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Explosion in a Cathedral by Alejo Carpentier is a book that comes alive on several simultaneous levels Ostensibly, it s a novel about eighteenth century adventurers Carlos, Sofia and Estaban emerge from the kind of familial challenges that beset most lives at some stage in any lifetime lived in that age They are from Havana, a Spanish colony offering necessary and essential loyalty to a King, a King removed from local reality in both space and experience But there is revolution in the air France is blazing a trail towards a new, modern era, where birthright and privilege can be challenged, and the rational, alongside the just can be championed.Our youngsters, orphaned and making their own way in life, come across a Frenchman called Victor Hughes He travels around the Caribbean doing business, trading, dealing He becomes a fundamental actor in the export of France s new revolutionary values and Carlos, Sofia and Esteban witness much of what he attempts In some places this is nothing less than the abolition of slavery, the emancipation of slaves and a recognition of their status as real human beings Such is the metal of revolution.And so, through the eyes of these young, idealistic travellers, we witness the introduction of Madame Guillotine to the colonies, her role presumably to impose the obvious rationality of the process The travellers live through an albeit temporary experiment in emancipation for those previously regarded as sub human They encounter discussions on democracy, rights, human worth, justice and science Thus Alejo Carpentier s novel blends politics, history, philosophy and morality to examine how just some of the people of this era dealt with the challenges that the global change emanating from France was posing.On another level, Explosion in a Cathedral, or A Century of Lights in its literal translation from the original Spanish title, is a novel about existence, itself We are placed in an era when things now taken for granted, such as reaching maturity, marriage, childbirth or even influenza presented major hurdles, challenges to be negotiated and overcome Nothing could be taken for granted, least of all, perhaps, any assumption of finding an adequate and regular supply of daily bread And whatever life threw up, it was grasped, consumed, experienced, for there was no time to wait around, no presumption of second chance.But perhaps the greatest achievement of this masterpiece is the magical realism of the descriptive writing Even in translation, the experience is beyond vivid, the reality truly surreal in both its imagination and its immediacy It is simultaneously completely real and yet also pure fiction, thus blending experience with imagination in a thoroughly memorable way As the characters sail the Caribbean with their revolutionary message, the reader can feel the wind and spray, suffer the heat, share the coolness of the sea, taste the fish The prose is exquisitely evocative, even in translation, and thus Alejo Carpentier s descriptive writing alone provides adequate reason for reading the book It s like being alive in a painting that moves around you as you look at it.Ultimately, the book addresses how ideals can be compromised by necessity, how enthusiasm, like the human beings that are driven by it, can mellow with age, can run out of the will to pursue a dream It examines how assertion can easily become capitulation, how idealism can be exploited by the pragmatic.Often time dulls what writers achieve But in the case of Carpentier s Explosion in a Cathedral, the book s significance has perhaps even grown over the decades since its publication It is worth noting that this text itself grew out of Cuba s own revolutionary era, Cuba s own attempt to remake a social order And, in the light of subsequent events, of which Alejo Carpentier may have only speculated, the book seems to offer both prescience and comment It remains a truly gigantic achievement. Aun sigo borracho del lenguaje de este libro Seguramente la impresi n me durar varios meses No entiendo como pude vivir si leer a Carpentier Su prosa es totalmente divagatoria pero articulada, totalmente abierta pero cerrada aun t rmino, a una frase, a una expresi n y te hace sentir que corre la trama lentamente mientras en tu cabeza circula la lava de su prosa.No queda mas que recomendar a cualquier persona que quiera saber la verdadera vida en El Siglo de las Luces que lea aqu lo que no fue de ninguna manera una poca de concordia y entendimiento Las pasiones saltaban de la cama a la calle de manera natural.Excelente manera de conocer a uno de los mas importantes autores del Siglo pasado. .. The Kingdom of this World was a charred little fable of revolutionary violence vengeful voodoo, conspiratorial caves, signal drums in the night a revolt of slaves, senseless and merciless and I sought out Explosion in a Cathedral hoping for something in that line The novel s scope is broader, embracing, as Carpentier writes in his afterward, the whole area of the Caribbean in a time of revolution, abolition, piracy and war Explosion in a Cathedral the original Spanish title is pointedly ironic El Siglo de Las Luces The Age of Enlightenment definitely has its longueurs, but there are plenty of terrifyingly effective episodes, festive orgies of iconoclasticism, abortions of ideals.And since the whole island must learn its lesson, the guillotine was removed from the Place de la Victoire, and began to travel, to go on journeys and excursions.The scenes of re enslavement, of expeditions to recapture runaways in their jungle strongholds, of reversion to the regional order despite the proclamations of the distant Republic, are especially fucked up Of the novel s the fourteen epigraphs, thirteen are titles of etchings from Goya s The Disasters of War, and one is a long extract from the book of Job So that s the kind of book this is And it s right up my alley little dialogue casual violence descriptive catalogues of frightful plants and beasts mordant political reflections The New World is seen not as a new start for humanity but the theater of Europe s racist cruelty, its outsourced exploitation its sweat shop, abattoir, lions den, Rape Room the anus mundi, as a Nazi doctor called occupied Poland, where kidnapped peoples are exterminated or worked to death for small profit The translation is occasionally entrancing, and suggests that behind it lies an interesting Latinate style, a morbid, tropically warped classicism, an incipient baroque, elegant and oppressive There were silent houses, hidden in the woods, where columns from some Greek temple rose up to meet pediments obliterated by ivy Halfway through I posted a status update recommending this to people who enjoyed the pace and texture of The Radetzky March, and I stand by that Carpentier s characters are not intricately conflicted this is no Woolfian kaleidoscope of memory and desire and they are defined by their relation to the French Revolution, as Roth s three generations of von Trottas are defined by relation to the different stages of Austro Hungarian decay Especially read this if you re interested in the revolutionary type of hard man, the rationalist who revels in the supposed necessity of his murders The heyday of Robespierre and Saint Just was short, but the orator of caustic blasphemy survived as a French style More than a few times while reading I thought of this glimpse of Baudelaire in the Goncourt Journals Baudelaire had supper at the table next to ours He was without a cravat, his shirt open at the neck and his head shaved, just as if he were to be guillotined A single affectation his little hands washed and cared for, the nails kept scrupulously clean The face of a maniac, a voice that cuts like a knife, and a precise elocution that tries to copy Saint Just and succeeds.Stray thought The Wikipedia entry on Carpentier says that soon after reading Explosion in a Cathedral 1962 , Garcia Marquez destroyed the first draft of One Hundred Years of Solitude and started anew That entry also notes that Carpentier s magic realism a phrase Carpentier coined is not fantastic, and his characters do not defy physical laws the history and politics of the Caribbean are sufficiently surreal I wonder if Garcia Marquez realized Carpentier had already made the history strange, and the only place to go was pure fantasy. 4 1762 1826 1790 1794 1798 , Quasi war, 1798 1800 1799 1809 , 1808 ,. Tiene una prosa muy rica, demasiado rica, es un libro para leer con un diccionario al lado para buscar todas las palabras que no hayas o do en tu vida Con tanta riqueza de vocabulario, palabras tan rebuscadas y tanta y tanta descripci n y explicaci n se me ha hecho a trozos un poco cuesta arriba, vamos que me he quedado un poco saturada empachada de vocabulario Pero por el contrario hay cap tulos que son una verdadera maravilla y no se puede negar que est muy bien escrito Me ha dejado agotada. La gran novela latinoamericana sobre las ilusiones y los desencantos que provocan los sue os revolucionarios. Armoiries de Cuba Armoiries de Ha ti symboles r volutionnaires fran aisAlejo Carpentier 1904 1980 est un auteur cubain n en Suisse, d ascendance fran aise Dans ce roman crit dans les ann es 50 et paru en 1962, il voque la p riode r volutionnaire dans le th tre des Cara bes par le truchement d un personnage historique dont j ignorais l existence, Victor Hugues 1762 1826 , un planteur de Saint Domingue d origine marseillaise.Au milieu du XVIIIe si cle, la France avait perdu quasiment la totalit de son premier empire colonial, en Inde et en Am rique, au profit de sa rivale s culaire, l Angleterre, tandis que l Espagne r cup rait Cuba en change de la Floride Elle n avait gard que quelques les sucre aux Cara bes dont elle tirait des profits plus juteux que les quelques arpents de neige canadiens, ou les vastes plaines d sertiques am ricaines habit es par des sauvages.La revanche a t prise peu de temps apr s, avec le soutien apport aux insurgents am ricains contre leur m tropole Non seulement Louis XVI arrachait sa rivale l un de ses principaux tablissements ultramarins, mais elle gagnait un alli pour l avenir Seulement cette nouvelle guerre survenue trop rapidement apr s la pr c dente finit par creuser les d ficits de telle mani re que m me les manipulations banqui res du ministre suisse Necker ne purent masquer plus longtemps la n cessit de proc der des r formes Apr s le refus des puissants de mettre la main au portefeuille, le roi convoque les tats G n raux, dont une partie deviendra l Assembl e Nationale Pour la bourgeoisie, cart e par la noblesse de toutes les places et de tous les honneurs malgr son industrie et son intelligence, l heure de prendre en main son destin a sonn C est dans ce contexte que Victor Hugues est au Cara bes, entour de trois espagnols de Cuba fascin s par son nergie, son enthousiasme pour les id es nouvelles et sa d termination.C est donc l occasion d voquer toutes les p rip ties de cette p riode riche en v nements abolition puis r tablissement de l esclavage, arriv e de la r publique, terreur rouge puis blanche, r volte de Toussaint Louverture en Ha ti, reprise de la Guadeloupe aux anglais, bagne de Cayenne, quasi guerre avec les tats Unis avec la course Il ressort de tout ceci un tableau ambivalent de cette p riode, et Victor Hugues appara t de plus en plus comme un personnage quivoque aux yeux de ses compagnons interloqu s, mesure qu il choisit de r gler sa conduite suivant les circonstances, ses int r ts ou les id aux qu il professe.Chaque chapitre comporte en incipit le nom d un tableau de Goya Le style est foisonnant, on a une v ritable avalanche de citations d auteurs, de faits historiques, d allusions, de m taphores Mes sentiments sont partag s d un c t , j tais tr s friand de d couvrir d un point de vue carib en la p riode r volutionnaire, j ai saisi la plus grande partie des r f rences, mais je reste g n par le fait que ce livre ne se positionne pas assez clairement entre le roman et l histoire Au lieu d appr cier un r cit dont l histoire n est qu une toile de fond, on se perd dans une foule de d tails on nous met des p rip ties sous les yeux, mais on n en saisit pas toujours bien les articulations profondes n cessaires l intelligence de l ensemble C est dommage Par contre, a me donne envie de trouver les v ritables sources historiques. Libert , galit , fraternitNo The true symbol of revolution was guillotine.Those who didn t need to be liberated from everything were beheaded Those who didn t want to be equal with everybody around were decapitated Those who didn t wish to become anyone s brother were guillotined The guillotine had begun to form part of normal everyday life Amongst the parsley and the marjoram, miniature guillotines were sold as ornaments, and many people took them home Children exerted their ingenuity to construct little machines for decapitating cats And when there are no enemies of revolution left the revolutionaries start decapitating each other until the revolution chokes in blood.Revolution is like an ouroboros it continues to devour itself until there is nothing left except gory terror.Revolutions don t lead to Promised Lands There is only one Promised Land, that which man can find within himself. ^FREE PDF ⇹ El siglo de las luces ⇦ El Siglo De Las Luces Novela El Impacto De La Revoluci N Francesa En Las Antillas Los Sue Os De Libertad, Y Con Ella, La Sombra De La Guillotina, En El Juego De Tensiones Que Configuran La Grandeza Y La Servidumbre Del Alba De Una Poca Nueva Es, En Esencia, La Peripecia Vital De Un Personaje Real, V Ctor Hugues, Un Comerciante Antillano Que Navega Por Un Mundo Sometido A Cambios Radicales Luchando Por Implantar En Las Islas Las Ideas Revolucionarias Del Gobierno Al Que Representa Triunfo Del Esplendor Verbal Y El Sabio Arte Constructor De Alejo Carpentier, El Siglo De Las Luces Incluye En La Presente Edici N Textos Que Fueron Censurados En Su D A, Ofreciendo As La Versi N Ntegra De Una De Las Grandes Novelas En Lengua Espa Ola De Nuestro Siglo