésie le poète se veut l’accoucheur de la parole de vérité de cette horreur, le poète des Indes de la souffrance et du malheur.

II Les Indes comme métaphore du commencement de l’Unité nouvelle L’Inde est imaginaire, mais sa révélation ne l’est pas (Chant Cinquième, Livre LIV)

Une fois posée la problématique hodéporique du poème épique Les Indes Lézenn, vient celle de la représentation de l’Inde, de l’imaginaire des Indes. On serait forcément tenté de penser au rapport qu’entretiendrait éventuellement la figuration poétique des Indes selon Édouard Glissant et la représentation classique, canonique des Indes et qui fonde l’indophilie. Si l’on tentait un léger détour par l’examen rapide des fondements de l’indophilie tel que constituée en Occident dès l’Antiquité jusqu’au moment de ce poème, c’est-à-dire 1956, on pourrait mettre en lumière plusieurs types de représentations des Indes : il y a l’Inde monstrueuse et presque inconnue de l’Antiquité, il y a l’Inde étonnante et attirante du Moyen Âge, l’Inde merveilleuse et mystérieuse des Temps Modernes et l’Inde captivante et misérable de l’époque contemporaine. Qu’y a-t-il de commun entre ces différentes aperceptions et représentations de l’Inde ? On peut retenir une sorte de fascination de l’Inde, de magie, j’allais dire de magnétisme et de mystère de l’Inde qui a longtemps troublé l’imagination de l’Europe de l’Antiquité

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à nos jours. Il y a l’imaginaire des épices, l’imaginaire du thé, l’imaginaire de la sagesse indienne, l’imaginaire religieux ou spirituel (Sri Aurobindo, Rabindranath Tagore, le Mahâbhârata, le bouddhisme, le yoga, le Gange etc.). Bref, l’image de « l’Inde fabuleuse » constitue depuis l’Antiquité le socle de l’indophilie et même de l’indomanie. De la passion, du mythe et du goût de l’Inde, somme toute. Les récits de voyage en Inde ont été le premier lieu d’attestation de l’attrait de l’Inde en Occident depuis l’Antiquité. Dominique Lenfant nous le rappelle dans son ouvrage, Ctésias de Cnide, La Perse. L’Inde. Autres fragments5 ainsi que dans son article fort ramassé, « L’Inde de Ctésias. Des sources aux représentations6 ». Hérodote avait déjà esquissé une représentation de l’Inde dans son Enquête, nous indique Dominique Lenfant dans l’article cité. Au XIIIe siècle Marco Polo évoque son expérience indienne dans Le livre de l’Inde dans Le Devisement du Monde. Le livre des merveilles (T. II). De même, Le voyage aux Indes (1414-1439)7 de Nicolò de’ Conti est publié par le Saint-Siège d’après la relation de ce voyageur vénitien parlant arabe et kalat au secrétaire du Pape Eugène IV. Dès le XVe siècle les récits de voyage en Inde vont pulluler. Parmi ces récits il y a celui de Ludovico Varthema, Le voyage de Ludovico Di Varthema en Arabie et aux Indes orientales (1503-1508)8 . Il n’est pas nécessaire ici de faire la revue de tous les récits de voyage en Inde. Cependant, je voudrais signaler en passant les Voyages de Vasco de Gama, Relations des expéditions de 14971499 & de 1502-1503 et l’essai de Sophie Chipon-Linon, Gallia orientalis. Voyages aux Indes orientales (1529-1722). Poétique et imaginaire d’un genre littéraire en formation9 qui traite des voyages des Français aux Indes orientales pour concurrencer les marins espagnols et surtout portugais qui furent les premiers à partir vers cet ailleurs fascinant (Magellan, Bartolomeo Dias). Par ailleurs, on peut mentionner en passant le récit allégorique, conte ou nouvelle, de Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, La Chaumière indienne qui participe au siècle des Lumières à la construction de la mythologie de 5

6 7

8 9

Paris : Les Belles Lettres 2004. L’auteure a réalisé un travail philologique immense et assuré la traduction et le commentaire de ces textes de Ctésias. Voir la revue Topoi 5, Paris, 1995, p. 309-336. Paris : Chandeigne, 2004. Les Editions Chandeigne ont fait traduire ce récit par Diane Menard. Il est encadré par la préface de Geneviève Bouchon et par la présentation d’Anne-Laure Amilhat-Szary. Paris : Chandeigne, 2004. La traduction est de Paul Teyssier et la préface de Jean Aubin. Paris : Presses Universitaires de Paris-Sorbonne, 2003.

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l’Inde. Plus près de nous il y eut les travaux scientifiques de Georges Dumézil ou ceux de Mircea Eliade entre autres qui ont contribué à maintenir la flamme de la passion orientaliste de l’Inde en Europe. De tout cela, on notera qu’il y a le premier orientalisme de l’Antiquité jusqu’au « Long Moyen Âge » pour parler comme Jacques Le Goff qui, plus tard, sera suivi par le deuxième orientalisme au sortir du XVIIIe siècle10 . De même, on relèvera que l’imaginaire de l’Inde a été longtemps nourri aux lieux communs de l’exotisme (mysticisme, sensualité) et aux réquisits de l’indologie (les textes sacrés des anciens hindous : Veda, Mahâbhârata, Upanishad). Qu’en est-il alors de l’imaginaire poétique indienne d’Édouard Glissant ? Ignore-t-il toutes ces connaissances, tous ces savoirs, cette mythologie de l’Inde ? Ce qui est clair, c’est qu’il a lu entre autres le Journal de bord et les Relations de la Découverte de Christophe Colomb11 et aussi La destruction des Indes de Bartolomé de Las Casas. Dans Les Indes Lézenn on oscille entre deux représentations de l’Inde. L’Inde y renvoie à la vraie Inde c’est-à-dire à l’Indica asiatica : « Et si les Indes ne sont pas de ce côté où tu te couches, que m’importe ! Indes je te dirai. Inde de l’Ouest : afin que je regagne mon rêve» (p. 98), dit cyniquement le Conquérant12 au moment de la conquête de l’Amérique. Il y a d’un côté l’Inde où le soleil se lève, donc l’Inde du Levant et, de l’autre, l’Inde du Couchant ou Inde de l’Ouest, c’est-à-dire les Indes occidentales. Dans le Livre XXX, où plane l’ombre de Colomb dans les trois vers où apparaît le mot Indes (p. 78), il est bel et bien question de cette double aperception de l’Inde : « ni si les Indes, / Indes pour son plaisir ou sa folie ou sa cupidité, sont par là-bas, réellement / Indes ? Il ne saura jamais (pleuré de vous !)». Le doute quant à la localisation géographique véritable des Indes souligne l’importance de distinguer les deux. Dans tous les cas, le poème jouera de ces deux représentations et passera de l’une à l’autre sans précaution. Car, personne ne peut « se déprendre des Indes » comme dit le 10

11

12

On lira avec intérêt le texte de Jérôme SOUTY « L’orientalisme entre science et avatars historiques », in Sciences humaines 7/2001 (nÆ 118), p. 27-27, in www.cairn.info /magazine-sciences-humaines-2001-7-page-27.htm. qui fait le tour de la question de l’orientalisme. Cf. Colomb, Christophe : La Découverte de l’Amérique I. Journal de bord et autres écrits 1492-1493 et II. Relations de voyage et autres écrits, 1494-1505. Traduit par Soledad Estorach et Michel Lequenne. Paris : La Découverte/Poche 2000. (Coll. Littérature et voyages). En l’occurrence, il s’agit de Pizarre et Cortès.

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poète au Livre XXI (p. 60). Avant cela, il s’interrogeait dans le Livre III sur la nature des Indes où les marins vont accoster : « De quelles Indes voici l’approche et la louange» (p. 22). Ou bien encore : « Gave où quelle Inde se dessine ?» (Livre XI, p. 38). Cependant, la nette distinction entre les deux apparaît clairement dans l’avant-dernier vers du Livre XVII : « Et le marin dit qu’il croit même, enfants, qu’il est deux Indes, deux levures d’or saignant !» (p. 50). Le poète s’intéressera également aux deux tout en insistant particulièrement sur les Indes occidentales / West Indies où la négritude prit racine après la Traite et l’esclavage. Rappelons-le, l’épicité poétique commence avec l’évocation poétique du nom Indes : « Indes ! ce fut ainsi, par votre nom cloué sur la folie, que commença la mer [ . . . ].» De même, la question des vieillards balbutiants : « Où va le souffle, sont les Indes » ? (p. 28) montre comment l’Inde s’est incrustée dans l’imaginaire collectif occidental. Cependant, la fascination de l’Inde s’exprime à travers quelques rengaines poétiques qui sont disséminées dans le poème même et sont offertes comme parole gnomique : « Les Indes sont éternité» (Livre X, p. 36). Ou sa variante : « Mais les Indes sont vérité» (Livre XVII, p. 50). L’Inde attire. L’Inde appelle. Un peu comme un pays de cocagne « riche de manguiers, de soies, d’épices, de venelles» (Livre VIII, p. 32). Objet de convoitise, de « folie », de « rapine » et de « beauté » aussi de l’homme. C’est réellement le Livre XLIV (p. 110) qui semble être le clou de la représentation des Indes heureuses et malheureuses à la fois. Evoquant les « Indes ouvertes d’épopée », le poète commence l’évocation des malheurs qu’engendre l’appel des Indes : « Indes en solitude », « Indes à marche triomphale, sur la route de marbre » et qui contraste avec l’appel des « Indes laiteuses, dont l’âme errante se parfume aux jardins clos. Fondues en ce rubis du chant, Indes distinctes, à ton levant et ton couchant, voyageur ». Ce paradoxe débouche sur l’image somme toute négative des Indes du fait des violences infligées aux autochtones et aux transbordés. Ici, on assiste à la fongibilité de l’image de deux Indes orientales et occidentales exposées et soumises au même cauchemar de la conquête et de la domination : « Ce sont les Indes, pour aujourd’hui, de déraison ; terres, sans lieu et sans levant, de viol d’homme et de suicides – pour ceux qui ne veulent voir le lit terrible de ta nuit.» De l’image poétique des Indes éternité/vérité/beauté on passe à l’image grotesquement anamorphosée des Indes. L’épopée devenue sanglante, horrible se transforme en anti-épopée

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ou en épopée négative. Elles ne sont plus la terre des promesses surtout pour le transbordé nu, le déporté nu dans le silence et l’indifférence de la mer. Ces « Indes déchirées » sont devenues une terre de révolte et une terre annonciatrice de la relation. C’est à partir des Indes déchirées que l’épopée sanglante, « l’épopée obscure » de la résistance nègre va devenir possible (Chant Cinquième, « Les Héros », p. 128). Elle se transmutera plus tard en transpoétique13 de la Relation. Cette épopée obscure ne fut jamais chantée ni dite, ni racontée. Le poète se charge de la composer et de l’écrire pour assurer la mémoire, pour maintenir vive l’histoire et surtout pour lutter contre l’oubli. Deux figures héroïques émergent d’emblée : Delgrès et Toussaint contre l’anti-figure héroïque ou l’antihéros « Dessalines : de terrible mémoire» (p. 128). Dans l’absolu le poète revendique le droit de chanter cette épopée méconnue ou ignorée volontairement par l’histoire officielle, à savoir l’épopée de la Traite négrière qui dura trois siècles : « Du sourd travail qui emplit trois siècles, il est dit maintenant ce que le monde ne voulut pas qu’il se dise : un lourd combat y fut la seule marque du temps.» Dans le même temps il reconnaît que de cette épopée sombre, de cette épopée noire (Traite) a jailli quelque chose d’inouï, d’inattendu, d’imprédictible, d’imprévisible là-bas : « Mais, de ces Indes déchirées, quel miracle, ou quelle nécessité plutôt a posé sa main laborieuse ? Ce qui fut désir, folie et soif de connaissance, ardeur de l’or et plaisir du triomphe, a pris corps» (p. 128). On voit bien que les Indes déchirées sont en fait les Indes occidentales, les Antilles dans la Caraïbe. Des Indes en général on passe aux Indes spécifiques, terre d’errance et de nomadisme. Aussi, le poème célèbre-t-il le chant des héros nègres qui écrivirent les lettres de noblesse de la lutte contre l’esclavage et la colonisation. Ceux qui transfigureront la destinée 13

J’emprunte ce terme pour sa justesse et sa pertinence à Hédi Bouraoui dans Transpoétique. Eloge du nomadisme (Montréal : Mémoire d’encrier, 2005). Bouraoui définit ainsi la transpoétique : « Par transpoétique, nous voulons surtout signaler le transvasement des cultures qui se chevauchent, se croisent et s’entrecroisent, s’attirent et se repoussent dans un travail incessant qui a créé un espace particulier du faire poétique. Ce travail symbiotique, qui tisse parfois à notre insu cette nouvelle sensibilité, permet à chaque vecteur culturel d’établir des lignes de communication avec d’autres cultures tout en se transcendant, c’est-à-dire en s’effaçant pour laisser la trace palimpseste de son processus créateur» (p. 43). On croirait entendre un écho recomposé de la poétique du divers ou de la poétique archipélique d’Édouard Glissant comme si le même souffle créateur irriguait à distance la pensée de deux auteurs.

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de « l’Inde misérable» (p. 142). Le poème le chante sans retenue : « Il est une Inde qui finit quand le réel brosse son poil ardu ; terre du rêve. / [ . . . ] Terre née d’elle-même, pluie des Indes assumées» (Chant Cinquième, Livre LXII, p. 148). C’est ici que nous retrouvons la dimension postcoloniale du poème. Car, 1956 est une date importante dans l’histoire culturelle et intellectuelle du monde noir et de l’Afrique en particulier. On est dans l’ère postConférence de Bandoeng de 1955 qui avait réuni l’Afrique et l’Asie en Indonésie. On est dans les dernières phases de la décolonisation commencée dès 1947 avec l’indépendance de l’Inde et du Pakistan. Le Maroc et la Tunisie accèdent à l’indépendance en 1956. La Guerre d’Algérie commencée en 1954 en est à sa deuxième année. Entre temps Cheikh Anta Diop a publié Nations nègres et culture (1954) et Aimé Césaire, son Discours sur le colonialisme (1955) dont la première parution passée inaperçue remonte à 1950. En tout cas, 1956 marque décisivement les annales culturelles du monde noir avec la tenue du Premier Congrès des Ecrivains et artistes noirs à Paris. Au plan politique La Lettre à Maurice Thorez d’Aimé Césaire est publiée par Présence Africaine en 1956. Elle marque sa rupture avec le Parti Communiste français. Dans ce contexte d’effervescence culturelle, intellectuelle et politique, la parution de Les Indes et Soleil de la conscience chez le même éditeur, Falaize, en 1956 constitue pour Édouard Glissant un moment fort. Ces deux œuvres se répondent comme Édouard Glissant l’explicite dans l’émission « Lecture pour tous » de Pierre Dumayet, « Édouard Glissant à propos des livres « Les Indes » et « Soleil de la conscience », du 06/02/195714 . On retiendra deux choses importantes : la première, Soleil de la conscience, essai poétique ou poésie essayistique, cristallise les réflexions sur la culture et la civilisation antillaises, martiniquaises. La civilisation martiniquaise est de son point de vue un effort transpoétique d’harmonisation des « éléments des civilisations très diverses qui se sont affrontées ». Cet effort déboucherait sur un « nouveau style de civilisation », sur un troisième style, une troisième forme de civilisation qui est la synthèse des apports culturels africains et européens, constituée des emprunts des diverses civilisations en présence et en collision là-bas. C’est à Paris qu’il en prend 14

Voir in www.ina.fr/art-et-culture/litterature/video/I05251873/edouard-glissant-a-propo s-des-livres-les-indes-et-soleil-de-la-conscience.fr.html

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conscience, en effet. Les lumières de la conscience se sont allumées à Paris et ont éveillé la conscience de cette spécificité de la culture martiniquaise. Quant à Les Indes, il le caractérise comme un poème épique qui reprend en six chants les différentes étapes de la constitution de l’histoire des Indes/Antilles/Amériques dès Christophe Colomb et comment au bout du compte cette histoire débouche sur une nouvelle manière de type de civilisation synthétique faite des éléments hétérogènes, disparates culturels venus de diverses civilisations. C’est ce qu’en résumé on trouve dans ces vers de Les Indes Lézenn : « Et on surprit à ses côtés / L’Indien rêveur qui meurt et la contemple, ô silence, / Les gens du soir, venus de la forêt, lueurs, / et les fils d’Orient qui font de la sagesse leur obole» (Chant Cinquième, livre LVII, p. 138). En somme, la négritude ou la bossalitude15 rencontre la coolitude16 dans la construction de cette histoire complexe, multiple et diverse. L’Inde conduit inévitablement à la rencontre. Le poème épique ouvre ainsi à l’infini de la Relation.

III Les Indes Lézenn en tant que lieu de cristallisation et de concrétion de la Poétique de la Relation On vient de le voir : la figuration de l’Inde / des Indes conjoint deux images, celle de l’Inde heureuse et celle de l’Inde misérable. Du choc des deux suivant les aléas de l’histoire et de la rencontre surgit une nouvelle poétique : celle de la Relation. Une transpoétique même. En fait, les étapes précédentes du chemin ou de la route des Indes ont mis en lumière les effets de la collision et des affrontements entre l’Occident conquérant et l’ailleurs figuré par les Indes. L’Inde a été le théâtre de plusieurs convoitises occidentales. Dans les errements de l’histoire de cette rencontre Occident-Orient et OccidentAfrique dominée par la violence de la conquête, l’Inde va symboliser dans le poème ce point de friction et de transmutation de la collision en quelque chose d’autre. C’est le mouvement que dessine le Chant Sixième, chant ul15

16

Cf. Condé, Maryse, La civilisation du Bossale. Réflexions sur la littérature orale de la Guadeloupe et de la Martinique, Paris : L’Harmattan 1978. Lire Marina Carter & Khal Torabully : Coolitude : An Anthology of the Indian Labour Diaspora. London : WPC / Antem Press 2002. De même, on trouvera des intuitions intéressantes dans Juliette Smeralda : L’indo-antillais entre noirs et békés. Approche socio-anthropologique d’une société plurielle. Paris : L’Harmattan 2008.

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time du poème épique. En fait, le poète dresse une sorte de bilan de ce long voyage transocéanique, transatlantique, de la circumnavigation indianoocéanienne – dont Magellan est le maître absolu – et des pérégrinations maritimes européennes transpacifiques.

III.1 L’Inde comme pointe ultime et absolue de la Relation Le poète a à répondre à la question ultime suivante : Que sont les Indes devenues après les tumultes de l’histoire ? Au-delà de la découverte, de la conquête, de la Traite et des résistances, que reste-t-il des Indes ? « Quelles Indes l[es] appellent ? » On le sait : après maintes péripéties et vicissitudes les Découvreurs s’en retournèrent chez eux. Magellan excepté ! Les autochtones et les nouveaux venus accédèrent à la Liberté. Quelles mers ou quels océans les appellent ? La tentation d’une « nouvelle traversée ! », car « La mer est éternelle », semble être l’intention poétique ultime que le poète envisage. Et de reconnaître : « Pour une fois encore je salue l’aube naissant sur un poème non connu et un désir» (p. 158). Quel est ce poème non connu et que chantet-il ? Quel est ce désir énigmatique ? La réponse est là : « Trois siècles ont noué de paille et de sablure ce venant, / Non pas tombé du mât, lui, mais échoué dans la clarté sans épissures, sans écueils ([. . .]) / Echoué, paysan des Indes surannées, fils de la terre du passé qui jadis fut terre à venir» (p. 160). Rappel donc du peuplement de ces nouvelles Indes trois siècles durant et des liens qui s’y sont tissés. L’échouage du transbordé nu et sanglant dans les Indes occidentales au terme du nomadisme transatlantique et transocéanique de la Traite marque la coupure géographique définitive entre la terre du passé et la terre à venir. Sans lien, sans bagage, sans racines, il est débarqué dans une terre nouvelle, inconnue, au bout d’un voyage transocéanique dans la souffrance et l’horreur du Négrier, terre qu’il doit apprivoiser en tant que bossale, marron puis créole après l’abolition de l’esclavage17 . Si le poème oscille constamment entre le chant épique et la complainte du déracinement, il demeure que le poète refuse de s’enfermer dans ce binarisme idéologique, dans ce dualisme « philosophique » : « De partout, ô de partout, cette lamentation / du monde dont s’enivre / La poitrine, – et qui a dessiné l’espérance / pourtant» (p. 166). Il ouvre à la transpoétique de l’es17

Cf. Condé, Maryse, op.cit., p. 7.

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pérance en une sorte d’irénisme poétique ultime posé comme dépassement de l’épopée sanglante de la conquête. De l’épopée commencée à Gênes18 – ville considérée par le poète comme l’emblème même de la volonté de découverte et de conquête et du désir des voyages transocéaniens et transcontinentaux – et de l’aventure qui permit d’ouvrir la voie des Indes occidentales, ce qui reste, c’est le mélange, c’est l’émergence d’une nouvelle civilisation : « Voilà, un peuple ici, sa foi est de nommer chaque ferment et chaque épi » (p. 164) dans ce pays, dans cette ville, dans cette « Inde, laquelle ? en qui le rêve a son limon» (p. 166). Cependant, le poète ne tient pas à achever cette épopée maritime des Indes sans revenir un tant soit peu sur ceux qu’il appelle « les Précurseurs ». Le dernier cri épique est pour leur rendre hommage et les sortir de l’oubli, de l’anonymat parce qu’ils étaient les premiers à ouvrir la voie maritime des Indes : « Alors ! crions les Précurseurs et ceux qui prirent d’autres mers au sas de leurs folies / Leurs noms furent omis, mais n’ont-ils pas ce droit de paraître à la fin, lorsque la ville hiberne, / Eux qui les premiers firent sur la carte la marque de leurs gants ?» (p. 162) « Eux », c’est-à-dire : « Polo, illumineur, il devisa du monde et l’emplit de merveilles. / Gama, épi éblouissant et gloire ramassée, jailli d’un socle d’eau. / Magellan dont le nom fouette la tempête et déracine les Six-mâts – / Qu’ont-ils nourri qui ne soit terre prophétesse, limon du rêve ?» (p. 162). L’impensé poétique ici est que ces trois contre-exemples nous changent de l’épopée sanglante espagnole des Indes occidentales. (Marco) Polo incarne la relation par excellence. Vasco de Gama apparaît comme une autre manière d’entrer en contact avec l’Inde (les Indes orientales) tout comme Magellan symbolise l’audace même de l’aventure de découverte et surtout de la circumnavigation longtemps après Christophe Colomb19 ! L’exaltation épique est à la mesure des exploits de ces trois ouvreurs de voie et découvreurs des mondes. Le poète transcende ainsi l’amertume de la violence de la Conquista par la jubilation de l’évocation poétique de ces trois grands navigateurs portugais et italien. 18

19

Gênes fascine Édouard Glissant au point qu’il y revient plus tard dans le roman Toutmonde (Paris : Gallimard 1993). Pierre Chaunu, dans Conquête et exploitation des nouveaux mondes (Paris : PUF 2010. Coll. Nouvelle Clio. 6e édition), constate à propos de l’état du monde après l’exploit de Magellan dans le Chapitre II « L’exploitation des nouveaux mondes » (p. 277) : « Jamais le monde n’a été aussi grand qu’au lendemain du périple de Magellan.»

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Alors la Relation peut être chantée : « Voici la plage, la nouvelle. Et elle avance pesamment dans la marée, / La mer ! ô la voici, épouse, à la proue, délaissant l’ancre. / Elle roule, très unie : sur sa route non-saccagée (p. 168). » L’histoire nouvelle est possible. Elle est en marche. La plage nouvelle, lieu de la nouvelle rencontre. Bref, « Nos Indes sont, / Par-delà toute rage et toute acclamation sur le rivage délaissé, / L’aurore, la clarté courant la vague désormais / Son Soleil, de splendeur, mystère accoutumé, ô nef, / L’âpre douceur de l’horizon en la rumeur du flot, / Et l’éternelle fixation des jours et des sanglots (p. 170). » Au bout de l’itinéraire le poète alors peut saluer la naissance d’un jour nouveau, l’émergence d’une nouvelle conscience. Le chant poétique et épique ultime est un hymne à la nouvelle Relation. Elle est réconciliatrice. Elle augure d’une aube nouvelle qui n’oublie pas les douleurs d’hier, mais qui les transcende et les transfigure : « Montagne et mer de l’espérance, et désirade / où la souffrance gît» (p. 158). Car, « La mer est éternelle. »

III.2 Les Indes Lézenn comme défi poétique du multilinguisme Au bout de l’exploration de la représentation et de l’imaginaire transpoétique glissantien de l’Inde, il importe de revenir un tant soit peu sur l’une des propriétés de cette nouvelle édition du poème épique d’Édouard Glissant. Si l’édition princeps en français avait eu à affronter non pas le défi de la créolité ou de l’antillanité, mais celui de l’aménagement d’un imaginaire épique antillais à partir d’une part de l’épopée occidentale de la navigation et de l’exploration et d’autre part de la transmutation de cette épopée en Traite et en Conquête, « l’édition bilingue français/créole » en 2005 à l’initiative du journaliste martiniquais Rodolf Etienne, promoteur de l’idée de pancréolité (Préface, p. 13), a eu à affronter le défi du bilinguisme. Autrement dit, les problèmes esthétique et éthique d’Édouard Glissant en 1956, ceux de l’écriture et de la construction d’une épopée antillaise comme fondement de l’identité antillaise en tant que telle, – car, à ses yeux, un peuple sans épopée est un peuple sans mémoire et sans passé commun digne de ce nom –, tranchent avec les problèmes de Rodolf Étienne qui, eux, sont méthodologiques et interlinguistiques. Le problème méthodologique de la traduction de Les Indes du français en créole Lézenn relève des questions classiques de la traduction face à la complexité non seulement de la grammaire de la langue source, le français et de la langue cible, le créole, mais aussi de l’écriture ou de la graphie

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de la langue créole. Le problème interlinguistique est connexe à la situation linguistique et sociale de communication des Antilles entre l’oralité et l’écriture. Davantage : une réflexion sur le problème interlinguistique du traducteur créole suppose qu’on prenne en compte la pluralité et la diversité des créoles comme le rappelle si bien Rodolf Étienne dans la préface de Les Indes Lézenn, mais surtout du contexte sociolinguistique pluriel et multiculturel de la langue créole : « La langue créole, tout comme la culture créole, est multiple et diffractée. On parle d’ailleurs plus généralement des langues créoles et des cultures créoles. Il existe autant de langues créoles que de zones créoles» (p. 11). Comment intégrer cette multiplicité et cette diffraction linguistiques et culturelles dans la traduction ? Il y a là une difficulté et un challenge importants. Il enchérit : « La langue créole semble stigmatiser toutes les contradictions des cultures qui la portent. Langue dominée, langue du dominé, elle véhicule tous les avatars de ceux qui l’utilisent : germes de la souffrance et du renoncement, mais également de la résistance et du courage» (ibid.). En fait, Rodolf Etienne est confronté ici au problème de « diglossie coloniale » / « diglossie créole » dont parle Robert Chaudenson20 . Par-delà, c’est le problème de la « graphiation » (finalités) et de la « graphisation » (modalités) du créole pour parler comme Chaudenson21 . Du coup, l’épopée glissantienne des Indes se transmue sous la plume de Rodolf Etienne en épopée et en poétique de la langue créole, Lézenn ! Quant à nous, on a préféré – dans le sillon de Glissant – contourner la complexité de la question du créole, tout en en rendant compte par l’utilisation du titre bilingue afin de signaler pour le moins les contours de l’imaginaire de la créolité et de la multiplicité des langues au sein et autour de la francophonie, en accord avec le concept de « l’imaginaire des langues » propre au poète et critique22 . Résumons. La Relation ici n’est qu’à ses premiers linéaments poétiques. La transpoétique de l’errance, du nomadisme ou de l’ermitage maritime n’est qu’à ses premières formulations. Mais, tout Glissant y affleure. Les éléments de la constitution de la Poétique de la Relation et de la pensée archipélique future ne sont qu’à leur esquisse. Le jeune poète se cherche 20

21 22

Chaudenson, Robert : Education et langues. Français, créoles, langues africaines. Paris : L’Harmattan 2006. p. 9. Ibid., p. 62-63 passim. Cf. Glissant, Édouard : Introduction à une poétique du divers. Paris : Gallimard 1996 et 2006.

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encore. Il est en train de construire ce qu’on peut appeler sa philosophie ou son anthropologie poétique. Les Indes lui apparaissent alors comme le paradigme essentiel. Objet de cristallisation de tous les appels surtout venus d’Occident à une époque où le monde commence à peine à se rapetisser, les Indes deviennent le lieu de tous les imaginaires. Ce long poème épique permet de fixer les données premières de la future « Poétique » et « Philosophie » de la Relation. L’Inde est l’incarnation même de l’attrait et de l’appel de la Relation. Le voyage poétique est comme le palimpseste des voyages de découverte, de conquête et finalement de mesure du monde effectués par ces navigateurs dont l’audace, la folie et la témérité sont clamées, interrogées et transfigurées par le dit poétique glissantien. Il se donne comme une traversée des siècles, des mers, des océans et surtout de la Traite qui dépeupla l’Afrique et permit de peupler et d’ensemencer à nouveau les terres d’Amérique nommées par erreur les Indes occidentales, West Indies. Lézenn.

The Figure of East West India in History and Literature1 K. Alfons Knauth Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany

I Prologue Imagine. Imagine Christopher Columbus landing today in the West Indies, his first discovery being a Hindu Temple2 and an Indian emporium related to the Goddess Lakshmi, along with Columbus’ own statue on a ‘Herculean’ Pillar3 with a huge anchor at his feet in commemoration of his historic discovery of “Las Indias”. In the same location he might be offered the Caribbean dish of colombo by Tamil immigrants in madras dresses4 . 1

2

3

4

This article is the extended version of a plenary talk at the XIth International Conference of the Comparative Literature Association of India under the theme “The Journey of Comparative Literature: India and Beyond”, held at Jadavpur University, Kolkata, from the 16th to the 18th of January 2013. I would like to thank Dr. Dieter Hamblock (Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik, Technische Universität Dortmund) for his linguistic revision of this study. The Columbus Memorial is located in the village of Sainte-Marie, whereas the Hindu Temple of Changy, the most important and conspicuous in the region, is situated on the outskirts of Sainte-Marie, on the road to Capesterre-Belle-Eau. In the Hindu Temple the rite of Maliémin/Maryamman/Marie aimée is practised, in addition to the adoration of Sarasvati/V¯ac, the Hindu Goddess/es of arts and speech. The name of the village Sainte-Marie refers to Columbus’ caravel (Gleizat 1994: 224-226). For the predominant female element in the religious rites of Indian immigrants in Guadeloupe see Gerry L’Étang 2000: 269-270. The column recalls the Pillars of Hercules and the motto of Plus Ultra linked to the Discovery of the New World, to both Columbus and the Spanish Kings, in particular Carlos Quinto (cf. infra). The madras dress is a traditional costume of Guadeloupe and other Caribbean islands. For the cross-cultural ‘ingredients’ of the Caribbean dish of colombo see Bragard 2008:

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That’s what happens in fact to a contemporary cultural tourist coming to Guadeloupe and looking for the place where Columbus landed in 1493, then called Karoukera (‘Beautiful Water’). Both Columbus and the tourist would be surely amazed at the wondrous figure5 that is East West India in intercultural imagination, with its transcontinental quiproquo, its euphoric and dysphoric features. In the following we will sketch at first the historical evolution of the figure of East West India, its changing configurations and points of view, in both a geopolitical and geocultural respect. Secondly, we explore the East West Indian figure in contemporary Caribbean literature, in particular in the work of V.S. Naipaul, with special regard to the interlingual figures in that context. And finally, we highlight some East West Indian configurations in the larger field of Latin- and Anglo-American literature.

II The Historical Evolution of the Figure of East West India II.1 Colonial Period. Configuration of East West India in Europe Columbus had induced the imaginary multiplication of India through his historic error concerning the identity of the land he discovered, naming it “la(s) India(s)”, and its inhabitants “Indios”, in his letters to the Spanish Kings and to Luis de Santangel, and in his travelogues. As soon as the error became evident, the name “las Indias”, which had already been accepted by the Spanish Kings, had to be split up into the Indias Occidentales referring to the New World of America, and the Indias Orientales referring not only to India, but also to East Asia6 . Although the name of America

5 6

188. The name Colombo refers to the ancient capital of Ceylon/Sri Lanka, as well as to the legendary Eden of Taprobana (=Ceylon) where Columbus’ steersman “Il Genovese” had been looking for Utopia in Tommaso Campanella’s Civitas Solis (1602/1623) (Campanella 2002: 21, 23). The name was given by the Portuguese in 1505, probably on the etymological basis of the Singhalese word ‘kolamba’ meaning ‘harbour’, liable to be blended with the name of Columbus, especially in the context of Campanella’s “Il Genovese”. Cf. A.L. Basham’s classic The Wonder that was India (1954). For the names “la(s) India(s)” and “los Indios” in Columbus’ writings see Colón 1989: 15, 140, 239; for the names “la(s) India(s) Occidental(es)” and “la(s) India(s) oriental(es)” in José de Acosta’s works see Acosta 1954: 3f., 62, 83, 90, 98, 292f. For the East Asian extension of “India” see the many maps from the 15th to the 17th centuries, e.g. those made by Behaim, Waldseemüller, Ortelius and Herrera (cf. infra).

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was widely accepted, except by Spain, the occasional use of the terms Les Indes occidentales et orientales and As Índias ocidentais e orientais was quite common in countries like France and Portugal, while predominant in Spain, until the end of the colonial period. On the other hand, the English denomination of West Indies only referred (and still refers) to the Caribbean Islands, whereas the name East Indies is related to the Islands of South East Asia, and only historically to India and to the whole of South East Asia. The corresponding names of the East Indian and West Indian Trade Companies, operating for France, England and the Netherlands mainly in the Caribbean and the much wider East Asian area, contributed considerably to the onomastic and symbolical impact of the intercontinental figure of East West India. While the East Indian toponyms of America were restricted in terms of space and time, the common name for all indigenous inhabitants of the New World has always been the same in all European tongues: Indios, Índios, Indians, Indiens, Indianer etc., with specifications such as American Indians or Red Indians in case of a possible confusion with the Asian Indians from India7 . This onomastic constancy consolidated the East West Indian figure. Its symbolic efficiency is proved by the fact that some Indiophobe writers proposed to eliminate the name Las Indias because of its negative racial implications, seen as damaging Hispanic dignity8 . Yet the exotic connotation of both the Oriental and the Occidental Indias prevailed. The naming and mapping of the New World, along with the intercultural configuration of East West India, is obviously a European one, linked to colonial and imperial purposes. It follows the (implicit) linguistic and political principle of domination through denomination that ruled imperialism as a whole, in addition to the basic material and military means9 . 7

8

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The term “Asian Indian” as opposed to the “American Indian” has been officially used since the U.S. Census of 1980 (Lal 2008: XI). The German language offers a morphological distinction between Asian Inder, North American Indianer and South and Central American Indios. Cf. Cristóbal Suárez de Figueroa at the beginning of the 16th century, as commented by José Antonio Mazzotti and quoted in Asima F. X. Saad Maura’s Introduction to Balbuena’s Grandeza mexicana (Balbuena 2011: 47). The relevance of denomination with respect to the conquest and colonization of the New World is obvious. It has been recalled by many contemporary writers such as V.S. Naipaul, e.g. in his essay “Columbus and Crusoe” (The Writer and the World, 304) and in his “Introduction” to East Indians in the Caribbean (Naipaul 1982: 2-3), where the

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As a matter of fact, the first global Empires of Spain and Portugal, the latter being under Spanish rule between 1580 and 1640, might have adopted the name America (or provinces of America), if there hadn’t been a particular interest in keeping the apparently wrong names of Las Indias Occidentales and As Índias Ocidentais. This interest was a both symbolic and political one. Since the Western and the Eastern World were supposed to be dominated by Spain and Portugal, in accordance with the Pope’s verdict and supremacy, the onomastic coupling of East India and West India, designating the two respective areas of power, was a rhetorical means of homogenization of the worldwide European and Christian Empire, led by Spain and Portugal10 , in spite of the multilateral rivalries between the two Iberian and the other European countries. Moreover, the name of India, being the incarnation of the wondrous world of the Orient, including the Far East, was to be mirrored by the Wonder of the New World (Stephen Greenblatt, 1991), at first condensed in the words Las Indias Orientales y Occidentales. The exotic wonders of a natural and a material kind were spiritualized by the figure of the Terrestrial Paradise, located in both Indias, in Taprobana and in the Caribbean, and also by the apostle Saint Thomas who supposedly left his footprints and holy crosses not only in India (Solórzano 1972: 24), but also in Mexico11 and Brazil12 in an anticipating conquista espiritual.

10

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12

territorial re/naming assumes a magic, neo-colonial effect. A significant example in contemporary discourse is the onomastic shift from the name U.S.A to that of America, operating a political pars pro toto by means of a rhetorical totum pro parte. See the famous geopolitical allegory of Europa by Johannes Putsch (1537) whose crowned head coincides with the Iberian Peninsula (ill. in Schmale 2008: 64). This allegory seems to have been alluded to in Portugal’s national epos Os Lusíadas, with a focus on Spain (III, 17) and on Portugal (III, 20). – The concrete homogenization of ‘imperial’ discourse was realized by the new ‘world languages’ of Spanish and Portuguese, together with the ‘universal’ Latin in the fields of scholarship and worldwide Mission by the Catholic Church. Yet, in the long run, the European languages were considerably hybridized by indigenous tongues. See Diego Durán (16th C.) and later Servando Teresa de Mier (18th/19th C.), including the syncretism of Saint Thomas with the Mexican God Quetzalcóatl, illustrated by Juan Manuel Yllanes’ painting “Santo Tomás predicando en tierra tlaxcalteca” (18th C.), in Artes de México 37, 1997: 56-63. Cf. Sérgio Buarque de Holanda, Visão do Paraíso, chap. “Um mito luso-brasileiro”, in particular 120 sq.

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The gold, precious stones and spices of East West India were spiritualized by the legend of the Oriental Magi Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar who symbolized the evangelization of the Pagans. In the famous Sermon of Epiphany held at the Capela Real of the Portuguese court in Lisbon in 1662 by the Jesuit Padre António Vieira, they configure the unity of the Old and the New World, of East India and West India. The main Portuguese preacher, missionary and writer of that time established an equation between the Magi and the “Índia Oriental” on the one hand, and the Indians from the “[Índias] Ocidentais” on the other: the Magi, in fact, were Indians, just like the “[Índios] Ocidentais” from the Amazonas: “Os Magos, que também eram Índios”13 . This East West Indian equation of Magi and Indios had been displayed already in an astonishing Portuguese painting by Grão Vasco, featuring the Adoration of the Magi (Adoração dos Magos, circa 1505), in which one of the Oriental Magi was depicted as a magnificent Brazilian Indio, only a few years after the discovery of Brazil by Cabral. This Magus, in fact, is to be considered as the very first iconographic figure of East West Indian imagination14 . The multiple wonders of the global East West Indian New World were framed by a macrocosmic configuration, that of the mythical course of the sun around the earth from the Orient to the Occident, thus from the Indias Orientales to the Indias Occidentales. The Spanish Empire was embedded into a cosmic order, where from one point of view the sun never sets (Carlos V), and from another point of view the rising and the setting sun can be observed at the same time. Both simultaneist views have been realized in the form of a vision in various epic poems of the Age of Discovery, evoking the emulative course of the sun and the circumnavigations of contemporary explorers, in particular Columbus and Vasco da Gama. These global sights reach from the anticipating visions in Ariosto’s Orlando furioso (XV, 22) and Tasso’s Gerusalemme liberata (XV, 30) to the contemporaneous visions of Camões’ Os Lusíadas (X, 1-2) and to the utopian visions in Bernardo Balbuena’s epos El Bernardo (1624) where a Magus performs an aerial circumnavigation of the Old and the New World in a flying vessel 13 14

Sermão da Epifania, in Vieira 1959, vol. I (T.2), p. 2, 39. In this respect, it is quite significant that the first Portuguese monument in Brazil, the – still existing – fortress of Natal built at the end of the 16th Century, was called after the Oriental Magi O Forte dos Reis Magos, in an act of translatio studii, imperii et ecclesiae from the Orient via Europe towards the Brazilian Occident.

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(XVI). Consequently, the global figure is not a static, but a dynamic one, it has not only to be contemplated, but also to be performed in an East West Indian and also West East Indian globalization within a highly symbolic cosmos. The globus and the world maps as imago mundi or “images of the world” (Wolter & Grim 1997) were the medial equivalents of the global literary visions. Linguistic world maps complemented the geographic and political mapping of the world, displaying a global multilingualism and diversity of tongues, united by the universal language of Latin, namely the paternalistic Paternoster translated into the world’s languages (e.g. Gottfried Hensel, Synopsis Universae Philologiae, 1741). The transcontinental East West Indian configuration is a spectacularly eurocentric one: Europe, with its specific locus of enunciation, is situated in the very centre of the world between Orient and Occident, though erected by its own discourse. Its geocultural and geopolitical orientation has shifted from the tricontinental world around the Mediterranean to the quadricontinental world around the Atlantic and the Pacific15 . In that world it occupies an imaginary, yet politically real, central position, replacing – or displacing – the former peripheral and occidental one. Sevilla, along with the Pillars of Hercules displaying the modern motto Plus Ultra, is the symbolic intersection point between the Old and the New World, the Indias Orientales and the Indias Occidentales16 . However, there is an overlap between the central and the occidental position. The latter is occupied by the European centre as well, in both an imperial and a symbolic sense: Politically the Indias Occidentales were considered not as colonies, but as Indian provinces of Spain, thus as part of the European centre; and symbolically – on the ground of Medieval cosmological speculation – the Occident has been considered the fullfilment of the cosmic movement of the sun and the correlated movement of translatio imperii et studii. Via its East Indian connection the European centre, in a way, overlapped with the Orient too, whose originary and edenic symbolism was more evident and efficient than the Occidental one17 .

15 16

17

See Serge Gruzinski, Les quatre parties du monde. See Borges’ poem De la diversa Andalucía (III, 491): “De las Indias el ávido tesoro. Las naves [ . . . ]”. See the posterior figure of the Indo-European Tree of Languages.

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The Roman Catholic Church18 , and in particular the order of the Jesuits, represented best the global configuration of the Indias Occidentales y Orientales along with its Roman or European centre, since it united the Spanish and the Portuguese Empires of the Western and the Eastern hemispheres, as stipulated in the Treaty of Tordesillas under the auspices of the Pope19 . The globe was the emblem of the Jesuits, and their motto was precisely “A solis ortu usque ad occasum laudabilis nomen Domini” (From the sunrise to the sunset the name of God to be praised), translated into 34 languages, including Asian and American tongues, in their Global and Cosmic Genealogical Tree, planted into the Ocean with its Roman trunk, surrounded by caravels going West and East20 . In an iconographic representation of the Jesuits’ global power in the early 18th century, the missionary of India Francis of Xavier curiously features with an American Indian instead of an Asian Indian at his feet, together with a globe21 : a striking figure of metonymic and metaphorical displacement proving the symbolic coherence of the two Indies. The transcontinental figure of East West India – las Indias Orientales y Occidentales – had already become remarkably consistent by the fact that since the beginning of the 16th century there has been claimed a certain geographic “continence” (Montaigne) between the two continents of Asia and America, as well as an ethnic relationship between their peoples. On the basis of several explorations and maps, like those made by Bartolomé Colón / Alessandro Zorzi (1506), Oroncio Fine (1531), Caspar Vopel (1542), and 18

19

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The word ‘catholic’ is derived from the Greek expression ‘kata holos’, meaning ‘all over’, ‘global’. The dynastic union of Spain and Portugal under the Spanish crown (1580-1640) strengthened the global configuration of the Eastern and Western Indies. The Jesuit José de Acosta imagined this configuration as a providential “encircling of the world” by the power of the Spanish Kings and the Roman Pope: “por especial favor del cielo se han juntado ( . . . ) la India oriental con la occidental, dando cerco al mundo con su poder” (Acosta 1954: 98). Cf. Athanasius Kircher: Horoscopium catholicum Societatis Iesu (Ars magna lucis et umbrae, 1671). God’s name is also represented in the 72 Babylonian and Pentecostal languages, figuring for instance in the Cabbalistic Tree of Paradise in Kircher’s Œdipus aegyptiacus (1652-1654). This icon is a silver sculpture on the antependium of the so-called “Freiburger Silberaltar” that has been created around 1737 by goldsmith Franz Thaddäus Lang of the Imperial City of Augsburg for the Große lateinische Kongregation in Freiburg im Breisgau (Germany). It is exhibited at the local Augustinermuseum.

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Van den Putte (1570), along with an elaborate humanistic and theological argumentation, the Spanish Jesuit José de Acosta(1590), followed by others like Baltasar Dorantes de Carranza (1604)22 , attempted to demonstrate the existence of either a land bridge or a bridge of small islands between North West America and North East Asia. This bridge across the later so called Bering Strait allowed people(s) to migrate from Asia to America. The resemblance between American and Asian Indians23 (in the large sense of the word) was one of the strong ethnic arguments used by the defenders of the continence thesis (which today has been confirmed through palaeogeographic, anthropological and genetic methods). In this respect, Columbus wasn’t that wrong when he noted during his Third Voyage the “color india” of the Caribbean ‘Indios’, using it as an argument in favour of his belief of having reached India by going West (Colón 1989: 228 sq., 239). In fact, if Columbus didn’t discover India24 , at least he discovered the Indians. On the other hand, in the geozoological field, the parrot who traditionally is a distinctive mark of both India and South America25 might be attributed to the territorial continuity that probably existed in pre-human times between the continents and subcontinents of the Southern hemisphere, including the African continent from where came the parrot that Columbus carried in his caravel to ‘India’ in order to establish communication with the Indians. It is significant that the name given to this palaeogeo22

23

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Sumaria relación de las cosas de la nueva España. For Dorantes de Carranza the great amount of analogies and connections between “nuestras Indias” and the Oriental India, including the antique India “ultra Gangem”, described by authors like Plinius and Strabo proves the identity of the American and the Asian Indias (Dorantes 1987: 62-64). E.g. Solórzano y Pereyra, Política Indiana (1647): “Y de verdad es mucha la semejanza, que hay entre los de ambas Indias ( . . . ) especialmente en el color”, with a note regarding some former authors (1972: 59). Even nowadays the great resemblance between West and East Indians, especially in the West Indies where they are in a direct intercultural contact causes frequent confusions concerning their identity, cf. web.caraibes.com 2000-2009 and gowealthy.com 2000. From Dorantes de Carranza’s standpoint Columbus was even right in claiming the discovery of India. For Dorantes de Carranza the copresence of green-red parrots in both Indias is one of the signs (beside gold, pearls, fertiliy, the multitude of languages, and others) that the India discovered by Columbus is identical to the Oriental India “ultra Gangem” (Gruzinski: Les quatre parties du monde 119-121). See also Tiepolo’s fresco of continental allegories in the Würzburg Residence, where both Asia and America conspicuously feature their multicoloured parrots (iconographic documentation in Helmberger 2006: 30, 52).

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graphical “continence” joining the Southern continents is the Indian term Gondwana (i.e. ‘Forest of the Gonds’, or ‘Gondi’ peoples of Central India)26 . The transcontinentality – in particular the territorial continuity – of East West India also involved a highly political and legal issue: that of the conquest of China. In this respect the scholar Helga Gemegah developed the following thesis (1999): José de Acosta’s demonstration of the territorial continuity between the two Indias in accordance with the respective maps was part of a global strategy of the Spanish emperor Carlos V and his son Felipe II. Their goal was the possession of Far East India against the Portuguese claims based on the Treaty of Tordesillas, and furthermore the conquest of the Chinese Empire to be launched from the nearby base of the Philippines. The Philippines, discovered in 1521, marked the Spanish expansion toward the Indias Orientales, waving the device of Plus Ultra into a new direction. The transpacific Plus Ultra was emphatically invoked since 1525 by the circumnavigator Andrés de Urdaneta27 who eventually completed the route between Mexico and the Philippines by achieving the decisive return journey (“tornaviaje”) in 1565. According to Gemegah, the Spanish monarchy tried to legitimize the planned conquest of China by the argument of a territorial link between Las Indias Orientales and Las Indias Occidentales, the latter being a part of Spain and the former a part of the latter. Quite ambiguously, the Philippines – and furthermore the whole Far East – were called “las Indias del Poniente” by the royal chronicler Antonio de Herrera, in order to include the Pacific and trans-Pacific regions into the Indias occidentales attributed to Spain by the Treaty of Tordesillas (Padrón 2010). Herrera’s Descripción de las Indias Occidentales (1601) was based on López de Velasco’s homonymous map (1570) which clearly incorporates a large part of China into the Spanish Indies, in addition to “Filipinas” and other islands like Guinea and Japan (Padrón 2004: fig.16, p. 66-67). Thus, the Asian geographical ‘annexe’ of the American West and the Pacific 26

27

José de Acosta imagined and claimed a sort of Pangaia, through a link between the New World and the Old World in the North and in the South (“la una parte y la otra en alguna parte se juntan, y continúan, o a lo menos se avecinan”; “mi imaginación, u opinión de que toda la tierra se junta, y continúa en alguna parte, a lo menos se allega [se acerca] mucho” (Acosta 1954: 33). Relación del viaje de Loayza, quoted by Morales Padrón (Morales 1990: 449).

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Ocean was liable to be politically annexed by Spain, well orchestrated by a “cartographic occidentalization” (“occidentalización cartográfica”, Padrón 2010: 1, 6)28 . Finally, after the defeat of their Armada against England, the Spaniards gave up the attempt of conquering China, but their claim to being the legitimate monarchs of the Indias Orientales, in addition to the Indias Occidentales still persisted, yet mainly focussed on the Philippines29 . This illustrates the impact of the East West Indian imagination and its onomastic symbolism, despite its emerging ambiguities and puzzling quiproquos. These quiproquos even happen to assume a humorous note, as it occurs in the casusal remark of a letter sent from China to Europe by the Italian missionary and cartographer Matteo Ricci: “Vennero certi spagnuoli là del mondo novo o Indie Occidentali, che a noi sono orientali” – ‘Some Spaniards came from the New World or the “Indie Occidentali” which, for us [sc. Jesuits in China], are Oriental’30 . In fact, the ambivalence of the East West Indian figure involves a certain instability and a risk of deconstruction, since the circumnavigations, along with the first globalization of intercultural thought, demonstrated the fundamental relativity of the East West orientation and configuration. It was Montaigne who first philosophically relativized and “liquified”31 the image of the overall new world by pointing out the possibility of an inverted world that might change the Orient into the Occident on the basis of future cosmic revolutions: “changeant l’Orient en Occident” (Montaigne 1962: 555)32 .

28

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Ricardo Padrón’s and Helga Gemegah’s arguments complement each other, though Gemegah has not explicitly been taken into account by Padrón, while López de Velasco’s & Antonio de Herrera’s maps have not been considered by Gemegah. On the other hand, Ricardo Padrón’s and Gemegah’s forerunner Francisco Morales Padrón uses the historical term “Indias del Poniente” throughout the Chapter XIII of his Historia del Descubrimiento (1990: 449-470) without referring explicitly to Herrera and López Velasco. The Philippines remained under Spanish rule until 1898, as did the West Indian Islands of Cuba and Puerto Rico. Letter from Macao to Father Martino de Fornari S.J. in Padova [?], dated 13 February 1583. In: Matteo Ricci: Lettere (1580-1609). Ed. Francesco d’Arelli. Macerata: Quodlibet 2001. Page 48. “image du monde qui coule” (Essais III, 6; Montaigne 1962: 886). Montaigne refers to Platon’s hypothesis of a reverted course of the planets, taken up also by Tommaso Campanella in La Città del Sole: “che li cieli prima giravano dall’occaso” (Campanella 1998: 64).

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This in many ways ‘revolutionary’ vision was adapted by early Mexican and Brazilian authors and applied to the field of culture and politics, in a first effort of emancipation from the European centre since the 17th and 18th centuries. In fact, the motto “Sol oriens in occiduo” (The Sun Rising in the Occident) of the Brazilian Academia Brasílica dos Esquecidos (Brazilian Academy of the Forgotten) in Salvador da Bahia (1724) seems to respond directly to Montaigne’s statement, apart from its oxymoronic opposition to the classic maxim “Ex oriente lux”. The Brazilian motto “Sol oriens in occiduo” is the manifestation of a beginning hegemonic shift in the process of transatlantic translatio imperii et studii33 . In addition to this inverted cosmic symbolism, the correlated figure of the geopolitical centre happened to be displaced as well. Since the beginning of the 17th century, along with the transpacific travel, the Indias Occidentales, in particular Mexico, gradually became the very centre of trade, including Christian mission, between Spain and the Indias Orientales, including China and Japan34 . This fundamental re-orientation, decenterment and re-translatio studii35 is expressed in the didactic and encomiastic poem La grandeza mexicana by Bernardo Balbuena (1604). Balbuena sees the capital of Mexico as a new Rome (“nueva Roma”) in the geographic middle of a new East and West, between Europe and Asia, in keeping with López de Velasco’s map in Antonio de Herrera’s Historia general de los hechos de los castellanos (1601): “México al mundo por igual divide” (Balbuena 2011: 189; chap. III)36 . 33

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For the imaginary and ideology of Sol oriens in occiduo and Re/Translatio studii et imperii see Knauth 2003 and 2010. See the frescoes in the nave of the cathedral of Cuernavaca displaying the transpacific voyage of 26 Mexican Franciscan monks to the Philippines and to Japan, the failure of their mission and their crucifixion in Nagasaki in 1597. Their martyrdom led to the canonisation of the first Mexican Saint, San Felipe de Jesús (cf. Carmen Valles Septién (ed.): Catedral de Cuernavaca. México: CVS Publicaciones 2009; see also María Elena Ota Mishima: “Un mural novohispano en la Catedral de Cuernavaca: Los veintiseis mártires de Nagasaki.” In: Estudios de Asia y Africa XVI, 4 (1981). 675-696. The term “re-translatio” means any deviation from linear translatio, i.e. of imperial and cultural transfer, including hegemonic shifts, at a continental, intercontinental, global and cosmic scale. See Gruzinski 2004: 103-105. Although the mistaken montage of quotations and the neglect of the basic hispano-centric aspects of Balbuena’s text are misleading, Gruzinski’s study on the first globalization and its intercultural dynamics is remarkable. For the ambivalence of Grandeza mexicana see Asima F. X. Saad Maura’s introduction in

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However, the new Mexican centre of the “Indias del mundo” (chap. II) is represented as an Indias without Indios. And it is still supposed to be ruled by the Spanish monarchy whose unitarian empire enchains the globe from the rising sun of the Orient to the sunset of the Occident: “el orbe encadenado [ . . . ] desde do nace a do se esconde el día” (chap. VII). The poet evokes the Emperor Carlos V and his “neo-Herculean” transgression of the ancient prohibition Nec Plus Ultra – imposed by the demigod Hercules himself – through the Plus Ultra of Discovery and Conquest37 . Yet, the identity of the inhabitant of the new geocultural centre is an ambivalent, a composite one, switching linguistic and semiotic codes between the Old and the New World (“viejo y nuevo mundo”), comprising “nuestra España”, “Europa [la tierra, en quien ceñida / del mundo está la parte más preciosa]38 ”, “las Indias” and “América”. It is on its tentative way towards a new – decentering – Plus Ultra involving a re-translatio studii within a turning, a ‘revolutionary’ world. Such decentrement, linked to poetic aemulatio on a transcontinental, cross-cultural and gender level, has been tackled by the Mexican ‘Muse’, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, who – some decades after La grandeza mexicana – integrated indigenous culture, including the idiom of Náhuatl, as well as a strong and lucid gender discourse, into her multifaceted writing. Circumnavigations and cosmic revolutions revalorized the wheel of the antique Goddess Fortuna, frequently evoked in the epic poems of the Age of Discovery, such as Torquato Tasso’s Gerusalemme liberata, and Bernardo Balbuena’s El Bernardo. The latter represents the world the Magus is circumnavigating in his flying vessel as a farce where kings from one day to the other turn out to be villains, and viceversa (Libro XV, 160). It recalls Sebastian Brant’s “Divina Satyra” (Brant 1985: 463), The Ship of Fools or Das Narrenschiff (1494), whose Wheel of Fortune or “Glückes Rad[e]”, il-

37

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Balbuena 2011: 32-47 “El mapa letrado”. “les quede por coluna, y fijo en ella, / el blasón que mudó el gran Carlos Quinto / en su hercúlea arrogancia” (Cap. VII). See the modern Herculean symbolism built up by Carlos Quinto himself by means of the motto Plus Ultra especially in the iconography of his palaces in Sevilla and Granada (López Guzmán & Espinosa Spínola 2001: 117132). See also the iconographic location of Carlos Quinto in the Caribbean, overlooking Asia and America on Van den Putte’s world map of 1570 (Gemegah 1999: 230). See El Bernardo (1624) (Libro XV, 165); the other quotations of this sequence are taken from La grandeza mexicana (cap. VII).

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lustrated by Albrecht Dürer39 , symbolizes the variability of human power in contrast to God’s omnipotence (str. 37 and str. 56). Contemporary navigations, for instance Columbus’ discovery of the ‘Golden Islands’ (“Goldinseln”), are blamed as human hybris (str. 66)40 . Nevertheless, the Holy Roman Empire is praised and prayed for as the future world power (str. 56), which would be achieved in fact by Emperor Carlos V, as celebrated in Balbuena’s works. Thus, the Wheel of Fortune, on the one hand, symbolizes the variability of human power, and on the other hand, it doesn’t exclude the praise of reigning monarchies, as long as they are considered legitimate, or powerful enough to maintain their hegemony. In any case, in the context of circumnavigations and cosmic ‘revolutions’, the Wheel of Fortune undergoes a fundamental process of ‘recycling’: It reinforces relative thinking and contributes to a reconfiguration of the East West Indian pattern. In a way, it joins the Indian Wheel of dharmachakra which, however, is a rather regressive and heteronomous figure in comparison with the historical and progressive figure of modern globalization in the Age of Discovery. Later, there will be different kinds of engrenage between the two wheels. At first, the reconfiguration of the Wheel of Fortune refers to the relativizing representations of West East Indian and East West Indian circumnavigations in utopian literature, such as Rabelais’ burlesque and polyglot novel Gargantua et Pantagruel41 with its Utopian Island Medamothi (=Nowhere=Utopia), or in the Utopias of Thomas More’s eponymous work and of Tommaso Campanella’s Città del Sole, the one located near Brazil, the other in Taprobana (Ceylon). They all enact a geocultural disorientation – and eventually a reorientation – within a globalized New World. In these utopias the negative connotation of the traditional figure of the ‘inverted world’ tends to become a positive one, where the East becomes West and the West becomes East, involving a critical relocation of the respective 39

40

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The Wheel of Fortune in Brant’s Narrenschaff is designed almost as a steering wheel avant la lettre. On Dürer’s authorship of the famous illustrations in Das Narrenschiff see Hans-Joachim Mähl in Brant 1985: 511-512. See also the famous anonymous world map (around 1600) embedded into a fool’s cap (Greenblatt 1991: plate 10). See for instance Pantagruel XXXIV (Rabelais 1955: 311) and Le Quart Livre I-II (Rabelais 1955: 541-545).

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cultures, including the European ones, and even a crossing of religious and moral concepts, for example a certain feminization of religion and society42 . The geocultural reorientation also entails a new dysphoric view of colonialism and imperialism in the East West Indian world. Milton’s Paradise Lost (1674), when dealing with Satan’s intrusion into Paradise and the seduction of Adam and Eve, builds up an Edenic scenery made up of both the Eden of the Oriental Indians and the Precolumbian paradise of the American Indios (IX, 1090-1133). The loss of Edenic innocence coincides with the arrival of Columbus. Since the close historic context of Paradise Lost is early English colonialism in AmerIndian and East Indian territories, the epos might well suggest a connection between the Fall of Man and the fault and intrinsic failure of colonialism43 . The most radical criticism of European colonialism in America, Africa and Asia – “barbares Européens”44 – occurs in Guillaume Raynal’s revolutionary book Histoire philosophique & politique des Deux Indes (17721780), written in collaboration with Diderot. Its title is significant for the rhetorical use of the East West Indian figure: on the one hand, it contrasts with the exotic use of the term in Jean-Philippe Rameau’s courtly opéraballet Les Indes galantes (1735), and on the other hand it connotes critically the various West India and East India Trade Companies that mainly promoted the colonialism of the ‘Two Indies’, being also a principal cause for the long survival of the dual figure of East West India. The primordial impact of commerce, its economic excesses and vicious moral and social consequences, such as greed and slavery, are one of the main goals of Raynal’s and Diderot’s criticism of European colonial policy. The polemic attacks against the British East India Company in Histoire philosophique & politique des Deux Indes (Raynal 1981: 68-70)45 show 42

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See Rabelais’ priestess Bacbuc (Cinquième Livre, chap. XLII-XLVII) and his fe/male Abbey of Thélème (Gargantua, chap. LII-LVII) (Rabelais 1955: 872-891; 147-160); see also “l’imperio donnesco”, the female reign in Tommaso Campanella’s Città del Sole: (Campanella 1998: 67). For the feminine aspect of Hindu culture see Charles Malamoud: Féminité de la parole. Études sur l’Inde ancienne. Paris: Albin Michel 2005. The issue is more complex than outlined above. For the ambivalent connection between colonial discourse and Milton’s epos see John Martin Evans: Milton’s Imperial Epic: Paradise Lost and the Discourse of Colonialism. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press 1996. Raynal 1781: Book I, chap. XXIV; Raynal 1981: 48. Raynal 1781: Book III, chap. XII.

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that the metropolitan centre between the two Indias, meanwhile, has moved from Spain to London – along with the historic shift of hegemony from the Spanish Indias Occidentales, in particular Mexico, toward the emerging Angloamerican centre of the United States, where President Thomas Jefferson curiously complained about the loss of documents during the military campaigns against the American Indians, which might have proved the Asian origin of the American Indians46 . Another dysphoric component of the reconfigured pattern of East West India is European nihilism since the beginning of the 19th century. One of its major literary representatives is the Italian Romantic poet Giacomo Leopardi. His geocultural views developed from an exotic to a totally deconstructive East West Indianism. At the age of thirteen he planned a tragedy on a monarch from the “Indes orientelles” (sic), after his father had written one on a monarch (sc. “Montezuma”) from the “Indes occidentelles” (sic), as he wrote in a French letter to his father “Monsieur Le Comte Monalde Leopardi, À la maison” (1811)47 . Later, in his satirical Operette morali (1827-1835), he professed a radical pessimism and nihilism. In the satire La scommessa di Prometeo (Prometheus’ Bet, Operette morali), Leopardi deconstructs the whole of humanity together with the figure of East West India. Instead of proving the perfection of mankind created by himself, the demigod Prometheus visits the two continents of “le nuove e le antiche Indie” (Leopardi 1973: 863) where he doesn’t meet but cannibalism (Columbia) and widow-burning or self-immolation (Agra). Arguing that this is due to the barbarian nature of these peoples, he visits the civilized city of London where he is confronted with the murder of two little children by their father who afterwards commits suicide. The only motive for this triple murder is spleen or tedium vitae – “Per tedio della vita” (Leopardi 1973: 867). Thus, the British centre of civilization turns out to be even more absurd and inhuman than the “barbarian” East West Indies48 . 46

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“Notes on the State of Virginia” 1781-1785; The Complete Jefferson. Ed. Saul K. Padover. New York 1946, p. 636. Letter of December 24, 1811. In Leopardi 1977: 5-6. In our times, a similar nihilistic disillusion with a narrative focus on Europe’s Indian Dream, has been realized in the astonishing epic poem Uma viagem à Índia (2010) by the Portuguese writer Gonçalo M. Tavares. This postmodern epos is a parodistic blend of Camões’ national epos Os Lusíadas, of Pessoa’s ideas about a Portuguese “Quinto Império” and “Índias espirituais”, and of Joyce’s Ulysses. Its both spiritual and materialist illusions end up with the almost Leopardian statement that nothing anymore can

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What the Histoire philosophique & politique des Deux Indes tried to prove on political grounds is demonstrated by the argument of universal nihilism in the Operette morali. The opposition between the Indian Orient, the Indian Occident and the new European Centre has been totally neutralized. This also applies to the emerging Romantic Orientalism in European culture.

II.2 Postcolonial Period. Reconfiguration of East West India in Latin America Our discourse on the reconfiguration of the East West Indian figure during the postcolonial period is mainly focussed upon the American continent. Since the political independence of the Latin American countries in the course of the 19th century, Latin America has striven to achieve a cultural autonomy on the basis of a tricontinental identity made principally of EuroAmerican, AmerIndian, and African elements. Eventually, the increasing Asian immigration led to the concept of an American “raza cósmica” (José Vasconcelos, 1925). The shift of political hegemony from Spain to England and to the United States brought about the generalization of the name ‘America’ (Ibero-, Hispano-, Latin- and Anglo-America) and supplanted the Hispanic names of ‘Indias Occidentales’, along with the complementary ‘Indias Orientales’, whereas the English name of the ‘West Indies’, limited to the Caribbean area, subsisted. With the conquest of a large part of the West Indies and the conquest of (East) India since the 18th century, the British Empire replaced the Hispanic figure of Las Indias Occidentales and Las Indias Orientales, while keeping its onomastic and symbolic magic, yet with a different emphasis, of course, upon the Oriental India and the West Indies. The important immigration of Indian ‘coolies’ from (East) India to the West Indies since the abolition of slavery brought about the first direct and massive interaction between East and West Indian peoples, though without involving the aboriginal AmerIndians. It modified considerably the identitarian configuration of the Caribbean area, mainly in the anglophone, but impede “o definitivo tédio de / Bloom, o nosso herói.” (the definite spleen of / Bloom, our heroe) (Tavares 2013: 456). We may add: nothing but the dark “bloom” of poetry (Knauth 2016: 252-253).

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also in the francophone and the hispanophone cultures of the West Indies49 . In the other Latin American areas the East West Indian figure was reactivated mainly in the context of AmerIndian emancipation movements. This reactivation occurred, among others, in the Brazilian Antropofagia of the 1920s. The polemic review Revista de Antropofagia, promoting AmerIndian culture and the hybridism of Brazilian identity, established an affinity between the Indios Guarany – frequently crossed with European Luso-Brazilians – and the numerous Japonese immigrants, on account of their ethnic descent and resemblance, in order to legitimize the often discriminated ‘Asian Indios’: “os nossos bugres são de raça amarela” (Our indigenous Barbarians belong to the yellow race) (Rev. Antr. 8, 1928: 5). Also in the literary field, there is an interference of Oriental and Occidental Indianism, blended with a subtle ironic exotism. The hidden narrator of Mário de Andrade’s identitarian ‘national’ novel Macunaíma (1928) is a sophisticated Amazonian parrot, in accordance with the Sanskrit Sukasaptati (Seventy Stories of the Parrot), the paradigm of psittapoetic narrative, further developed by the Persian version of Tutinameh (Book of the Parrot) and the Arabian Nights of Alf Laila Wa Laila (The Thousand and One Nights) whose first ‘fables’ originate from India50 . Two totemic figures are talking to each other in a new form of transcontinental dialogue, claiming and achieving at once their worldliterary autonomy with respect to the former European centre. 49

50

In this study we leave apart the movement of Coolitude in the Indian and the Pacific Ocean that achieved a further pluralization of India and the Indies. Some excellent works have been dedicated to this subject, such as the poetry and poetics of Cale d’Étoile – Coolitude (1992) and Chair Corail, Fragments Coolies by the Mauritian writer Khal Torabully, the author of the term and founder of the movement Coolitude; then the seminal Transoceanic Dialogues. Coolitude in Caribbean and Indian Ocean Literatures (2008) by the feminist critic Véronique Bragard, and finally Ottmar Ette’s article “TransPacífico: continentes invisibles y archipiélagos de la visibilidad en las literaturas entre Asia y América” (2013) that outlines a “transareal” and translingual ecopoetics and ethics, enlarging the traditional Indies and Indias, mainly on the basis of Khal Torabully’s “coolitude” and its “coral” imaginary and on Le Clézio’s travelogue Raga. Approche du continent invisible (2006), but also of Édouard Glissant’s poétique de la relation. For Glissant’s Indian ‘relationships’ see Tumba Shango Lokoho’s and Subha Chakraborty’s contributions to this volume. Cf. A. Knauth: “Macunaíma in Macondo.” In: A. Gather & H. Werner (Eds.): Semiotische Prozesse und natürliche Sprache. Stuttgart: Steiner 1996. 322-336, especially 330-331.

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The most extended East West Indian configuration in Latin American literature is probably Gabriel García Márquez’ ‘nobelized’ novel Cien años de soledad (One Hundred Years of Solitude) (1967) which, at the end, reveals itself as the translation of a Sanskrit manuscript, written by the Indian gipsy Melquíades, into a Caribbean Spanish. Moreover, the Columbian writer García Márquez rewrites the figure of the reverted world, since he makes the oriental gipsy Melquíades rediscover Columbia and the New World after achieving a circumnavigation from East to West, followed by a group of “six-armed malabaristas” (Malabar jugglers) who carry with them – like Columbus – some multi-lingual parrots51 from one psittacine continent to the other. The novel enacts a significant form of transcontinental re-translatio studii: the Columbian writer neutralizes the opposition between the peripheral East West Indies and the European centre by way of a sublime literary parody52 . A feminist variant of East West Indian hybridism in Latin- and AngloAmerican literature is Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands La Frontera. The New Mestiza (1987). This work attempts to develop a new Chicana and Spanglish identity where also a symptomatic cross-breeding of Aztec and Indian Goddesses, Coatlicue and Kali, the Goddesses of Life and Death, occurs in view of a transcontinental female discourse53 .

III Postcolonial East West Indian Imagination in Caribbean Literature: V. S. Naipaul The immigration of Indian ‘coolies’ from India to the West Indies in the 19th century produced the most genuine form of an East West Indian identity and hybridity. The Anglo-Indian culture of the immigrants was in permanent contact with West Indian English culture, in addition to French and 51

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“sus loros pintados de todos los colores que recitaban romanzas italianas” (99) (their multicolored parrots who recited Italian romances). A correspondence between Indian and Latin American ‘Magic Realism’ has been stated by Salman Rushdie in his obituary of García Márquez, centred upon Cien años de soledad (New York Times, April 21, 2014; Italian transl. by Fabio Galimberti in La Repubblica April 23, 2014). See also Ibarra Grasso, Dick Edgar: Cosmogonía y mitología indígena americana. Buenos Aires: Kier 1980. Chap. “Las relaciones de los dioses mesoamericanos con la India, etcétera”. For feminist coolitude studies in Caribbean and Indian Ocean Literatures see the already mentioned Transoceanic Dialogues by Véronique Bragard.

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Creole, and also Spanish culture, while the AmerIndian languages and cultures – with very few exceptions – only survived in historical memory and in some names. This led to extremely intricate and oxymoronic configurations like that termed by the writer Sam Selvon, who defined himself as an “East Indian Trinidadian West Indian” (Thorpe 1995: 87). Basically, the East West Indian condition is a doubly ‘subaltern’ one, but it produced an extraordinary culture and literature, analogous to the Afro-Caribbean culture represented by francophone authors like Aimé Césaire or Édouard Glissant, and anglophone authors like Derek Walcott. V.S. Naipaul embodies the East West Indian figure in a most characteristic way. And he was very conscious of its particularity and wondrous ambivalence. In his Foreword to The Loss of El Dorado (1969) he epitomizes the historical context of the Indian immigrants to Trinidad, especially that of his own family, foregrounding the coincidence of the (fictive) Columbian denomination “the Indies” and the presence of (real) Indians from India hundreds of years after Columbus. At the same time he states the paradox of the total absence of the aboriginal people called “Indians” by Columbus. The author wonders about it in a more dysphoric than euphoric tone: It was hard to feel any wonder at the fact that, more than four hundred years after Columbus, there were Indians in a part of the world he had called the Indies; and that the people he had called Indians had vanished. They had left no monuments; they were not missed. (Naipaul 2010: XVii)

The only AmerIndian prints that are left are some names, like the name of the town where he was born: Chaguanas, situated in the rural area of Trinidad. It is the hispanicized name of the Chaguanes exterminated by the Spaniards as a punishment for an Anglo-AmerIndian coalition against them in the 17th century, as Naipaul has investigated himself in his search for a Trinidadian historic identity (ibid.: XVii-XViii). Furthermore, the Spanish name Chaguanas has been changed by Indian immigrants into the Hindi caste-name Chauhaan’, a high caste of warriors and conquerors, thus replacing the last remnants of the vanished West Indians by the ‘invading’ East Indians54 . This has to be seen against the background of restoring some

54

“Chaguanas was a place-name, no more; many Indians turned it into Chauhaan’, a Hindu caste-name” (ibid.).

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customs of the East Indian caste-system within conservative Hindu families of the rural area of Trinidad55 . Thus, the very name of Naipaul’s native town, Chaguanas, along with its interlingual paronomasia Chauhaan’, represents a fundamental figure of East West Indian imagination, constitutive of the author’s identity, a quiproquo identity. It corresponds, in a way, to Columbus’ imaginary map of (East West) India, based on interlingual paronomasias (or lapsus) like Cibao – Cipango56 and Cubanacán – Cuba-Gran Can57 causing the erroneous identification of Santo Domingo with Japan, and the identification of Cuba with the land of the Gran Can (Great Khan) of Catay58 , which Columbus believed to be the extreme oriental parts of the world, blended with Las Indias and discovered by himself for the Spanish Kings. Naipaul’s search for identity deliberately occurs in a setting of Columbian discovery. “Discovery” is the recurrent term of his literary selfresearch59 ; an East West Indian location, along with an ambivalent European centre, are the coordinates of this discovery. “La Sancta Trinidad” and the island of Trinidad were the reference points for Columbus’ discovery of the “Terrestrial Paradise” (Relación del tercer viaje), the anchor of his ship being still displayed in Port of Spain60 ; Trinidad was also the base for the Spanish and English expeditions in quest for El Dorado. Yet, the discovery of the Paradise, the Eldorado – eventually ‘Eldolarado’ – of the New World was finally a failure and delusion, in particular for Trinidad, as Naipaul’s “Colonial History” of The Loss of El Dorado and the postcolonial history of The Middle Passage demonstrate61 . 55

56 57 58

59 60

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See the caste conflicts around the Tulsi family in the novel A House for Mr Biswas (chap. “The Tulsis”) and in Naipaul’s own family. Diario del Primer Viaje 24 dic. 1492 (Colón 1989: 95). Diario del Primer Viaje 30 oct. 1492 (Colón 1989: 48). See the imaginary identification of Cuba and China, based on protohistoric connections, by the narrator of the Cuban novel Las palabras perdidas by Jesús Díaz (1992). This novel striving toward a cultural ‘cubiquity’ is an oustanding example for West East Indian imagination in contemporary Cuban literature within the context of the Vth Centenary of the Discovery of the New World. E.g. Reading & Writing 2000: 60, 61; Finding the Centre 1984: 10. The account of the discovery of the “Paraíso Terrenal” near Trinidad is framed by the initial and final evocation of “la Sancta Trinidad” (Colón 1989: 202, 219). The legendary anchor lost during the discovery in the Gulf of Paria is mentioned in the chapter on Trinidad in The Middle Passage (1995: 56). Naipaul’s critical attitude toward Columbus’ discovery and its historic consequences

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The shipwreck(s) of Discovery inaugurated by Columbus’ failures – not only that of his flagship Santa María – and by Cabeza de Vaca’s Naufragios has already been focussed in the emblematic art and poetry of the Age of Baroque, for instance in Juan de Jáuregui’s sonnet on the shipwreck of “cudicia” (avarice) in Las Indias: A un navío destrozado en la ribera del mar (To a Ship Wrecked on the Coast, 1618). Shipwreck transmits its imagery to the political, social, and existential failure of East West Indians, embodied by Naipaul’s fictive counterpart, the writer Singh (The Mimic Man). Similar to the Caribbean island of Anguilla, Trinidad may be labeled a “shipwrecked community”62 as well (Writer & World, 87), and the Trinidadian East Indians may be seen as “shipwrecked people”, just like the Trinidadian Spaniards of former times (Loss of El Dorado, 101)63 . The nautic imagery of naufragium is inherent to the general image of fracture characteristic of the East West Indian configuration, including the author Naipaul, whose life and self are “broken” between West India, London and East India (An Area of Darkness, 265). The recurring metaphor of fracture and shipwreck in Naipaul’s work (King 2003: 73-74) is obviously grounded in the metonymic connection with the history of Discovery in the Caribbean. The multiple fracture of East West Indian identity springs from its alienating condition in both the West and East Indies. In the West Indies, namely Trinidad, the Indian of East Indian origin is rather isolated as a traditionalist Hindu within a predominantly white-americanized Black majority. On the other hand, back in his originary India, he is isolated as a modernized and secularized expatriate who judges critically the archaic condition of India, even of her best spiritual and political leaders. Thus, Naipaul could state that his journey to India “had broken my life in two” (An Area of Darkness, 265). However, there is an implicit third fragment of his life and self, that is English and European culture, concentrated in the capital of the former British Empire. In fact, postcolonial London – after being the geographi-

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is expressed most cruelly in his essay Columbus and Crusoe, based upon a review of Björn Landström’s book Columbus, in The Writer and the World: Trinidad has become the “anus mundi” after having been located next to the “Terrestrial Paradise” (Columbus, 301), and notwithstanding its sacred name. The expression has been syntactically modified. See Trinidad’s portrayal in The Middle Passage.

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cal, political and cultural centre between the West Indies and East India – now faces on its own ground two important ‘colonies’ of West Indians and East Indians, among them V.S. Naipaul, who moved there from Trinidad in search of his personal centre and identity (Finding the Centre). Yet London, which seemed to have become “the centre of my world” in his eyes, proves not to be that centre he had been longing for (An Area of Darkness 1968: 42). The real centre of Naipaul’s identity is writing: writing within the worldwide Indian diaspora while displacing himself – and his self – between the changing West Indian, East Indian, European and also African locations and perspectives. A material, literary and intellectual basis – or mobile centre – within this mobility is the English language, a constancy with indefinite variants and variability, combined with a residence in England (An Enigma of Arrival). The main goal of the literary work undertaken by Naipaul is self-knowledge of writer and reader through the imaginative and documentary memory of collective history and personal histories64 , the creative re-membering of the dismembered fragments of East West Indian identity. This quest and discovery – whose connection with the Age of Discovery we have foregrounded above – is also the ‘conquest’ of a postcolonial identity and, furthermore, the ‘conquest’ of the former hegemonic centre, along with the ‘reconquest’ of the Lost El Dorado on a literary plane. A subaltern and marginal writer finally imposes himself as the ‘nobelized’ writer of the former imperial centre65 , restoring British literature through a postcolonial reorientation. This reorientation, in fact, could be realized only from a peripheric location set against a global background: a new East West Indian ‘glocation’ of culture that definitely neutralizes the opposition of periphery and centre. Naipaul’s literary ‘glocality’ is complementary to the Afro-Caribbean ‘glocalisation’ achieved by Derek Walcott in the field of English poetry, and to Édouard Glissant’s creolization of the Tout-monde mainly in the field of literary essay. The works of both Afro-Caribbean authors include an East West Indian dimension, conceptualized by Glissant’s project of “Les Indes renouvelées” (Poétique de la Relation 1990: 21) and poetically evoked in 64 65

Reading & Writing 2000: 32 sq.; Finding the Centre 1984: 10, 47. Perceived as “Britain’s greatest living writer” by The Daily Telegraph (see blurb of The Loss of El Dorado 2010).

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his historical poem Les Indes (1956) (see Tumba Shango Lokoho’s contribution to this volume). Concerning the East West Indian European configuration, there may be drawn a specific parallel line, or a meridian, within the history of world literature, namely between V.S. Naipaul and the Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi, the latter located in the old Mediterranean centre, the former in the new Mediterranean of the West Indies66 . Both authors deconstruct the euphoric configuration of East West India along with the European centre of London, whose result is a universal nihilism on the metaphysic plane. And both authors counteract this nihilism by literary imagination that creates an illusionary order, the only ‘true’ illusion that resists mental, continental and global fractures. In Leopardi’s poetry and poetics even shipwreck is liable to be a form of rescue by means of poetic imagination: “e il naufragar m’è dolce in questo mare” (L’infinito). Similarly for Naipaul the condition of the shipwrecked East West Indian Trinidadian, caused by the “loss of [West Indian] El Dorado” and the (East Indian) “Paradise Lost”67 , is compensated by the critical rewriting of the wreckage out of its fragments. The Word, including the heteroglot word, is primordial in Naipaul’s writing. Together with the Biblical Logos, it is linked intrinsically to the Hindu veneration of the Word, which is addressed in Naipaul’s Foreword to his father’s book The Adventures of Gurudeva (7-8), and incarnated by the Goddess V¯ac68 and the Brahmanic Vedas. In the story Man-man from Miguel Street the ‘mad’ protagonist, on his way to become an avatar of Pundit Ganesh69 and a Christian preacher, enacts a sort of concrete poem in situ by displaying gradually the letters of the word S C H ooo OOOO L70 as a mobile pavement graffiti, following slowly – in space and time – the itinerary of the young narrator to and from his grammar school (Miguel 66

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As imagined by some outstanding Cuban and other Latin American authors, such as Alejo Carpentier, Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Jesús Díaz, Simón Bolívar, and even classic European cartographers like Van den Putte (1570). See the stunning world map where the Emperor Charles V is sitting on his throne located in the middle of the West Indies overlooking the Indias Occidentales and Orientales (Gemegah 1999: 230). See the homonymous chapter 7 of India: A Wounded Civilization. An equivalent of V¯ac is Sarasvati, who figures on the Hindu Temple in Guadeloupe (see Note 2). A real phantastic figure of Port of Spain evoked in the story (p. 37) and further developed in the novel The Mystic Masseur. My transcription (A.K.).

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Street 2011: 34-35)71 . Scholarship, grammar, and a creative agrammaticality are inscribed in Miguel Street and in Naipaul’s general Caribbean discourse. Both Man-man and the young-man narrator are keen on combining the correct Englishness of their speech with Trinidadian deviations from the grammatical norm. At first : “’So you goes to school, eh?’ I said automatically, ‘Yes, I goes to school”; and afterwards: “’So the little man gone to school today?’ I said, ‘Yes”’; and in between: “Man-man said, as though speaking to himself: ‘So the little man is going to school’. Then [ . . . ] he began writing on the pavement” (p. 34). Whereas Trinidadian English is very common and natural in the direct speech of most people in Miguel Street, it is a ludic matter for the literary personae, i.e. the narrated and the narrating writer, capable of ‘diatopic’ codeswitching and stylistic diversity. Thus, on the one hand, the Trinidadian English is a “broken English”, related to the social, cultural and psychological fracture of the post/colonial subject; but on the other hand, it is a discursive tool for a ludic handling of this fracture72 . Just like the normalization and dignification of broken English as “a [pure] local language” in genuine Trinidadian calypso, whose “wit and verbal conceits” are very much appreciated by the critic Naipaul (The Middle Passage, 81). Linguistic fracture concerns in particular the hybrid ‘Hinglish’ compounds and ‘fragments’ of Naipaul’s narrative. Hindi was widely spoken in his first Trinidadian surroundings, and also Sanskrit as part of the ritual language in the orthodox Hindu milieu he was in contact with, but the writer didn’t keep up with it (Reading and Writing, 13), owing to his expatriation and his ideological conflicts with Hinduism. Nevertheless, the Indian classics, like Ramayana, including the pageant-play Ramlila, based on the epos, whose performance he had attended as a youth in the sugar cane fields of Chaguanas (Reading and Writing 11, 35), left a strong impact on his imagination and constitute an important intertext, thematic in-text (The Mechanical Genius) and subtext of his work. The novel A Bend in the River 71

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For Naipaul’s inclination toward “lettering”, including the Sanskrit script, see A House for Mr Biswas (46, 51). For the ludic function of “broken English” see also the sequence on the “Buth suttificate” (Birth certificate) in A House for Mr Biswas (40-41) where Naipaul also uses cacography, a stylistic procedure which he did not appreciate in his father’s writing (Foreword to The Adventures of Gurudeva). The Trinidadian ‘broken English’ can be read as an inverted ‘Hinglish’ with respect to the East Indian ‘Hinglish’.

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has been interpreted by Bruce King as a modern equivalent of Ramayana (King 2003: 133-136). The lexical fragments of Sanskrit, Hindi, or Prakrit, mostly italicized, rarely translated73 , sometimes commented, comprehend a set of words and names that often have already entered the English language. Yet, in Naipaul’s work they appear in a specific East West Indian perspective and through a characteristic locus of enunciation of both the narrator and his personae. Some of them, like dharma, karma or pundit, act as leitmotives making up an intercultural and interlingual focus linked to central ideas and figures of Hinduism. They happen to be commented, in fact, as basic philosophic concepts, like dharma in India: A Wounded Civilization, or as the writer Biswas’ first name Mohun, ’the beloved’, mythologically related to Krishna and autobiographically to Naipaul’s father (A House for Mr Biswas, 14). The Indian terms and concepts are also liable to be satirized like in The Mystic Masseur. In this novel Hinduism is an important issue, The Dharma is the name of a Hinduist review, and the protagonist Ganesh Ramsumair is a cynical pundit who makes a career as a hypocrite Hindu philosopher, as a mystic masseur, ending up as a Trinidadian statesman, welcomed in London as a Member of the British Empire. At the top of his career within the British Empire, he changes his Hindu name from Pundit Ganesh Ramsumair to a more ‘civilized’ G. R. Muir, Esq., M.B.E. In the last sequence of the Epilogue he will be unmasked by the narrator – or the author – who are or were his guide during a visit to Oxford: “’Pundit Ganesh!’ I cried, running towards him. ‘Pundit Ganesh Ramsumair!’ ‘G. Ramsay Muir’, he said coldly.” One might say that Pundit Ganesh who anglicised his Hindu name for an imperial ambition has been degraded to an interlingual pun. Simultaneously, Pundit Ganesh’s former mystic dit74 – “G ANESH IS A MAN OF 73

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Even the Prakrit term Gaddaha! (‘ass’; Mystic Masseur 1982: 161) is not translated. The untranslated term rakshas is ignored by the labourers it refers to, but paraphrased for the reader as “Hindu mythological forces of evil” (A House for Mr Biswas 2011: 408). French ‘saying’. In a sort of Rabelaisian,Voltairean or Joycean verbal folly, the graphic variant of the Hindu term ‘pandit’ may also be pseudo-etymologically interpreted as a ‘Pangloss’, an ‘Allsayer’ or ‘Omniscient’ which, in fact, is not so far from the Sanskrit meaning.

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GOOD AND GOD ”

(Mystic Masseur, 194, 197) – has proved to be a mere

mystification. Apart from ridiculing the broken language, the interlingual figures carry also a more serious meaning, in an either negative or positive perspective. The most characteristic and complete figure of East West Indian multilingualism is offered, undoubtedly, by the blend of AmerIndian, Spanish, English and Hindi, in addition to Afro-Caribbean and French components, corresponding to the historic layers of the various Trinidadian populations and rulers. In this respect, we already considered the onomastic configuration of Naipaul’s native town Chaguanas which forms an interlingual cluster of AmerIndian, Spanish, Sanskrit and English connotations75 . This name had a really “haunting” significance for the author, caused by the “thought of the vanished aborigines [the Chaguanes], on whose land and among whose spirits we all lived” (Reading and Writing, 35). The generic name of the AmerIndian aborigenes – the Chaguanes belonged to the Arawacs group – entered into the fictive name of Chaguanas in the novel A House for Mr Biswas in the shape of Arwacas. There would be founded even an East West Indian reformist association under the name “Arwacas Aryan Association, the AAA” (A House 2011: 125)76 . Apart from this suggestive interlingual coupling the East West Indian figure is highly significant in the transcontinental and discursive contiguity of “the Hanuman House in Arwacas” (A House 2011: 2), amplified by the figure of an interlingual chiasm linking the end of chapter 2 (“Before the Tulsis”) with the beginning of chapter 3 (“The Tulsis”): “Hanuman House at Arwacas” – “at Arwacas, Hanuman House” (A House 2011: 80-81). The predominant tone of the interlingual East West Indian discourse is an ironic and humoristic one, beginning with the grotesque pundits and Christian preachers of Man-man and Mechanical Genius from Miguel Street. The slightly hispanizing “tone of voice” (Preface, Vii) of these sto75

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On the ground of AmerIndian etymology, Spanish morphologic assimilation, paronymic Sanskrit/Hindi association, and English pronunciation. Arwacas was the spelling in Walter Raleighs Discovery of the Large, Rich and Beautiful Empire of Guiana addressed in The Loss of El Dorado where Naipaul navigates permanently between numerous Arawac terms and names as well as their English and Spanish ‘translations’ (e.g. 45-46). The Aryan name of the Association connotes the reformist Arya Samaj (Aryan Society) Movement founded in India at the end of the 19th century; it has been referred to in Naipaul’s talk at the University of the West Indies in 1975 (Naipaul 1982: 4).

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ries being conspicuously spiced with ingredients of ‘broken’ Trinidadian English, is due at first to the equally dysphoric and euphoric picaresque novel Lazarillo de Tormes. Naipaul had translated the whole novel – that would help him to find the “writing voice which I had worked hard to find” (Reading & Writing, 26) – from Spanish into English. The hispanizing “tone of voice” is mixed up with a sacred Sanskrit voice, that of the Ramayana, intoned unceasingly by the mechanic and “dothi-clad Pundit Bhakcu” (Miguel Street, 132), while fumbling around under his obstinately broken down car. The erudite excerpts from the Ramayana are dissonantly perceived by the habitual passers-by as “that damn sing-song Hindu song” (130). The fact that the Ramayana will be constantly evoked or voiced throughout Naipaul’s work – be it a quoting, singing or “Ramayanagrunting” (A House, 487) – may be interpreted as a latent obsession by the cyclic structure of time and history (King 111, 117, 141), as the wheel of dharmachakra overrunning the author despite his anti-fatalist and progressive positions. Yet, basically, the Ramayana along with the ancient East Indian culture is always rewritten and is not at all regarded as an absolute reference point. Its West Indian, European, and also Indo-European connections are essential to Naipaul’s work. Through the process of rewriting, the mobile transcontinental figure, with its oxymoronic, paronymic, chiastic and diasporic features, proves to be the “rediscovery” of a New World, a fragment of the new world of postcolonial literature made up by himself. This new world is materialized in the literary microcosmos of A House for Mr Biswas, his “most substantial piece of fiction”, as the author states in the Preface. In a multiple mise en abîme the “new world” addressed in the Preface refers at once to the new house, the first one the writer owned, to the novelty of the novel being and building A House for Mr Biswas, its place in a new world literature and, of course, the demolished New World of the Age of Discovery, of European colonialism and imperialism. The reappropriation77 of that house and of that world constitutes a both material and poetic progress from arbitrariness to necessity78 . 77

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Naipaul calls the house of Mr Biswas not only a “new [ . . . ] world”, but also a “rediscovered [ . . . ] possession” (A House, 7). “How terrible it would have been [ . . . ] to have lived and died as one had been born, unnecessary and unaccommodated” (A House, 8).

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The house as a figure for transcontinental displacement seems to be contradictory. The figure of the ship might have been more adequate. But, since the ship was fatal to Mr. Biswas following the prediction made by the Arwacas Pundit Sitaram, Naipaul had a good reason to prefer for his literary discovery the accommodation of a house. So, he steers a curious voyage autour de ma chambre in a houseboat. This is a metaphoric counterpart to literary navigators like Glissant whose ship is rhizomatically ‘rooted’ in an endless errancy, from error to error, or from relationship to relationship79 .

IV Cosmic and Cosmopolitan Transfiguration of East West India in American Literature Along with the concrete geographic and historic reconfiguration of East West India in Naipaul’s work there is also a universalizing cosmic and cosmopolitan transfiguration of the East West Indian topic, firstly developped by Latin American authors in a deconstructive perspective from the periphery. Borges with his concept of a global and geocultural “indefinido” (Block de Behar 1999: 87, 164), springing from the conceptual ‘indefinition’ of the Orient80 , of Orient and Occident, of American and Asian Indias and Indians (Borges 1989: 235), is a pioneer of this deconstructive process. The universal and cosmopolitan aspect has been foregrounded by Naipaul as well – “Our Universal Civilization”81 –, but with less emphasis on the cosmic and mythic dimension which he sees primarily as a sign of fatalism and archaism, like in his book India: A Wounded Civilization (1977). The primordial cosmic figure of transcending Occidental Orientalism is that of the Hindu ‘Urlaut’ om, the basic mantra since the Vedic Upanishads (Padoux 1990: 14). It has been elaborated in a both metaphysical and ludic sense by authors like Haroldo de Campos and Aldous Huxley, but also in Caetano Veloso’s vocal Tropicália. Naipaul seems to paraphrase it, but in a satirical way, when he describes a Hindu ceremony: “in the beginning was the word. A twelve-lettered mantra will be chanted and written fifty million 79

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See also the imagery and ideology of “walking roots” and “walking trees” in Bragard’s Transoceanic Dialogues (Bragard 2008: 169-188). “La idea de infinito es consustancial con Las mil y una noches” (Borges 1989: 234). Borges underscores the Indian origin of the “fables” or “fábulas” of The Arabian Nights: “Fueron habladas al principio en la India” (ibid.). Postscript of The Writer and the World (2011: 503-517).

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times [ . . . ] in this time of Emergency [ . . . ]” (India, 4). On the other hand, Naipaul sticks to the primordial word himself, as we have seen above, but in a rigourously historic and critical manner. Basically, the occidental om is an accidental and experimental one: it is not regarded as a ‘true’ etymon, but as a ‘poetic’, a ‘fictive’ etym, like Arno Schmidt’s invented etyms in Zettel’s Traum (1963-1969: 25 sq.). Yet, the poetic etym attempts to transform accidental arbitrariness into aesthetic necessity. And it does not exclude a possible hermetic truth beyond human hermeneutics. In the respective texts of the mentioned authors the om is a ludic figure, an intralingual or interlingual paronomasia, or poetic pun. It differs from the originally sacred Hindu pun in so far as it is a secularized figure, ludic and ontic at once82 . It embodies the polyglot inspiration and respiration of human language. The differentiation of om acts particularly through paronymic sounds producing multifarious and multilingual meanings. In the polyglot prose poems of Galáxias (1963-1973), composed by the Brazilian poet Haroldo de Campos, the oral and aural om is connected to the corresponding figure of mandala according to the verbivocovisual principle of concrete poetry83 and partly of tantrism84 . It creates metamorphic and mandala-like poetic patterns such as the recurrent couplings and palindromes of “a mandala o om” (the mandala the om), “o om da mandala” (the om of the mandala) and “a sílaba om formas em morfose” (the syllable om [,] forms in morphosis) (Galáxias, 228, 231, 236). The “om” enacts phonetic and semantic modulations of the ‘inspirational’ sound of the wind and the waves, namely through the word “homero” in syntony with the tritonique conch-word (“palavra-búzio”) blown by the poet Homer and transposed into alloglot keys by his translators and adaptors. In Caetano Veloso’s Brazilian song De palavra em palavra (From Word to Word, Album Araçá Azul, 1972) the Sanskrit “om” seems to be 82

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In modern Indian literature the interlingual pun is used sometimes in connection with religious topics for example in U. R. Anantamurti’s novel Samskara: A Rite for a Dead Man (original version in Kannada language, 1965; English translation 1976); Samskara deals with the divergent meanings of the title word referring to rites of transition. The novel is discussed in Naipaul’s India: A Wounded Civilization (1977: 110-122); see King 2003: 91, 212. The verbivocovisual principle of concrete poetry (derived from Finnegans Wake) applies to Galáxias in the wide sense of the word. For the “isomorphism between the visual and the aural” in tantrism see Padoux, XiV.

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‘translated’ into the Brazilian word “som”, meaning ‘sound’, similar to the sound-generating “omero” in Galáxias. The om-like “som” is repeated anaphorically in the form of a mantra and ends in the likewise repeated “não som” of silence, of “silêncio”, thus encompassing the two opposite poles of language. The Brazilian song, inspired by concrete poetry, dedicates a poetic hymn to the blue God Rama-Krishna incorporated in the palindrome “amaranilanilinalinarama”85 . One of the most Indo-European and Hinduist-Buddhist writers is the later Aldous Huxley. After making a Zuñi Indian from New Mexico, “The Savage”, the principal critic of Western civilisation in his novel Brave New World (1932), he developped an intense interest in East Indian philosophy that started shaping his literary work. The interest increased since his emigration to California (1937), culminating in his mystic experiences with the Indian philosophers and gurus Jiddu Krishnamurti and Swami Prabhavananda, head of the Ramakrishna Mission at Hollywood. This led to a series of novels and essays inspired by Vedanta and Buddhism86 . Concerning the Urwort or primordial sound om, Huxley created a stunning interlingual mantra in his novel Eyeless in Gaza published shortly before his emigration (1936): “I am that I am. I om that I om” (Huxley 1936: 134)87 . In a passage on “transfigured” mental states of the “Professor” and protagonist of the novel, the writer converts the Judeo-Christian formula “I am that I am” – referring to Jehova’s Biblical statement Ehyeh asher ehyeh – into the Hinduist and Hinglish formula “I om that I om” by way of an interlingual coupling and pun. The contradiction the formula implies in regard of the Judeo-Christian formula concerns the ‘heretic’ identity of the human “I” and the divine “OM” (ibid.). On the other hand, the double 85

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Veloso’s self commentary in his book Verdade tropical underscores the mantric character of his song (“um trecho de oração hindu”, a piece of hindu prayer; Veloso 1997: 490). The mantric character, in addition to the ritual repetitions, is based on a filiation of Luso-Indian sounds and meanings around the palindromic words rama amar (ibid.) and the Portuguese word anil (blue), such as índigo, a synonym of anil, and the Sanskrit etymon n¯ıl¯ı/n¯ıla (dark blue) (cf. Oxford Dictionary of English 2010 and Aurélio, Novo Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa 1986). On Huxley’s literary Hinduism see Akhilesh Kumar Tripathy’s article “Aldous Huxley’s Literary and Spiritual Odyssey: From Euro-English to Indo-Eastern Shores via America.” In: Aldous Huxley Annual 9 (2009). 133-144. Tripathy sees in this sequence “the impact of Vedanta” on the protagonist; yet his quotation from the Harmondsworth edition (1962: 89) doesn’t seem to be correct (Tripathy 2009: 142).

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coupling and the paronomasia might also act as a figurative stimulus toward a syncretic fusion of the two formulas despite their conceptual antithesis. In fact, Huxley’s mantra implies an interlingual and cross-cultural chiasm, in which East meets West and West meets East in a “transfigured” state and on a transconti/mental plane: I om that I am. I am that I om.

V Epilogue We may conclude our reflections with a ludic modulation of Huxley’s mantra, translating it into an Indo-European Franglais and converting it into a ‘philologic’ palindrome: I aime OM. J’aime le MO(t).

Bibliographic References Acosta, José de, S. J.: Historia natural y moral de las Indias. In: J. de A.: Obras. Ed. Francisco Mateos S. J. Madrid: Atlas 1954. (Biblioteca de Autores Españoles, Continuación, vol. 73). Balbuena, Bernardo de: El Bernardo. Ed. Noé Jitrik. México D.F.: SEP 1988. — : La grandeza mexicana. Ed. Asima F. X. Saad Maura. Madrid: Cátedra 2011. (Letras Hispánicas 688). Block de Behar, Lisa: Borges. La pasión de una cita sin fin. México: Siglo XXI. Borges, Jorge Luis: “Las mil y una noches”. In: J. L. B.: Obras completas vol. III 1975-1985. Buenos Aires : Emecé 1989. 232-241. Bragard, Véronique: Transoceanic Dialogues. Coolitude in Caribbean and Indian Ocean Literatures. Bruxelles etc. : P.I.E. Peter Lang 2008. Brant, Sebastian: Das Narrenschiff . Ed. Hans-Joachim Mähl. Transl. H. A. Junghans. Stuttgart: Reclam 1985. Brereton, Bridget & Winston Dookeran (eds.): East Indians in the Caribbean. Colonialism and the Struggle for Identity. Introduction by V.S. Naipaul. Millwood, N.Y. & London, England & Nendeln, Liechtenstein: Kraus International Publications 1982. Buarque de Holanda, Sérgio: Visão do Paraíso: os motivos edênicos no descobrimento e colonização do Brasil. 5th ed. São Paulo: Brasiliense 1992. Campanella, Tommaso: La città del sole. Ed. Massimo Baldini. Roma: Grandi Tascabili Economici Newton 2002. Colón, Cristóbal: Textos y documentos completos. Ed. Consuelo Varela. Madrid: Alianza 1989. Dorantes de Carranza, Baltasar: Sumaria relación de las cosas de la nueva España. Con noticia individual de los conquistadores y primeros pobladores españoles. México: Porrúa 1987.

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Ette, Ottmar: “TransPacífico: continentes invisibles y archipiélagos de la visibilidad en las literaturas entre Asia y América.” In: O.E. (ed.): TransPacífico. Conexiones y convivencias en AsiAméricas. Un simposio transareal. Berlin: edition tranvía – Verlag Walter Frey 2013. Gemegah, Helga: Die Theorie des spanischen Jesuiten José de Acosta (ca. 15401600) über den Ursprung der indianischen Völker aus Asien. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang 1999. Gleizal, Christian & Valérie Millet (eds.): Guadeloupe. Paris: Gallimard Nouveaux-Loisirs 1994. (Guides Gallimard). Glissant, Édouard: Poétique de la relation. Paris: Gallimard 1990. Greenblatt, Stephen: Marvellous Possessions. The Wonder of the New World. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press 1991. Gruzinski, Serge: Les quatre parties du monde. Histoire d’une mondialisation. Paris : La Martinière 2004. Helmberger, Werner & Matthias Staschull: Tiepolos Welt. Das Deckenfresko im Treppenhaus der Residenz Würzburg. München: Bayrische Schlösserverwaltung 2006. Herrera, Antonio de: Descripción de las Indias Occidentales. Madrid: 1934. (= vol. 1 of H. A.: Historia general de los hechos de los castellanos en las islas y tierrafirme del mar océano. Ed. Antonio Ballesteros-Berettta. Madrid 19341936. 17 vols.). Hurbon, Laënnec (ed.): Le phénomène religieux dans la Caraïbe: Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guyane, Haïti. Paris: Karthala 2000. Huxley, Aldous: Eyeless in Gaza. London: Chatto & Windus 1936. Ibarra Grasso, Dick Edgar: Cosmogonía y mitología indígena americana. Buenos Aires: Kier 1980. Chap. “Las relaciones de los dioses mesoamericanos con la India, etcétera”. King, Bruce: V.S. Naipaul. London: Palgrave-Macmillan 2003. Knauth, K. Alfons : “Sol oriens in occiduo. Sinn und Bild Lateinamerikas.” In: Iberoromania 57 (2003). 80-113. — : “L’horizon herménautique du Nouveau Monde de la littérature.” In: Paola Mildonian (ed.): A partire da Venezia: Eredità, Transiti, Orizzonti. Cinquant’anni dell’AILC (Venezia, 25-30 settembre 1955 / 22-25 settembre 2005). Venezia: Cafoscarina 2009. (CD). (Chap. 4 “Problèmes de poétique”). — : “Translatio Studii and Cross-Cultural Movements or Weltverkehr.” In: Lisa Block de Behar et alii (eds.): Comparative Literature: Sharing Knowledges for Preserving Cultural Diversity. 3 vols. Oxford: EOLSS 2010. (Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems [EOLSS], Developed under the Auspices of the UNESCO). Vol. 2. 67-84. — : “Le pourtour de Babel. Esquisse du babélisme littéraire en Amérique latine.” In: Marc Maufort & Caroline de Wagter (eds.): Old Margins and New Centers. The European Literary Heritage in an Age of Globalization – Anciennes

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Marges et Nouveaux Centres. L’héritage littéraire européen dans une ère de globalisation. Bruxelles etc.: P.I.E-Peter Lang 2011. 167-183. Lal, Vinay: The Other Indians: a Political and Cultural History of South Asians in America. New Delhi: HarperCollins 2008. Leopardi, Giacomo: Tutte le opere. Ed. Francesco Flora. Le poesie e le prose. Vol. 1. 10th edition. Milano: Arnoldo Mondadori 1973. — : Tutte le opere. Ed. Francesco Flora. Le Lettere. 6th ed. Milano: Arnoldo Mondadori 1977. L’Étang, Gerry: “Culte indien et évolution sociale en Martinique et en Guadeloupe.” In: Laënnec Hurbon (ed.): Le phénomène religieux dans la Caraïbe. Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guyane, Haïti. Paris: Karthala 2000. 263-283. López de Velasco, Juan: Geografía y descripción universal de las Indias. Ed. Marcos Jiménez de la Espada. Madrid: Atlas 1971. (Biblioteca de autores españoles 248). López Guzmán, Rafael & Gloria Espinosa Spínola: Pedro Machuca. Granada: Comares 2001. Malamoud, Charles: Féminité de la parole. Études sur l’Inde ancienne. Paris: Albin Michel 2005. Milton, John: Paradise Lost. An Authoritative Text. Backgrounds and Sources. Criticism. 2nd ed. Ed. Scott Elledge. New York, London: Norton & Company 1993. Montaigne: Œuvres complètes. Eds. Albert Thibaudet & Maurice Rat. Paris : Gallimard 1962. (Bibliothèque de la Pléiade). Morales Padrón, Francisco: Historia del Descubrimiento y Conquista de América. Madrid: Gredos 1990. Naipaul, V. S.: Foreword to Seepersad Naipaul: Adventures of Gurudeva. London: Heinemann 1955. 1-20. — : “Introduction” to Brereton 1982: 1-9. — : Miguel Street. London: Picador 2011. — : The Writer and the World. Essays. Ed. Pankay Mishra. London: Picador 2011. — : “The Shipwrecked Six Thousand.” In: Naipaul, The Writer and the World. 83-94. — : “Columbus and Crusoe.” In: Naipaul, The Writer and the World. 301-304. — : “Postscript: Our Universal Civilization.” In: Naipaul, The Writer and the World. 503-517. — : The Loss of El Dorado. A Colonial History. London: Picador 2010. — : The Middle Passage. Impressions of Five Societies – British, French and Dutch – in the West Indies and South America. London: Picador 1995. — : Finding the Centre. Two Narratives. London: André Deutsch 1984. — : A House for Mr Biswas. London: Picador 2011. — : The Mystic Masseur. London: Heinemann 1982. — : India: A Wounded Civilization. New York: Alfred A. Knopf 1977.

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Padoux, André: V¯ac. The Concept of the Word in Selected Hindu Tantras. Transl. Jacques Gontier. New York: State University Press 1990. Padrón, Ricardo: The Spacious Word: Cartography, Literature, and Empire in Early Modern Spain. Chicago & London: The University of Chicago Press 2004. — : “Las Indias olvidadas: Filipinas y América en la cartografía imperial española.” In: Universidade de São Paulo. 3Æ Simpósio Iberoamericano de História da Cartografia. Agendas para a História da Cartografia Iberoamericana. São Paulo, abril de 2010. 1-14. (http://3siahc.files.wordpress.com/201 0/04/ricardo-padron- . . . ; visited 1st of April 2014). Rabelais: Œuvres complètes. Ed. Jacques Boulenger. Revised ed. by Lucien Scheler. Paris: Gallimard 1955. (Bibliothèque de la Pléiade). Raynal, Guillaume: Histoire philosophique & politique des Deux Indes. Ed. Yves Benot. Paris: Maspéro 1981. (F/M La Découverte 39). Solórzano y Pereyra, Juan de: Política indiana. Ed. Miguel Ángel Ochoa Brun. Madrid: 1972. (Biblioteca de Autores Españoles. Chap. I “De lo que significa propriamente (sic) este nombre INDIAS, Tratase de las Orientales i (sic) de las partes en que los Antiguos dividieron el Orbe”). Tavares, Gonçalo M.: Uma viagem à Índia. Melancolia contemporânea (um itinerário). Prefácio de Eduardo Lourenço. Alfragide (Portugal): Editorial Caminho. 6.a edição 2013. (First Edition 2010). Thorpe, Michael: “Sam Selvon, 1923-1994.” In: World Literature Today 69 (1995). 86-88. Torabully, Khal: Cale d’Étoile – Coolitude. La Réunion: Azalées 1992. — : Chair Corail, Fragments Coolies. Guadeloupe: Ibis Rouge 1999. Tripathy, Akhilesh Kumar: “Aldous Huxley’s Literary and Spiritual Odyssey: From Euro-English to Indo-Eastern Shores via America.” In: Aldous Huxley Annual 9 (2009). 133-144. Veloso, Caetano: Verdade tropical. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras 1997. Vieira, António S.J.: Sermões. In: A.V.: Obras completas. Vol. I (T.2). Porto: Lello & Irmão 1959. Wolter, John A. & Ronald E. Grim (eds.): Images of the World. The Atlas through History. New York: Washington: Library of Congress & New York McGrawHill 1997.

Para um mapa crioulo e sonâmbulo de imbricações luso-afro-indianas Biagio D’Angelo Universidade de Brasília, Brasil

Nós, os da costa, éramos habitantes não de um continente, mas de um oceano. Eu e Surendra partilhávamos a mesma pátria: o Índico. (Mia Couto, Terra sonâmbula)

O desenvolvimento sempre crescente de interesses por projetos e pesquisas sobre as literaturas pós-coloniais pretende preservar as diversas línguas, como projeções ou como geradoras das diversas culturas que compõem o mosaico da lusofonia. É assim que se renova a perspectiva de conjunto de certas literaturas, reconhecidas por largo tempo como periféricas, as quais, na multiplicidade dos espaços e dos discursos lusófonos, aproximam-se umas das outras por meio de um único eixo (a língua portuguesa) que, contextualizada, tem gerado as histórias, as culturas, as línguas, as efabulações de diversas nações. A articulação do espaço lusófono produziu um diálogo intercultural que não tem precedentes, provávelmente nem mesmo na literatura de marca inglesa pós-colonial. Evidências míticas e folclóricas e divergências estéticas de uma lusofonia artística estão enriquecendo uma produção estética que visa a ser reconhecida como agente destacado da mundialização. Sendo o estudo das áreas literárias e culturais da lusofonia um espaço discursivo ainda relativamente jovem, as questões levantadas pelas análises pós-coloniais (em particular as problemáticas de identidade e alteridade) correspondem, com pleno direito, às necessidades da literatura comparada como disciplina que indaga regiões fronteiriças que aspiram a um trânsito e a um reconhecimento universal. O mapa cultural que os países lusófonos

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defendem aspiram a uma centralização canônica, a uma superação das margens e a uma defesa da própria entidade nacional e regional como ‘particular’ de uma literatura-mundo. A representação da identidade e da alteridade nas obras literárias de autores lusófonos resulta fortemente vinculada com as figurações de personagens, lugares e mitos (do contexto local ou importadas de outras culturas) que privilegiam o diálogo entre colônia e espaço geopolítico. Essa representação ficcional, que revela autores de grande impacto estético e ideológico, como, por exemplo, Mia Couto, Pepetela, Luandino Vieira e José Eduardo Agualusa, manifesta-se principalmente em dois eixos que queremos discutir. O primeiro fundamenta-se na construção de um imaginário específico, no qual os signos do mundo exterior e os fenômenos psíquico-físicos oscilam entre a experiência do eu e o predomínio, ainda poderoso, de uma coletividade vista desde o ponto de vista social e ‘poética’, transmissora de mitos. O segundo, através da reescrita da história, resgata discursos de natureza heterogênea para outorgar força e originalidade ao imaginário da fábula: o épico, o mítico e o religioso se misturam às imbricações daqueles elementos históricos, como as guerras e as reconfigurações geográficas, que resultam incompreensíveis e de que só a literatura pode vislumbrar certa ‘saída’. Esses eixos nunca resultam paralelos, nunca se cruzam em pontos determinados e previsíveis, mas, envolvendo-se em um movimento sinusoidal agregativo, formam os componentes da tipologia da escrita lusófona. A interação dos elementos orais e escritos revela processos originais retóricos e poéticos em que a repetição, a transformação, a paródia ou a contemporização das imagens e dos mitos propostos são metamorfoseados para a formação da consciência estética, ideológica e coletiva, ou para o reconhecimento do outro como raça, diversidade linguística, alteridade ontológica. Trata-se de configurações supranacionais que o comparatismo, superando o antigo esquema de um binarismo linguístico – língua(s) do(s) colonizador(es) vs. língua(s) do(s) colonizado(s) –, assume como relevantes no incremento das significações da disciplina. Se nós queremos, realmente, uma literatura lusófona ‘uma e múltipla’, é necessário reconhecer um mapa inventado ‘ibero-luso-afro-americano’,

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certamente utopista e ‘comunitarista’, onde as línguas se consolidam numa babel produtiva, de grande valor político e cultural. Retomamos o exemplo da língua portuguesa. Se queremos um mapa inventado, é suficiente perceber que existe uma multiplicidade de diferentes culturas e línguas dentro de uma língua da origem, uma ‘mono-língua’, quase mítica e instigadora de significantes. Embora seja só uma, a língua (a ‘fonia’ do português) recupera-se nas explorações de suas variantes: ela reformula um mapa polimorfo, híbrido, cujo conteúdo é a produção de sentido simbólico de identidades em diferença. Trata-se de uma língua que funciona como experiência aglutinante, uma “língua de viagem” (apud Calafate 2015: 173), como teria dito Manuel Rui Monteiro, uma língua de existência. Em vários autores essa ‘fonia’, essa língua comum, feita de ‘origem’, de dimensões míticas e pluralidades culturais que a diferenciam manifesta-se como poética afirmada e reconhecida, por meio da produção de uma peculiar ‘ex-cêntricidade’, aquela de um autor que elevou a língua portuguesa (e curiosamente, ‘não portuguesa’) à dignidade de língua planetária: o escritor brasileiro João Guimarães Rosa. A língua misturada de Guimarães Rosa constitui-se como a fonte secundária, após a conscientização da própria língua e cultura, para perceber o regionalismo, o periférico, o esquecido (sejam eles o sertão, a caatinga ou os vilarejos angolanos) como espaços poetizáveis, um espaço de comunidades textuais (não apenas imaginárias, mas como queria Bendedict Anderson, vivênciadas), um espaço em que a literatura, como experiência do global e do marginal, estabelece uma rede complexa de relações supranacionais (que envolvem, em um mesmo terreno discursivo, simbolizações políticas e míticas) em busca de uma tradição. Guimarães Rosa é o autor translinguístico sem o qual não poderiam existir as comunidades interliterárias, feitas de autores e povos, da África e de Goa, de Timor Leste e de Macau. Sua translinguagem (que se oferece pela possibilidade de recriar linguísticamente, poeticamente os mapas do mundo) consegue a integração de outros contextos e permite entender o mapa da lusofonia como uma reformulação das relações que compõem as produções estéticas e culturais de línguas nunca destituídas pelo Poder da força. Assim, a lusofonia, como outras perspectivas múltiplas das línguas póscoloniais, sintetiza uma apertura ao diálogo e ao reconhecimento comunitário, acentuando sua perspectiva interdiscursiva e interdisciplinar.

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Nesse sentido, Guimarães Rosa atua como ponto de referência reconhecido de uma estética de fragmentos, mortes e esperanças, de provérbios, citações e recordações pessoais, onde a escritura é o caminho do não esquecimento e, talvez, mas não apenas, da denúncia nítida do esquecimento do mundo. Provavelmente, o ‘apoio’ no paradigma criativo rosiano corrobore a intuição de Pires Laranjeira que vislumbra, na atualidade das culturas lusófonas, “uma liquidação (ao repensar literário) dos antigos mitos, sonhos, realidades e utopias, estando a escrever-se, na narrativa, um novo capítulo da história [literária]” (Pires Laranjeira 2001: 193). Obras múltiplas e multilíngues da África lusófona como Nação crioula, de José Eduardo Agualusa, Terra sonâmbula, A varanda de frangipani e O último vôo do flamengo, de Mia Couto, e Luuanda, de Luandino Vieira, entrelaçam um diálogo dramático com os recursos do passado históricomítico, misturando o desconforto pelo mundo presente com a perplexidade e a incerteza do futuro, de que as ficções se fazem porta-voz. Resta saber face às contingências e solicitações da instituição literária, na contemporaneidade pós-colonial, se as literaturas africanas se deslumbrarão com a sociedade do espetáculo ou se hão de inscrever na continuidade de um casticismo intemporal, tendo a capacidade de engendrar e de expressar novas utopias e esclarecimentos (Pires Laranjeira 2001: 193).

*** O romance do angolano José Eduardo Agualusa, Nação crioula (1997), apresenta como protagonistas excepcionais o escritor Eça de Queiroz e seu personagem Fradique Mendes, misturando assim o real e o ficcional. Mas não apenas. A leitura de Nação crioula permite repensar, com efeito, na busca de identidade do mundo contemporâneo, cujas fronteiras geopolíticas são diluídas. O regresso à história e a sua busca de significação é uma das principais preocupações do romance de Agualusa. O interesse do escritor angolano está destinado a desvendar aquela história com buracos, aquela história perfurada, censurada ou incompreensível, da qual o sujeito pede justificação. Indagar sobre aspectos tradicionalmente silenciados ou dissimulados, como a questão racial, os casos de prostituição e de sexo proibido, o nascimento da nação, a pretensão de pureza dos povos em detrimento das minorias étnicas e linguísticas é o núcleo sobre que o escritor e o historiador se fundem para sensibilizar o leitor atual.

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Um dos buracos históricos que necessitavam de maior destaque na consciência dos povos era o problema pós-colonial da escravidão. Toni Morrison foi uma das pioneiras a detectar os traumas emergentes desse silêncio linguístico e cultural. Homi Bhabha observou que as perspectivas de uma reescrita do mapa mundi são fundamentais para a consciência dos tempos novos: [They] emerge from the colonial testimony of Third World countries and the discourses of minorities within the geopolitical divisions of East and West, North and South. They intervene in those ideological discourses of modernity that attempt to give a hegemonic normality to the uneven development and the differential, often disadvantaged, histories of nations, races, communities, peoples (Bhabha 1992: 437, grifo meu).

Nação crioula é “um texto transcultural em torno do conceito complexo de uma nação que abrange Angola, Portugal e o Brasil” (Salgado 2000: 188). Trata-se, com efeito, da história de uma nação em trânsito, um espaço geopolítico e geo-linguístico em construção, em que, conforme Homi Bhabha, se reúnem as histórias de raças, comunidades, nações múltiplas e contos orais que se transmitem de boca em boca. Este Nação crioula faz emergir uma dimensão da história de três continentes que, quase sempre, são tratados de maneira fragmentária e isolada. Conduznos a uma releitura do velho conceito de “sistema colonial” triangular. Como ligação entre África, Europa e Brasil, está o Atlântico que, longe de separar, os unia. Neste espaço circulam não só mercadorias mas sobretudo pessoas e ideias que eram relidas e reinterpretadas nos novos contextos (Zamparoni 1999: 381).

Nascido como homenagem a Eça de Queiros, o livro de Agualusa recolhe uma correspondência inédita e ficcional de Fradique Mendes, um dos heterônimos mais célebres da literatura portuguesa. Nas primeiras páginas da Correspondência (1845-1900), Eça declara que sua amizade com Fradique remonta a uma longa viagem para África Austral. É uma escolha narrativa de Eça, que deixa envolvidas no mistério as razões dessa viagem. Agualusa parte, como se estivesse escrevendo umas variações literárias, da ausência de informações sobre Fradique e a África. A correspondência de Fradique se desenvolve, desta vez, a partir da paixão para Ana Olímpia Vaz de Caminha, atrás de cujo nome curioso e impregnado de história e colonização se esconde uma escrava que, res-

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gatada, tornou-se uma das mulheres mais poderosas e respeitadas da nação angolana do final do século XIX. Junto com as cartas para Ana Olímpia, Fradique endereça suas epístolas para sua madrinha, Madame de Jouarre e, naturalmente, para o amigo escritor Eça de Queiros. Fradique Mendes, relido em perspectiva contemporânea, constitui “uma das mais interessantes criações dessa comunidade desejada que são os países de língua portuguesa” (Motta Oliveira 2004: 103). Com Nação crioula, Agualusa escreve um romance histórico pós-moderno, em que o olhar para o passado reveste-se de sentimentos proféticos e, ao mesmo tempo, utópicos. Nessa terra edênica (o Brasil), Ana Olímpia e Fradique conceberão e verão crescer uma filha, consubstanciando a crioulização da qual nasceu o Brasil e, ao fim e ao cabo, Angola e Portugal modernos – nações crioulas afinal as três. O nome da criança crioula, Sophia – sabedoria –, poderá indicar com optimismo um novo mundo. [ . . . ] O sentido utópico para onde o romance de Agualusa caminha está nesse ponto zênite de intersecção dos destinos das três nações crioulas. As perseguições das nossas identidades passam pelo lançamento e sedimentação dessas pontes: é essa a mensagem utópica do novo Fradique de Agualusa (Lima 2000: 87).

Para esse “novo Fradique”, que, fantasiando, procura entender os segredos do lugar que começa a sentir como próprio país, África é vista como em uma singular sincronia: como no passado, Luanda, Angola e o continente africano refletem, de certa maneira, a posição de Agualusa. O que se respira é um cheiro de decomposição, a “que todos os viajantes se referem quando falam de África” (Agualusa 1998: 11). A narração procede entre juízos políticos (o problema da escravidão, em primeiro lugar) e personagens que oscilam entre o real e o ficcional. E é justamente esse equilíbrio precário entre a ficção, a história e a realidade que funda o nascimento de estórias e mitos, como Fradique escreve a Eça, numa das primeiras epístolas do livro (ibid. 34). E mais adiante no livro pode-se ler outro trecho de carta para o amigo Eça: Não, não faço literatura. E também não tenciono, nem agora, nem nunca, escrever memórias. Aquilo que de mais interessante aconteceu na minha vida foram as vidas das outras pessoas [ . . . ]. Todos os discursos de todos os abolicionistas europeus não valem um testemunho como este. E sabe porquê? [ . . . ] É a distância que vai entre a Vida e a literatura. E eu prefiro a Vida (ibid. 122).

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Realidade e ficção, estórias e mitos. Ora, também o mito precisa se perder e se transformar em uma nação plural, global e em uma “identidade múltipla”, conforme a proposta de Edouard Glissant. Assim nasce, por exemplo, o mito do Brasil, cuja originalidade, “ou seja, a sua nacionalidade, é resultado essencialmente da influência africana e da mestiçagem” (ibid. 128). Se o resultado é uma mestiçagem, um hibridismo, também o mito, portanto, será uma estratégia discursiva que deve ser desconstruída. E com ele a utopia da colonização tremerá, desestabilizando-se em uma miríade de ilhas e comunidades. O que é que nos colonizamos? O Brasil, dir-me-ás tu. Nem isso. Colonizamos o Brasil com os escravos que fomos buscar a África, fizemos filhos com eles, e depois o Brasil colonizou-se a si próprio. Ao longo de quatro demorados séculos construímos um império, vastíssimo, é certo, mas infelizmente imaginário. Para o tornar real será necessário muito mais do que a nossa consoladora fantasia de meridionais. [ . . . ] Para construir uma África portuguesa seria necessário que Portugal se fizesse africano. [ . . . ] Estamos em África, na América e no Oriente pelo mesmo motivo porque os fungos se alastram e os coelhos copulam – porque no íntimo sabemos (o nosso sangue sabe-o) que colonizar é sobreviver! [ . . . ] Todo o ser vivo é imperialista. Viver é colonizar (ibid. 133).

Entre utopias desmoronadas e mitos falimentares, os novos relatos do mito, se eles existirão, serão relativos a uma “crioulização” do mundo, em que, “eu posso mudar, me intercambiando com o Outro, sem me perder, portanto, nem me desnaturalizar” (Glissant 2005: 25). Frente ao binarismo da leitura dos mitos como significante e significado, dos discursos da e sobre a negritude e a assimilação, Glissant identifica uma terceira possibilidade que se abre a uma tradição “diversa”, incompleta, em discussão contínua, aproximativa, “na qual as etnias e as culturas coexistem sem efetivamente interpenetrar-se” (ibid. 50). O discurso de Glissant do Tout-Monde (1997) busca as orientações básicas para sistematizar uma cultura realmente crioula, que supere o conceito de “nacional” – talvez liminar como aquela caribenha ou martinicana – a favor de uma mudança de percurso, mesmo se esse fenômeno pode não resultar nem uniforme, nem harmonioso. É justamente esse ‘instinto de crioulização’ que fornece ao romance de Agualusa uma leitura renovada de sujeitos-mitos, como são no universo literário Eça de Queiros e seu Fradique Mendes.

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B IAGIO D’A NGELO Nação crioula submete (esses personagens) a novos processos de restauração da memória e apresenta-os numa coreografia ousada, que aposta no traçado de rotas ressignificadoras das viagens dos aventureiros que optaram pelo risco para dar sentido à existência (Fonseca 2001: 264).

Esse ‘instinto de crioulização’ participa do instinto de conhecimento alheio, de comunitarismo, de confraternização das letras e das línguas. Nação crioula é uma obra que reúne mitos, viagens, reescritas da história, o local e o universal, o regional e o continental – todos eles, motivos de busca da alteridade e da compreensão das vivências do eu. Agualusa invoca uma escrita que funcione como depósito de pensamentos e de memórias coletivas, de línguas em desuso e outras mais vibrantes, um arquivo em que se rediscute a tradição como valor iniludível de conhecimento e produção de outro conhecimento, atualizado. Nessa mobilidade que a tradição defende como única possibilidade para os trânsitos epistemológicos, a memória de um povo se torna uma memória ‘impessoal’, no sentido de que corresponde a qualquer sujeito que vive a experiência da memória: a memória de Angola (mas também a de Portugal e do Brasil) é a memória de Agualusa e de Eça de Queiros. Os escritores são figurações da velhice, depositários da consciência da memória por meio da escrita. Eles representam, em um espaço que se quer nômade, a memória de todos aqueles povos que ainda não são relatados na escrita ambígua e duradoura da ficção. Essa memória fala todas as línguas das comunidades, imaginadas e reais, e recompõe os fragmentos que, caso contrário, ficariam estragados, em falares e escritos à busca de um sentido, isto é, de uma experiência vivida que os redima: apesar de ser eciano e machadiano – pois acha que fazer um filho é “um acto arrogante e temerário” (Agualusa 1998: 126) –, o Fradique Mendes de Agualusa deseja voltar “a sentir a viva presença da Vida” (ibid. 44). *** Mia Couto e Luandino Vieira, cada um a partir do próprio lugar de enunciação e escrita (moçambicano, o primeiro, e angolano, o segundo), têm sido reconhecidos como os paradigmas culturais de uma estética plurilíngue e translingual no universo lusófono. Para ambos o escritor deve relatar estórias, como sugeria o modelo de Guimarães Rosa. Também não faltam surpreendentes proximidades biográficas entre, por exemplo, o autor

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de Grande sertão: veredas e Mia Couto: ambos científicos (médico um, biólogo o outro), eles, curiosos viajantes e etnógrafos, se encarregam de reinventar estórias ouvidas nas ruas dos vilarejos ou nos mercados, onde, conforme um gosto performático, ainda público, como nos espetáculos de praça da Idade Média, importa não apenas a trama, mas a modalidade com a qual a estória é contada: um provérbio ou um ditado podem ser relatados para fins didáticos; uma parábola pode servir de alegoria; o imaginário mítico pode, saindo das trilhas duma literatura estagnada e sem brilho, reconstituir um novo fantástico. Na incerteza de ver espíritos ou ouvir os pangolins profetizar, esse fantástico, feito de sonoridades e línguas arcaicas e profundamente misteriosas, define as relações de real e fictício no imaginário de ambos os escritores. Apresentando-se como “estratégia de enfrentamento do real”, trata-se de uma narrativa que prefere o insólito, o absurdo (ou o que parece tal): Assim, pela recorrência a um determinado léxico que aponta para o sonho, o sono, o ar, a água, esgarçam-se as fronteiras do dito e do estatuído e a atmosfera da inventividade alarga as margens da imaginação (Mata 2003: 68).

As imagens fantásticas e mágicas aproximam, de forma extraordinária, a África de língua portuguesa da literatura latino-americana do século XX, na qual Guimarães Rosa, novamente, e Cortázar resultam ser os ‘ancestrais’ dessa efabulação. Nesse “obsessivo processo de recriação verbal e cultural” (Pires Laranjeira 2001: 200), diferentes discursos interferem para reformular e nomear um sertão africano, revelador de cosmogonias inimagináveis e de proximidades à desconstrução linguística proposta por Rosa: A criação de uma linguagem literária tocada pela oralidade, a combinação da sintaxe circunloquial com a tendência para a elisão e o sintetismo, a propensão luxuriante do neologismo, da aglutinação, da prefixação e outros modos de retrabalhar o léxico, num processo de escrita que simula a ingenuidade e a singeleza, mas ostenta as marcas do impiedoso buril. Trata-se de um estilo que repõe a graça e o carinho da palavra que procura desvelar o mundo encoberto da essencialidade cósmica, manifestando compreensão e ternura pelos seres e coisas fustigados pelos ventos da história. A enumeração dos resultados da criatividade lexical seria impensável, mas convém fornecer alguns exemplos, para dela se poder aquilatar: homenzarrou, depressou-se, fantasiática, carinhenta, esteirados, rebulir, estremungado, tropousar, manifestivo, estremexendo, nuventanias, febrilhante, deslembrara, sozinhidão, per-

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B IAGIO D’A NGELO turbabado, gesticalada, irmãodade, exuberrante, inutensílio, tintintilar, entrequando, esmãozinhado, exactamesmo, convidançante, mancha-prazeres, embriagordo, veementindo, atordoído, titupiante, inaposento. administraidor, etc. A sintaxe apresenta-se também como urna construção em moldes inusuais, entre a oralidade e a pura invenção, em que o contexto comunicativo, estético, permite partilhar a mensagem de ruptura: “todos partiram, um após nenhum”; “o colar que foste dada”; “nem isto guerra nenhuma não é”; “parece está aqui enquanto nem”; “o lugarzinho no enquanto” (Pires Laranjeira 2001: 200-201).

Desse longo trecho resulta ainda mais evidente a influência, decisiva e abertamente declarada, da poética rosiana: a linguagem se renova e se recria por meio de neologismos e deformações sintáticas que provém da marca da oralidade e funcionam como redescobertas da língua originária, perdida no desgasto quotidiano e no sentido etimológico. É uma revitalização que decorre das inter-relações com os mitos e as lendas do povo africano, como o mito do wamulambo em A varanda de frangipani. Como em Guimarães Rosa, para Mia Couto e Luandino Vieira, a língua não representa apenas um processo de renovação estetizante, mas coincide com a necessidade de dar espaço e voz a realidades marginais, silenciadas anteriormente, que procuram um reconhecimento central. Luandino Vieira declara a fulguração intelectual que ele flagrou em Sagarana: Eu já sentia que era necessário aproveitar literariamente o instrumento falado dos personagens, que eram aqueles que eu conhecia, que me interessavam, que reflectiam – no meu ponto de vista – os verdadeiros personagens a pôr na literatura angolana. Eu só não tinha ainda encontrado era o caminho. [ . . . ] Eu só não tinha percebido ainda, e foi isso que João Guimarães Rosa me ensinou, é que um escritor tem a liberdade de criar uma linguagem que não seja a que os seus personagens utilizam: um homólogo desses personagens, dessa linguagem deles (Vieira, apud Laban 1980: 27).

Assim, memória, signos culturais, contextos políticos, modelos míticos e ancestrais, são desvendados em uma dupla contextura, tecida pela subversão das palavras e pela narratividade que inquietamente recompõe (e interroga) a História por meio de estórias. Para Mia Couto e Luandino Vieira, essa subversão passa e se reflete no poder que a palavra possui, um “poder de palavra” que “é sempre uma palavra de poder” (Hansen 2000: 62). Eles emaranham, num processo de ressemantização da linguagem e de ressignificação do fazer literário, o cotidiano e o insólito, ou melhor, o cotidiano vivenciado naquilo que resultaria

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insólito aos padrões da lógica cartesiana ocidental. Os cânones da racionalidade se subvertem e a escrita deixa espaço a um imaginário fantástico que é uma alegoria – estética e ideológica – da crítica da realidade e de suas ambiguidades e erros históricos. Longe de ser um fantástico ingênuo ou meramente fabulístico, a proposta narrativa desses autores transgride a linearidade dos eventos da História e contamina o real de auras e crenças mítico-supersticiosas que revelam uma realidade mais rica, mais significativa e provocante, em definitiva, uma ‘mais realidade’. Curioso, portanto, resulta a escolha dos autores africanos em misturar as práticas da oralidade (do povo, da comunidade) com o discurso da ideologia (do artista, de sua leitura do mundo) e, ao mesmo tempo, a orientação privilegiada pela forma do provérbio, ruína (no sentido benjaminiano) dos processos da oralidade e da narratividade primigênia. Em algumas páginas penetrantes sobre Tutameia, autêntico compêndio de provérbios e ditos aforismáticos, Luiz Costa Lima bem ilumina sobre a razão da necessidade e da prioridade dessa forma simples fragmentada. O provérbio é índice de um tempo, abolido com as condições que favoreceram o advento do romance. [ . . . ] O provérbio encarna a parte duma cosmovisão, que, entretanto, não saberíamos reconstituir, pois, ao contrário do que sucede com a narração mítica, sua propagação nos impede de conhecer o contexto primitivo de que derivou (Lima 1974: 16).

Ainda dentro da recepção do universo rosiano, a proposta de Mia Couto e de Luandino tenta reconstruir, por meio da escrita, a fala de uma comunidade, da qual se incumbe o narrador, figura-ponte, profeta e intérprete ideal, e, sobretudo, xamã das palavras e das poéticas recônditas que precisam ser divulgadas e mantidas na marca permanente da escrita. A tradição se perpetua graças à preferência pela brevidade do provérbio que poetiza o real, afirma as histórias singulares e comunitárias e representa aquele “elo que reúne o contingente, o destino individual e o território das perguntas irrespondíveis” (Lima 1974: 20). O provérbio, se configurando, portanto, como ligação entre o passado quase atemporal e um presente histórico, cuja arquitetura realiza-se por meio da ficção literária, se estabelece como vínculo de continuidade com o futuro, oscilando entre utopias e desesperos: “e os traços da oralidade presentes [ . . . ] funcionam, não como cacos de um passado irremediavelmente

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perdido, mas como sementes de um porvir que se constrói no presente” (Marquezini 2006: 60). “Minha estória. Se é bonita, se é feia, vocês é que sabem. Eu só juro que não falei mentira e estes casos se passaram nesta nossa terra de Luanda”. É a conclusão de Luuanda. O juízo estético que Luandino Vieira exige do leitor-ouvidor das três estórias combina-se com a concepção utópica de a literatura marcar as etapas de uma nova consciência nacional e histórica, e de se incluir num anseio universal de pedido por um espaço reconhecido. Mais uma vez, como em Guimarães Rosa, fazer uso da tradição significa em Luandino uma releitura do contexto histórico e das possibilidades, ainda inexploradas, da linguagem. Vavó Xixi e seu neto Zeca Santos, a primeira estória do livro, é um exemplo maravilhoso, cujos personagens, fracassados e desesperados, acham conforto em lágrimas libertadoras. Chorando, Zeca recobra sua verdadeira força existencial e reformula o orgulho africano de auto-suficiência. Como pode-se ler nas últimas páginas, a atitude de Zeca abre espaço à metáfora de uma purificação que inunda todo o relato: Com um peso grande a agarrar-lhe o coração, uma tristeza que enchia todo o corpo e esses barulhos da vida lá fora faziam mais grande, Zeca voltou dentro e dobrou as calças muito bem, para aguentar os vincos. Depois, nada mais que ele podia fazer já, encostou a cabeça no ombro baixo de vavó Xíxi Hengele e desatou a chorar um choro de grandes soluços parecia era monandengue, a chorar lágrimas compridas e quentes que começaram a correr nos riscos teimosos as fomes já tinham posto na cara dele, de criança ainda (Vieira 2006: 43).

A solidão de Zeca Santos é vencida pela solidariedade de três africanos na prisão – Xico Futa, Lomelino dos Reis e Garrido Fernandes, na narrativa central, Estória do ladrão e do papagaio. O surgimento da amizade entre eles representa uma espécie de comunhão mítica, na qual reafirma-se que, para viver dignamente, é indispensável ter consciência da “raiz” (palavra que ocorre repetidamente), isto é do primum mobile que move os desejos e esperanças dos sujeitos. Na parábola didático-moralista do cajueiro, Xico Futa declara com imagens primordiais: O fio da vida não foi partido. Mais ainda: se querem outra vez voltar no fundo da terra pelo caminho da raiz, na vossa cabeça vai aparecer a castanha antiga, mãe escondida desse pau de cajus que derrubaram mas filha enterrada doutro

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pau. Nessa hora o trabalho tem de ser o mesmo: derrubar outro cajueiro e outro e outro . . . É assim o fio da vida. Mas as pessoas que lhe vivem não podem ainda fugir sempre para trás, derrubando os cajueiros todos; nem correr sempre muito já na frente, fazendo nascer mais paus de cajus. É preciso dizer um princípio que se escolhe: costuma se começar, para ser mais fácil, na raiz dos paus, na raiz das coisas, na raiz dos casos, das conversas (Vieira 2006: 60-61).

A identidade se constrói, parece afirmar Luandino Vieira, reconhecendo a própria tradição e transmitindo os valores que dela derivam, assegurando assim a força primigênia da raiz, o quid último que funda o pensamento e o imaginário das pessoas numa mítica conscientização da realidade. A disputa pela posse de um ovo é o núcleo temático da última narrativa de Luuanda: Estória da galinha e do ovo. Por meio da proposição de intensos diálogos, de sabor híbrido, entre um realismo de marca quase cinematográfico e a atmosfera proverbial e alegórica da reivindicação do ovo, Luandino Vieira propõe uma solução impossível, com a entrada em cena de duas crianças, Xico e Beto (outra marca rosiana na escrita do narrador angolano) que outorgam esperança e um final feliz à estória, e por extensão, o poderiam oferecer também para a terra de Angola. O final do relato é simbolicamente anunciador de boas notícias e da renovação da vida: De ovo na mão, Bina sorria. O vento veio devagar e, cheio de cuidados e amizade, soprou-lhe o vestido gasto contra o corpo novo. Mergulhando no mar, o sol punha pequenas escamas vermelhas lá embaixo nas ondas mansas da Baía. Diante de toda a gente e nos olhos admirados e monandengues de miúdo Xico, a barriga redonda e rija de nga Bina, debaixo do vestido, parecia era um ovo grande, grande . . . (Vieira 2006: 132).

Luandino Vieira marca, de maneira enérgica, também a escrita de Mia Couto, como ele mesmo declara numa entrevista: O primeiro contato que eu tenho com alguém que escreve um português que é arrevesado, que está misturado com a terra [ . . . ]. Foi o primeiro sinal da autorização de como eu queria fazer. Eu sabia que eu queria fazer isso, mas eu precisava de uma credencial do mais velho que disse ‘esse caminho é abençoado’ (Felinto, website).

***

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É a recriação de uma linguagem “abensonhada” que exemplifica a grandeza literária de Mia Couto, assim como para Luandino Vieira e outros autores lusófonos. Sempre na milagrosa linha rosiana de uma re-imaginação estético-linguística da realidade, Mia Couto adota a “brincriação” (Couto 2007: 10) como sustento e fundamento da própria poética. Seu jogo narrativo se afirma, particularmente, na reflexão metaliterária e na paródia como escamotage preferido para o desvendamento da estreiteza e da violência do pensamento colonial e para a rescrita ficcional de um universo onírico e fabular. A varanda de frangipani, por exemplo, se apresenta, como uma paródia do romance policial; as entrevistas tecem a teia de O último vôo do flamingo; Terra sonâmbula cria seu enredo a partir de cartas ou diários encontrados em um autocarro militar; O outro pé da sereia rescreve a história de Moçambique em um entrelaçamento temporal que reinventa mapas geográficos e políticos. Em A varanda de frangipani, a paródia do gênero policial não é o único recurso que Mia Couto utiliza; o eu narrador, Ermelindo Mucanga, se apresenta como “póstumo”, como o contador de uma história após a morte, como um novo irônico Brás Cubas. O fantasma de Ermelindo entra no corpo do inspetor Izidine, porque ele vai logo morrer e o xipoco (o espectro) poderá reassumir o lugar que lhe pertence, o reino dos mortos. A dupla fantasma-inspetor registra os fatos, os diálogos, os motivos que levaram todos (pelo menos, intencionalmente) a matar o cruel mulato, diretor de um asilo. Mortos e velhos, como em uma ciranda pirandeliana, se confundem, se perdem nos meandros da memória e da História, e trocam as identidades. O fantasma registra, no papel de inspetor, uma “estória” que pretende salvar o povo moçambicano do esquecimento das tradições. Se o português que os velhos falam já não é mais a língua portuguesa, mas um idioma outro, recriado, reformulado por meio de símbolos e mitos da tradição africana, (“me educaram em língua que não me era materna”, reconhece o xipoco), então o inspetor fantasma alegoriza o papel do escritor, que, dos ossos e das aberrações mortíferas, recupera um discurso florescente em que ética e ideologia se mesclam com o perfume lírico da árvore do frangipani, dominador das páginas do xipoco e de Mia Couto. A alegoria que preenche a visão poética do narrador moçambicano se faz ainda mais evidente, na citação de abertura do texto coutiano, ao registrar as palavras de Eduardo Lourenço, conforme o qual o Moçambique é uma gigantesca varanda sobre

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o Índico. Contudo, trata-se de uma varanda que é também “terra sonâmbula”, espaço ambíguo e misterioso, e, ao mesmo tempo, beco desesperado e obscuro. Uma varanda, herdeira do sertão rosiano, linguísticamente, e do sertão cabralino, eticamente. A narrativa coutiana se preocupa em reconstruir as ruínas de uma identidade moçambicana ainda disforme, desfigurada: Terra sonâmbula (1992) representa um dos pontos mais altos da estética do autor moçambicano. Para Mia Couto o problema da identidade nacional e, portanto, do sujeito que habita nela, ultrapassa a região do mito. Fazendo referência a Macunaíma, a obra-prima de Mário de Andrade, Mia Couto vislumbra nela não tanto “os mitos fundadores do Brasil”, quanto uma nação “feita de fantasmas e personagens que procuravam com urgência o teto de uma entidade maior que eles próprios” (Couto 2007: 1). De fato, reduzir a problemática da busca da identidade a uma noção puramente folclórica constitui um perigo de leitura e interpretação da alteridade. Em uma entrevista recente, Mia Couto discute o conceito de africanidade ao qual estamos habituados: mais além de uma folclorização da identidade, ocupar-se de literatura africana significa, sobretudo, revalorizar certas temáticas antropológicas, esquecidas no frenesi do bem-estar globalizado, tratar problemas éticos, explorar renovadas tendências linguísticas. Em lugar de uma literatura panfletária e ideológica, Mia Couto responde que é necessário “fazer” literatura. No trilho de Guimarães Rosa, ele reafirma a superioridade da ideia da poesia, não reduzível a um gênero literário, nem a um processo de criação ou inspiração. Se a dicotomia e o binarismo da cultura cartesiana têm que ser rejeitados, é porque Há na poesia um saber para outras coisas essenciais que ficam à margem de uma sabedoria muito masculinizada e funcional que resulta das aplicações dos chamados métodos científicos. A apropriação dessa realidade intangível, dessa verdade que não cabe na frase feita, é esse o terreno da poesia (Couto 2007: 5).

Nesse sentido, a amizade entre o velho Tuahir e o miúdo Muidinga, “caminheiros [. . . ] murchos e desesperançados, na “paisagem mestiça” de Terra sonâmbula, representa um dos vértices de poesia alcançado por Mia Couto. “O que faz andar a estrada é o sonho”, declara a sabedoria de Tuahir (Couto 2007: 5). É uma estrada sozinha, pronta a desflorir. Porém, na descoberta do diário de Kindzu, é a literatura que manifesta seu poder sedutor, seu encanto

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de as palavras permanecerem graves, lapidárias, esculpidas na eternidade. Os episódios de Junhito, o filho caçula metamorfoseado em galinha, até esquecer a linguagem dos homens, e de Farida, castigada desde a nascença por ser gêmea e o sacrifício da mãe, não constituem apenas a retomada folclórica ou antropológica de mitos e tabus de uma sociedade muito distante das hegemônicas, mas perturbam o leitor pela capacidade de o escritor, novo Sherazade, descobrir, por trás do mito, os desejos de liberdade e a angústia da solidão, o prazer do interdito e a possibilidade em criar soluções, ou seja, relatar, pelo menos, ficções. Há um episódio paradigmático no começo de Terra sonâmbula. Kindzu se liga de amizade com um indiano, Surendra Valá, que será obrigado a se exilar por causa de preconceitos raciais. Surendra convida o menino moçambicano a refletir sobre o fato deles serem “não indianos mas índicos”: “nós, os da costa, éramos habitantes não de um continente mas de um oceano. Eu e Surendra partilhávamos a mesma pátria: o Índico” (Couto 2007: 25). A pátria não é reduzível a quatro fronteiras (“eu não tenho pátria: tenho mátria / eu quero frátria”, canta Caetano Veloso [Língua, 1984]). Pátria é, conforme as palavras de Kindzu, o espaço onde se desenrolam os fios comuns das histórias culturais individuais: “Com o indiano minha alma arriscava se mulatar, em mestiçagem de baixa qualidade [ . . . ] eu me deixava misturar nos sentimentos de Surendra, aprendiz de um novo coração” (ibid. 25). Esse novo conceito de mestiçagem, que mistura, sem medo o coração com a contemplação do mar e com o flutuar constante das fronteiras, até uma região ilimitada, sem perímetros, “horizontal” (onde o olhar se perde no horizonte) constitui a possibilidade de não se conceber sem laços, sem raízes, mas de se pensar dentro de uma experiência de comunhão, de fraternidade real que deveria ser o rosto do verdadeiro multiculturalismo. Nesse sentido, o feiticeiro revela que “o problema não é o lugar, mas o caminho” (ibid. 31). O caminho exalta os processos de vitalidade, de luta contra a morte, os delírios, as doenças: “ele falava de uma viagem cujo único destino era o desejo de partir novamente” (ibid. 31). E se a viagem mata “as certezas da infância” (ibid. 33), outras viagens podem se reabrir a uma “palavra azul” (ibid. 41) que faça estremecer e regressar a um prantochão de criança. Em conclusão, seria talvez necessário observar que a componente ameríndia, ausente na constituição de uma identidade móvel, tricontinental e crioula entre Brasil, África e Portugal, poderia justamente reconfigurar-se

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no plano transcultural e transcontinental com a componente ‘índica’ proposta pela narrativa de Mia Couto. Com efeito, Mia Couto desconstrói os clichês da africanidade, em particular, a realidade do passado colonial e de seus vestígios, concentrando-se nos dinamismos que fazem da África o continente ainda mais inexplorado. Os estereótipos da cultura africana lusófona indicam o caminho também para a prática da literatura comparada. O ‘lugar comum’ não sempre possui, nas trocas culturais que as imagens culturais promovem, uma conotação exclusivamente negativa. Ele procede, na realidade, como faca de dois gumes: por um lado, o ‘lugar comum’ se reduz a globalizar e a despersonalizar, des-identificar materiais nacionais, cuja diversidade perde-se num aglomerado indistinto de banalidades. Contudo, ele funciona como sistêmico aparato de diferença e originalidade, até necessário, porque ele valida a abertura de fronteiras e a dinâmica do conhecimento ético, em prol de imbricações babélicas produtivas e transculturais.

Referências bibliográficas Agualusa, José Eduardo: Nação crioula. Rio de Janeiro: Gryphus 1998. Bhabha, Homi K.: “Postcolonial criticism.” In: Greenblatt, Stephen & Giles Gunn (eds.): Redrawing the Boundaries: The Transformation of English and American Literary Studies. New York: MLA 1992. 437. Brasil, Ubiratan: “Histórias com alma.” Entrevista a Mia Couto. Estado de São Paulo. Caderno 2, sáb. 16-6-07, ano XXI, N. 7, p. 1-5. Couto, Mia: Terra sonâmbula. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras 2007. — : A varanda de frangipani. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras 2007. Felinto, Marilene: “Mia Couto e o exercício da humildade”. In: http://www.ma cua.org/miacouto/MiaCoutoexerciciodahumildade.htm (consultado em 21 de dezembro de 2015). Fonseca, Maria Nazareth: “Fradique Mendes nas rotas do Atlântico Negro”. In: Marli Fantini Scarpelli & Paulo Motta Oliveira (eds.): Os centenários: Eça, Freyre e Nobre. Belo Horizonte: FALE/UFMG 2001. 253-264. Glissant, Edouard: La cohée du Lamentin. Paris: Gallimard 2005. — : Traité du Tout-Monde. Paris: Gallimard 1997. Hansen, João Adolfo: o O: a ficção da literatura em Grande Sertão: veredas. São Paulo: Hedra 2000. Laban, Michel et alii: Luandino. José Luandino Vieira e a sua obra. Lisboa: Edições 70, 1980.

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Lima, Isabel Pires de: “Pontes queirosianas: Angola, Brasil, Portugal.” In: Abdala Junior, Benjamin: Ecos do Brasil. Eça de Queiros. Leituras brasileiras e portuguesas. São Paulo: Senac 2000. 69-88. Lima, Luiz Costa: “Mito e provérbio em Guimarães Rosa.” In: Colóquio-Letras. Lisboa, n. 17 (jan. 1974). Marquezini, Fabiana Carelli: “Ruínas de mitos, sementes de sonhos. Ditos e provérbios em Guimarães Rosa e Luandino Vieira.” In: Via Atlântica (Universidade de São Paulo), n. 9 (2006), p. 45-61. Mata, Inocência: “A condição pós-colonial das literaturas africanas de língua portuguesa.” In: Vaz Leão, Ângela (ed.): Contatos e ressonâncias: Literaturas africanas de língua portuguesa. Belo Horizonte: Editora Pucminas 2003. 4372. Motta Oliveira, Paulo: “Entre continentes e culturas: as travessias de Fradique Mendes.” In: Abdala Júnior, Benjamin & Marli Fantini Scarpelli (eds.): Portos flutuantes: trânsitos ibero-afro-americanos. São Paulo: Ateliê 2004. 91-104. Pires Laranjeira, José Luis: “Mia Couto e as literaturas de língua portuguesa.” In: Revista de Filología Románica. Anejo II (2001), p. 185-205. Salgado, Maria Teresa: “José Eduardo Agualusa – Uma ponte entre Angola e o Mundo.” In: Sepúlveda, Maria do Carmo & Maria Teresa Salgado (eds.): África & Brasil. Letras em laços. Rio de Janeiro: Atlântica 2000. 175-195. Vieira, Luandino: Luuanda. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras 2006. Zamparoni, Valdemir: “Resenha de Nação crioula, de José Eduardo Agualusa”. In: Afro-Ásia, 21-22. (1998-1999), p. 376-382.

Mapping Multilinguality in Medieval Indian Literary Culture1 T. S. Satyanath University of Delhi, India

I Introduction Multilingualism is diversity in the use of language. One way of understanding diversity is to measure it in terms of some quantifiable criteria. In environmental and demographic studies, Diversity Index is a mode of quantitative measurement that reflects how many different types there are in a dataset, and simultaneously takes into account how evenly the basic entities are distributed among those types. Coming to the area of language, a Linguistic Diversity Index suggests the number of speakers of each language in proportion to the total population within a geographical area2 . The UNESCO rankings of linguistic diversity in 2009 locates Papua New Guinea with an index of 0.999 as the most diverse country and Haiti with an index of 0.000 as the least diverse countryUNESCO3 . It is interesting to note that countries with high linguistic diversity index come from Africa and the Asia-Pacific regions. India, that has demonstrated a long history of multilingualism, ranks in the 9th position in this list with a linguistic diversity 1

2 3

An earlier version of this paper was presented at the workshop of ICLA Research Committee on Mapping Multilingualism in World Literature on the theme ‘Figures of Transnational Multilingualism’ held as a part of XIII CLAI Biennial International Conference at Jadavpur University, Kolkata during January 14-16, 2013. The author wishes to acknowledge the encouragement and constructive criticism of the two organizers of the workshop, Professor Alfons Knauth and Professor Subha Chakraborty Dasgupta. Also known as Greenberg’s Linguistic Diversity Index (Greenberg 1965). World Report – Investing in Cultural Diversity and Intercultural Dialogue (2009); http: //unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0018/001852/185202E.pdf.

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index of 0.930. However, this index is in terms of spoken languages and is synchronic in nature, and thus may not be of much relevance for multilingualism in medieval Indian literary culture that is the focus of this paper4 . Mapping literary multilingualism in medieval Indian literary culture has both synchronic and diachronic dimensions5 . To start with, the paper attempts to understand the nature of literary multilinguality in medieval India in inscriptional and textual writing cultures. Secondly, it problematizes the nature of relationship between sectarian traditions and literary cultures on the one hand, and the movement of sectarian traditions leading to multilingualism and hybridity in literary cultures on the other. Thirdly, it understands the nature of texts and their representational formats of such multilingual literary cultures in which the scripto-centric (writing), phonocentric (orality) and body-centric (performative) formats are used beyond the region of their scripto-centric isoglosses. Fourthly, the paper discusses the significance of mapping such diachronic multilingual literary cultures in constructing a model to understand multilingual writing cultures. Taking evidences from medieval Indian literary culture, in particular the Buddhist, Jaina and Bhakti for a diachronic mapping, the paper argues that it is in such a composite and pluralistic epistemology of sectarian and non-sectarian literary cultures located in their temporal, spatial and social milieus on the one hand, and in a comparative Indian perspective on the other that we need to understand multilingual literary cultures of India. Two fundamental assumptions are necessary to the understanding and mapping of multilingualism in medieval Indian writing culture. 1. Multilingualism subsumes a movement (‘journey’), and is a consequence of movement of ideas, religions/sects and people. 2. Multilingualism also subsumes a primary phono-centric multilingualism, which eventually results in a scripto-centric multilingualism. In addition, there could also be body-centric representations that may or may not use phono-centricity. Such body-centric representations tend to be transmedial in nature but might also possess multilingualism. 4 5

For a similar, but a more recent perspective see, Harmon and Loh (2010). The observations in this paper, in general, apply to medieval Indian literary culture though information for detailed discussions comes from Kannada literary culture. That other vernacular literary cultures follow more or less a similar trajectory is evident from the timeline given in Figure 1.

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These assumptions actually imply a variety of multilingualism at textual, oral, textual-oral, and oral-performative levels. Furthermore, there is also scope for their hybridity. The movement of Buddhism and Jainism from their place of origin, in particular to the regions of Western and Southern India, necessitated the emergence of the tradition of translation and interpretation from Pali/Prakrit into local languages, probably Dravidian, in order to facilitate a newly emerging community of Buddhists and Jains. This point could as well be the beginning of multilingualism in the history of South India. Historians have pointed out that Buddhism spread to the North Western frontier region to start with and subsequently into Western and Southern India by about 100 CE. South India being home for speakers of Dravidian languages, a need must have been felt to translate and interpret the sectarian texts into local languages. Thus, the crossing of borders or journey of Buddhism eventually resulted in a new linguistic situation that appears to have prompted the emergence of the tradition of translation and interpretation on the one hand, and multilinguality of texts and rituals on the other. The history of Jainism led to similar traditions as well. Bhakti is deeply entrenched in sacred geography and pilgrimage, and multilinguality became an integral part of Bhakti religions of India6 . Thus the history of religious faiths (such as Buddhism, Jainism, Bhakti, and Islam) and their movements across time and space become an interesting study of cultural transactions on the one hand, and a study of the diffusion of religious texts through tellings and renderings, interpretations and commentaries on the other, resulting in multilinguality at textual, oral and performative levels7 . By taking a closer look at the processes that operated behind the diffusion of sectarian texts and their translations, we can map the processes that constituted the interpretation, commentary and translation traditions within India and beyond, and search for models of multilingualism within an Asian context. In recent years, scholars have attempted to map the precolonial linguistic correspondences and translation practices and thereby to map multilingualism in medieval Indian literary culture. However, a majority of them postulate a translation process from Sanskrit (cosmopolitan) to vernaculars on the one hand, and a free rendering tradition on the other 6

7

A classic case of movement of Bhakti poems could be seen in the case of Guru Granth Sahib, the central religious scripture of Sikhism, which has as many as 6000 compositions from 35 Bhakti poets from the east, west and central regions of India. For a detailed discussion see Satyanath 2013.

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(Kaviraj 1990, Pattanaik 2002, Mukherjee 1981). Such studies have essentially come from the belt of Modern Indo-Aryan languages such as Bengali and Oriya, which have been understood as monolingual literary cultures emerging during the Bhakti period, roughly around fourteenth century CE. Secondly, as the printed texts constituted the basis for canon formation in these languages, many texts, which were multilingual in their manuscript format, were erroneously considered as monolingual texts. As the purpose of textual criticism was to reconstruct the ‘original’ text, the commentaries and interpretations were excluded from the printed versions, thereby reducing or even eliminating their multilinguality. It is not unusual in a Kannada Jaina epic in its manuscript format to contain Prakrit and Sanskrit verses and Kannada commentary on them. Thirdly, though Buddhism and Jainism are integral to the geographic regions of many of these Modern Indo-Aryan literary cultures, their history has been conceived exclusively as starting from the Bhakti period. This has completely masked the pre-Bhakti Buddhist and Jaina phase and the role that they might have played in the formation of those vernacular literary cultures, which in all probability, included multilingualism in ritual and liturgical practices. A look at the timeline of Indian literatures (Figure 1) will amply demonstrate the multilinguality associated with Buddhism and Jainism during the pre-Bhakti period in vernacular literary cultures. In particular, literary cultures in Tamil, Kannada and Gujarati are noteworthy here. In the background of this discussion, Pali/Prakrit and Sanskrit texts need to be seen as part of the Buddhist and Jaina sectarian writing in an inherent multilingual context, in particular, viewed from the point of vernacular literary cultures. Consequently, the philosophical, grammatical and literary texts in vernacular languages, such as Tamil, Kannada etc., constitute an integral part of the sectarian canonical tradition (cf. Buddhism, Jainism) and thereby, become a continuation of Pali/Prakrit or Sanskrit canonical traditions. Hence when we are dealing with sectarian literary traditions in Indian literary cultures, we need to consider the relevant canon composed in different Indian languages as integral to them rather than dealing with them exclusively as texts of philosophy, grammar or poetics of a specific literary culture. Viewed in this perspective, canonical texts (grammar, poetics, metrics, lexicon etc.) in Sanskrit, Prakrit, Tamil, Tibetan, Kannada, Telugu and Malayalam not only constitute one system but also address common issues with regard to the writing of sectarian literatures within a multilingual

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Figure 1: Timeline of Indian literature (Key: I: Inscription, B: Buddhist, J: Jaina, *: Grammar, bh: Bhakti, P: Persian-Arabic, M: Modern)

framework. Furthermore, grammatical and literary texts as well as sectarian literature in Tamil and Kannada were written by Buddhist and Jains, who were also well versed in Sanskrit and Pali/Prakrit. It is this composite nature of the sectarian tradition that makes grammatical canon and sectarian literary cultures a common resource pool for sectarian communities, making use of different languages and thereby making multilingualism, translation, commentary and interpretation activities an integral part of the larger sectarian preoccupation. To understand the structural model of such a process, let us see how a typical grammatical or literary text existed in a manuscript format before the advent of textual criticism and printing. A striking similarity at the structural level could be noticed with regard to the organization of grammatical and literary traditions. Let us take a look at the structural organization of Shabdamanidarpanam (literally, a jewel mirror of words), a Kannada grammar by Keshiraja (14th century CE). To start with, it gives a sutra (aphorism, rule) in the verse form, which provides the lakshya (rule). Then appears the anvaya (verbatim meaning), followed by a tatparya (summary). Subsequently, the examples are given (lakshana). Lastly, the tikas, and vrittis (commentaries) are provided. The lakshanas, in the

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form of illustrations might come from texts that belong to other sects. Shabdamanidarpanam, though following the Jaina katantra school, provides illustrations from the Jaina, Virashaiva and Brahminical texts. Furthermore, the commentaries for the grammar composed in one sectarian tradition can have commentaries by scholars belonging to other sectarian traditions. Shabdamanidarpanam itself has two Virashaiva (a Shaivite sect from Karnataka) commentaries despite the fact that it belongs to the Jaina tradition. Again, the institution of maintenance and preservation of texts, the monastery, becomes instrumental in sustaining multilingualism. One of the manuscripts of Shabdamanidarpanam starts with a salutation to the Jina, saying shri-vitaragayanamaha, suggesting that the custodians were Jains; while another starts with a salutation shri-gurubasavalingayanamaha, suggesting that the custodians were Shaivites. Interestingly, Nannul, a Tamil grammar written in the Jaina tradition by Bavanandi (c.1300 CE) is credited with as many as twenty commentaries. The heterogeneity and transsectarian dimensions of grammatical and commentary tradition and thereby its centrality to medieval Indian literary culture becomes clearly evident here. In a specific sense, in the manuscripts of literary texts (kavya), the sucna-padya (synoptic verse) acts like the sutra (rule, aphorism) of the grammar and the entire sandhi (episode) becomes its commentary/interpretation. It may not be a rare instance to find Sanskrit or Prakrit verses with a commentary in Kannada. Several Bhakti poems in Kannada (vacana, c. 1150 CE) have Sanskrit verses within them and some mystical poems in Kannada (svaravacanas, c. 1800 CE) have Dakhani lines or verses within them. Apart from this, in the recitation tradition of Kannada literary texts (kavya-vacana/ gamaka-vacana), the poems are recited like an anvaya (verbatim meaning) of grammar and further interpreted and commented upon in contemporary prose for the benefit of the heterogeneous audience present in the sectarian gatherings. In the case of performance traditions, apart from music, which serves as an anvaya, costumes, proxemics, kinesics and dialogic dimensions further facilitate the interpretation of the text. By comparing the structural aspects of grammatical, recitation and performance traditions, we not only realize striking similarities between different grammatical and literary representational formats, but also the significance of the model of grammatical tradition as the central discursive

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form of medieval Indian literary culture. The interrelationships and structural similarities between the literary, recitation and performance traditions on the one hand, and the grammatical tradition on the other, along with the centrality of commentary and interpretation process within these traditions have been schematically represented in Figure 28 . In fact, the earliest Tamil grammar Tolkappiyam (c. 2nd century CE) and grammars in other Dravidian languages follow the schema suggested here.

Figure 2. Schematic diagram showing the structural similarities between recitation and performative traditions, and grammatical tradition in medieval Indian literature

In addition, the grammars themselves appear to have been modeled subsuming a multilingual context for the languages that were being considered for description. The Prakrit grammarians do not write separate grammars for different varieties of literary Prakrits. On the other hand, they conceive that different Prakrits are located in a continuum, starting from Sanskrit and followed by Maharashtri, Sauraseni, Magadhi and so on. Thus, in a Prakrit grammar Maharashtri is treated first, in sutras that account for the features 8

For a detailed discussion see Satyanath 2012a.

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of the language in relation to Sanskrit, as if Maharashtri words were a further transformation to which a Sanskrit root is subject after forming a Sanskrit word. (Trautmann 2006: 57). Prakritaprakasha, the earliest available Prakrit grammar, states at the end of the Maharashtri section, that the remaining portion must be learnt from Sanskrit grammar, sheshah samskritat (Acharya 1968: 47). Similarly, in Vararuci’s grammar, rules for Sauraseni are followed by the dictum, sheshah maharashtrivat (Acharya 1968: 47). This suggests the dependence of Prakrit grammars upon the Sanskrit grammar on the one hand, and on the other, various Prakrits being treated as a series, arranged according to their degrees of departure from Sanskrit (Trautmann 2006: 57). Vernacular grammars appear to extend this further, subsuming a tatsama (the one equal to that; samasamskrita) tadbhava (the one born out of it) deshya (local) relationship. Apart from the fact that Kannada is a Dravidian language, medieval Kannada grammarians appear to locate Sanskrit, Prakrit and Kannada in a continuum. Bhattakalanka’s Karnataka Shabdanushasanam (1604 CE), a Kannada grammar in Sanskrit, mentions all languages (including Kannada) as born out of Sanskrit, Prakrit, Apabhramsha and Paishachi. Srivijaya’s Kavirajamarga (840 CE), the earliest work in Kannada dealing with poetics and grammar, which has been hailed as a unique text by Pollock (2003), actually brings together ideas of Sanskrit poetics from Dandi, Bhamaha and the local (Kannada) poetics conventions from the prevailing oral traditions relevant for writing poetry in the tenth century Kannada literary culture. Such positions appear to reflect the nature of understanding multilinguality on the one hand, and on the other, the multilingual canon that was available to the Jaina writers during the tenth century. Although such positions imply a unidirectionality of movement of canonical ideas (from cosmopolitan to vernacular), the movement of ideas in the reverse direction could also be seen. In Jaina literary tradition, stories depicting the local holy men appear first in the vernacular, and subsequently move to Prakrit and Sanskrit (for example, kartikarisiya kathe in Vaddaradhane). In fact, within the Bhakti sectarian sphere of South India, Bhakti hagiographies were written first in vernacular literary cultures and then subsequently translated into other Dravidian languages and eventually into Sanskrit. Shekkilar’s Periya Puranam (c. 1150 CE) in Tamil provides the stories for Harihara’s hagiographies in Kannada (c. 1160 CE) and Palkuriki Somantha’s Basava Purana (c. 13th century CE) in Telugu. Interestingly, Bhima Kavi’s Basava Purana (1369 CE) in Kan-

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nada, which is a translation of Palkuruki Somanatha’s Telugu work and it is the vernacular versions that served as the source for the Sanskrit version of Shaiva hagiography. This type of sectarian multilinguality not only reverses the conventional hierarchy of multilingualism but also the postulated unidirectional relationship between the cosmopolitan Sanskrit/ Prakrit and the vernaculars.

II Inscriptional Multilingualism It is not conventional in the discussions on medieval Indian literary culture to incorporate multilinguality in inscriptions. Some of the reasons for this lacuna could be that the length of the inscription is significantly small compared to literary works and there is an absence of poetic language in a majority of inscriptions. However, a look at the timeline in Figure 1 suggests that in many Indian literary cultures inscriptions precede the emergence of literature by two to three centuries. The process of taming an available script for its writing system is a significant step as it paves the way for literary activity in that language. The introduction of script in South India and the subsequent emergence of literary traditions have interestingly striking similarities. Both in Prakrit and Tamil, the earliest literary works are anthologies, Gatha Sattasai and Sangam poetry, composed of poems in circulation orally during 200 BCE – 200 CE. Also, the inscriptional activity and literary activity are complementary in nature. It has been pointed out that about 80% of our understanding of pre-1000 CE India actually comes from inscriptions (Sircar 1939). Inscriptions have provided crucial information for the history of literature, like the Aihole inscription9 written by Ravikirti, which mentions the names of Sanskrit poets Kalidasa and Bharavi, and provides a definite lower limit for dating Kalidasa (Soloman 1998: 232). Sircar (1939) further notes that the inscriptional specimens of kavya are available right from the 1st century CE and precedes the date of the first available kavya. Several poets were also the composers of the inscriptional panegyrics. Trivikramabhatta, the composer of two of the Bagumra copper plate inscriptions10 of Rashtrakuta king Indraraja has been claimed to be the author of Nalachampu. The language of these two inscriptions has been pointed out to be in the ornate champu style (Settar 2014). 9 10

Epigraphia Carnatika 6, 1-12; 634-35 CE. Epigraphia Indica 9, 24-41; 915 CE.

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There are instances of verses from kavyas making their way into the inscriptions. While the famous opening verse from Kalidasa’s Raghuvamsha, ‘vagarthavivasampriktau. . . ’, is cited in the Huli inscription11 of Western Chalukya king Vikramaditya VI (Soloman 1998: 234), the mangala-shloka from Bana’s Harsha-charita (7th century CE), ‘namstunga shirashchumbi chandrachamara-charave. . . ’, could be seen in several hundred Kannada inscriptions forming a part of Sanskrit-Kannada bilingual inscriptions. A new inscriptional genre called the prashasti (panegyric) developed to eulogize the donor, either a king or a minister or the head of a religious monastery. Talagunda pillar stone inscription (5-6th century CE), written by Kavi Kubja not only refers to this eulogy as kavya (‘kubjassva kavyamidamashmatate-lilekha’) but also makes use of a variety of Sanskrit meters such as pushpitagra, indravajra, vasantatilaka, mandakranta, shardulavikridita and dandaka (Settar 2014: 29). Soloman (1998: 237) notes that inscriptional texts in Sanskrit thus have incorporated elements from epic poems, drama and devotional song (stotra). We can notice that these aspects will increase further as we move into the world of vernacular inscriptions. Furthermore, it also brings to the forefront the telescopic nature of oral and literary traditions. Specifically taking the case of Kannada, though inscriptional activity started around 450 CE, by about 9th century CE, not only did poets of eminence (cf. Ponna, c. 1000 CE) start composing inscriptions for their patron kings12 but also inscriptions started absorbing poetic conventions like the ornamentations (alankara), and the eighteen descriptions (ashtadasha-varnanam) that are considered essential for an epic poem (mahakavya). Ashokan inscriptions that are the earliest specimens of inscriptional writings in India clearly indicate the practice of an oral interpretation tradition that subsequently became the practice of interpretation of liturgy and rituals. These inscriptions mention that the local administration should take the initiative to interpret the message to the people in their local language. This suggests that the practice of textual-oral multilingualism is a fairly old practice and that the oral interpretation pre-dates the written one. Several Ashokan inscriptions are not only bi-scriptal but also bilingual in nature. It has been pointed out (Settar 2014) that in one of the Ashokan inscriptions 11 12

Epigraphia Indica 18, 186-9; c 1076-1126 CE. This includes panegyrics both in Kannada and Sanskrit.

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from the Karnataka region, a single line has been written in two scripts; while ‘capadenalikhite’ is in Brahmi script (right to left) ‘lipikarena’ is in Kharoshthi script (left to right). Similarly, the Ashokan inscription from Kandahar (3rd century BCE) is a bilingual inscription in which the text is written in Greek first and subsequently in Aramaic (Settar 2014). Although such bilinguality is rare, during the subsequent centuries, we notice an increasing use of hybridity of Prakrit, Sanskrit and vernacular languages (both Dravidian and Modern Indo-Aryan) in the inscriptions. Within the region of Karnataka, by about 4th century CE bilingual inscriptions appeared making use of Sanskrit and Kannada. In the case of Modern IndoAryan languages, Soloman (1998) notes that Marathi and Oriya provide the earliest inscriptions by about 11th century CE with a mixing of Sanskrit. He further notes that during the subsequent period, it is very common for the inscriptions in these languages to be bi- or multilingual with Sanskrit, Dravidian, and other Modern Indo-Aryan languages, and sometimes even Perso-Arabic. A look at the early Kadamba, Badami Chalukya and Ganga inscriptions from the Karnataka region reveals that though the inscriptions are in Sanskrit, the boundary specifications of land grants are in Kannada. During the subsequent period, post-sixth century CE, though the extent of Kannada in the inscription increases significantly, the invocatory and implicatory verses and sometimes the panegyrics still continue to be in Sanskrit. Settar (2014) points out that there are instances where the implicatory verse ‘svadattam-paradattamva. . . ’ has been translated with a verbatim meaning in Kannada13 . Sometimes, one could also find a rough translation of the Sanskrit implicatory verse in Kannada14 . Interestingly, Kannada meters start appearing first in the inscriptions before they make their entry into literary works. Thus inscriptional multilinguality is fairly consistent during the entire historical period of Kannada. Interestingly again, this is not exclusively a characteristic feature of Kannada inscriptions but could also be noticed in the case of Telugu and Oriya inscriptions. In fact, the format of inscriptions is fairly standardized by about 6th century CE to yield a bilingual model of writing inscriptions. Figure 3 gives a schematic diagram of such a model.

13 14

Karnatak University Epigraphical Series, 5 (2), Bhuvanagiri 592. Epigraphia Carnatika III, Nanjanagud 153 (ed. by B.L. Rice).

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Figure 3: Schematic diagram of inscriptional multilinguality

The credit of inscribing the first Sanskrit-Kannada bilingual inscription goes to the Kadamba rulers through Halmidi inscription and Tagare copper plate. The Chalukyas of Badami are the earliest prominent rulers of the Karnataka region. Though as many as 75 of their copper plates are in Sanskrit, only three of their stone inscriptions have Sanskrit – Kannada bilingualism and such a trend starts around the 6th century CE. While the Devagiri inscription of Vikramaditya has 18 (75%) lines in Sanskrit and 6 (25%) in Kannada, Badami inscription of Vijayaditya has 10 (66%) and 5 (33%) lines and the Adur inscription of Kirtivarma has 14 (70%) and 6 (30%) lines respectively. Inscriptional multilingualism is not just confined to Sanskrit and vernacular languages. An inscription of the Vaidumbas, the Veligalluy inscription of Ganda Trinetra has 8 (50%) lines in Telugu and 8 (50%) lines in Kannada (Settar 2014). During the next two centuries we can see a gradual quantitative increase in the use of Kannada in inscriptions and by the time the Rashtrakuta rule is at its peak and the first literary work in Kannada appears in their court, not only a major portion of the inscription is in Kannada but also the length of the inscription increases manifold. The significance of language use in inscriptions needs to be understood within the public space in which the languages were in use, the intent of the inscription, the status of the dynasty – imperial or feudatory – and the time.

III Literary Multilinguality The multilingual nature of a literary text and its tellings, renderings and commentaries that gets accommodated within the text itself provides the model of understanding literary multilinguality. A majority of the Jaina

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works in Kannada either contains Prakrit and Sanskrit verses as an integral part of the text, and their interpretation or commentary is in Kannada. We have already seen in Figure 2 the structural similarities and convergence among the grammatical, literary and performative traditions. Similar to the grammatical text, the literary text may also have anvaya, tatparya and commentaries for its verses. This is what we see in recitation traditions (gamaka-vacana) in temples and monasteries. It is at the interpretation and commentary level that we usually find multilinguality, but if a grammatical sutra or literary verse itself is in a different language, then multilinguality could be found at the anvaya, tatparya and commentary levels, thereby suggesting three levels of multilinguality. It is also interesting to note that the multilinguality is a consequence of what the Brahminical Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Bhakti religions had encountered among their followers during the medieval Kannada literary culture. A broad conceptualization of multidimensional interactions possible within different sectarian and linguistic public spheres in medieval Kannada literary culture and its consequences for literary multilinguality has been schematically shown in Figure 4. It is evident from the above discussion that literary multilinguality might vary not only from one literary culture to another but also from one sectarian public sphere to another. In order to take a closer look at the process and model of multilinguality, let us look at the Jaina literary culture. A majority of the Jaina works in Kannada literary culture either carries Prakrit and Sanskrit verses and their interpretation or commentary in Kannada, thereby making it a multilingual text. A look at Vaddaradhane (c. 920 CE) makes this clear. The nineteen stories in Vaddaradhane describe the details of the ritual deaths, viz. samadhi-marana and sallekhana that Jaina holy men observe to achieve salvation. Structurally, the stories in Vaddaradhane start with a Prakrit gahe (gatha) that tells the story line in a synoptic manner. In certain stories, gahes could also be found in the middle of the story and occasionally towards the end. In some stories, along with the gahes, Sanskrit slokas and Kannada verses could also be found in the narrative part of the story. The multilingual nature of the text and the renderings that take place from one language to another within the text itself provides the model of translation and cultural transaction. Such a model could be called vrata-katha model, as not only Vaddaradhane and several Jaina texts in Kannada use such a model but also its variants could be found in many In-

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Figure 4: Schematic representation of various possibilities of literary multilinguality in medieval Kannada literary culture

dian languages, both at popular (Bhakti) and folk levels15 . A typical vratakatha, as it is observed today, is very much a hybrid text like Vaddaradhane, consisting of sacred chanting in Sanskrit (mantra), ritual with instructions and commentaries, and at the end, a story narrated in vernacular prose for the benefit of the devotees/listeners. Thus, the Prakrit gahes in Vaddaradhane correspond to mantras, the commentaries in Sanskrit/ Prakrit/ Kannada correspond to ritualistic elements and the expanded prose narration of the gahes in Kannada corresponds to translations. In this connection, it is important to note that the observation of a vow is more like a ritual performance and ends with the recitation/ narration of the relevant story associated with the ritualistic vow. One of them, jivadayashtami-nompi ‘the vow of showing kindness (compassion) to animal life’ is accompanied by the recitation of the Kannada epic poem, Janna’s Yashodhara-carite (c. 1209 CE). One of the renderings of this text has been called jivadayashtaminompiya-kathe (‘The Story of the Vow of Kindness to Animal Life’), writ15

For a detailed discussion see Satyanath 2006.

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ten in the 16th century CE. Thus mantra in Sanskrit or Prakrit, ritual details and narration of the ritualistic story in vernacular become the characteristic structure of such literary cultures. The interconnections among different linguistic codes and their functions can be diagrammatically visualized as shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5. Multilinguality in vrata-katha model of literary text

IV Multilingualism in Oral Traditions It needs to be noted here that the vrata-katha model of a literary text could be found in popular and folk levels too. Mention has also been made that it is the interpretation of liturgy and ritual for non-Pali/ Prakrit communities that necessitated the emergence of translation activity eventually leading to multilinguality in the ritual space. Hence it would be interesting to take a look at multilinguality within the oral traditions. The Kinnari Jogi’s performative tradition of narrating the Mahabharata is an interesting case in this regard16 . Being a peripatetic community, its version of the Mahabharata is sensitive to their sectarian clientele scattered over Kannada, Marathi and Telugu speaking areas. The most intriguing aspect here is that wandering 16

Kinnari Jogis, a term used to refer to a specific group of itinerant singers from Karnataka, whose itinerary also includes clientele from Marathi and Telugu speaking regions, and who sing and enact the episodes from the Mahabharata and other stories to the accompaniment of the kinnari, a string instrument. For a detailed discussion of the Kinnari Jogi tradition see Satyanath 2012b.

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in such a vast geographical area, as a part of their itinerary, how is it that Kinnari Jogis cater to the needs of different linguistic/ sectarian communities? The Kinnari Jogis sing the same epic, an epic that extends for several hours, in Kannada and Telugu during their itinerary in the Kannada and Telugu speaking regions. Their mother tongue being Marathi and because Nasik, in Maharashtra, is one of the important pilgrimage centers for the Kinnari Jogis, they also used to sing the epic in Marathi. As their itinerary has excluded travelling to Nasik for the past two generations, the rendering of the epic in Marathi has gone out of use. However, it is important to notice that it is the itinerary through different linguistic regions and the languages of the clientele for whom they narrate the epic that has prompted the bewildering multilingualism and translation strategies of the Kinnari Jogi tradition. The nature of the itinerary, the sensibilities of the clientele and the multilingual repertoire of the Kinnari Jogi tradition have played a role in the construction of the epic narrative in terms of its sacred geography, the multilingual translation and the hybridity of the text. It is important to note that peripatetic communities like the Kinnari Jogis structure and image their sectarian representation systems to suit the production and consumption demands of the sectarian community on the one hand, and sectarian ideology on the other. In order to understand the dynamic interaction between textual- literary and oral-folk traditions, let us take a look at the chapbook version of the Arjuna Jogi episode that is available under the title Giliya-hadu mattu arjuna jogi-hadu (‘The song of the parrots and Arjuna Jogi’). The exact date of the text is not available but based on other evidences the text could be assigned to the later part of the nineteenth century. As a popular version, what makes the text interesting for multilinguality in oral tradition is that Arjuna, in the guise of a Kinnari Jogi, visits a Muslim neighbourhood during his wanderings. This happens towards the end of the third chapter and all of a sudden, the language of the narrative shifts from Kannada to Dakhani, a southern variety of Hindi17 . In fact, the text clearly mentions that ‘Jogideva entered the street of the Musalmans speaking the language of their own (deshabhashe, Dakhani)’ (Nanjundapandita 1992: 72). The narration continues to state that the maids (bandis) from the palace informed the wives (bubis) in 17

Similarly, the language of the text shifts to Telugu when Arjuna Jogi enters a merchant’s settlement.

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the zenana about the arrival of Jogi. The women clad in ghosha (covering of the head and face, burqa) stood behind the door and watched Jogi’s dance with awe and wonder. The following verses in Dakhani clearly provide the nature of the language and the context of such a hybrid text: Sultan bi jaldi ako jogi-ke haiso tamashe dekho Jogi moti-ka har galle-pe dalhe kar jokte nacteso dekho (3.225). ‘Oh, Sultan’s wife, come quickly and watch the tamasha (fun, a Marathi folk play) of Jogi; watch him dancing with a necklace of pearls around his neck.’ hat me kinnari bajhate jogi-ke pavu-me gungar pukarte bat karte-kartese atke haste tarkhatatte tamasha dekho (3.226). ‘The kinnari in his hand and the musical anklet on his feet are inviting us; look at the magic of the gestures of his hands as he sings.’ asman-me haiso chodko cand be dusre-duniya-ke ako asalke joti hakvem-haiso dekhyato hindu-musalman-me-naiso (3.227). ‘As if the moon in the sky has left his world and has come down to the earthly world; both the Hindus and Muslims watch Jogi dancing as if the original light itself has arrived on earth.’ (Nanjundapandita 1992: 72)

The dynamic and creative dimensions of multilingual public spheres of India is evident from the fact that this chapbook version of the Arjuna Jogi narrative subsequently entered a different folk narrative tradition and into an altogether different mode of representation and also a different sectarian public sphere. This is the Tamburi tradition, where professional narrative singers from Mysore and Mandya districts sing to the accompaniment of a one-string instrument called Tamburi. Krishnapura M. Mahadevayya is a popular performer of this tradition. A cassette version of the Nanjanagudu Nanjunda Shastry’s chapbook version and sung in the Tamburi tradition has been released by Maheshwara Audio Company, Bangalore. Though the cassette version strictly follows the printed text in its verse form, it is in the oral (impromptu) interpretations that the performer has taken liberties and provides his new explanations. What is of interest from the point of oral multilinguality is that the singer provides an oral Kannada translation of the Dakhani verses, a process that we consistently see all along the history of Kannada literary culture, be it inscriptions, literary culture or oral

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tradition. The story of Arjuna as a wandering Jogi transforms from a folk Tantric tradition into a textual literary tradition and again gets back into another folk narrative tradition in the form of cassette culture. Thus, a printed text, instead of ending its life as a text to be read, rejuvenates itself into an altogether new text and reinvents itself within a new performing tradition, and continues the process of interpretation and commentary as an ongoing activity, thereby helping in the sustenance of multilingualism.

V Implications Discussions on multilingualism in Indian literary culture mostly center on the use of Sanskrit and Prakrit in Sanskrit drama and fail to see multilingualism from the pluralistic point of view of the vernacular literary cultures. The emergence of Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit is in fact a consequence of adopting Sanskrit to write about Buddhist scriptures. Interestingly, the discussion on multilingualism as manipravalam ‘the mix of ruby and coral’ is to be found in Prakrit, Tamil, Malayalam literary traditions and not in Sanskrit. In fact, that the very concept manipravalam is defined from the perspective of vernaculars is evident from the fact that it is the vernacular that is the ruby and Sanskrit is the coral. However, vernaculars themselves can constitute manipravalam among themselves. Several vernacular literary cultures of India have expressed their views in this regard in the form of discussions on ari-samasa (restriction on compound word formation using Sanskrit and Dravidian words), manipravalam, marga-desi-samanvaya (synthesis of classical and vernacular) and so on. This is not the place to go into a detailed discussion about them. It is enough to realize that all these discussions on multilingualism and hybridity were more relevant to the canonical sphere of vernacular literary cultures than the cosmopolitan. The type of margino-centric perspective that has been attempted here takes a diametrically opposite view to that of a Sanskrit Cosmopolis and attempts to map medieval public spheres and the way they negotiated multilinguality. It is important to note that this mapping does not provide a homogeneous view; rather quite the contrary. Although multilingualism is a consistent phenomenon, the nature and scope of it is different in inscriptional, literary and oral traditions. It is equally divergent with regard to sectarian traditions. Furthermore, multilinguality in scripto-centric, phonocentric and body-centric representations too is radically different as several

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forms make use of transmediality to cater to the needs of diverse public spheres. Sectarian communities and textual, oral and performative traditions recognize the necessity to cater to different language using communities and accordingly create multilinguality at textual, textual-oral, oral-oral and oralperformative levels. At the same time, we have seen that right from the Ashokan times, communities have moved extensively not only within India but also beyond it, creating translations of oral and written texts, thereby constituting multilinguality at various levels within the region of Asia. A closer look at medieval Indian texts at their manuscript, oral and performative levels not only reveals a widely practiced multilingualism but also helps us to construct an altogether different textual tradition for medieval Indian literary culture. Secondly, the textual and oral multilinguality, along with their hybrid forms thrived as coexisting and mutually cooperating systems and brought to the forefront radically different textual-oral interrelationships during medieval Indian literary culture. Lastly, it is the public sphere and the consumers of texts, whether written or oral, as readers, listeners and viewers, and the nature of their linguistic repertoire, that becomes crucial to the linguistic behavior of the writers, narrators and performers. Thus, cutting across formats, royal inscriptions, literary texts, grammatical analysis and oral and performative traditions, extensive multilingualism could be noticed. The issue of multilinguality in medieval Indian literary culture needs to be mapped and understood from a margino-centric perspective within a dense literary archive on the one hand, and the movement of texts, singers and performers on the other. The mapping of multilinguality discussed here has significant implications for the understanding of multilingualism in medieval India on the one hand, and translation, interpretation and commentary traditions as its sustaining factors on the other. While the inscriptional, literary and oral multilingualities not only overlap with each other, constantly adopting themselves into new genres – including the modern electronic media like the cassette and internet, what makes such a multilinguality sustainable over a long period is the continuous activity of translation, interpretation and commentary. Within the context of globalization and the trend of increasing translation of texts from other languages into English, concerns have been expressed in countries like India, which has a high linguistic diversity in-

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dex18 . Harmon and Loh (2010) observe that during the period 1970 – 2005, ‘global linguistic diversity declined by 20%; the diversity of the world’s indigenous languages declined by 21%; and regionally, indigenous linguistic diversity declined over 60% in the Americas, 30% in the Pacific (including Australia), and almost 20% in Africa’. There is an interesting trend that is noteworthy here. Among the regions of high linguistic diversity, the Pacific shows 50% less depletion rate compared to the Americas and Africa shows still less (33%). While the depletion itself should be a concern, the fact that regions with high linguistic diversity index also demonstrate higher resilience against depletion should prompt us to take a closer look at multiliguality in countries like India. Moreover, unlike a majority of languages from Africa and Asia-Pacific regions, languages of India have not only a well attested history going back to the first and second millennium but also possess a multiscriptual and multilingual textual tradition. Histories of Indian literatures reveal that a continuous translation, interpretation and commentary tradition resulted in sustenance of not only classical languages like Sanskrit and Prakrit/ Pali, but also the vernaculars. We have already seen that such translations were not just unidirectional or bi-directional between Sanskrit and vernaculars, but multidirectional – between Sanskrit, Prakrit/ Pali and the vernaculars and vice-versa, among the vernaculars themselves, and between vernaculars and spoken (oral) languages. If we can think of a model that could sustain multilinguality, then the strategy of translation, interpretation and commentary activity from medieval Indian literary cultures could offer one such model to us. An extensive translation activity, not just between the languages located at the center and the margin, but among the languages located along the margins might help us in not only sustaining multilinguality but also act as a deterrent against language depletion.

References: Acharya, K.C.: Introduction. Markandeya’s Prakritasarvasva. ed. by K.C. Acharya. Ahmedabad: Prakrit Text Society, 1968. Greenberg, Joseph H.: “The Measurement of Linguistic Diversity”. In: Language, 32 (1), 1956. 109 – 115. Harmon, David and Jonathan Loh: “The Index of Linguistic Diversity: A New Quantitative Measure of Trends in the Status of the World’s Languages”. In: 18

Several papers in Ramakrishnan, Trivedi and Chandramohan (2013) address such a concern.

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Language Documentation and Conservation, Vol. 4, 2010. 97-151. http://nflr c.hawaii.edu/ldc/ http://hdl.handle.net/10125/4474. Accessed on 21.01.2017. Kaviraj, Sudipta: “Writing, Speaking and Being: Language and Historical Formation of Identities in India”. In: Identity in History: South and South East Asia. Heidelberg: South Asia Institute, 1990. Mukherjee, Sujit: Translation as Discovery and Other Essays. New Delhi: Allied Publishers, 1981. Nanjundapandita: Giliya-haduv mattu arjunajogi-hadu. Mysore: Vanivilasa Book Depot, 1992. Pattanaik, Diptiranjan: “The Power of Translation: A Survey of Translation in Orissa”. In: Changing the Terms: Translating in the Postcolonial Era, eds. Sherry Simon and Paul St-Pierre. Hyderabad: Orient Longmans, 2002. 71-86. Pollock, Sheldon: Literary Cultures in History – Reconstructions from South Asia. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003. Ramakrishnan, E. V., Harish Trivedi and Chandra Mohan (ed.): Interdisciplinary Alter-Natives in Comparative Literature. New Delhi: Sage, 2013. Satyanath, T. S.: “Processes and Models of Translation: Cases from Medieval Kannada Literature”. In: Translation Today, 3.1-2, 2006. 111-27. Satyanath, T. S.: “Commentary as Interpretation and Translation in Medieval Indian Representations”. In: Jadavpur Journal of Comparative Literature, 49, 2012a. 55-72. Satyanath, T. S.: “Understanding the Narratives of Peripatetic Communities: the Kinnari Jogi Version of the Mahabharata”. In: Narrating Nomadism: Tales of Recovery and Resistance, ed. by G.N. Devy, Geoffery V. Davis and K.K. Chakravarty. New Delhi: Routledge, 2012b. 132-43. Satyanath, T. S.: “Religions ‘Crossing Borders’: On the Emergence of Translation Traditions in India”. In: Sahitya, The Journal of the Comparative Literature Association of India 2-3, 2013: (http://www.clai.in/webjournal2013.html). Accessed on 21.01.2017. Settar, S.: Halagannada: lipi, lipikara, lipivyavasaya (Ancient Kannada: Script, Scribe and Cultivation of Letters). Bangalore: Abhinava, 2014. Sircar, D. S.: The Successors of the Satavahanas in Lower Decan. Calcutta: University of Calcutta, 1939. Soloman, Richard: Indian Epigraphy. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. Trautmann, Thomas R.: Languages and Nations: the Dravidian Proof in Colonial Madras. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006.

Journeys of Myths and Words between Indian and European Cultures Ramona L. Ceciu Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India

I Being a Language and Literature in European History Throughout history Eastern Europe has been fraught with economic, political and psychological turmoil due to foreign dominance and exploitation analogous to the colonized countries. However, many studies surrounding the ‘idea’ and the ‘discipline’ of comparative literature focus on coordinates such as European-American (or ‘Western’) versus ‘Non-Western’ literatures, or on unquestioned categories such as ‘nation’, ‘Eurocentrism’, ‘hybridism’ etc. The debates mostly deliberate the ‘Eurocentric’ theoretical conditioning or the ‘Americentrism’, as opposed to Non-Western postcolonial condition, the inadequacy of methods of inquiry or even insufficiency of ‘skills’ of comprehending the condition of the ‘other’ literature. Thus literary comparisons end up taking at times ‘contexts’ that are loosely defined under the already known triumvirate of powers. What these debates fail to clarify plays in fact a vital role in understanding what exactly we compare and what methodologies may be adequate for that comparison. If we continue talking about ‘Eurocentric’ or Western theory-producers and postcolonial or Non-Western theory-consumers, not only is this an unproductive approach, but we also lose our path in the obscurity of politics. I would point out that at times these concepts appear in criticism without clarifications regarding the exact literatures, regions criticized, or the ‘margins’ of those literary regions. Would literatures such as Bulgarian, Romanian, Moldovan, Slovene or Ukrainian for instance, produce and appear in theories that fall under the ‘category’ of ‘Eurocentrism’? Maybe yes, from

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some ‘Non-Western’ points-of-view. But from other positions, of the above mentioned literary regions that might not be the case. Rather such literatures would occupy a marginal space that functions along many premises on which postcolonial literatures are based. I argue that there are in fact ’countless West-s’ and their selves – cultural, linguistic, psycho-social etc. – that may be understood in each case and in certain perspectives as an ‘individual’ in a continuous process of evolution, with multiple inner psychological and social selves, with multiple personal and social spaces of interaction with other ‘individual-cultures’. In this myriad-faceted West there are self positions and relations that demonstrate the exchange between literatures and cultures, as it is the case of the cultures under scrutiny. From that perspective I will examine various tran/slations of the ‘Ballad of the Walled-up Wife’, and other myths. Hubert Hermans states that “cultures can be seen as collective voices that function as social positions in the self. Such voices are expressions of embodied and historically situated selves that are constantly involved in dialogical relationships with other voices” (Hermans 2001: 272). Thus the “dialogical self” (Hermans), applied to cultural network, focuses on the differences between and within cultures, on their particularities and heterogeneity without reducing the importance of a need for homogeneity and of the degree of commonality characterizing each culture. These points carry strong relevance for the ideas of ‘literature’ and ‘comparative literature’ too, especially when the ‘margins’ within the European context may be the ‘margins’ in relation to some Non-European literary cultures as well. What I mean by this is the fact that if one compares a literature or culture from the ‘periphery’ of Europe (like that of Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania etc.), with an Indian literature, let’s say Bengali or Indian English literature, and their respective positions in the matrix of ‘world literature’, then the literature and culture from Europe’s ‘periphery’ might occupy a ‘more’ marginal space than the Indian literature involved in the comparison. Primarily because being within Europe geographically, it may fall under a veil of ‘invisibility’ or under sweeping generalizations of being same with ‘other European’ (e g ‘Eastern European’) literatures. At the same time, the global investment and interest in Indian literatures and culture is far greater than the interest in e g Romanian literature/culture and this implies a wider range of readers, translations and authors selected for translation in multiple languages. Of course there are many other factors that relatively

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delineate the situation of each literature and culture in the global context. This paper reveals a few of them, proceeding from a survey of the history of Romanian culture and the transcontinental dynamics in terms of language, literature and imagery that occupy some space and are at work in the longstanding Indo-European cultural relations. The archaeological research made on Romania’s territory has proved that the oldest discovered human remains belonged to people living in Europe about 5370-5140 BC (female skeleton and clay inscriptions discovered at T˘art˘aria) on the northern side of Danube, in the Carpathian region and thus “the earliest attestation to a European script comes from Transylvania” (Merlini and Lazarovici 2008: 155). Other Romanian sites such as Cucuteni (c. 5000-3500 BC, discovered in 1884) and Hamangia (c. 5250-4550 BC) are well established on the archaeological and historical maps and famous enough for similar attestations. The terms ‘Romania’ / ‘Romanian’ have no connection with the ‘Rroma’ ethnic community as lack of information may lead some people to believe. Genetic, historical and anthropological studies have proven that the Rroma communities arrived in Europe from the central areas of India during the Byzantine Empire approximately 1000 years ago1 . ‘Romanian’ (Român/˘a) comes from the word rumân commonly used in the Middle Ages for the people inhabiting the space within and around the Carpathian Arch, the Danube and the Black Sea, on the ancient land of Dacia that had been occupied by the Roman Empire under the leadership of Trajan in 106 AD. The word has undergone slight modifications in time and has become român/i – which is the contemporary denomination of the Romanian citizens, while the country is called in Romanian language (limba român˘a), România. In this sense, Alex Drace-Frances cites R. L. Wolff (Romania: the Latin Empire of Constantinople, 1948) who has noted that in the early Middle Ages, Western writers used the term Romania to refer to the Eastern Roman Empire (Drace-Frances 2006: 8). Speaking about The Making of Modern Romanian Culture (2006) Drace-Frances elaborates the notions of ‘nation’, ‘literature’ and ‘Europe’ in the context of ‘Romanian culture’ by analyzing the manner in which foreigners (visitors and invaders) viewed and understood Romanians and 1

This community employs alternative names such as Roma, Romany, Romanes. Petre Morar describes how some British professor had told him that Roma people were considered Romanians because of the name similarity. See also Bharti Morar et alii 2004 and Luba Kalaydjieva 2005 at References.

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their lives from late 17th century to the end of the 19th century. He starts by looking at such views during the times when Romanian Principalities were divided into Wallachia, Moldavia, Transylvania, Banat, all striving under different foreign rulers such as Austrian and Ottoman Empires, Hungarians, Russians etc. During the 18th century, Phanariot and Romanian writers “cultivated the idea of ‘Dacia”’ as a name for the possibly unified Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia, which Austria and Russia needed unified as a tool against the Ottomans (2006: 23). Drace-Frances cites writings of foreign travelers between 17th and 19th centuries, belonging mainly (but not entirely) to the ruling powers, that commonly characterized the Romanian territories as “full of wildest people” (24), uneducated peasants, “violent, backward, impoverished” (29), full of people with “feeble superstitions and beliefs” (32). Moreover, he argues that “the exploitation and development of the Principalities were an essential part of the definition of the process of Europeanization. Indeed it is possible that the English verb ‘to Europeanize’ was coined to describe this very process. It was a good place to offload finished goods, but also a market for exporting ideas” (36-37). It is not difficult to remark that such utterly biased categorizations are identical to the depictions similar travelers or British authorities assigned to the Indian people during the period of colonization. Such accounts are symptomatic of ‘the encounter of the unknown’ and emphasize in many ways themes around which questions of Romanian ‘identity’ and cultural, intellectual and literary evolutions were advanced and debated from traditional to modern spheres – from the bishops’ writings to newspapers and printing press, public talks (mainly surrounding the Orthodox Church), reforms and publications were instrumental in the cultivation of a national ‘identity’ and language. Inspired by E. B. de Condillac, Ion Heliade R˘adulescu (‘Despre înv˘a¸ta˘ tura public˘a’ [About Public Learning], Dacia literar˘a, 2, 1840) proposed “the idea of leading pupils ‘from the known to the unknown”’ (Drace-Frances 2006: 48). The first idea of literature used in Romanian was related to the word litere (exactly, ‘letters’), while for the actual concept of literature the French belles-lettres or for instance the German Literatur were commonly employed. The general concept of literatur˘a appeared around the 1810s to the 1820s, initially being common with the idea of ‘learning’. In 1825, the poet Barbu Paris Mumuleanu published a book of “Caracteruri” (Characters) where he employed literator and literatur˘a in the broader sense of

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literary culture, not only as ‘letters’. From 1828 up to 1836 the Russians entering the Romanian Principalities for the fourth time, changed attitude from friends to foe and, pretending to ‘cure’ Romanians from the ‘Turkish ills and vices’, occupied and ruled the land by force and abusive legislation in what was considered a “civilizing mission” while also bringing Romania into “the Great European family”; at the same time, some Russian travelers were surprised to see that Romanians “were white and not brown”, while others considered Romanians to have “Asiatic face” (Drace-Frances 2006: 95-97). Irrespective of the pressure in all fields (economic, political, cultural) Russian language never managed to get supremacy in the Romanian Principalities, where the previously circulated languages (Latin, Greek, Italian etc.) along Romanian, remained strong enough. From the 1830s onwards there was an explosion of literary works on the Romanian territories. The journals and magazines started publicizing the progress of the “three provinces of the old Dacia”, or Romania defined (Heliade 1839) as “existing wherever the Romanian language is spoken” (Drace-Frances 2006: 129-133). Drace-Francis viewed the development of Romanian national culture as similar to post-colonial societies, but concluded that “unlike, say, Latin American or African national movements, recovery of national dignity meant Europeanization, not separation from Europe” (199). However, the process of ‘Europeanization’ has been posing more problems in terms of culture and national identity, unraveling constantly in fact a multiplicity of identities inhabiting one large structure. Psychologically, I think that a form of ‘separation’ from Europe – as it is the case of post-colonial countries such as India’s independence from the British – may be easier to handle, than an ‘uneasy’ and ‘forceful toleration’ (i e Romania, or Moldova etc. in Europe) marking a continuous process stretching up to contemporary times and never seemingly complete. Various cultural critics and thinkers have constantly searched for ways of bridging the cultures of Europe to those of other continents and ways of understanding Europe in relation to all other cultures. Hans-Georg Gadamer remarked in 1977 that “Europe [ . . . ] since 1914 has become provincialized” (Dipesh Chakraborty 2007: 3). Mircea Eliade had carried the torch in the personal conquest of the ‘provincializing’ idea of the ‘West’ and learning from and exploring what he called the “foreign spiritual universes” through a “creative hermeneutics”: in his Autobiography II 1937-

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1960 (1988), Eliade had written how he “was convinced that the documents and method of the history of religions lead, more surely than any other historical discipline, to the deprovincialisation of Western cultures” (Oldmeadow 2007: 6). The notion of ‘culture’ itself poses innumerable problems when one has to define it, and even more if one relates ‘culture’ with other equally challenging ‘categories’. As it has been the case, no clear-cut definitions are possible. Great Romanian thinkers such as Constantin Noica (1909-1987), Mircea Vulc˘anescu (1904-1952) or Petre Tu¸ ¸ tea (1902-1991) kept the problem of ‘culture’ and ‘European cultural integration’ at the fulcrum of many critical discourses dealing with national ‘identity’ and cultural selfhood. All three saw the crisis of European culture as a trigger for the ‘need for cultural awakening’2 . Comparatively, they endorsed an opening towards dialogue and exchange from the individual and singular towards the universal and plural forms of being in and between cultures. Regarding the linguistic relationship, P. Morar in his theories (and in spite of all other debates) emphasizes the close relations, syntactic/semantic identity and derivation, and etymological connections between words belonging to Romanian and Indo-Aryan languages. He states that this is ascertained by the fact that many Romanian words and word roots representing proper names (hydronyms, toponyms, names etc.) belong to the Vedic culture and appear in both Romanian (since the times of Dacia) and Vedic India. Morar notes multiple cultural and linguistic relations, also suggested by other scholars, for instance: the Romanian (Rom.) apa, found in Sanskrit3 as a¯ pah meaning ‘water’; Rom. om (human being/self) – Skrt. Om/Aum; Rom. a vedea (to see) – Skrt. Veda; Rom. Deva, Agnita (towns), Some¸s (river) – Skrt. Deva (god), Agni (fire), Soma (God; sacred Soma-drink4 ); Rom. iama (destruction etc.) – Skrt. Yama (death god); Rom. soare (sun), Surianu (Surianu Mountains) – Skrt. Surya (sun); Rom. suta (hundred) – Skrt. sata; Rom. a da (give/offer) – Skrt. d¯a/ d¯ah (give/ giving) etc. This 2 3

4

All three thinkers are discussed in detail by Diana Câmpan (see References). Morar employs for his examples a general term, Aryan, for more languages spoken in India that come under this umbrella term. At times, he speaks of ‘Vedic terms’. There are problems regarding some of his theories, which have been debated, but this paper employs, for reasons mentioned here, only some linguistic relations outlined by him. Sacred Soma-drink is, as Ragozin explains, the earthly imitation of the food of gods (amrita) (2011: 124).

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illustration extends with Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Moldavian and other words from neighboring regions where Dacian people lived. As I also found, the above examples are among the most pertinent, being illustrative of the linguistic and imaginative transactions at play in such intercultural relations. However, whether some of these linguistic relatives are ‘truly’ etymological or they represent rather a “poetic etymology” (Alfons Knauth), they reveal certain ‘mind-language patterns’ and intriguing between-thelines cultural connections. Of course, the written and/or phonetic identity of some words such as Om or Deva, can never be translated into a total semantic equation: one cannot say for instance that Om in Romanian and Sanskrit have the same exact signification, but at some level – albeit coming from two different cultural spheres – they both suggest an idea/ideal of a ‘whole self’, of ‘a spirit rooted/living in the infinite universe’. Likewise, words like the Latin homo and Romanian om have neither written and phonetic, nor total semantic identity5 . In the context of linguistic relatives in the Indo-European family, Calvert Watkins speaks of “accidental similiarities” and goes further to note: “where all [ . . . ] possibilities to account for the similarities must be excluded, we have a historical conclusion: the similarities are said to be genetic in character, and the languages are spoken of as a related or cognate (How to Kill a Dragon: Aspects of Indo-European Poetics, 1995: 4). In any case, such words and linguistic transactions can be supposed living in a global ‘linguistic and cultural unconscious’ that undergoes constant probing, and they need to be taken into consideration in all possible perspectives. Mircea Eliade and other scholars have drawn comparisons between Romanian or other European cultures, and Indian cultures, languages and myths too.

II Some Linguistic and Mythic Dialogues between Indian and European Cultures I would like to turn to A. Z. Ragozin’s observations in Vedic India as Embodied Principally in the Rig Veda (2011), reminiscent of the already established affinity between Sanskrit and many European languages both living and dead – e.g. ancient Greek, Roman, Teutonic and Slavic idioms. 5

Questions may be also asked about the distinction between the word Om and other variations of the Latin homo into various European languages such as French, Italian, Spanish etc.

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Various scholars postulated that Sanskrit was the mother of all language, similarly to those other scholars asserting, “not by far as absurd” that Hebrew was the mother tongue of all; with Jacob Grimm’s ‘law’ ruling “the changes of consonants in their passage from language to language [ . . . ] the unity of Aryan speech [stock] is now established beyond the possibility of a doubt” (Ragozin 36). However, as Ragozin reminds us, India is not ‘made’ only of Aryan race, but this was the ‘noble’ or ‘venerable’ race. Moreover, she states that the Rig-Veda is “without [ . . . ] doubt, the oldest book of the Aryan family of nations” (2011: 72-73); but this statement is indeed doubtful. On the other hand, Ragozin identifies a few Vedic terms that have relatives in European languages, yet her examples circle around a few registers like Italian, French, German, Greek or Latin. She examines the distinctions between Aryas (the fair pastoral people, Fire-worshippers) and Dasyus (the natives), as well as the Rig-Veda myths and gods in relation to the Aryan ‘culture’ and their distinct developments and influences in different contexts. For instance, Yama is in Rig-Veda the king of the dead, then in Brahmanical literature he appears as a horrific chastiser, while in other texts there are distinct variations. Seen in a dialogical manner the myths and their developments unravel multiple and unexpected possibilities of understanding old cultures. This approach enables an analysis of self and culture as “a composite of parts”, where the multiplicity of positions, voices, selves, the “asymmetry of social relations” and “embodied forms of dialogue” give rise to a “multivoiced, dialogical self ” (Hermans 2001: 245-246). However, it is important that all these positions and voices should be taken into account especially when one culture is the subject evaluating other cultures. The issues of power relations, the “cultural diversity” and “cultural difference”, as distinguished by Homi Bhabha (1988) must be considered both in case of Non-Western cultures and in the unconscious space of culture from the margins of the so-called ‘West’. As Bhabha states, “cultures are always subject to intrinsic forms of translation” and “if [ . . . ] the act of cultural translation (both as representation and as reproduction) denies the essentialism of a prior given original or originary culture, then we see that all forms of culture are continually in a process of hybridity” (Interview with Rutherford 1990: 210-211). This ‘hybridity’ represents for Bhabha the “third space” that allows the emergence of other positions and new social structures. So, in this case the cultural-self ‘positioning’ needs to open and maintain a dialogue between these possible positions in the course of

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cultural exchange where, what Bhabha calls the “identification with and through” the other culture, engages multiple discourses and varied forms of “otherness”. Bhabha employs the example of Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses as a “migrant metaphor” which transformed through cultural translation and hybridity the ‘values’ of the Koran as traditionally read. I consider that the conflict between the main ‘fundamentalist’ and ‘liberal’ positions has arisen due to an ‘impasse’ in the dialogic encounter where both sides seem to overlook that “meanings are organized and colored by the societal positions represented by the collectivities to which they belong” (Hermans 2001: 263). When seen in a certain context (literary, cultural, historical, thematic etc.), myths, discourses and theories may offer new valences, validity, but also a set of irrelevant elements. In the light of this, one can realize that all theories/works on ‘cultural relations’ must be viewed/analyzed in ‘dialogical’ and multiperspectivist manner along analogous parameters. Zmago Šmitek carefully develops his theory and looks at diverse links between India and Europe. Šmitek, like other researchers investigating the connections between Slavs and India, explores Rig-Veda (about 1500 BC), the Vedic culture and other Indian texts, through hydronyms, toponyms, ethnonyms, myths and legends. However, these approaches either state mutual influences between the Slavs and Indo-Iranians, or Slavs and IndoAryans, or trace the cultural influences through the Indian merchants that historical sources identify to have lived in Europe during the Roman period or through the nomads that carried their lore onto the Western continent. Šmitek focuses on parallels between Indian and Slovenian mythology, without stating a lucid hypothesis about the exact origins of the Vedic civilization or myths. He demonstrates that early Vedic culture of northern India – “whether it is indigenous or imported” – was closely connected with the majority of European cultures since ancient Greco-Roman times. Among other legends, like that of Saint Thomas, he compares the Slovenian heroine Lepa Vida (Beautiful Vida) who is abducted by a ‘dark man’ (zamorec, from the other side of the sea) in a boat, with the abduction of Sita by dark Ravana. On the other hand, Lidija Stojanovi´c compares “The Ballad of the ‘Walled-up Wife’ in the Balkans and in India” (2011) tracing its origin from India and the Santhal culture to Europe. Stojanovi´c reviews a few trends in which some researchers, like Jacob Grimm and others, saw the ballad as “a primary form of the foundation sacrifice” based on the past ritual of “offer-

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ing a human sacrifice to calm and pacify the supernatural spirits”; in other trends, folklorists tried to establish a “national origin of the legend”, what Alan Dundes called “a typical module for the parochial nationalistic folkloristics” (94). It seems that the first mention of the ballad appears in F. H. Groome’s Gipsy Folk-Tales (1899) as the “Story of the Bridge”, which has a clear parallel in the Santhal story of “The Seven Brothers and Their Sister” (Stojanovi´c 2011: 95). In all these cases, a human sacrifice is required: in the Santhal story, as per a yogi’s advice, the brothers had to offer their sister to the water god, because they could not find any water while digging up the well. These legends were popularized in Europe by the nomadic Gypsies coming from India, and there were enough controversies regarding the variations of the ballad – where the sacrificed is either a sister or a wife6 . I think it is important to stress that in any case, it is the sacrifice of a woman, and not that of a man. In the Albanian version there are three brothers and, similarly, the one who is sacrificed is the youngest builder’s bride. The Bulgarian ballad, unlike the previous version where the masons build a fortress, deals with the building of a bridge, while the victim remains the youngest man’s wife, thus drawing closer to the Santhal story. I would like to focus now on this ballad in the Romanian culture, where a variant of the popular ballad was collected for the first time by the poet Vasile Alecsandri in 1874 crossing the sphere of oral literature into the written form – which demonstrates that the ballad was in Romania long before Groome’s publication. The Romanian Ballad of Master Manole has at its fulcrum the building of Arge¸s (Argesh) Monastery7 in Wallachia Principality by ten masons, among them Manole being the most famous, the leading craftsman. Whatever they had built during daytime was ruined over night, without any visible cause. In a dream, Manole has a divine revelation that they would succeed in erecting the monastery under one condition. Thus, he shares his dream with his fellow-masons:

6

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In modern Indian texts, Alan Dundes notes that the victim is the daughter-in-law (Stojanovi´c 2011: 94). In reality, there is a church around which the myth transformed. The building of the church, dedicated to Virgin Mary, was started in 1512 by Prince Neagoe Basarab and completed in 1526 by Prince Radu of Afuma¸ti, his son-in-law. For church history and visuals see Ruxandra Ion and J.W. Anderson (2006) at References.

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A whisper from high, A voice from the sky, Told me verily That whatever we In daytime have wrought Shall nights come to naught, Crumble down like rot; Till we, one and all, Make an oath to wall Whose bonny wife erst, Whose dear sister first, Haps to come this way At the break of day, Bringing meat and drink To husband or kin [ . . . ] (Dan Du¸tescu transl.)

The next morning, Manole has the shock of discovering in the horizon his wife, Ana, coming to bring the meal. He invokes nature’s help in stopping Ana from reaching the building site, with winds, storms and rains. However, all his tears and prayers, all trials and nature’s support prove futile in front of Ana’s determination and dutiful attitude towards her husband. She is the first to arrive at the site and thus she, being also pregnant, is immured in the monastery wall. Her being pregnant symbolizes the joining of the archetypes of ‘bride’, ‘mother’, ‘woman’ and ‘female sacrifice’ as a potent germinating and creative power. Considering that in this case the building is a church, the germination is meant to entail spiritual development, along with the ontogenesis of the creative genius. At the same time, the Church may ‘prosper’ and deliver its religious service once it had carried in its ‘womb’ a human life, thus the building itself acquires a feminine personification. In the Romanian ballad, the erection of the monastery is ordered by the Voivode Negru Vod˘a (Black Prince) which brings in historical and culture-specific connotations. Romanian folklorists speculate that the myth has originated in the area during the early 16th century, when the church was built (Ion and Anderson 2006). When the magnificent architectural piece is complete, Negru Vod˘a orders the scaffolds pulled down; he wishes that the craftsmen should be left to rot on the top of the building so that they could never build anything more magnificent than his church. Thus, they build some wings to fly and save themselves, but the attempt proves fatal. Manole throws himself off the top of the building while hear-

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ing from inside the walls the cries of his wife. Interestingly, this ballad reunites the idea of the building with that of the well, when concluding that from the spot where Manole has hit the ground a fountain has sprung up. In some versions of the myth the woman gets immured in the walls of a well, in order to provide people with water. Dundes’ reading of the ballad, takes at one point the victim’s perspective, embodying “a pure metaphor of a marriage [ . . . ] from India all the way to the Balkan, where the woman is compelled to give away her freedom and mobility following her husband and her family’s demand” (Stojanovi´c 2011: 106). From the male perspective, close to a psychoanalytic reading, Dundes notes the “wishful thinking on the part of males, that they can create remarkable edifices just as women procreate, but the sad reality is that the male hubris brings only death to the female” (Stojanovi´c 2011: 106). Ruxandra Ion and James William Anderson (2006) remind us that the communist ideology used the myth to exemplify the need for Romanians to ‘sacrifice’ their lives for the “honourable mission of the Communist Party” (4). They argue that this myth “provided a collective defense that helped the Romanian people cope with their group trauma” (7). On the other hand it symbolizes a connection with a ‘higher purpose’. In their second argument, “the architectural features of the building work together with the influence of the story to produce a joint effect on those who worship there” (17). Thus, the myth remains alive and serves, among others, as example of human sacrifice for higher ideals, woman’s sacrifice for the well-being of men, the historical and popular negotiations between people and larger social structures and so on. As Zoe DumitrescuBu¸sulenga comments, “with his share of eternity earned not only through his genius and work, but also through the immolation of all that was dearest to him, his wife and his unborn baby, the master now belongs to another order which escapes time and decay” (1976). This particular ballad contains many words from the vocabulary common to both Romanian and Indian cultures, some already mentioned above, having similar meanings and close phonetic resemblance (i e apa/¯apa; vedea/Veda). Other examples appear in: Rom. noaptea – Skrt. nakta [night]; Rom. mort/mortal; moarte/muri – Skrt. mrita/martya; marana/mriyate ª [dead/mortal; death/die] etc.); Rom. divin/ceresc – Skrt. divya/divy¯ an [divine/celestial] etc. This myth unravels the instance of a sacrifice that reminds of many female, male and animal sacrifices in Aryan Vedic and postVedic mythology. In Vedic rituals, Ragozin identified that:

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Shrauta-Sutras and texts in the Yajur-Veda, all ‘Shruti’ revealed – give the most detailed instructions as to the occasions of such sacrifices [ . . . ]. One of these occasions was the building of city walls, when the bodies of the five victims [one man and four animals] were to be laid in the water used to mix the clay for the bricks, to which their blood was to give the necessary firmness – and probably, consecration. (293)

The similarities of these texts with the ballads are thus evident, but a chief distinction must be highlighted: the human sacrificed is a man, not a woman. Every variation of the ballad registered alterations and new spheres of meaning from one cultural and historical space to another. While in Indian culture this sacrifice might be interpreted in one way as soul transference from one embodiment to another, or as bestowing a soul to a lifeless object that as a consequence becomes ‘alive’, in Romanian and other European cultures such sacrifice transcends the material sphere in order to reach the divine and symbolizes the need to sacrifice the worldly pleasures and possessions (i.e. enjoying fame, pride etc.) for the higher peace or a place in heaven – according to the Christian idea. All such interpretations encounter each other in the “horizon of expectations” shaped by specific cultural and methodological factors. According to Stojanovi´c, between Jauss’ “horizon of expectation” and I.G. Wunberg’s “historic distance”, “an interspace is open where the valuing is possible from the point of view of the aesthetics of reception” (Stojanovi´c 2011: 107). The context of reception, the aims of the reading, the ideology and the methods of approach share equal significance in the hermeneutic process and understanding. Since human sacrifices have been part of ancient Aryan worship as shown by Ragozin, I would propose the hypothesis that the myth of the ‘walled-up wife’ may have originated in the Danube-Carpathian area of Europe, and having been carried to India by the Aryans, it has registered various oral translations and changes according to local cultures and communities’ imagination – which may explain the change of the human sacrificed from male to female; and later it travelled back to Europe with the Rroma people where it has been reworked and altered according to the new socio-historical circumstances. But, irrespective of its origins, the myth has travelled widely and has found a place in many world cultures, in folklore, and different cultural ‘tran-slations’, engendering distinct dialogues between people and communities, in varied languages and lived ‘chronotopes’. In this way, the “dialogical self” theory elaborated by Hermans and

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others with reference to both the individual self and the cultural self, may be applied in the contexts of this ballad’s circulation and cultural integration, as well as those of ‘literature’, ‘comparative literature’ and ‘world literature’. The illustration may continue with the Romanian ballad Miori¸ta/Mioritza where the concept of ahims¯a (non-violence) emerges as the main drive of the narrative, as it has been already discussed by other critics. Another example worth a cursory glance is the famous myth of Dracula which circulated from Transylvania throughout the world. In Europe itself, the Dracula myth took various overtones, the Western sphere negotiating such re-workings of the ‘text’ via its own psychological issues. Therefore Dracula came to bear the negative features the ‘dominant European mind’ could not accept as part of oneself and relegated onto the ‘other’ – the Balkan or Eastern European (with traits such as ‘violent’, ‘cruel’ etc.). In this sense, as Maria Alexe outlines, Dracula became “the symbol of the ambiguous psychic reality: both demoniac and human, both a murderer and a victim. This perspective upon the Balkans, as a negative projection of the Occident [ . . . ] was due to a strong feeling of superiority of western culture” (Alexe 2008: 72). Even Karl Marx traces connections with the vampire myth in relation to capitalism and exploitation in Das Kapital (1867). In other contexts, the myth was transmitted in diverse forms, from literary texts to visual culture and ritual practices. Relevant at this point are instances where the myth of the vampire – as a blood-drinking creature, with distinct aspects like the shape-shifting power, the accompanying bats, the dark atmosphere and ghostly appearance – has been mixed with Indian myths and reworked in Indian culture at different levels. Consequently, in particular contexts one can reveal intersections with varied visual culture representations of Goddess Kali in her ‘destroyer’ attitude as blood-thirsty, surrounded by darkness, bats and other creatures. In addition, I can recall here “The Vicious Vampire”, a short story (in Bangla Badur Bhivishika/Bat Terror) by Satyajit Ray, where there are direct intertextual references to Count Dracula’s story, as well as characters in films influenced by the vampire myth, although these belong to different genres and audiences. Such depictions8 embody the hybrid identities of the cultures within and the cul8

In another paper (forthcoming publication), I examine connections between Goddess Kali as the embodiment of various archetypes, and several of her representations throughout history in visual arts and popular culture in India and abroad, while discussing the myth of the vampire, its symbols, adaptations, ghostly atmosphere and in-

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tures outside the Indian ‘cultural self’; they represent a visual, literary, multicultural and multilingual expression, as well as a symbol of dialogical encounter in the lived world and in arts. Through comparative literature many connections between cultures and languages lend themselves to investigation, while others surely escape the eye and remain hidden in the global cultural unconscious. In today’s ‘world literature’ with its multilingual expansions, such ‘literary cases’ still tend to linger at the periphery, to which they are relegated openly or not, by other literatures (or theories). Multilingualism builds up bridges between cultures at one level, but at another it has the potential to marginalize languages, (literary) cultures and people. The encouragement of multilingualism in all cultures for all people becomes requisite, although there are certain limits regarding the possibilities and the number of languages a person may learn. Nevertheless, to definitely state that ‘this’/‘that’ concept or myth has originated in ‘this’ or ‘that’ culture seems to me less germane than the actual dialogue that must exist and improve between different cultures and literatures, especially because in contemporary times more and more people have a multilingual existence. The countless West-s and their selves must meet the countless East-s and their selves within their respective ‘cultural selves’, as well as outside, half-way in the lived global cultural self , with understanding and acceptance of the differences, uniqueness and diversity of each culture on the path towards integration.

References Alecsandri, Vasile: “Monastirea Arge¸sului” (1874, Arge¸s Monastery). Poezii Române¸sti (Romanian Poetry). Romanian Voice online. http://www.romanian voice.com/poezii/balade/monastirea_argesului.php. Accessed on 3 Dec. 2012. Alexe, Maria: “Balkan Roots of Romanian Literature – between Heaven and Hell.” In: Annales Universitatis Apulensis, Series Philologica, Literatur˘a Româna s¸i Comparat˘a (Romanian and Comparative Literature), 2008: 7178. http://www.uab.ro/reviste_recunoscute/philologica/philologica_2008/12.a lexe_maria.doc. Accessed on 2 Jan. 2013. tersections with Indian culture, literature and arts. In one illustration, for instance, artist K. Burman depicts on canvas a night image where Goddess Kali appears on a darkbluish background lit by the full moon which reveals a few stairs climbing into darkness and several bats flying around. This forthcoming paper includes more illustrations along with the analysis in support of the arguments put forward.

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Câmpan, Diana: “Maladii Identitare în Cultura Globaliz˘arii. Trei Instan¸te Premonitorii: Constantin Noica, Mircea Vulc˘anescu s¸ i Petre Tu¸ ¸ tea” (Identity Afflictions in the Culture of Globalization. Three Forecasting Instances: Noica, Vulc˘anescu, Tu¸ ¸ tea). In: Proeceedings of the ‘European Integration between Tradition and Modernity’ Congress, ‘Petru Maior’ University Publishing, vol. 1, 2005: 23-31. http://www.upm.ro/facultati_departamente/stiinte_litere/conferinte/situl_integrare _europeana/Lucrari/Campan.pdf. Accessed on 3 Dec. 2012. Chakraborty, Dipesh: “Introduction. The Idea of Provincializing Europe” (3-23) to D. Ch.: Provincializing Europe. Princeton (New Jersey): Princeton University Press, 2007. Drace-Frances, Alex: The Making of Modern Romanian Culture. Literacy and the Development of National Identity. London & N. Y.: Tauris Academic Studies, 2006. Dumitrescu-Bu¸sulenga, Zoe (ed.): Me¸sterul Manole (Master Manole). Dan Du¸tescu transl. Bucharest: Albatros Publishing House, 1976. http://www.tkin ter.org/Romania/MesterulManole/index.htm. Accessed on 3 Jan. 2013. Du¸tescu, Dan (transl.): “Ballad of Master Manole.” In: Association La Muse. Héritage musical (Montréal). http://www.la-muse.org/?page_id-3133. Accessed on 2 Feb. 2016. Gresham, David, Bharti Morar, Peter A. Underhill et al.: “Origins and Divergence of the Roma (Gypsies)”. In: American Journal of Human Genetics, vol. 69, 2001: 1314 – 1331. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1235543/. Accessed on 22 Nov. 2012. Hermans, Hubert J.M.: “The Dialogical Self: Toward a Theory of Personal and Cultural Positioning”. In: Culture Psychology, vol. 7(3), 2001: 243-281. http://huberthermans.com/the-dialogical-self-toward-a-theory-of-p ersonal-and-cultural-positioning/. Accessed on 9 Nov. 2012. Ion, Ruxandra and James William Anderson: “The Myth of the Masterbuilder. A Psychoanalytic Perspective”. In: Winer, Jerome A., J.W. Anderson and Elizabeth A. Danze (eds.): Psychoanalysis and Architecture. Catskill, NY: Mental Health Resources, 2006: 241-259. http://www.tkinter.smig.net/Romania/Mas terbuilderMyth/. Accessed on 3 Dec. 2012. Kalaydjieva, Luba; Bharti Morar et al.: “A Newly Discovered Founbder Population: The Roma/Gypsies.” In BioEssays vol. 27, 2005: 1084-1094. http: //www.med.standford.edu/tanglab/publications/PDFs/. Accessed on 15 Sept. 2016. Merlini, Marco and Gheorghe Lazarovici: “Settling Discovery Circumstances, Dating and Utilization of the T˘art˘aria Tablets”. In: Acta Terrae Septemcastrensis VII, 2008: 111-196.

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http://arheologie.ulbsibiu.ro/publicatii/ats/ats8/merlini.pdf. Accessed on 15 Sept. 2015. Morar, Bharti, David Gresham, Dora Anghelikeva et al.: “Mutation History of the Roma/Gypsies”. In: American Journal of Human Genetics, vol. 75, 2004: 596 – 609. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1182047. Accessed on 22 Nov. 2012. Morar, Petre: Dacia Ariana. Cluj-Napoca: S.n., 2001. — : Noi Nu Suntem Latini sau Latinii sunt noi (‘We are not Latins or the Latins are Us’). Cluj-Napoca: Editura Albastra 2000. Oldmeadow, Harry: “C. G. Jung & Mircea Eliade: ‘Priests without Surplices’?”. In: Eye of the Heart (Journal). Bendigo: La Trobe University, 2007. http://ww w.themathesontrust.org/library/jung-eliade. Accessed on 21 Nov. 2012. Ragozin, Zenaide A.: Vedic India As Embodied Principally in the Rig Veda. Delhi: Pacific Publication. 2011. Rutherford, Jonathan: “The Third Space. Interview with Homi Bhabha” (207-221). In: J. R. (ed.): Identity: Community, Culture, Difference. London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1990. Stojanovi´c, Lidija: “The Ballad of the ‘Walled-up Wife’ in the Balkans and in India.” In: Šmitek 2011: 93-115. Šmitek, Zmago (ed.): Southern Slavs and India. Relations in Oral Tradition. Kolkata: Sampark Publishing, 2011. Watkins, Calvert: “The Comparative Method in Linguistics and Poetics”. In: C. W.: How to Kill a Dragon: Aspects of Indo-European Poetics. New York: OUP, 1995. 3-11.

Die Anbahnung kultureller und sprachlicher Beziehungen zwischen Europa und China durch den italienischen Jesuiten Matteo Ricci, alias Li Madou Hans-Georg Grüning Università degli Studi di Macerata, Italia

I Die vielsprachige Verbreitung von Matteo Riccis China-Berichten im Europa des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts Die erste genauere Kenntnis der chinesischen Kultur und Philosophie verdanken die Europäer hauptsächlich den jesuitischen Missionaren in China und den von ihnen nach Europa gesendeten Berichten. Der bedeutendste dieser Missionare, der 1610 in Peking gestorbene Padre Matteo Ricci (chin. Li Madou), hat ein umfassendes handschriftliches und unvollendetes Werk hinterlassen, das aus 122 in folio-Blättern besteht und den Titel Della entrata della Compagnia di Giesù e Christianità nella Cina trägt. Dieses italienisch verfaßte Werk hat Père Nicolas Trigault ab 1612 durch auf Latein und Portugiesisch geschriebene Kapitel aus Briefen und anderen Schriften Riccis ergänzt, insgesamt 19 in folio-Blätter, die letzten 1614 nach seiner Rückkehr aus Asien nach Europa. Trigault hatte wahrscheinlich noch in China mit der Übersetzung der Handschrift Riccis ins Lateinische begonnen, die er dann im Jahre 1615 unter dem Titel De Christiana Expeditione apud Sinas veröffentlichte. Die handschriftliche Fassung Riccis schickte Trigault mit seinen Ergänzungen an die jesuitische Casa Generalizia, doch verloren sich die Spuren bis zu ihrer Entdeckung im Jahre 1909 durch Pietro Tacchi Venturi S.J., der sie 1911-1913 unter dem Titel Opere storiche del P. Matteo Ricci S.J. veröffentlichte. Trigaults lateinische Übersetzung von Riccis Werk wurde ihrerseits kurz darauf ins Französische, Deutsche,

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Spanische und ins Italienische übertragen; im letzten Fall handelt es sich also gewissermaßen um eine Rückübersetzung. Riccis Berichte sind in der ersten Hälfte des 18. Jahrhunderts zusammen mit Briefen anderer jesuitischer Missionare in Ostasien in einem großen Sammelwerk unter dem Titel Lettres édifiantes et curieuses1 herausgegeben worden. Das Werk Riccis in der Fassung Trigaults samt deren Übersetzungen war den europäischen Intellektuellen bekannt, wie die häufige Verwendung von Textausschnitten in Sammelwerken zeigt. So wurde ein Werk von Erasmus Francisci mit dem Titel Neu-polirter GeschichtKunst- und Sittenspiegel ausländischer Völcker fürnemlich der Sineser (Nürnberg 1670) die Quelle für Goethes Überlegungen zur chinesischen Philosophie. In der berühmten China-Monographie China Monumentis Illustrata (1667) des – von Goethe hoch geschätzten – Athanasius Kircher ist mehrmals von Riccis bedeutsamem Werk und Wirken die Rede (z.B. S. 35f., 113f., 117f.). Bereits auf dem Frontispiz figuriert Matteo Ricci zusammen mit dem deutschen China-Missionar Adam Schall von Bell2 . Die beiden Missionare sind in chinesische Gewänder gekleidet und halten emblematisch die von Ricci hergestellte Landkarte Chinas hoch. Kirchers Werk enthält auch das Doppelbildnis von Matteo Ricci zusammen mit dem von ihm zum Christentum bekehrten Mandarin Xu Guangqi3 , das 1

2

3

Pater Charles Le Gobien, der Verantwortliche in Paris für die Jesuitenmission in China, sammelte die Briefwechsel der Chinamissionare und begann mit ihrer Veröffentlichung. Der erste Band, der 1702 erschien, erfuhr eine gute Aufnahme, es folgen im Jahresrhythmus weitere sieben Bände (vol. I-VIII). Als Titel gab er der Sammlung Lettres édifiantes et curieuses, écrites des Missions Etrangères par quelques Missionnaires de la Compagnie de Jésus. Pater Jean Baptiste Du Halde übernahm die Veröffentlichung (von 1709 bis 1743) der Bände IX à XXVI, aus denen er 1735 unter dem Titel Description de la Chine [ . . . ] vier gesonderte Bände herausgab. Die Bände XXVII, XXVIII, XXXI, XXXIII, XXXIV erschienen von 1749 bis 1776, herausgegeben von Pater Patouillet, die letzten Bände (vol. XXIX-XXX-XXXII veröffentlichte Pater Ambrose Maréchal. Die Briefe Riccis sind heute in einer neuen Ausgabe zugänglich: Matteo Ricci: Lettere (1580-1609). A cura di Francesco D’Arelli. Macerata: Quodlibet 2001. Das Frontispiz ist online zu finden unter http://www.hcs.harvard.edu/soundingschina/j esuitsobj3..html. (zuletzt konsultiert am 1.7.2017). Allerdings unterschiebt der Kommentar zu dem Bild einer der beiden Figuren eine falsche Identität. Der neben Matteo Ricci stehende Gelehrte ist nicht der chinesische Mandarin Xu Guangqi, sondern der oben genannte Jesuit Adam Schall von Bell, wie aus Kirchers Ausführungen zu dessen Mandarin-Gewand (S. 113) eindeutig hervorgeht (China Monumentis Illustrata. Unveränderter Nachdruck der Ausgabe von 1667. Frankfurt/M.: Minerva 1966). Das Bildnis findet sich zwischen den Seiten 114 und 115 von Kirchers China Illustrata.

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später mehrfach als Frontispiz verwendet wurde, z.B. auf dem Umschlag der Quodlibet-Ausgabe der Werke Riccis aus dem Jahre 20004 sowie dem Cover der Ricci-Monographie von Michela Fontana5 . Da Riccis Bedeutung für die Vermittlung europäischer Philosophie, Wissenschaft und Kultur in China, seine Missionstätigkeit und seine Anpassung an die chinesische Lebensweise und Kultur, seine Wahrnehmung Chinas, auch seiner heterogenen Zeichenwelt, als einer „anderen Welt“, die gleichberechtigt neben Europa angesehen werden konnte6 , schon ausreichend behandelt wurde, richtet sich mein hauptsächliches Augenmerk darauf, die Spuren zu entdecken, die die Berichte Riccis über China in der europäischen Kulturwelt, in den Werken europäischer Philosophen und Schriftsteller hinterlassen haben. Nach einer Würdigung der Figur des Padre Matteo Ricci im Rahmen seiner Missionstätigkeit in China, wo er die sehr kluge Strategie der Anpassung und Integration in die Kultur des zu missionierenden Landes, aufbauend auf perfekter Sprachkenntnis, betrieb, werde ich auf die Bedeutung eingehen, die er für die Verbreitung der chinesischen Gedankenwelt im 18. Jahrhundert in Europa gewonnen hat. Dabei werde ich besonders auf die Spuren eingehen, die die Zeugnisse Riccis in den Werken europäischer Intellektueller wie Leibniz und Goethe hinterlassen haben. Die doppelte Rolle als Vermittler sowohl der europäischen Kultur und Wissenschaft mit Fokus auf der christlichen Lehre in China, die dort eine ungewöhnliche, bis heute gültige Rezeption erfahren hat, sowie seine Berichte über China, die besonders im Europa des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts einen wesentlichen Beitrag zur Kenntnis der chinesischen Kultur 4

5

6

Matteo Ricci: Della entrata della Compagnia di Giesù e Christianità nella Cina. Hg. Piero Corradini & Maddalena Del Gatto. Vorwort F. Mignini. Macerata: Quodlibet 2000. Fontana, Michela: Matteo Ricci. Un gesuita alla corte dei Ming. Milano: Oscar Mondadori 2008. Vgl. Filippo Mignini im Kapitel „L’Europa di Matteo Ricci e l’altro mondo della Cina“ seines Buches Padre Matteo Ricci – L’Europa alla corte dei Ming (Mignini 2003: 16): „Che cosa consentì a Ricci di entrare così profondamente in sintonia con l’anima cinese, al punto da essere riconosciuto come un figlio di quella terra e considerato uno dei grandi di quel Paese nell’altare elevato a Pechino alla fine del secondo millennio? – La prima ragione sembra essere stata la sua capacità di riconoscere la Cina come un „altro mondo.“ L’espressione, che è dello stesso Ricci, va preso alla lettera. Significa anzitutto che egli riconobbe quel Paese come un „mondo“, a differenza di tutti gli altri paesi con i quali l’Europa era venuta in contatto.“

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und Philosophie geleistet haben, lassen Matteo Ricci als den vielleicht bedeutendsten kulturellen Vermittler zwischen China und Europa erscheinen. Deshalb ist es auch nicht verwunderlich, dass im Jahre 2010 zur 400Jahr-Feier des Todes des Jesuitenpaters eine beachtliche Anzahl von Veröffentlichungen erschienen ist. In seiner Geburtsstadt Macerata und in Rom, genauer: im Vatikan, dem Ort seiner Ausbildung, sind Ausstellungen veranstaltet worden, die wie schon frühere Ausstellungen und Veröffentlichungen sich jedoch fast ausschließlich mit der Bedeutung Matteo Riccis als Vermittler europäischer Kultur und Wissenschaft und der katholischen Religion in China befasst haben. Der Einfluss der chinesischen Philosophie und Kultur in Europa, die wir den Zeugnissen und der Vermittlung Matteo Riccis verdanken, ist ein seltener behandeltes Thema der Forschung, wenn auch der Großteil der Veröffentlichungen über Matteo Ricci diesen Aspekt erwähnen, besonders seinen Einfluss auf die Gedankenwelt der Aufklärung, auf Voltaire und Christian Wolff. Hinsichtlich des Einflusses Riccis auf Leibniz und die Philosophie der Aufklärung hat Thomas Fuchs die Lücke zum Teil geschlossen7 ; nur eine Veröffentlichung (Grüning 19848 ) hat sich bisher mit dem durch Ricci vermittelten Einfluss der chinesischen Philosophie auf Goethe beschäftigt, ein Thema, das in diesem Beitrag aufgenommen und erweitert wird. Ein von Bettina Brandt und Daniel Leonhard Purdy 2016 herausgegebener Sammelband in der Reihe German and European Studies der Universität Toronto hat sich mit China in the German Enlightenment beschäftigt, wobei besonders zwei Beiträge auch die Rolle Matteo Riccis als Bahnbrecher hervorgehoben haben9 . Einer der bekanntesten Kenner Matteo Riccis, Filippo Mignini, der Verfasser einer aktuellen Biographie Riccis10 und Leiter des Forschungszen7

8

9

10

Vgl. Thomas Fuchs: „The European China-receptions from Leibniz to Kant.“ Translation by Martin Schönfeld. In Journal of Chinese Philosophy vol. 33, fasc.1. 2006. S. 35-49. Hans-Georg Grüning, „Goethe e il pensiero cinese. La mediazione del P.Matteo Ricci.“ In Atti del Convegno Internazionale di Studi Ricciani. Macerata-Roma 22-25 Ottobre 1982. Macerata: Centro Studi Ricciani 1984. S. 93-99. China in the German Enlightenment. Hg. Bettina Brandt & Daniel Leonhard Purdy. Toronto & Buffalo & London: University of Toronto Press 2016; darin: Franklin Perkins: „Leibniz on the existence of Philosophy in China“ (60-79); John K. Noyes: „Eradicating the Orientalists: Goethe’s Chinesisch-deutsche Jahres- und Tageszeiten“ (142-164). Filippo Mignini: Matteo Ricci. Il chiosco delle fenici. Ancona: Il Lavoro Editoriale 2004 (2. Aufl. 2009). Siehe auch Ronnie Po-chia Hsia’s Monographie Matteo Ricci and the Catholic Mission to China, 1583-1610. Indianapolis 2016.

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trums Centro di Studi Ricciani (Macerata), schreibt Matteo Ricci eine vorrangige Bedeutung für die Kenntnis Chinas in Europas zu. Eine globale Würdigung Riccis als Vorläufer der Sinologie unterstreicht die Kompetenz des Jesuitenpaters hinsichtlich der chinesischen Sprache, Kultur, Philosophie, der Gesetze, der Sitten und Gebräuche: Primo occidentale che nella storia sia riuscito a vincere il millenario isolamento della Cina, conquistandone la fiducia attraverso una conoscenza profondissima della lingua, civiltà, leggi e costumi e grazie a una condotta morale onorata dai saggi confuciani e leale nei confronti della Nazione che lo ospitava. In virtù della prodigiosa memoria, aveva acquisito una conoscenza dei classici cinesi capace di sbalordire i migliori letterati del tempo; ancora oggi Ricci è considerato uno dei più grandi sinologi della storia11 .

Die Verbreitung der Nachrichten über China in Europa verdankt man, wie schon erwähnt, der lateinischen Übersetzung der Handschriften Riccis durch seinen Ordensbruder und Reisegefährten in China, den französischen Jesuitenpater Nicholas Trigault. Diese Übersetzung, erschienen 1615 in Augsburg, trägt den Titel De Christiana Expeditione apud Sinas suscepta ab Societate Jesu: Ex Patris Matthaei Ricii eiusdem Societatis Commentariis. Die italienischen Originalhandschriften Riccis wurden zufällig 1909 von dem Jesuitenpater Tacchi Venturi im Archiv des Jesuitenordens aufgefunden und 1911 mit dem Titel I Commentari della Cina in den Opere storiche veröffentlicht. Die zeitgenössischen Übersetzungen der lateinischen Übersetzung von Nicolas Trigault De Christiana Expeditione apud Sinas in moderne europäische Sprachen sind die folgenden: 1. 2. 3. 4.

die Übersetzung ins Italienische durch Antonio Sozzini von 1615; die Übersetzung ins Französische durch Riquebourg-Trigault von 1616; die Übersetzung ins Deutsche, in Augsburg 1617 veröffentlicht; die Übersetzung ins Spanische von Duarte Fernandez, Sevilla 1621.

Die englische Übersetzung von 1625 A Discourse of the Kingdome of China, taken out of Ricius and Trigautius, ist eine Teilübersetzung und besteht, wie der Titel erklärt, aus Stücken, die sowohl aus Riccis als auch aus Trigaults Version stammen. 11

Filippo Mignini: „Matteo Ricci: un’esperienza paradossale.“ In Nuova Informazione Bibliografica, Anno VII, n.4, ottobre/novembre 2010. S. 657.

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Die viel spätere Ausgabe des italienischen Originaltextes sowie die historischen Übersetzungen der lateinischen Erstausgabe von Riccis ChinaBuch seien hier zusammengestellt, zuzüglich einiger neuerer Übersetzungen, davon eine ins Chinesische: Italienische Originalausgabe Matteo Ricci: I Commentari della Cina. In Opere storiche del P. Matteo Ricci S.J.: edite a cura del comitato per le onoranze nazionali con prolegomeni, note e tavole dal P. Pietro Tacchi Venturi S.J. Macerata: Filippo Giorgetti 1911. Lateinische Übersetzung (des italienischen Manuskripts) Nicolas Trigault: De Christiana Expeditione apud Sinas suscepta ab Societate Jesu: Ex Patris Matthaei Ricii eiusdem Societatis Commentariis / Auctore Patre Nicolao Trigautio. Augsburg: Christoph Mang 1615. Italienische Übersetzungen (der lateinischen Erstausgabe) Entrata nella China de’ padri della Compagnia del Gesù. Tolta dai Commentarij del P. Matteo Ricci di detta Compagnia. Dove si contengono i costumi, le leggi & ordini di quel Regno e i principij difficilissimi della nascente Chiesa e con molta accuratezza e con molta fede. Opera del P. Nicolao Trigauci Padre di detta Compagnia, & in molti luoghi da lui accresciuta e revista. Volgarizzata dal Signor Antonio Sozzini da Sarzana. In Napoli. Per Lazzaro Scoriggio 1622; Neuauflage dieser Übersetzung: Matteo Ricci / Nicolas Trigault: Entrata nella China de’ padri della Compagnia del Gesù, 1582-1610, volgarizzazione di Antonio Sozzini (1622). Introduzione di J. Shih e C. Laurenti. Roma: Edizioni Paoline 1983. Französische Übersetzungen Histoire de l’expédition chrétienne au royaume de la Chine entreprise par les PP. de la Compagnie de Jésus [ . . . ] tiré de commentaires du P. Mathieu Riccius par le P. Nicolas Trigault [ . . . ] et nouvellement traduit par le Sr D. F. de Riquebourg-Trigault, Lyon : H. Cardon 1616 ; neuere Ed. : Lille 1617, Paris 1618 (trad. par T.C.D.A.) und 1908 ; weitere Ed. : Histoire de l’expédition chrétienne au royaume de la Chine : 1582-1610. Introduction par J. Shih S. J., établissement du texte et annotations de G. Bessière, tables et index par J. Dehergne S.J. Paris : Desclée De Brouwer & Montréal : Bellarmin 1978. Englische Übersetzungen A Discourse of the Kingdome of China, taken out of Ricius and Trigautius. In Purchas (S.), Purchas his Pilgrimes etc. pt. 3, 1625, fol. (Auszug). Erste

D IE A NBAHNUNG KULTURELLER UND SPRACHLICHER B EZIEHUNGEN 161 Gesamtausgabe: China that was; China as discovered by the Jesuits at the close of the sixteenth century. Ed. L. J. Gallagher S.J. Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Company 1942; neue Ed.: China in the sixteenth century: the Journals of Matthew Ricci, 1583-1610. Ed. by Nicolas Trigault, transl. from the Latin by Louis J. Gallagher S.J., with a foreword by R. J. Cushing, Archbishop of Boston. New York: Random House 1953; 1970. Deutsche Übersetzung Historia von Einfuehrung der Christlichen Religion in dass grosse Koenigreich China durch die Societet Jesu. Sambt wol gegrundten bericht von beschaffenhaitt dess Landts und volcks, auch desselbigen gesatzen, sitten, und gewonhaitten. Aus dem Lateinischen R. P. N. Trigautii [ . . . ], Augspurg 1617. Spanische Übersetzung Istoria de la China y cristiana empresa hecha en ella por la Compañia de Jesus, que de los escritos del Padre Mateo Ricci [ . . . ] traduzida de lengua latina por el Licenciado Duarte (Fernandez). Sevilla 1621. Chinesische Übersetzung Li Madou Zhongguo zha ji / Li Madou Jin Nige zhu. He Gaoji, Wang Zhunzhong, Li Shen yi; HeZhaowu jiao (Übs. der engl.Version L.J. Gallagher’s von 1953). Beijing 1983.

II Missionstätigkeit dank einer mehrsprachigen, multikulturellen Strategie Wie ich schon oben angedeutet habe, war die Missionstätigkeit der Jesuiten12 im Allgemeinen durch eine sehr sorgfältige sprachliche und kulturelle Vorbereitung gekennzeichnet. Matteo Ricci ist ein gutes Beispiel für diese Missionsstrategie, die man als „Enkulturation“ bezeichnet hat, nach Duden „das Hineinwachsen des Einzelnen in die Kultur der ihn umgebenden Gesellschaft“, was seine positive Aufnahme in der den Fremden eher abgeneigten chinesischen Gesellschaft ermöglicht hat. Wie Historiker und Ethnologen übereinstimmend feststellen, war der Zugang in das Reich der Mitte für Fremde fast unmöglich, so dass Matteo Riccis Unternehmen in China als Pionierleistung allgemein anerkannt 12

Vgl. hierzu Diego Poli: „Linguistica e strategie della comunicazione gesuitiche in Matteo Ricci.“ In Annali della Facoltà di Lettere e Filosofia della Università di Macerata XXII-XXIII, 1989-1990, tomo II, Padova: Editrice Antenore. S. 459-483.

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wird, da er sowohl gut aufgenommen wurde, aber auch fähig war, sich nach dem jesuitischen Prinzip der „Enkulturation“ in die Lebensart, Kultur und Philosophie zu integrieren. Das ging soweit, dass Ricci, wie Nicolas Standaert bemerkt, von der chinesischen Kultur grundlegend „geprägt“ wurde13 . Statt seines Ordensgewands drapierte er sich in ein Mandarin-Kostüm, mit welchem er zum ikonographischen Monument wurde, samt seines in Sinogrammen gezeichneten Namens14 . Er nahm den Namen Li Madou an, mit dem die Chinesen ihn phonetisch und syntaktisch in ihre Sprache übersetzten: der für Chinesen charakteristische Lambdazismus verwandelte das anlautende R des Nachnamens Ricci in ein L, und der zu Madou veränderte Vorname Matteo wurde dem Familiennamen nachgestellt entsprechend der chinesischen Wortstellung bei Eigennamen (Fontana 2005: 73)15 . Umgekehrt hatte Matteo Ricci alias Li Madou die chinesische Sprache so gut assimiliert, dass deren Strukturen bisweilen in seine italienischen Briefe einflossen, z.B. die im Chinesischen geläufige Hinzufügung des Wortes groß zu einem wichtigen Sachwort wie das ein Grundnahrungsmittel bezeichnende Wort Reis, das dann im Italienischen „il gran riso“ ergab16 . Dieses war geeignet, vielleicht sogar darauf angelegt, beim Leser ein Lächeln oder gar ‚großes Lachen‘ auszulösen. Darüber hinaus hat Ricci zahlreiche Abhandlungen auf Chinesisch, z.B. das ‚Traktat über die Freundschaft‘ (Jiaouyou lun, 1595), sowie das erste europäisch-chinesische Wörterbuch (zusammen mit Michele Ruggieri S.J., 1584-1588) verfaßt17 . Nachdem die von Ricci und den zeitgenössischen Jesuitenmissionaren in China vertretene Politik der Gleichstellung der chinesischen Weltanschauung mit der westlich christlichen Weltsicht vom Jesuitenorden nicht mehr als gültig angesehen wurde und somit Riccis Chinabild und auch seine 13

14

15

16 17

Nicolas Standaert S.J.: „Matteo Ricci ‚plasmato‘ dalla cultura cinese.“ In Antonio Paolucci & Giovanni Morello (Hg.): Ai crinali della storia. Padre Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) fra Roma e Pechino. Torino & Londra & Venezia & New York: Allemandi 2009. S. 4956. Siehe die oben zitierten Beispiele bei Kircher, Corradini/del Gatto und Fontana; die Sinogramme finden sich in der Abbildung bei Kircher (1667/1966 zwischen S. 114 und 115); bei Fontana sind sie durch die Titelvignette verdeckt. Siehe auch die oben angegebene bibliographische Referenz der chinesischen Übersetzung von Riccis Werk (1983) sowie das Sinogramm des Namens Li Madou in der zitierten Quodlibet-Ausgabe (2000, S. 679). Della entrata (2000), S. 12. Auszüge daraus und bibliographische Auflistung der chinesischsprachigen Texte Riccis in Della entrata (2000), S.XLI-XLII und „Tavole“ (zwischen S.LXIII und S. 1).

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Figur verschwand, überlebte jedoch sein Chinabild in der Philosophie und der Literatur, besonders mittels der durch die Anthologien des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts überlieferten Berichte über China. Dies könnte auch die Erklärung dafür sein, dass Goethe den Pater Ricci nicht namentlich anführt, sondern eben allgemein von „der Jesuit“ spricht. In dem allgemeinen Rahmen, den Thomas Fuchs für die Rezeption des chinesischen Gedankenguts in der europäischen Philosophie aufstellt, unterstreicht dieser die Bedeutung der Jesuiten als Vermittler und besonders die von Matteo Ricci als erstem Europäer, der die chinesische Philosophie in Europa bekannt gemacht hat und dadurch wesentlich zur Welle der Sinophilie beigetragen hat. Die Sinophilie hat ihre Früchte besonders in der Philosophie der Aufklärung gezeitigt und ist mit der Aufhebung des Jesuitenordens am Ende des 18. Jahrhunderts abgeflaut. Goethes Interesse hinkt somit zeitlich etwas hinterher. Thomas Fuchs zählt auch den preußischen König Friedrich den Großen zu denjenigen Denkern der Aufklärung, die die chinesische „praktische“ Philosophie geschätzt haben: „Like Wolff and Voltaire, Frederick claimed the Superiority of China’s practical philosophy“ (Fuchs 2006: 44). Unter den Philosophen und Literaten, die sich mit chinesischer Philosophie, Kultur und Sitten beschäftigt haben, richte ich meine Aufmerksamkeit auf zwei herausragende Persönlichkeiten, bei denen man eine direkte Verbindung zu Matteo Ricci feststellen kann: den Philosophen Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz und Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

III Leibniz Leibniz’ Beschäftigung mit China hat sich zunächst artikuliert im Vorwort und in der Rezension zu den NOVISSIMA SINICA des portugiesischen Jesuiten Giuseppe Suario (1697); in der damals üblichen lateinischen Gelehrtensprache ausgedrückt, handelt es sich um die Schriften „G.G. Leibnitii Praefatio libro inscripto Novissima Sinica“ und die „Recensio libri inscripti Novissima Sinica“. Hiermit und mit weiteren Veröffentlichungen und Briefen zum Thema China hat der Philosoph zu der Verbreitung chinesischen Gedankenguts in Europa einen bedeutenden Beitrag geleistet. In dem Vorwort und der Rezension ist Leibniz auf die Rolle Matteo Riccis als Vermittler chinesischen Gedankengutes eingegangen. Während er in dem Vorwort Ricci als „Vermittler“ europäischen Wissens in China herausstreicht –

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„Riccius Sinensibus primus quid Europaei possent sub initium seculi huius ostenderat“18 –, gibt er in der Rezension, nachdem er auf die misslungenen Versuche von Franz Xaver und Angehörigen anderer Orden hingewiesen hat, Matteo Ricci als den ersten Europäer an, dem es gelang, in China aufgenommen zu werden: Equidem seculum jam, & quod excedit, lapsum est, ex quo post tentatum frustra tum à Francisco Xaverio è primis Societatis Jesu Patribus, tum ab aliorum religiosorum Ordinum Sociis nonnullis in Sinam ingressum, utpote quo exteri omnes lege publica prohibebantur, P. Mattheo Riccio eiusque commilitonibus tam felicibus licuit, ut comparata sibi Sinensi linguæ peritia, & Proceribus nonnullis per insignem Matheseos & Astronomiæ inprimis, qua pollebant, scientiam conciliatis, clam sensimque, his conniventibus in diversas Sinici Imperii provincias ad spargendum Evangelii semen penetrarint, stationemque passim ac denique in ipsa Pekinensi aula fixerint. Quorum progressum historiam ex ipsis P. Riccii commentariis P. Nicolaus Trigautius, editis an. 1616 de Christiana expeditione apud Sinas suscepta ab Societate Jesu libris V. curatè descripsit19 .

Leibniz unterstreicht hier die Kenntnis der chinesischen Sprache, besonders aber auch Riccis Kenntnis der Mathematik und der Astrologie, als Voraussetzung für die Aufnahme in China und die Möglichkeit, in China eine Missionstätigkeit auszuüben, und er weist außerdem auf Trigaults Veröffentlichung von Riccis Aufzeichnungen hin. Darüber hinaus hat Leibniz ein Traktat mit dem Titel Lettre de M. Leibniz sur la philosophie chinoise, à Monsieur De Remond veröffentlicht, in dem er die Meinung Matteo Riccis hinsichtlich der linguistisch-semantischen Diskussion über die Bedeutung von Xangti und Tien-chu, den Herrn des Himmels, zitiert. Wenn wir uns nun fragen, wie Leibniz zur Kenntnis des Buches Matteo Riccis über China gekommen ist, könnte man annehmen, dass er diese Gelegenheit erhielt anlässlich seines langen Rom-Aufenthaltes ab 1689, und zwar dank der Vermittlung des Jesuiten Grimaldi, der als Missionar in China tätig war und mit dem er während dessen Aufenthalts in China auch einen intensiven Briefwechsel20 unterhalten hatte. Doch kommt als direkte 18

19 20

Gothofredi Guillelmi Leibnitii: Opera omnia, nunc primum collecta. In Classes distributa, præfationibus & indicibus exornata, Tom. IV, 1768. S. 83. Ebd. S. 87. Vgl. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz: Writings on China. Translated with an Introduction, Notes and Commentaries by Daniel J.Cook and Henry Rosemont jr. Chicago and La

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Quelle gewiss auch das Buch Trigaults in Frage, das ja neben der lateinischen auch in mehrfachen Übersetzungen in die französische, die italienische und die deutsche Sprache vorlag. In der Tat hat Leibniz sich in der Lettre de M. Leibniz sur la philosophie chinoise, à Monsieur De Remond, bei dem letzteren für die Zusendung von Schriften über China bedankt, unter denen höchst wahrscheinlich auch die von Trigault verfasste französische Version von Matteo Riccis Werk enthalten war, wie die Hervorhebung der älteren China-Autoren nahelegt: J’ai pris plaisir de parcourir les livres que vous m’avez envoyès sur les sentimens des Chinois. J’incline à croire que leurs Auteurs, & surtout les anciens, reçoivent un sens raisonnable, & qu’il ne faut point faire difficulté de le leur donner, malgré les sentimens de quelques modernes21.

Leibniz bezeichnet in der Folge Pater Nicola Longobardi als „successeur du P. Matthieu Ricci, fondateur de la mission de la Chine“. Pater Longobardi habe das Verhalten und die Erklärungen Riccis den kaiserlichen und wissenschaftlichen Autoritäten gegenüber als „accommodantes“22 bezeichnet und als nicht angebracht kritisiert, weil diese Strategie zum einen auf den Widerstand einiger Jesuiten traf, zum anderen weil sie bei einigen einflußreichen Mandarinen am Kaiserlichen Hof Verachtung hervorrief. Das bedeutet aber auch, daß Matteo Riccis Strategie als Missionar, wie schon oben gesagt, sehr elastisch war und durch einen weitgehenden Respekt für die Religion und die Philosophie der Chinesen charakterisiert war. Leibniz nun teilt Longobardis Kritik an Riccis Strategie durchaus nicht, sondern verteidigt die Position Riccis und der Missionare, die seinem Beispiel gefolgt sind: C’est le véritable moyen de corriger tout doucement, sans en faire semblant, ceux qui se sont écartés de la vérité, & méme de leur propre antiquité. Cela fait voir qu’on ne doit point se laisser rebuter d’abord par les difficultés, & que le P. Martinius, & ceux qui sont de son sentiment, ont fait sagement de suivre l’avis du Pére Ricci & autres grands hommes, & de maintenir ces explications malgré

21

22

Salle: Open Court 1997; in der Einleitung liefern die Herausgeber Hinweise über die Quellen von Leibnizens Kenntnis Chinas (S. 23-56), und über die Vermittlerrolle des Paters Grimaldi. G. W. Leibniz (1646-1716): Lettre sur la philosophie chinoise à M. de Rémond. Genève, 1748. „Du sentiment des Chinois sur Dieu, l’âme, la vie, la mort.“ (section I, paragraphe I). S. 169. Ebd.

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H ANS -G EORG G RÜNING les oppositions des péres Emmanuel Diaz, Nicolas Lombardi Jésuites, & du Pére Antoine de Sainte Marie, Franciscain, & malgré le mépris de plusieurs Mandarins23.

Leibniz hat dazu in Paris 1701 Longobardis Traité sur quelques points de la religion des Chinois24 veröffentlicht und kommentiert; er diente ihm als Grundlage für seine Disputation in der Lettre à Monsieur de Remond. Von Matteo Riccis Gedanken interessieren Leibniz besonders die, die sich mit dem Konzept der Gottheit befassen. Leibniz beschreibt dieses Konzept in seiner Lettre folgendermaßen: Le Pére Ricci étant entré en Chine & s’y étant arrêté quelque temps, a cru, que par ce XANGTI on pourrait entendre le Seigneur du Ciel & de la Terre, & en un mot, nôtre Dieu, qu’il appelloit aussi TIEN-CHU, le Seigneur du Ciel. Et c’est sous ce dernier mot qu’on entendait ordinairement le Dieu des Chrétiens dans la Chine25 .

Ausgehend von Riccis Definition diskutiert Leibniz dann die Meinungen und Theorien der anderen Missionare Longobardi, Sainte Marie und Grimaldi.

IV Goethe Wenn wir bei Leibniz die direkte Quelle der Kenntnis Matteo Riccis und seiner Gedanken nur vermuten oder aus seinen Werken und Briefen erschließen können, dass ihm nämlich die Lektüre von Pater Trigault und das Zeugnis von Pater Grimaldi dazu die Gelegenheit geboten hatte, so verhält es sich bei Goethes Quelle anders. Denn Goethe gibt präzise Angaben zur Quelle seiner Kenntnis Riccis, auch wenn der Name nicht genannt wird und durch die Standesbezeichnung „der Jesuit“ ersetzt wird: diese Quelle trägt den Titel Neu-polirter Geschicht-, Kunst- und Sittenspiegel ausländischer Völcker fürnemlich der Sineser [. . . ], von Erasmo Francisci, veröffentlicht in Nürnberg 1670. In dem dritten Brief vom 13.Januar 1798 an Schiller, der 23 24

25

Ebd. S. 170. Niccolò Longobardi: Traité sur quelques points de la religion des Chinois. Paris: Louis Guerrin 1701. S. 186. G. W. Leibniz: Lettre de M. Leibniz sur la philosophie chinoise, à Monsieur De Remond. A.a.O. (section II, paragraphe XXIII). S. 186.

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von diesem Kennenlernen des „Jesuiten“ handelt, zitiert Goethe das Buch26 , aus dem er den Text genommen hat, den er Schiller am 6. Januar zugesandt hatte: Das tolle philosophische Gespräch ist aus des Erasmus Francisci neupolirtem Geschicht-, Kunst- und Sittenspiegel, einem abgeschmackten Buche, das aber manchen für uns brauchbaren Stoff enthält27 .

Francisci seinerseits gibt in der „Die ungeschickten Schlusz-Künstler“ genannten Geschichte (I, 11) seine Quelle an, nämlich Trigautius, den Jesuitenpater Trigault: „Einen solchen unzeitigen Disputanten beschreibt Trigautius / im Vierdten Buch von der Christlichen Expedition bey den Sinesern“28 – in der neuen italienischen Ausgabe von Riccis China-Buch (Della entrata 2000) trägt diese Geschichte die Überschrift „Grande Disputa che il P. Matteo Ricci hebbe con un Ministro de gli Idoli molto famoso sopre le cose della santa Fede“ (IV, 7). Francisci nennt auch mehrmals in der Geschichte Matteo Ricci beim Namen sowohl in der lateinischen korrekten Form „Pater Matthaeus Riccius“ als auch in anderen Formen wie „Pater Riccio“ oder „Pater Matthaeo Riccio“. Goethe kannte also den Namen, doch zog er es vor, ihn anonym als „Jesuiten“ zu benennen, in einer Zeit als der Jesuitenorden verboten war und der Name Jesuit nicht unbedingt positiv konnotiert war. Diese Entdeckung von 1797, wie bereits angedeutet, bewirkte bei Goethe, der ja schon eine Kenntnis der chinesischen Literatur und Kultur hauptsächlich durch die seit der Aufklärung bekannten Bücher über China von François Noël (Sinensis Imperii Classici Libri Sex, Prag 1711) und JeanBaptiste du Halde (Description de la Chine, Paris 1735) besaß, eine neue Haltung der chinesischen Philosophie gegenüber. Die Chinamode mit ihren Auswirkungen auf den Geschmack in den Künsten, im Kunsthandwerk, in der Architektur und in den Parkanlagen war noch aktuell in Europa, während bei Goethe die „Chinoiserie“ vom Typ „rococo“ mit seiner Vorliebe für die Klassik der Antike in Konflikt getreten war. So nimmt er in seinem 26

27

28

Erasmus Francisci: Neu-polirter Geschicht- Kunst- und Sittenspiegel ausländischer Völcker fürnemlich der Sineser [. . . ], Nürnberg 1670. Goethe hatte das Buch von 1797-1206 bis 1798-11-10 ausgeliehen (Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek, Weimar). Hans Gerhard Gräf & Albert Leitzmann (Hg.): Der Briefwechsel zwischen Schiller und Goethe. Frankfurt a.M. & Wien & Zürich: Büchergilde Gutenberg 1964. S. 423. Francisci, a.a.O., S. 41.

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kurzen Gedicht Der Chinese in Rom (1797) den chinesischen Geschmack, besonders in der Architektur, als Beispiel, um eine bizarre und dekadente Einstellung zu kennzeichnen. In seiner Correspondance littéraire, philosophique et critique hatte Friedrich Melchior, Baron Grimm, am 15. September 1766 eine ähnliche Meinung ausgesprochen: L’empire de la Chine est devenu, de notre temps, un objet particulier d’attention, d’étude, de recherches et de raisonnement. Les missionnaires ont d’abord intéressé la curiosité publique par des relations merveilleuses d’un pays très-éloigné qui ne pouvait ni confirmer leur véracité, ni réclamer contre leurs mensonges. Les philosophes se sont ensuite emparés de la matière, et en ont tiré, suivant leur usage, un parti étonnant pour s’élever avec force contre des abus qu’ils croyaient bons à détruire dans leur pays. Ensuite les bavards ont imité le ramage des philosophes, et ont fait valoir leurs lieux communs par des amplifications prises à la Chine. Par ce moyen ce pays est devenu en peu de temps l’asile de la vertu, de la sagesse et de la félicité ; son gouvernement, le meilleur possible, comme le plus ancien ; sa morale, la plus pure et la plus belle qui soit connue ; ses lois, sa police, ses arts, son industrie, autant de modèles à proposer à tous les autres peuples de terre . . . 29 .

In diesem Text wird die Bedeutung und die sehr positive Aufnahme besonders um die Mitte des 18. Jahrhunderts von all dem, was aus China stammte und mit China verbunden war, unterstrichen. Grimm stellt dabei die wichtige Rolle heraus, die die Missionare, die zum größten Teil aus Jesuiten bestanden, für die Entwicklung der westlichen Philosophie gespielt haben. Wenn er auch Trigaults lateinische Übersetzung des Berichts von Matteo Ricci von 1615 und die anderen Übersetzungen nicht nennt, so ist die Anspielung auf sie sehr deutlich erkennbar. Baron von Grimm sieht diese außergewöhnliche Aufnahme sehr kritisch als eine Mode und als eine Strategie, aber hauptsächlich als Mittel, um Europa und seinem nunmehr schon verdorbenen System sozusagen einen Spiegel vorzuhalten. Goethe hatte diese Mode, die „Chinoiserie“, aufgenommen, aber er hatte keine Kenntnis der Quellen, d.h. der Rolle Matteo Riccis dabei. Dank der durch Francisci erlangten Kenntnis des Disputs zwischen Matteo Ricci und dem Götzendiener Sanhoai verschiebt sich Goethes Aufmerksamkeit von ästhetischen und materiellen Aspekten zu geistigen und 29

Correspondance littéraire, philosophique et critique de Grimm et de Diderot. Tome Cinquième 1766-1768. Paris: Furne. S. 150 f.

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philosophischen. In seinem ersten Brief an Schiller vom 3. Januar 1798 schreibt er diesbezüglich: Sie erhalten alsdann auch eine Abschrift eines alten Gesprächs zwischen einem Chinesischen Gelehrten und einem Jesuiten, in welchem jener sich als ein schaffender Idealist, dieser als ein völliger Reinholdianer zeigt. Dieser Fund hat mich unglaublich amüsiert und mir eine gute Idee von dem Scharfsinn der Chineser gegeben30.

Um Goethes Lob besser verstehen zu können, zitieren wir zunächst die sich auf dieses Streitgespräch beziehende Textstelle bei Francisci: Ehe wir recht miteinander anbinden / wünsche ich / von dir zu vernehmen // was du / vom ersten Anfang Himmels und der Erden / haltest / wie auch von dem Schöpfer der andren Dinge / den wir / mit einem Wort / den Himmels=Herrn nennen? // Befragter gab zur Antwort: Ich leugne zwar nicht / dasz ein solcher Regent Himmels und der Erden werde gefunden: vermeine aber / er sey von keiner sonders grossen Majestet / Krafft und Göttlicher Gewalt. Sintemal auch ich (sprach er weiter) und ein jedwelcher andrer Mensch / ihm gleich seynd / und ihm / in keinem Dinge / weichen. Disz alles schwätzte der stoltze Heyde / mit so unverschämter Stirn /dasz er selber wol für etwas grössers wolte angesen seyn / und also / in dieser seiner heydnischen Finsternisz / wol für eine Erleuchtung und Exempel Göttlicher Gedult zu schätzen war31 .

Die entsprechende originale Passage bei Ricci, die einfacher ist als die „ausgeschmückte“ und interpretierte Version von Francisci, lautet: Disse il Padre: „Prima che disputiamo altra cosa, desidero che mi dichiarate che parere havete voi del primo principio, autore e signore del Cielo e della terra e di tutte le cose create, che sogliamo chiamare Signore del Cielo.“ Disse Sanhoai che vi era questo signore e autore del Cielo [e] della terra, ma che non era cosa molto grande, e che ogni huomo conseguentemente era uguale a lui e non gli cedeva niente. E questo diceva tanto sfacciatamente che anco gli pareva esser qualche cosa maggiore che questo Signore del Cielo“32 .

Der Textteil, der Goethe am meisten interessiert, ist der, in dem Ricci in einer synthetischen Zusammenschau Sanhoai beschuldigt, die menschliche 30 31 32

Briefwechsel, a.a.O., S. 414. Francisci, a.a.O., S. 42f. Matteo Ricci, Della entrata (2012), S. 314.

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Natur auf diesselbe Weise zu betrachten wie die göttliche Natur des Schöpfers von Himmel und Erde, eine Anschauung, die Francisci folgenderweise kommentiert: Es ist aber zu mercken / dasz die Sinische Götzen-Secte / unter andren / diesen schändlichen Irrthum lehre; Gott / und alle übrige Dinge / seyen von einerley Substantz: welcher Irr-Satz allgemach auch in die Schulen der Gelehrten eingeschliechen33.

Dem lateinischen Text Trigaults „Deum esse animam vniversi, & velut vnam magno corporis mentem“ folgend, fügt Francisci hinzu: „[ . . . ] und darauf auszulauffen scheinet, dasz Gott die Seele der gantzen Welt / und gleichsam ein Verstand oder Geist dieses so groszen Körpers sey“34 . Für Goethe, der seit seiner Jugend unter dem Einfluss der Philosophie Giordano Brunos und Baruch Spinozas stand, welche die pantheistische Tendenz seiner Weltanschauung grundgelegt hatten, war dieser Gedanke die Bestätigung seiner philosophischen Überzeugung, dass das Individuum nämlich Teil jener großen Triebkraft ist, die das Universum in Bewegung hält. Dass diese Bestätigung seiner weltanschaulichen Überzeugungen von so weit her gekommen war, verschaffte Goethe große Befriedigung und stellte, wie er Schiller mitteilte, einen Fund dar, der ihn „unglaublich amüsiert“ hatte und ihm eine „gute Idee von dem Scharfsinn der Chineser gegeben“ hatte35 . Die Figur des Götzendieners, des Bonzen Sanhoai, die von Ricci und Goethes direkter Quelle Francisci äußerst negativ dargestellt wird, verwandelt sich so bei Goethe in eine positive Figur, einen „schaffende[n] Idealist[en]“36 , der zudem mit Scharfsinn begabt, den chinesischen Volkscharakter widerspiegele, während sein Widersacher, der Jesuitenmissionar Matteo Ricci, von Goethe „als ein völliger Reinholdianer“37 eingestuft wird. Wenn man in Betracht zieht, welchen Stellenwert die Idee des „Schöpferischen“ in Goethes philosophischem Gebäude einnimmt, kann man die Bedeutung des dem chinesischen Gelehrten von ihm gemachten Kompliments verstehen. Goethe gefiel auch dessen blasphemische Hal33 34 35 36 37

Francisci, a.a.O., S. 45. Ebd. Briefwechsel, a.a.O., S. 414. Ebd. Ebd.

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tung – tatsächlich bezieht sich der größte Teil des Streitgesprächs von seiten des chinesischen Gelehrten auf die Fähigkeit des Menschen, das Universum zu schaffen, zumindest auf ideale Weise, während von seiten Matteo Riccis eine solche Schöpfung nur das Bild der von Gott geschaffenen realen Welt ist. Diese Einstellung des chinesischen Gelehrten lässt stark an die Haltung Goethes denken, der seine Werke des Sturm und Drangs mit dem Mythos des Prometheus, des Symbols der menschlichen Schöpfungskraft, in Verbindung bringt. Sanhoai hat also bei Goethe Gefallen gefunden. So bestätigt er dies in seinem Brief an Schiller vom 6. Januar 1798 hinsichtlich des Vorschlags Riccis an Sanhoai, statt Himmel und Erde eine bloße „Glutpfanne“ (ähnlich der vor ihren Augen befindlichen) zu schaffen: Der Chineser würde mir noch besser gefallen, wenn er die Glutpfanne ergriffen und sie seinem Gegner mit diesen Worten überreicht hätte: „Ja, ich erschaffe sie, da nimm sie zu deinem Gebrauch!“ Ich möchte wissen, was der Jesuite hierauf geantwortet hätte38 .

Diese Auflehnung der Menschen gegen die Gottheit sowie der pantheistische Inhalt, die Goethe beide in dem Disput schätzt und die er selbst in der literarischen Produktion seiner Sturm und Drang-Zeit eingenommen hatte, kennzeichnen auch einige seiner poetischen Werke, die er geschaffen hat, nachdem er durch Francisci den Disput Riccis kennengelernt hatte, besonders Weltseele von 1801, das „Prooemion“ der Sammlung Gott und die Welt von 1815/16 oder das Gedicht Eins und Alles von 1821. Goethes Beschäftigung mit China (1817/18, 1825/27) hat in der Gedichtsammlung Chinesisch-deutsche Jahres- und Tageszeiten ihren Höhepunkt erreicht, die, wie der Sinologe Wolfang Bauer bemerkt, „von echtem chinesischen Fühlen geprägt“ sind39 . 38

39

Briefwechsel, a.a.O., S. 418. Schillers Reaktion auf Goethes begeisterte Parteinahme für den chinesischen Gelehrten Sanhoai in dem Brief vom 12. Januar 1798 war etwas zurückhaltend und kritisch: „Das metaphysische Gespräch des Paters mit dem Chinesen hat mich sehr unterhalten, und es nimmt sich in der gotischen Sprache besonders wohl aus. Ich bin nun ungewiß, wie es in solchen Fällen manchmal geht, ob etwas recht Gescheites oder etwas recht Plattes hinter des Chinesen seinem Räsonnement steckt. Wo haben Sie dies schöne Morceau gefunden? Es wäre ein Spaß, es abdrucken zu lassen mit einer leisen Anwendung auf unsere neuesten Philosophen“ (S. 422). W. Bauer: „Goethe und China: Verständnis und Missverständnis.“ In H. Reiss (Hg.): Goethe und die Tradition. Frankfurt/Main: Athenäum 1972. S. 188.

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Zusammenfassung Wenn wir ein abschließendes Urteil über die Rolle Padre Matteo Riccis im Prozess der kulturellen und sprachlichen Vermittlung zwischen Europa und China geben wollen, so können wir einmal als Pionierleistung Riccis herausstellen, dass er durch seine linguistisch kulturelle Vorbereitung in Rom, Goa und Macao sowie durch seine jesuitische Missionsstrategie der Enkulturation es erreicht hat, in dem für Fremde vorher nicht zugänglichen China aufgenommen worden zu sein, als Lehrmeister europäischer Wissenschaften wie Philosophie, Mathematik, Astronomie, Geographie geschätzt zu werden und auch die Möglichkeit erwirkt zu haben, eine Missionstätigkeit auszuüben, die dann von seinen Nachfolgern fortgesetzt werden konnte. Andererseits haben seine Berichte aus China, die durch Trigault veröffentlicht wurden und in fast alle damals wichtigen europäischen Sprachen übersetzt worden sind, die wissenschaftlich fundierte Kenntnis chinesischer Kultur, besonders der Philosophie, beträchtlich gefördert, wie wir dies an den Beispielen von Leibniz und Goethe versucht haben zu zeigen.

Bibliographie Brandt, Bettina & Daniel L.Purdy (Hg.): China in the German Enlightenment. Toronto & Buffalo & London: University of Toronto Press 2016 (German and European Studies). Delapp, Kevin: „Learning from bad teachers: Leibniz as a propaedeutic for Chinese Philosophy.“ In Comparative Philosophy Volume 7, No. 2 (2016). S. 67-80. Fontana, Michela: Matteo Ricci. Un gesuita alla corte dei Ming. Milano: Oscar Mondadori 2008. Fuchs, Thomas: „The European China-Receptions from Leibniz to Kant.“ Übs. Martin Schönfeld. In Journal of Chinese Philosophy 33 (1) (2006). S. 35-49. Kimura, Naoji: „Goethe und die östliche Philosophie.“ In Revue internationale de philosophie 2009/3 nÆ 249. 325 – 340. Mignini, Filippo: Matteo Ricci – Il chiostro delle fenici. Ancona: Il Lavoro Editoriale 2009. Ders.: „Matteo Ricci: un’esperienza paradossale.“ In Nuova informazione bibliografica, Anno VII, n.4, ottobre/novembre 2010. S. 657-686. Ders. (Hg.): Padre Matteo Ricci – L’Europa alla corte dei Ming. Milano: Mazzotta 2003. Mommsen, Katherina: „Goethe und China in ihren Wechselbeziehungen.“ In Günther Debon & Adrian Hsia (Hg.): Goethe und China, China und Goethe. Be-

D IE A NBAHNUNG KULTURELLER UND SPRACHLICHER B EZIEHUNGEN 173 richt des Heidelberger Symposions. Bern & Frankfurt a.M. & New York: Peter Lang 1985 (Euro-Sinica, 1). Noyes, John K.: „Eradicating the Orientalists: Goethe’s Chinesisch-deutsche Jahres- und Tageszeiten.“ In Brandt 2016, S. 142-164. Paolucci, Antonio & Giovanni Morello (Hg.): Ai crinali della storia. Padre Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) fra Roma e Pechino. Torino & Londra & Venezia & New York: Umberto Allemandi 2009. Perkins, Franklin: „Leibniz on the Existence of Philosophy in China.“ In Brandt 2016, S. 60-79. Hsia, Po-chia Ronnie: Matteo Ricci and the Catholic Mission to China, 1583-1610. Indianapolis: Hackett 2016. Poli, Diego: „Politica linguistica e strategie della comunicazione gesuitiche in Matteo Ricci.“ In Annali della Facoltà di Lettere e Filosofia della Università di Macerata XXII-XXIII, 1989-1990, tomo II, Padova: Editrice Antenore. S. 459-483. Standaert, Nicolas S.J.: „Matteo Ricci ‚plasmato‘ dalla cultura cinese.“ In Paolucci 2009, S. 49-56.

Montage as East-West Poetic Configuration. Ezra Pound’s Translation of Chinese Images Andrés Claro Universidad de Chile, Santiago de Chile

The scene of East-West interlingualism and translation, with its successive mediations and misreadings, with its inventive recreations and unpredictable results, is well summarized in the introductory notice to Cathay (1915): FOR THE MOST PART FROM THE CHINESE OF RIHAKU , FROM THE NOTES OF THE LATE ERNEST FENOLLOSA , AND THE DECIPHERINGS OF THE PROFESSORS MORI AND ARIGA 1

The inverted cone is no unwobbling pivot; it balances on narrow foundations. For, on the face of it, what one gets here are Pound’s poetic versions based on Fenollosa’s previous transcriptions into English of a series of Chinese poems – many of them by Li Po (jap. Rihaku) – deciphered through the intermediary Japanese of Fenollosa’s professor, Kainen Mori, the latter two further assisted by Nagao Ariga, a philosophy student who acted as occasional interpreter (since, if Fenollosa’s Japanese was passable, Mori spoke no English at all). In spite of such mediations, however, the results made history: the impact of the creative restoration of Chinese poetic images in Cathay was perceived as that of a meteorite. Firstly, because the afterlife it gave to the Chinese poems and authors of the past acted as 1

Pound, Ezra: Cathay. Front cover of the original 1915 edition.

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a criticism of the Imperial situation in the present, especially of the Great War during which the translations appeared, placing the emphasis where contemporary Western poetry had not yet learned to place it: not just on the inhumanity of war, but also on broken friendships and, above all, on the suffering and abandonment of the women left behind. Then, the immense impact of Cathay was due to the far-reaching poetic asepsis and insemination it produced: cleansing English of the rhetoricisation of the dominant aestheticism through an unprecedented pared-down language that delivered every one of its simple words as though they were hard, cleanly cut objects from a new world; above all, staging new forms of imagery that allowed the development of montage in English literature amid the wider formal revolution of contemporary aesthetics. The claims might sound excessive – even permissive if one considers Pound’s political aberrations two decades later. But it was indeed amid a sustained antiprovincial and antibelic campaign that what was in many ways a fortuitous East-West encounter allowed Pound to shape the kind of paratactic images with a dynamic effect that contributed to the great revolution of contemporary montage, projecting new configurations, including new forms of metaphysical and historical representation, that go beyond the metaphorico-ontological inertia. Thus, the fact that most readers are struck by the human pathos of the poems in Cathay, that they are moved by the naturalness of its language and imagery, is due not only to the motifs and situations presented, but also to the way the fragmentation and juxtaposition procedures of the dynamic imagery staged promotes a synthesis of the real which, far from spoiling the natural situation concerned by replacing it with an ideal meaning, actually generates a series of vibratory echoes among the elements of a world conceived as an immanent process. This very synthesis by perspectivism and juxtaposition in the dynamic imagery recreated from the Chinese, whose metaphysical horizon had been that of a horizontal Process of correlative events, took beyond the two main ways in which the image and the real had been represented and understood in the history of Western poetics: namely, as a concrete verbal reference or description, whose metaphysical horizon had been objective realism, and as figurative speech, especially metaphor, whose metaphysical horizon had been ontological dualism, with its distinction between the letter and the spirit. No surprise, then, that Pound came to see Chinese poetry and poetics – especially their representation through verbal images or phanopoeia,

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as he was to call it – as a model which could be as important as the classical legacy had been: “It is possible that this century may find a new Greece in China”2 . The transcontinental East-West scene changes hierarchies and directions of influence, then; becomes part of that counter-current genealogy to the inertia of translatio studii et imperii that has gained momentum in postcolonial times, with both empirical and transcendental consequences. Modern Imperial Europe, with its imaginary of the centre and its pretension of a Classical-Christian continuity, had modelled the Oriental and Occidental horizons through its forms of discourse, metaphorically projecting Asia and America as a material domain which points to and must be transported towards the European ideal3 . This contemporary transcontinental encounter between East and West, China and America, in its turn, comes to transform the very forms of representation of Europe. For the impact went far beyond the necessary empirical reconfiguration of the colonial geocultural imaginary; far beyond the relativisation or even inversion of East-West hierarchies (parodist and later deconstructive modes that had already been activated in a trend of Modern European narrative and were to intensify in several trends of South American, Caribbean, Indian and other postcolonial literatures, with their patient discernment of the irreducible hybridism which displaces simple identities and origins). Ultimately, the new forms of East-West imagery had a transcendental impact: they changed the very formal conditions of possibility of representation, where no figuration had been more innovative, decisive and effective for the contemporary world than montage itself. Just as it came to prominence from the 1910s onwards as an unforeseeable effect of a series of encounters with oriental aesthetics across a whole spectrum of the representative arts – from Cubist painting to the later generation of cinematographic language – it determined a new interruptive, polyvalent and less subjective configuration of the historical, of historical experience and of experience as such, in a moment when the events seemed to overwhelm the capacities of the traditional forms rooted in subjective intentionality and metaphorical figuration. If there is a form of 2

3

Pound, Ezra: “The Renaissance”. In: Ezra Pound’s Poetry and Prose. Contributions to Periodicals, vol., II, 10; originally published in 1915. From now on, referred to as EPPP, adding volume, page number and year of the original publication. See “The Historical Evolution of the Figure of East West India” in Alfons Knauth’s contribution to this volume.

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hybridism that makes history here, it is above all the hybridism of the form. For montage, which was to completely revolutionize the dominant ways of synthesizing representation in an increasingly globalized world, arose, as it is almost always the case, as a hybrid figure of mixed origins.

I East-West Poetic Figurations: Pound’s creative translations of Chinese images under the guidance of Fenollosa’s conceptions He doesn’t know a damn thing about China [ . . . ]. That’s what makes him an expert. W. C. W ILLIAMS A very, very good poet can do a version of something from another language, even if he doesn’t know the language. That is, he can write a poem based on somebody else’s prose paraphrases of the thing. But this is purely and simply a matter of the translator’s having a certain kind of poetic skill, a very rare thing to find. J. H OLLANDER Pound is the inventor of Chinese poetry for our time [ . . . ]. This is as much as to say that Chinese poetry, as we know it to-day, is something invented by Ezra Pound. It is not to say that there is a Chinese poetry-in-itself, waiting for some ideal translator; but that Pound had enriched modern English. T. S. E LIOT

The encounter between the legacy of an American oriental art historian of Spanish descent and a young expatriate American poet in London has been recalled by the latter with typical self-assurance: Mrs. Fenollosa did not hand over her husband’s papers to the first academic idiot with a knowledge of pidgin. She had kept them for several years (1908 to 1913) until I met her at Sarojini Naidu’s and had considered them if not as a sacred trust at any rate as a very serious trust, and gave them to me because she had found in my writing qualities which led her to believe that I would edit and present them as Ernest Fenollosa had wished4 .

Ernest Fenollosa had been clear; he wished the literary part of his legacy to be translated as poetry, not as scholarly cribs: “Failure or success in present4

Pound, Ezra: Machine Art & Other Writings, 113.

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ing an alien poetry in English must depend largely upon a workmanship, in the chosen medium. It was perhaps too much to expect that aged scholars who spent their youth in gladiatorial combats with the refractory Chinese characters should succeed also as poets [ . . . ]. [But] Sinologues should remember that the purpose of poetical translation is the poetry, not the verbal definitions in dictionaries”5 . On this poetical horizon, it would have been some of Pound’s previous haiku-like translations, recreations and original poems which would have convinced Mrs. Fenollosa that he was the right man to receive what proved to be the right legacy. For the fact that, despite what was Pound’s ignorance of the Chinese language and Chinese classical poetics, he would have been capable of understanding and translating the linguistic and figurative work of the Image as well as the metaphysical import of the forms of meaning of Chinese classical poetics, was largely due to the way he received this poetry in Fenollosa’s notebooks and to the poetic insights he found in “The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry”. Pound recognizes in more humble terms: It is because Chinese poetry has certain qualities of vivid presentation, that one labours to make a translation, and that I personally am most thankful to the late Ernest Fenollosa for his work in sorting out and gathering many Chinese poems into a form and bulk wherein I can deal with them6 .

To begin with, in the notebooks themselves, Fenollosa provides a variety of perspectives on the Chinese originals, a series of steps which allow one to come to important comparisons and the corresponding insights into the linguistic and poetic forms. For each line of the poem, he first gives a phonetic transcription of the Chinese characters into Japanese pronunciation (e.g. sho hatsu sho fuku gaku); under it, one finds a word-for-word – or, more precisely, a word-for-character – English crib (e.g. mistress hair first 5

6

Fenollosa, Ernest: “The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry” (EPPP III: 327; 1919). Fenollosa adds: “Poetry must render what is said not what is merely meant. Abstract meanings give little vividness, and fullness of imagination gives all. Chinese poetry demands that we abandon our narrow grammatical categories” (EPPP, III: 348; 1919). Pound, Ezra: “Chinese Poetry” (EPPP, III: 84; 1918). Retrospectively, Pound also confesses: “The Fenollosa was a windfall and one struggled against one’s ignorance. One had the inside knowledge of Fenollosa’s notes and the ignorance of a five year old child”. “The Art of Poetry” [The Paris Review Interview, IV] (EPPP, IX: 340; 1962).

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cover brow); finally, one gets a more or less prosaic English version of the line (e.g. My hair was at first covering my brows). Besides these multiple renderings, before or after the poems, but most often in the verso page in front of the lines referred to, Fenollosa adds a series of interpretative notes on the prosodic characteristics of a genre, historical allusions, and more detailed comments to aid the understanding of a line or a word (e.g. Chinese method of wearing hair). Thus, by comparing the literal cribs with the prose renderings, Pound could already begin to understand the subtle ways in which the compressed poetic syntax of Chinese isolates simple discrete images, as well as how the broader interrelations between the simple images of the lines, including parallelism and more complex dynamic juxtapositions in the poem as a whole, charge the meaning and explore representation. Fenollosa’s further notes, for their part, induced many of the particular trouvailles in Cathay (e.g. While my hair was still cut straight across my forehead). Pound’s privileging of phanopoeia, then, of the image-patterns, accounts not only for the most important poetic charge in the Chinese originals, but in fact for the only one he could really access and render in any sustained way from Fenollosa’s notebooks. Pound could not and does not translate the verbal music or melopoeia of the originals (not the rhyme, nor the tonal rhythms, nor the metrics, nor the staccato acoustic sense of the Chinese language, all of which was lost in the Japanese phonetisations of Fenollosa: “When I did Cathay, I had no inkling of the techniques of sound, which I am now convinced must exist or have existed in Chinese poetry”)7 . Instead, he introduces his own free-verse rhythms in such a way as to iso7

Cf. Monk, Donald: “How to Misread: Pound’s Use of Translation”, 77. Pound did of course know that classical Chinese poetry was rhymed and further accentuated rhythmically by a system of tones (both Giles’ History, which he read early on, and Fenollosa’s introductory notes to the poems make this more than clear). But for a long time he was unable to access and understand the ways in which these and other sound devices are functional to expression in Chinese poetry; thus, even in the 1940s he would warn: “When it comes to the question of transmitting from the East to the West, a great part of the Chinese sound is of no use at all. We don’t hear parts of it, and much of the rest is a hiss or mumble . . . Tones cannot be learnt at three thousand miles distance anyhow; or at any rate, never have been” (The Letters of Ezra Pound, 447; 1940). It was only much later, in his version of The Classic Anthology, first published in 1954, where, aided by Kalgren’s reconstructions of the old Chinese sounds, Pound often accounts for the rhymes, staccato rhythms, alliterations and even onomatopoeias of the archaic poems of the Shih Jing.

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late images so that they interact effectively. Nor does Pound translate in any systematic way the contextual effects or logopoeia of the Chinese poems – the connotations of the characters, for instance, which in a monosyllabic language are rich in homophonies, or the allusive force of the poems, which depend on a cultural baggage from several historic periods and very different to that of the West. That despite the indirect access to the Chinese originals and the almost exclusive access to and focus on their images Pound was able to translate with a certain awareness of the metaphysical bearing of Chinese images and poetics, was due above all to the guidance provided by Fenollosa’s “The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry”. More precisely, to at least three main general insights articulated in the essay that had a decisive impact on Pound’s way of rendering the Chinese. Firstly, the idea that Chinese poetry is superior to Western ones in what concerns visual objectivisation due to the characteristics of its writing system (something which takes from the plastic suggestion of the characters themselves to image isolation by discontinuous syntax). Secondly, the idea that the Chinese system of representation in writing presents things in nature as ‘actions’ or ‘processes’, not as state or essence (something that takes from the images energized by verb-like characters to the properties of transitive phrases and the dynamic effect of the image itself). Lastly, the idea that these seen natural actions or processes staged in writing are further used and combined to present what is unseen: thoughts and correlations (something that takes to the unrivalled development of dynamic images, including the broad juxtapositions between the subjective and the objective, in the horizon of the Chinese poetic ideal of Wen-Tao, of literature as the unfolding of the Process of cosmic correlations). The truth is that between Fenollosa’s comprehensive poetic-metaphysical insights and the set of particular ideas or examples he uses to support them – the pictographic origin of all characters, or the transitive nature of all poetic sentences, for instance, to name just the most obvious mistakes – lies an enormous distance, and Pound, in following Fenollosa, was often deceived concerning certain aspects of the Chinese language in general. But the important thing here is not whether Fenollosa’s particular ideas about Chinese characters were philologically exact, but whether the aesthetic horizon these broad insights open-up as a poetics for the translation of Chinese poetry, precisely by exaggerating the differences between

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the Chinese and Western writing systems and poetics, pushed Pound in the right direction, helping him to better access and transfer the strongest poetic values of the original poems and permanently transform the English language and its possibilities of representation. Since, by presenting Chinese poetry as a strong visual objectivation in writing corresponding to the dynamism of the cosmos, even if indebted to an Emersonian impetus beyond the Taoist one, Fenollosa pointed out to Pound the very core that underlies the strategies of presentation and extraordinary imagistic properties he had already perceived in Chinese poetry, from the simplest to the most complex images he creatively recomposed in the English language.

I.1 “Chinese’s superior imagery due to its writing system”: simple images from pictographic suggestion to syntactic isolation There was a time, however, when signs still spoke, or nearly, and were now allusive, tending rather to show things, bodies and materials, showing groups and sets, and displaying situations. However remote it may be from the old characters, the new one can revive the object through the word. H. M ICHAUX Every time we compare translations of Chinese to the text, we find that we have been careful to link ideas and clauses that Chinese is content to place in isolation. Chinese terms received precisely a greater weight by this isolation and one is forced to stop more often to grasp their connections. Chinese leaves it to the reader to supply a great number of intermediary ideas, and imposes in this way a considerable labour on the mind. Each word in a Chinese sentence seems placed there so that one will weigh it and consider it in all its different relations before passing on to the next. As the connection between ideas is born from these relations, this purely meditative work supplies one part of grammar. W. von H UMBOLDT

If one starts with the simplest and most static images recreated in Cathay, the prominence of words or phrases that strike the visual imagination as a pared-down concentration of objective or subjective details, the first crucial indication Pound received was the insistence on the pictographic suggestiveness of the Chinese characters. Fenollosa writes:

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Chinese notation is something much more than arbitrary symbols. It is based upon a vivid shorthand picture of the operations of nature [ . . . ] the Chinese method follows natural suggestion. [ . . . ] The earlier forms of these characters were pictorial, and their hold upon the imagination is little shaken, even in later conventional modifications8.

The fact that visual etymologies are recognisable in only a small portion of the early characters, and that the same is true of the associative logic of most compound ideograms, should not make one jump to conclusions. Since, even if the average Chinese reader is not aware of these pictographic values (just as a Western reader is not aware during normal reading of etymologies, much less of sound modulations, for instance), this does not mean they have no poetic value or effect, and the classical Chinese poets were strongly aware of and often exploited these graphic values. Thus a first great challenge for Pound, who, aware that the poetic charge created by the graphic suggestion of Chinese characters and their succession is impossible to render into English as such – i.e. literally and poetically –, did not dismiss its imagistic impact. That is, he was left with the task of finding English ways not only to make some of his own words appear as clear-cut objective perceptions, to make them achieve the faculty of Chinese characters for detaching themselves as simple images, but also to create abstract meanings by the addition of natural detail, following the composition logic of many of the so called primitive characters. The most basic form of equivalence devised to meet these demands is to be found in a stylistic turn Pound uses throughout Cathay, namely, the intensification or creation of meaning through word repetition. Take a line from Exile’s Letter (my emphases): And we were drúnk for mónth on mónth, forgètting the kíngs and prínces.

Fenollosa’s notebook gives (my emphases): Once drink successive months disdain king princes Once drunk for months together and despised kings and princes. 8

Fenollosa: Op. cit. (in EPPP, III: 331f.). Again, this concerns poetic use, since Fenollosa was taught all six forms of ideogram composition by Mori, including the phonological one, as can be seen in the tutorial of May 28, 1901.

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Instead of accepting the abstract expression provided by Fenollosa’s crib – “successive / months” –, which his prose paraphrase reduces to a simple plural – “for months” –, Pound’s creative duplication – “month on month” – not only confers on the nouns a dynamic quality which matches imagistically and rhythmically the time passage presented in the line-image as a whole, but also deploys on a different scale an imagistic strategy obeying the same logic as that which underlies character composition: one no longer finds the union of pictographs to form a more abstract ideograph, of course, but the duplication of a noun to compose new meaning without giving way to further abstraction, assembling particulars. Now, if individual Chinese characters and compounds are able to detach themselves as strong clear-cut images, this is not only (or mainly) due to their pictographic suggestions, but also (and above all) to the ways in which Chinese poetic syntax is able to stage them in isolation, to present individual words and phrases as discrete, independent events. As empty words and prepositions tend to be omitted in poetry, with a maximum in the Tang regulated verse, besides strengthening the tendency towards indetermination, one finds that full words and phrases (simple images) appear as free independent objects ready to enter into all kinds of metasyntactic relations (dynamic images). Faced with a positional syntax of this kind, the Western translator has once again an enormous problem. For if it is already difficult to sustain the mobility of the original line without reducing it to a single syntax or reading, if Pound’s aim was to write ‘poetry’ and not a crib to explain the originals, he could not completely dismiss English syntax, but had to find a way of grafting contained paratactic lines which, while they can be read as English verse when properly prepared, also occasionally succeed in conveying Chinese isolative constructions by avoiding the subordination tendency of Western grammar. On the face of it, following once again Fenollosa, Pound recognises that English here presents an advantage compared to most other European languages: “In his essay on the Chinese written character he [Fenollosa] expressly contends that English, being the strongest and least inflected of the European languages, is precisely the one language best suited to render the force and the concision of the uninflected Chinese”9 .

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Then, more broadly, comparing Fenollosa’s cribs to his prose renditions, Pound pays attention to and accounts more or less successfully for at least two syntactic characteristics of Chinese classical poetry which contribute to the isolation of simple images. Firstly, he respects the end-stopped line as the usual limit or longest span for syntactic development, the fact that in Chinese poetry there is almost no enjambment, something that was immediately perceived as one of the greatest novelties of Cathay10 . For the tendency to shape each line as a self-sufficient semantic and syntactic unit, where smaller parts can be isolated and evoked independently, where the rhythmic breaks introduced inside the lines in Cathay go hand in hand with his syntactic breaks, isolates words and phrases which develop their imagistic potential. Secondly, when possible, Pound accounted for syntactic dislocation, discontinuity or multiple dependence, which, acting independently or overlapping in the same line of poetry, and allowed by the ellipsis of pronouns, connectives and most empty words indicating fixed relationships, constitute a decisive characteristic of Chinese poetic syntax which contributes to the isolation of words and phrases inside the line, promoting their imagistic potential. Take an excerpt from Lament of the Frontier Guard (my emphases): Trees fall, the grass goes yellow with autumn. I climb the towers and towers to watch out the barbarous land: Desolate castle, the sky, the wide desert.

Fenollosa’s notebook gives (my emphases): trees fall autumn grass yellow The trees fall/drop leaves, and autumn grass are yellow Ascend high look at barbarous prisoners (Enemies foreign) Ascending on high and looking from there [?] towards where the barbarous lived desolate castle

sky large desert vacant I see a ruined fortress in a vast blank desert 9

10

Pound, Ezra: “Imagisme and England” (EPPP, II: 185; 1915). Fenollosa’s words are found in “The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry” (EPPP, III: 335). Cf. Davie, Donald: Studies in Ezra Pound, 41-44.

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One can notice how Pound leads up to the apparition of the last discontinuous line, the previous ones producing an almost cinematic shift from a subjective to an objective point of view, where the three detached images of “Desolate castle, the sky, the wide desert” come into view as the elements focused on by the shots of the guard from the tower he has just climbed. To shape this effect of discontinuity in the last line of the excerpt, Pound avoids both Fenollosa’s introduction of the subjective ‘I see’ and the specification of direction through the linking ‘in’, while further retaining the most basic sense of ‘sky’, instead of its relatively abstract meaning ‘vacant’, thus conveying the overall sense of emptiness and loneliness through three concrete images, just as the opening sequence of a film might do. One can also note Pound’s duplication in “climb towers and towers” (not the abstract “ascend on high” of Fenollosa’s crib and paraphrase), which deploys the concrete graphic composition of the Chinese character. Finally, notice also the processual construction in “the grass goes yellow with autumn” (not “autumn grass are yellow” [Fen.]), which responds to another main intuition of Fenollosa’s and corresponding translation guidance.

I.2 “Chinese writing stages nature as process”: from the verbal tendency of the characters to the transference of energy in the “transitive” phrase A second general insight of Fenollosa’s followed by Pound is that Chinese writing presents nature as process, not as substance. “In reading Chinese we do not seem to be juggling mental counters [the genres and species of scholastic logic]”, writes Fenollosa, “but to be watching things work out their own fate”, a process-like synthesis which would appear both in the characters and in Chinese poetic syntax. In the first sense, this tendency of presentation would be driven by the verbal, not the substantial, property of the characters themselves. Fenollosa explains: A large number of the primitive Chinese characters, even the so-called radicals, are shorthand pictures of actions or processes. [. . . ] But this concrete verb quality, both in nature and in the Chinese signs, becomes far more striking and poetic when we pass from such simple, original pictures to compounds. In this process of compounding, two things added together do not produce a third thing but suggest some fundamental relation between them. [. . . ]

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A true noun, an isolated thing, does not exist in nature. Things are only the terminal points, or rather the meeting points of actions, cross sections cut through actions, snap-shots. Neither can a true verb, an abstract motion, be possible in nature. The eye sees noun and verb as one: things in motion, motion in things, and so the Chinese conception tries to represent them11 . [. . . ] In Chinese the adjective always retains a substratum of verbal meaning. We should try to render this in translation, not be content with some bloodless adjectival abstraction plus “is”12 .

Pound takes Fenollosa’s demands to heart. And if, as before, he cannot account for the way in which the relationship between the internal elements of ideograms would suggest process rather than substance, or the way their apparition in the poetic line is grasped as imposing a verbal quality, Pound can, this time introducing a new pattern of intensification into his habitual strategy of word duplication, suggest a visual image as process, in the making, rather than as a permanent substantial state. Thus another recognisable stylistic turn in Cathay; take a line from The River Song (my emphases): South of the pond [/] the willow-tips are half-blúe and blúer

Fenollosa’s notebook gives: south pond willow colour half blue blue South of the pond the willows are already half blue

As Pound turns back from Fenollosa’s paraphrase to shape his line on the original crib’s repetition, the creative construction of the adjective/comparative progression – “half blue and bluer” – and avoidance of Fenollosa’s “are already half blue”, help to assure the visual impact of the colour blue as a quality in the making, a process of becoming rather than an accomplished and permanent state. Moreover, if one takes the syntax of Pound’s whole image in the second half of the line, one realizes that the poetic stress and imagistic charge lie not with the noun of the image – willow-tips –, but with its quality, the colour in the process of transformation, which, in end-line position, further calls one’s attention by its long vowels which arrest the pace: “half-blúe and blúer.” 11 12

E. Fenollosa: Op. cit. (in EPPP, III: 332). E. Fenollosa: Op. cit. (in EPPP, III: 336).

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Now, as one passes from Fenollosa’s insights about the verbal suggestion of individual characters to his no less controversial ideas about Chinese transitive syntax, the consequences for translation are again clearly underlined. He warns: In translating Chinese, verse especially, we must hold as closely as possible to the concrete force of the original, eschewing adjectives, nouns and intransitive forms whenever we can and seeking instead strong individual verbs13.

Pound takes note: You should have a chance to see Fenollosa’s big essays on verbs, mostly on verbs [ . . . ]. He inveighs against ‘IS’, wants transitive verbs. ‘Become’ is as weak as ‘is’. Let the grime do something to the leaves. ‘All nouns come from verbs’. To primitive man, a thing only IS what it does14 .

Thus, another recognizable, typical stylistic turn in Cathay consists precisely in a forced use of transitive structures which suggest relation and process between the individual images of the line (my emphases): The eastern wind brings the green colour into the island grasses at Yei-shu

Fenollosa’s notebook gives: Eastern wind already green Yei island grass The eastern wind has already made green the grass of Yei Shu island

Pound gives the impression of nature imposing colour in an ongoing process of force transference, something which Fenollosa makes clear in his paraphrase, but which Pound stresses by dropping the abstract modal form “has already made”, which would have presented the transference as an accomplished state, essentialising it, not as an ongoing natural movement, a cosmic process unfolding itself.

13 14

Fenollosa: Op. cit. (EPPP, III: 335). The Letters of Ezra Pound, 131-132 (1916).

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I.3 “Staging cosmic correlations through visible perceptions”: recreating the broad dynamic imagistic arrangements (the couplet, the quartet, the octet) When the language is common, the images must be telling. Surely, facility of language and the charging of the word with energy are effects which can be achieved by various means. L U C HI

As one moves beyond the recreation of simple images that stage vivid visual suggestions through words or phrases, towards the attempt to host the dynamic echoes and correlative juxtapositions among the lines and broader parts of the poem as a whole, there was a third conception of Fenollosa’s that proved decisive for the versions in Cathay. He recapitulates and moves forward: So far we have exhibited the Chinese character and the Chinese sentence chiefly as vivid shorthand pictures of actions and processes in nature. These embody the true poetry as far as they go. Such actions are seen, but the Chinese would be a poor language and Chinese poetry but narrow art, could they not go on to represent also what is unseen. The best poetry deals not only with natural images but with lofty thoughts, spiritual suggestions and obscure relations15 .

Fenollosa points to the fact that among the Chinese – especially in the case of the Taoist world-view at the basis of Li Po’s and most Tang poetry translated by Pound – the stress is not on isolated perceptions, but on the arrangements through which simple images interact asyntactically to create a dynamic effect that charges a manifold meaning. It is what Fenollosa discusses as the special case of “Chinese metaphor” (“dynamic image”, in our terms), which he defines as “the use of material images to suggest immaterial relations.” He explains: The primitive metaphors do not spring from arbitrary subjective processes. They are possible only because they follow objective lines of relation in nature herself. Relations are more real and more important than the things which they relate [. . . ]. Had the world not been full of homologies, sympathies and 15

E. Fenollosa: Op. cit. (EPPP, III: 348).

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The so-called “Chinese ‘metaphor”’, which we had better go back to calling “dynamic image” to avoid confusion, differs significantly from the common Western understanding of the metaphorical trope. For even if conceptions over time have been far from monolithic, Chinese poetics has interrogated dynamic images with a different set of questions to the ones applied in the West to metaphor; i.e. with questions about process and correlation (especially pairing) in the context of an immanent metaphysics where man is part of and accounts for a self-generated cosmos, not with questions about mimesis (knowledge as similarity and analogy) in the context of a dualistic ontology where, just as the natural is surpassed in the transcendent, the literal is superseded by the figurative. In other words, if Chinese cosmology dramatizes the view of a paired and correlated nature, its epistemology and poetics are based precisely on these correlative structures and counterparts. Instead of the essences and attributes, the genera and species through which Aristotle understands and structures the performance of Western metaphor, what one has here are interdependent parts and phenomena which are often grasped as a ‘Process of correlations’, something that has marked many manifestations of traditional Chinese culture, including its systems of thought, legal formulations and poetry, all of which have developed through a characteristically correlative thinking, language and prosody17 . 16 17

Fenollosa: Op. cit. (EPPP, III: 349-350). This immanent correlative world-view, which has been most clearly formulated in the I Ching and in various passages of the Tao te Ching, in what concerns the literary discourse, it is what is already expressed by the word for literature itself, wen, which, meaning generically ‘pattern’, is applied to the wide variety of patterned events to be found in the universe, from celestial constellations and animal birthmarks to men’s cultural order and civilisation, including writing and literature. In this respect, it is worth reading the opening chapter of Liu Hsie’s classic The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons, entitled Yüan-Tao, lit. ‘tracing the genesis of the Tao’, which plays with the term wen [pattern/literature] as a way of interweaving different cosmic realms, imposing the idea that, as occurs with all stages of the cosmos, which manifest wen appropriate to their kind, human pattern, literature itself, is natural and immanent, originates from and expresses the Tao. Thus how, despite the distrust of the capacities of language in traditional Chinese poetics – and more so in the Taoist tradition (“The dao that can be dao-ed is not the constant Dao; / The name that can be named is not the constant name”,

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It is only by taking account of this metaphysical horizon that one understands why, considerations of poetic technique aside, it was so important to give the priority to images when translating Chinese classical poetry, to their dynamic arrangements which are supposed to develop and display a series of cosmic correlations. Fenollosa warns: Still, is it not enough to show that Chinese poetry gets back near to the process of nature by means of its vivid figure? If we attempt to follow in English we must use words highly charged, words whose vital suggestion shall interplay as nature interplays. Sentences must be like the mingling of the fringes of feathered banners, or as the colours of many flowers blended into the single sheen of a meadow18 .

It was under such guidance that Pound proceeded to recreate the way images interplay as the process of nature interplays, producing a dynamic effect.

18

Lao Tze) –, the non-predicative forms of language in the dynamic image, starting by the forms of parallelism (as in the previous quote of Lao Tze), appear as a sort of entelechy of the cosmic Process. In the poem, one would witness nature working its way; the poem would structure and disclose nature the way nature discloses itself: capturing the correlations as they emerge from the undifferentiated mode of existence. To determine to what extent such a Taoist world-view works as an epistemological horizon for understanding the development of dynamic images in Chinese poetry, see for instance: Owen, Stephen: Traditional Chinese Poetry and Poetics: Omen of the World; Mote, Frederick R.: “The Cosmological Gulf Between China and the West”; Liu, James: Chinese Theories of Literature, 16 ff.; Yip, Wai-Lim: Diffusion of Distances. Dialogues Between Chinese and Western Poetics, 138 ff. More specifically, for a consideration of the different forms of imagery in Chinese poetry, with the important difference between bi, ‘comparison’, and xing, ‘stimulus’ or ‘incitation’, see especially Yu, Pauline: The Reading of Imagery in the Chinese Poetic Tradition; and Jullien, François: La valeur allusive. Des catégories originales de l’interprétation poétique dans la tradition chinoise. Fenollosa: Op. cit. (EPPP, III: 364).

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i. The couplet: dynamism in parallel arrangements Nature, in its process of formation, configures the limbs always in pairs [ . . . ]. When the heart illuminates literary expression, organises and shapes a hundred thoughts, what is high and what is low correspond to each other, spontaneously producing linguistic parallelism. [... ] A body requires its limbs to be in pairs; A phrase, once forged, must have its counterparts. L IU H SIEH

The clearest and most widespread form of dynamic image arrangement used in Chinese poetry to charge language beyond its predicative limitations is parallelism, which appears as the formal poetic manifestation of the structure of the natural world, the most common couplings responding to the ying/yang principle as the matrix of all parings, where the poles count for the process they sustain. As one reads in the Essay on Parallelism (seventh century): “In literature, one must always practice parallelism. Since if non-parallelism commands, it is no longer literature”19 . Now, among Tang poets, whereas the highest mastery in parallelism is normally attributed to Du Fu – who introduced all kinds of variations into the parallelism of lu-shih middle couplets –, Li Po does not use the parallel couplet either in the strict way of the academicians or in the recherché way of some courtly poets, and he often privileges what The Twenty-nine Parallelisms calls “parallelism without parallelism”, i.e. the construction of subtle echoes and correspondences at the level of the whole images or meaning of lines in which no strict or even partial formal parallelism can be established. And if the Tang poetic treatise considers it the most subtle and difficult form of parallelism, one must also be aware that it is the one which best translates into English as poetry, its less rigid and mechanical formality, its smoothness and simplicity, giving it an enduring appeal.

19

Martin, François (ed.): “Traités Tang sur le parallélisme”, 121. For parallelism in Chinese literature, see also chapter 35 of Liu Hsieh’s Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons. Complement with Jullien, François: “Théorie du parallelisme littéraire, d’après Liu Xie”; and Martin, François: “Les vers couplés de la poésie chinoise classique”.

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Pound understood this well, and did not search in Cathay for a mechanical transcription of the original parallel arrangements, but aspired to a broader engagement with their overall semantic effect. The strictest forms of parallelism grasped and translated by him are to be found in his Four Poems of Departure series, which renders highly formalised verse (see below). But even in his looser arrangements, when translating Li Po’s more narrative and less paratactic poems, he attains quite dynamic parallel effects. Witness the following lines from The River Song: Five clouds hang aloft, bright on the purple sky, The imperial guards come forth from the golden house with their armour a-gleaming

Fenollosa gives: five clouds hang down brightness shine against purple clean As the five clouds (sign of peace) hang above and shine against the purple sky Imperial-guards go-out-of gold palace following sun turn troop The guards first appear coming out of the golden palace, and then armour’s glitter against the sun (so following).

The images of these two contiguous lines, belonging to the realms of nature and man respectively, not only work as part of a narrative setting, but also echo each other, initiating a process of similarity and difference. And if this process is not arrested by a calculable comparison or analogy – “the imperial guards with their armour a-gleaming are like bright clouds in the purple sky”, for instance –, it is because Pound rejects the way Fenollosa reduces the dynamic image to a simile. Pound eliminates the “As” of the prosaic rendering, leaving the two lines vibrating against each other without a definite connection, in simple juxtaposition. (Pound’s decision is all the more telling, since on the opposite page of the notebook Fenollosa, guided by the inertia of Western metaphorical tradition, provides a long explanation of the lines as a detailed comparison.)

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ii. The quatrain: dynamism as sparkling constellations The net of images is cast wider and wider; thought searches more and more deeply. Images must shine like pearls in water. L U C HI

Among the most difficult of poetic forms, the Chinese quatrain is characterised by the contrast between its apparent simplicity, brevity and economy of means – either 20 or 28 characters/syllables arranged in four isometric lines – and the enormous semantic charge demanded from it. While it must be coined in simple language and images, it must be highly suggestive, withholding and revealing at the same time; moreover, it must be in constant movement and have vibratory dynamic qualities. To achieve such a semantic complexity and dynamic charge in such a limited span, the imagistic echoes of the quatrain go not only beyond linear syntax, but also often beyond parallelism and the couplet itself, assuming the characteristics of old style poetry, creating a texture of multiple internal channels of resonance where the dynamic echoes between the images are much freer. Each word-image through its multiple components – lexical meaning, imagistic appeal (including its graphic form), symbolism, phonic quality, etc. – irradiates in all directions, creating constellations, constructing a vast semantic field of vibratory echoes that “prolongs the meaning beyond words”. Shen Dequian (Qing) states: The most important thing in the quatrain, is to use familiar language to express feelings difficult to express. It is to hold the sense without revealing it. It must exhibit the scene to the eyes and use a common language, but it must also contain vibratory capacities, a flavour beyond taste capable of moving the spirit far. The quatrains of Li Po have such qualities.

Indeed, if Li Po has not been considered the greatest exponent of the parallel couplet among Tang poets, he remains the indisputable master of the quatrain. Often written as yueh-fu in the old southern manner and not as regulated verse, Li Po’s quatrains mostly deal with lyric subjects – scenes of separation and landscape, for instance –, where the vividness and suggestiveness of the sensuous scene depicted gains a universal appeal beyond the occasional circumstances of composition.

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Among Li Po’s quatrains, Yujieyuan or The Jade Step Plaint is not only one of his most famous examples, but also one in which the constellation of images becomes almost a literal figure. Witness Pound’s version followed by Fenollosa’s crib and paraphrases: T HE J EWEL S TAIR ’ S G RIEVANCE The jewelled steps are already quite white with dew, It is so late that the dew soaks my gauze stockings, And I let down the crystal curtain And watch the moon through the clear autumn. [Fen.] Jewel Stairs Grievance grief, slightly tangled with hatred, resent. jewel steps grow white dew The jewelled steps have already become white with dew (dew is thought to grow on things) night long permeate transparent gauze stocking attack Far gone in the night, the dew has come into my gauze stock let down water couplet? crystal So I let down the crystal curtain transparent clear look at autumn moon And still look on the bright moon shining beyond

The literal scene of this poem presents a courtly lady or imperial mistress waiting in vain for her lord to come. Its beauty lies in the absence of direct statements, the reader inferring not only the grief, but also the waiting occasion from the images and their relation20 . Pound, impressed by the 20

Xiao Shibin (Yuan) summarizes: “In this piece Li Po has not a single word expressing lament but conceals the meaning of her secret grievance, which appears beyond the words. Is this not what Huian called being a sage of poetry?” (Yu 1987: 191). Fenollosa himself had provided Pound with the following explanation in the notebooks: “Gioku kai [Jap. for Jewel Stairs] means here the place where court ladies are living, one of the

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whole method of revelation through concealment, comments: “I have never found any occidental who could ‘make much’ of that poem at one reading. Yet upon careful examination we find that everything is there, not merely by ‘suggestion’ but by a sort of mathematical process of reduction”21 . This basic reduction to minimal images is to a certain extent unfolded by Pound himself, who in the note below his version in Cathay explains: Jewel stairs, therefore a palace. Grievance, therefore there is something to complain of. Gauze stockings, therefore a court lady, not a servant who complains. Clear autumn, therefore he has no excuse on account of weather. Also she has come early, for the dew has not merely whitened the stairs, but has soaked her stockings. The poem is especially prized because she utters no direct reproach22.

One might also add that in its original form, as reflected in Fenollosa’s crib, the absence of personal pronouns means that the feminine presence is only inferred from the “gauze stockings”. Moreover, if we are not informed of the object and nature of the woman’s thoughts during the long waiting (long waiting inferred from the verbs “grow” and “permeate”), the loss of hope is inferred from the curtain being “let down” (also a suggestion of imprisonment and social segregation) as well as from the contemplation of the moon as the sole remaining companion. As often occurs in Chinese boudoir poetry, Li Po’s quatrain is further based on a contrast between the resplendent surroundings and the woman’s unhappiness. The “jewelled steps”, “gauze stockings” and “crystal curtain”, for instance – all marks of imperial favour – are subverted by the long and vain wait in which the woman becomes aware of the passage of time which carries her into old age (associated here with autumn). But, in the end, the poem still leaves a series of further resonances and open possibilities.

21 22

imperial mistresses. The subject of the poem is that one of them was waiting for the lord to come. The beauty of the poem lies in not a single character being used to explain the idea of waiting and resenting; yet the poem fully expresses the idea. This is how. Thinking that the lord will come, she was coming out to meet him at the entrance to a flight of steps ornamented with gems. She was standing there ’til the very dewiness of night wet her stockings. She lets down her curtain already despairing of his coming. And yet she can see the moon shining so bright outside, and had to think of the lord’s still coming, because it is so fine a night; and so passes the whole night awake”. Pound, Ezra: “Chinese Poetry” (EPPP, III: 85; 1918). Pound, Ezra: Persona, 136.

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Thus, beyond these traditional implications and allusions, a more important thing to realize, this time in purely imagistic terms, is how the wordimages which embody the tacit meaning of the poem echo each other in a solid network, establishing a dynamic play which sets them in relief. See the poem once more with some added emphases: T HE J EWEL S TAIR ’ S G RIEVANCE The jewelled steps are already quite white with dew, It is so late that the dew soaks my gauze stockings, And I let down the crystal curtain And watch the moon through the clear autumn.

In this deceptively simple quatrain, we have so far only examined the revealing-concealing process organised in the temporal succession of the images – jewelled steps get covered by white dew, the gauze stocking get wet, the crystal curtain is let down, and finally the moon is gazed at through the clear autumn –, grasped in a horizontal or linear reading which tells us that we are dealing with the long and disappointed wait of a court lady at night, during which she re-enters her chamber and ends by looking at the moon. Superimposed onto it, however, there is a clear resonance beyond syntax which intricates the images producing the revelation. For the “jewelled steps” (which should more properly be translated as “jade steps”, but no matter), the “white dew”, the “gauze stockings”, the “crystal curtain”, the “moon” and the “clear autumn” are all images of a chilly and whitish transparency, and they thus call attention to and reflect one another, creating a vibrating imagistic process, a play of similarity and difference which charges a “meaning beyond words” in yet another form. The echoes among these radiant images can even lead to a certain dissemination where their cold appeal is interwoven and contrasted with their sexual implications. For the “jade (jewelled) steps” imply the palace, but also speak of the soft thin skin of the lady; the “white dew” implies a cool night and tears, but also has obvious sexual connotations; the “gauze stockings” also speak of the body of the lady, the “crystal curtain” of the veil behind which she remains untouched, the “moon” of the desire for reunion beyond distance (full moon was used to symbolise the union of lovers). But if one were to take the polyvalence of these echoing images and the various semantic directions in which they point, and tie them all together by a single image which, like a vortex, organises the vibrating qualities of

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the whole, this image would be the expression of the last line which Fenollosa’s crib renders as “transparent/clear” and Pound’s version uses to modify autumn (“clear autumn”). The original Chinese expression is ling-lung, a compound which, while commonly translated as “transparent”, originally evoked the tingling sound made by jade pendants and was later used to qualify all kinds of shiny and precious objects, especially open latticework, as well as the tender faces of children and women. In his poem, to this lexical polyvalence, Li Po adds a syntactic one: ling-lung might qualify either the way the moon is viewed (through the crystal curtain or through the clear autumn, for instance), or the lady viewing the moon (suggesting the face of the woman glowing while looking at the celestial body). Finally, the force of this “transparency” tying in the other echoing images is stressed acoustically: ling-lung, an alliterating compound in its own right, echoes phonically the shining lu (dew), luo (silk, gauze), and lien (crystal curtain). Pound, who, working with a Japanese phonetic transcription, could not have been aware of the music reinforcing the central image play of the poem, does not stress phonic repetition beyond the images in individual lines (as in ‘quite white’ or ‘crystal curtain’, for instance). Despite these omissions, however, the dynamic echoes of the whole are preserved almost or wholly intact, this quatrain of Li Po being one of those cases in which the phanopoeia, as Pound puts it, being “good enough, it is practically impossible for the translator to destroy save by very crass bungling”23 . As the English version, like Li Po’s original, struggles for economy of means, reducing the descriptive elements to a minimum, the translated natural and human images become not only suggestive, but detached, forming among themselves a spatial constellation where their whitish transparencies twinkle to one another, completing the night scene in their own way. iii. The octet: dynamism as juxtaposition of objective and subjective presentation Going a step further in the examination of the dynamic arrangements translated from Chinese poetry, one arrives at the most comprehensive strategy used from ancient times (and later formalised in the lu-shih or regulated octet of the Tang) to charge meaning beyond words, namely, the juxtaposition of two kinds of language and modes of presentation in the poem as a 23

Pound, Ezra: “How to Read” (EPPP, V: 114; 1929).

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whole: the objective-imagistic and the subjective-propositional. On the one hand, one encounters spans of imagistic lines, which tend to emphasise the objective, showing a preference for discontinuous grammar and juxtaposition. On the other hand, one finds spans of propositional language, which tend to emphasise the subjective, using a more continuous grammar that indicates relations between parts. But what finally matters is their broader correlation, i.e. the ways these modes of objective perception and emotional response, which constitute one of the basis of Chinese poetics, interact, the ways the manifest, articulated expression of emotions play against the objective images witnessed by the visual imagination to ignite broad dynamic resonances. See the way Pound understands and stages such a juxtaposition in an archaic non-regulated poem, the third of the Nineteen Old Poems: T HE B EAUTIFUL T OILET Blue, blue is the grass about the river And the willows have overfilled the close garden. And within, the mistress, in the midmost of her youth, White, white of face, hesitates, passing the door. Slender, she puts forth a slender hand; And she was a courtesan in the old days, And she has married a sot, Who now goes drunkenly out And leaves her too much alone.

We are here confronted once more with an abandoned woman. This time she is not a court lady, but an ex-concubine now married to a more common man who often leaves her alone, maybe by going off to war, searching for a position or simply by being a drunkard, as Pound interprets it. (The original is less precise in this respect than Fenollosa’s crib; the Chinese word which qualifies the man – t’ang – is normally rendered as “wandering” or “vagrant”, rather than as the more limited “dissipated”). A common characteristic of the Nineteen Old Poems to be observed in the original is its construction through a series of repetitions and variations of formulaic expressions which build towards a climax (and which attest, among other things, to its lost musical accompaniment). These syntactic and rhythmic repetitions/variations, which can be clearly observed in the first part of this poem, further define a strong imagistic progression. The images of the first six lines (five in Pound’s version), all constructed upon a

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strong and emphatic adjective repetition at the beginning of the line, build towards a climactic moment by closing the focus upon the objective scene. While the first two lines, using the old stimulus technique, view the scene from a distance, providing a general establishing shot (river bank grasses, willows in the garden), the next lines zoom in closer and closer (the lady moving, her face on the door/window), taking us finally to the climactic moment when the attention is focused solely on the gesture of her thin hand. At this precise climactic point, however, the enchantment of the succession of cinematic shots is broken, and a propositional-subjective mode of presentation comes in to explain the overall scene from a completely different perspective, modifying the sense of the previous images and redefining the overall perception of the poem. It is this general contraposition between a moment of objective-imagistic and one of subjective-propositional presentation that Pound’s version grasps and transfers, accentuating it, among others, by a rhythmic shift and by spacing out the poem in two blocks. Whereas in the first part he reinforces the imagistic, static, mode of presentation, as one enters the second part the mode changes dramatically, employing forms of the abstract copula “is” and emphasising the shift towards propositional explanation by introducing time determination. More creatively, this shift in the mode of perception and corresponding language is underlined by a very controlled change of rhythmic pace, achieving a contraposition between the hesitant rhythms and strong accents of the first moment, which isolate images while the reduplications are sometimes woven into the lines (“And the willows have overfilled the close garden,” “Slender, she puts forth a slender hand”), and the flat pace of the second moment, which stresses its tone of direct statement and straightforward explanation (“And she was a courtesan in the old days / And she has married a sot”). Among other effects that emerge from this dynamic movement, he is thus able to make us feel that the aura of the lady’s beauty, which we had been led to admire by the closing focus of the images as well as by the hesitant rhythms marking each of her body parts, is suddenly subverted by the straightforward and abrupt description of her real situation. Now, so many poems had been constructed upon these correlations between objetive-imagistic and subjective-propositional modes of presentation, that as one moves from old Chinese poetry to that of Tang times, where the great technical development was the chin t’i shih or “new style poetry”,

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such a correlation came to define the basic pattern of the lu-shih or “regulated octet”, which remains the largest structural subclass of the Chinese lyric. Literally a “poem” (shih) according to “rules” (lu), the form of the lushih stages most of the dynamic correlations of Chinese poetry in an almost didactic manner, its architecture comprising structural, phonic, lexicalsyntactic and imagistic devices. Concerning the alternation of perspectives, of its four successive isometric couplets, the second and third must be formed of parallel lines, in contrast with the first and the last ones, where no parallelism exists (exceptionally, the first couplet may also be in parallel arrangement, but never the last)24 . Thus, if its whole system of oppositions and correlations can be considered the most extreme – if somewhat mechanical – poetic formalisation of nature’s cosmic coupling and man’s emotional 24

Although the strict rules for the lu-shih, especially the complicated opposition of tone patterns between the lines of the couplet, were sometimes not respected, its basic form can be represented as follows: I: 1 2

x x

x[/] x x x

x x

x(a) (non)rhymed a rhymed

non-parallel

3 4

x x

x x

x x

x x

x a

non-rhymed rhymed

parallel couplet

5 6

x x

x x

x x

x x

x a

non-rhymed rhymed

parallel couplet

7 8

x x

x x

x x

x x

x a

non-rhymed rhymed

non-parallel

II:

Thus, the lu-shih counterpoises two stanzas of two couplets each (with a total of eight isometric lines being either pentasyllabic or heptasyllabic, where the caesura, which marks the rhythmic and syntactic break, goes after the second or the fourth syllable respectively). To the structural correlations, one must add musical ones. First of all rhyme, which always falls on the even lines, the uneven ones remaining rhyme-free with the possible exception of the first (in the pentasyllabic form the rhyming of the first line is optional, whereas in the heptasyllabic it is compulsory). The same rhyming sound is used throughout and must fall on a ‘flat’ or ‘levelled’ tone (ping). More arduous are the tonal contrapositions, which, in very complex patterns, must oppose level and deflected tones in mirror-vertical form inside each couplet. But what matters most in imagistic terms, is the mentioned alternation between parallelism and non-parallelism, the broad correlation between objective-imagistic and subjective-propositional modes of presentation.

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response to the same, the lu-shih deploys in an almost pedagogic manner the broader dynamic effect or juxtaposition of the imagistic-objective and the subjective-propositional modes of presentation. Pound comments: “There is another sort of completeness in Chinese. Especially in their poems of nature and of scenery they seem to excel western writers, both when they speak of their sympathy with the emotions of nature and when they describe natural things”25 . Although Pound did not translate nature poetry in Cathay, this more strict correlation between the objective and subjective can be observed in the Four Poems of Departure series, in which, after the prologue version from Wang Wei and the first of Li Po’s four poems translated, both quatrains, the remaining three poems of separation translate lu-shih or eight-line regulated verse. Perhaps the most interesting example, both of Li Po’s experimentation, staging the juxtaposition between the objectiveimagistic and the subjective-propositional through novel arrangements, and of Pound’s English recreation of the same, is to be found in the middle version: TAKING L EAVE OF A F RIEND Blue mountains to the north of the walls, White river winding about them; Here we must make separation And go out through a thousand miles of dead grass. Mind like a floating wide cloud, Sunset like the parting of old acquaintances Who bow over their clasped hands at distance. Our horses neigh to each other as we are departing.

Li Po’s original lu-shih, written while in his late thirties, is a remarkable example of the universal direction he is able to give his poems of departure. We witness a separation scene in a crepuscular landscape outside the city, amid which two friends, one of them the poet himself, profit from their last moments together before the final good-bye and leave on horseback. And while this general setting already allows the reader to identify himself with the scene, the fine juxtaposition of the observed natural images arouses feelings of sadness and loss, of the apprehension and anxiety of the occa25

Pound, Ezra: “Chinese Poetry” (EPPP, III: 110; 1918).

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sion caught, feelings which are never stated literally, but embodied in these kinds of ‘objective correlatives’ – ‘winding river’, ‘dead grass’, ‘floating wide cloud’, ‘sunset’, ‘neighing horses’, etc. – which are as appealing to a Western as to a Chinese reader, bringing with them a series of rich echoes from their respective cultures and literary traditions. It is above all this silent correspondence between the natural scene and the human emotions that Pound’s version recreates, his succession of images inciting the reader’s visual imagination so that the unsaid becomes heard and the invisible correlations staged. As so often, the first clue had come from Fenollosa, who in his introductory note to the crib explains: Here come two specimens of Ritsu [lu-shih] (2 pairs of two lines) rather rare in Rihaku [Li Po]. First two lines are in pairs: blue mt. – white water – white under sunshine, green water mt. is commonplace. Usually 3 + 4, 5 + 6 are in pairs. Here 1st + 2nd are. Here R.[ihaku] not very fond of regularity of Ritsu, inversed the place of the paring26.

After noticing Li Po’s sparse use of the regulated octet, Fenollosa stresses the fact that in a normal lu-shih the two middle couplets observe strict verbal parallelism, whereas in this poem we find an unorthodox arrangement consisting of two successive alternations between parallel and non-parallel couplets. The result is a poem formed of two symmetrical parts of two couplets each, which construct a broader kind of structural parallelism than the one between the lines themselves. Alerted by Fenollosa’s indications, then, Pound manages not only to reproduce this general architecture, but also emphasises its two symmetrical parts by spacing them out. More importantly, he assures the overall dynamic effect of this irregular lu-shih by following and stressing Li Po’s original pattern of linguistic and perceptual shifts, the way he came to conceive the linguistic echoes of the octet in a freer and more playful manner than other Tang poets. In the first couplet, which in literal terms provides a sort of establishing shot of the “landscape” (mountain/river) for the departure – the vast mountains in the distance and the winding river extending beyond the familiar boundaries of the city – Pound discards the propositional language of Fenollosa’s paraphrases and sticks to the compressed syntax of the crib – which presents a strict parallelism of the form colour-adjective/ landscapenoun/ verb/ adjective of direction/ city-noun – achieving a visual feeling of 26

Fenollosa, Ernst: “Rihaku Notebook”, II, 147.

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parallelism and even dropping the verbs to make the natural images stand as single perceptions. The vibratory quality of these initial lines is strengthened by the strong adjectivation of the two landscape images emphasised in initial line positions. On the face of it, the two images suggest we are at the end of the day – an implication which announces the idea of departure – when the mountains look blue in the distance and the river becomes silvery white, reflecting the sunshine (“At sunset rivers and lakes gleam white”, writes Wang Wei). Moreover, by their unexpected chromatism and further juxtaposition, these images make the couplet more vibrating, raising its imagistic potential to a high degree of intensity. It is in sharp contrast to this first imagistic climax shaped through natural perceptions that the second couplet shifts to a subjective-propositional mode of presentation, where the actual separation of the friends is literally announced through a direct address to the poet’s friend. Pound follows Li Po’s sharp turn at the very beginning of the third line – “Here we must make separation” –, this time not taking the crib literally, which in English would have preserved a certain objective touch (“in this ground, separation at once”), but using instead a grammatical markers of place, adding pronouns, connectives, and modal verbs, all of which imposes a clear subjective-propositional point of view, carried through the next line. The image which concludes the fourth line – ‘a thousand miles of dead grass’ – while no longer an objective and atemporal apparition, but one subjectively determined as a possible future, vibrates against both the natural setting of the first couplet, adding similar overtones of loss and death, and the return of a series of natural images with increased emotional overtones in the couplet which immediately follows. As noted above, the second part of the poem duplicates the structure of the first, once more shifting from objective-imagistic to subjectivepropositional language, although this time we find in each of the individual couplets, from their contrasting forms of presentation, a literal interweaving of natural elements with human attitudes and emotions. Pound’s rendering of the third of Li Po’s couplets (one of the most famous in all Chinese poetry and a locus classicus of Chinese criticism), although it achieves a general imagistic compression by following the crib closely, is perhaps the one place where more might have been expected from the translator. For, while following the logic of Fenollosa’s paraphrases (“His [ . . . ] mind may be that of a floating cloud like wanderer”/ “The sorrow of parting with

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an old acquaintance is comparable to the setting of the sun” [my emphasis]), Pound introduces an explicit comparison with the word “like” which tends to fix the myriad of horizontal and vertical echoes between the four main images linked together in two main pairings: “floating cloud” vibrating against “sunset” and “wanderer’s mind” vibrating against “old friend’s departure”, repressing the dynamism of the complex image by the substitutive logic of metaphor. (As Pound himself had put it while explaining the more limited dynamic effect of the Japanese haiku: “The words “are like” would not occur in the original”)27 . Pound is much more successful in capturing the interplay between the natural and the human in the last two lines of his version, corresponding to the closing subjective-propositional couplet of the original. The play between the seventh line – “Who bow over their clasped hands at distance” – a sort of dramatic orientalising gesture of farewell which takes liberties with the crib – more literally “brandishing [waving] hands as you go from this place away” – and the restrained and oblique answer – “Our horses neigh to each other / as we are departing”, Pound further breaking this last line by introducing a little pause in which to contemplate the animal’s gesture – could hardly be more delicate. As Wang Qi comments about the original: “The host’s and guest’s horses are about to take separate paths and neigh xiao xiao for a long time, as if they were responding emotionally to leaving the others. If beasts feel this way, how can the humans bear it?”28 . Amid this final silent communion of the two parting friends at a loss to express their feelings, the horses take their place, the final couplet staging a sort of cosmic correspondence between animal and human emotions. Just another formal arrangement, amid the many possibilities offered by a Eastern poetics of epiphanic juxtapositions which were to revolutionise the Western ways of understanding the image and projecting representation through it.

II East-West Metaphysical Configurations: from ideological criticism to the transcendental revolution of montage After the technical dissection of the translation of expressions, lines and complex images in Cathay, one is prompted to add that what matters are 27 28

Pound, Ezra: “Vorticism” (EPPP, I: 281; 1914). In: Yu, Pauline: The Reading of Imagery in the Chinese Poetic Tradition, 193.

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the living poems, the fact that this East-West encounter was able to shape poetry for poetry, recreating a voice for foreign past authors – especially for Li Po – and generating new imagistic forms – especially montage – that brought criticism and new ways of representing the contemporary world. That is, if the distinction between subject-matter and form is all owed for a moment, whereas the motives of the poems were immediately felt as a criticism of the Great War during which they appeared – with their emphases on abandoned women, broken friendships and others –, the impact of their imagistic arrangements must be counted amid the decisive contributions to the broad aesthetic revolution of montage, which changed in a century the ways of perceiving and thinking about the real.

II.1 The ideological impact: giving new life to the voice of the past as criticism of the present As with other of Pound’s creative translations – notably, his Homage to Sextus Propertius29 –, Cathay brought the past to comment the present: opened a critical perspective on the war situation in Europe at the very time the translations were carried out and published. For what was immediately felt as an unprecedented voice from the past, the afterlife given to the work of Li Po and others, became a strong emotional response to the First World War, placing the stress on certain aspects that neither Western culture nor Western anti-war poetry had focused on, such as the broken friendships and, above all, the position of women during the conflict (something that was soon to reappear in the montage of vignettes of “The Game of Chess” of T. S. Eliot’s Waste Land, edited by Pound himself). Such an anti war perspective can be seen already in Pound’s selection criteria amid the huge body he received from Fenollosa. For if he published in Cathay only 18 translations of the more than 300 transcriptions of poems that came to him, the first thing one notices is that the originals 29

Pound would famously state that the Homage to Sextus Propertius “presents certain emotions as vital to me in 1917, faced with the infinite and ineffable imbecility of the British Empire, as they were to Propertius some centuries earlier, when faced with the infinite and ineffable imbecility of the Roman Empire” (Letter to the English Journal; EPPP, V: 282; 1931). Published at the end of the war, the Homage stages thus, via a creative translation and historical rhyming between two imperial ethos, a diagnostic of the causes of the conflict, identifying an alliance between the urge for economic and political domination and the devaluation of language by the rhetoric of propaganda and its allies, identified mainly in decadent aestheticism and positive scholarship.

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selected highlight precisely the disasters, separations, solitudes and exiles of a country in the grip of conflict and political instability. Thus it is that when, before publishing the poems, Pound sent them to Gaudier Breszka, who was in the trenches in France (where he would die soon afterwards), the sculptor friend answered: “The poems depict our situation admirably”. Indeed, poems such as Song of the Bowmen of Shu and Lament of the Frontier Guard encapsulate the painful situation of soldiers sent out to the battlefield. Above all, Exile’s Letter, one of the great narrative poems of a nostalgic and grieving tone (which Pound considered, with the Seafarer and Homage to Sextus Propertius, one of his three major personae), can be read first and foremost as a farewell to Gaudier Brezska himself, a kind of elegy to friendship cut short by war: “Ancient friend, I now remember / [ . . . ] we were drunk for month on month, / forgetting the kings and princes. / [ . . . ] And then I was sent off to South Wei, / smothered in laurel groves, / And you to the north of Raku-hoku, / Till we had nothing but thoughts and memories between us”. Above all, an unprecedented criticism is found in the denunciation of the situation of women during wartime, Cathay including almost all the poems from Fenollosa’s notebooks that describe the situation of women left behind in a time of conflict. Whereas their suffering had formerly been overlooked and neglected on the assumption that they were non-participants whose duty was to stoically await the return of their male heroes, they were now revealed as being left in a state of abandonment and anxiety, a condition of vulnerability that included but was by no means confined to the absence of their companions. The criticism has already been hinted in some of the poems examined above, such as The Jewel Stair’s Grievance and The Beautiful Toilet. It is also what strikes in one of the most heavily anthologized poems in contemporary English literature, to the point where the fact of its being a translation, an afterlife of the voice of Li Po attained through the restorative potential of an East-West historic encounter, is often forgotten: T HE R IVER -M ERCHANT ’ S W IFE : A L ETTER While my hair was still cut straight across my forehead I played about the front gate, pulling flowers. You came by on bamboo stilts, playing horse, You walked about my seat, playing with blue plums. And we went on living in the village of Chokan:

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Amid Pound’s versions of the longer narrative ballads in the so-called “old style”, this afterlife to the voice from the past like an abandoned woman’s letter when her husband has gone lent it an immediate resonance in the wartime situation in Europe. The most remarkable and moving effect comes from the way the English version recreates a series of intimate tones that succeed one another as the woman describes her relationship with her beloved at different times in their lives, so that it allows us to experience the woman’s emotions as she herself must have experienced them while growing up. As usual, Pound was assisted by Fenollosa, who concluded his introduction to the poem in the notebooks by warning: “The beauty of this poem lies in expressing the state of feeling of a wife just as she would feel and say, if she should tell her feelings”. (Li Po uses a strategy taken from a famous poem of Han times, “Peacock Flying Towards the Southeast”, which consists of indicating at the beginning of lines the age

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of the young woman, the visual conspicuousness of the Chinese numeralcharacters already underlining the time lapses and shifts in the woman’s fate). Thus, one is carried from the initial innocence to a first approach to love expressed with modest shyness: “At fourteen I married My Lord you” (stanza 2); when the mature recognition of love and affection comes, the tone is once more transformed: “At fifteen I stopped scowling, / I desired my dust to be mingled with yours” (stanza 3); and as we progress towards the end of the poem, when the woman is no longer living happily with her husband, but is lonely after his departure (stanza 4), when time no longer progresses by years, but by seasons and months, passing much slower for the longing woman than for the happy girl of old times, the tone becomes one of nostalgic sorrow, almost despair: “The leaves fall early this autumn, in wind. / The paired butterflies are already yellow with August / Over the grass of the West garden; /They hurt me. I grow older”. If it is in Li Po’s yueh-fu style poems – in these freer and usually longer ballad-like poems in the old style, with their irregular metrical patterns, their primitive tone and their prominent themes of love-longing, exile and military service – that a new voice in English was first and most easily recognised, it is because the strong psychological encounter between two authors and historic encounter between two times shaped an unprecedented critical voice one can immediately familiarise oneself with, even before understanding or adopting the new forms of representation staged (which were more easily recognizable in the shorter formalized poems in the new style).

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II.2 The transcendental impact: montage’s revolution of experience and historical representation As a result of the discontinuity of time, the retrospective development of the plot is combined with the progressive in complete freedom, with no kind of chronological tie [ . . . ]. The real spacialization of time [ . . . ] does not take place [ . . . ] until the simultaneity of parallel plots is portrayed. A. H AUSER On this last point, we can consider profitably the power of the modern media to represent events in such a way as to render them not only impervious to every effort to explain them but also resistant to any attempt to represent them in a story form. H. W HITE

Cathay’s voice might have a hic et nunc, might be limited to what English allowed at a particular moment of its history. But the way the conciseness and imagistic patterns of the Chinese as found in Fenollosa’s cribs came to defamiliarise English made history. If the new poetic language created through this East-West transcontinental encounter allowed both to recreate a foreign past and inseminate the present, in the end, it paved the way for new poetic forms of representation which contributed to the broad contemporary revolution of montage. Already the texture of Cathay, where the syntactic compression, straightforward diction and rhythmic vitality have often been remarked upon, comes directly from the encounter with the Chinese via Fenollosa. The relative tightness of the language results from the way Pound generated a convincing English syntactic feeling out of the predominantly paratactic lines of Chinese verse, from his realisation that it was not impossible, within certain limits, to follow the compression of the cribs and achieve English poetry (for which he had to reverse the tendency towards normalisation in Fenollosa’s prose versions). The crystalline and colloquial diction, in its turn, quite aside from what had been Pound’s recent revolt against rhetoric, also responded to the Chinese originals via the plainness of the cribs, further embodying the classical timelessness perceived in Chinese poetry. Finally, the rhythmic vitality, even if it must be considered Pound’s own creation, is none the less responsive to what he finds in the Chinese originals. For the central strategy in Cathay of giving weight to small rhythmic units that

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dismember the line from within, the fine rhythms resulting from the use of phrasal constructions and internal divisions to isolate perceptions inside well-bounded lines, is completely dependent on the syntax constructed following the Chinese cribs, especially on the breaks inside end-stopped lines to isolate images that interact with one another forming dynamic patterns. Beyond the texture, however, it is such a dynamic imagery that would bring the greatest linguistic and poetic impact, inseminating the broader aesthetic revolution of montage, which enabled a way out of the ironic impasse in which the metaphorical tradition had ended, completely changing the dominant forms of representation in our contemporary world. The moment of the reflexive abyss had played itself out: the tension of perspectives and destabilisation of the subject in ironic figuration, with its constant alternation between enthusiastic self-creation and sceptical self-destruction, had placed limits on the immediate tradition and the dominant modes of representation, particularly the metaphorical forms solidary with the ontological and teleological representation that had been diacronised in the ideology of progress30 . A clearly positive output had been yielded meanwhile by translation and recreation of Chinese poetry, of a series of imagistic forms that enabled abrupt but prepared shifts of points of view and perceptions perspectives, a superposition between simultaneous moments which vibrate against one another, especially contrasts between forms of imagistic-objective and narrative-subjective language. And while hosting these series of imagistic forms characteristic of an Oriental poetics in the system of the English language and literature, the resulting montage was able to produce a completely new way of synthesising the real, including the historical. From irony, montage would retain the decoupling of strong intentionality from a single, stable subjectivity and, more broadly, perspectivism. But, while multiplying such a perspectivism beyond the contradictory tension between affirmation and negation, while extending it under the guidance of Chinese poetics to a series of juxtaposed views on a single event or as the juxtaposition of views on different events, the form would acquire a clearly positive output, generating a dynamic, polyvalent and less intentional representation. 30

Take for instance works such as Eliot’s Prufrock, Pound’s Mauberley and Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young man, the first two done under direct influence of Jules Laforgue’s ironic poetic devices.

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As a formal device, the most obvious behaviours to single out in montage would be its two basic moments of ‘fragmentation’ and ‘juxtaposition’, which, although produced by the deliberate work of the artist, are able to generate a polyvalent and more or less impersonal signification that goes beyond subjective anticipation. For, on the one hand, figuration by montage entails identifying or producing discrete and significant segments of the real from a particular perspective, in accordance with certain criteria of the artist’s, be they discontinuous events or different discrete perspectives on a single event. And, on the other hand, montage entails a work of juxtaposing these segments or fragments, an arrangement that follows certain assembly strategies of the artist’s and generates a dynamic and often polyvalent meaning which goes well beyond not only the meaning of each of the individual segments, but also beyond what subjective intentionality could have anticipated. It is thus that montage opened a new, more impersonal way of giving meaning to the real, and in particular to the events of the past and the present to create historical sense, with the artist acting as a ‘catalyst’ within a wider process or reaction31 . Moving from its formal device to its history, one can add that just as the development of montage was manifold and accelerated, it was more often than not done in direct dependence on Chinese and more broadly Eastern aesthetics. On the face of it, the gradual experimentation with its possibilities from the 1910s onward was carried out in a series of Modernist arts and media, which, besides the montage revolution in representation through poetry itself, included everything from Cubist perspectivism and collage to the generation of cinematographic language, emerging ultimately as a new possibility of historiographical configuration. And in this shared quest for a new way of synthesising a richer and more complex representation of the real, however it was called (imagism, ideogrammic method, parataxis, asyndetic juxtaposition, fugal construction, collage, non-transitional sequence, etc.), the forms of montage in several fields were developed in explicit dependence on oriental aesthetics, which is what provided the decisive impetus to move on from the classical tropology (and

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For this image of the artist as an impersonal ‘catalyst’ at the service of a wider reaction which generates ‘historical sense’, see T. S. Eliot’s well know “Tradition and the Individual Talent” (1919).

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ontological topology) grounded in metaphor to generate a new form of representation32 . 32

A very interesting case is cinema itself, where one could examine to what extent montage developed as an ‘intersemiotic translation’, as a formal insemination from one system of signs to another; more precisely, from oriental poetics to the new media. For if, in Eisenstein’s pioneering reflections in “The Cinematographic Principle and the Ideogram”, he starts by warning that “cinematography is, first and foremost, montage” (Film Form, 28) – and one must immediately recognize that nowhere as in film would montage generate from the 1920s onwards a convincing experience and representation (to the point that the viewer does no longer perceive the form itself, i.e., the action of the form has become transcendental, defining the very conditions under which the phenomena are perceived) –, the very first experiences and reflexions of Eisenstein himself were done in direct relation to Modernist literature, from Imagism to Joyce, and, as the title of his mentioned essay already indicates, to Chinese grammatology and Japanese poetics, which he studied before developing the cinematographic method. Eisenstein explains: The real interest begins with the second category of hieroglyphs – the huei-i, i.e. ‘copulative’. The point is that the copulation (perhaps we had better say, the combination) of two hieroglyphs of the simplest series is to be regarded not as their sum, but as their product, i.e., as a value of another dimension, another degree; each separately, corresponds to an object, to a fact, but their combination corresponds to a concept. From separate hieroglyphs has been fused – the ideogram. By the combination of two ‘depictables’ is achieved the representation of something that is graphically undepictable. For example: the picture for water and the picture of an eye signifies ‘to weep’ [ . . . ] a knife + a heart = ‘sorrow’, and so on. But this is – montage! (Ibidem, 29-30). In a very basic sense, Eisenstein is pointing out that montage is the form of meaning of so-called ‘compound ideograms’, as created in Chinese writing, where the juxtaposition of two simpler and more concrete meanings generates an abstract meaning which does not correspond to anything that might be suggested by either of these alone. But then, even more crucial in the development of cinematographic montage were the prosodic forms, especially the forms of meaning of dynamic imagery enacted by Chinese classical poetry and, in a somewhat more limited way, by that of the Japanese. Take an example given by Eisenstein himself, which if it is still very basic, is, for that very reason, valuable for pedagogic purposes; speaking of the Japanese haiku, he observes: The same method, expanded into the luxury of a group of already formed verbal combinations, swells into a splendour of imagist effect. [... ] An evening breeze blows. The water ripples Against the blue heron’s legs. BUSON

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In what concerns literature itself, the first results were already visible in Imagism, where an initial understanding and experience with forms of fragmentation and juxtaposition in the medium of language proper was achieved (i.e. not trying to apply montage in terms of the visual arts, as occurred with most cubist poetry). Pound summarizes: The whole art of poetry is divided into: a. concision, or style, or saying what you mean in the fewest of clearest words. b. the actual necessity for creating of constructing something; of presenting an image, or enough images of concrete things arranged to stir the reader33.

Thus a basic formulation of the two fundamental principles of montage in strictly literary terms. First, fragmentation: a stylistic economy and conciseness that sets out to create discrete, hard-edged fragments ready to enter into effective relationships. Then, juxtaposition: the creation of significant arrangements with these discrete fragments that generate a dynamic effect. In what concerns the fragmentation criteria for creating effective cuts in language, discrete fragments of the real ready to enter into significant relationships, the so called “Three Principles of Imagism” constituted the basic start. The first, “Direct treatment of the ‘thing’ whether subjective or objective”, seeks to generate a hard linguistic presentation, with the solidity of material objects, doing away both with the subjectivism of the “impression” and with the opacity and shading of Symbolist presentation; [... ] From our point of view, these are montage phrases. Shot lists. The simple combination of two or three details of a material kind yields a perfectly finished representation of another kind – psychological (ibidem, 31-32).

33

The haiku consists of a transition by juxtaposition between two moments of perception laid out in three lines of poetry, usually moving from the perception of a general context (what in cinematographic language might be called an ‘establishing shot’) to a more closed shot that reveals a particular situation. As seen, it was these strategies of perspectivism upon the real and juxtaposition of discrete moments of perception that had been developed in a more sustained and varied way in the prosodic forms of Chinese classical poetry, with its juxtaposition between different subjective and objective viewpoints, all of which generated a vibratory effect, opening up that other dimension of the real as a process which Fenollosa spoke of, and which Eisenstein theorizes as the ‘fourth dimension’ of montage. The same kind of supplementary dimension achieved through montage had been also marked by Pound’s first imagist ideas in the 1910s. The Letters of Ezra Pound (1916).

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“By ‘direct treatment”’, Pound adds, “one means simply that having got the Image one refrains from hanging it with festoons”. As in classical Chinese poetry, the idea is that words, their abstract meaning or possible allusions aside, should have the hardness of objects in the world. It is what leads on to the second principle, to “use absolutely no word that does not contribute to presentation”, which not only insists on simple and exact language, but also on one which contributes effectively to this discrete fragmentation of reality into clear-cut presentation. Finally, the third of these principles, “as regarding rhythm: to compose in sequence of the musical phrase, not in sequence of a metronome”, places the music of the poem, and particularly the expressiveness of the cadence, at the direct service of the image, of the isolation by rhythm of discrete linguistic cuts, just as Pound does in Cathay. As he observes: “The verbal expression of the Image may be reinforced by suitable or cognate rhythm-form and by timbre-form”34 . In what concerns the criteria for the juxtaposition of the fragments thus obtained with an effective dynamic output, they were first developed in the theory of the poetic Image in Imagism and Vorticism, which emphasises the new dimension of experience opened up by montage itself. Pound’s first definition (1913), done still under the influence of the rather more limited effect of the Japanese haiku than of the Chinese more complex imagery, runs: An “Image” is that which presents an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time. I use the term “complex” rather in the technical sense employed by the newer psychologists, such as Hart, though we might not agree absolutely in our application. It is the presentation of such a “complex” instantaneously which gives the sense of sudden liberation; that sense of freedom from time limits and space limits; that sense of sudden growth, which we experience in the presence of the greatest works of art35 .

The literary Image appears here by comparison with the psychic “complex” described by Bernard Hart, who states that when “unconscious ideas [ . . . ] agglomerated into groups with accompanying effects, the systems thus formed [ . . . ] [are] called ‘complexes’,” which “are causes which determine the behaviour of the conscious stream, and the action which they 34 35

Pound, Ezra: “Affirmations” (EPPP, II: 9; 1915). Pound, Ezra: “A Few Don’ts” (EPPP, I: 120; 1913).

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exert upon consciousness may be regarded as the psychological analogue to the conception of ‘force’ in physics.” It is precisely the analogy with the forces of physics which is stressed in Pound’s subsequent Vorticist definition a year later: “The image is not an idea. It is a radiant node or cluster; it is what I can, and must perforce, call a VORTEX, from which, and through which, and into which, ideas are constantly rushing”36 . It is under such an understanding and criteria that some early poems with a limited montage effect were achieved. Take just the most well-known if rather worn-out example. Pound himself summarizes both its dependence from oriental poetics and limited montage technique: The “one image poem” is a form of super-position, that is to say, it is one idea set on top of another. I found it useful in getting out of the impasse in which I had been left by my metro emotion. I wrote a thirty-line poem, and destroyed it because it was what we call work “of second intensity.” Six months later I made a poem half that length; a year later I made the following hokku-like sentence: I N A S TATION OF THE M ETRO The apparition of these faces in the crowd; Petals on a wet, black bough37.

This is as far as poetic montage inseminated by Pound’s personal ideas of the techniques of the Japanese haiku would go, both in terms of poetic creation and of linguistic conception. Its epiphanic effect comes from the juxtaposition of fragmentary clear-cut perspectives with a dynamic resonance, as the principles and theory of the image describe, including a quite effective use of the verbal music to stress and make the images interact effectively. Thus, one can notice how, beyond the assonances between “crowd” and “bough”, there is an effective retardation of the rhythm by the only polysyllable included, “apparition”, where the language does what it says: generates a moment of stasis. Or how Pound assembles lines that are rhythmically very well demarcated, with an effective staccato in the second obtained by means of monosyllables and alliterations, emphasizing separate perceptions: “Pétals on a wét, / bláck / bóugh”. But if he is able to separate out images, giving them autonomy as independent, hard-edged takes on re36 37

Pound, Ezra: “Vorticism” (EPPP, I: 283; 1914). Pound, Ezra: “Vorticism” (EPPP, I: 281; 1914).

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ality, and make them interact in an effective way, the poem has not survived that well the passage of time; it seems effectist, as happens with many of those done under similar criteria, which rely mainly on the juxtaposition of self-contained lines with a final stroke. Thus, a great unanswered question following the initial achievements in Imagism and Vorticism was whether this new form or figuration could be extended to create a larger poetic structure that could go beyond effects confined to a single epiphanic revelation. Already in his “Vorticist” article (Sept. 1914), written just before engaging in the Fenollosa cribs for the Chinese translations in Cathay, Pound wonders: I am often asked whether there can be a long imagist or Vorticist poem. The Japanese, who evolved the hokku, evolved also the Noh plays. In the best “Noh” the whole play may consist of one image. I mean it is gathered about one image. Its unity consists in one image, enforced by movement and music. I see nothing against a long Vorticist poem38.

If the question was how to achieve a long imagist poem that does not dissolve into a tedious succession of individual events and juxtapositions, into a catalogue of disconnected image-perceptions, the answer required broader dynamic arrangements and some sort of unifying principle, which is precisely what he found in Chinese verse as received from Fenollosa. Thus, soon afterwards, under the impact of the much more elaborate imagistic arrangements seen in Chinese literature and poetics, especially their ways of transition between imagistic-objective and narrativesubjective perspectives and presentation, the imagist poetic conceptions and experiments with montage became more developed. As Fletcher would recognize: The parallelism of construction, casting back and forth from the observer to thing observed, is surely manifest: and the same self-same quality is omnipresent in Ezra Pound’s Cathay. The Imagists, being dependent on such hints as they could find in accessible translations, constructed a poetry rather more akin to the Chinese spirit than the critics have hitherto suspected. Chinese poetry became for them a crystallising influence, rather than a model to be slavishly imitated39 . 38 39

Pound, Ezra: “Vorticism” (EPPP, I: 285; 1914). Fletcher, J. G.: “The Orient and Contemporary Poetry”, 153.

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In time, the insemination and back up by Chinese forms allowed not only the development of the mature conception of montage, but also a poetic experimentation with a clear historiographical output in some of the culminating works of literary Modernism, which, completed almost a decade after Cathay, were constructed either as superposition of disconnected fragments – as in T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land (“These fragments I have shored against my ruins”) and Pound’s own early Cantos (“These fragments you have shelved (shored))” –, or as a superposition of different perspectives over a parcel of reality – as in Joyce’s stylistic montage in Ulysses, offering a myriad of points of view over a day in Dublin’s life (“Cracked lookingglass of a servant!”; “Ineluctable modality of the visible [ . . . ] Signatures of all things I am here to read [ . . . ] Snotgreen, bluesilver, rust: coloured signs”)40 . In what concerns Pound’s legacy, the poetic reflexion ended in his final theory of the “dynamic image” and in the so-called “ideogrammatic method”. On the one hand, his later distinction between a “static” image – a concentration or purge of the visual/mental intensity of an objective or subjective detail – and a “dynamic” image – the asyntactic superposition of images to energize their effect – would reformulate the fragmentation and juxtaposition of montage in new terms: “The diluters took the handiest and easiest meaning, and thought only of the stationary image. If you can’t think of imagism or phanopoeia as including the moving image, you will have to make a really needless division of fixed image and praxis or action”41 . On the other hand, the epistemological and historiographical implications of montage were thought through in what he called the “ideogrammic method”, a method he presented explicitly as a way of going beyond the forms of substitution in western metaphorical figuration and the abstract logic depending on it, making it possible to generate a signification of another dimension without the concrete perceptions being nullified. Pound begins: In Europe, if you ask a man to define anything, his definition always moves away from the simple things that he knows perfectly well, it recedes into an unknown region, that is a region of remoter and progressively remoter abstraction. 40 41

Joyce, James: Ulysses, I, 146 ff. Pound, Ezra: ABC of Reading, 52.

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If you ask him what red is, he says it is a ‘colour’. If you ask him what a colour is, he tells you it is a vibration or a refraction of light, or a division of the spectrum. And if you ask him what vibration is, he tells you it is a mode of energy, or something of that sort, until you arrive at a modality of being, or non-being, or at any rate you get in beyond your depth, and beyond his depth42 .

This would be the method of generalisation used in the traditional definitions in the abstract thinking of the West, which, based on the metaphorical tendency to substitute an image with an idea, has a long genealogy going back to at least the system of genres and species in Greek metaphysics. Unlike this method of abstract presentation, the epistemology of the ideogrammic method, as developed from ancient times by Chinese grammatology and poetics, defines by using a dynamic juxtaposition of qualities in which the particular is neither substituted for nor nullified. Referring once again to the colour red, Pound goes on to say: But when the Chinaman wanted to make a picture of something more complicated, or of a general idea, how did he go about it? He is to define red. How can he do it in a picture that isn’t painted in red paint? He puts (or his ancestor put) together the abbreviated pictures of ROSE CHERRY IRON RUST FLAMINGO That, you see, is very much the kind of thing a biologist does (in a very much more complicated way) when he gets together a few hundred thousand slides, and picks out what is necessary for his general statement. The Chinese ‘word’ or ideogram for red is based on something everyone KNOWS43 .

As so often, Pound is wrong in fact but creative in principle. For the character for red, ch’ih4 , is actually composed of the characters for “man” + “fire”. But the important thing here is the constructive principle which he identifies and grafts on to English poetics and criticism: that of a juxtaposition of particular, restricted perceptions, more precisely of discrete linguistic elements, to generate a field of energized meaning; a semantic event emphasizing quality and relationship, not substance, and thus retaining the particulars and generating a degree of dynamism. On the one hand, in the 42 43

Pound, Ezra: ABC of Reading, 19. Pound, Ezra: ABC of Reading, 21f.

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ideogrammic method each of the particulars forming the juxtaposition retains its basic qualities, which are neither substituted for nor put into a hierarchy, allowing them to act as “luminous details” by themselves. On the other hand, the juxtaposition, in its myriad possible internal relationships, reveals something which none of the fragments represents as such, a dynamic signification that expresses the real as a constant process between parts rather than as a stable substance, stressing quality more than essence44 . It was such a mature conception of the image under Chinese influence that Pound placed in the early Cantos at the service of a new representation of the historical, of a realm whose polyvalence and excess had by then overflowed the figuration possibilities of classical tropology. Projected from the start as an epic, the poem had to be thus directed to the community as a whole, not only to the individual, shaping a voice capable of assuming many modulations beyond the personal, presenting archetypical events 44

The demand to focus on and give new life to the fragments of the past conceived of as ‘luminous details’ appears early on with Pound, in a series of articles published under the symptomatic title of “I Gather the Limbs of Osiris” (1911-12). Here Pound starts: “The method of Luminous Detail, [is] a method most vigorously hostile to the prevailing mode of today – that is, the method of multitudinous detail, and the method of yesterday, the method of sentiment and generalization. The latter is too inexact and the former too cumbersome to be of much use to the normal man wishing to live mentally active”. After setting himself apart from the dominant historiographical approaches of neo-Romantic historicism, idealist dialectics and positive archaeology, he specifies the epistemological quality of such ‘luminous details’: “Any fact is, in a sense, significant. Any fact may be ‘symptomatic’, but certain facts give one a sudden insight into circumjacent conditions, into their causes, their effects, into sequence, and law. [/] [ . . . ]. A few dozen facts of this nature give us intelligence of the period – a kind of intelligence not to be gathered from a great array of facts of the other sort. These facts are hard to find. They are swift and easy of transmission. They govern knowledge as the switchboard governs an electric circuit. [/] The artist seeks out the luminous detail and presents it. He does not comment. His work remains the permanent basis of psychology and metaphysics. Each historian will ‘have ideas’ – presumably different from other historians – imperfect inductions, varying as the fashions, but the luminous details remain unaltered” (EPPP, I: 44 ff.; 1911). This is the epistemological status of the shot or moment of fragmentation, then: the presentation without theory or commentary of a series of objective luminous details capable of entering into productive relationships that generate historical signification. For if it would be primarily by focusing on and rescuing such ‘luminous details’ that one could illustrate the ethos of an age and unfold an afterlife or historical sense for it, it was precisely these fragments that were later articulated by the ideogrammic method montage in Pound’s pedagogic prose (e.g. ABC of Reading) and the early and many parts of the latter cantos as well.

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amid a defined tradition (“An epic cannot be written against the grain of its time: the prophet or the satirist may hold himself aloof from his time, or run counter to it, but the writer of epos must voice the general heart”)45 . And if the great correction that a contemporary epic effects over the classical and medieval genres was to come from the fact that it answers not only a post-Enlightened ethos, in which world history had become part of the general consciousness, but also a post-Hegelian historiography, in which the historical events were showing an excess over the metaphorical ways of figuration behind modern teleology, Pound warns: An epic is a poem containing history. The modern mind contains heteroclite elements. The past epos has succeeded when all or a great many of the answers were assumed, at least between author and audience, or a great mass of audience. The attempt in an experimental age is therefore rash46 .

While redefining the epic as a ‘poem containing history’, the aim was to give an effective experience of the phenomenality of the relationships between present and past with all the polyvalence of contemporary impulsiveness. If narrative and teleological means of representing the historical had until recently been part of a shared common consciousness, what was required after the crisis of the representation of the historical that began in the late nineteenth century and was consummated after the Great War in the first third of the twentieth, was a new form of representation reflecting the polyvalence and dynamism of the relationship between the present and the past, a new formal device that appeared in his version of montage under the premises derived from Chinese grammatology and poetics. Pound explains in rather defensive terms: The nadir of solemn and elaborate imbecility is reached by Mr. Winter in an American publication where he deplores my “abandonment of logic in the Cantos”, presumably because he has never read Fenollosa and my prose criticism . . . and thinks logic is limited to a few forms of “logic”, which better minds were already finding inadequate to the mental needs of the XIIIth century47 . 45 46 47

Pound, Ezra: The Spirit of Romance, 216. Pound, Ezra: “The Art of Poetry” [The Paris Review Interview IV] (EPPP, IX; 1962). Pound, Ezra: “Mr. Ezra Pound’s Cantos” [Letter to The New English Weekly] (EPPP, VI: 46: 1933).

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Projecting the principle of the ideogrammic method, the aim was to organise the Cantos as a tradition which is not simple repetition, neither teleological substitution in a final idea, but a realm of juxtapositions of significant scenes of the past and present able to be evaluative, to exert historical judgement and create historical sense. It was only then that, as also happened with the other Modernists writers, these longer poems constructed using the forms of montage, the juxtaposition between moments which vibrate against one another, would begin to superimpose fragments of another kind: no longer just visual or discrete psychological perceptions, but also wider-ranging historical and textual scenes. It is what led to a cultural and temporal montage of characters, events, citations and styles from different places, times, tongues and scripts that entered into significant relationships, redefining, among other things, the representation of the past and the present in a single linguistic movement. For, when it comes to these exemplary works, it is not enough to point out that their forms of montage are incomparably more sophisticated than the simple beginnings of Imagism, both regarding the moment of fragmentation (since their cuts include true “sequencing shots”, if we may put it this way, much more developed periods), and regarding the moment of juxtaposition (where we observe the whole range of parallelisms, zooms in and out, direct cuts and fades to which the cinema has accustomed us). Standing apart from this formal aspect, but as a direct consequence of its synthesis of the real, it needs to be noted that these more complex forms of montage were to provide a new representation of the relationships between times, a new linkage between present and past where events acquired a polyvalent and non-intentional meaning that offered Modernist a more enduring response to the great crisis of representation of the historical. It is what can be seen programmatically and performatively in the very beginning of A Draft of XVI Cantos (1924/5). Thus, the well-known “Canto I” introduces the programme of historical recovery of the dead through a translation by montage that revitalises several traditions at once: Homer’s presentation of the rites of Ulysses that bring him into contact with the past, transferring new vital energy to Tiresias and others, is given a new life and impersonal language through the mediation of the Renaissance Latin translation of Andreas Divus into the modern-archaic Anglo-Saxon diction and versification previously invented for the Seafarer. Then, “Canto II” opens juxtaposing a series of transformation scenes with a family likeness, a new

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temporal superposition based on parallelisms in history, with very delicate transitions between moments of subjective and objective presentation: HANG it all, Robert Browning, there can be but the one “Sordello.” But Sordello, and my Sordello? Lo Sordels si fo di Mantovana. So-Shu churned in the sea. Seal sports in the spray-whited circles of cliff-wash, Sleek head, daughter of Lir, eyes of Picasso Under black fur-hood, lithe daughter of Ocean; And the wave runs in the beach-groove: “Eleanor,  and   ”. And poor old Homer blind, blind, as a bat, Ear, ear for the sea-surge, murmur of old men’s voices [ . . . ]

After barely twelve lines of what is in fact an extended canto, the poem juxtaposes several literary and artistic antecedents of various provenances: Robert Browning, the immediate ancestor in relation to whom it positions itself; the troubadour Sordello as part of the medieval origins of the modern lyrical technique; Homer, traditionally considered the father of western poetry; Li Po (referred to in the allusion to So-Shu), the translation of whose poems in Cathay is the basis for the poetical revolution that Pound undertakes here; and finally, Picasso, pioneer, through his cubism, of montage in contemporary art. But beyond identifying references, what matters is how they are staged as a montage of different perspectives and textures, like selfsufficient fragments capable of entering into multiple relations, projecting a kaleidoscopic representation with an interruptive effect, something which set the first appearance of this canto apart from almost everything that had been produced in western poetry (the method would be popularised and disseminated through the publication of The Waste Land by T.S Eliot, which, as said, was edited by Pound himself). One can see how the poem opens up with a vignette whose internal montage includes at least three perspectives. After the denunciation of what would have been the failure of Browning’s attempt to generate a convincing representation of Sordello – “HANG it all, Robert Browning, / there can be but the one “Sordello” –, and the recognition about his own previous attempt – “But Sordello, and my Sordello?” –, the canto juxtaposes an un-

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equivocal affirmation of the unyielding nature of the past, reinforced by the sudden irruption of the Provençal language in which the Italian troubadour writes: “Lo Sordels si fo di Mantovana” (as Sordello was born in Goito, near Mantua). Faced then with the question of how to relate to the facts of the past in order to offer a more polyvalent and impersonal representation, if the most obvious part of the answer is already in what the literary language of this “Canto II” is doing, in the behaviour itself of its poetic montage, the big adjustment of the early method of the dramatic monologue comes from other latitudes, specifically from the techniques of the “dynamic image” of classical Chinese poetry, and more particularly from the work of Li Po translated in Cathay. No wonder then that the poem continues with a strong change of perspective and texture, presenting in an objective and imagistic way a second vignette the fade-effect of whose internal montages includes the decisive influences that allow for the correction of early poetic limitations and for the shaping of his mature poetic devices: So-Shu churned in the sea. Seal sports in the spray-whited circles of cliff-wash, Sleek head, daughter of Lir, eyes of Picasso Under black fur-hood, lithe daughter of Ocean; And the wave runs in the beach-groove [ . . . ].

In the middle of a succession of fragments with family likeness, amid maritime scenes whose transitions are almost imperceptible, the vignette starts by alluding to a sarcastic comment made by Li Po against So-Shu, a rival poet whom he disqualified by saying that he produced more froth than waves. Thus, if on the one hand it makes clear another of the major influences on Pound, on the other hand it suggests a significant parallelism between the relation existing between Li Po and So-Shu and his own relationship with Browning, as in both cases the aim is to go beyond a certain rhetorical inertia that impedes a more objective poetry. The confirmation comes from the very texture of the imagistic scenes that follow, passing imperceptibly through various locations and times against a maritime backdrop, including from China and the ancient Celtic world – irrupting with Lir, the seal daughter of Lir from the Irish legend – to contemporary art, in which the “Eyes of Picasso” call attention to the protean capacity of

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the contemporary artist who had first developed perspectivism and plastic montage in his analytical cubism and the synthetic collages. Finally, the metamorphoses and super-positions become even more subtle and accomplished in what one can set apart as the poem’s third vignette: ““Eleanor,  and   ”. / And poor old Homer blind, blind, as a bat, / Ear, ear for the sea-surge, murmur of old men’s voices”. In a new change of perspective and texture, the poem points now towards what are considered the two decisive sources of lyricism in the western cannon: that of archaic Greece, from which it imbibed all the music of the ancient poetry, and that of the Provençal troubadours, from which the musical technique of modern poetry hails. From the very first words that metamorphose into each other – “Eleanor,  and   ” –, the vignette makes the image of Helen from classical mythology portrayed by Homer and Aeschylos48 fade into the image of Eleanor of Aquitaine, daughter of the first known troubadour, the duke Guillaume d’Aquitaine. What can be translated literally and from various languages as “Eleanor / Helen, destroyer of ships, destroyer of cities” imposes a super-position of two women of mythical beauty in which one recognises family likeness or significant parallelism: if to the first, Helen of Troy, a woman allegedly shared between a Greek and a Trojan, was attributed the mythical war of Troy, to the second, Eleanor of Aquitaine, who first married Louis IX of France and then Henry II of England (with whom she had a son, Richard Lionheart) was attributed in a no-less mythical way the beginnings of the One Hundred years War. These are two figures mythologized by a masculine blindness, then, which, under the guise of a clichéd love of war, tends to blame women for initiating conflicts. Perhaps this is why Homer is presented with such ambiguity in the two phrases that follow, each one from a different perspective and with a different tone: if the first marks precisely the blindness from a subjective and propositional point of view – “And poor old Homer blind, blind, as a bat” –, the second performatively flatters his musical skills, as it is precisely from Homer and the troubadours that Pound learned to create the rhythms and vowel modulations that make the reader feel the movement of the sea: “And poor old Homer blind, blind, as a bat, / Ear, ear for sea-surge, murmur of old men’s voices”. 48

The Greek quotation in Pound’s “Canto II” refers to Aeschylos’ Agamemnon (Terrell 1980: 5).

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After having read only the first three vignettes juxtaposed in this “Canto II”, each one with its respective more or less perceptible montage effects, one can thus see how the activation of a multiplicity of possible relations between fragments placed without transitions or stable links begins to generate a sort of kaleidoscopic representation, all thanks to what Pound had learned from Chinese poetry, especially to its changes in viewpoint between objective imagistic and subjective propositional forms of presentation. As Zukovsky summarizes: In the last ten years Pound has not concerned himself merely with isolation of the image – a cross-breeding between single words which are absolute symbols for things and textures [ . . . ] but with the poetic locus produced by the passage from one image to another. We both partake of the cinematic principle, [ . . . ] tho’it wd. be pretty hard to distinguish in either case where montage leaves off & narration begins & vice versa49 .

As time passed, in fact, Pound was not only able to achieve the most delicate transitions between objective and subjective presentation, but also to push the English language a step further in its encounter with the Chinese. Thus, a decade later, this time at a twenty-year distance from Cathay, “Canto XLIX” opens: For the seven lakes, and by no man these verses: Rain; empty river; a voyage, Fire from frozen cloud, heavy rain in the twilight Under the cabin roof was one lantern. The reeds are heavy; bent; and the bamboos speak as if weeping.

And then, it closes: Sun up; work sundown; to rest dig well and drink of the water dig field; eat of the grain Imperial power is? and to us what is it? The fourth; the dimension of stillness. And the power over wild beasts50 . 49 50

Zukofsky, Louis: Selected Letters of Ezra Pound and Louis Zukofsky, 112 (1931). Pound, Ezra: The Cantos, 244-245.

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Constructed over the rearrangement of a series of Chinese poems – some of them from Fenollosa’s notebooks – and, like Cathay, worked from English cribs, “Canto XLIX” shows a further development in the capacity to forge an English language which accounts for the compressed syntax of Chinese poetry, getting as close as Pound ever attempted in his epic to the Chinese form of presentation (after “Canto XLIX”, in fact, he starts to graft Chinese ideograms themselves, no longer forcing English to replace them). For the last time Zukofsky: What interests me about XLIX is not the ivory fishpond, but the fact that you have used words and sounds, cadence & beat (& pause) like strokes of the chinese characters, that it is a development of technique 20 years after Cathay, the outgrowth but not at all like Cathay (whatever its beauties) – and I told you since prob. no more than 3 people in Europe will verify you51.

As in Cathay, if the line is once more the basic unit of composition, one recognises in “Canto XLIX” a greater parataxis in conjunction with strong rhythmic and other musical punctuations: “Rain; empty river; a voyage, / Fire from frozen clouds, heavy rain in the twilight”. The absolute syntactic discontinuity towards the end, with no articles or determinate links between the elements, lacking all connectives, becomes an effective way of building meaning – “Sun up; work / sundown; to rest” –, staging only events in action, cosmic processes. The whole imagistic presentation is further reinforced by heavily accented monosyllables (Fenollosa writes about the original for this passage: “Earth beating song, because old folks beat the ground . . . in singing”). And then, a subjective shift with the subtlety of the Chinese original itself – “Imperial power is? and to us what is it?” – shaping a question, while the monosyllabic chain gets interrupted by longer words which prepare us for the final propositional repose: “The fourth; the dimension of stillness. And the power over wild beasts”. Thus another cultural critique of the West by the East, contrasting the dimension of stillness to economic disorder, the immanence of a work that makes the land produce to the abstract usury of arms dealers and imperial power, just some of the many contrapositions in a poem including history for which the old arrangements grasped twenty years before and developed ever since had proved an effective form of presentation. For the simultaneity and discontinuity of montage projects here a very different cosmic image than that of 51

Zukofsky, Louis: Op. cit., 193 (1937).

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the East-West never setting sun: not an eternal present, but temporal discontinuity and juxtaposition. Certainly, all these different versions of montage for representing the historical in the Cantos might be demanding for readers, who often need to be willing to immerse themselves in substantial sections of the poem before a residue of historical meaning decants from the myriad of juxtapositions, before there is any crystallisation of similarities and differences, common patterns and family likenesses amidst the open signification produced by the fragments juxtaposed. But the important thing is that just as these discursive fragments do not lose their singularity or become subjected to any hierarchy – the discrete scenes from history, myth, personal anecdotes, etc., are all on the same level, with the same gnoseological weight, and are not metaphorically unified –, the signification of their juxtaposition cannot be exhausted by reference to the context they were taken from, generating a wider and more resonant signification, a series of harmonics of meaning thanks to their mobile interactions and those with the reader. In this sense, if what one finds in The Cantos are a great many violently contrasting scenes, including a series of significant events taken from spheres such as literature, mythology, history, etc., – moreover, if one is confronted with the juxtaposition of a multiplicity of languages, accents and prosodies which conform an undecidable genealogy as the ultimate utopia of the work –, the way to access the shifting meaning of this heterogeneous material does not depend on catalogues or erudition, but on grasping the dynamic relation and parallels between the scenes and languages staged. In Pound words: “Knowledge is or may be necessary to understanding, and there is not the least use or need of retaining it in the form of dead catalogues once you understand the process. [/] Yet, once the process is understood it is quite likely that the knowledge will stay by a man”52 . 52

Pound, Ezra: Guide to Kulchur, 53. The same applies to other of Pound’s decisive ways of understanding of the formal device or poetic process of The Cantos. Thus, the most well-known, the ‘fugue’ (cf. The Letters of Ezra Pound, 284-285), constitutes a ‘form as performance’: develops as a process of recurrence and variation on certain motifs according to the invention of the composer, and is judged by the craftsmanship of its texture rather than by the boldness of its structure. As W. B. Yeats, who popularized this idea of the fugue performance for The Cantos, puts it: “When I consider his [Pound’s] work as a whole I find more style than form” (“Introduction” to The Oxford Book of Modern Verse, xxv).

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The great transcendental legacy of the ideogrammic juxtaposition of significant details, which is part of the broader transcendental revolution brought on by the development and imposition of montage as a dominant form of representation, is a figuration through space and time juxtaposition which is clearly set apart from the metaphorical figurations of ontoteleologism still dominant in the ideology of progress as well as from historicism. It was such a significant synchronisation of temporal dispersion which allowed not only the development of the “historical sense” in early modernism – where the encounter between past and present gives rise to a meaning that redefines them both –, but also to the massive revolution of montage in contemporary experience. For the increasing dominance of these forms of superposition resulting from the East-West encounter would generate a synthesis of a different stamp from that of metaphor and analogy as found in the tropology that had been dominant in the West, effecting one of the great perceptual revolutions of the twentieth century, beginning with the synthesis of events in historical representation. As Walter Benjamin was to put it, with his pioneering extension of avant-garde montage as historiographical method in the Arcades Project (Passagen-Werk) and other works: History does not break down into stories but into images. (N 11,4) The first stage in this undertaking will be to carry over the principle of montage into history. That is, to assemble large-scale constructions out of the smallest and most precisely cut components. Indeed, to discover in the analysis of the small individual moment the crystal of the total event. And, therefore, to break with the vulgar historical naturalism. (N 2,6) Method of this project: literary montage. I needn’t say anything. Merely show. I shall purloin no valuables, appropriate to ingenious formulations. But the rags, the refuse – these I will not inventory but allow, in the only way possible, to come into their own: by making use of them. (N 1,a 8) Formula: construction by arrangement of fact. Construction with the complete elimination of theory53. (Oo 73)

Montage appears to fulfill the two basic requirements that arose after the nineteenth-century crisis of historic representation, namely, the need for a signification of the historical that would be at once polyvalent and objective, 53

Benjamin, Walter: The Arcades Project.

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and, following on from this, the need for a less intentional signification. In other words, the virtue of historical figuration by montage lay not only in the way its multiperspectivism generated a polyvalent dynamic meaning: “In the fields with which we are concerned [history], knowledge comes only in lightning flashes. The text is the long roll of thunder that follows”54 . The virtue lay also in the way montage incorporates the radical criticism of intentionality, whose action in the formal device as the catalyst for larger processes generates an impersonal significance exceeding the subject’s anticipation: “What distinguishes images from “essences” of phenomenology is their historical index [ . . . ]. This point of explosion, and nothing else, is the death of the intentio, which thus coincides with the birth of authentic historical time”55 . Far from limiting the meaning of history as a controlled representation (or as a storyline leading from a beginning to an end), the significant juxtaposition of heterogeneous elements (events, characters, texts, etc.) generates a dynamic effect which, by exceeding the intentional capacities of the artist and those receiving it, offers a new way of doing justice to the specificity of a certain incommensurability of the historical. From an epistemological perspective, perhaps the most basic point to stress is the way the historiographical economy of montage ends with “the present” (and with presence as such) as the absolute matrix of the historical signification, its juxtaposition locating meaning in the relation and difference between times. By contrast with the ontologisation of the present, which has been dominant in a long philosophical tradition that identifies being and time, presence and meaning, in the economy of montage the present is a time of interruption by a juxtaposition of other times. More precisely, by contrast with the tragic hypostatisation of the sense of the past as that which immutably is (the past-presence of historicism), of the present as what irrevocably occurs and must occur (the presence of the present of fascism), and of the future that which irrevocably will occur (the future-presence of the ideology of progress), in a historical experience and reflection as montage the past and the present interact in a meaningful juxtaposition, opening up a future that has nothing teleological or foreseeable about it. Thus how the dominance of these ways of signifying and representing through montage, which would soon become the basic syntax of the au54 55

Ibidem, N 1,1. Benjamin, Walter: Ibidem, N 3,1.

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diovisual language that undoubtedly dominates the scene of contemporary representation, begins to shape an unknown world that is, it is worth repeating, increasingly ours. A configuration of the real whose metaphysical solidarities are no longer in the analogical dualism of western ontology projected by metaphorical figuration, neither with the process of correlations of the Tao projected by the parallelistic figuration of the dynamic image, but rather in a sui generis configuration of interruption in immanence projected by the event which results from space-time simultaneity. Barely one hundred years after its first consistent poetical development, in a time in which these forms of signification and representation dominate our daily lives, it could be said that the action and effect of montage have become transcendental; that is, as acquired and dominant figuration habits, they determine the condition of possibility of our experience of the world without our noticing them. The kind of poetic foundation that can be retrospectively discerned in the predominance of the metaphorical habit for the ontological configuration of the world – with its movement of substitution and analogical reference of sensible images to the idea –, or the kind of poetic foundation that can be seen in the predominance of dynamic parallelism over the configuration of the Process or Tao – with its vibratory correlations at all levels –, one can recognise in the contemporary revolution of figuration through montage over a configuration which favours interruptive events amid time-space simultaneity56 . It is here that one can insist on the impact of Pound’s legacy as a translator of Chinese images, in his contribution to the broad revolution of representation through montage as the result of a East-West encounter and configuration. For there were also the aberrations: major ones. For, the same poet that activated a plurality of languages and cultures in a more or less uncontrollable literary montage, got lost in foreign lands: “I cannot make 56

For a comparative approach to how these dominant figurations of the poetic image – analogical metaphor in classical poetics, correlative parallelism in Chinese poetics, and the fragmentation-juxtaposition of montage in contemporary poetics – synthesize characteristic metaphysical-temporal configurations of the real – comparison and substitutive referral from the sense-image to the idea in classical ontology, the Tao or Process of correlative unfolding in the Chinese tradition, and that conception of an epiphanic transcendence in immanence, interruption amidst simultaneity, which increasingly defines contemporary representation –, see Claro, Andrés: Imágenes de mundo (English version “Poetic Image and Metaphysical Conception”).

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it cohere”57 . Confronted with the work of a man that lived long enough to doubt his beliefs more than once, the vital thing is, to put it in a rhyming juxtaposition of his own final words, that “the beauty is not the madness”; that if there were “Many errors, / a little rightness”, the key is “To confess wrong without losing rightness”.

Bibliographical references Benjamin, Walter: The Arcades Project. Translated by Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin. Cambridge (Mass.): Harvard University Press 2002. Claro, Andrés: Imágenes de mundo. Santiago [de Chile]: Bastante 2016. — : “Poetic Image and Metaphysical Conception (three figures of the literary predecessors and three configurations of the real)”. In: New Centennial Review, 17.1 (2017): 163-208. Davie, Donald: Studies in Ezra Pound. Manchester: Carcanet 1991. Eisenstein, Sergei: “The Cinematographic Principle and the Ideogram.” In: Film Form. New York: Harvest/HBJ, 1977. 28-44. Fenollosa, Ernest: “Rihaku Notebooks”. Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Library, Files 21 and 22. Fletcher, John Gould: “The Orient and Contemporary Poetry.” In: Arthur E. Christy (ed.): The Asian Legacy and American Life. New York: Greenwood Press 1945. 145-74. Jullien, François: “Théorie du parallelisme littéraire, d’après Liu Xie.” In: Extrême-Orient/Extrême-Occident, 11 (1989): 99-108. — : La valeur allusive. Des catégories originales de l’interprétation poétique dans la tradition chinoise. Paris: P.U.F. 2003. Liu, Hsieh: The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons. Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press 1983. Liu, James: Chinese Theories of Literature. Chicago: University of Chicago Press 1975. Lu, Chi: Wen Fu. The Art of Writing. Translated by Sam Hamill. Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions 1991. Martin, François: “Les vers couplés de la poésie chinoise classique.” In: ExtrêmeOrient/Extrême-Occident, 11 (1989): 81-98. — : “Traités Tang sur le parallélisme.” In: Extrême-Orient/Extrême-Occident, 11 (1989): 109-124. Mote, Frederick R.: “The Cosmological Gulf Between China and the West.” In: David Buxbaum and Fritz Mote (eds.): Transition and Permanence: Chinese History and Culture. Hong Kong: Cathay Press 1971. 3-21. 57

This and the following quotation are taken from Canto CXVI in “Drafts & Fragments of Cantos CX-CXVII” (Pound 1984: 810, 809, 813).

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Monk, Donald: “How to Misread: Pound’s Use of Translation.” In: Philip Grover (ed.): Ezra Pound. The London Years 1908-1920. New York: AMS Press 1978. 61-88. Owen, Stephen: Traditional Chinese Poetry and Poetics: Omen of the World. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press 1985. Pound, Ezra: ABC of Reading. London: Faber & Faber 1991. — : Cathay. London: Elkin Mathews 1915. — : Ezra Pound’s Poetry and Prose. Contributions to Periodicals. New York; London: Garland Publishing House 1991. 11 volumes. (Edited by Lea Baechler & A. Walton Litz & James Longenbach). — : Guide to Kulchur. London: Peter Owen 1978. — : Machine Art & Other Writings. The Lost Thought of the Italian Years. Ed. Maria Luisa Ardizzone. Durham: Duke University Press 1996. — : Persona: The Shorter Poems. New York: New Directions 1990. — : The Classic Anthology Defined by Confucius. London: Faber & Faber 1974. — : The Letters of Ezra Pound. London: Faber & Faber 1951. (Edited by D. D. Paige). — : The Spirit of Romance. London: Peter Owen 1970. — : The Cantos. London & Boston: Faber & Faber 1986. Pound, Ezra & Zukofsky, Louis: Pound/Zukofsky. Selected Letters of Ezra Pound and Louis Zukofsky. Edited by Barry Ahearn. New York: New Directions, 1987. Terrell, Carroll F.: A Companion to The Cantos of Ezra Pound. Berkeley & Los Angeles & London: University of California Press 1980. T. S. Eliot: “Tradition and the Individual Talent.” The Sacred Wood. London: Faber and Faber 1997. Yeats, W. B.: “Introduction” to The Oxford Book of Modern Verse. Oxford: Oxford University Press 1936. Yip, Wai-Lim: Diffusion of Distances. Dialogues Between Chinese and Western Poetics. Berkeley: University of California Press 1993. Yu, Pauline: The Reading of Imagery in the Chinese Poetic Tradition. Princeton & Guildford: Princeton University Press 1987.

Saturn über El Monte: Salvador Plascencias The People of Paper Monika Schmitz-Emans Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany

I „Buch-Romane“ – Buchgestaltung als literarische Praxis Salvador Plascencias Roman The People of Paper1 gehört zu einem Romantypus, für den gerade in jüngerer Zeit diverse einfallsreiche Beispiele geschaffen wurden: Die verschiedenen Gestaltungsoptionen des Buchs, in dem der Roman steht, sind in ihrer konkreten Nutzung konstitutiv für diesen selbst; Strukturierung und Formatierung des Textes, mise-en-page, typographische Gestaltung, nicht-schriftliche graphische Elemente, Formen paratextueller bzw. pseudo-paratextueller Rahmung erscheinen nicht als ornamentale Zutaten, sondern machen wichtige Ebenen des Werks aus. Sie machen auf sich aufmerksam, indem sie auf unkonventionelle Weise behandelt werden2 . Verschiedene erfolgreiche Romanautoren haben sich als Buchautoren, Buchgestalter, Buchkünstler präsentiert, so etwa Mark Z. Danielewski mit House of Leaves (2000), Steve Tomasula und Stephen Farrell mit VAS: An Opera in Flatland (2004), Jonathan Safran Foer mit Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2005) sowie Tree of Codes (2010) und Reif Larsen mit The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet (2009); die genannten Beispiele für einen stark buch-bezogenen Roman sprechen für die Bedeutung des Genres in den USA. Doch auch europäische Autoren arbeiten auf 1

2

Salvador Plascencia: The People of Paper. San Francisco: McSweeney’s, 2005; im Folgenden zitiert nach der Taschenbuchausgabe: London/New Delhi/New York/Sydney: Bloomsbury, 2007 [Sigle: PoP]. Gelegentlich ist auch der Buchkörper auf besondere und insofern signifikante Weise gestaltet; im Fall von The People of Paper ist der Buchkörper nur fiktiv in Form eines japanischen “‘origami“ im Prolog entworfen (PoP: 12-15).

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diesem Feld und setzen damit vor allem Ansätze fort, die sich bis in die experimentierfreudigen 1960er Jahre mit ihrem Interesse an nichtlinearen, typographisch gestalteten Romanen, etwa Arno Schmidts Zettel’s Traum (1963-1969) und Maurice Roches Compact (1966) und Circus. Roman(s) (1972), zurückverfolgen lassen; außerdem beziehen sie Impulse aus historischen und aus phantastischen Romanen, bei denen neben dem Text weitere graphische Elemente sowie signifikante Strukturierungsprinzipien zum Einsatz kamen und kommen3 . Ein spezifischer Terminus, der die Beispiele buchgestalterisch arbeitender Romankunst zusammenfassend und treffend charakterisiert, hat sich bisher nicht etabliert. Im Folgenden sei von „Buch-Romanen“ die Rede. Wichtige Impulse für die Produktion solcher Buch-Romane gehen von verschiedenen Diskursen, ästhetischen Tendenzen und medientechnischen Entwicklungen aus, so insbesondere von Experimenten mit und Reflexionen über Medialität, Materialität und Visualität des Literarischen. In ihrer Bedeutung nicht zu unterschätzen sind aber ganz konkret auch die gestalterischen Möglichkeiten, die Computerprogramme zeitgenössischen Autoren bieten, wenn es um mehr als die Produktion linearer Texte geht.

II Buch-Romane als Meta-Romane Ein wichtiger, vielfach anspielungsweise beschworener Vorläufer dieser Buch-Romane ist Laurence Sternes The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (1759-1767). Hier tritt der Einsatz ungewöhnlicher graphischer und typographischer Mittel vor allem in den Dienst der Reflexion über Formen und Prozesse der Darstellung. Der Buch-Roman wird, anders gesagt, mit Sterne auf programmatische Weise zum Meta-Roman, und neuere Autoren haben gerade diese metaisierenden Potenziale der Buchgestaltung genutzt. Auffällige Text- und Schriftbilder, der Einsatz graphischer Elemente und der einfallsreiche Umgang mit Textstrukturen verweisen auf die Schreibarbeit, auf die Situation des Schreibenden, auf seine Beziehung 3

Vgl. etwa (um nur wenige Beispiele zu nennen) Michael Ende: Die unendliche Geschichte. Stuttgart: Thienemann, 1979; Péter Esterházy: Bevezetés a szépirodalomba. Budapest: Magvetö, 1986 (dt. Einführung in die schöne Literatur. Berlin: Berlin Verlag, 2006); Milorad Pavi´c: Poslednja ljubav u carigradu. Belgrad: Prosveta, 1994 (engl. Last Love in Constantinople. A Tarot Novel for Divination. Chester Springs, PA: Dufour Editions, 1998).

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zur dargestellten Welt, auf die materiell-medialen und diskursiven Rahmenbedingungen literarischer Kommunikation, auf Intentionen und Effekte des Schreibens etc. Zum Meta-Roman besonders disponiert erscheinen Romane mit unkonventioneller Typographie, mise-en-page und sonstigen visuell-materiellen Auffälligkeiten insbesondere, weil sie die Konstruktion verschiedener romaninterner Wirklichkeitsebenen erleichtern – hier vor allem die Einbeziehung der Ebene eines ‚Autors‘, der schreibend andere romaninterne ‚Wirklichkeiten‘ konstruiert und als Erfinder von Romanfiguren und deren Lebensgeschichten agiert. Raymond Federmans Double or Nothing. A real fictitious Discourse (1971) mit seiner auf mehreren Ebenen spielenden Geschichte ist ein Beispiel dafür – ein Beispiel, das mit der Möglichkeit einer Integration der „Autor-Ebene“ in die Romanwelt sein wiederum potenzierendes Spiel treibt. Wo mehrere textinterne ‚Wirklichkeiten‘ konstruiert werden und dabei Autoren-Figuren neben den von ihnen geschaffenen literarischen Figuren agieren, kann es zu Konflikten kommen, die den Machtaspekt von Autorschaft betreffen, den Dominanzanspruch des Schreibenden wie die Rebellion seiner Figuren. Dergleichen spielt sich in mehreren Meta-Romanen des 20. Jahrhunderts ab, die buchgestalterisch eher unauffällig sind. Miguel de Unamunos Roman Niebla (1914, zweite Aufl. 1935) und Felipe Alfaus Roman Locos: A Comedy of Gestures (1936) erinnern mit ihren Geschichten über Konflikte zwischen ‚Autoren‘ und ihren Figuren an Luigi Pirandello, der analoge Rebellionen von eigenwilligen Figuren gegen ihren Autor und das ihnen zugedachte Schicksal als Dramenautor und Regisseur, aber auch im Medium narrativer Texte inszeniert; vor allem in Texten, die dem Werkkomplex um Sei personaggi in cerca d’autore (1921) angehören. Hinter diesen metaliterarischen Geschichten um angemaßte und bestrittene Autorschaft, um den Eigensinn und das Aufbegehren literarischer Figuren tun sich weitere Horizonte ästhetisch-poetologischer Reflexion auf, die hier nur angedeutet werden können: Da ist zum einen die lange Geschichte des Topos vom Dichter als ‚Schöpfer‘ von Figuren, Schicksalen und Welten, wie sie etwa an literarischen Rekursen auf den PrometheusMythos exemplarisch ablesbar wird; der ‚Autor‘, dem innerhalb eines Romans seine Figuren, wie rebellisch auch immer, gegenübertreten, ist mythischen Menschenschöpfern, selbst dem biblischen Schöpfergott damit zumindest vergleichbar (wie auch immer der Vergleich dann konkret ausfällt). Und da ist zum anderen die Geschichte des Topos von der zum ‚Le-

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ben‘ erstehenden Kunstfigur, ablesbar insbesondere an den Gestaltungen des Pygmalion-Motivs. Moderne Rekurse auf diesen Motivkomplex wie auch auf den um prometheische Schöpfungsarbeit suggerieren, dass Künstler auf vielfältige Weise scheitern können respektive, dass das Gelingen, die Entstehung von Leben durch Kunst, seine Schattenseiten hat. Weiß man als Schöpfer doch nie, was einen nach vollzogener Schöpfung erwartet. Denn – und dies ist vor allem an technikkritischen modernen PrometheusVariationen ablesbar – menschliche Artefakte können zerstörerische Folgen haben. Wer eine göttliche Schöpfungsmacht für sich reklamiert, erlebt manch böse Überraschung; wer ‚Welten‘ hervorbringen und gestalten möchte, muss manchmal erleben, dass seine eigene Welt in Trümmer geht – so die rationalitätskritische und dabei zumindest auch latent politische Botschaft.

III Saturn als Autor – The People of Paper als Meta-Roman Auf dem skizzierten Motiv- und Themenfeld inszeniert Plascencia seinen Meta-Roman The People of Paper, dessen Titel schon auf den literarischen Arbeitsprozess anspielt: auf Figuren, die auf oder aus Papier erzeugt werden, auf Figuren, deren Leben sich auf den Seiten eines Buchs abspielt. Mit der komplexen Romanhandlung – oder vielmehr: den verschiedenen ineinander verwobenen Teilhandlungen – geht es direkt oder indirekt um die konfliktuöse Beziehung eines Autors zu seinen Figuren, und das Konzept der ‚lebendig‘ werdenden Figur entfaltet dabei seine ganze Ambiguität. Der ‚Autor‘ im Roman, ein textinternes Alter Ego Salvador Plascencias, hat Ähnlichkeiten mit dem ‚second maker‘ Prometheus – aber auf verdrehte Weise wohl auch mit Pygmalion. Denn zu den Figuren seines Romans gehört auch eine Frau, die er liebt – und die ihn verlassen hat. Die eigentliche mythische Identifikationsfigur für den ‚Autor‘ aber ist Saturn, unter dessen Namen er im Roman figuriert. Dass Saturn vielfach auch mit Chronos identifiziert und damit in einen Bezug zum Thema Zeit gesetzt wird4 , begründet eine der diversen Verbindungen von The People of Paper 4

Ein Gott namens Saturn war bei den Römern für Ackerbau und Ernte zuständig, und dies passt zunächst zum agrikulturellen Umfeld der Erntearbeiter, in dem Plascencias Roman spielt. Doch zugleich weckt der Name die abgründigeren Assoziationen seines griechischen Pendants, des Zeitgottes Chronos. Wie in der kollektiven Vorstellungswelt der späteren Antike verschmelzen die beiden Gottheiten im Roman miteinander.

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zum Tristram Shandy. Als Gott der Zeit ist Saturn-Chronos zugleich eine Gottheit des Gesetzes und der Schrift – ein Tyrann, der die Macht der Schrift zugleich verkörpert und behauptet. Als ein autoritärer, ja, tyrannischer Vatergott wacht Saturn streng über die Einhaltung der Buchstaben des Gesetzes. Wer im Zeichen Saturns geboren wird, ist zur Melancholie disponiert; Traurigkeit herrscht unter seinem Regime. Plascencias Saturn regiert über ein Figuren-Volk, dessen Angehörige teilweise von tiefer Melancholie befallen sind, die sie nur abmildern und temporär ersticken können, indem sie sich selbst schreckliche Schmerzen und Verletzungen zufügen. Der Roman handelt davon, wie sich die Figuren dieses Autors – ‚Menschen aus Papier‘ – gegen ihren Schöpfer auflehnen: eine kleine Gemeinschaft von Unterdrückten, die die Herrschaft ihres saturnischen Patriarchen nicht länger erdulden wollen. Insbesondere lehnen sie sich dagegen auf, dass er ihre Gedanken sieht, dass ihnen nicht einmal ihre Gefühle und Gedanken ganz gehören.

IV Spielräume und Machtspiele Die Romanhandlung spielt im US-amerikanisch-mexikanischen Grenzraum, in Südkalifornien sowie in mexikanischen Dörfern, vor allem unter Arbeitsmigranten, die als Landarbeiter auf fremdem Territorium ums Überleben kämpfen, kaum geduldet und doch gründlich ausgebeutet, ständig überwacht, von rassistischen Vorurteilen gedemütigt. Die Spannung zwischen den Figuren und Saturn ist so auch eine Parabel über die Kontrolle, die politische Instanzen über die Chicanos ausüben; neben die Darstellung der Ausbeutung der Armen in den USA tritt die der mexikanischen Armut. Allegorisch bespiegelt findet sich diese in einem Dorf, in dem alles zerfällt; auch diejenigen, die über die Grenze fliehen, erweisen sich als dauerhaft kontaminiert und tragen den Zerfall mit sich wie eine infektiöse Krankheit. Hauptschauplatz ist die kalifornische Kleinstadt „El Monte“, in der mexikanische Arbeitsmigranten Blumen und Früchte ernten und über der sich Saturns Himmel aufspannt. Gegen Saturn rebelliert die Gang der „El Monte Flores“ („EMF“), die sich teilweise der Kontrolle durch den AutorGott entzieht, indem sie die eigenen Gedanken für diesen unlesbar werden lässt. Wie sich herausstellt, schützen nämlich Bleipanzer vor Saturns Blick, und man gewinnt sie durch die Zerlegung bleigepanzerter mechanischer Schildkröten. So dringen schließlich einige Rebellen sogar bis in Saturns

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papiernen Himmel vor, was allerdings primär deshalb gelingt, weil Saturn aus Liebeskummer zeitweilig die Selbstkontrolle verliert. Mit deren Rückgewinnung nimmt auch seine Macht wieder zu5 . Die ironische Verknüpfung zwischen Autor- und Figurenebene verweist auf zweierlei ‚autoritäre‘ Strukturen: auf die Macht von Schriftstellern über ihre Figuren und auf politische Macht und Unterdrückung. Erste kann, wie es scheint, ausgehebelt werden, zumal ‚Autoren‘ ohnehin schwache Geschöpfe sind. Letztere ist dauerhafter.

V Ein Netzwerk von Geschichten Vielfältige Geschichten finden sich ineinander verwoben. Ein Hauptstrang der erzählten Ereignisse nimmt seinen Ausgang in einem Dorf bei Guadalajara. Der Mexikaner Federico de la Fe wird von seiner Frau Merced verlassen und führt dies auf sein zwanghaftes Bettnässen zurück. Mit seiner kleinen Tochter Little Merced alleingelassen und tiefer Traurigkeit ausgeliefert, wandert er über Tijuana in die USA ein und lässt sich in El Monte nieder. Von da an fühlt er sich permanent überwacht und gelangt zu der Überzeugung, eine Macht namens Saturn beobachte ihn, verursache seine Bedrücktheit und mache sich über ihn lustig. Waren im antiken ‚Saturn‘ der griechische Chronos und der römische Erntegott hybridisiert worden, so verschmelzen bei Plascencia die Überwachungsmacht der US-amerikanischen Behörden und die Instanz des ‚Autors‘, der den Papiermenschen Federico hervorgebracht hat und ihn kontrolliert, miteinander. Federico rebelliert sowohl gegen eine politische Autorität als auch gegen einen Autor, als dessen Figur er sich selbst betrachtet; als Angehöriger einer unterdrückten Minorität wie als Romanfigur ist er zu einer Melancholie verdammt, für die er 5

Am Ende des Romans entziehen sich einzelne Figuren allerdings Saturns Macht, indem sie sein Hoheitsgebiet verlassen; andere gewinnen kleine Spielräume für sich. Dass die personellen Träger der Macht schwach und verletzbar sein mögen, ändert nichts an dem Gefälle zwischen Macht und Ohnmacht, das sich im Wirkungsraum staatlichbehördlicher und rassistischer Diskriminierung besonders evident zeigt. Denn Papierfiguren sind eben auch leicht durch Nachfolger zu ersetzen, auch die Papierfiguren an Schreibtischen, von denen aus über menschliche Schicksale regiert wird. Lautet die positive Botschaft von Plascencias Roman, dass ein unterbrochener, weil misslungener Roman immer wieder neu angefangen werden kann, so wäre die Botschaft bezogen auf die Geschichte politischer Autorität weitaus weniger optimistisch.

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einen Autor/eine Autorität verantwortlich macht. In Los Angeles sucht Federico bei der EMF-Gang Verbündete, um gegen Saturn zu rebellieren. Indirekt hilfreich für die Rebellen, die vor Saturn ihre Gedanken verbergen müssen, um ihren Aufstand vorzubereiten, ist ein schwachsinniges Kleinkind, das „the Baby Nostradamus“ genannt wird, weil ein hellseherisch begabter Mexikaner seine Genialität entdeckt hat. In den Augen von Baby Nostradamus spiegelt sich das Universum (vgl. PoP: 23); er sieht die Zukunft und die Gedanken anderer, hält seine eigenen Gedanken aber verborgen – und genau diese Kunst lehrt er Little Merced, die sie an ihren Vater Federico und andere weitergibt, die sich für Saturn intransparent machen wollen. Der mit der Suche nach Saturn beauftragte Kleingangster Smiley verschafft sich mittels einer Landkarte Zugang zu einem hoch auf einem Berg gelegenen Anwesen namens San Gabriel, nahe El Monte. Er entdeckt dort oben einen Flecken am Himmel, an dem er herumkratzt, eine Schicht Papiermaché, bohrt ein Loch in den Himmel und erreicht das Haus des Saturn – das vernachlässigte, unordentliche Domizil eines Schriftstellers, in dem vor allem überall Bücher und Papiere herumliegen. Der sich als „Salvador Plascencia“ entpuppende ‚Autor‘, in heruntergekommener seelischer und körperlicher Verfassung, weil ihn seine Freundin Liz gerade verlassen hat, ist alles andere als ein machtvoller Herrscher, geschweige denn eine omnipotente Gottheit6 . Weil Federico noch glaubte, gegen einen allmächtigen Autor ankämpfen zu müssen, hatte er Smiley angewiesen, falls die Tötung Saturns misslinge, wenigstens die Materialien und die bisher entstandenen Kapitel des Romans zu stehlen, auf dass der Autor entmachtet werde. Smiley soll Saturn die Grenzen seiner Macht demonstrieren; dies allerdings widerstrebt gerade ihm, der gern eine Autorität über sich weiß. Es geht Federico um den symbolischen und den realen ‚Tod des Autors‘; ersterer korrespondiert der literarischen, letzterer der politisch-antiautoritären Dimension des Romans. Die Geschichten Federicos, der von Merced verlassen wird, und Saturns, der Liz nachtrauert, ähneln einander bis in Details hinein so sehr, dass sich als eine mögliche Lesart ihrer Beziehung auch die These ergibt, Saturn alias ‚Plascencia‘ habe sich in Federico selbst ein Alter Ego geschaffen. 6

Ramón Saldívar stellt eine einleuchtende Beziehung zur Barthes’schen Kritik am Autordiskurs und zum Konzept der „intentional fallacy“ im New Criticism her (vgl. Saldívar 2011: 578).

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VI Menschenschöpfung und Prophetie: Autorschaftsmetaphern Nicht nur Federico erscheint als Spiegelfigur Saturns, sondern auch der kunstreiche Antonio, der lebendige Wesen aus Papier schaffen kann. Der Prolog des Romans berichtet von einer ganz aus Papier geschaffenen Frau und ihren Organen, für deren Herstellung Antonio ein besonderes Material verwendet hat: die Blätter von jenen biblischen und literarischen Werken, die den intertextuellen Bezugsrahmen des Romans bilden (genannt werden u.a. „spilling leaves of Austen and Cervantes, sheets from Leviticus and Judges“; PoP: 15). Die Kunstfrau wird „Merced de Papel“ genannt, beglückt viele Liebhaber und löst sich bei einem Autounfall in Papierschnipsel auf. Zum einen lässt sich das Bild der Papierfrau, entsprechend der metaliterarischen Dimension des Romans, auf die Schöpfung von literarischen Figuren, auf die Ausstattung von Papierwelten beziehen. Zum anderen ist es, der zweiten, politischen Lesart entsprechend, ein Sinnbild des autoritativen Verfügens über Figuren auch und gerade in der politischen Welt. Antonio erweckt einmal einen geschlachteten Kater, einmal die an einer Zitrusvergiftung gestorbene Little Merced wieder zum Leben; wiederholt zeigt sich somit seine Macht, Totes zu vitalisieren. Auch Baby Nostradamus als jemand, der viel mehr weiß als alle anderen und als Visionär des Zukünftigen mehr Macht über die Zeit hat als diese, repräsentiert eine Facette von Autorschaft. Will der Autor ‚Plascencia‘ lesen und lesbar machen, so ist die Domäne des Nostradamus die Intransparenz, das Unlesbare. Und noch weitere Figuren wären als Spiegelungsfiguren des Autors zu nennen, sei es wegen ihrer unglücklichen Liebe zu Abwesenden, sei es wegen ihres Wissens oder ihrer Kreativität.

VII Hybride Romanwelt Plascencias Romanwelt erscheint in mehrfacher Hinsicht hybrid. Der Roman ist verschiedenen Romangenres verpflichtet: dem phantastischen Roman mit mythologischen Elementen ebenso wie dem Zeitroman mit politischer Dimension. Verschiedene literarische Vorbilder und Strömungen haben ihre Spuren hinterlassen7 , so der Magische Realismus, die ChicanoLiteratur, aber auch andere Tendenzen rezenter US-amerikanischer Litera7

Vgl. dazu insgesamt: Saldívar 2011: 574-599. Saldívar betrachtet Plascencia als Vertre-

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tur, wie sie etwa durch Mark Z. Danielewski, David Foster Wallace und Jonathan Franzen repräsentiert werden. Insgesamt verbinden sich Elemente des Sozialromans, des Liebesromans, des politischen Romans und der Kriegserzählung mit Elementen aus Mythos und Legende zu einem Hybrid aus politisch-literarischem Manifest und metaliterarischem Spiel. Kulturell und sprachlich hybrid ist die Wirklichkeit, in der die Romanfiguren agieren. US-Amerikanisches und Mexikanisches, Englisch und Spanisch prägen diese Welt, aber auch der Einfluss verschiedener Kulturen und Weltanschauungen. Die Sphäre der katholischen Kirche, ihrer Heiligen, ihres Wunderglaubens und ihrer Priester8 berührt und verbindet sich teilweise mit derjenigen indigener Wunderheiler und indigenen Glaubens, aber auch mit Reminiszenzen an die antike Mythenwelt und die mittelalterlichen Prophezeiungen des Nostradamus. Und all dies wird hybridisiert mit Technikphantasien und Bildern aus einer modernen, wenn auch nicht zeitgenössischen Welt. (Sofern sich die Romanhandlung überhaupt zeitlich verorten lässt, spielt sie in der Zeit des Übergangs vom Schwarzweiß- zum Farbfilm. Eine wichtige Nebenhandlung ist die um den Weg Rita Hayworths von einer Chicana zum amerikanisierten Weltstar). Unter anderem suggeriert The People of Paper im Übrigen, nicht ein einziger homogener Roman zu sein, sondern etwas aus zwei Teilen zusammengesetztes. Ein erster Teil ist der vom Autor ‚Plascencia‘ schmerzlich vermissten Liz gewidmet, die sich am Ende dieses Teils aber zu Wort mel-

8

ter einer „new generation of minority writers [. . . ] whose work signals a radical turn to a postrace era in American literature“ (ebd.: 574). – Er erläutert die Grundtendenz dieser neuen literarischen Bewegung als Reaktion auf das Bedürfnis, die Beziehung zwischen Rassendiskursen und einer neuen gerechteren Gesellschaft zu reflektieren: „[. . . ] the relationship between race and social justice, race and identity, and indeed, race and history requires these writers to invent a new ‚imaginary‘ for thinking about the nature of a just society and the role of race in its construction“ (ebd.). Eine solche neue Perspektivierung erfordere neue Schreibweisen, Experimente mit neuen Textformen. Saldívar enthüllt auf überzeugende Weise vielfältige intertextuelle Verflechtungen; so weist er unter anderem auf Borges-Reminiszenzen hin (vgl. ebd.: 577). Auch dramenhistorische Voraussetzungen werden beleuchtet: Die Geschichte der antiken Parabasis und der Commedia dell’arte werden ebenso in Erinnerung gerufen wie das romantische Programm ‚permanenter Parekbase‘ (vgl. ebd.: 579) bei Friedrich Schlegel und das Konzept romantischer Ironie (vgl. ebd.: 579f.). Auch Papst Johannes Paul II. und ein Kardinal Mahony gehören zu den Figuren. Ein Ringer namens „Santos“ ist eigentlich ein Heiliger, der sich aber dem Zugriff der Kirche entzieht (vgl. PoP: 74). Eine Frau stirbt an der Strahlkraft einer Madonnenerscheinung.

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det und ‚Plascencia‘ seine Lügenhaftigkeit vorhält. Sie fordert, aus dem Roman herausgehalten zu werden9 . Liz’ Stimme ertönt der Suggestion des Textes zufolge von einem außerhalb des Romans gelegenen Ort aus („please leave me out of this story. Start this book over, without me“; PoP: 138). Der zweite Romanteil erinnert wieder an Liz, nur mit böseren Worten als zuvor10 . Der ‚Autor‘, so scheint es, hat mit der Arbeit von Neuem begonnen: Titel und einleitende Teile wiederholen sich in modifizierter Form. Zwischen zwei Büchern wie zwischen zwei Stühlen platziert, sind wir Leser selbst Bestandteil der aus mehreren Spielebenen zusammengesetzten Welt, von welcher der Roman spricht (vgl. dazu auch Saldívar 2011: 580).

VIII Vielstimmigkeit Verschiedenste Sprecher- und Erzählerstimmen kommen im Roman zu Wort, acht bereits im ersten Kapitel, und Saturn ist eine davon. Zur Darstellung dieser Stimmen setzt Plascencia verschiedene typographische und buchgestalterische Mittel ein; das Mit- und Gegeneinander der Figuren wird visuell inszeniert. Vor allem weite Passagen mit Mehrspaltendruck suggerieren die Simultaneität verschiedener Stimmen, die sich aus verschiedenen Perspektiven auf die erlebte Welt beziehen. Saturn erzählt in der dritten Person über seine ‚Figuren‘, die zugleich in benachbarten Spalten zu Wort kommen. Dazwischen finden sich Partien in konventionellem Layout, die aber ebenfalls jeweils bestimmten Sprechern zugeordnet sind. Unter die Menschenstimmen mischt sich gelegentlich auch die Stimme einer mechanischen Schildkröte, die sich mittels eines digitalen Codes über eine halbe Seite hinweg artikuliert („0000011100011000[. . . ]“; PoP: 97), während die ihr zur Seite gestellte Little Merced durch eine Spalte Schweigen gekennzeichnet ist (ebd.). Neben Arrangements mit integrierten Fremdwörtern (vgl. PoP: 19, 193), in denen durch die Seitengestaltung die Simultaneität der Gedanken und Erlebnisse verschiedener Figuren dargestellt 9

10

Saturn, so Liz’ Beschwerde, hat sie verraten, als er sie zu einer Figur in seinem Roman machte, und sie verlangt, aus der Geschichte entlassen zu werden, weil sie fürchtet, ihre einstigen Kinder könnten das Buch später lesen. Und sie will dort nicht als eine grausame und treulose Liz angetroffen werden (vgl. PoP: 138). Vgl. die erste Widmung „And to Liz, who taught me that we are all of paper“ (PoP: [7]); nach dem Neuanfang streicht Saturn diese Widmung aus (wir lesen sie durchgestrichen auf S. 122 neben anderen Wörtern) und ersetzt sie durch „For Liz who fucked everything“ (PoP: 122).

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wird, finden sich Passagen, in denen zwei Textspalten den ausformulierten Dialog zweier Personen simulieren. So kommt es zu einem (imaginären) Gespräch zwischen dem namentlich genannten Saturn und einer Figur, die wohl Liz, aber eine imaginäre Liz ist; einen Namen trägt ihre Kolumne nicht (vgl. PoP: 117-119). In Liz’ Text sind die Stellen geschwärzt, in denen sie respektive Saturn, der an sie denkt, den Namen von Liz’ neuem Partner nennt (vgl. PoP: 117, 119). Und schließlich versickert Saturns Monolog; die Schrift verblasst und mündet ins Weiß der Seite (vgl. PoP: 119).

IX Vielsprachigkeit Plascencias englisch-amerikanischer Roman ist – passend zu der Chicanowelt, in der er spielt, aber auch zur bikulturellen Prägung der Autorfigur Plascencia11 – von zahlreichen spanischen Textelementen durchsetzt, beginnend mit der spanischen Widmung an die Familienmitglieder des Autors, die zu Beginn des zweiten Teils wiederholt wird („Para mi papa, mama, y hermana“; PoP: [5], [143]) und parallel dazu die spanische Doppelung der kollektiven Titelfigur The People of Paper als la Gente de Papel im Gegenbuch der „Merced de Papel“ (PoP: 198). Der weise Medizinmann Apolonio, „the curandero“12 , gibt über den hispanischen Autor „Salvador Plascencia“ kundig Auskunft und spielt dabei unter anderem auf dessen partielle Assimilation an die US-amerikanische Kultur an: „Saturn’s real name is Salvador Plascencia. Salvador Plascencia de Gonzales, to be exact, though he dropped his maternal name long ago“ (PoP: 102). Die meisten Figuren tragen ‚sprechende‘ spanische Namen und Beinamen, wie die Leitfiguren „Merced de Papel“ und „Federico de la Fe“, manche auch sprachlich hybride Namen, wie „Little Merced“ und „Baby Nostradamus“. Viele Vokabeln und Stichwörter aus dem hispanischmexikanischen Kulturraum repräsentieren diesen metonymisch, z.B. „mestizo“ (PoP: 79), „cholos“ und „cholas“ (PoP: 55f.)“, „maquilas“ (PoP: 11

12

Der ‚echte‘ Salvador Plascencia wurde in Mexiko geboren, zog als Kind aber mit seiner Familie nach El Monte bei Los Angeles. Mit seinem literarischen Debütroman The People of Paper tritt er als anglophoner Autor auf. Plascencias romaninternes Double ist ebenfalls durch seine mexikanisch-US-amerikanische Doppelexistenz charakterisiert. PoP: 72, 101, 149 passim. Der Name und die Funktion des „curandero“ Apolonio verweisen wohl auf den antiken Magier und Philosophen Apollonios von Tyana, den Bezugspunkt aller thaumaturgischen Literaten. (Zur namentlichen „magic“ des Apolonio vgl. PoP: 223). Mein Dank für diesen Hinweis gilt Alfons Knauth.

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82), „tirabuzon“ [sic! PoP: 19], „plancha“ [PoP: 19], „La[s] Abeja[s] negra[s]“ (PoP: 19, 21), deren erstere drei bereits als Fremdwörter in den US-amerikanischen Wortschatz eingegangen sind. Auch die Sprache der Töne wird in den Roman integriert: Kapitel 19 beginnt mit einem Auszug aus einem ‚tonlosen‘ Lied, „The Ballad of Perfidy“, dessen Tonlosigkeit dadurch dargestellt wird, dass die drei Notensysteme zwar jeweils einen Bassschlüssel, aber keine Noten aufweisen. Die Ballade gehört offenbar zu einem mystischen Werk, das in einem Strang der Romanhandlung eine Rolle spielt: The Book of Incandescent Light, respektive zu dessen „translation“ (PoP: 179). Eine Art Pendant zu den unhörbaren Noten des rätselhaften Liedes bilden die Transkriptionen der Laute, die Federico de la Fe von sich gibt, als er sich wegen seiner Bleivergiftung übergeben muss – ein groteskes Stück ‚Natursprache‘ gleichsam, zumindest in seiner verschriftlichten und damit der Sprache angenäherten Form („Blarghhh“; PoP: 183). Die im 21. Kapitel einander gegenüberstehenden Kolumnen „From the notebooks of Smiley, mathematician and botanist“ (PoP: 193f.) erinnern an die Einträge in einem zweisprachigen Wörterbuch oder Vokabelheft, wobei an die Stelle der Vokabeln Gegenstände, Gesten und Erlebnisse treten, deren Bedeutung sich Smiley offenbar notiert hat. Schließlich findet sich eine metalinguistische und ‚interlinguale‘ Thematisierung der Sprachen bzw. Zungen, ineins mit einer ausgesprochenen Somatisierung und Erotisierung derselben. Dies geschieht in dem von Merced de Papel verfaßten Gegenbuch zu The People of Paper, nämlich Los Dolores y Amores de la Gente de Papel (PoP: 198), und zwar „on the sixtieth page“ (PoP: 200f.). Dort berichtet Merced de Papel, dass die gerollten spanischen „double r’s“ eine dauerhafte Streckung der Zunge ihrer hispanischen Liebhaber zur Folge haben, während das R ihrer weißen protestantischen Liebhaber deren Zunge kürzer geraten ließ. Obwohl sie die kürzerzüngigen Liebhaber bevorzugte, gibt sie zu, dass die langzüngigen Mexikaner bei ihrem Tod viel mehr als jene um sie getrauert haben – nach Mariachi-Art (PoP: 200f.).

X Vielschriftlichkeit Typographische Mittel dienen der Erzeugung perspektivischer Vielfalt und der Darstellung einer aus heterogenen Bausteinen konstruierten Welt auf variantenreiche Weise. Das Druckbild ist charakterisiert durch die Verwen-

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dung verschiedener Schrifttypengrößen sowie von Zeichen aus anderen Codes wie Zahl- und Satzzeichen. Auch finden sich diverse schriftbildliche Elemente in den Roman integriert. Schon das Inhaltsverzeichnis (vgl. PoP: [9]) ist ungewöhnlich gestaltet: Neben einer Kolonne mit den Nummern der insgesamt 27 Kapitel, die zu drei Teilen gruppiert sind, finden sich pro Gruppe jeweils die Zeichnung einer Hand, die ein Zeichen der Gestensprache vollführt, sowie als zweite Kolonne eine Sequenz aus Punkt- und Strichzeichen. Seitenangaben, die die Navigation durch die Kapitel erleichtern würden, fehlen. Die drei Handzeichen finden sich zu Beginn der drei Teile wiederholt, hier mit Übersetzung: „El Monte Flores“ (zu „Part One“, PoP: [17]), „Cloudy skies and lonely mornings“ (zu „Part Two“; PoP: [99]), „The sky is falling“ (zu „Part Three“; PoP: [145]). Eine gezeichnete Hand, über der ein Ring schwebt, findet sich jeweils auch auf den beiden Titelblättern des Romans (vgl. PoP: [3], [141]); ob der Ring als Symbol einer ehelichen Bindung13 (etwa Federicos und Merceds) oder als „Ring des Saturn“ zu lesen ist, bleibt unentscheidbar. Zu Beginn des Romans tauchen bebilderte Spielkarten in der Darstellung der Handlung auf – „El Diablito“ (PoP: 21) und „La Muerte“ (PoP: 22); sie stehen für Federicos mangelndes Spielerglück, verweisen symbolisch aber auch auf den Topos von der Welt als einem „Spiel“ der Götter. In einer späteren Phase der Geschichte sind es Dominosteine, die, graphisch repräsentiert, die Spielmetaphorik visualisieren (vgl. PoP: 188). Das GangLogo der „EMF“, an vielen Orten der Stadt „El Monte“ angebracht, wird als Schriftfigur im Roman sichtbar (vgl. PoP: 33, (durchgestrichen) 112). Die beschriftete Zeichnung einer Lebensmittelpyramide illustriert, „that one could survive on the taste of sadness for years“ (PoP: 111). Gelegentlich sieht man als Leser dem Autor Saturn beim Schreiben und beim Ausstreichen zu, so wenn er in einem Flugzeug versucht, „the perfect sentence“ zu schreiben und Sätze eines möglichen Briefs an Liz zunächst schreibt und dann wieder ausstreicht; untereinander stehen die Sätze selbst und ihre durchgestrichenen Varianten (vgl. PoP: 110). 13

Ein Schauplatz des Romans ist eine Pension an den Niagarafällen, deren Zimmer von den Besitzern nur an frischverheiratete Paare vermietet werden. Saturn alias ‚Plascencia‘, der ja auch ein Lügner und Betrüger ist, verschafft sich dort unter Vorspiegelung falscher Tatsachen mit seiner zeitweiligen Geliebten Cameroon Zugang (vgl. PoP: 125f.).

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XI Unlesbare Texte Einen performativen Effekt haben insbesondere solche Passagen, bei denen graue Flächen von unterschiedlicher Größe den Text der Figuren überdecken und damit passagenweise unkenntlich machen. Mit ihnen wird dargestellt, wie die Figuren ihre Gedanken vor Saturn unlesbar machen – und in welchem Umfang dies gelingt. Das Spektrum reicht von kleineren Flächen, die gleichsam nur Löcher im Figurentext bilden, über größere Flächen, die für eine größere Intransparenz (und Autonomie) der Figuren stehen – bis hin zur Überdeckung der gesamten für den Figurentext vorgesehenen Fläche mit grauen oder schwarzen Rechtecken, maximal von der Größe einer ganzen Seite. Der kleine Nostradamus gibt gar keinen lesbar werdenden Text von sich, sondern verbirgt sich vor dem Leser (wie vor Saturn) hinter grauen Flächen. Einmal allerdings signalisiert die Zeichnung eines Planeten mit Ring, dass sich Baby Nostradamus mit Saturn beschäftigt (vgl. PoP: 218). Teilweise werden die einen imaginären Text verdeckenden Flächen wie Teile eines Dialogs, also als Bestandteile einer (Anti-)Sprache arrangiert. So wenn Baby Nostradamus Little Merced im Gedankenverhüllen unterrichtet: Unter dem Satz „And so the Baby Nostradamus demonstrated, concealing what was a perfectly legible and discernible thought“ (PoP: 160) finden sich vier Zeilen eines schwarzen Textblocks, die wirken, als verdeckten sie tatsächlich einen Text. Komplexer noch erscheint eine Unterrichtssequenz visualisiert, in der zunächst Baby Nostradamus einen Gedanken in Gestalt eines mit „EMF“ beschrifteten weißen Rechtecks vorführt und dann diese Initialen unter einer grauen Fläche verschwinden lässt, von der sie sich allerdings noch schwach, weil schwarzgedruckt, abheben. Die ungeübte Little Merced beginnt mit einem gleichartigen weißen Quadrat, auf ihrem entstehenden grauen Quadrat stehen die Buchstaben „EMF“ dann aber in Weiß – noch zu gut lesbar also (vgl. PoP: 163)14 . 14

Dazu der Erzähler: „Instead of hiding the letters, they became more pronounced. But after three days, as Little Merced practiced under the protection of her lead ceiling she was able to obscure not only basic acronyms but also simple sentences“ (PoP: 163) – und es folgt eine Kombination aus einem schwarz beschrifteten weißen Rechteck (das einen lesbaren Gedanken repräsentiert) und dann einem ganz schwarzen Rechteck (das für den unlesbar gewordenen Gedanken steht). Little Merceds steigendes Geschick wird dann durch einen aus zeilenförmigen Rechtecken zusammengesetzten schwarzen Text nochmals bekräftigt (vgl. PoP: 164).

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Little Merced, Federico und die EMF-Mitglieder, die ihre Gedanken unsichtbar machen wollen, haben unterschiedliche Erfolge; ihre Versuche bilden sich teils sequenziell in größer oder kleiner werdenden dunklen Flächen ab. So vergrößert sich in einer Spätphase des Romans ein schwarzes Rechteck in Little Merceds Text stufenweise, bis die ganze Seitenfläche schwarz ist (die dabei ihr und den „Veteranos“ zugeordnet ist; vgl. PoP: 191). Dies erinnert nicht zufällig an die schwarze Seite, die in Sternes Tristram Shandy Anlass zum Gedenken an den verstorbenen Yorick bietet: Wie dort Yorick, so ist in Plascencias Roman Little Merced an dieser Stelle tot, wird allerdings später vom Medizinmann Apolonio wieder zum Leben erweckt. Nach ihrer Auferstehung beginnt sie ihre Intransparentisierungsübungen erneut; die Form der dunklen Flächen hat sich gegenüber früher geändert (vgl. PoP: 209). Zuletzt begleitet das Mädchen seinen Vater Federico aus dem Reich Saturns hinaus – und es gelingt beiden, von den Seiten des Buchs zu verschwinden. Saturn kann ihnen nicht mehr folgen, auch wenn er sich seiner Macht zu entsinnen sucht15 . Ein großer schwarzer Punkt markiert im Roman die Stelle, wo Federico und seine Tochter den Roman unter einem Schirm verlassen (vgl. PoP: [247]).

XII Literatur als Buch-Kunst – Borgesianische Impulse Zu den Autoren, deren intertextuelle Spuren Plascencias Roman geprägt haben, gehört – kaum überraschend – auch Borges. Die Konstruktion eines komplexen Netzwerks von Geschichten erinnert an Borges’ literarisch gestaltete Visionen eines labyrinthischen Romans (El jardín de senderos que se bifurcan, 1941); die Übergänge zwischen Wirklichem und Imaginärem, insbesondere auch die Idee der Kreation von Figuren durch die Imagination finden sich bei Borges prägnant vorweggenommen (Las ruinas circulares, 1940). Borgesianisch nimmt sich auch die Vermischung realer und imaginärer intertextueller Referenzen aus, verbunden mit einem facettenreichen Weltwissen, das teils auf Historisches verweist, teils aber auch einer ‚anderen‘, imaginären Geschichte angehört. Vor allem aber die Bedeutung, 15

„And while Saturn thought about all these things, preoccupied with a future that would never be, no matter his strength, Little Merced helped Federico de la Fe [. . . ] pack his bag. Together they walked out of their stucco [. . . ] and Little Merced [. . . ] raised her parasol, shading her and her father. They walked south and off the page, leaving no footprints that Saturn could track“ (PoP: 245).

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die Borges dem Buch in seinen Buchphantasien wie in seinen theoretischessayistischen Reflexionen beimisst16 , dürfte sich auf Plascencia wie auf andere Konstrukteure von Buch-Romanen nachhaltig ausgewirkt haben. Mit kompositorischen und graphischen Mitteln bekräftigt The People of Paper die vielseitige Semantisierbarkeit des Buchformats und seiner diversen Parameter durch literarische Autoren. Der Leser wird durch einen gestalterisch stark ausdifferenzierten Buchraum geführt, und graphische wie typographische Mittel evozieren eine zeitlich und perspektivisch17 , vor allem aber auch sprachlich analog ausdifferenzierte Welt. Das Papier wird zur Bühne für verschiedene Spiele: zum Austragungsort von Machtkämpfen, zum Schauplatz der spannungsvollen Begegnung differenter Kulturen, zum Spielfeld der Sprachen – aber auch zu einem Resonanzraum für Verschwiegenes, Durchgestrichenes, Getilgtes. Noch das Unlesbare, die Nichtschrift, die amorphe graue Fläche erhält im Text-Rahmen des Romans eine Funktion und wird insofern ‚bedeutsam‘.

Literaturangaben Borges, Jorge Luis: „Das Buch.“ In ders.: Gesammelte Werke in zwölf Bänden. Hg. von Gisbert Haefs und Fritz Arnold. Bd. 4: Essays. Borges, mündlich / Sieben Nächte / Neun danteske Essays / Persönliche Bibliothek. Übers. von Gisbert Haefs. München/Wien: Hanser, 2004. 9-18. Plascencia, Salvador: The People of Paper. London/New Delhi/New York/Sydney: Bloomsbury, 2007 [Sigle: PoP]. Saldívar, Ramón: „Historical Fantasy, Speculative Realism, and Postrace Aesthetics in Contemporary American Fiction.“ In American Literary History, Vol. 23, No. 3 (2011). 574-599.

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„Unter den verschiedenen Werkzeugen des Menschen ist das erstaunlichste zweifellos das Buch. Die anderen sind Erweiterungen seines Körpers. Mikroskop und Teleskop sind Erweiterungen des Sehens; das Telefon ist eine Erweiterung der Stimme; dann haben wir Pflug und Schwert, Erweiterungen des menschlichen Arms. Aber das Buch ist etwas anderes: Es ist eine Erweiterung des Gedächtnisses und der Phantasie“ (Borges 2004: 9). Borges verzichtet allerdings auf eine visuell auffällige Gestaltung seiner Texte. Gelegentlich muss das Buch um 45 Grad gedreht werden, um gut lesbar zu sein (vgl. PoP: 213, 215, 217).

La figura universal y multilingüe del dragón-serpiente1 Graciela N. Ricci Università degli Studi di Macerata, Italia

Sí había algo en el aire, sí había algo en el viento, Sí había algo en los árboles o arbustos Que podía ser pronunciado y un tiempo fue oído por los animales, Que este Conocimiento Sagrado nos sea devuelto otra vez Atharvaveda (VII, 66)

I El dragón-serpiente como fenómeno imaginario y mítico En la historia de las distintas civilizaciones, las lecturas pobladas de monstruos y seres maravillosos han ocupado un lugar importante y enriquecido el acervo del inconsciente colectivo de la humanidad. Estos personajes ‘fronterizos’ que nos han acompañado desde la infancia en cuentos, leyendas ilustradas y novelas fantásticas han sido el modo en que el ser humano, desde épocas lejanas, ha aprendido no sólo a canalizar sus miedos irracionales sino también a ‘soñar despierto’ para poder dar significado al mundo y a los aspectos incomprensibles de su relación con las fuerzas de la naturaleza. Pero si bien las criaturas irreales o mitológicas se encuentran diseminadas en las leyendas de todo el mundo, ninguna como la del dragón-serpiente ha recibido, a lo largo del tiempo, tanta atención. Sería interesante preguntarse por qué en Occidente, en los últimos años, una enorme cantidad de novelas, exposiciones, mensajes publicitarios y 1

Por motivos de espacio, varios capítulos de este trabajo han tenido que ser suprimidos. La versión integral será publicada más adelante.

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películas de ciencia-ficción han focalizado el interés en un monstruo que no pertenece a la ‘realidad’ concreta del mundo aunque sí forma parte de nuestra realidad interior. Distinción poco pertinente, si tenemos en cuenta que, después de todo, la misma palabra realidad es ambigua: ¿Cuál es el fenómeno que podemos considerar real? Tanto la realidad que se nos ofrece a la percepción que denominamos ‘objetiva’, como la realidad construída por nuestra imaginación, son verdaderas para nuestra psique y no sólo para ella, pues la dualidad corpúsculo-onda, para la física cuántica, son estados de la materia con el mismo derecho de existencia: El mundo objetivo “en su aspecto sensible es apariencia. La ‘verdad’ [ . . . ] son ‘los átomos y el vacío’. Traducido a nuestro lenguaje, ‘aparente’ significa ‘subjetivo’. La realidad, por lo tanto, no aparece a los sentidos [ . . . ] porque es incompatible con una constatación sensible” (Branca y Ossola 1988: 28, la trad. es mía). Considerando, entonces, que no estamos hablando de dos realidades diferentes sino de una misma realidad enfocada desde dos puntos de vista, este trabajo se propone precisamente profundizar en algunos aspectos ‘reales’ (léase ‘funcionales’ para la conciencia) de la figura mítica del Draco; palabra que abraza tanto al dragón como a la serpiente. Tratándose de una figura de intensa densidad semántica, el iter investigativo abordará aspectos pluriculturales y multilingüísticos en relación con la dimensión antropológica y literaria. En este sentido, y más allá de los aportes que han dado mentes como las de Gaston Bachelard, Alexander Haggerty Krappe, Mircea Eliade, Georges Dumézil, Gilbert Durand, Joseph Campbell, Claude Lévy-Strauss, Sigmund Freud, James George Frazer y Carl Gustav Jung, entre otros, que han tratado de organizar con clasificaciones diferentes la dimensión mítico-simbólica, creo pertinente subrayar que, desde hace varias décadas, el pensamiento complejo permite encarar las investigaciones antropológicas interdisciplinarias desde una perspectiva innovativa, una “nueva alianza” entre campos de saber aparentemente lejanos, como diría Ilya Prigogine (1990); campos en los que el concepto de poliglotismo cultural de Lotman (1995) se entrecruza con los nuevos descubrimientos de las ciencias biológicas y psiconeurocognitivas, permitiendo intensificar el valor de la fantasía en cuanto puente entre la conciencia de los sujetos y los mundos de la cultura. Pensemos que, desde Platón a Dante, la ‘fantasía’ fue considerada la potencia imaginativa del alma y un modo de conocimiento insustituible,

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lo cual pone de relieve la lucidez de los pensadores de la Antigüedad en contraposición al materialismo de los últimos siglos. El término proviene del griego phantastikós (en lat. imaginatio) y significa “lo que se hace visible, lo que aparece”, aludiendo a los elementos desconocidos e inquietantes que perturban nuestra cotidianeidad (Carotenuto 1997: 13). Si bien ya desde mediados del siglo XX la fantasía ha ido recuperando validez en el campo del conocimiento2 , es la expansión de la tecnología y la difusión de los horizontes virtuales de la web lo que hace que se pueda hablar de softwares inteligentes que abren “avenidas para la migración de los procesos psicológicos como la memoria y la inteligencia desde dentro de las mentes individuales al mundo exterior de los medios del saber conectados” (de Kerkove 1999: 174); lo cual significa que el cuerpo-mente se expande y deviene interactivo y conectado en tiempo real a una sociedadmundo (Barei 2013: 36). En efecto, junto con las coordenadas espacio-temporales de lo real, gobernado por la razón y los procedimientos lógicos, lo fantástico – en relación con la realidad virtual de la web y de los modelos culturales – se introduce en el sujeto pensante no sólo para dialogar con un universo rizomático en constante cambio, sino también para confirmar concepciones a-históricas y construcciones prevalentemente analógicas como igualmente válidas; y lo puede hacer desde distintas angulaciones: filosóficas, psicológicas, religiosas, artísticas, literarias y antropológicas (Branca 1988: 5), hasta llegar incluso a la perspectiva científica, si consideramos que ella se rige por un concepto de verdad que es siempre un “efecto de verdad” (Barei 2008: 19). Precisamente dice Le Guin, hablando de lo fantástico: lo fantástico es, naturalmente, verdadero. No es real pero sí verdadero. Los niños lo saben. También los grandes lo saben, y es por eso que muchos de ellos tienen miedo de lo fantástico. Saben que su verdad es un desafío, y hasta una amenaza, a todo lo que es falso [ . . . ], inútil y vulgar en la vida que se han obligado a vivir. Tienen miedo de los dragones porque tienen miedo de la 2

“Como proceso psíquico fundamental e independiente, la fantasía posee un propio valor de verdad, que corresponde a una experiencia propia – es decir, la superación de la realidad humana antagonista. La imaginación tiende a la reconciliación del individuo con la totalidad, del deseo con la realización, de la felicidad con la razón. Mientras esta armonía ha sido relegada a la utopía del principio de la realidad constituída, la fantasía insiste en la afirmación que ella puede y debe devenir real, que detrás de la ilusión se encuentra el verdadero conocimiento” (Marcuse 1964: 116-117; la trad. es mía).

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Por lo tanto, estas páginas intentarán hacer un excursus en la biosemántica de las culturas para tratar la figura del Draco desde una perspectiva interdisciplinaria y plurilingüe3 . A modo de introducción, me permito recordar el sugestivo comentario que hace Borges, en el Prólogo a su libro Manual de zoología fantástica (1957), sobre dicha figura: Ignoramos el sentido del dragón, como ignoramos el sentido del universo, pero algo hay en su imagen que concuerda con la imaginación de los hombres, y así el dragón surge en distintas latitudes y edades. Es, por decirlo así, un monstruo necesario, no un monstruo efímero y casual, como la quimera o el catoblepas.

Las palabras de Borges, que vuelven a repetirse parcialmente en el Prólogo a El libro de los seres imaginarios (1967), aluden a un aspecto importante del dragón-serpiente, a la universalidad que lo caracteriza en el inconsciente humano, pues su forma es conocida tanto en Oriente como en Occidente, si bien dotada de atributos y connotaciones diferentes según el lugar y cultura de referencia. En ambos libros, Borges compendia una panorámica de zoología fantástica que abraza las diferentes formas que puede asumir el dragón-serpiente, separando la etimología única del Draco en sus dos componentes celeste y ctónico (aunque la separación no es del todo pertinente pues ambas criaturas mitológicas participan de las dos categorías, en algunas culturas). En la panorámica celeste, Borges sitúa y describe al Basilisco, al Dragón en general, al Dragón chino y al Occidental, al Grifo y al Hipogrifo, al Hijo del Leviatán y a la Salamandra. En la panorámica ctónica, a la Anfisbena, a la Hidra de Lerna, a Lilith, a los Nagas de la India, a la Óctuple Serpiente del Japón, a la Quimera, al Reptil soñado por Lewis, al Uróboros. La amplia variedad zoomorfa del dragónserpiente mencionada por Borges confirma su importancia en la dimensión psíquica del ser humano. Dicha variedad no hubiera sido considerada sorprendente en el mundo de la Antigüedad preclásica y clásica, ya que la metamorfosis de dioses, animales y seres híbridos era una característica que impregnaba el mundo imaginario de las religiones y las distintas 3

Como bien dice Lotman: “El mínimo generador textual operante no es un texto aislado sino un texto en un contexto, un texto en interacción con otros textos y con el medio semiótico” (Lotman 1995: 90).

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literaturas y artes de esa época; pero sí resulta paradójico constatar que aún en la actualidad, no sólo muchas de esas figuras fronterizas reaparecen en cuentos, leyendas y narraciones, sino que, en modo especial, la figura metamórfica del dragón-serpiente ha retornado con una vitalidad inusitada. Trataremos de comprender la motivación subyacente a tanto interés. Consideremos, para empezar, algunos aspectos ambivalentes preliminares del dragón, un monstruo particular pues su representación se modifica según el aspecto que predomine en las regiones de proveniencia. El dragón es polimórfico, estando compuesto por diferentes animales ‘reales’, por lo cual participa de los cuatro elementos de Empédocles (tierra, agua, aire, fuego). Además, es plurilingüe – como el dragón Tifón de cien cabezas e ‘idiomas’ (Hesíodo, Teogonia v. 820-880) y su hijo Ladón, también de cien cabezas y polifónico, que combatió contra Hércules en el jardín de las Hespérides (Apolodoro, Biblioteca II, 5, 11). El término ‘monstruo’, en su etimología, conduce a la palabra latina monstrare y reenvía a los posibles significados que las formas animales – especialmente las monstruosas – poseen en el Universo o Libro de Dios. Como bien ha dicho Swedenborg en su teoría de las ‘correspondencias’: “En la naturaleza, nada existe sino como símbolo de algo en el mundo del espíritu”. Swedenborg interpretaba la Biblia como una grande alegoría de nuestra evolución psíquica y, refiriéndose a los animales que en ella aparecen, afirmaba que quien no conoce “el significado específico de cada bestia, no puede comprender lo que contiene la Palabra en su sentido interior” (cit. por Larsen 1992: 137). Teniendo en cuenta las reflexiones compartidas hasta el momento, creo que el término “necesario” utilizado por Borges en su Prólogo, indica un aspecto más profundo de lo monstruoso, en relación no sólo con la imaginación en cuanto forma en que el inconsciente ha podido manifestarse en los textos políglotas de las distintas culturas4 , sino con la imaginación en cuanto umbral clave para comprender el significado esencial del ser humano en la urdimbre sistémica del universo5 . Es en tal 4

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Jung consideraba a la imaginación como la más audaz de todas las capacidades humanas (Carotenuto 1997: 16). “¿En qué reside el encanto de los cuentos fantásticos? Reside, creo, en el hecho de que no son invenciones arbitrarias, porque si fueran invenciones arbitrarias su número sería infinito; reside en el hecho de que, siendo fantásticos, son símbolos de nosotros, de nuestra vida, del universo, de lo inestable y misterioso de nuestra vida y todo esto nos lleva de la literatura a la filosofía” (Borges, “La literatura fantástica”, cit. en Ricci 2011:

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dimensión que la perspectiva pluridisciplinaria de la biosemántica cultural y de la antropología puede ayudarnos, para tratar de iluminar un espacio hermenéutico no tan conocido del “monstruo necesario”.

II Etimología, tipos y difusión global del dragón-serpiente “Una gruesa y alta serpiente con garras y alas es quizá la descripción más fiel del dragón” nos dice Borges en su Manual de zoología fantástica (1984: 64). La palabra ‘dragón’ deriva del latín Draco y del griego Drakon, que se refieren indistintamente al dragón6 y a la serpiente, y están conectadas a una raíz indoeuropea deru de la cual proviene el verbo griego dérkesthai (‘mirar’) y el substantivo drák¯on (‘dragón’), derivado de dérkesthai (Izzi 1982: 114-115). También la serpiente común (gr. ophis) se conecta con el ojo (ophtalmos); esta conexión etimológica es importante pues el motivo de la mirada (y del ojo) está relacionado con el conocimiento sagrado e iniciático, por lo cual forma parte del simbolismo más arcaico y cósmico del Draco. La descripción del dragón-serpiente es la de un gigantesco reptil con el cuerpo cubierto de escamas, enormes fauces de cocodrilo – con dientes afilados y lengua bífida – capaces de vomitar vapor y ‘lenguas de fuego’, ojos magnéticos que capturan e hipnotizan, grandes alas anteriores y posteriores, y garras afiladas. Su capacidad de volar es un don recibido del cielo por ser considerada una figura de proveniencia divina (por eso, en ciertos lugares de Oriente el dragón, aunque sin alas, posee igualmente el don del vuelo). Mientras en gran parte del Occidente europeo el dragón-serpiente presenta connotaciones negativas y destructivas (véase las numerosas luchas del héroe o del santo que debe matar al dragón malvado, como las de Seth contra Apophis en Egipto, Apolo contra Python y Zeus contra Tifón en la mitología griega; San Jorge, San Silvestro y San Marcelo contra el dragón en la iconología cristiana), en Oriente – y en el Occidente americano – es venerado como figura celeste, poderosa y sabia, dispensadora de salud y felicidad, benéfica para la agricultura por su 6

197). El folklorista Herni Dontenville estudia las epifanías del dragón a través de la toponimia céltica, y refiere que presenta un nombre genérico común a muchos pueblos: dracs en el Delfinato y en el Cantal, Drache y Drake germánicos, Wurm y Warm, que recuerdan la agitación del gusano (cit. por Durand 2013: 110).

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capacidad de generar las lluvias y de controlar los ríos y los mares, origen de las dinastías imperiales (en China especialmente), y en algunos lugares, incluso, fuente creadora del universo. En el Cercano Oriente, encontramos ya historias míticas del dragónserpiente en la mitología sumeria y babilónica del 1200 a.C., sobre todo el héroe épico babilónico Marduk, que deviene dios de los dioses al derrotar al dragón-serpiente hembra Tiamat, cortando su cuerpo en dos partes que dan origen al cielo y a la tierra. También lo encontramos en las sagas nórdicas y célticas (véase Beowulf y el dragón Fafner de los nibelungos en la leyenda de Sigfrido); en la Heráldica medieval de Oriente y Occidente (como símbolo de custodia y fidelidad); en las catedrales góticas y renacimentales (véase las numerosas esculturas de San Jorge o del arcángel Miguel luchando con el dragón, como también las numerosas gargouilles7 que pueblan los techos de las iglesias medievales). En los bestiarios griegos y medievales, el dragón-serpiente es una de las representaciones más importantes (como la describen p. ej. el Physiologus, el De bestiis et aliis rebus, atribuido a Hugo de San Victor, el Aviarum de Hugo de Fouilloy, y el Liber mostrorum de diversis generibus, de autor probablemente anglosajón). En China, cualquier viajero que hoy la recorra, topa con gran variedad de dragones diseminados por todas partes, y no sólo en los templos, jardines y palacios imperiales, pues su figura se multiplica en tejidos y cerámicas, y en las distintas artes pictóricas, escultóricas y arquitectónicas. Según la cosmogonía china, el dragón (lung), considerado uno de los cuatro animales mágicos, surge del río Amarillo y revela a un emperador el conocido símbolo del yin y yang que generará, sucesivamente, los 64 hexagramas del I Ching, libro de la Sabiduría (Turini 2010: 53-54). Hay regiones en Oriente en las que el dragón es venerado como dios creador del universo, invencible y multilingüe; en otras, como el antepasado espiritual de todos los seres vivientes (ibid. 76), encarnando la fuerza creativa del cosmos, que a veces es representada por una perla que el dragón lleva consigo en el cuello. Según Qiguang Zhao, hay en China 42 ríos que contienen el nombre ‘dragón’; término que se expresa con diferentes variables lingüísticas 7

Figura derivada de la leyenda francesa del siglo VII que cuenta del dragón Gargouille el cual, emergiendo del río Seine, sembró el terror inundando la campiña, hasta que fue derrotado por el arzobispo de Rouen (Turini 2010: 26).

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según las regiones8 . Como el emperador era considerado en China una encarnación del dragón, por ser éste símbolo de fertilidad, en los palacios imperiales su trono y su rostro eran denominados respectivamente “Trono del dragón” y “Rostro del dragón”9 . Hay, sin embargo, una figura particular del dragón-serpiente que posee connotaciones positivas también en Occidente, como símbolo evolutivo de la humanidad, en contextos alquímico-esotéricos, literarios y psicológicos. Me refiero al Ourobóros (esp. Uróboros o también Ouróboros): la representación circular del dragón-serpiente en el acto de morderse la cola.

III El significado del Uróboros en la evolución de la conciencia El símbolo del Uróboros (del gr. ourobóros: “el que se devora la cola”) es muy antiguo, se lo encuentra ya en en el antiguo Egipto como dragón de los orígenes primordiales, de quien se dice: Draco interfecit se ipsum, maritat se ipsum, impraegnat se ipsum. Esta figura circular andrógina, que se devora a sí misma, se une consigo misma y se autogenera, es activa y pasiva, celeste y terrestre, y sus atributos paradójicos de unidad infinita y de totalidad indiferenciada la transforman en un símbolo de particular densidad. Según Borges, su más famosa aparición reside en la cosmogonía escandinava: En la Edda prosaica o Edda Menor, consta que Loki engendró un lobo y una serpiente. Un oráculo advirtió a los dioses que estas criaturas serían la perdición de la Tierra. Al lobo, Fenrir, lo sujetaron con una cadena forjada con seis cosas imaginarias [ . . . ]. A la serpiente, Joermungandr, “la tiraron al mar que rodea la Tierra y en el mar ha crecido de tal manera que ahora también rodea la Tierra y se muerde la cola” (Borges 1984: 153). 8

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Por ejemplo, en la región de Fujian, encontramos el Long Jiang (río del dragón), el Ergelong Xi (río de los dos dragones); en la región de Hebei, encontramos el Long He (río del dragón), Qinglong He (río del dragón azul); en Xizan (Tibet), el Bolong Zangbu (río del dragón flotante) y el Wolong Qu (río del dragón acostado); en Zhejang, el Beilong Jiang (río del dragón del Norte) y el Long Xi (arroyo del dragón) (Turini 2010: 48-49). Véase también en el norte de Vietnam, cerca de la frontera con China, la bahía de Halong (= el dragón que desciende), y la etimología de la capital Hanoi: Thang long (= el dragón che sube). Incluso Mao Tse Tung ha dicho, hablando de la China (llamada metafóricamente ‘Dragón’ en los periódicos italianos), que “no se discute de la perla del dragón” (Chevalier & Gheerbrant 1974, IV:198), refiriéndose a los atributos de poder y perfección de la nación.

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Sin embargo, según textos mitológicos orientales transmitidos por la tradición hermética, este símbolo es mucho más antiguo: “in illo tempore” era un símbolo andrógino de sabiduría divina, de regeneración y de inmortalidad equivalente al Avalokiteshvara sánscrito, y representaba todos los Logoi de las diferentes religiones; motivo por el cual, en el Libro de Sarparäjni se encuentra la siguiente descripción: “En el principio, antes de que la Madre se convirtiera en Padre-Madre, el Dragón de fuego se movía solo en los infinitos”10 . El Aitareya Brahmana llama a la Tierra ‘Sarparäjni, la Reina Serpiente’ y la ‘Madre de todo cuanto se mueve’ y considera que antes de que el planeta asumiera la forma de huevo, “un largo rastro de polvo Cósmico (o niebla ígnea) se movía y retorcía como una serpiente en el Espacio”, antes de incubar la materia cósmica y asumir la forma anular de una serpiente que se muerde la cola (ibid. 125). El Uróboros, por lo tanto, como serpiente cósmica que abraza el universo, es símbolo de la eterna manifestación cíclica del tiempo, es el Aqua Divina o Permanens de la Alquimia que se extrae del Lapis (la Materia Primordial) y el animal-madre del zodíaco porque “el itinerario del sol estaba representado primitivamente por una serpiente que llevaba en las escamas dorsales los signos zodiacales”, como muestran el Codex vaticanus (Durand 2013: 392; todas las trad. al esp. son mías), y también el disco de bronce africano del Benín interpretado por Leo Frobenius (Chevalier & Gheerbrant 1974: III, 339). Por su capacidad regenerativa a través de la muda de piel, y por su facilidad de aparecer y desaparecer en las hendiduras de la tierra, la serpiente se vuelve un símbolo del bestiario lunar (Durand 2013: 391) y envuelve a la creación en un ciclo continuo de transformaciones. Dado que sus dientes inyectan el veneno en su propio cuerpo, según Bachelard, representa “la dialéctica material de la vida y de la muerte, la muerte que proviene de la vida y la vida que nace de la muerte, no como los contrarios de la lógica platónica, sino como una inversión sin fin de la materia de muerte o de la materia de vida” (cit. por Durand 2013: 392). Como materia prima, es la Grande Madre11 oceánica, el espíritu de todas las aguas, por lo 10

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Cit. en H. P. Blavastky (1970, T.I: 125). Hasta para Jesús, la serpiente pudo funcionar como símbolo de sabiduría: “Sed sagaces como serpientes”, dice el Evangelio de Mateo (10: 16-23). En Ur y en Uruk se han encontrado representaciones antiquísimas de la diosa madre con su niño en brazos, los dos con cabeza de serpiente. Esto es así porque la serpiente, como madre de la tierra y del inframundo, todavía conserva la simbiosis con el hijo y por eso

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cual muchos ríos de Grecia y del Asia menor se llaman Ophis o Draco. Es la más antigua imago-mundi africana, representada, por ejemplo, en el mencionado disco de bronce del Benín, en el Leviatán hebraico y el Midgard escandinavo. Como las valencias semánticas de este símbolo son múltiples12 , voy a detenerme en la que considero de particular interés como enfoque inicial de este trabajo: la del Uróboros como representación de la evolución de la conciencia en los momentos culminantes de su recorrido interior (prueba de ello es la cantidad de huellas que ha dejado el Uróboros en ámbito literario, como veremos más adelante). Fue Jung el que descubrió la importancia del Uróboros en el devenir de la conciencia. La teoría psicológica del psiquiatra suizo postula que, en la evolución de la conciencia humana, hay dos etapas fundamentales de orientación contraria, las dos representadas con el símbolo urobórico, que asume distintas modalidades según la edad de la persona: El modelo de la primera etapa, de caracter centrífugo, concierne la formación de la personalidad, en la cual el movimiento de la energía se transfiere de la totalidad psíquica del Sí mismo inconsciente al Ego. Es la etapa de diferenciación de las distintas funciones de la psique; etapa centrada en la formación y expansión de la personalidad, que dura hasta alrededor de los 35 o 40 años, lo que Dante denominó ‘mitad de la vida humana’ (“nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita”). En este período, el ser humano se dedica a desarrollar sus potencialidades en gestación a través de la familia, el estudio y el trabajo; en síntesis, a desarrollar plenamente las facetas de su personalidad (del lat. mascara, la imagen con la cual demostrará su valor individual y social al mundo y a sí mismo). En esta etapa, el Ego todavía ignora su dependencia de las fuerzas inconscientes de la totalidad psíquica. El desarrollo de la primera mitad de la vida se caracteriza por dos etapas críticas, cada una representada por una lucha con el dragón-serpiente. La primera ocupa el período en relación con los padres primordiales (de los 3 a los 5 años), que el psicoanálisis ha subrayado con

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ambos se presentan unidos y ofídicos (Neumann 1978: 62). Tanto el Diccionario de Chevalier-Gheerbrant (1969) como el libro de Durand (1972) ofrecen una amplia panorámica de la multiplicidad semántica de la figura ofídica (voces “Serpiente” y “Ouroboros”). En este trabajo utilizo la versión francesa del diccionario de 1974 y la versión italiana de Durand de 2013, la traducción de las citas de ambos libros es mía.

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el complejo edípico. La segunda es la etapa de la pubertad, en la cual la lucha con el dragón se efectúa a otro nivel y el individuo se diferencia adquiriendo una determinada actitud frente al mundo, que puede ser de tipo introvertido o extrovertido. Junto con ella, se privilegia y desarrolla una de las cuatro funciones principales de la conciencia (pensamiento, sentimiento, sensación, intuición), que deviene la más eficiente según su disposición natural, con lo cual se reprime la función menos eficiente, que permanece inconsciente y será considerada ‘función inferior’. La diferenciación de las cuatro funciones se realiza a expensas de la totalidad psíquica urobórica, que hace que, frente a la realidad del mundo exterior, disminuya la fantasía creativa que el niño posee a raudales, y ese lugar sea ocupado por factores racionales y prácticos, en desmedro de la profundidad de la vida. De este modo, “la libido proveniente de la activación del inconsciente es utilizada para construir y ampliar el sistema de la conciencia” (Neumann 1978: 349). La etapa de los juegos creativos es reemplazada por la escolarización; con el aprendizaje y la experiencia se van desarrollando las diferentes instancias de la personalidad que Jung denominó “Persona” (creación de una personalidad ficticia exitosa), “Anima/Animus” (la imago correspondiente del sexo opuesto) y “Sombra” (el lado oscuro y no aceptado de la personalidad, que la psique proyecta en los otros en forma inconsciente). La experiencia infantil transpersonal y arquetípica será sacrificada a favor de la conciencia moral, que favorece los valores colectivos dominantes. Ello hace que la conciencia pierda el contacto con el inconsciente y con la totalidad psíquica urobórica, que será substituída por el principio de la dualidad de los opuestos (polaridad dinámica que gobierna todas las constelaciones conscientes e inconscientes). Como dice Neumann: El criterio que establece si un individuo ‘se ha vuelto adulto’ es el abandono del círculo familiar y la iniciación al mundo de los Grandes Donadores de vida. Por eso el período de la pubertad corresponde a un período de renacimiento, y a la representación simbólica del héroe que se regenera a sí mismo en la lucha contra el dragón. Todos los ritos característicos de esta edad miran a la renovación de la personalidad a través de un viaje nocturno por mar, en el cual el principio del espíritu y de la conciencia vence al dragón materno y el vínculo con la madre y con la infancia, como también con el del inconsciente, se disuelve (ibid. 353-354; todas las trad. al esp. son mías).

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Finaliza aquí la lucha con el dragón materno de la primera etapa y el sujeto se vuelve “hijo del padre sin una madre, y, habiéndose identificado con el padre, se vuelve también padre de sí mismo” (ibid. 354). En la dimension mítica, el vencedor del dragón recibe como premio un tesoro (la mano de la princesa o recompensa equivalente). En la segunda etapa de la vida, de carácter centrípeto, una vez satisfechas las necesidades existenciales primarias, el ser humano suele entrar en un doloroso proceso de crisis que lo lleva a preguntarse por su lugar y significado en el mundo (esto en líneas generales, porque en algunos individuos creativos la crisis se da antes, y muy raramente en los individuos reprimidos). Es la etapa que empieza con una transformación psicológica, cuando el Ego toma conciencia de la centroversión, y es en ese momento que inicia lo que Jung llamó “proceso de individuación”, que se cumple como resultado de la constelación del Sí-mismo como centro psíquico de la totalidad (ibid. 346), un centro que no es más sólo inconsciente; es experimentado también a nivel consciente. En esta etapa, la lucha con el dragón adquiere características diferentes pues la síntesis de la psique es acompañada por una nueva unidad de los opuestos bajo forma andrógina. Como sucede en la Opus alchemica, que Jung tomó como modelo, la situación caótica inicial de la prima materia (la Nigredo, primera fase alquímica), a través de sucesivas transformaciones y depuraciones: el solve et coagula de la Albedo (segunda fase al blanco), logra producir la naturaleza hermafrodita del Uróboros, que aparece como matrimonio sagrado (hieros gamos) del rey y de la reina (de lo masculino y lo femenino) a nivel tanto alquímico que mítico. La integración psíquica adquiere, entonces, connotaciones luminosas (la piedra filosófica del Rebis, en lenguaje alquímico) y el Sí-mismo deviene el centro áureo del Uróboros sublimado, el rey de la totalidad psíquica (Rubedo, tercera fase alquímica). Es lo que Jung llamó “símbolo unificador” o “función trascendente”, la forma más alta de síntesis, manifestación directa de la centroversión, de la tendencia innata del individuo a la totalidad y a la autoregeneración. El Ego no desaparece sino que se experimenta a la vez como humano y como divino en la fusión con el Sí-mismo. Por eso en el Jasidismo se dice que: “el hombre y Dios son gemelos” (cit. por Neumann 1978: 359). Es la fundación del reino “que no es de este mundo”; misterio alquímico del proceso de individuación en el cual el Ego-Sí mismo se reconoce ‘individuo’, es decir, entidad integrada en el universo y en contacto con lo

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trascendente; de allí que toma conciencia, en esta etapa, del significado profundo de su vida. Este proceso produce un cambio estructural notable en la psique humana; cambio que es representado, a nivel simbólico, con joyas (el diamante, la perla o la flor de oro), o elementos varios (la isla de los inmortales, el niño de oro, la fuente de vida). El Uróboros, por su simbolismo evolutivo y sus características cíclicas y autoregeneradoras, ha sido utilizado, en forma explícita e implícita, como metáfora convergente para representar el metabolismo bífido somático, cósmico e intertextual de la literatura bi-multilingüe, como veremos a continuación y en los puntos IV.2 y IV.3 de este trabajo.

III.1 Borges y el Uróboros No hemos citado a Borges desde el principio por pura coincidencia. Si Borges ha definido al Draco como un “monstruo necesario”13 es porque la dinámica urobórica está introyectada en los repliegues de su psique, por lo cual su quehacer literario se ha visto notablemente influído por él. En efecto, si analizamos su actitud con la literatura y con el contexto, veremos que el monstruo aletea, en forma invisible, en toda su obra. Me voy a detener brevemente en los rasgos que hacen del escritor argentino y de sus textos un perfecto ejemplo urobórico. El Borges escritor nace ya como vendedor de ilusiones y de comportamientos elípticos. De joven, se quita un año y declara haber nacido en 1900 para poder pertenecer sin rodeos al siglo del modernismo. Sus estrategias ficcionales nunca son directas (algo que Borges aborrece), sino mas bien mínimas y discretas para lograr cambiar el mundo en forma imperceptible, ofídica, con sutiles deslizamientos de puntos y comas. Por eso, a medida que pasan los años, con los cambios de perspectiva, Borges irá modificando cíclicamente la historia y también su autobiografía, según las expectativas contextuales del momento, sustituyéndolas mágicamente con ‘vueltas de tuerca’. De allí que, 50 años después de los años 20, ironice sobre sus pecados de juventud que lo llevaron primero, a querer ser moderno, y segundo, a querer ser argentino. La nostalgia de no haber podido pertenecer al 800, hace que Borges se lo apropie, confirmando la 13

Es sugestivo que, ya en 1927, para explicar la importancia del contexto en la evaluación de una metáfora, Borges considera que la frase: “el incendio, con feroces mandíbulas, devora la campiña”, podría considerarse una metáfora lograda si escrita por un poeta chino, ya que en la China “todo es dragón” (Pauls 2016: 134-135).

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conocida frase: “Se pierde sólo lo que en realidad nunca se tuvo” (1947: Nueva confutación del tiempo, y 1985: Posesión del ayer). Borges recupera ‘el paraíso perdido’ del 800 a través de la palabra, transformando un pasado sin prestigio en historia mítica. Como bien dice Juan José Saer: “Narrar no consiste en copiar lo real sino en inventarlo” (Saer 1998: 75). De allí que la Argentina pre-moderna, la de la pampa árida con sus indios y gauchos, la del barrio en flor de Palermo, con sus compadritos arrogantes y sus almacenes de trucos, milongas y guitarreos, se convierta en un espacio épico, donde el árbol genealógico bilingüe – inglés y criollo – de Borges ocupa un lugar importante: “Por ambos lados de la familia tengo antepasados militares, eso quizá explique mi nostalgia de ese destino épico que las divinidades me negaron, sin duda sabiamente” (Borges 1999: 23). Sus dos linajes: uno militar, heroico y criollo (el de su madre), otro intelectual, inglés y libresco (el de su padre), son la doble herencia lingüística y genética que instaura para siempre, en Borges, el conflicto de dos identidades contrapuestas y lo empujará hacia un dualismo que alimentará su quehacer literario proyectando el conflicto en las más variadas direcciones: en la proliferación dual de personalidades (El otro, el mismo), en los duelos criollos revividos en la recreación de la ‘patria chica’ (El Sur), en la primaria importancia dada en su obra a roles secundarios. En efecto, su obra menor, escrita para ediciones fugaces como diarios, suplementos y revistas (entre ellas El Hogar, Crítica, Revista Multicolor, Los Anales de Buenos Aires), es casi más vasta que su obra mayor (cuentarios, ensayos y poesías). Borges escribe contemporáneamente en las dos frecuencias, lo cual confirma la duplicidad de su horizonte cultural y psicológico dirigido a dos tipos de lectores muy diferentes; una estrategia dual que, a nivel estilístico, se traduce en la pasión por la alusión, la ironía, las conjeturas, lo paradójico, lo implícito, las contradicciones, las historias de doble sentido y, last but not least, la metáfora. Su desdoblamiento, que recuerda al del Dr Jekyll y Mr Hyde, fruto de esa conflictualidad que va a caracterizar su vida y su obra, se explicita sobre todo en su apropiación de la literatura de sus precursores, que Borges fagocita con la voracidad y competencia del lector plurilingüe, para devolverla transformada en textos nuevos y exquisitamente construídos. En los años 50, suspendido entre el pasado y el presente, el Borges de la vanguardia elige encarnar un anacronismo clasicista que le permitirá todas las opciones (como en El jardín de senderos que se bifurcan);

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entre ellas, la de ser un personaje casi invisible14 como su padre (Borges 1999: 19), resignado a un destino decidido en parte por otros y en parte por su miopía avanzada. Su bilingüismo no jerárquico, que le impide elegir entre la lengua madre y la segunda lengua, lo lleva a sentirse, además de invisible, un exiliado en su misma tierra, y le abre el camino hacia formas de experiencias literarias parasitarias, que él confiesa sin ambages, transformando el plagio en una estrategia de estilo (el cuento Pierre Menard, autor del Quijote es el máximo ejemplo). Estrategia que lo llevará – entre otras cosas – a poblar su obra de personajes de segunda mano, subalternos y anónimos, a modo de espejo de sus propias vivencias antes del reconocimiento internacional (Borges, además de escritor, fue traductor, recensor, exégeta, asistente bibliotecario, intérprete, articulista y comentador de textos sagrados, hasta que en 1946 descubrió que, como conferenciante, se le abría una vida emocionante y nueva; ibid. 114). Dicho comportamiento especular reenvía a su obsesión por los espejos y muestra una forma mentis amante de la repetición de lo mismo, pero con variaciones, como una manera de dar seguridad a sus constantes ambivalencias y cambios de perspectiva. Podríamos decir que, mientras el publico alabó o criticó a Borges según el momento histórico, y mientras Borges fue modificando su modo de pensar la sociedad y el mundo y, como consecuencia, su modalidad literaria a través del tiempo, lo que permaneció invariable fue el conflicto identitario que enhebró su pensamiento y su obra, y que hizo que su palabra fuera a menudo agresiva y polémica, en contradicción ambivalente con su deseo de invisibilidad (lo demuestran sus comentarios mordaces sobre Lugones, Ortega y Gasset y Marinetti, entre otros; comportamiento típico de quien se siente menospreciado). Como bien comenta Alan Pauls (Pauls 2016: 41), toda su obra puede ser leída como un gran manual sobre las diferentes formas de conflicto, desde las querellas intelectuales o eruditas a los duelos con el cuchillo (El fin, El Sur, Hombres pelearon, Hombre de la esquina rosada), pasando por el motivo del doble, por los protagonistas rivales de numerosos cuentos (La muerte y la brújula, El jardín de senderos que se bifurcan) y por las ambivalencias de pensamiento de todo tipo (un ejemplo puede ser su afirmación de que recién a los setenta años escribió para publicar un libro [Borges 1999: 14

Esta palabra Borges la utiliza asiduamente. En su Autobiografía comenta: “La fama, como la ceguera, me fue llegando poco a poco [ . . . ], hasta que fui publicado en francés, yo era casi invisible” (ibid. 141).

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150], que contradice declaraciones anteriores sobre su vocación de escritor desde la temprana infancia; ibid. 29). En los textos de Borges, densos de constelaciones metafóricas multiculturales, de citas auténticas y falsas, de símbolos prestados y de relatos re-inventados (a partir de los textos declaradamente plagiados de Historia Universal de la Infamia y de las múltiples relecturas plurilingües de Las Mil y una noches traducida), el Draco recorre silenciosamente los intersticios de toda su obra, que podría definirse multiludilingüe15 si no fuera, para el escritor, un testimonio de su drama interior. En síntesis, la obra de Borges (al igual que su autor), encarna la dinámica urobórica: enroscada sobre sí misma, puramente literaria y autofagocitante (especialmente la que va de los años 30 a los 50, con libros como Ficciones, El Aleph y Otras Inquisiciones), autoalimentando una dinámica circular que mastica, transforma y regenera lo leído, cambiando la ‘piel’ del texto según el eje contextual del tiempo y de los estados anímicos de Borges (dinámica que, por otra parte, no estaba aislada, pues varios escritores argentinos de esa época, “conquistadores de horizontes más amplios [ . . . ] tendían a crear un macrocosmos, un mundo circular”; Barcia 1994: 17-18). Con el ascenso de Borges al aplauso internacional, de los años 70 en adelante, la mirada del público ha preferido detenerse en las sutilezas y poeticidad de una escritura maravillosamente trabajada, y olvidar o disculpar en parte, gracias a ella, las contorsiones urobóricas y la lengua bífida y mortífera de una mente perennemente en conflicto consigo misma.

IV La ambivalencia del dragón-serpiente cósmico y el concepto de ‘Doble’ Las diferentes acepciones del Uróboros en el recorrido evolutivo de la psique humana muestra la gran ambivalencia del dragón-serpiente, que si es figura enigmática y no muy positiva en Occidente, sobre todo Europa, en numerosas culturas de varias regiones del mundo como África, América, Oceanía y Oriente ha sido y es todavía reconocida como una figura arquetípica positiva, ligada a los orígenes ancestrales de la vida y de la imaginación. La evidente diferencia evaluativa en 15

Para el “espíritu lúdico” del multilingüismo de Borges véase Knauth 2005: 60-61 y 68-69.

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Occidente, respecto de Oriente, hace pensar en una posible degradación simbólica a través del tiempo, desde sus aspectos cósmicos y sagrados a aspectos profanos de simple amenaza contingente para seres humanos; dicha degradación puede estar relacionada, siempre en Occidente, con el pasaje del modelo matrilineal-consanguíneo al modelo patrilineal16 . Me voy a detener especialmente en la más significativa representación de su ambivalencia cósmica: la figura de dos cabezas (y también la de las dos serpientes entrelazadas); dialéctica del dos en el uno y, por lo tanto, encarnación del doble y/o de los gemelos primigenios. La raíz de la creencia en el Doble es muy antigua pues corresponde a una dualidad interior del hombre; por tal motivo, se la encuentra en muchísimas culturas, tanto nórdicas como meridionales. Dicha dualidad llegó a Occidente bajo la influencia del Cristianismo, derivada de concepciones orientales y medio-orientales, y ha generado la percepción negativa de la alteridad, aunque los países cristianizados hayan perdido las huellas manifiestas de ella a lo largo de la historia. La creencia en el Doble está relacionada con la concepción hermética del alma, y permite explicar varios fenómenos en apariencia incomprensibles como la bilocación, las experiencias OBE (Out of Body Experiences), los relatos de metamorfosis y el tema de la sombra y de los gemelos en la mitología universal. También el psicoanálisis ha reflexionado sobre este tema pues se ha dado cuenta de que no coincide con la remoción aunque la contenga (lo podemos constatar en el significado que Jung da a la “Sombra”, que si bien es el resultado de una remoción, no es la única instancia conectada al Doble; también el Sí-mismo contiene la Otredad). Para Freud el concepto de Doble es diferente: Además de contener la remoción, posee significado consolatorio pues connota el concepto de alma inmortal (vinculada al narcisismo). Pero, de este modo, el Doble se vuelve inquietante porque involucra la idea de precariedad del ser humano (en su ensayo El Doble, Otto Rank analiza la leyenda del pacto con el Diablo, en la cual el protagonista renuncia a su imagen o sombra a cambio del ascenso social). También la literatura utiliza el concepto de Doble como duplicado, más o menos siniestro, del Yo (además de Borges, podemos citar la sombra de Peter Schlemihl de Adalbert von Chamisso, 16

Para analizar el pasaje del modelo de mater grupalis al de paterfamilias, según las teorías de J. J. Bachofen (1815-1887) y L. H. Morgan (1818-1881), y el cambio que se produce a nivel del simbolismo animal (de la forma ofídica al dragón y posteriormente al unicornio), consultar el sugestivo ensayo de Alejandro Carrillo Castro (1996).

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Mr Jekill & Dr Hyde de Stevenson, la sombra de Musset en Une nuit de décembre, El retrato de Dorian Gray de Oscar Wilde). En los cuentos de hadas, los monstruos y las variadas pruebas por las que debe pasar el héroe o la heroína (que tienen que ver con una forma menos arcana del dragón-serpiente), le permiten al niño confrontarse con los peligros de su proceso de crecimiento psíquico y lo proveen de una solución evolutiva (Carotenuto 1997: 297). Por tal motivo, lo que el estudioso ruso Vladimir Propp denomina “antagonista” (Propp 1928; Campbell 1957: 37), muchas veces se vuelve una otredad monstruosa (la bruja, el diablo, el gigante, el dragón) que tiene su razón de ser en la urdimbre del cuento. Por eso también el final feliz de los cuentos de hadas no es una contradicción: “El mundo objetivo sigue siendo lo que era, pero como el énfasis ha cambiado dentro del sujeto, se nos muestra transformado” (Campbell 1957: 33). Además, el Doble (o los gemelos) posee una función cósmica y religiosa, relacionada con la creación y con la evolución de la conciencia en un proceso de muerte-renacimiento regenerativo e iniciático, que no implica la muerte real de la corporeidad. En este sentido, entramos en la dimensión arquetípica del “Viaje mítico del héroe”17 , que ha sido utilizado creativamente en la literatura universal, desde la Odisea a la Divina Comedia de Dante, desde Sidharta de Herman Hesse a Rayuela de Cortázar. Para introducir el argumento, me voy a referir, en primer lugar, a ciertas creencias provenientes de los rituales chamánicos amazónicos y egipcios.

IV.1 Las serpientes, barcas y escalas del viaje al infra-mundo La tribu lingüística de los Tukana, que vive aún hoy cerca del río colombiano Vaupés, se divide en Desana, Barasana, Bará, Tucán y Tatuyo. El antropólogo Gerardo Reichel-Dolmatoff, en su libro Il cosmo amazzonico (1970), hablando de los Desana, muestra un dibujo particularmente sugestivo del cerebro humano con dos serpientes entrelazadas colocadas en un espacio entre los dos hemisferios (espacio que ellos consideran plasmado en los albores del tiempo, por la anaconda cósmica). Las dos 17

El viaje o camino del héroe responde a un arquetipo universal cuyo esquema recurrente reproduce, en forma amplificada, la fórmula de los ritos de pasaje (separación-entrada en un mundo ‘Otro’-iniciación-regreso), que puede ser considerada la unidad nuclear del monomito (Campbell 1959: 35; Ricci 2012: 302).

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serpientes representan una anaconda gigante (Eunectes murinus, serpiente de río de color oscuro) y una boa arcoiris (Epicrates cenchria, serpiente voluminosa de tierra de colores brillantes), que simbolizan respectivamente los principios femenino y masculino, el agua y la tierra; es decir, la oposición energética binaria que, según las creencias desanas, debe ser superada para obtener integridad y madurez individual. Un artículo del mismo autor (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1981) aclara un aspecto interesante de dicho mito: “Los Desana dicen que en los albores del tiempo sus antepasados llegaron en canoas cuya forma recordaba la de enormes serpientes” (Narby 2006: 54; todas las trad. al esp. son mías). No es casualidad, entonces, que también la canoa de los espíritus que transporta el alma al más allá, para los Desana (pero también para los aborígenes australianos, bolivianos y peruanos), tenga forma de serpiente: Ella es el antepasado mítico, el Alfa y Omega de toda manifestación, equivalente a la serpiente Atum, el dios egipcio (forma paradójica solar) que creó vomitándolo el mundo después de surgir de las aguas primordiales. En el Pert Em Hru o Libro de los muertos egipcio, se le hace decir a Atum: “Yo soy aquel que permanece [ . . . ]; el mundo volverá al caos, a lo indiferenciado, yo me transformaré entonces en la serpiente que ningún hombre conoce, que ningún dios ve” (Morenz 1962: 222-223, la trad. es mía). En esta frase, y en el recorrido de las almas en el Inframundo egipcio, se puede observar la dualidad visible e invisible de la serpiente cósmica18 – solar y lunar al mismo tiempo – y su capacidad de transformación: La barca solar atraviesa planicies arenosas pobladas de serpientes e incluso la misma barca y la cuerda que la tira se transforman en serpientes. También Apophis, monstruosa encarnación ofídica del señor de los Infiernos, presenta ambivalencias positivas y negativas, y hasta el mismo sol levante, que aparece bajo forma de escarabajo, tiene que volverse serpiente antes de ser digerido y luego expulsado del intestino serpentiforme de la tierra. Todo este proceso arquetípico de devorar y ser devorado muestra la ambigüedad19 de la serpiente urobórica, que es al 18

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En su aspecto invisible, la serpiente es “para los chinos, los hebreos y los árabes, un animal mágico, elemento misterioso del inframundo y de la revelación regeneradora” (Durand 2013: 396); función que le confiere un rol iniciático positivo (véase también Eliade 1974: 202, T. I). Prueba de ello, es el ritual de unión mística con la serpiente, que es central en los misterios eleusinos en honor de Deméter y en los de la Grande Madre (ibid. 395). La serpiente es también ambigua por su doble carácter híbrido femenino y masculino, ya

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mismo tiempo forma y contenido, que es celestial como sol levante, y útero de la tierra cuando acoge en su seno a la divinidad de las aguas. Lo mismo se puede decir de Tifón, hijo de Gaia (la tierra) en la mitología griega, que se puede paragonar a Apophis, con su forma aún más terrible: Un monstruoso dragón de cien cabezas abrazado por víboras de la cintura para abajo. Los ejemplos que hemos enumerado muestran que la dualidad y ambivalencia del dragón-serpiente cósmico se manifiesta de varias maneras: En la doble serpiente instalada entre los hemisferios cerebrales, en la serpiente visible y su manifestación invisible y en la doble función de forma y contenido, de devorar y ser devorado de las diferentes mitologías20 . También el caduceo de Thoth/Hermes/Mercurio, con sus dos serpientes que lo envuelven con movimiento a espiral, señala la polaridad y el equilibrio de las corrientes cósmicas que conectan el Cielo y la Tierra (recordemos que Hermes, divinidad de la comunicación y del lenguaje relacionado en el Pymander del Corpus Hermeticum con el dragón ígneo, era una figura andrógina, que guiaba a las almas en el mundo subterráneo y poseía el conocimiento en relación con la vida más allá de la muerte; era también el guía que conectaba las distintas fases alquímicas). El caduceo de doble hélice aparece también en otras áreas culturales, como por ej., en un caduceo sumerio del templo de Ninhursag (2600-2500 a.C) y en uno persa del 2025 a.C. (Carrillo Castro 1996: 77); aparece también en el budismo, en el hinduísmo esotérico, y más particularmente en el Tantrismo, como símbolo del Axis mundi, mientras las dos serpientes representan la doble energía cósmica sinusoide de la Kundalini (llamada también “serpiente ígnea”), que duerme enroscada en el muladhara chakra, situado en la base de la columna vertebral humana. El caduceo es, en cierto sentido, equivalente a la escala que conecta Cielo y Tierra, y forma parte de numerosas culturas: Por ejemplo, la escala de Jacob en la Biblia, la escala real de Ra en El libro de los muertos egipcio, la escala de las almas del medioevo cristiano (que a veces aparece

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que como animal lunar es femenina, pero por su forma alargada y su modo de deslizarse sugiere la virilidad fálica (Durand 2013: 394). El dragón que devora al sol, como símbolo de las tinieblas y productor de eclipses está presente en muchas culturas: En la India es el dragón Rahu que devora al sol; en China los términos ‘eclipse’ y ‘comer’ se expresan con el mismo signo, en Perú se creía que los eclipses los provocaba una serpiente (Izzi 1982: 118). Es curioso que también el sol es representado como león que devora y es devorado a su vez por el león. Por eso el Rig Veda (y también la Alquimia) lo define como “sol negro” (Durand 2013: 96).

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en forma doble – Scala coeli maior/Scala coeli minor – para indicar, como la serpiente, el doble sentido de la comunicación espiritual – ascensus/ descensus), la escala del cielo del Shintoísmo, la escala turca del Kutadku Bilik, la escala amerindia de los indios mexicanos Pueblo, que permite subir al arcoiris (el arcoiris sugiere, además, el símbolo de la doble escala) (Chevalier & Gheerbrant 1974: 233-241, T. II). Por su función ascensional, la escala se conecta con las Barcas de la escala del cielo ya mencionadas, que transportan a las almas en el inframundo.

IV.2 La serpiente dual en el mundo amerindio y en la literatura mexicana y chicana La doble serpiente entrelazada y la serpiente bicéfala (por un solo lado o por las dos extremidades), se encuentran en varias regiones del mundo y, en modo especial, en las ruinas de los monumentos mayas, aztecas y toltecas (son equivalentes al dragón de dos cabezas característico de la China y de otros países orientales). La serpiente bicéfala llamada “anfisbena” (del gr. amphis y bainein, que va en dos direcciones) relacionada con la dualidad primordial, es, según la mitología, hija de la Medusa, y nace de la sangre que perdía su cabeza cortada mientras Perseo la llevaba volando sobre el desierto líbico. Tanto Anneo Lucano como Plinio el Viejo creían en su existencia, y ella viene citada también por Dante en el canto XXIV del Infierno y por Borges en Manual de zoología fantástica y en El libro de los seres imaginarios21 . Como es un símbolo universal, fue venerada también por las culturas amerindias precolombinas: Aparece como escultura o como relieve cincelado en estelas y dinteles de los templos de esa región, y también dibujada en los códigos aztecas, junto con la doble serpiente. Ambas decoran gran parte de los templos maya, tolteca y azteca de Mesoamérica. Se las encuentra, por ejemplo, en Teotihuacán, en Palenque, Uxmal, Copal, Tikal, Tulum, Cozumel y, en modo particularmente extendido, en las escalinatas de los templos de Chichén-Itzá, decorando las alfardas que flanquean las escalinatas de las pirámides-templos. Las fachadas de dichos templos están ornamentadas con una mezcla de símbolos toltecas, mayas y aztecas, entre los cuales vale la pena mencionar los frisos con pares de serpientes entrelazadas y 21

La anfisbena existe en el mundo animal real, si bien es inocua y no tiene dos cabezas; es una especie de lombriz gigantesca que vive bajo tierra.

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el bajorrelieve del misterioso dios azteca Quetzalcóatl (Kukulcán para los mayas), con cabeza de serpiente y cara humana, dentro de una figura de ave. También en el más grande de los siete tlachtli o juegos de pelota que había en Chichén-Itzá, el conjunto arquitectónico está presidido, en la parte alta de cada alfarda, por un recuadro con la figura de la serpiente emplumada Quetzalcóatl. A propósito del significado de Quetzalcóatl como psicopompo que acompaña las almas al inframundo, en algunos templos mesoamericanos (por ej. el de Tikal), la serpiente alada en el umbral del inframundo aparece también representada como esfera o rombo (doble pirámide que simboliza el cielo y la tierra), con el sol que es devorado por la cabeza/puerta de pasaje de poniente al atardecer y renace por la otra cabeza/puerta de pasaje de levante al alba (González 1993: cap. 10). Su figura está también conectada con las direcciones del espacio como muestra la lámina 72 del Códex Borgia22 , donde los cuerpos de cuatros serpientes emplumadas forman cuatro rectángulos que encierran al centro de cada uno la deidad correspondiente: al este Tláloc, dios de la lluvia; al oeste Quetzalcóatl, dios de muerte y renacimiento, bajo la forma de Ehécatl, dios del viento; al norte Tlazoltéoltl, diosa de la tierra y al sur Macuilxóchitl, dios de los juegos. Al centro, una divinidad ambigua conectada con las estrellas: Tzitzímitl, simboliza la quinta dirección (Codex Borgia: xvii). Es importante subrayar que Quetzalcóatl, mitad serpiente y mitad ave, no sólo es, como el Thoth-Hermes de la mitología egipcia, el mensajero divino psicopompo que muere y renace encarnando “el principio de la luz y de la humanidad [por ello] símbolo positivo del poder ascensional [ . . . ] solar” (Neumann 1981: 205). Es llamado también “gemelo brillante” porque cuando renace, es la aurora boreal o Venus en el cielo y posee, además un hermano gemelo oscuro (Xólotl) que señala la conjunción agua/fuego y la dualidad visible e invisible, celeste y ctónica de la serpiente cósmica (cóatl significa tanto ‘serpiente’ que ‘gemelo’). La conjunción del simbolismo bífido del Quetzal con el aspecto volátil valoriza no sólo los aspectos duales de muerte y renacimiento sino también el plurilingüismo primordial de las divinidades amerindias. Un ejemplo sugestivo en el panteón azteca lo proveen Cihuacóatl (la diosa-serpiente 22

El Códex Borgia es un texto azteca, en parte adivinatorio, basado en el calendario de 260 días, y en parte ritual, pues narra el viaje de Quetzalcóatl al Inframundo (Díaz y Rodgers 1993: Introducción al Códex Borgia).

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representada, en la iconografía tradicional, con múltiples lenguas bífidas) y Quetzalcóatl con su madre Coatlicue (la del cuerpo con dos serpientes enfrentadas), dioses que podrían considerarse protectores naguales. Como bien dice Knauth: La lengua bífida, a veces multiplicada, es el atributo omnipresente de las divinidades que presiden los templos mayores de México. A semejanza de Quetzalcóatl, Tláloc manifiesta sus lenguas múltiples y los diferentes nombres que asume según las regiones alóglotas: Tláloc para los aztecas, Cocijo para los zapotecas, Chac para los mayas, Tajín para los Totonacas [ . . . ]. La lengua bífida de Quetzalcóatl y de Tláloc, que caracteriza también a otras divinidades como Cihuacóatl, actualmente convertida en símbolo del bilingüismo chicano [ . . . ], reenvía evidentemente a la serpiente [ . . . ] configurada en el mismo nombre de Quetzalcóatl (serpiente emplumada) y Cihuacóatl (mujer-serpiente) (Knauth 2011a: 170, la trad. es mía).

El carácter bífido de la serpiente, a través del doble significado (fisiológico y lingüístico) de su lengua, se conecta con el lenguaje por la intermediación del náhuatl y del simbolismo nagual y, en modo especial, con las tonalidades polivalentes de la literatura mexica plurilingüe. Ya en varios textos del Premio Nobel Octavio Paz, se pueden rastrear las huellas circulares y sinuosas del Draco en su aspecto ofídico. Por ejemplo, en el poema Salamandra y en su largo poema ideogramático Blanco, textos fecundos de convergencias simbólicas, Paz abre un mundo circular, espiralado y multivalente que permite numerosas lecturas, desde la vuelta al Paraíso primordial al concepto de revolución del lenguaje, desde la historia de la Conquista a las tradiciones herméticas de Oriente y Occidente. En Salamandra (1962), la circularidad urobórica de muerte y regeneración se instala en el corazón de la salamandra que, con su color negro-rojo, evoca resonancias alquímicas a través del mito azteca del doble Quetzalcóatl/Xólotl. Al mismo tiempo, resuena a través de nombres propios (Xólotl) y comunes (maíz, maguey, axólotl) el substrato náhuatl que el poeta, en su ensayo El peregrino en su patria (Paz 1987: 14, 67 sq.), destaca como una característica fundamental para la identidad mexicana: No comienza la vida sin la sangre Sin la brasa del sacrificio No se mueve la rueda de los días Xólotl se niega a consumirse Se escondió en el maíz pero lo hallaron

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Xólotl, contraparte oscura de Quetzalcóatl, es, en la mitología azteca, el dos-seres, el sol nocturno que recorre los nueve infiernos del Mictlán y resurge de las profundidades como sol triunfante (el Quinto Sol dentro de la cruz) para regenerar a la actual humanidad. En este sentido, el Xólotl que, como describe el poema, se transforma en maíz y en maguey, con su sacrificio se vuelve nutritivo y comestible reiterando el simbolismo glotofágico de comer y ser comido. El término ‘Salamandra’ se repite rítmicamente (“Oí vibrar tu cola cilíndrica”) en este largo poema de cuatro páginas, en una especie de eterna letanía dual (conglomerado de semas opuestos) y circular (la salamandra inaugura y concluye el poema) que reenvía nuevamente al Uróboros (notar, además, el elemento ofídico de la mirada en versos como El ojo reventado, Bajo los párpados del sílex, Negro paño de lágrimas de azufre). El final del poema, con los términos “Salamadre – Aguamadre” conjuga la sal-fuego con el caracol-agua en su aspecto generador primordial, realizando la síntesis de los opuestos y la vuelta al Origen, tema recurrente en Paz23 . 23

Como bien dice G. Maturo, “en él la analogía, clave de la metódica estructural moderna,

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También en su otro poema Blanco (1967), Paz despliega, incluso visivamente, el simbolismo urobórico, pues el pié de la última página se une a la cabeza de la primera, configurando un círculo cerrado que señala la regresión del tiempo a su origen y no sólo. Con la vision dialéctica de lo Uno y lo Vacuo que del blanco torna al blanco a través del color (blanco-amarillo-rojo-verde-azul-blanco), Paz representa el nacimiento de la Palabra Poética con una estructura numérica y cromática reiterativa que reenvía al tiempo cósmico de los orígenes y dibuja no sólo la estructura geométrica del mandala oriental sino también el movimiento primordial urobórico. Los dos poemas de Paz, que hunden sus raíces en el pasado del continente, proveen un perfil escatológico que, en su simbólica irradiante, convoca – como el ave fénix, el dragón, el león, el unicornio – significados nuevos y proféticos: América como reencuentro o resurrección solar a partir del periplo de nacimiento y muerte que desde Oriente se traslada a Occidente para culminar en América. La obra de Paz puede considerarse entonces un antecedente emblemático de la lengua bífida que recorre la literatura actual plurilingüe de autores chicanos. El poder fecundante de la Palabra poética y del simbolismo bífido de las divinidades aztecas señalada por Paz en sus textos, es recuperada con fuerza propulsora en los escritores mexicas bilingües, entre los cuales vale la pena mencionar la obra de Gloria Anzaldúa, escritora crecida en territorio multilingüe y pluricultural. Su novela Borderlands La Frontera. The New Mestiza (1987) es un texto híbrido entretejido por contexturas estilísticas diversas (fábula, autobiografía, historiografía, ensayo y poesía), que se coloca entre las lenguas y culturas de México y Estados Unidos. Alfons Knauth, en su sugestivo análisis de Anzaldúa, pone de relieve que su obra compone un verdadero puzzle narrativo; un puzzle que, basándose en las migraciones milenarias que han atravesado la América durante siglos, dibuja un personaje sugestivo: la Chicana, figura mestiza y compleja que viaja a través de las lenguas y culturas de las Américas del pasado y del presente. La Chicana, mediante su identificación con la serpiente (cóatl), que ella considera su nagual y de la cual se deja devorar para poder entrar en las tinieblas de su propio cuerpo, atraviesa un proceso de individuación que logra transformar una identidad problemática en un entrelazado de es más que un modo de pensamiento: es clave del sentido del mundo” (Maturo 1983: 123).

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raíces aluvionales e innovativas, con las que logra fundirse conectando a su nagual con el mito azteca de Cihuacóatl, “la bífida y bilingüe mujerserpiente” (Knauth 2013: 42). El multilingüismo híbrido de Anzaldúa, con su sugestivo sincretismo heterogéneo de español, inglés, spanglish y formas dialectales amerindias, intensifica los aspectos metabólicos, metamórficos, lingüísticos y somáticos de su obra, generando un movimiento ofídico a espiral que se erige como espacio intermedio en el horizonte intercultural mexica: un interlecto fundamental del crisol mestizo que, con palabras de Lezama Lima, tienen derecho a formar parte plenamente de la expresión americana (Knauth 2011b: 57-59).

IV.3 Otras repercusiones del Draco multilingüe en la literatura latinoamericana La dimensión plurilingüe y multicultural del Draco adquiere tonalidades particulares no sólo en México sino también en otros países de América Latina, pues la figura ofídica se desliza sinuosamente en sus escritores biplurilingües, amalgamando mitos de Oriente y Occidente y expandiendo su lengua bífida no sólo en la Babel tropical de la fauna y la flora amazónica sino también en el Paraíso políglota de su literatura: mundo heterogéneo en el cual la diversidad lingüística se conecta a las migraciones libres y forzadas de amerindios y afro-americanos en la historia pasada y presente del Continente. Además de los escritores de Latinoamérica ya comentados (Borges, Paz y Anzaldúa), podemos rastrear las huellas del Draco plurilingüe en varios autores bilingües panhispánicos, entre ellos (subiendo geográficamente desde el Cono Sur) el argentino Julio Cortázar, el paraguayo Augusto Roa Bastos, y los cubanos Nicolás Guillén y Guillermo Cabrera Infante24 . En la obra de Cortázar, el Draco se insinúa en su escritura torrencial y palindrómica, en los comentarios plurilingües y los entrecruzados multiculturales de obras como Rayuela, Un tal Lucas, Diario de Andrés Fava y Territorios. El “panantropismo” lingüístico cortaziano y las metáforas extremas que introducen dimensiones de la Otredad (véase Ricci 24

No trataré al Premio Nobel Gabriel García Márquez por falta de espacio, aunque su novela cíclica Cien años de soledad, con la saga circular de los Buendía, y los personajes fantásticos y monstruosos que pueblan la obra del autor colombiano, como por ej. el de Eréndira (grande madre arcaica de sangre verde, mitad mujer y mitad bestia, voraz como la Gorgona griega) poseen rasgos que remiten, sin lugar a dudas, al símbolo urobórico.

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2013: 151-178), con sus bestiarios reales y ficticios y sus cuentos de ‘pasaje’ como Axolotl, Lejana, Las ménades y La noche boca arriba, recrean los aspectos duales y circulares del Uróboros y remiten a mitologías griegas y aztecas. Los lenguajes inventados que Cortázar disemina en sus textos a partir del glíglico de Rayuela (1963), como el coartar y el fotrán de Antología (1975), y sus contrapuntos lúdicos, como el que instaura con Haroldo de Campos en el Zipper Sonnet de Un tal Lucas (Ricci 2011: 179-183), además de los lenguajes plurilingües y onomatopéyicos de obras como La vuelta al día en ochenta mundos (1967) y Territorios (1978), insinúan heteroglosias ‘intraductivas’25 (Block de Behar 2011: 36-38 y 2014: 41-52) que reenvían al lenguaje plural de un Paraíso primordial y al substrato mítico amerindio. Un ejemplo magistral nos lo ofrece su cuento (en parte autobiográfico) Axolotl (que forma parte de Final del juego) donde, a través del intercambio de identidades entre el protagonista y uno de los nueve ajolotes del acuario del Jardin des Plantes de París, se activa la glotofagia urobórica de asimilación concatenada ‘comer-ser comido’, mientras las metáforas y oxímora utilizados por el autor (“cristal lechoso, ojos sin vida mirando, mirada ciega, oro transparente”) generan isotopías que oscilan de lo mítico a lo alquímico y se conectan a través de Xólotl y del ajolote (que es la larva de la salamandra), al poema homónimo de Paz y a su visión profética y mestiza de un mundo nuevo en el Nuevo Mundo recreado por la mirada europea. El mismo Cortázar otorga relevancia a este cuento y lo menciona en la carta pública Paseo entre las jaulas, dirigida al editor italiano Franco Maria Ricci para su colección de literatura fantástica; carta que vuelve a publicar en Territorios: “La muchacha jamás volvió al zoo, así como yo jamás volví al Jardin des Plantes de París donde conocí el acuario de los axolotl y tuve miedo y escribí un relato que no pudo exorcisarlo [sic!]: hay encuentros que rozan potencias fuera de toda nomenclatura, que quizá no merecemos todavía” (Cortázar 1978: 43). 25

La intraducción, esa “figura poco figurada [que] se ubica entre dos lenguas” arriesgando una Ursprache o lengua primordial del Paraíso “que insinúa la unidad pre-babélica [ . . . ] previa a la caída” (Block de Behar 2011: 36), se puede considerar una figura retórica silenciosa, elaborada por la autora del libro Una retórica del silencio (Block de Behar 1994). Es interesante el ejemplo que da Block de Behar con El libro de arena de Borges en su versión francesa, que con-funde las espadas con la arena (Sable en francés es, al mismo tiempo, arena y espada) (Block de Behar 2011: 37).

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En el cuento, Cortázar renueva el mito de las nueve tribus aztecas de Aztlán que fundan Tenochtitlán reactivando “el mito de los orígenes como imagen arquetípica básica proyectada” (Ricci 1992: 1001) y conectándose al gemelo oscuro Xólotl con metáforas como larva de mariposa, caracol marino y ajolote-salamandra (que parecieran reenviar al poema Salamandra de O. Paz). El autor hace transitar al lector por “una serie de recorridos circulares logrados con elementos reiterativos y paradojales que circunscriben la isotopía central del relato: la metamorfosis. Ésta se vuelve factible con la creación de zonas de fronteras móviles (icónicas y lingüísticas) que permiten la anulación de las diferencias y la amplificación de la ambivalencia” (ibid. 1013). El argumento del cuento, junto con las metáforas que impregnan el discurso y la estructura circular del texto, como también el desdoblamiento del protagonista y su absorción en el axolotlXólotl de una isotopía mítica acentuada con los oxímora del discurso, remiten a la posibilidad de reanudar puentes a través de una lógica nobinaria propia de la Palabra poética y activan la serpiente urobórica de nuestro inconsciente creativo. La serpiente bífida también se desliza en la identidad bilingüe del paraguayo Roa Bastos, que escribe Yo el Supremo tratando de crear una lengua “capaz de dar cuenta del carácter mestizo de la cultura paraguaya, una lengua capaz de unir los ‘dos hemisferios lingüísticos’ constitutivos de la mente paraguaya” (Ezquerro / Roa Bastos 1987: 73) y superar el estado de diglosia del guaraní como lengua dominada26 . Para ello, Roa Bastos trabaja el castellano “como se trabaja una masa de pan” y le incorpora “las peculiaridades esenciales de la lengua india” (ibid.). De ahí que su novela, de ardua lectura, abunde en formas aglutinadas ajenas al español (cuerpo-tercerola: Roa Bastos 1987: 144; piedra-bezoar: 99; masca-masca ingiero-digiero: 96; balsa-corona: 438; río-centauro: 145), lo mismo que en metáforas (gargantean: 98; sancochadas por ‘cocido’: 113) y juegos inventados de palabras compuestas (almastronomía: 143; caraña – del guaraní ‘aña’: diablo, y el español ‘cara’, o sea ‘caradura’: 118; letricidas – de ‘homicida’, aplicado a las letras: 118; anfibio-lógicas – 26

Para un análisis profundizado del doble y múltiple lenguaje de la novela, pero sin referencia al simbolismo ofídico, véase el excelente artículo de Andrea Ostov sobre “Lenguaje, performatividad y poder en Yo el Supremo” (Ostov 2013: 272-298); además los “Apuntes sobre desdoblamientos, la mitología y la escritura en Yo el Supremo” de Martín Lienhard (1978: 3-12).

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cruce de ‘anfibio’ y ‘anfibológico’ o de doble sentido: 145), y lógicamente en arcaísmos, en palabras-objetos y voces puramente guaraníes de animales y plantas. En la novela, el discurso está diseminado de intertextualidad, como metáfora de la colectividad de la lengua, que se enlaza con los desdoblamientos sucesivos que estructuran la narración, entre ellos el Yo/Él del discurso dictatorial del protagonista Rodríguez de Francia, un desdoblamiento como “antídoto a la soledad absoluta a la que condena el ejercicio del poder absoluto” (Ezquerro / Roa Bastos 1987: 68). Por ello, la visión del Otro, alienado y negado en sus posibilidades, genera escisión de identidades y de culturas y remite a un juego infinito de espejos y reflejos que insinúa la mirada ofídica aún sin nombrarla27 : Traje estas piedras al desván del altillo, convertido en secreto laboratorio de alquimia, en la quimera de fabricar con su esencia la piedra de las piedras: La Piedra.[ . . . ]. Así vamos boyando aguas abajo. Aplastados por la fétida columna-pirámide del olor. Escribo en el cuaderno sobre las rodillas. Me dirijo al río en bajante; así tal vez me escuche [ . . . ] tú que no tienes antigüedad; tú que estás impregnado de la conciencia de la tierra; tú que has dado desde hace milenios tu humor a una raza ¿puedes ayudarme a desahogar mis almas múltiples aún en embrión, a encontrar mi doble cuerpo ahogado en tus aguas? [ . . . ] !’Ahá! carraspeó el río en un playón: El Takumbú es un cerro muy viejo. Desvaría ya. Sabe poco. Sufre de mal de piedras y del flujo cavernario que dejó en sus entrañas el culto a la Serpiente (432-433). Dormían todos un sueño más pesado que el de la muerte [ . . . ]. Saltó el sol desde la otra orilla y se instaló en su sitio fijo. Clavado en el mediodía. El hedor arreció. Lo reconocerás como una fetidez, dijo la Voz a mis espaldas. En ese momento vi al tigre, agazapado en la maleza de la barranca [ . . . ] Apreté el gatillo. El fogonazo recortó la figura del tigre en un anillo de humo y azufre. Rugidos de dolor hicieron retemblar las aguas, estremecer los islotes, retumbar las orillas. [ . . . ] Sus ojos se clavaron en los míos. Miradas de incontables edades [ . . . ]. Cerré los ojos y sentí que nacía. Mecido en el cesto del maízdel-agua, sentí que nacía del agua barrosa, del limo maloliente. Salía al hedor del mundo. Despertaba a la fetidez del universo (437-438).

El Supremo, a través de su doble exterior, el secretario, habla con su doble interior, el Yo/Él: desdoblamiento entre un Yo personal y un Él impersonal e inmutable, que se insinúa en las distintas modalidades de escritura y protege 27

En cambio “el ojo reptil”, junto con “la lengua viperina”, ya figuraban en la urobórica “circular perpetua” de un pasaje anterior (Roa Bastos 1987: 322).

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el espacio sagrado de la patria como el monstruo mitológico que aparece sugestivamente en las primeras páginas: La quimera ha ocupado el lugar de mi persona. Tiendo a ser ‘lo quimérico’. Broma famosa que llevará mi nombre. Busca la palabra ‘quimera’ en el diccionario, Patiño. Idea falsa, desvarío, falsa imaginación dice, Excelencia. Eso voy siendo en la realidad y en el papel. También dice, Señor: Monstruo fabuloso que tenía cabeza de león, vientre de cabra y cola de dragón [ . . . ]. Las formas desaparecen, las palabras quedan [ . . . ]. Los animales se comunican entre ellos, sin palabras, mejor que nosotros, ufanos de haberlas inventado con la materia prima de lo quimérico (102).

La misma Circular Perpetua, que se inscribe en los Apuntes, remite a la figura urobórica – “La Naturaleza enroscada es una espiral-perpetua” (163) – que se entreve ya en su primer cuento Lucha hasta el alba, escrito a los trece años y reelaborado y publicado cuarenta años después. En él aparecen tanto la figura mítica de un dictador supremo (guaraní “KaraíGuasú”) cuanto un discurso en el que asoman varios mecanismos de desdoblamiento: “El día claro le mostró dos paisajes superpuestos, dos tierras, dos tiempos, dos vidas, dos muertes” (20). Por eso, podemos afirmar que las voces múltiples de Yo el supremo ejecutan una compleja polisinfonía que, multiplicando lenguas28 y perspectivas y aglutinando vivencias y obsesiones de la vida personal del escritor, desdoblan infinitas quimeras en el doble espejo urobórico del discurso Veamos ahora, brevemente, los dos escritores de Centroamérica ya mencionados. La obra de Cabrera Infante, con su novela plurilingüe Tres Tristes Tigres (1967), se puede decir que encarna creativamente la fertilidad bífida de la serpiente cósmica. En efecto, los textos del escritor cubano dibujan laberintos léxicos rizomáticos que re-generan el Paraíso primordial 28

Aparte del guaraní, del español, del inglés y del latín, son sobre todo los idiomas del portugués ‘bandeirante’ y del francés ‘revolucionario’ que habitan al doctor Francia (e.g. 173-180, 183, 375-379, 434-437), mientras la multiplicidad y duplicidad del lenguaje y del alma están estrechamente asociadas al imaginario ofídico (e.g. 124125, 145, 147-148, 163, 168, 197, 269, 340, 377). El simbolismo ofídico se manifiesta también en la imaginaria auto/re/generación y la autofagia representadas tanto por el Uróboros (cf. supra cap. 3) que por el Yo Supremo (Roa Bastos 1987: 250, 438). El ‘Uró-boros’ se configura de modo autotraductor como gigantesca “serpiente que se muerde la cola” en una fantasmagórica escena de rebelión indígena contra el poder colonial (389-391), y como autofágico en la doble imagen: “Bebí de un sorbo mis propias preguntas. Jugo de lechetrezna. Mamé mi propia leche” (438).

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con su mítico Árbol bifurcado y su serpiente bíblica y maligna, al cual se contraponen las serpientes urobóricas gemeladas y los plurilingües árboles, lexicales y sintácticos, diseminados en su obra: Pienso en los juegos lingüísticos de Alicia en el País de las Maravillas (Cabrera Infante 1975: 209) o en las Variaciones Quistrisini de una popular Cantata de Café (ibid. 212-213), que suscita nostalgias infantiles en el lector hispanoamericano y se repite como una feliz letanía rítmica alternando las cinco vocales29 , o en los juegos urobóricos de palabras como Dádiva-ávida-vida (ibid. 213), o en las traducciones-traiciones al soldado de Guillén en los versos a Trotsky (“No sé por qué piensas tú,/ León Trotsky que te di yo” (ibid. 252), o en el juego interconsonántico del plátano como “hidra tropical: se le corta la cabeza frutal y surge en seguida otra suplente y la planta cobra nueva bida, nueba vida” (ibid. 324). Juegos multilingües en los que el poeta entreteje su Weltanschauung devorando, digiriendo y expulsando Babilonias ajenas. También en Nicolás Guillén la serpiente multiplica selvas tropológicas reafirmando el “LogoDendro multilingüe” que, como bien comenta Knauth, da nuevos significados al poliglotismo originario (tal vez bajo la influencia del Árbol políglota del jesuita Athanasius Kircher, con sus 72 lenguas babélicas) (Knauth 2012: 120). En su obra, la serpiente se enrosca y se hace agua en el poema Los ríos, se vuelve imagen sensual en Un largo lagarto verde y canto en los variados Sones que componen sus poemarios. Un ejemplo concreto es su poesía bilingüe Sensemayá en el que la serpiente-culebra, con su ritmo lexical afro-cubano reiterado imitando una percusión de tambor continuativa, genera imágenes sensoriales de tierras selváticas y sonidos de lengua bífido-somática, como en los siguientes versos: La culebra camina sin patas; / la culebra se esconde en la yerba; / caminando se esconde en la yerba, / caminando sin patas // ¡Mayombe-bombemayombé! / ¡Mayombe-bombe-mayombé! / ¡Mayombe-bombe-mayombé! [ . . . ] Sensemayá, la culebra, / sensemayá. / Sensemayá con sus ojos /

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“Yo to doró/ to doró noño hormoso/ to doró ono coso/ ono coso co yo solo so/ COFO/Ye te deré/ te deré neñe hermese/ te deré ene kese/ ene kese ke ye sele se/ KEFE/ Yi ti, dirí/ ti dirí niñi hirmisi/ ti dirí ini kisi/ ini kisi ki yi sili si/ KIFI/ Yu tu durú/ tu durú nuñu hurmusu/ tu durú unu cusu/ unu cusu ku yu sulu su/ KUFU/ Ya ta dará/ ta dará naña harmasa/ ta dará ana casa/ ana casa ka ya sala sá/KAFA” (Cabrera Infante 1975: 212213).

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Esta sintética panorámica de escritores bi-pluringües muestra que, también en Latinoamérica, el Draco se mueve silenciosa/sinuosamente entre autores y obras devorando, digiriendo y expulsando creativamente lenguas, tropos, imágenes híbridas, palabras bi-pluri-lingües y sonidos primigenios, recreando con su múltiple lengua bífida, un ‘nuevo’ Nuevo Mundo de lo “real maravilloso americano”.

V El dragón-serpiente y el ADN: Una relación sorprendente Hasta ahora hemos tocado aspectos de la figura del Draco que conciernen textos y contextos culturales, plurilingües, literarios, mítico-religiosos y artísticos. He dejado para este segundo momento la interacción mito/ciencia en relación con dicha figura, porque era importante describir primero la figura gemelada o doble para poder comprender mejor su conexión con la perspectiva evolutiva de la conciencia y el nexo entre el ácido desoxirribonucleico (ADN) y los rituales metafóricos teúrgicos y curativos. Para explicar la relación mito/ciencia, me basaré en la investigación llevada a cabo de 1985 en adelante por Jeremy Narby30 . El antropólogo americano, que se define a sí mismo, en su libro, como un humanista materialista “no neutral” (Narby 2006: 6); quería demostrar en su tesis doctoral la naturaleza ‘racional’ del uso ashaninca de las tierras indígenas, pero tuvo que cambiar sus creencias porque el contacto con los chamanes de las tribus de esa región amazónica le mostró una realidad muy diferente de la que él imaginaba. Las tribus amazónicas, y especialmente los chamanes de las tribus ashaninca, son expertas en botánica y conocen miles de especies diferentes que se utilizan para curar enfermedades (conocimiento que hasta hace poco tiempo era completamente desconocido para los occidentales, si tenemos en cuenta que un ochenta por ciento de los fármacos actuales, de origen vegetal, fueron descubiertos inicialmente por las sociedades llamadas ‘primitivas’). Cuando Narby, con la intención 30

Jeremy Narby es un antropólogo americano de la Universidad de Stanford, que vivió dos años en la comunidad de Quirishari en el Valle del Pichis del Río Amazonas peruano, para completar su tesis doctoral en Antropología y, sucesivamente, investigó otros ocho o diez años antes de llegar a la interesante teoría que resumiré en estas páginas.

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de profundizar más en la realidad indígena amazónica, les preguntó a los chamanes de esa tribu cómo habían hecho para aprender todo lo que sabían del mundo vegetal, uno de ellos le respondió que, para comprenderlo, tenía que beber el yajé o ayahuasca, una bebida que se obtiene hirviendo durante horas ciertas lianas de la selva tropical llamadas “lianas del muerto” o “escalas hacia la Vía Láctea” (su nombre científico es Banisteriopsis caapi; crecen formando dobles hélices, y son asociadas por su forma al cordón umbilical). Dichas lianas, que también son utilizadas por los Desana (y en general, por la mayor parte de los chamanes de la región amazónica), mezcladas con otras plantas permiten a los chamanes entrar en trance simbiótico con el paciente y, a través de las visiones que les llegan de las plantas, curarlo de sus males. La infusión, utilizada desde hace siglos por los chamanes, contiene un alucinógeno, la dimetiltriptamina (DMT), que parece ser también destilada por el cerebro humano. La receta del yajé es tan refinada que Richard Evans Schultes, uno de los etnobotánicos más conocidos del siglo veinte, ha podido comentar: Deberíamos preguntarnos cómo individuos de sociedades primitivas, sin ningún conocimiento de Química o de Fisiología, han logrado descubrir una solución para activar un alcaloide por parte de un inhibidor de la monoaminooxidasis. ¿Pura experimentación? Tal vez no. Los ejemplos son demasiados y podrían también aumentar con las investigaciones del futuro (cit. por Narby 2006: 13).

Narby explica que los chamanes, sin poseer microscopio electrónico, eligen de entre más de 80.000 plantas amazónicas (en la región del río Amazonas se encuentra la mitad de las 250.000 especies botánicas de la tierra), las hojas de una planta que contiene una hormona cerebral alucinógena, combinada con una planta trepadora que desactiva un determinado enzima digestivo para que no bloquee el efecto alucinógeno en el cerebro. Los chamanes utilizan la infusión para modificar su propia conciencia y poder contactar a los espíritus de las plantas pues, según ellos, el saber o conocimiento de las propiedades medicinales les viene directamente de ellos31 . Contrariamente a lo que habían hecho hasta ese momento 31

Los chamanes o pajés de la tribu Huni Kuin (“pueblo verdadero”), que viven en las tierras cercanas al río amazónico Humaitá en la aldea de San Vicente, han aceptado editar el Livro da cura, que recoge la clasificación ilustrada de 109 especies de plantas medicinales, con sus tratamientos asociados, para conservar los secretos de la foresta e

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sus colegas antropólogos (entre ellos, los conocidos Malinowski y LéviStrauss), Narby se permitió escuchar el punto de vista de los chamanes sin pre-conceptos y compartiendo la experiencia de los “hombres-medicina” (así llamados por los miembros de la tribu), por lo cual decidió beber dicha infusión acompañado por un par de chamanes que le indicaron cómo debía purificar su cuerpo antes de realizar tal experiencia. Las visiones que tuvo de gigantescas serpientes fluorescentes entrelazadas fue terrorífica y lo impactaron de tal manera que su visión de la vida se modificó totalmente32 . A partir de esa experiencia, el antropólogo americano empezó a investigar la dimensión mítica de las tribus amazónicas a través de una amplia bibliografía científica, para tratar de interpretar los discursos chamánicos, y el resultado fue asombroso. Basándose en los consejos de sus amigos chamanes, Narby empezó a estudiar la analogía formal de las visiones con perspectiva ‘desfocalizada’, al tipo de la que se usa para las imágenes tridimensionales, ya que las visiones chamánicas no eran fácilmente comprensibles con la perspectiva de la visión objetiva focalizada o científica. Para comprender había que entrar en trance, o sea modificar el estado de conciencia, para poder percibir lo que normalmente es invisible a la percepción ordinaria. Las investigaciones paralelas que realizó a nivel mítico y a nivel científico, además de su experiencia con la ayahuasca, lo llevaron a conclusiones inusitadas, entre ellas, a comprobar las increíbles conexiones entre el ácido desoxirribonucleico (ADN) y las visiones chamánicas. Resumo los resultados obtenidos. Durante los años 50, los científicos descubrieron que la composición química de la mayor parte de los alucinógenos recordaba de cerca la serotonina, el mensajero químico del cerebro humano. Hipotizaron

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impedir su explotación por las empresas farmacéuticas. Para acceder al territorio de los Huni Kuin es necesario obtener un pase del gobierno brasileño, una forma de impedir la devastación turística de la zona por el consumo en gran escala de la ayahuasca que ha sido declarado legal desde 1986 por ser parte de la cultura brasileña. La kupixawa (cabaña comunitaria de los Huni Kuin para discutir proyectos y efectuar sus ritos de iniciación y cura) está toda decorada con motivos estilizados de la jiboia o serpiente pitón, deidad cósmica que representa, para esa tribu, la transformación, el coraje y la fuerza (Sette, revista semanal del Corriere della Sera, 27/08/2015, 102-103; también Grof 2006: 177). Las visiones con la ayahuasca actúan en forma semejante a un tratamiento catárticoterapéutico, y sus raíces se remontan a los cultos de las Grandes Diosas ctónicas y a los rituales eleusinos y dionisíacos.

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entonces que los alucinógenos actuaban como llaves que se adaptaban a la ‘cerradura’ de la misma forma: la serotonina, situada en el interior del cerebro humano (ibid. 47). En 1979 se descubrió que el cerebro produce la dimetiltriptamina (DMT), uno de los principios activos de la ayahuasca. La pregunta que se hizo Narby fue la siguiente: Las informaciones sobre las propiedades medicinales de las plantas ¿provienen del interior del cerebro, como quisiera la ciencia, o del mundo exterior de las plantas, como sostienen los chamanes? Un artículo del conocido antropólogo Michael Harner de 1968 le trajo la solución. También Harner había estado, en los años 60, en la región amazónica, para estudiar la cultura de los indios Conibo de la región del río Ucayali, y a él también le habían sugerido los chamanes que, para poder comprender su sistema religioso, era basilar beber la infusión sagrada hecha con ayahuasca y cawa (liana llamada “vino del alma” o “pequeña muerte”). Harner aceptó, a pesar de que le dijeron que la experiencia podía llegar a ser terrorífica. En efecto, cuando bebió la ayahuasca, aunque estaba supervisado por sus amigos chamanes, tuvo visiones apocalípticas y experimentó su propia muerte. Vio barcas que se unían en la proa con forma de dragón-serpiente y personas con cabeza de pájaros, al tipo de los dioses egipcios, que le dijeron que esas informaciones estaban reservadas para los moribundos y los difuntos. Tuvo también extraordinarias revelaciones sobre la naturaleza de la realidad: Lo transportaron ‘al espacio’ y le mostraron el origen de la creación y, en determinado momento, Harner escribe que había visto criaturas semejantes a gigantescos reptiles o a dragones que residían en lo más profundo de su cerebro. Como resultado de dichas experiencias y otras sucesivas años después, Harner se convirtió a la práctica del chamanismo y fundó la Foundation for Shamanic Studies (Grof 2006: 51). En una nota a pié de página, Harner agrega, años después: “Mirando las cosas retrospectivamente, se podría decir que ellas [las serpientes] eran casi iguales al ADN si bien en aquel tiempo, 1961, yo no sabía nada del ADN” (cit. por Narby 2006: 52). Es en ese momento que Narby se da cuenta de que el ADN existe tanto fuera que dentro del cerebro, ya que la molécula de la vida, con sus informaciones genéticas, es la misma para todas las especies. Al mismo tiempo, comienza a descubrir las semejanzas entre la doble hélice del ADN y las serpientes entrelazadas de las visiones chamánicas. Como nada es casual, por pura sincronicidad, en ese momento Narby descubre un artículo

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de Reichel-Dolmatoff, “Cerebro y mente en el chamanismo Desana” con el dibujo, ya mencionado antes (4.1.), del cerebro humano con dos serpientes en el espacio entre los dos hemisferios, la boa y la anaconda33 . En un libro de Francis Huxley intitulado The Way of the Sacred (1974), Narby encuentra una serie de imágenes de serpientes y dragones pintadas por aborígenes australianos, y una de ellas muestra unas serpientes a zig zag, con una escala de piolines semejante a la forma del ADN, y formas pintadas cerca de ellas semejantes a cromosomas girados en forma de ‘U’. Tiempo después descubre que esos dibujos en ‘U’ mostraban la duplicación anafásica celular, que es el mecanismo central de la reproducción de la vida, y las pinturas de las serpientes a zig zag se asemejaban notablemente a los cromosomas en su profase precoz, al comienzo del mismo proceso (ibid. 74-75). También descubre, en un libro intitulado Visiones con la ayahuasca: iconografía religiosa de un chamán peruano, escrito por los antropólogos Luis Eduardo Luna y Pablo Amaringo, que las cincuenta pinturas allí publicadas no solamente eran casi iguales a las que él había visto en sus visiones, sino que mostraban una semejanza increíble con formas cromosómicas y filamentos del ADN en su estructura nuclear (ibid. 66). A partir de esas coincidencias isomorfas, Narby se concentra en el estudio de la mitología universal, y descubre que los chamanes de diferentes regiones del planeta utilizan figuras semejantes de la serpiente cósmica para hablar de la creación de la vida, entre ellas una soga, una planta trepadora, una escala de piolines o escala de origen celestial que conecta cielo y tierra. Todas imágenes que, como ha demostrado Mircea Eliade, giran alrededor de un tema común: el Axis mundi, pasaje paradójico – normalmente reservado a los difuntos – que permite el acceso al más allá y al conocimiento chamánico. Dicho pasaje está generalmente custodiado por una serpiente o un dragón que impide el acceso al conocimiento (ibid. 88, 107). También aquí las semejanzas con el ADN son sugestivas. Las investigaciones le permiten a Narby ver confirmadas sus sospechas, pues las serpientes y dragones no solamente forman parte del patrimonio mitológico 33

Lo sorprendente es que las visiones que estos antropólogos experimentaron y narraron con los Desana y los Conibo son muy semejantes, y su descripción de las creencias religiosas (con las barcas cósmicas y las serpientes gigantes entrelazadas), es casi igual (lo cual sorprende pues los indígenas Conibo peruanos están a miles de kilómetros de la tribu Desana de la región colombiana).

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universal sino que, además, las serpientes cósmicas se presentan a menudo como serpientes de dos cabezas y son, por lo tanto, doblemente bífidas, lo cual señala, a nivel semiótico, no una realidad animal sino un enigma paradójico en relación con su forma gemelar; enigma estrechamente relacionado con la forma y el código ‘lingüístico’ del ADN, que presenta características muy semejantes a las de la serpiente cósmica: No es ni masculino ni femenino; es una doble hélice enroscada, al tipo del caduceo de Hermes (de las cuales, una secuencia es especular a la otra y permanece invisible); vive en el agua salada de la célula, y su forma a escala de piolines enrollados es una consecuencia de vivir en contexto acuático; es un maestro en el arte de transformarse; posee un código críptico hasta ahora impenetrable en un casi noventa por ciento; puede ser singular o doble, muy corto o larguísimo, como la serpiente cósmica que a veces tiene una longitud increíble, como de la tierra al cielo34 . En pocas palabras, Narby llega a la conclusión que la serpiente cósmica, por sus características, es equivalente a la estructura del ADN35 . Experimentos científicos (Strassman 1994 & Leary 1996) realizados por profesionales en Occidente al ingerir la DMT (base de la ayahuasca), confirman las visiones chamánicas: serpientes gigantes, pájaros fantásticos, árbol de la vida, escaleras, figuras humanas extrañas, doble hélice del ADN, disco que gira, pasajes subterráneos. Por ejemplo, es sugestiva la descripción que hace Leary de su experiencia: Una serpiente empezó a desenrollarse a través de un limo blando y caliente, [ . . . ] sutil, de la dimensión de un virus [ . . . ] crece [ . . . ] ahora cinturas de serpientes, enjoyadas tipo mosaico, que se mueven rítmicamente, como un avanzar de serpientes [ . . . ] ahora un globo circular que extrae verdes océanos salados y montañas de esquisto marrones aserradas con la adherencia de una constrictor, una serpiente que se desliza a ciegas, ahora una cobra de un millón de millas sin fin espina eléctrica vertebrada que canta una canción hindú para flauta (Leary 1966: 93, la trad. es mía).

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El ADN desenrollado es un millar de veces más largo respecto a su ancho, y el ADN total de una persona es tan largo que puede dar vueltas a la tierra cinco millones de veces (Narby 2006: 82). Es interesante lo que dice al respecto el biólogo molecular Christopher Willis (cit. por Narby 2006: 87) que confirma sin querer, con su metáfora lingüística, las investigaciones de Narby: “Las dos cadenas de ADN recuerdan a dos serpientes entrelazadas una con la otra, en una especie de elaborado ritual de galanteo”.

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VI El lenguaje metafórico del dragón-serpiente cósmico Si bien la mayor parte de las conexiones entre la doble serpiente y el ADN tiene que ver con la forma de ambos, Narby se propuso investigar también en el lenguaje de las imágenes chamánicas para dilucidar el modo en que dicho lenguaje transmitía su contenido; es decir, cómo comunicaban los chamanes con los ‘espíritus’ de las plantas para poder recibir el conocimiento que necesitaban. Aunque había escasa bibliografía sobre este tema, Narby encontró un trabajo del antropólogo Graham Townsley sobre las canciones de los ayahuasqueros Yaminahua del Amazonas peruano, que analizaba precisamente el lenguaje metafórico de los chamanes. Según Townsley, los chamanes, durante sus alucinaciones, aprenden las canciones llamadas koshuiti imitando las que emiten los espíritus de las plantas para poder comunicarse con ellos, por lo cual, durante la sesión chamánica, cantan con un lenguaje incomprensible para los Yaminahua no chamanes. Esto porque el lenguaje utilizado es exquisitamente metafórico, de modo que sólo puede ser interpretado por los mismos chamanes. Por ejemplo: La noche es apodada ‘rápido tapiro’, la selva ‘maníes cultivados’, los peces ‘pecaríes’, las anacondas ‘hamacas’, los jaguares ‘cestos’ (ibid. 92). Townsley agrega que las metáforas siguen cierto razonamiento lógico porque, por ej., los jaguares son apodados ‘cestos’ porque las fibras de un particular tipo de cesto (wonati), realizado con tejido mórbido, adoptan una estructura similar a las manchas del jaguar. Los chamanes comprenden muy bien el significado de estas metáforas y las denominan tsai yoshtoyoshto (literalmente “lenguaje serpenteado serpenteado”), que Townsley traduce como twisted language (literalmente “lenguaje doble y envuelto sobre sí mismo”); es decir, lenguaje trenzado (la palabra twist, trenza o trama, tiene la misma raíz que two, dos y que twin, gemelo, en inglés). Según Townsley, todas las relaciones chamánicas con los espíritus están “deliberadamente construídas con estilo elíptico y multifuncional, de modo de reflejar la naturaleza rebelde de los seres que son sus objetos” (Townsley 1993: 453, la trad. es mía); y agrega: Los Yoshi son seres reales, que son tanto ‘semejantes que a-semejantes’ respecto a las cosas que animan. No tienen una naturaleza estable o unitaria y así, paradójicamente, la ‘vista’ de un ‘lenguaje trenzado’ es el único modo para describirlos de forma adecuada. En este caso, el uso de la metáfora no es impropio, pues es la única denominación apropiada posible (ibid. 465, la trad. es mía).

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También la antropóloga Janet Siskind (1973: 31), hablando de los cantos ayahuasqueros sharanahua, dice: “Estos [cantos] son cantados en una forma de lenguaje esotérico, difícil de entender y lleno de metáforas.” Parece que hay una correlación estrecha entre el twisted language de los espíritus descritos por los ayahuasqueros yaminahua y el lenguaje del ADN, que por su forma es un twisted language (el ADN de una célula humana es largo casi dos metros y las dos cintas que componen el filamento se enrollan entre sí millones de veces36 ). Además, por lo que respecta al ‘contenido’, la mayor parte es incomprensible. Los científicos han denominado “lenguaje descartable” al lenguaje incomprensible y pleno de palíndromos, compuesto por secuencias no codificadas del ADN, que se repiten infinidad de veces y constituyen la tercera parte del genoma (ibid. 94)37 . Esta conjunción de circunstancias indican que el código críptico y ‘descartable’ del ADN de las plantas, leído por los chamanes a través de sus visiones ofídicas con la ayahuasca y traducido en cantos metafóricos incomprensibles para el profano, reflejan la ‘Babel tropical y tropológica’38 de las plantas y animales de la foresta amazónica, verdadero Paraíso rizomático que, junto con el ADN de las plantas, conjuga el bilingualismo ofídico de la lengua, de la columna vertebral y de la literatura latinoamericana, en perfecta sintonía con la cosmovisión barroca típica de la visión amerindia del mundo. Los cantos metafóricos cuadran con la afirmación de Knauth (2012: 118): “El árbol y la selva de las lenguas son un paradigma primordial del plurilingüismo en general y de la literatura plurilingüe en particular.”

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En el Musée de l’Homme de París, hay una maqueta que representa una tour Eiffel hecha con los 4762 volúmenes de secuencias del ADN, los cuales contienen 3 millares de signos o letras ATGC correspondientes al ADN de un solo individuo (Knauth 2011a: 178). Para una explicación más detallada, consultar el libro de Narby, que explica el proceso con profusión de descripciones e ilustraciones. Véase el trabajo, ya citado, de Alfons Knauth (2011a), “Le pourtour de Babel. Esquisse du babélisme littéraire en Amérique latine”, sobre los aspectos plurilingües, maravillosos y tropológicos de la ‘Babel’ latinoamericana.

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VII La conciencia y la traducción científica del lenguaje metafórico mítico Llegados a este punto, el paso siguiente era analizar en qué modo el ADN comunicaba a la conciencia el lenguaje metafórico chamánico. Narby había llegado a comprender que, si la red global de la vida basada en el ADN emitía ondas radio extremamente tenues, que el ser humano podía percibir en estado de trance con una visión desfocalizada, lo que los chamanes recibían en sus visiones ayahuascas era la versión en imágenes de la lectura biomolecular del ADN. Si ellos veían serpientes fluorescentes gigantescas entrelazadas, escalas a piolines, enredaderas, árboles, cristales y demás, era porque el ADN, que es experto en el arte de la transformación, mostraba en forma metafórica, musical, fluorescente y coloreada, la estructura que lo componía. Fue sólo en los años 80 que los científicos, gracias a sofisticados instrumentos de medida, demostraron que las células de los seres vivientes emiten fotones hasta una tasa de alrededor de 100 unidades por segundo y por cm cuadrado de superficie; demostraron también que el ADN es la fuente de dicha emisión fotónica (ibid. 118) y que la longitud de onda con la que el ADN emite fotones, corresponde exactamente a la banda estrecha de la luz visible (del infrarojo, aproximadamente 900 nanómetros, al ultravioleta, hasta 200 nanómetros). A partir de esas investigaciones, los biólogos comprendieron que los alucinógenos estimulaban los receptores situados en la parte externa (la membrana) de las células. Sucesivamente, en los años 90, se descubrió la existencia de siete tipos de receptores de la serotonina, en relación a los cuales cada alucinógeno poseía una específica modalidad de funcionamiento: “Cuando una molécula de serotonina estimula la parte externa de la antena, esta última emite una señal en el interior de la célula” (ibid. 116). Se pudo deducir, entonces, que había una conexión entre el aumento del ADN con un input de serotonina capaz de ser medido, y la reacción celular, pero permanecía hipotética la cascada de reacciones desde la antena hasta el interior de la célula. La hipótesis resultó factible cuando los investigadores comprobaron que el ADN emitía fotones con una regularidad paragonable a un ‘láser ultradébil’ y, dado que una fuente coerente de luz – como el rayo láser – da la sensación de ver colores brillantes y con profundidad holográfica, la emisión coherente del ADN explicaba la luminiscencia de las imágenes

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alucinatorias y su aspecto tridimensional. Con estos resultados, se pudo comprender entonces el mecanismo conductor: Las moléculas de DTM de la ayahuasca activaban los receptores correspondientes (como la serotonina) en el interior del cerebro, los cuales emitían una cascada de reacciones electroquímicas en las neuronas, produciendo la estimulación del ADN y provocando una emisión de ondas visibles que los chamanes percibían como alucinaciones39 . A partir de ese descubrimiento, había que tratar de encontrar la conexión entre los fotones y la conciencia indagando en las publicaciones sobre biofotónica. Los investigadores en dicho campo constataron que las células utilizaban dichas ondas para comunicar entre ellas, pero eso no ayudaba a comprender la comunicación con la conciencia. Una respuesta plausible, si bien hipotética (y con la cual no concuerdo), la obtuvo Narby de Fritz-Albert Popp, en Alemania: “Sí, la conciencia podría ser el campo electromagnético constituído por la suma de estas emisiones. Pero, como Usted bien sabe, nuestra comprensión de la base neurológica de la conciencia, es todavía muy limitada” (ibid. 120). Tal vez algo tenga que ver el cuarzo en el proceso que pone en comunicación las células y la conciencia. Es interesante subrayar que casi todos los experimentos llevados a cabo para medir los biofotones implicaban el uso del cuarzo. Este cristal posee una disposición muy regular de sus átomos, que vibran con frecuencia estable, característica que lo convierte en un óptimo receptor y emisor de ondas electromagnéticas; por eso se lo utiliza con frecuencia en radios, en relojería y en la tecnología electrónica. Los cristales de cuarzo también han sido utilizados a menudo por los alquimistas y por los chamanes de todo el mundo con finalidad terapéutica (p. ej., por los aborígenes australianos, quienes consideran que la creación de la vida es obra de la Serpiente arcoiris, cuyos poderes están simbolizados por un cristal de cuarzo40 ); el uso del cuarzo entre los amerindios de las Américas en el pasado está confirmado por los yacimientos arqueológicos41 . 39

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Narby termina este párrafo con un comentario humorístico, diciendo que ahora finalmente comprendía la fuente del conocimiento: “El ADN, que vive en el agua y emite fotones, como un dragón de agua, que vomita fuego” (ibid. 119). Hay un dibujo de los indígenas Desana de la región amazónica, donde se ve una anaconda ancestral guiada por un cuarzo delante de su cabeza (Reichel-Dolmatoff, 1981). Cuencos de cuarzo se utilizan también actualmente, a nivel terapéutico, para producir sonidos que, según parece por la cantidad de pacientes tratados positivamente, favorecen

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Dado que los chamanes de la región amazónica sostienen que los espíritus pueden materializarse y volverse visibles en los cristales de cuarzo, y dado que el ADN también es un cristal, Narby llegó a preguntarse si los biofotones emitidos por todas las células del mundo, que son amplificados y transmitidos por los cristales de cuarzo, no podrían ser los espíritus mencionados por los chamanes, es decir, seres de pura luz, como los describen las leyendas a través del tiempo. Si, además, el ADN activase no sólo la emisión de fotones sino también la capacidad de la conciencia de interceptar fotones emitidos por la red global de la vida basada en el ADN, se podría hipotizar que es la misma bioesfera la fuente comunicativa de las imágenes percibidas (ibid. 122). Creo que habría que profundizar más las investigaciones de las relaciones transversales entre la conciencia, las visiones chamánicas o místicas y la biología molecular, porque todas estas informaciones interdisciplinarias demuestran que la alianza de los distintos saberes pueden realmente conducir a resultados extraordinarios e inusitados.

VIII El DNA, el código lingüístico y el dragón-serpiente Los aspectos multilingües y plurimorfos del dragón-serpiente conducen a otra pregunta basilar. Considerando que el ADN es un tipo de código: ¿Cuál es la relación entre el código lingüístico y el código genético? Como bien ha dicho Jakobson, las lenguas o, más propiamente, el código lingüístico, fueron consideradas un fenómeno exclusivamente humano, es decir, un fenómeno que requería la presencia de una inteligencia para existir, hasta que se descubrió, en los años 60, el código genético: “El código genético y el código verbal son los únicos que se basan en el uso de elementos discretos que son, en sí mismos, privos de significado, pero que se utilizan para construir unidades mínimas de significado, es decir, entidades dotadas de un significado que le es propio en el código en cuestión” (Jakobson 1973: 52, la trad. es mía). El código genético es el mismo para todos los seres vivientes, y presenta grandes analogías con la estructura lingüística pues utiliza cuatro elementos ‘discretos’ (A, G, C y T) que por separado, al igual que los fonemas lingüísticos, no poseen la remisión del cáncer (lo utiliza entre otros el Dr. Mitchell L. Gaynor, Director del Departamento de Medicina Oncológica e Integrativa del Centro Strang-Cornell de New York).

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significado, pero que, combinados, se convierten – como las palabras – en unidades signficativas. El código genético contiene 64 ‘palabras’ (formadas por tres letras), cada una con un significado específico42 . Es interesante constatar que, en el campo de la biología molecular, el lenguaje utilizado para explicar el funcionamiento del ADN y de las células es metafórico, como el de los chamanes. Se utilizan elementos de la dimensión antropocéntrica e informática para describir la organización biomolecular. Por ejemplo, se dice que el ADN es un programa o lenguaje que contiene información leída por RNS mensajeros que contactan a los ribosomas definidos como computers moleculares que traducen la información recibida según el código genético. Los cromosomas danzan, las proteínas son robots en miniatura, o pompas para pompar aminoácidos, las enzimas son automas moleculares, las células son fábricas o ciudades con espacio para más de cien millones de millones de átomos. El motivo por el cual los científicos utilizan un lenguaje metafórico para describir el universo biomolecular es que, como bien explica el matemático Alwyn Scott: “La comprensión de los biólogos en relación a la modalidad de funcionamiento de las proteínas es semejante a la comprensión de cualquier ser humano del funcionamiento de un automóvil. Sabemos que carga nafta y que la nafta es quemada para poner en marcha el vehículo, pero los detalles son todos muy vagos” (cit. por Narby 2006: 127). En realidad, esta afirmación ya no es tan verdadera pues en los últimos años, un equipo de investigadores rusos compuesto por científicos de diversas especializaciones – entre ellos genetistas y lingüistas – han obtenido resultados extraordinarios y han llegado a conclusiones que superan las deducciones de Narby: A través de una serie de estudios conjuntos realizados sobre el noventa por ciento del ADN dejado de lado por los científicos por ser considerado junk (basura), pudieron formular la hipótesis que la estructura profunda universal de todas las lenguas conocidas no es una simple coincidencia pues refleja un modelo básico pre-existente en la estructura del código genético, que vendría a ser nuestra ‘primera lengua’ inteligente (Garjajev, ibid.). En efecto, el equipo ruso ha demostrado que el ADN (su parte alcalina) posee normas y reglas subyacentes que le permitirían combinar los nucleótidos que lo componen 42

Cfr. Pjotr Garjajev (2006) (International Center for Wave Genetics of Moscow), http: //www.selfmanaging.net/genetica/zip.htm.). Véase también www.rexresearch.com/gaja rev/gajarev.htm.

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(equivalentes a los fonemas de las lenguas), para generar los ‘discursos’ posibles43 . Lo que raramente se discute es la intencionalidad que posee el ADN para construir dichos ‘discursos’. Si el ADN es una lengua, debe tener, como todas las lenguas, un significado y una intencionalidad; no puede ser solamente una sustancia química, como generalmente se lo define. Pero éste es el límite de la racionalidad que la ciencia presume poseer. Por lo tanto, en lugar de investigar con mente abierta las incógnitas encerradas en el ADN, gran parte del mundo científico prefiere proyectar sus propias creencias (es sabido que la percepción del ser humano está filtrada por sus creencias, así que cada uno ve sólo aquello en lo que quiere creer). Dado que nuestras creencias son limitadas, tendemos a minimizar y literalizar el enorme misterio que encierran los sistemas vivientes. Si tenemos en cuenta que el más pequeño genoma bactérico conocido contiene 580.000

43

Según las últimas investigaciones rusas del biólogo molecular Pjotr Garjajev y colegas (del International Center for Wave Genetics), el ADN sería un ‘internet’ biológico superior al ordenador artificial, que no sólo se expresaría a través de ondas solitónicas y holográficas que utilizan la radiación láser del ADN endógeno para almacenar información durante mucho tiempo y propagarse a grandes distancias en medios no lineales, sino también sería capaz de recoger y transmitir información de su entorno a través de ondas que pueden llegar a modificar los patrones de comportamiento celular (el aparato cromosómico actuaría como una antena de recepción y transmisión de ‘textos genéticos’ capaz de descifrar, codificar y reenviar información e, incluso, de reprogramarse). Según parece, la sustancia viva del ADN reacciona a los rayos láser del lenguaje modulado y a las ondas radio, si se utilizan las frecuencias apropiadas, lo cual explica la gran influencia de la resonancia vibracional y, por lo tanto, de la inducción hipnótica, los mantras y técnicas semejantes (basadas en la música y el lenguaje) sobre los seres humanos (el estrés y las preocupaciones parece que impiden este tipo de hipercomunicación). La hipótesis más audaz es la que considera al ADN una puerta holográfica abierta al espacio-tiempo, pues la oscilación vibratoria del ADN puede causar patrones de perturbación en el vacío produciendo micro-túneles magnetizados (equivalentes microscópicos de las perturbaciones Einstein-Rosen) que conectan diferentes áreas del universo a través de las cuales el ser humano podría transmitir y recibir información de otras dimensiones e incorporarla a su conciencia. Son conocimientos revolucionarios que todavía la ciencia oficial se resiste a aceptar, pero el día en que eso suceda, se modificará notablemente la visión del mundo (http://www.self managing.net/genetica/zip.htm – Volnovaja genetika: genética ondulatoria. Cf. también Sara Cuenda y Angel Sánchez, “Dinámica de solitones en un modelo sencillo de ADN: importancia de la secuencia.” Departamento de Matemáticas Universidad Carlos III de Madrid: [email protected]).

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letras de ADN, debemos reconocer nuestra ignorancia en leer los ‘textos’ construídos por Madre naturaleza. Por suerte, las cosas están cambiando en el mundo de la ciencia, gracias al conocimiento y aplicación de las leyes de la física cuántica. El biólogo Bruce Lipton describe, en su libro La Biologia delle Credenze, un interesante experimento llevado a cabo en su laboratorio: Las proteínas receptoras de la membrana que recubre la célula son los ‘órganos de sentido’ de la célula (correspondientes a nuestra visión, audición, olfato, etc.) y funcionan como antenas moleculares sintonizadas sobre específicas señales ambientales (las células poseen un receptor capacitado para leer los campos energéticos y sintonizado para cada señal ambiental que deben descodificar). Lipton verificó que las células humanas endoteliales receptoras se alejaban de las toxinas que Lipton introducía en el cultivo, y se acercaban, en cambio, cuando Lipton introducía nutrientes (Lipton 2006: 170); dos respuestas de las células a los estímulos ambientales que reflejan exactamente el mismo comportamiento de rechazo y atracción que manifiesta un ser humano ante lo que puede perjudicarlo o beneficiarlo. Ambos comportamientos expresan, respectivamente, deseo de protección o deseo de crecimiento, y muestran intencionalidad a nivel celular (el hombre, como la célula, limita su capacidad de crecimiento cuando adopta el comportamiento protectivo). El funcionamiento biológico se adapta a nuestras creencias, lo cual significa que podemos elegir lo que queremos ver y, de este modo, mejorar o empeorar nuestro estado de salud (también Lipton comenta que las creencias son como los filtros de una máquina fotográfica, pues cambian el modo de percibir el mundo, ibid. 166). Como la mayor parte de las disfunciones biológicas comienzan a nivel molecular, sería importante que las investigaciones biomoleculares integrasen la perspectiva de la física cuántica a la perspectiva newtoniana.

IX Conclusiones Como podemos fácilmente deducir de la lectura de estas páginas, la enigmática figura del Draco merecería no un simple artículo sino un volumen completo. Por razones de espacio, me voy a limitar a unas pocas conclusiones que resuman el sentido de lo que he tratado de desarrollar a lo largo de este trabajo (pido disculpas al lector si, por momentos, su lectura puede haberlo cansado y también preocupado porque, no nos engañemos, el

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Draco sigue existiendo en cada uno de nosotros, no sólo en las estructuras ontológicas del imaginario sino también en las circumvoluciones de nuestro cerebro y nuestro intestino – prueba de ello es la literatura mencionada – y se esconde, incluso, en los repliegues críticos de la sociedad contemporánea donde la alteridad, con su exceso de disonancias cognitivas debido a un mundo en constante cambio, se ha vuelto desbordante respecto al núcleo identitario, cada vez más lejos de la experiencia directa). Hay épocas de transición y crisis como la actual, en la que las reflexiones sobre el significado de nuestro estar en el mundo se vuelven de extrema urgencia y, como delante nuestro se abren varias direcciones, hay que saber elegir. Con palabras de Lotman: La elección es la intersección de la duda y el conocimiento [ . . . ]. Nuestra época, tan dinámica, es avara en concedernos tiempo: pocos instantes para evaluar el pasado, elegir la dirección, pasar a la acción. En estos casos, hay que considerar todas las experiencias, explicitar todas las propuestas, pensar en todas las posibilidades (Lotman 1994: 19-20, la trad. es mía).

Es allí donde el Draco, guardián del tesoro (en este caso, los descubrimientos del genoma, de la física cuántica, del arte y la literatura universal, de los secretos sigilados y escondidos en las grutas, en los picos montañosos, en el fondo de mares y océanos, en las crostas congeladas de los polos), sigue teniendo vigencia. Como ha enseñado la teoría general de los sistemas de Ludwig von Berthalanffy, el punto de vista del observador modifica el sistema observado; por lo tanto, la realidad es un papel tornasolado que cambia según el punto de vista que asumamos. En este sentido, ciertas figuras zoomorfas y reiterativas como el Draco revisten una función ‘necesaria’ porque, a través de los múltiples significados desplegados en el tiempo y en el espacio, nos permiten analizar el mundo desde perspectivas insólitas, utilizando la interacción de posibilidades que la hermenéutica y la biosemántica de la cultura nos ofrecen. La urdimbre que se genera, en la intersección de los distintos saberes y en la proliferación circular de textos ‘serpimultilingües’, puede producir esa explosión de sentido de la que habla Lotman cuando elementos metafóricos, científicos y poéticos interactúan para explicar una realidad que no logramos comprender del todo. Como la figura del dragón-serpiente es un tema universal y complejo, con infinidad de facetas; una figura que involucra desde épocas arcaicas

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hasta nuestro presente, y que ha sido muy importante para la imaginación del hombre, he elegido dar la preferencia a las perspectivas y los aspectos que me han parecido relevantes para enfocar la ingerencia del Draco en la evolución de la conciencia y en la vibrante literatura multilingüe, dado que, como han dicho varias mentes lúcidas de nuestra época (entre ellas Einstein, Krishnamurti, Huxley, Bohn y Lotman), ya no tenemos mucho tiempo para resolver los graves peligros ecológicos y políticos que nos están abrumando. Urge, por lo tanto, una profundización de argumentos que permitan acelerar la maduración psíquica y comunicativa del ser humano. Por consiguiente, he tratado de colaborar con esta perspectiva, dando algunos insights que espero logren incrementar la lucidez de las conciencias y, además, explicar por qué, según mi criterio, Borges tenía razón: La figura del dragón-serpiente se puede considerar, a diferencia de otras creaciones de la imaginación humana, un “monstruo necesario”, pues ella vive en las profundidades genéticas de la humanidad y se proyecta, desde las raíces del Arxé primordial, en el mundo – real, virtual y literario – y en cada uno de sus habitantes a través de los mitos, leyendas, poesías, narraciones y sueños simbólicos que el inconsciente colectivo humano ha producido. Los isomorfismos y las conexiones míticas del Draco celadas para nuestra conciencia, siguen actuando en la imaginación de los hombres para permitirle indirectamente abordar las profundidades incomprensibles del universo y los peligros inminentes que rodean al planeta. Los lectores de estas páginas juzgarán si el Draco ha logrado una vez más su objetivo. En el libro ya mencionado, La Biologia delle Credenze, Lipton explica que la historia de la evolución es una historia de esquemas que se repiten: Nuestra biosfera ha pasado por cinco extinciones masivas a través de las eras geológicas, y si no se modifica la conciencia humana con mayor lucidez y apertura en su visión del mundo, no lograremos evitar la sexta extinción a nivel planetario provocada, esta vez, por la soberbia tecnológica y la ceguera del hombre. Se vuelve urgente crear un puente que conecte holísticamente la intuición metafórica y poética de nuestro hemisferio derecho con el abordaje racional y científico del hemisferio izquierdo, para poder proceder con mente ecológica y ‘creatocéntrica’ (en lugar de egocéntrica)44 ; una mente basada en los valores esenciales y éticos de la vida. Pensando en la figura compleja y poderosa del 44

Véase “L’ecologia della trasformazione” (Boff & Hathaway 2014: 577-656).

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Draco, que resuena dentro de nosotros y se repite como un fractal a niveles genéticos, sociológicos y planetarios, me pregunto si lograremos aprender de sus aspectos generadores, fértiles, plurimórficos y multilingües o seguiremos modelando sus comportamientos destructivos. Dejo al lector la responsabilidad de la respuesta y me/le hago una pregunta: ¿Logrará el pluriverso multilingüe y multicultural del Draco, con la inspiración de la Poesía, transformar el universo en crisis que nos circunda? Termino con palabras de Lipton que, siendo un científico, puede prever, mejor que otros, los peligros de una mirada apática sobre un mundo al borde de una catástrofe ecológica (acuática e ígnea), muy de acuerdo con la figura ambigua y tornasolada del dragón-serpiente: Los esquemas fractales repetitivos de la naturaleza nos permiten predecir que los seres humanos encontrarán el modo de expandir sus conciencias para subir un escalón más en la escala evolutiva [ . . . ]. Pero no subiremos el escalón evolutivo sucesivo sólo pensándolo, así como no podemos cambiar nuestra vida y la de nuestros hijos simplemente leyendo libros. Debemos unirnos [ . . . ] a los que trabajan por una civilización mejor a través de la comprensión que la Supervivencia del más humanitario y afable es la única ética que nos asegurará no sólo una vida individual sana, sino también un planeta sano (Lipton 2006: 229-238, la trad. es mía).

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Ricci, Graciela N. (1992): “La creación del Nuevo Mundo: en torno a Axolotl”. En: Actas del XXIX Congreso del Instituto Internacional de Literatura Iberoamericana, Barcelona: PPU. 997-1017. — (2002): Las redes invisibles del lenguaje. Buenos Aires: Dunken 2011. — (ed.) (2005): Borges: Identità, plurilinguismo, conoscenza. Milano: Giuffrè. — (2012): Il Viaggio Infinito. Tecniche e percorsi di trasformazione. Roma: Bonanno. — (2013): “Los hilos velados de la urdimbre: Territorios de J. Cortázar.” En: Ricci, Graciela N. (ed.): Simboli e metafore di trasformazione nella dimensione pluriculturale delle lingue, delle letterature, delle arti. Macerata: eum (Heteroglossia n. 12). 151-178. Rizzolati, Giacomo & Corrado Sinigaglia (2006): So quel che fai. Il cervello che agisce e i neuroni specchio. Milano: Cortina. Roa Bastos, Augusto (1974): Yo el supremo. Ed. Milagros Ezquerro. Madrid: Cátedra 1987. Saer, Juan J. (1998): El concepto de ficción. Buenos Aires: Ariel, Espasa Calpe. Siskind, Janet (1973): “Visions and Cures among the Sharanahua”. En: Harner 1973. 28-39. Townsley, Graham (1993): “Song paths: the ways and means of Yaminahua shamanic knowledge.” En: L’Homme 126-128 (2-4). 449-468. Turini, Mariella (2010): La simbologia del drago in Oriente. Milano: Zephyro.

List of Contributors

B IAGIO D’A NGELO is Professor of Theory and History of Art at the University of Brasília, and Research Fellow of the CNPq (Brazilian National Centre for Research). He worked in several universities (Russia, Belgium, Peru, Hungary) as a professor and researcher of Comparative Literature. He served the AILC / ICLA (International Association of Comparative Literature) as President of the International Committee for Latin-American Studies (20072010). Graduated in Russian Culture (Literature and Arts) at the University of Venice “Ca’ Foscari”, he received his PhD from the Russian State University for the Humanities (Moscow), where he studied under Eleazar Meletinsky. His main fields of interest are: languages and hybridisms in literature and visual arts; visual poetry; transtextualities. Among his publications may be cited: Espacios y discursos compartidos en la literatura de América latina (ed. 2004), Comparaciones en vertical. Conflictos metodológicos en las literaturas de las Américas (ed. 2009), and Frontières des mouvements autophotobiographématiques (co-ed. 2016). E-mail: [email protected] R AMONA L. C ECIU, Ph.D. in Arts & Comparative Literature (Jadavpur University, India), did extensive studies in European and Indian literatures, languages and arts. Her research interests also focus on critical theory, world literature, linguistics, translation studies, psychology, philosophy, comparative cultural studies, interdisciplinarity, intermediality, film studies, visual culture, and music. Her contribution to scholarship includes two books, one of art criticism titled Diptish – A Vision Beyond Vision (2015), and another one on Rabindranath Tagore (2013, which received an award of excellence in literary criticism in 2014). Her scholarly articles, as well as translations and creative writing (poetry and prose), have appeared in a number of journals internationally (CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture, Asian Studies, Muse India etc.), in various languages. Over the years, she has participated in several conferences and workshops in her areas of expertise (FILLM Congress, ICLA, CLAI etc.), as well as in projects involving and exploring cultures, people and arts in multicultural and multilingual dynamics. E-Mail: [email protected]

304 S UBHA C HAKRABORTY DASGUPTA taught Comparative Literature at Jadavpur University (Kolkata) where she was Co-ordinator of the Centre of Advanced Studies (Comparative Literature). She served as Visiting Faculty at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies and at University of Delhi. She was also Joint Director of School of Cultural Texts and Records at Jadavpur University and was Executive Head of an Electronic Tagore Variorum Project. She is the author of a book entitled Bibliography of Reception: World Literature in Bengali Periodicals (1890-1900), a monograph on A Journey to Joramath and its Manasamangalpala along with many edited volumes such as Of Asian Lands: View from Bengal – An Annotated Bibliography of Travel Narratives to Asian Countries in Bangla, Literatures and Oratures as Knowledge Systems: Texts from the North East (co-edited), Genology: Literary Studies in India etc. She was editor of Jadavpur Journal of Comparative Literature from 20072012. Her research interests and publications include cultural studies, gender perspectives, literary theory, oratures and translation. She also translates from English, French, Hindi and Bangla into Bangla and English. E-Mail: [email protected] A NDRÉS C LARO (Santiago de Chile, 1968) is an essayist and university professor. He teaches in the Doctorate in Philosophy (Aesthetics) at the Universidad de Chile and has been visiting professor in universities in Europe, Latin America and the United States. He undertook his postgraduate studies in Philosophy and Literature at the EHESS (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris), where he worked under the direction of Jacques Derrida, and at Oxford University, where he completed a DPhil (PhD) in Literature. To a series of essays on poetics, theory of language and culture (La creación: figuras del poema, configuraciones del mundo, 2014; Imágenes de mundo, 2016), he adds two major books: La Inquisición y la Cábala, un capítulo de la diferencia entre ontología y exilio (1996; 2nd. ed., 2009) and Las Vasijas Quebradas, cuatro variaciones sobre la ‘tarea del traductor’ (2012). He has published collections of poems and literary translations from various languages. He divides his work between Paris and Santiago de Chile, combining research, teaching and writing. E-Mail: [email protected] H ANS -G EORG G RÜNING, born in Prague, is Professor of German Language and Literature at the University of Macerata (Italy) and was visiting professor at Dalhousie University (Halifax, Canada). His research is principally concerned with literary and intercultural relations between Germany and Italy, European multicultural spaces (South Tyrol), literary and political imagology, literary symbols, the European Enlightenment, multilingual literature as well as translation and self-translation. Since 1985 he has been co-editor (since 2014 editor in chief) of the interlinguistic and intercultural review Heteroglossia (Macerata). Among his publications are the following books: Goethe critico

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della letteratura italiana (1988), Die zeitgenössische Literatur Südtirols: Probleme, Profile, Texte (1992), Discorso fizionale e realtà storica (co-ed. 1992), Spielräume, Essays zu Sprache, Literatur und politischer Kultur (2000), Cambiamenti nella percezione e rappresentazione dell’esotico (ed. 2009). Der Baum als Symbol und Strukturelement in der Literatur und Kunst (ed. 2012), Immaginario e ideologia del plurilinguismo letterario e digitale (co-ed. 2014). E-Mail: [email protected] Since 1977, K. A LFONS K NAUTH has been Professor of Romance Philology at the University of Bochum and visiting professor at some American and European universities. In 1981 he founded, together with writers from Bonn and students from Bochum, the literary review Dichtungsring (50 vols. 1981-2017), and recently, in 2014, the series of critical studies poethik polyglott. From 2007 to 2013 he was Chair of the Research Committee Mapping Multilingualism in World Literature within the International Association of Comparative Literature (ICLA/AILC). His current research focuses on the imaginary of language in the field of European and Latin American literatures, including translation and the dialogue between verbal and non-verbal languages (Imaginaire et idéologie du plurilinguisme littéraire et numérique, co-ed. 2014; Migrancy and Literary Multilingualism in World Literature, co-ed. 2016; Translation & Multilingual Literature. Traduction & Littérature multilingue, ed. 2011). He also has published books and articles on theory and history of various literary genres (“Fabula rasa”, 1988), on literary symbolism (“Das Schiff in der Tinte”, 1990), on hybrid identities (“Humaquinanimalismo”, 2009), on theory of interpretation (Invarianz und Variabilität literarischer Texte, 1981), on creative writing in foreign languages (Literaturlabor – La muse au point, 1986), and on the evolution of intercultural configurations on a global scale (Translatio Studii and Cross-Cultural Movements or Weltverkehr, ed. 2010). E-Mail: [email protected] G RACIELA N. R ICCI has obtained her Graduate and Postgraduate Literature Degree in Argentina (University of Rosario) and her Ph.D in Psychology in Belgium (Bruxelles). She has been Permanent Professor during more than thirty years at the University of Macerata (Italy), teaching General and Textual Linguistics, Pragmatics of Communication and Hispanic Literature and Culture. She has taught Literary Theory and Arts (Catholic University of Rosario) and Spanish Linguistics (Catholic University of Milan). During her years at the University of Macerata, she has organized many International Congresses and Conferences, and has been Chairman of the SSIS (School for Specialization of Teachers) as well as the Ph.D Program in Theory of Communication and Information. She has published a great number of essays and books in the field of Literary Criticism and of Hispanic and Italian Fiction. Some of her latter publications concern Metaphorical Language and Processes

306 of Psychological Transformation. Ricci has also obtained some literary awards, such as the Premio Fondo Nacional de las Artes (Buenos Aires 1973) and the Premio Escritores de la Provincia (Santa Fe 1977). Her last volume on Borges (Dunken 2011), after having been presented at the Academia Argentina de Letras in Buenos Aires, was chosen to represent Argentinian Literature at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2012. E-Mail: [email protected] T.S. S ATYANATH is a former Professor in the Department of Modern Indian Languages and Literary Studies, University of Delhi (Delhi 110007). He taught Comparative Indian Literature and Kannada language and literature in the M.A. and M.Phil. programmes in Comparative Indian Literature and has supervised several M.Phil. Dissertations and Ph.D. Theses. Comparative Literature, Translation Studies, Cultural Studies and Folklore Studies are his areas of interest. He has published extensively in these areas. He was a visiting scholar at University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia and University of Georgetown, Guyana and a visiting professor at Kannada University, Hampi. He is closely associated with Delhi Comparatists, a group of teachers and students engaged with comparative studies on the campus of the University of Delhi. Among his poetologic publications may be mentioned the monograph entitled Kavya [literary text] as Knowledge System (2010). E-Mail: [email protected] M ONIKA S CHMITZ -E MANS is Professor of General and Comparative Literature at the Ruhr-University Bochum. Since 2007 she has been President of the Jean Paul-Society, and in 2017/2018 she is Fellow of the International College Morphomata (University of Cologne). Furthermore she was Distinguished Visiting Professor at various universities in the United States, in Japan and in Europe. Her main research interests are: General literary theory and poetics, Comparative Literature, Modern European Literature, literature and pictures, literature and other arts, literature and discourses of knowledge. Among her recent publications are the following books: Literatur-Comics. Adaptationen und Transformationen der Weltliteratur (co-ed. 2012); Literaturgeschichte und Bildmedien (co-ed. 2015); Komparatistische Perspektiven auf Dantes ›Divina Commedia‹. Lektüren, Transformationen und Visualisierungen (co-ed. 2017). She also has published several books on literary language and multilingualism such as Die Sprache der modernen Dichtung (1997), Multilinguale Literatur im 20. Jahrhundert (co-ed. 2002), Literatur und Vielsprachigkeit (ed. 2004) and Wortgeburten (co-ed. 2009). E-Mail: [email protected] T UMBA S HANGO L OKOHO is Senior Lecturer of General and Comparative Literature at Sorbonne Nouvelle (Paris III). His mains fields of interest are: questions of francophone literatures and cultures (Africa and Antilles); the postcolonial event; francophone women’s fiction; African oral literature;

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fiction in Maghrib; multilingual literature. Among his recent publications can be cited the following titles: “Errance et nomadisme linguistique chez Edouard Glissant”, in K. Alfons Knauth & Ping-hui Liao (eds.), Migrancy and Multilingualism in World Literature (2016); Prophétismes ou discours de l’entre-deux voix. Francophonies africaines (co-ed. 2015); “Récits africains du crime”, in Florence Olivier & Philippe Daros (eds.), Du roman noir aux fictions de l’impunité (2014); “L’invention du rêve ou l’autre scène du récit africain: Autour du rêve dans Le jeune homme de sable de Williams Sassine, Le cercle des Tropiques de M.A. Fantouré et L’étrange destin de Wangrin d’Ahmadou Hampaté Bâ”, in Bernard Dieterle & Manfred Engel (eds.): Writing the Dream / Ecrire le Rêve (2017). E-Mail: [email protected]

This volume investigates outstanding figures and configurations of literary and cultural multilingualism in a transcontinental and global perspective. Its first focus is on the Asian and American Indies, namely the oxymoronic figure of East West India, and on the stirring ‘relations through words’ in Luso-Afro-Indian, Anglo-Indian and Indo-European areas. The second focus is on the cross-cultural configuration of East and West induced by some striking Sino-European and Sino-American events in early modern and modern times. A third issue concerns the glocal and globoglot ‘people of paper’ of the literary book and, finally, the universal figure of Ouroboros and ophidian multi-linguality. Subha Chakraborty Dasgupta is a former Professor of Comparative Literature at Jadavpur University (Kolkata, India) and was editor of the Jadavpur Journal of Comparative Literature from 2007 to 2012. She also served as Visiting Faculty at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies and at the University of Delhi. K. Alfons Knauth is Professor i.R. of Romance Philology at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (Germany) and was Chairman of the Research Committee “Mapping Multilingualism in World Literature” (2007-2013) within the International Comparative Literature Association (ICLA / AILC).

poethik polyglott Herausgegeben von Britta Benert (Université de Strasbourg), Rainier Grutman (University of Ottawa), K. Alfons Knauth (Ruhr-Universität Bochum)

Die Schriftenreihe poethik polyglott versammelt Studien zur kreativen Mehr- und Mischsprachigkeit in Literatur und Medien, unter Einschluß von Paraliteratur und literarischer Übersetzung. Der literarischen und intermedialen Mehrsprachigkeit eignet eine poetische und eine ethische Funktion, letztere im Sinne der Herausbildung einer mobilen und pluralen Identität im Zwischenland der Kulturen. Neben historischen und theoretischen Studien zu den genannten Themen ist die Didaktik mehrsprachiger Kreativität ein Programmpunkt der Reihe. La collection poethik polyglott réunit des études sur le plurilinguisme littéraire, paralittéraire et numérique, y compris la traduction littéraire. Ce plurilinguisme, qui se veut interlinguistique et intermédial, a une double fonction poétique et éthique dans la mesure où il contribue à la formation d’une identité plurielle et mobile au Zwischenland des cultures. Outre des études historiques et théoriques consacrées à ces thèmes, la collection accueillera des recherches sur la didactique de la créativité plurilingue. poethik polyglott is a series of critical studies on the creative use of multilingualism in literature, new media, and literary translation. The use of several or mixed languages is viewed as having both a poetic and an ethical function, insofar as it contributes to the emergence of a mobile and multiple identity in the Zwischenland of cultures. In addition to historical and theoretical studies on these topics, the editors welcome pedagogical research on creative writing in the area of multilingualism.

This volume investigates outstanding figures and configurations of literary and cultural multilingualism in a transcontinental and global perspective. Its first focus is on the Asian and American Indies, namely the oxymoronic figure of East West India, and on the stirring ‘relations through words’ in Luso-Afro-Indian, Anglo-Indian and Indo-European areas. The second focus is on the cross-cultural configuration of East and West induced by some striking Sino-European and Sino-American events in early modern and modern times. A third issue concerns the glocal and globoglot ‘people of paper’ of the literary book and, finally, the universal figure of Ouroboros and ophidian multi-linguality.

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