You and my name are already safe in the garden: out of time, its curse will not disturb you
Quote That Heads the crimson manuscript
If you allow me, I am going to use this review to mourn the absence of Antonio Gala, who passed away this Sunday, May 28, at the age of 92. We need to cry for him because we believe that without him, this world that we clumsily inhabit will be even more inhospitable, gray and vulgar.
Antonio Gala’s personality – refined, gentlemanly, with an enigmatic and dazzling Andalusian character – far surpassed his own literary work. Playwright, poet, novelist, even an essayist, his literary corpus touched practically all genres, his works are known to all. Talks with Troylo, his Crimson Manuscript, his Poetic Anthology, his Turkish Passion or his Rings for a Lady, among many others.
On a certain occasion, the Huelva journalist Jesús Quintero asked him what was the smartest thing a man could do in this life, and he, with his usual elegance and, why not say it, theatricality, replied that the smartest thing would be to leave everything and retire from the world à la Fray Luis de León, abandon worldly airs, its ridiculous temptations and break the wheel of samsara of both intellectual and physical slavery. In that mythical interview he already showed the world his great intuition, a sixth sense that revealed to him the uselessness of daily gestures and customs, memorized and internalized to the point of exasperation.
«How many times have they asked me why I write. It would be easier to say why I don’t write. I do not write to be loved, as some fellow martyrs say. I do not write as a way to be known or famous or to arouse admiration. I don’t even write so that my experience may be useful to someone, because it doesn’t even serve me. I do not write, ultimately, or to be read, which may not happen more often than you think and more people than we imagine. I think I write because I need it to feel alive. If I were prevented from doing so, I would die: in some unpredictable way, but I would die. I have been given no other choice. It is not a vocation for me, but a destiny. And I must comply with a marker in hand: because, to make matters worse, I write everything by hand:
My biggest technological leap has been going from the fountain pen to the marker, and it has left me exhausted and with a certain sense of adultery.”
Antonio Gala was born with a great baggage of anxiety, which caused him his intimate need to be true to himself, to celebrate or mourn for life, depending on the circumstances. In my opinion, he is the most utopian writer of the late 20th century and early 21st century, at least as far as a love utopia is concerned. Much of his work revolves around this knot, on the hinge that probably holds the entire universe together, the «ἀγάπη“, ended that it serves to designate a type of unconditional and reflective love, to which Gala aspired all her life.
Paraphrasing some of the articles that were published in the national press on the day of his death, if we could describe Antonio Gala we would say that he is elegant, loquacious and reserved, tavern-like and aristocratic, direct and elegant and sharp, warm and distant, loquacious and reserved, tavern and aristocratic, diffuse, popular and unknown, arrogant and neat, permanently melancholic. He identified himself with the ideological left, -although without expressly becoming a member of any party or organization-, opting, at the time, against the entry of Spain into NATO and advocating for a social and advanced Andalusianism. Like my dear countryman Miguel Delibes, he chose and sought voluntary solitude, as if trying to get away from the noise and moral rustlers of a society in clear decline.
He reaches out and touched you.
It touched you: it touched your border,
the soft place where you end,
only mine the air and my tenderness.
You dwell in unspeakable places,
indecipherable sea, distant light
that cannot be caught.
You escaped me, glass and aroma,
through the air, that entered and that left,
owner of you inside And I was left out
on the usual lintel, prisoner
from the outer cell.
His death has definitely hit us, if not because of his physical absence, but because of his intellectual and spiritual absence. Antonio Gala was more than just a writer, Antonio Gala meant the heart, a wide solar plexus from which, from time to time, all of us who lack affection and recognition that we are in the world, each and every one of us, ate and drank. the longing.
In its crimson manuscript describes a refined and cultured Boabdil, but this will not serve him for government tasks, his lyrical attitude will be annihilated in the heat of life and will condemn him to solitude until only a few bursts of wisdom, hope, love and spirituality assist you on the path of almost total isolation. It is possible that the character of Boabdil in the crimson manuscript represents us in fiction all of us who maintain a lyrical attitude towards existence; It is also very possible that the character of Boabdil is too similar to a person as lyrical and ungovernable as Antonio Gala was.
We have no doubt that the world will be much more inhospitable without it.