I’ll be reading Mario Vargas Llosa’s preface to the Real Academia Española’s 400th’s anniversary edition of Don Quijote.
The reasons I’ll be reading a text in Spanish? Dr. Vargas Llosa’s preface is titled “A Novel for the 21st Century”, and he proclaims it “a free men’s novel” (my hurried translation):
“la libertad es la soberania de un individuo para decidir su vida in presiones ni condicionamientos, en exclusiva funcion de su inteligencia y voluntad. …
Lo que anida en el conrazon de esa idea de la libertad es una desconfianza profunda de la autoridad, de los desafueros que puede cometer el poder, todo poder.”
Liberty is each individual’s sovereignty to decide his/her own life without pressures or compromises, in the exclusice function of his/her intelligence and will . . .
What lies at the core of this idea of freedom is a profound distrust of outhority, of the excesses that power, all power, can inflict.”
Because of these words, Hugo Chávez has censored the 400th anniversary edition of Don Quijote, and removed Vargas Llosa’s prologue, replacing it with Saramago’s — and then proceeded to heavily abridge the original novel’s text. Hugo and his mentor Fidel Castro are (supposedly) distributing the Chávez edition through Venezuela, Cuba, and the Caribbean. I’m trying to obtain a copy of the censored edition and will post on it once I read it.
I am thankful to live in this country, where people like me are free to express themselves. Sadly, our country is one among very few.
As Vargas Llosa himself wrote, “A Novel for the 21st Century”.
Update My filibustering session went well. Everybody was polite and helpful, and I enjoyed my reading to the sparse passer-by. On the way out, someone asked about my choice of reading, and were surprised to hear about the Vargas Llosa/Saramago switch. I invited them to visit this blog.
I stopped by Wild Oats and got a cup of hot soup to warm up, since it was 50oF and breezy. My hands were icy cold.