John Leonard y Fernando Báez

John Leonard es recordado como una de las grandes figuras de Estados Unidos, crítico polémico y autor del New York Times y otras grandes publicaciones. La última reseña de este notable ensayista en la prestigiosa Harper´s Magazine estuvo dedicada al best seller Historia universal de la destrucción de los libros de Fernando Báez, que ya tiene en 2010 una nueva edición Paperback en la editorial Atlas Books de New York. Aquí coloco parte de la nota como un homenaje al gran John Leonard:

New Books, September 2008
By John Leonard

Fire, water, gas, heat, dust, negligence, ignorance, malice, collectors, book sellers, book worms, insects, children, and servants”—these, according to William Blades in Enemies of Books (1880), are the agents most responsible for the deterioration, disappearance, and/or destruction of individual volumes and of entire libraries. He was addressing, of course, such realms of contingency and inadvertence as bad luck, lousy weather, human error, and stuff happens. So he omitted to mention soldiers, pols, priests, mullahs, reactionaries, revolutionaries, enraged mobs, grand inquisitors, holy crusaders, and ethnic cleansers. Fernando Báez, the Venezuelan writer who has previously published vivid accounts of The History of the Ancient Library of Alexandria and The Cultural Destruction of Iraq, is much more ferocious in a universal history of the destruction of books (Atlas, $25). He is in angry mourning for the millions of books gone forever since the clay tablets of Sumer, the bamboo strips of Confucian China, the stones, skins, bronze plates, whittled bones, papyri, and codices, lacquered with memory, etched with thought, consumed by flames: from the Avesta in Persepolis, the forbidden knowledge of The Book of Thoth, Aristotle’s treatise on comedy, and nine volumes of poems by Sappho, to the Gnostic Gospels rotting in a desert cave, the Natural History of the Indies lost in the ashes of El Escorial, Richard Burton’s translation from the erotic Arabic of The Scented Garden, and all those Torahs and Korans burned and drowned. Báez quotes Jorge Luis Borges, the blind librarian:

After the garden was leveled, the chalices and altars profaned, the Huns rode their horses into the monastery library and destroyed the incomprehensible books and vituperated them and burned them, perhaps fearing that the letters concealed blasphemies against their god, who was an iron scimitar.



Un enlace a la vida de John Leonard (February 25, 1939 – November 5, 2008), recordando su carrera como el más importante de los críticos literarios de Estados Unidos:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Leonard_(critic)

Enlace de la reseña sobre Báez en Harper:
http://www.harpers.org/archive/2008/11/hbc-90003822

Enlace de la edición 2010 de A universal history of the destruction of books:
http://atlasandco.com/new-releases/a_universal_history_of_the_destruction_of_books/

Comments

Anonymous said…
Pinche Cabron
Muy bueno, cada día se lee
más a Báez entre los gringos!

Roberto
Guadalajara

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