In the "Al Dente" section of his column today in El Nacional, Fausto Masó writes about Roque Dalton and his killers:

"Un verso

Un epigrama resume la tragedia de Roque Dalton: "Juro que lo oí decir / salvo en una sociedad completamente justa, / lo mejor de la vida es ser jefe." A Dalton lo asesinaron sus compañeros de la guerrilla, hoy políticos reconocidos, profesores en Oxford, ensayistas exitosos, sesudos teóricos de la nueva izquierda responsable."


At one point in The Rings of Saturn, W.G. Sebald writes about visting a friend, the poet and translator Michael Hamburger, during a walking tour of the east coast of England. While he stays at Hamburger's house, Sebald is questioning the desire to write:

"Does one follow in Hölderlin's footsteps, simply because one's birthday happened to fall two days after his? Is this why one is tempted time and again to cast reason aside like an old coat, to sign one's poems and letters 'your humble servant Scardanelli', and to keep unwelcome guests who come to stare at one arm's length by addressing them as Your Excellency or Majesty? Does one begin to translate elegies at the age of fiteen or sixteen because one has been exiled from one's homeland? Is it possible that later one would settle in this house in Suffolk because a water pump in the garden bears the date 1770, the year of Hölderlin's birth? For when I heard that one of the near islands was Patmos, I greatly desired there to be lodged, and there to approach the dark grotto. And did Hölderlin not dedicate his Patmos hymn to the Landgrave of Homburg, and was not Homburg also the maiden name of Mother? Across what distances in time do the elective affinities and correspondences connect? How is it that one perceives oneself in another human being, or, if not oneself, then one's own precursor?"

(W.G. Sebald, The Rings of Saturn, tr. Michael Hulse, New Directions, 1998)

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