Reflection On Francisco De Quevedo

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Christopher Johnson’s visit for our class on Francisco de Quevedo was a significant addition to our ongoing discussion regarding the Baroque, as he was not only able to provide insights into our critical reading of Quevedo’s work—as a scholar of the Baroque and translator of his poetry—but also posed questions and concerns that will undoubtedly continue to guide our thinking as we move from the Baroque to the Neo-Baroque. Starting from the premise of the Baroque as an aesthetic that demands some kind of meta-disciplinary work, I was particularly interested in Johnson’s emphasis on the idea of polarity. Although we had previously discussed the presence of a polarity of sorts in some of the texts we have read, Johnson’s attention to the term, emerging from Spitzer’s essay, has prompted my thinking towards not just the presence, but the development of this concept throughout. In Luis de Góngora’s Soledades, we see violent contrasts of the ascendant and the degrading vision. Sor Juana’s Primero sueño takes us on a voyage of the soul that escapes the body, and on a voyage of the internal universe of the body that seems to facilitate the escaping of the soul. Quevedo’s poetry showcases both a skillfully mastery of the poetic structures and elements, yet conjugates this with often time very un-poetic topoi that emphasizes the scatological. I am eager to see how these polarities manifest themselves in the neo-baroque writings of Lezama Lima and Severo Sarduy, for example, but

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