Thursday, December 6, 2007

Garcia Marquez, Of Love and Other Demons

In this aptly titled novella, Of Love and Other Demons, Garcia Marquez demonstrates the evenness of his oeuvre, for it exhibits the same quality of his major work One Hundred Years of Solitude. I said it is aptly titled because readers get to experience first hand a repugnant type of love that still exists in contemporary civilizations: a demonized love.

Eros is missing; nowhere do we find it. Instead we experience the demonization of human love; that is a hatred of sexual attraction, approved and sanctioned by the Inquisition and the Catholic Church together with their rituals and insane exorcisms. The absurd customs transplanted into Latin America from the motherland Spain make one shudder about the unbriddled power that was concentrated in the Church.

While in the American Colonies--later to become the United States--the founding fathers wrote in the Constitution that titles of nobility were anathema, in Latin American, nobility thrived and there was no separation of church and state. The heroine, Sierva Maria, the only child of a noble family endures the brutal punishments that the powerful Catholic Church inflicted on eccentrics, mad, possessed, demented, and ravid alike.

In the able hands of Edith Grossman, the translator, we enjoy Garcia Marquez's prose as he weaves his story through fragmented time. Events unfold smoothly--in a no nonsense manner, galloping ahead of us--to fill our senses with the sacred and the profane, with heresies, pagan rites, and cruelties. The work is mesmerizing.

The secret of Garcia Marquez's galloping narrative lays in his sentence openers, in his predilection of Past participles followed by prepositions: guided by, lashed by, dazed by, conquered by, defeated by, etc.

In addition, we feel the juxtapositions of physical adjectives and verbs that qualify abstract nouns ("The city lay submerged in its centuries-long torpor" "simmering in rancor").

In this novella Garcia Marquez reaches new heights of simplicity. Nowhere do we find the rhetorical turns of One Hundred Years; nowhere do we see the magic realism, nor do we feel the irreverent tone. His prose is terse; more grammatical than rhetorical. I underlined passages that show his already famous technique of enumerations. Follow this description--more spiritual than physical--of Sierva Maria's father, the Marquis:

"In exhile he acquired his lugubrious appearance, cautions manner, contemplative nature, languid behavior, slow speech, and a mystic vocation that seemed to condemn him to a cloistered cell."

The writing techniques I employ in this article are all explained in Mary Duffy's bestseller and indispensable writing manual:


Augustine, City of God
Austen J, Pride and Prejudice
Austen J, "Marriage Proposals and Me"
Austen J, Emma
Borges, The Aleph
C. Bronte, Jane Eyre
Burroughs E,Tarzan
Cervantes, Don Quijote
Chaucer, Wife of Bath
Coelho P,The Alchemist
Coyle H, They Are Soldiers
Dante, New Life
Dickens C, David Copperfield
Dostoevsky, Crime&Punishment
ConanDoyle,Hound of Baskervilles
Dubner S, Superfreakonomics

DuMaurier D, Rebecca
Ellis B. E. American Psycho
Fitzgerald S, Great Gatsby
Flaubert G, Madame Bovary
Fleming I,Doctor No
Freud S, Leonardo Da Vinci
Friedan B, Feminine Mystique
GarciaMarquez, Of Love & OtherDemons
Guerrero M,ThePoison Pill

Grass G, The Tin Drum
Harris T, Hannibal Rising
Heidegger M,House of Being
Ishiguro K, Remains of The Day
Johnson S,Rasselas
Kosinski J, The Painted Bird
Lee H,To Kill a Mockingbird
McBain Ed,Gutter and Grave
Murakami H,Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Nabokov V, Lolita
Meyer, S, Twilight
Ortega,Dehumanization of Art
Poe E A, Gordon Pym
Prose F, Reading Like a Writer
Rushdie S,Midnight Children
Sabatini R, Scaramouche
Spark M, Prime of Miss Brodie

Stendhal, Red and Black
Sterne L,Tristram Shandy
Stevenson R, Dr.Jekyll & Mr.Hyde
Stoker B, Dracula
Thackeray W,History of Pendennis
Tolstoy L, Anna Karenina
Trollope A, Autobiography
Unamuno M, Tragic Sense of Life
Voltaire, Candide
Webb J, Fields of Fire
Wharton E, The House of Mirth
Woolf V, To The Lighhouse

The secrets of 'no-doze' prose:
Mary Duffy's Sentence Openers

Lindsey Vonn after winning the Downhill World ...
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Lindsey Vonn

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