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57 Admirable books to understand life

An anthology gathers studies to create a list of capital titles of western letters, without "falling into the politically correct", according to its coordinator, Jordi Llovet

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57 Admirable books to understand life

It is said of something that is admirable when you have singular esteem for judging outstanding and extraordinary. And that is thread that binds 56 titles that make up bookish beam of admirable literature (past Present), which was first professor of literature compared to Catalonia, Jordi Llovet, has compiled and analyzed with 43 collaborators of Alta Rank Philological and Reader, from Francisco Rico and Fernando bevater to Isabel de Riquer and Joaquim Mallafré, going through already missing Luis Izquierdo and José María Valverde.

"I have a great vocation for incorrectness, so many representatives of certain groups, geographical areas, are missing... Nor was it to make a canon, much less fall into politically correct: This book is not prejudiced, is a selection of titles that encourage reading from ball of Western literature, because it is not universal literature because I do not believe in Her ", quickly feel bases of volume your coordinator.

of Bible ("There is prejudice that it is a religious book, but it is great literature") to Lolita of Vladimir Nabokov, in a "great respect to continuum of Western Tradition", book is presented by some of its great experts from texts that , mostly, y were ones that used in ir day for lessons of Universal literature taught at Institut d'Humanitats de Barcelona, of which Llovet is one of ir souls. After keys of each work, trapped in a rich literary and cultural web of time, Professor advises best edition he has read in original language for, n do same with two or three published in Spanish and salt with four or five E Specific studios.

Llovet knows what it recommends because, reader of about 10,000 titles of 40.000 who treasures in his library, has, for example, about 40 editions of Don Quixote or some twenty of Moby dick, two of works analyzed in volume. Devourer of books, as tradition "surely Jewish", of Pencil in hand (it has with his couch of five calibers because "each paper demands a thickness"), annotator of most unlikely (it has hundreds of tokens with citations of books classified by Concepts such as "umbrellas", "throwing handkerchiefs to seduce" or "baldness": "The literature is made of details"), it is also swift and cunning to respond to alleged surprises of index, as re is only, as well as references to lyrics ballads of Wordsworth and Coleridge and global poetic work of Rubén Darío, a couple of books of contemporary poetry, songs of Leopardi and wasteland of T.S. Eliot. "They are an exception because poetry tends to give good poems, but not books; Perhaps Carles Riba could also have entered..., but it is that, in addition, today it reads more narrative than poetry. "

' Lolita ' and Laws of feminism

Defends Jordi Llovet, collaborator of Quadern, cultural supplement of Catalan edition of El PAÍS, which is worth reading a hundred books that many more, yes, on condition that y are good and reread systematically. "It will always be better to read little and thorough, to read absent-mindedly: Good books always distill some lesson," he says, against those who read young people in ir formative stage, who "from so much reading bad literature no longer know how to discern good of You don't. " It does not say that, "so far", literature is finished, but it does argue that it is " literary tradition": "Because of postmodernity and magnificent inculturity of many writers of our day, many more books will not be written based on inheritance of Western tradition, which is rich and has been basis of many narratives, even in case of Franz Kafka. " The prevailing bewilderment is such that even one of admirable books, Lolita, of Nabokov, has today detractors in Western world that would veto it. "It's an extraordinary book for its aestic values, and even Morales. If ultrafeminists criticize it is because y do a biased and dogmatic reading. They lose it... It can happen perfectly that an adult loses judgment for a girl: The laws of desire are not same as laws of feminism. "

More than some inevitable absence (re is no work of Thomas Mann, "but re is Robert Musil and his The man without attributes... Yes, it could have been added, as tyrant flags of Valle Inclán, best Spanish since Cervantes "), draws attention to inclusion of uncanonical titles, such as Princess of Clèves, Madame de Lafayette, one of only three women included. "It is one of best books selected: It is first psychological novel of literature; Of that, I have ten editions. "

Equally shocking is commitment to dangerous friendships, Pierre Choderlos de la clos. "It is best example of emancipation of women in XVIII, of ir power obtained since conversation of literary halls and of matchmaker, but of course, you have to situate yourself in century and reader of today I do not know if it sees novelty." In or cases, it surprises bravery in choice of work that represents an author, which is not always most emblematic. Thus it occurs with Brontë sisters, of which one does not select Wuring Heights of Emily but Villette of Charlotte; Or James Joyce, where he looks Dubliners by Ulysses; Or William Faulkner, who is elected Absalom, Absalom! And not noise and fury... "Villette is no better than Wuring Heights, but it is easier to read and will generate more readers, as well as let us know anor great work; The same with Ulysses, who, despite being more intelligible than is said, would have frightened people by that prejudice, or noise and fury, of which y would not have understood anything... In any case, all titles are at least a score of eight over 10; They're admirable. What else? Sure, but se are stimulating and generate love for literature and reading by fast track; It is not an academic canon, but it moves between readers with gusto and scholars of academy. " Towards end of volume, Terenci Moix (who translated in its soft day is night) comments great Gatsby of Francis Scott Fitzgerald ("proved to be a fine reader") and closes it The grey Notebook, of Josep Pla, only non-fiction with Chronicles of Ramon Muntaner. "If you want to understand history of twentieth century Catalan you have to go to Pla, as with Balzac to understand France in first half of XIX."

But y are all: Dante, Shakespeare, Cervantes, Borges..., and until Voltaire of Candide, of favourites of Llovet: "I have 40 or 50 editions, at least... It is very topical: it is a critique of that optimism of Leibniz, that nonsense that we live in best of worlds, something that, at least, since 1972 is over. " Part of this Llovetiano pessimism also moves to difficulty of finding se titles alive today in Spanish bookstores, result of an almost non-existent demand. "Reading to classics requires an epistemological transfer in time and a basic preparation; The teaching of literature is very inbred, universal literature is not well addressed... Instituto Cervantes or La institution de les Lletres Catalanes should promote it; A good and systematic collection is about to be made; In Catalonia, series best Works of Universal literature (MOLU), which launched Edicions 62, was tried, but it was in illegible translations... Today, y only publish universal literature as a philosophy and with continuity stamps like Edicions of 1984, in Catalan, and Alba and Cátedra, in Castilian ".

Even though he has long since seen a sword of Damocles hang over world of reading ("to book, when reading, he has 50 years at most: it takes time and patience, virtues that have disappeared"), Llovet takes refuge in Elias Canetti: "He said he never did sports why And mind re was not acting at all; For that: The spirit acts more than ever with classical music, and mind acts more than ever with reading; Literature is an interpretation of world: life does not teach; In street you will find world, but you will not understand. " With admirable literature, at least, re is hope that a little, yes.


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