The Limited Times

Now you can see non-English news...

Hans Magnus's Featherfly


The writer and journalist Mario Jursich recalls a visit to Bogotá by the great German intellectual, who recently died at the age of 93

Hans Enzensberger, German writer and thinker. Miguel Gener

—My friends, in Colombia there are only conservative newspapers?

Enzensberger did not wait for the director of the Goethe Institute to present it to the public and launched the first question, more incredulous than defiant.

We knew immediately that this would not be a routine press conference.

He brandished El Tiempo


El Espectador

before our eyes and immediately

told us that that morning, while he was having breakfast, the hotel

maitre d

' had tried to convince him that these were the most progressive newspapers in the country.

"I just can't believe it.

Are the most reactionary media in Germany really more progressive than your liberals?

The great German writer was in Bogotá invited by the Medellín Poetry Festival, but he seemed reluctant to be an accommodating commentator.

In the next hour he painted, with muriatic acid and an awful lot of humor, a glassy portrait of the Cuban Revolution.

He predicted that Fidel Castro would die as the dictator he was already in the 1970s and that due to his pride in getting involved in everything, giving his opinion on everything, controlling everything, he would become the dead weight of the island that he wanted to set sail.

He also undeceived a journalist who asked him what, in his opinion, would be the solution to our ills.

—I've been in Bogotá for forty-eight hours.

Do you think I have the authority to recommend something to Colombians?

No one, no foreign adviser, no UN bureaucrat, no enlightened intellectual, can offer answers to Colombia's problems.

The answers can only be found among you.

That's what coming of age is all about.

Of course, it was not all politics.

She told us that she liked the trees of the savannah, particularly the encenillos;

She expressed his astonishment that the bookseller Hans Ungar had the complete collection of Die Andere Bibliothek in his house in the Rosales neighborhood and celebrated, as so many times in his life, Fray Bartolomé de las Casas and Baron de Humboldt .

(Die Andere Bibliothek —The Other Library— is a collection of bibliophile books that began to come out in 1985 and ended in 2004. Enzensberger, and its designer, Franz Greno, conceived it under the premise that “luxury is not a crime ". Each month they launched a title printed in movable lead type, on acid-free paper, bound in leather and individually numbered. Contrary to expectations, the project was so successful that it allowed Enzensberger to buy an apartment in Munich).

In that year of 1999, the date of Enzensberger's second visit to Colombia, I had already read many of his books and I continued to do so until the year before, when


appeared , not yet translated into Spanish but into English.

It is difficult to synthesize Enzensberger's literature for a neophyte, because the German writer wandered through a multitude of formats: from poetry, short stories and novels to aphorisms, popular mathematics, radio scripts and opera librettos.

Much of this material is a marvel of intelligence and irony, but if it were a question of highlighting the most emblematic title, the one that best paints Enzensberger, the one that allows us to form a clearer idea of ​​his acute way of seeing the world, I would I would lean towards

My favorite missteps


followed by a store of ideas.

In very typical fashion, Enzensberguer published that book on his eightieth birthday, an age when successful artists are mostly showered with awards and incense.

But, instead of gloating over the heights reached throughout his life, Enzensberger chooses in this extraordinary set of essays not only to describe the many stones he encountered along the way, but also to reflect on the pedagogical value of failure.

Triumph, he tells us in the prologue, never leaves any teaching;

fiascoes, on the other hand, allow one to refine one's point of view and avoid mirages and professional illnesses of creative people (the delusion of grandeur, for example).

In a cultural context marked in equal parts by success and failure -yes, Enzensberger had a lot in common with Albert O. Hirschman-, that lucid observation should remind us that, even for those like him who tasted the honey of Goddess Fortune, the The list of setbacks and frustrations covers all areas and is usually, in almost all cases, much larger than that of triumphs.

Some of that had already been advanced at the press conference that brought us together in 1999. When one of the attendees asked him how he dealt with being a recognized author, Enzensberger interrupted him to say:

—Look, I appreciate that my books are read.

But in the end what counts is not our luck in the world, but that someone, in five hundred years, finds

in a second-hand bookstore the book we wrote and marvel at our unforgettable useless art.

For those of us who put words together, that's all that matters.

Subscribe here

to the EL PAÍS newsletter on Colombia and receive all the latest information on the country.

Source: elparis

All news articles on 2022-11-26

Similar news:

You may like

Trends 24h

News/Politics 2023-03-30T18:31:43.515Z


© Communities 2019 - Privacy

The information on this site is from external sources that are not under our control.
The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them.