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Monday, April 1, 2013

Christological

I resist Christological interpretations of Lorca. Basically, his juvenilia evinces a heavy Jesus obsession, and people using that see that as a key to all his subsequent work. My point is that the mature work doesn't have such a heavy obsession, any longer, so this is a typically adolescent preoccupation that one could expect to diminish with maturity. Instead, these critics view it as going underground and still holding the concealed hermeneutic key to his entire work. Meaning is concealed; works don't mean what they seem to mean, but must be interpreted according to a biographical code instead. (Contrast with Smith, who makes the startling assertion that Lorca's theatrical language is "transparent," containing no hidden meanings. I don't agree with that either, for other reasons. The notion of transparency is problematic here.)

Consider a writer who doesn't think that his juvenilia will ever see the light of day. He will not encode hidden meanings that will only be apparent to those who have studied the juvenilia. If literary reading worked that way then we would understand very little of what we read, because we would have to know vastly more about each author's life and childhood than we know about almost anyone's, even people we know very well. I think we have to read Yerma as a play about a woman who wants to have a child, because that is what the play is about.

It is true that a certain obsession with martyrdom continues in Lorca's mature work...

4 comments:

profacero said...

I suspect a lot of that martyrdom stuff is about sex. If you look closely at all the saints in RG, for instance, there is a lot of sexual anxiety and gayness. I think these things b/c of constantly living in Catholic land, with Catholic boyfriends who I will certify are really crazy on these matters when white, etc., and also because of C.V. -- there is this, http://www.poesi.as/cv1803002.htm, which is about who knows what, but I don't think it is philosophical or poetic, I think it really is autobiographical and that it is about gender-freakiness and Catholic maimed-ness. (You can see I become more anti-Catholic by the day.)

Jonathan said...

You were finishing my thought, where I had left three periods... It is totally sexualized. Then Lorca gets to be the sexual martyr too. This interpretation is necessary, in some sense, but I feel it hasn't been done exactly right yet.

profacero said...

It is hard to figure out, definitely, especially because it isn't just FGL who does this.

Andrew Shields said...

The interest in juvenilia is similar in structure to the anxiety-oriented reading of popular culture: the juvenilia is assumed to be a symptom of an author's concerns and anxieties.

The interest in earlier drafts of texts might also be related: perhaps those early drafts will tell us what the author "really meant." But of course, they might actually be precisely the opposite, which is why they are only drafts, not final versions.