“Writing is the paint of the voice”
Died at the age of seventy and without ever having received the Nobel Prize, Javier Marías left us when we were most avid for that magic of his, as akin to the contemplation of critics as to the sensitive universe of ordinary visitors.
And it is that when a reader decides to go to Marías, he knows that he will access a space of discoveries. He will be on his way to find himself, to divine himself in the reactions of his characters and locate her humanity in the irregular geography of his settings.
In the end, that is what happens with good literature; perhaps that is why there are so few authors who remain in the memory, the same in an after-dinner chat, that in “real” actions inspired by fictional stories: perfect frauds, the kidnapping of a lover, suicides for love or the crimes Passionate that punish an infidelity.
The void that Marías leaves makes me reflect on the power of writing. I think of the indiscreet luminosity that invades the confident being -who calls himself a writer- at the moment of typing the final period in an essay or book, but also in the state of plenitude that is accessed by reading.
For many of us, taking a book is the closest thing to escape, the effects are similar to those provided by substances that invite us to see and feel other worlds. The only difference is that the artificial paradises that are built with books educate, and as a friend of mine who loves written pages says, “they force us to learn from other people’s experiences.” In short, they make us better, more human and decent, even loving.
The death of a creator sounds like violence. He comes to reiterate what he can no longer be, denying continuity to more essays, other stories, more characters and new lives.
In this perspective, what happened in Germany on May 10, 1933 terrifies me again. In the scene, which could occupy the main chapter of an apocalyptic writing, a newly elected ruler named Adolf Hitler, abjures knowledge and feeds an incandescent bonfire in the Opernplatz in Berlin with more than twenty thousand volumes. Turned into accomplices, thousands of university students actively participate in what the future dictator calls an “Action against the anti-German”.
“Where books are burned, people will end up being burned”, prophesied the German-Jewish poet Heinrich Heine in 1817, without knowing that his ideas would burn on that pyre along with the other creations of the great Thomas Mann, Albert Einstein, Stefan Zweig, Ernest Hemingway , Sigmund Freud, Bertlolt Brecht, Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky, Rosa Luxemburg, Marcel Proust and March Bloch.
At that time, American television defined the event as a “holocaust of books.” Today we know that this attack against knowledge triggered one of the largest massacres recorded in the history of mankind.
There is always justice. Despite the flames, the memory survived the massacre. The simple, but detailed account of a girl in her diary acted as a witness. Today, the famous Anne Frank House in Amsterdam reveals the barbarism that Hitler sought to erase.
Final note. Speaking of the scope of writing and instruction, we should be interested in the content and delivery, to date incomplete, of the free textbooks from the Ministry of Public Education. Several locations are missing to receive them.
Heir to the inspiration and values of great writers and philosophers such as Justo Sierra, thanks to whom compulsory primary education was instituted, José Vasconcelos, Narciso Bassols, Porfirio Muñoz Ledo himself, Jesús Reyes Heroles and Fernando Solana, among others, the Secretary of Public Education is a cornerstone in the narrative of our country, although it also highlights its shortcomings and pending tasks.
Let’s not forget, remembering Javier Marías, that free textbooks are on many occasions, the first inspiration of the future writer.
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