Burn This Book

copertaMă dau în vînt după eseurile scriitorilor străini, iar Burn This Book este cea mai simpatică antologie colectivă pe care am citit-o de la Stop What You`re Doing And Read This (Vintage Books, 2011) încoace.

Îngrijită de venerabila Toni Morrison (National Book Critics Circle Award, Pulitzer şi Nobel), volumul a apărut sub auspiciile PEN American Center care a vrut să facă un statement legat de cenzura literaturii şi privarea de libertate a scriitorilor din fosta Uniune Sovietică, China ultimului deceniu, ţările africane sau cele arabe din Orientul Mijlociu al acestor ani, dar şi relativ recentul Patriot Act american. Astfel, pentru acest mic volum de o sută de pagini s-au adunat 11 scriitori celebri care au scris cîte un eseu despre motivele, importanţa şi funcţia literaturii în vremuri de pace sau de conflict, despre cenzură şi constrîngeri politice, despre rolul şi natura scrisului, despre ipostazele scriitorului în intimitatea camerei sau în societate, despre necesitatea, consecinţele şi uzul personal ori public al literaturii.

Mereu incitante, opiniile scriitorilor sînt, uneori, diferite, mergînd pînă la a fi chiar antagonice, dar, cum se întîmplă de fiecare dată cînd e vorba de artă, cu toţii au dreptate. Să vă dau cîteva citate – pline de înţelepeciune – ca să vedeţi despre ce e vorba:

Orhan Pamuk: „The pleasure of writing novels comes from exploring the peculiarly modern condition whereby people are forever contradicting their own minds.”

David Grossman: „I write and I give my most private and intimate names to an external, unknown world. So do I return from a land of exile and alienation – I come home. I change, just slightly, what previously seemed unchangeable. Even when I describe the cruelest arbitrariness that determines my fate – whether man-made or preordained  – I suddenly find it new subtleties and nuances.  I find that simply writing about the arbitrariness lets me move freely in its presence. That the very fact of standing up against the arbitrariness gives me freedom – perhaps the only freedom man has against any kind of arbitrariness – the freedom to articulate the tragedy of my situation in my own words. The freedom to articulate myself differently, freshly, against the bending dictates of arbitrariness that threaten to bind me and pin me down. I also write about what cannot be restored. About what has no comfort. Then too, in a way I still cannot explain, the circumstances of my life do not close me in and leave me paralysed. Many times a day, as I sit at my writing desk, I touch sorrow and loss like someone touching electricity with bare hands. Yet it does not kill me…”

Salman Rushdie: „Good writers assumes a frontierless nation. Writers who serve frontiers have become border guards.”

Russel Banks: „For the novelist does not speak in his books for others; the novelist listens to others. Especially to those who otherwise would go unheard. The novelist does not step forward in public to be seen by others; he sees others. Especially those who otherwise would remain invisible. And by his example, as well as by his work itself, he inspires others to listen and see.”

Paul Auster: „Art is useless, at least when compared, say, to the work of a plumber, or a doctor, or a railroad engineer. But is useless a bad thing? Does a lack of practical purpose mean that books and paintings and string quartets are simply a waste of our time? Many people think so. But I would argue that it is the very uselessnes af art that gives in its value and the making of art is what distinguishes us from all other creatures who inhabit this planet, that it is, essentially, what defines us as human beings.”

John Updike: „A writer begins with his personal truth, with that obscure but vulnerable and, once lost, precious life first that he lived before becoming a writer; but, impressions discharged –  a process of years – he finds himself, though empty, still posed in the role of a writer, with it may be an expectant audience of sorts and certainly a habit of communion. It is then that he dies as a writer, and becomes an inerent cultural object merely, or is born again, by resubmitting his ego, as it were, to fresh drafts of experience and refined operations of his mind… Almost alone the writer can reap profit from his loss.”

Nadine Gordimer: „How much must the writer be involved? In a terrorist attack, anyone present in the air or on earth is at risk, become activist-as-victim. No choice of being any kind of observer. In other terrible events – the wars, social upheavals – like anyone else the writer may be a victim, no choice. But the writer, like anyone else, may have chosen to be a protagonist. As witness in his own person, victim or protagonist, is that writer not unquestionably the one whom the definitive witness literature must come? Alber Camus believed so…”

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