The poet I am trying to translate is actually neobaroque and that is why I am having difficulty — I am trying to make him modernist. But my modernism is neobaroque, anyway, so things work out in their way. I was against the project and would not have undertaken it using my better judgment but what I am creating turns out to be beautiful. I am not sure where it may be published.
Meanwhile, I found some note fragments from a class I once gave. I don’t know what to do with them so I will put them here.
Raymond Williams, THE COUNTRY AND THE CITY. A classic from 1973.
Raymond Williams was a pioneer in the field of cultural studies, which analyzes the symbolic dimensions of ordinary life (and not just of high culture).
CHAPTER ONE: THE COUNTRY AND THE CITY
Country” means countryside but also nation and land; “city” means the capital, the large town, a distinctive form of civilization
Leslie adds: note Angel Rama, LA CIUDAD LETRADA, on the city as lettered (educated) place of political power (the city also speaks a different language, a European one as opposed to a native one) The contrast between city as intellectual place, but also place of noise and dirt, and the country as backward, but also nurturing, energizing, and peaceful, reaches back to classical times, despite the fact that the actual forms city and country have taken, are most varied
England is one of the very first urbanized countries, but it imagines itself (in its literature) as rural
Leslie adds: note Williams’ descriptions of his father’s and grandfather’s lives … this is in the nineteenth and early twentieth century, after Sarmiento writes but not so terribly long after
The country and the city, and the contrast between them, is part of a single paradigm; country and city are imbricated with each other, in multifaceted relationships
From the 16th century forward English literature imagines in the country a sort of Golden Age
But actual relationships between the country and the city have to do with such things as rent and power
CHAPTER TWO: A PROBLEM OF PERSPECTIVE
On historical change in relationships country/city: even 400 years ago people idealized non commercial pasts, rural delight … imagined a pastoral world
What is said about the country, and the country/city relationship, reflects or refracts, develops along with, interpretations of current social, economic, political, and historical developments
GENERAL TERMS THAT COME UP IN THIS BOOK – TO THINK ABOUT IN RELATION TO OUR NOVELS (IF NOT TO SARMIENTO)
“knowable communities” ([realist] novels try to make communities knowable; what do they exclude, though, or fail to capture?)
“structure of feeling” (meanings and values as actively lived and felt): novels (and other texts) do not grasp a Zeitgeist or essence, according to Williams, but a historically produced and bound “structure of feeling”
RELATIONSHIP TO SARMIENTO
Talking about and representing the country is important to people writing about the situation of the nation because of this question: who gets to decide what one’s relationship to the land should be? (This matters because it has to do with how one should think about oneself / one’s community, what one’s place is in it, what one’s life is like.)