By Vicent Andrés Estellés
This option of the verse of Valencian poet Vicent Andres Estelles (1924-1993) is observed by way of a translation into English from the unique Catalan. The structure of an cutting edge discussion with classical authors — a cornerstone of Estellesian expression — constitutes an inventive invocation and parodic observation 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 los angeles Vega. For Estellés, Octavian Rome offers a parallel to the Franco dictatorship and the ancient framework surrounding those writers gives the neophyte a chance for ideological denunciation, inventive 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 feat of this author who, regardless of the severity of fascist repression, sang and celebrated the adventure of his personal group via its personal oppressed language.
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Extra info for After the Classics: A translation into English of the selected verse of Vicent Andrés Estellés
Will folk from the adjoining dialectal areas understand this poetry? I mean, will they really get to grips with it? I’m really not so sure (…) This dialect slips right through us. Estellés presents himself to us through his relatively dialectal verse. It’s his dialect and it’s ours; and the net result for us is both intimate and vibrant. But how will it be read by them on the other side of the Ebro or on the other side of the ocean? 15 Though one can appreciate Fuster’s concern for his friend’s contribution attracting appropriate recognition – especially given the widespread ignorance of their community and its history – it is also plain to see that he is worrying perhaps more than is necessary.
Indeed, the dramatic assumption of another’s voice at a particular juncture is a familiar narrative strategy in verse. The extraordinary element in Estellés’s evocation is, of course, its thoroughly schizoid nature as our author not only temporarily assumes the Romans’ discourse but actually takes on their identity full-time. In this way, the poetic self effectively divides to become an amalgam of Horace/Estellés, Ovid/Estellés, or Catullus/Estellés; though both alter egos are able to comment on the other as if they were autonomous contemporaries.
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.