Journey Back to the Source: Alejo Carpentier: Viaje a la semilla (; Journey Back to the Source), for instance, set in 19th-century Cuba, is told in reverse. The Cuban novelist who invented the phrase “lo real maravilloso americano,” Alejo Carpentier considered “Journey Back to the Source” (“Viaje a la semilla”) to . Journey Back to the Source Analysis and Quiz According to Carpentier, language is an artificial, alienating construct, almost like structured.
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Journey Back to the Source Viaje al semilla was written inbut first published in in Havana, Cuba as part of the collection entitled The War of Time — Guerra del tiempo This was a group of carpebtier all told in radically different styles, first published in English by Victor Gollancz in and translated from the original Spanish by the Bloomsbury Group diarist Frances Partridge. The principal conceit of this tale is that it is a narrative in which time goes backwards. The main story starts with the death of Don Marcial and finishes with his birth.
With one or two minor exceptions, Carpentier delivers this chronological illusion very successfully. In the penultimate section of the story this reversal of time accelerates very rapidly. But in fact the composition of the story is a little more complex than this conceit would suggest.
The story is an amusing meditation on time and causality — but it is situated within a rational framework of normal temporality. This story is a good example of the literary carentier. For a more extended example of its kind, see his novel, The Kingdom of this World El reino de este mundo. An old Negro sits in a garden where he watches an ancient house in the process of being demolished.
In a reversal of time, the house is re-assembled, and the man enters the house where Don Marcial, its owner, is lying on his death bed. Don Marcial gradually recovers and retracts the dying confession he has made to his priest. His mistress gets out of bed, gets journdy, and leaves the house. He is oppressed by the legal documentation involved in the sale of his house. He has taken a mistress following a period of mourning after the death of his wife.
Relatives and friends gather to mark her passing. The house and its contents grow hack. Don Marcial and the Marquesa get to know each other in the early days of their marriage.
They move back into the city from their country estate and get married. Friends take their presents back home and Don Marcial lives in his house alone as a bachelor. He feels under the weather after celebrating his minority with friends.
They get dressed up in old clothes from the attic and hold a musical party where he flirts with a young girl. Earlier, along with his male friends, he has visited a dance hall. Don Marcial only does moderately well in his college examinations, and then learns less and less at school.
When he leaves the nack he enters a period of spiritual doubt and emotional crisis.
The furniture in his house grows taller. He begins to play with toy soldiers, and takes to sitting on the floor and hiding under the clavichord. He is given extra pastries one day, then sees servants carrying a coffin into the house.
Journey Back to the Source
He visits his father who is ill in bed. The infant Don Marciale has a close relationship with the household servant Melchor, with whom he shares secrets. When Melchor is not there, his closest friends are the household dogs, with whom he shares his life. He begins using baby-talk. He forgets his own name, and before his christening exists in a world of touch alone.
Then the natural world around him turns back to its roots and origins, leaving a blank where his house once stood. The next day the demolition crew return to find the house has gone, and time progressing in its normal manner.
It’s Magical Realism: Journey Back to the Source
Carpentier at Wikipedia Background, biography, magical realism, major works, literary style, further reading. Carpentier in Depth Spanish video documentary and interview with Carpentier Your email address will not be published.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. Journey Back to the Source — critical commentary The principal conceit of this tale is that it is a narrative in which time goes backwards.
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