By Vicent Andrés Estellés
This option of the verse of Valencian poet Vicent Andres Estelles (1924-1993) is followed by means of a translation into English from the unique Catalan. The structure of an leading edge discussion with classical authors — a cornerstone of Estellesian expression — constitutes an creative invocation and parodic statement at the output and ethos of the Latin poets Horace, Ovid, Virgil and Catullus, the medieval patriarch of Valencian letters Ausiàs March and the Renaissance Castilian poet, Garcilaso de l. a. Vega. For Estellés, Octavian Rome presents a parallel to the Franco dictatorship and the old framework surrounding those writers provides the neophyte a chance for ideological denunciation, artistic wit and lyrical grace in addition to righteous anger on the oppressive pettiness of existence below autocracy. The translators have tried to convey to an Anglophone readership the wealth of accomplishment of this author who, regardless of the severity of fascist repression, sang and celebrated the event of his personal neighborhood via its personal oppressed language.
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Additional info for After the Classics: A translation into English of the selected verse of Vicent Andrés Estellés
Nice 1536), returns us once again to the more ethical, corrective response to poetic creation. This major figure of the early Castilian Renaissance – and great immitator and admirer of March – was to acquire a more insidious significance in the post-war period. In the immediate aftermath of the conflict Garcilasismo became the official medium for a generation of Francoist poets. Amidst famine, shortages, penury, corruption and the back market – not to mention the persecution, imprisonment and murder of countless thousands of Republicans and Catalan nationalists – the idyll of Garcilaso’s bucolic retreat, set appropriately in the ‘sacred’ heartland of Castile, became locus for the promotion of arcane and virile military values in a mythical setting far removed from the sordid reality of everyday life.
M’oblidava de tot llavors, se’m feia de nit. ja no oïa la veu del meu pare. lladrava algun gos en alguna alqueria. Horacianes: after Horace xv if i may, i will recall the days of my childhood. i’d steal fruit from the trees. i’d eat them in the corn shed, cool as a cellar in those days. and, far away, through the streets of my village, i could hear the voice of my father, selling fish and calling out to the neighbours. it was very pleasant staying there. a lazy sadness would come over me. sometimes you’d come by and i’d grab hold of your breasts, which i liked best, we’d climb on top of each other and roll over in the furrow.
And the Valencian fits into the configuration immaculately. In his poetic universe, authors from classical times and the Renaissance ‘assert their immortality most vigorously’ in an affectionate yet critical evocation of their lives and art. Horace, Ovid and to a lesser extent Catullus and Virgil are conjured up with an innovative intimacy which reveals the ‘historic sense’ which Eliot considered to be the sine qua non of the vitality of the poetic tradition. This awareness, which involves a ‘perception not only of the pastness of the past but its presence’, could not be applied more appropriately to a creative modus operandi which fuses the actuality of contemporary experience in Spain with life under the empire of Augustus (63BC–14AD).
After the Classics: A translation into English of the selected verse of Vicent Andrés Estellés by Vicent Andrés Estellés