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Colección: INTERAMER
Número: 64
Año: 1998
Autor: Isabel Rodríguez Vergara
Título: Haunting Demons: Critical Essays on the Works of Gabriel García Márquez


1. Gabriel García Márquez, The General in His Labyrinth, translated by Edith Grossman (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1990).  Except as noted, all quotations from the book are from this version.

2. At this writing the following reviews of the novel have appeared, all in the Revista de Estudios Colombianos, no. 7, 1989, in addition to those cited in the text: David Bushell, “¿El  primer Nobel bibliográfico?,”33-35; Randolph D. Pope, “Lectura literaria de El general en su laberinto,”  36-38; George McMurray, “El general en su laberinto:  historia y ficción,” 39-44; and Federico Patán, “Una novela de postrimerías,” 45-47.

3. In María Elvira Samper, “Entrevista a Gabriel García Márquez,” Semana, 14 de marzo de 1989, 27-33.

4. See the photograph in “Más nunca en la vida me meto a escribir una novela histórica,” Diners, April 1989,  18.

5. For an analysis of the relationship between history and literature, see Hayden White, “The Historical Text as Literary Artifact,”  The Writing of History: Literary Form and Historical Understanding, eds., Robert Canary and Henry Kozicki (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1978) 41-62.

6. Samper, op. cit., 30.

7. María del Pilar Rodríguez Santamaría, “¿General Simón Buendía o General Aureliano Bolívar?” EL colombiano [Dominical] 2 abril 1989, 6, 7.

8. Samper, op. cit., 29.

9. Unfortunately, the English translation does not do justice to García Márquez’s creativity with the scatological, with his “ventosidades pedregosas y fétidas,” in which “pedregosas”—-”stony, in Grossman’s translation—is not normally used to describe flatulence but its suffix evokes other unpleasant things.

10. The symbolic principles of García Márquez’s works have been widely studied.  See, for instance, Graciela Maturo, Claves simbólicas de Gabriel García Márquez, 2nd ed. (Buenos Aires: Fernando García Cambeiro, 1977).

11. See Mircea Eliade, Birth and Rebirth (New York: Harper, 1958) 116.

12. See René Girard, La violencia y lo sagrado, translated by Joaquín Jorda (Barcelona: Anagrama, 1983)  64-65, for an analysis of purifying rituals.

13. For Peter’s denials and the crow of the rooster see John 15:27.

14. Grossman renders this as “the Day of the Blessed Virgin, Mediatrix of all Grace,” which misses the reference to Joan of Arc.

15. See Girard, op. cit.,  265.

16. By translating “crucificado por los zancudos” as “plagued by mosquitoes,” Grossman misses the Christian image.

17. See John 6:35 and 6:48.

18. Grossman reads, “. . . until the flask was empty”—a misattribution of the Spanish “hasta quedar exhausto” to the vial of cologne rather than to the General’s body.

19. Grossman omits “of vespers” in her translation of  García Márquez’s  “noche de vísperas.”

20. Girard, op. cit., 64, 65.

21. Ibid., 128

22. About the sacred symbology of cities situated on heights, Mircea Eliade says:  “Les cités et les lieux saints vent assimilés aux sommets des montagnes cosmiques.  C’est pour cela que Jerusalem et Sion nont pas été submergées par le déluge.”  In Traité d’histoire des Religions, Paris, Payot, 1968,  317.

23. My translation.  Grossman misses the archaic tone:  “as soon as we arrive, find out where Sucre’s gotten to.”

24. Girard, op. cit., 38.

25. Ibid., 39.