Forbidden Territory (Coto Vedado): The Memoirs of Juan Goytisolo. December 1, FT 2 The author is a connoisseur of experience but not of commitment. Coto vedado. Front Cover. Juan Goytisolo Goytisolo first became known in the United States for his novel The Young Assassins (), the story of juvenile. Coto vedado (El Libro De Bolsillo – Bibliotecas De Autor – Biblioteca Juan Goytisolo) (Spanish Edition) eBook: Juan Goytisolo: : Kindle Store.
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The author is a connoisseur of experience but not of commitment. He fantasises a lot. In the light of current events in Catalonia, it is very relevant now.
It might have veddo more interesting had we read some of his novels — he alludes to things and then says that he has dealt with them elsewhere, in such and such a book. He one slept through a whole day, not sure whether it was 8. Spanish writers tended to censor personal failings — maybe as a result of the confessional which wipes the late clean. The translator has done a good job at creating some evocative prose — particularly at the end of this volume.
There are beautiful descriptions goytlsolo he is good at putting across what a child might feel but his style is impenetrable in places. There are too many long sentences with lots of sub clauses.
Goytisolo is a ruthless critic of Spain and its upper classes and no less a ruthless critic of himself. He was struggling with the stranglehold of a family in a fallen and irrelevant aristocracy that welcomed Franco, with the emergence of his homosexuality in a culture rigidly opposed to any sign of it, to the censorship of books that were his lifeline to becoming a writer, to bad Argentine translations of American literature — so many gedado that say so much about Spain juah that period.
He recalls a childhood that included the Civil War when his mother travelling into Barcelona and was killed by bombs from an air raid. Was it this blow or a combination of it and being molested by his juuan that gave him such an entrenched feeling of not belonging?
Coto Vedado by Juan Goytisolo
He shook off the influence of religion and Franco early on and eventually emigrated to France to write. He was a communist in spirit but never fully a member, became a long-time lover coti a French woman despite knowing of his own latent homosexuality.
Only in his 30s does he reconcile his sexuality and find a certain peace within himself. It is in some sense very clinical, and the sense that Goytisolo may be a clinician studying Goytisolo, is emphasized by the occasional switching of tenses. In some passages this appears to be done as a way of taking a certain amount of distance from personal ownership of actions.
InGoytisolo was cited by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization as the Spanish author most translated into various languages, second only to Miguel Lopez de Cervantes. His new approach to writing poetry, veddao by T. Auden, made him bridge the gap between the old Romanticist Spanish writers and the post-Franco avant-garde movement called the Movida, which he prefigured. Kessel Schwartz describes him: Vedzdo accompanied her in her life of leisure and benefited from her vedaddo charity.
In decorative lapdog role, they would come to her society gatherings, her an arm when she toytisolo the street and obsequiously hold her sunshade. In this way, Uncle jokingly concluded, these pious leeches inherited all her wealth when she died. A much-handled copy of a Prayers to St. At about midday the priest was taking holy Communion to a sick man.
After leaving the church he walked in front of an inn where there were three men seated at a table. Two got up and took their hats off as they saw the most holy sacrament. The third man, rather than imitating them, began to mock them, and, as an example of his courage and wit, he blasphemed horribly against Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary.
Hardly had the wretched man uttered his blasphemy than he fell unconscious to the ground in the presence of his terrified companions.
A doctor was called, so was the parish priest, but all to no avail: That blasphemy was his last word on earth. He shook with horrible convulsions for ten hours; delirious, he cut his tongue with his own teeth and then expired.
While the idea of the family has for years ceased to have any meaning for me, the strangeness of our surname and a purely atavistic reflex action can explain my mania for consulting the telephone directories of the cities I visit in the vague hope of happening upon a remote member of the clan.
However, except for Mexico City and New York, I have never discovered any trace of distant relatives by this means.
My unhappy contribution to his second death fills me today with sadness and embarrassment.
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Little, very little, survives of the work of this rebel thrust by an untimely birth into a society traditionally hard on dissidents and whose harsh therapy in times of crisis would find an unfortunate complicity within the heart of his own family. In spite of that, the few details I have to construct his history and character convert him into one of the few ancestors with whom I feel affinity and a moral closeness beyond the fortuitous, uncertain ties of blood, an affinity stained in his case with remorse and melancholy.
Whether true or not, the idea of that possible transmigration consoles me for my unredeemable action, which it transforms into a rebirth if not a gentle form of afterlife.
How could the second, hidden existence have tolerated the pedestrian, mediocre life of the first? The compromise between the two must have been real, since I can see nothing to indicate that she endured marriage and domestic life as an annoying burden.
She had probably fashioned for herself an inner, spiritual life where she could take refuge through writing and reading. My father and vedadp rest of us were no doubt the pillar of her life: Although I followed to the letter his instructions and searched out, bewildered and confused, anything that might give cause for reproach, I never conceived the idea of establishing a connection between that act and the nebulous notion of sin.
I evoked or invented some theft or fib and received absolution from that man without feeling any emotion. Ar times, with the help of the very few photos of the period, I have to reconstruct our busy day-to-day existence in those first vevado months.
Coto vedado: Agencia Literaria Carmen Balcells
Our status was confusing because of its ambiguous, imprecise character: Viladrau period—with the rather wild freedom we had got used to, a ferocious fondness for reading, a liking for solitary life, self-taught its—separated and would always separate me from the rest of my friends. I already felt the true harshness of life: Except for geography and history, in which I immediately shone to the point of correcting my teachers, at least mentally, my marks were usually average.
At recess, I would retreat to some corner or hidden spot with a novel or an illustrated geography book. Efforts to make me play football always failed miserably. My odd appearance, reserved character, and surliness did not help to integrate me into the class Referring to the excessively long sleeves of a jacket that was already quite old, one of these elegant, refined boys had remarked sarcastically: The childish hobbies of my schoolmates, their social code, which I did not share, brought me back to my personal world: My grandmother used to leave her purse in her room while we were eating, and I would use any pretext to leave the table and casually pinch her money: With the fruit of my thefts, I used to walk up Calle Mayor in Sarria and go to the sweetshop that still belongs, I believe, to the Catalan poet I most admire today, the surrealist J.
This lavish generosity—highlighted by the fact that my own lack of pleasure in sweets kept me, scornfully, on the edge of the subsequent scramble—earned me interest and friends and flattered my feelings of vanity and revenge. Any revelation of my religious agnosticism, Marxist ideas, sexual behavior would have been an unbearable blow to him. It would have been gratuitously cruel to lead the conversation around to any of these topics. Only after he was dead, after the unexpected meeting with him, alive, real, almost flesh and blood, the night I delirious after taking too much majoon, could I judge him more objectively.
One night, when the whole house was in darkness, I had a visitor. Grandfather, wearing his long white nightshirt, came up to the head of my bed and made himself comfortable on the edge. In a voice that was almost a whisper, he said he was going to tell me a story, but began straightaway to tickle me and cover me with kisses. I was surprised by this sudden apparition and above all by its furtive character.
Grandfather would say and, after putting out the bedside lamp by which I sometimes read before falling asleep, and which I had switched on upon hearing his footsteps, he stretched out by my side on the bed and gently slipped his hand down my pajamas until he touched my penis. His touch was upsetting but I was paralyzed by fear and confusion.
I felt Grandfather leaning over my lap, first his fingers and then his lips, the viscous trickle of his saliva. When after several unending minutes he seemed to calm down and sat down again on the edge of the bed, my heart beat rapidly. What was the meaning of all this playing around? Why did he make a kind of groaning sound after fingering me? I had no answers and while the unwelcome visitor tiptoed back to the adjacent room where Grandmother was sleeping, I lay there for a while sunk in a state of anxious confusion.
The incident with grandfather and the reaction it aroused in the family certainly had a traumatic effect upon me. His compulsive pederasty, shamefully hidden for decades, had been lived out as a secret tragedy: The memory of this self-contempt resulting from the scorn of others, of the shame that was accepted and transmuted into inner guilt, weighed very heavily in my decision to affirm my destiny whatever the cost, and to set everything out clearly for myself and others.
When Monique published her first novel, entitled Les poissons-chats—a work that describes the love of the heroine for a homosexual—Grandfather Ricardo read it, two or three years before he died, and was terribly shocked.
Luis told me how he had explained in tears that the passions explored in the book were a hateful sin, that he had suffered from them throughout his life, and that whenever he yielded to them he had most deeply offended God. With wise timing, death saved my father from this final cruel blow: This vice—the discovery and use of which would no doubt have modified the novelistic art of such conscientious authors with an eye for detail as Balzac and Galdos—allowed me to get on with the ins-and-outs of the exploration of the Amazon, which I was describing, without worrying about useless character sketches or tedious particulars.
No commentaries or digressions—straight to the point! With a similar facility and enthusiasm, I wrote a sentimental novel about Joan of Arc and introduced some anachronisms into it.
I am unsure if they were unconscious or not but they would now no doubt be greeted by the most prominent critics as examples of a daring, outspoken desire to innovate: I think there was one about the French Resistance to the Nazis, another with new scenes in the life of Kit Carson, in an episode of my own making.
The films shown in the two Sarria cinemas that I visited regularly with Luis were a source of second-rate ideas, characters, and settings for the proliferation of plots. Fortunately any notion of originality and plagiarism was not yet part of my personal literary baggage.
Not one of my teachers or masters played a role in the development of the literary tastes I have just mentioned.
My reading evolved exclusively within the family, without the slightest connection with what they taught or tried to teach us at school. The idea of giving us texts of the classics to read rather than stuffing our heads with dates of births and deaths and the titles of their many works had not yet even penetrated the brains of the ignorant, small-minded priests in charge of our literature classes.
Considering the educational system we suffered, it is not surprising that my love and interest in literature derived from other sources: Self-taught like almost all the men and women of my generation, my culture, which was tentatively shaped, would for a long time retain the mark of the prejudices, gaps, and insufficiencies of barren, sunbaked Spain choked by the censorship and rigors of oppressive regime.
It is very significant that the books I would soon upon would be almost without exception by foreign authors. I read novels that I devoured between eighteen and twenty-five either in French or in the second-rate translations that were smuggled in from Buenos Aires. This potential for enjoyment sited in my body overwhelmed at once, with raw strength, the religious or moral speeches that stigmatized it. In bed, in the bath, at Torrentb6, I regularly surrendered to respect for a material law that, for the space of a few seconds, confirmed me in my isolated, private existence, my irreducible separation from the rest of the world.
However, I do not mean that traditional Catholic doctrine on sex, which was drummed into us in classrooms, confessionals, pulpits, religious manuals, made no impression on me. The idea of sin—of mortal sin with its hair-raising consequences—tortured me for several years. Dozens of times, kneeling opposite one of the local parish or church priests, I confessed my guilt and tried to reform myself. I knew full well that hours or days later that vital source of energy bursting out of me would impose its law and would imperiously destroy the fragile framework of precepts that condemned it in vain.
Aware of this I escaped the reproaches of the same confessor or spiritual director by regularly changing my church and confessional in a kind of hide-and-seek, the absurdity of which was only too obvious.