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Contributors
 

Evgeny Baratynsky
Pierre Chappuis
Pedro Xavier Solís Cuadra
Osama Esber
Peter France
Haidar Haidar
Siobhan Harvey
Allen Hibbard
Neil Langdon Inglis
Suzanne Jill Levine
Kona Macphee
Antonio Diaz Oliva
Daniel Shapiro
John Taylor
Alan Wall

Issue 20 Guest Artist:
Olga Sinclair

President: Peter Robertson
Vice-President: Sari Nusseibeh
Vice-President: Elena Poniatowska
Senior Editor-at-Large: Neil Langdon Inglis
Deputy Editor: Allen Hibbard
Deputy Editor: Geraldine Maxwell
Advisory Consultant: Jill Dawson
General Editor: Beatriz Hausner
Art Editor: Calum Colvin
Deputy General Editor: Jeff Barry
Deputy General Editor: Jerónimo Mohar

Consulting Editors
Marjorie Agosín
Daniel Albright
Meena Alexander
Maria Teresa Andruetto
Frank Ankersmit
Rosemary Ashton
Reza Aslan
Leonard Barkan
Michael Barry
Shadi Bartsch
Thomas Bartscherer
Susan Bassnett
Gillian Beer
David Bellos
Richard Berengarten
Charles Bernstein
Sujata Bhatt
Mario Biagioli
Jean Boase-Beier
Elleke Boehmer
Eavan Boland
Stephen Booth
Alain de Botton
Carmen Boullossa
Rachel Bowlby
Svetlana Boym
Peter Brooks
Marina Brownlee
Roberto Brodsky
Carmen Bugan
Jenni Calder
Stanley Cavell
Sampurna Chattarji
Sarah Churchwell
Hollis Clayson
Sally Cline
Marcelo Cohen
Kristina Cordero
Drucilla Cornell
Junot Díaz
André Dombrowski
Denis Donoghue
Ariel Dorfman
Rita Dove
Denise Duhamel
Klaus Ebner
Robert Elsie
Stefano Evangelista
Orlando Figes
Tibor Fischer
Shelley Fisher Fishkin
Peter France
Nancy Fraser
Maureen Freely
Michael Fried
Marjorie Garber
Anne Garréta
Marilyn Gaull
Zulfikar Ghose
Paul Giles
Lydia Goehr
Vasco Graça Moura
A. C. Grayling
Stephen Greenblatt
Lavinia Greenlaw
Lawrence Grossberg
Edith Grossman
Elizabeth Grosz
Boris Groys
David Harsent
Benjamin Harshav
Geoffrey Hartman
François Hartog
Siobhan Harvey
Molly Haskell
Selina Hastings
Valerie Henitiuk
Kathryn Hughes
Aamer Hussein
Djelal Kadir
Kapka Kassabova
John Kelly
Martin Kern
Mimi Khalvati
Joseph Koerner
Annette Kolodny
Julia Kristeva
George Landow
Chang-Rae Lee
Mabel Lee
Linda Leith
Suzanne Jill Levine
Lydia Liu
Margot Livesey
Julia Lovell
Laurie Maguire
Willy Maley
Alberto Manguel
Ben Marcus
Paul Mariani
Marina Mayoral
Richard McCabe
Campbell McGrath
Jamie McKendrick
Edie Meidav
Jack Miles
Toril Moi
Susana Moore
Laura Mulvey
Azar Nafisi
Paschalis Nikolaou
Martha Nussbaum
Tim Parks
Molly Peacock
Pascale Petit
Clare Pettitt
Caryl Phillips
Robert Pinsky
Elizabeth Powers
Elizabeth Prettejohn
Martin Puchner
Kate Pullinger
Paula Rabinowitz
Rajeswari Sunder Rajan
James Richardson
François Rigolot
Geoffrey Robertson
Ritchie Robertson
Avital Ronell
Élisabeth Roudinesco
Carla Sassi
Michael Scammell
Celeste Schenck
Sudeep Sen
Hadaa Sendoo
Miranda Seymour
Mimi Sheller
Elaine Showalter
Penelope Shuttle
Werner Sollors
Frances Spalding
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
Julian Stallabrass
Susan Stewart
Rebecca Stott
Mark Strand
Kathryn Sutherland
Rebecca Swift
Susan Tiberghien
John Whittier Treat
David Treuer
David Trinidad
Marjorie Trusted
Lidia Vianu
Victor Vitanza
Marina Warner
David Wellbery
Edwin Williamson
Michael Wood
Theodore Zeldin

Assistant Editor: Sara Besserman
Assistant Editor: Ana de Biase
Assistant Editor: Conor Bracken
Assistant Editor: Eugenio Conchez
Assistant Editor: Patricia Delmar
Assistant Editor: Lucila Gallino
Assistant Editor: Sophie Lewis
Assistant Editor: Krista Oehlke
Assistant Editor: Siska Rappé
Assistant Editor: Naomi Schub
Assistant Editor: Stephanie Smith
Assistant Editor: Robert Toperter
Assistant Editor: Laurence Webb
Art Consultant: Verónica Barbatano
Art Consultant: Angie Roytgolz

 
Click to enlarge picture Click to enlarge picture. Proust’s Bedroom by Pedro Xavier Solís Cuadra
Translated from the Spanish by Suzanne Jill Levine
 

 



Proust’s Bedroom

“Around the bed a trillion concentric colored circles making centrifugal or centripetal movements like interlacing kaleidoscopes, shapes like those cast by the magic lantern, creating a strange and, for me, painful vision. The red point in the center keeps sinking into incalculable, spastic distances, then returning, close up, and its coming and going felt to me like an unfathomable hammer.”
--Ruben Dario, “Autobiography”

For Marcel Proust, his bedroom was
the fixed and painful point at the center
of his preoccupations. His mother,
to distract him from his melancholy,
sent for a magic lantern to be placed
in the room, changing its opacity
with a rainbow of colors
as in Gothic stained-glass windows.
But this intrusion destroyed
the anesthetic effect of habit,
and his uncertainty and sadness grew.
When his mother died, he removed the lantern
and relined the walls in cork
so that only the indecipherable mystery
of being one would flow within. Seeing you
In the oil lamp’s beam of light, pale in the submissive
routine in which you know and do not know yourself
I remember Proust. Open your eyes
and though you don’t look at me and down deep
the little girl you were seems imprisoned.
I want to rescue her, but you cut me off.
Only a faint ray of light like the little girl
you enclose in your eyes
barely appears in the crack of the door.


La habitación de Proust

“Alrededor del lecho, mil círculos coloreados y concéntricos, caleidoscópicos, enlazados y con movimientos centrífugos y centrípetos, como los que forma la linterna mágica, creaban una visión extraña y para mí dolorosa. El central punto rojo se hundía, hasta incalculables, hípnicas distancias, y volvía a acercarse, y su ir y venir era para mí como un martillo inexplicable”.
Rubén Darío, Autobiografía.

Para Marcel Proust, su alcoba era
el punto céntrico, fijo y doloroso
de sus preocupaciones. Su madre,
para distraerlo de su melancolía,
mandó colocar una linterna mágica
que cambió la opacidad del cuarto
por irisaciones multicolores
como en los vitrales góticos.
Pero esta intrusión devastaba
el influjo anestésico de la costumbre,
y acrecía la incertidumbre y la tristeza.
Al morir su madre, quitó la linterna
y revistió de corcho las paredes,
para que sólo fluyera el misterio
indescifrable de ser uno. Recuerdo
a Proust, al verte al haz del quinqué,
pálida en la sumisa rutina en que
te reconoces y te desconoces.
Con dificultad abres tus ojos
aunque no me miras, y, en el fondo,
me parece confinada la niña que fuiste.
Quiero rescatarla, pero me atajas
y sólo una rayita de luz muy débil,
como la niña que cierras en tus ojos,
asoma apenas por la ranura de la puerta