Franz Kafka

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Dostoevsky's Demons and Camus' La chute, The fall, and Kirillov

Cover, a Folio's edition
Portrait of F. Dostoevsky
It is well known Dostoevsky's influence on Albert Camus literary and intellectual development and  formation, as well as the great interest of the latter for the novel "The Possessed", of which he wrote and directed an important  theater   adaptation in 1960.
In Camus' most Dostoevskian work, La Chute, the tantalizing confession of a lifetime, echoes the spiritual dilemma  and torturing distress of the Russian writer's anti-hero Kirillov,  and the many themes revolving around meaninglessness  and absurdity of  human struggle,  the interpretation of the myth of Christ,  collective judgment and self-inflicted punishment, amongst others. In Camus' work though, Dostoevsky's many voices universe  is irrevocably shattered and never to be recomposed. 

The narrative voice of la Chute, the "juge penitent", is a true advocatus diaboli, weaving a spider web that slowly suffocates the reader's esprit and offers no alternative to despair and helplessness. The psychological probe of our individual fragility and the relentless criticism of a morally corrupted society leaves no hope for redemption, nor salvation.  In Camus' thoroughly pessimistic words, a second opportunity is not possible, let alone desirable: "Il est trop tard, maintenant, il sera toujours trop tard. Heureusement!"

Thursday, May 17, 2012

"Cuidado", In "Esquecer para Lembrar" (Boitempo), by Carlos Drummond de Andrade, English translation

Escultura de Carlos Drummond de Andrade, Praia de Copacabana

A porta cerrada
não abras.
Pode ser que encontres
o que não buscavas
nem esperavas.

Na escuridão
pode ser que esbarres
no casal em pé
tentando se amar

Pode ser que a vela
que trazes na mão
te revele, trêmula,
tua escrava nova,
teu dono-marido.

Descuidosa, a porta
apenas cerrada
pode te contar
conto que não queres

Don’t you open
the closed door.
It might well be that you find
what you were not looking for
nor expecting.

In the darkness
it might well be that you stumble
upon a standing couple
hurriedly attempting
to make love.

It might well be that the candle
that you carry in your hand, flickering,
reveals your young slave girl,
your master and husband.

Carelessly, the door
that you just closed
might very well reveal
a story that you do  not want
to know.

English translation by A. Baruffi, Literary Joint

Monday, May 7, 2012

Barn Dog, A Poem

Oh barn dog, how close
are your predicaments
to mine.
In the shelter,
the cradle is warm,
the fur dry;
and the hand that feeds
you can not bite.
But you ache,
secretively, and wail
and howl at the yellow
moon, when it's a buoy
in the unfathomable sky.

Copyright © 2012 Alessandro Baruffi