Un caudillo literario / Manuel Caballero

A Literary Caudillo

[Photo by Tal Cual]

One of our favorite jokes for annoying Adriano González León was to attribute his short temper to the blood of the caudillos we assumed must run in his veins, as it does among all those who come from the same region as General Juan Araujo, the Lion of the Mountain Range.

Except Adriano wasn’t a man to “take up arms,” if one were to use that phrase literally. But on the other hand he would do so in the intellectual field. Ever since we met we noticed how two conditions that are generally divergent, if not contradictory, coincided in him: his fierce individualism and the attraction felt towards him by those dedicated to literature and the arts , and which in certain cases (especially in the very young) would go beyond simple friendship and became an unconditional devotion similar to the one caudillos tend to enjoy. Gathering, group or just a simple get-together with Adriano present, these all tended to place him at the front, without votes or ministries.

This was the case from the beginning of that conjunction of brilliant literary talents that was the Grupo Sardio, where his condition of Primus inter pares was evident; even during the irresponsible ethyl camaraderie of the “República del Este,” where a good portion of those who gathered near him did so, by their own confession, just to see if some of his talent or fame “rubbed off on them.”

Since neither of those things are contagious, and since the writer wasn’t one to buy fidelity (he didn’t have much money and besides, he was from Trujillo, in other words pragmatic) one can’t stop wondering about the source of what we might call, for lack of a better phrase, Adriano’s charisma.

His secret is the fusion of the written and spoken word. Adriano wasn’t satisfied with writing, with creating false worlds like so many artists. Instead he sought to transform those lies into truths, when he would debate, when he would theorize about his writing. And above all that condition of his as a master of the language that our eyes perceived, and which was complete when our ears testified his enviable genius as an expositor and conversationalist. Today marks a year since his departure.

{ Manuel Caballero, Tal Cual, 12 January 2009 }


bajo said...

This entry put a smile on my face. Engaging writing. It makes me want to read Caballero.

Guillermo Parra said...

He writes a column for El Universal in Caracas every Sunday. The latest one is:


He was married to an amazing poet, Hanni Ossott.

bajo said...

Thank you for the link and for the follow. Wink.