Frederico Garcia Lorca

Theory and Play Of The Duende

Translated by A. S. Kline 2007 All Rights Reserved. This work may be freely reproduced, stored, and transmitted, electronically or otherwise, for any non-commercial purpose.

vendredi 25 août 2017, publié par Michel Balat


Ladies and Gentlemen,

Between 1918 when I entered the Residencia de Estudiantes in Madrid, and 1928 when I left, having completed my study of Philosophy and Letters, I listened to around a thousand lectures, in that elegant salon where the old Spanish aristocracy went to do penance for its frivolity on French beaches.

Longing for air and sunlight, I was so bored I used to feel as though I was covered in fine ash, on the point of changing into peppery sneezes.

So, no, I don’t want that terrible blowfly of boredom to enter this room, threading all your heads together on the slender necklace of sleep, and setting a tiny cluster of sharp needles in your, my listeners’, eyes.

In a simple way, in the register that, in my poetic voice, holds neither the gleams of wood, nor the angles of hemlock, nor those sheep that suddenly become knives of irony, I want to see if I can give you a simple lesson on the buried spirit of saddened Spain.

Whoever travels the bull’s hide that stretches between the Júcar, Guadalfeo, Sil and Pisuerga rivers (not to mention the tributaries that meet those waves, the colour of a lion’s mane, that stir the Plata) frequently hears people say : ‘This has much duende’. Manuel Torre, great artist of the Andalusian people, said to someone who sang for him : ‘You have a voice, you understand style, but you’ll never ever succeed because you have no duende.’

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