The thing about the clichés is that they don’t always match the real picture and sometimes present the bewildering disagreement that exists between a man and his shadow. Diego Garrido is confirmation that each generation needs its own James Joyce and, spurred on by that idea, he has translated again, to celebrate this centenary of the writer, his short work, which, far from being minor, exudes the same overflowing quality as his major testimonials. It is a volume that brings together titles known to most, such as “Dubliners” and “Portrait of an adolescent artist”, but which It also includes children’s stories, drafts, notebooks of different kinds (the one from Trieste, for example), the “Dublin Diary of Stanislaus Joyce”, forty youth prose and the “Epiphanies”, which, for the first time, are translated into Spanish. «Everyone talks about them because they are quoted in the “Ulises”where it is claimed that they are “deeply deep”, and in “Portrait of an adolescent artist”. They are a set of forty texts. Joyce argued that from time to time a gesture, a word, an involuntary movement betrays people and reveals what they are like. For him it is a spiritual revelation and at the same time a mediocre event. And we all suffer it, “explains Garrido. He wrote them early in his life. The curious thing is that after finishing that meridian of literature that is «Finnegan’s Wake” a book that writes with a language invented from seventy other languages, «he had already declared that he wanted to write again in a way that would be understandable by all readers». That is, as in its beginnings. Thus, a whole journey around the language was completed.
But this book, “Cuentos y prosa breves”, now published by Páginas de Espuma, also provides an unexpected and original reading, which goes beyond the texts it collects. It offers the opportunity to contemplate, as if it were an extensive altarpiece, the evolution of his writing and his aesthetics. «For me, one of the greatest virtues of this job is that if we read it in a correlative way, from his first prose to the language that was invented for his last book, we will have the entire evolution of his prose. We are going to see that journey from the realism of “Dublineses”, going through that love story that is “Giacomo Joyce” to “Ulysses”, the fables and the different fields in which he experimented for “Finnegans Wake”», explains Diego Graceful.
He himself provides another important piece of information for the writer’s followers and beyond that «in the notebooks we find the aesthetic theories that he developed at the age of twenty and that we later find cited in other of his works. We discovered that he wrote down events, words and phrases that his family and friends said and that he later reproduced in his books.. It’s like walking into a writer’s kitchen. He wanted to remain mysterious, but here you understand very well that there was a lot of dedication behind each of his projects and we see where those clever phrases came from ».
This era, made of continuous haste, of Instagram and Twitter, of slogans and simple messages, of short texts and succinct and brief news, does not seem to diminish or go to the detriment of James Joyce. For Diego Garrido it is rather the opposite, although it is unusual. «In the case of James Joyce, the networks favor him, because he was a fundamentally verbal writer, not the construction of characters and plots, and that favors that many people can read only small fragments of each of his works, individual paragraphs. There you immediately recognize the talent and merit he had. If you take a piece of Tolstoy’s work, it is worthless if you fail to recognize the characters that appear, but instead Joyce, in a single sentence, very few people equal him ».
Myth, criticism and time have elevated the novelist to a pedestal that praises him and elevates him almost above his own reality, blurring his biography, work and personality. The height of the legend of him projects an image that, instead of bringing us closer to the man, takes us away from him. A feeling that is wrong and that Garrido also tries to break in this work. «People are going to love Joyce. Through these readings he will access the adventures of her life. He was a real disaster, a character from a novel. The first virtue of these short texts is that he is going to take him down from the altar and show him to us as a very funny guy, very bad at times and who was a complete calamity personally ».
Garrido acknowledges that Joyce was obsessed with succeeding in art, and considers that he would only achieve it in exile and solitude. «Sometimes he even invented insults that encouraged his writing. He considered that, if everything went well, he would have no reason to continue writing. That’s why, Nora, his wife, jokingly said that she must have wanted him to sleep with other men to have things to tell. He even left his country, appealing to the betrayal of two friends. Perhaps only in this way, from a distance, he was able to write the great book on Dublin and the Irish. Missing the country and the city.”
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James Joyce, short but just as big
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