Hidden treasures in Macondo

“…inexorable evolution towards

a manifestation

most critical: oblivion”.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

In one of those processes inherent to “magical realism” and surprising due to its untimely imprint, a group of enthusiastic Spanish teachers from the Santa Clotilde Institute in Strasbourg culminated an eloquent exercise in promoting our common language, with the master conference “Ascenso a glory, how One hundred years of solitude was written and became a universal (literature) classic”, given by the Spanish doctor and researcher Álvaro Santana-Acuña.

Bringing together a series of elements conducive to an exercise in magical realism, the old mansion of the Lieu d’Europe Cultural Center opened its doors to compatriots from the Great Homeland and to the vital group of promoters of Spanish in the life of this European capital, where to a sample of Colombian cumbia and a Huastec fandango, the generosity of Santana-Acuña revealed to us “the hidden treasures of the Buendía family” and the propitious processes of the gestation and appearance, on May 30, 1967, of One hundred years of solitude.

As “Francisco, the man”, Santana-Acuña enlightens us with the news he collected over twelve years of painstaking investigation of the personal archives of the 1992 Nobel Prize for Literature; With the same passion that distinguishes the troubadour from the novel, he submits his findings to the alembic conceived by his prodigious mind until he achieves amazing results emulating Melquiades in Macondo, surprising those who approach him, and as the gypsy hopes that his audience, like an emulator of Aureliano Buendía, he manages to translate and thereby recreate with his findings an imprint made in manuscript.

Revealing one by one the facets of the author, his apprehensions, ambitions, achievements and setbacks, Álvaro reveals to us the creative creation of the novel and its wise promotion strategy, a fact that awakened in my memory the author’s reading of the epidemic of insomnia that devastated the inhabitants of Macondo, condemned not to sleep and, worse still, to forget the use and benefit of things, a tragedy that allowed the extraordinary writer to insert in his masterful novel the value of writing, that of the word written and par excellence that of the printed word, providing it as the antidote against that collective amnesia that outlined the end of the civilizing process of Macondo and its inhabitants.

That reading and the analyzes that I heard in my full adolescence marked my life by understanding and appreciating the value of the book and writing as civilizational technologies and receptacles of the right to memory of future generations, an intimate discovery that I strengthened by understanding the dissolution of the ghost. of Melquiades before the understanding of his cryptic legacy written by Aureliano Buendía.

Writing as a receptacle for the rights of freedom, creation and memory, is a fundamental premise present throughout García Márquez’s work, expressed in his characters through writers, copyists and yearning letter readers, magical excuses to pay homage to who with the printing press democratized knowledge, Johannes Gutenberg, whose presence in Strasbourg is of vital importance, because thanks to his canonries as Imperial City he facilitated the growth of the typographic industry and with it the dissemination of the ideas that provoked and spread the Reformation of Luther and Calvin and their consequent confrontation with arms and letters for and against, reconfiguring France around its kings and its laws, over the supremacy of the Papacy.

The verbal numbing promoted from the pulpits attached to Rome, gave way to written and verbal debates between Huguenots and Catholics, awakening in the population the interest in reading and thereby exercising the process of understanding and reflection inherent in reading that, in effect, it became that “memory machine” that José Arcadio Buendía yearned for so much “to remember all” the inventions that the Jews brought to their land so that his son Aureliano, an “expert insomniac”, would understand that the printed letter is the only antidote to not forget, to remember through the lyrics and its onomatopoeia “zaz”: the use of the instrument to make their little fishes and thus avoid the prediction of being prey to oblivion due to the inexorable loss of dreams.

PS Dear readers, stay tuned for the activities organized around the 55th anniversary of the appearance of One Hundred Years of Solitude by the Museum of Modern Arts and the García Márquez Archive, as the participation of Álvaro Santana-Acuña will stand out among these.

We want to say thanks to the writer of this short article for this remarkable material

Hidden treasures in Macondo