Saturday, January 10, 2015

An insightful obituary for Garcia Márquez

I recently ran across this really great obituary for García Márquez.  The author argues that, because he was from the "uncivilized" provinces and not Bogotá, part of the genius of García Márquez was to remind Bogotá that in fact Colombia was much more than just the sophisticated, conservative, Baroque highlands.  In tying Bogotá and the intellectual elite to the rest of the country, he also tied Colombia as a whole to the rest of the world.  No longer a mountain redoubt, an Andean Bhutan, a place by turns arrogant and unsure in its assertions of cultural superiority, Colombia was exposed to the rest of the world, and the world was exposed to Colombia.  As I wrote in a recent blog post, the developed world read in García Márquez profound depictions of humanity, from a land it would have otherwise dismissed as a savage jungle, and the developing world reaffirmed through García Márquez what it had already known, that it was indeed at times a savage jungle, but also a place of thought and tenderness and noble instincts and love and laughter, all those things that had heretofore been ascribed only to the more civilized climes of Europe and the US, and their attendant literature.  First the rest of Latin America, and soon all the Wretched of the Earth, found a voice in García Márquez.

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