Friday, January 30, 2009

OF LOVE AND OTHER DEMONS by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Of Love and Other Demons is a good novella by Gabo. It is well worth reading, but not by any means on a level with One Hundred Years of Solitude or The Autumn of the Patriarch. Aside from the central Garcia Marquesan love story, my favorite element of the novella (and, I suppose, also the author's) is the theme of forbidden books, Enlightenment treatises and old romances imprisoned like heretics for the ideas they carry. The ecclesiastical library's locked cabinet containing forbidden volumes is the master image of this theme, and Gabo artfully counters it with his description of the physician's eclectic, house-filling, heresy-ridden book collection. And yes, the 'master image' of both of these libraries is Don Quixote's collection of dangerous books. The influence of Quixote--a book that very few people, I suppose, have read all the way through--is inescapable, and not just in Latin America. While I wouldn't go so far as to say that the entire history of the Western novel is a series of footnotes to Don Quixote, the case could certainly be made that much of the very best in Western literature since 1600 would not exist without it. That's a no brainer, as that no-brainer Dick Cheney liked to say. (Gratuitous political comment that Gabo would surely approve: It was refreshing to see Cheney finally in character as Dr. Strangelove on Inauguration Day 2009.)

1 comment:

marzuki said...

Hi there,

I stumbled upon ur blog while googling for some inspiration. Im to write an essay for my Intro to Magical Realism class and Garcia Marquez's OF LOVE AND OTHER DEMONS has left me in a slight confusion.

Before I can begin answering my essay question, I need to identify the novel's themes. I was wondering if you could help point me in the right direction? I wrote my thoughts on the themes in my latest entry: