La aristocracia de los humanistas / José Antonio Ramos Sucre

The Aristocracy of the Humanists

Lack of objectivity, which multiplies personal criteria, as though the treasure of austere human disciplines were in need of opinions. Loose link, problematic consequence between events, lack of regularity that fools precaution. Herein the argument of those who reduce history to a simple literary entertainment, where every respected author leaves his stamp, enriching the world’s diversity.
     History can deserve the majestic name of science, since the latter, divested of the absolute and settled into a more humble task, renounces explanation and foresight and is reduced to description.
     History as an aesthetic pastime is expected of humanists. The men of the Renaissance, when writing it, repeated the grandiose unity of the epic poem, and they worked on one or another literary enterprise under the dictation of the same muse. At other times they followed the course of events, in order to expose them through examples, for the purpose of practical morality for princes to use. In council they gave speeches made of subtleties and figures to characters, as in school contests. They attributed to the caudillos of the battle thoughtful or spirited slogans that borrowed from Titus Livius or Homer. They closed commentary on events stamping with a hard iron burin the grave sentence escaped from the glowering concision of Tacitus.
     There have not been such fine institutions for history since then, as though for a public of artists. The characters are all heroes, and they speak an extraordinary language on a tragic stage. From here they warn knights and monarchs. The Middle Ages contribute with the most central portion at the start of the Renaissance. It provides the knightly tone, the almost fierce disdain for the villain, feelings more beneficial for the cult of art than all the care of Graeco-Latin erudition. Rough and inhumane the lettered distance themselves from the masses. They write history as though it were a colossus, or with a moral that doesn’t work for the crowd of mortals. Likewise, the literature from that era with those modes of expression, rare and full of artifice, that seduced Góngora among many, is a plague. They were, in sum, courtesan and heroic styles and temperaments, in which Feudalism reiterated itself.

La torre de Timón (1925)

{ José Antonio Ramos Sucre, Obra completa, Caracas: Biblioteca Ayacucho, 1989 }

No comments: