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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Quiero laurearme, pero me encebollo

Here is a line from a sonnet by Vallejo. Laurel branches are the crown of the poet, hence "poet laureate." He wants to crown himself with this traditional award, but instead he "onions himself." He creates a reflexive verb out of the word "cebolla" following morphological rules of Spanish word formation. There is the rhetorical figure of antithesis, obviously, the verbal wit that comes with the creation of neologisms. It is worthy of Quevedo.

7 comments:

profacero said...

I am not going to look for it right now but there is an old article on this poem by Juan Jacobo Bajarlia which shows that you can divide the syllables differently (changing spelling slightly) and you get a second poem.

me atollo becomes me ato yo, etc.
me sale espuma becomes me sales puma
no sea suma becomes no se asuma

Do not know what to make of it, do not know whether Vallejo knew that poem was there, do not know but it is one more level of word play.

profacero said...

P.S. I don't think encebollar was a neologism. Check RAE but in Lat. Am. food is served encebollado all the time.

profacero said...

P.P.S. Bajarlia's transformation of it is to me ensebo yo.

Vance Maverick said...

Of course one can cook with bay leaf as well as with onion. And does "laurearse" mean to take a degree (as it does in Italian)?

Jonathan said...

Not really neologism, but word used outside of its normal sphere of reference for witty purposes.

profacero said...

Vance, yes, and bay leaf, yes very interesting.

profacero said...

p.s. we were talking about Vallejo and Quevedo for language but what if some Vallejo's themes which are always considered biographical themes are Quevedian topics? Death, dust, cuerpo indignado, cólera, cárcel, and so on.

I am looking at a 2003 book on Quevedo which suggests this and also reminds us that NERUDA (bleahhhh) adored Quevedo too. Siempre en el sepulcro ardiendo I guess but honestly: it would be downright hilarious if it turned out that some of this mysterious suffering was actually an intertextual discussion.