About the threshold and its antidotes


Last week, August 28, marked the fifteenth anniversary of the death of Francisco Umbral. There is a period in life—between the ages of fourteen and twenty, I suspect—when every writer who craves a language must visit it. But do this while making sure you have an antidote around you that balances you, because otherwise you risk drowning in the chatter of the jungle, the poverty of ideas, and empty shells bathed in gold. Among the best antidotes for dealing with threshold poison, I believe Azorin. Against the craving for a riotous and wasteful style of metaphors of warm sobriety of a well-defined concept. Against threshold masks terrible childfriendly smoothness of weighing.

The man blames himself for spending a good part of his youthful hours reading in the solitude of his cabin, instead of breaking his bones in a football game and playing with the nymphets or letting the nymphets play with one of them. From these anarchic confusions of reading, however, a certain desire for style could be drawn, as well as a punitive opposition. Francis Perez Martinez He soaked many days in my puberty in order to later force me to resort to the help of other authors for detoxification. From him, I think I learned some of the resources to write beautifully – which is not exactly good writing – and the need to protect myself from stylistic tyranny.

Good literature is not so much about self-expression Beautifulas far as self-expression with justice; although it is desirable to combine both qualities, always proceeding from the previous axiom: to count things; communicate ideas; to reason, to make what is argued, digestible and present it to the reader. A solidly built and elegantly articulated syllogism is more interesting than an intricate verbal flow, than this leprous prose (according to Ortega chided Gabriel Miró) enveloping beanbag. But this is the conclusion one arrives at after having embroidered their clothes with exquisite brocade, until the day when one is disappointed to find that he does not have enough body to wear such plasters. It seems that such fabrics were created not to keep people warm, but to dress mannequins, which cannot but include another odious example of such a boring dehumanization of art.

Threshold boasted that he did not love Azorin and in all his work he did nothing but show it. didn’t like it either Gonzalo Torrente Ballesteralthough he had the generosity to prolong Ramon or Vanguardbecause, he said, he couldn’t forgive his lack of style. But in the articles of Don Gonzalo—a better novelist in my opinion than Sela or Delibes, though he is less of a prose writer—it is easy to stumble upon a heap of suggestive ideas, while in Umbral a surprising metaphor is suggestive. and irony-satire are two minor miracles compared to solid thinking.

I am aware – as the manufacturer I intended to be in my first notebooks – that I lean more towards Quevedo than towards Cervantino, but I also know that Quixote higher than looking for; not in language, but in humanity and understanding of man. In the same way, when I did the stupid thing of writing juvenile poetry – that crazy habit that you can never recover from – I pulled Quevedo more than Lope or Garcilaso. But between literature designed to re-illustrate language and literature designed to explain life and time itself, I think the latter is preferable to the former, even if a combination of both is desirable.


When an author dies, he must spend some time in purgatory waiting for his turn, the turn of the classics. For most of the reading public, The Threshold is nothing more than a TV joke; On the other hand, there are many among columnists and beginner columnists in Spain today who write with the mandate of Francisco Umbral on their backs. This is felt in their grotesque gregarious and in their tendency to rehearse ingenuity in accordance with the current situation, which they refuse to understand, in their updates Curly and in formal dress to go for bread. Background ideas are conspicuous by their absence. And it is a provocation that I allow myself the luxury of writing, because for some reason I am the last monkey of domestic journalism, which keeps me intact in the category of a reader rather than anything else.

Three weeks ago, I was walking through the streets of our common city (a very respectable city of Koyangsa) with PSOE Equality Secretary Andrea Fernandezwith which I have so many disagreements. We passed the house where, according to his biographer, Anna CaballeFrancisco Pérez Martinez lived there as a child, and Andrea told me that she had a suspicion that her great-grandmother worked there as a servant, a suspicion she would like to confirm. Then I gave him the comparison that Threshold literature is like a short-sighted boyfriend with a selfish character, although he has everything, just the kind of boyfriend that the education system should warn our teenagers against. He acknowledged receiving the saying and half smiled.

Fifteen years after his death, this rookie every gym gave way to the bodybuilder’s imbalances; to ridiculous parodies trimmed with bows and cellophane. I mean: to the industrial hypertrophy of what was once a great style.

I propose, as an addition to what has been said above, a record of a kind smart diary which I carried from the age of nineteen to twenty-one. After re-reading it more than five years later, I wouldn’t remove the comma, although I can’t wait to add a little nuance.

Reading memoirs with fellow countryman Umbral

From Francisco Umbral we have left his butads and his outbursts, his cute cannibal antics and his serious tone of the immoral moralist. I think that he lacked the ideas to position himself as the best Spanish journalist of the late 20th century, and that he had too much of a Marxist sociologist air to confine himself to summarizing his time; but above all, Threshold is a language teacher, a teacher who, like his godfather Sela, had the misfortune to write too well in Spanish, which was too Spanish.

My reading relationship with Threshold has gone through extreme ups and downs., from youthful enthusiasm to outright rejection, from uncritical fanaticism to that renunciation of a nun full of novices, which we grant to all authors of our first age. I decided to read it when I was fifteen, although I did not take part in writing most of his books until I was sixteen, imbued with a loquacity that made me a frequent writer in the language and cultivators of the style. First twenty pages deadly and pink they dazzled me, it seemed to me that I was faced with a way to create a clean and bright prose, which I immediately wanted to include in my youthful attempts. But immediately the bandage fell from my eyes, and it seemed to me a boring book in which, in order to find a commendable page, I had to endure three or four sleeping pills. Too much garbage in the first half of the book.

At the time, I was searching the Internet for his articles, hoping to discover in them the secret of gloss, a way to turn six or seven paragraphs into a brilliant piece. I compiled about forty columns – the ones that made the strongest impression on me, with “Xavier Arzalluz, nicknamed” R. X. “” at the head, – and feverishly read them; I tried to copy his resources, imitate his pose of a lyrical beast and take his pose, but in the end, when the fever passed, I was disappointed. I didn’t understand those unpronounceable texts where I didn’t find any ideas or theses, just famous names in bold type and allusions to a trend in folklore that, when I looked at it, was already dead. The language teacher I was looking for so badly, Sela’s substitute from whose embarrassment I had to recover from, couldn’t be that Madrilenian with forked hair and a copious verb. To write a good book, dazzling images, beautiful words and bad salivation are not enough.

I left it on the shelf with the authors, to whom we will return someday, and forgot its name. This exuberant prose, barely embellishing intellectual poverty and unfinished novels, was full of emptiness. Before that, I had devoured Leyenda del César Visionario, a working draft approached with the nostalgic fever of a Gulf sailor saying goodbye to his fraudulent mistress for several months. It could have been a masterpiece if he had worked on it more.

It took him three or four years to rediscover another of his books. In the middle, I learned that his mother was from Valencia de don Juan and that the writer spent his early years there, in that quiet plateau town that also belongs to me. Then I returned to some of his works – as I always knew it would be – and again found in their pages the lyrical and crafty master I had been looking for under his name many years ago. I think titles like Words of the Tribe; Lorca, the accursed poet; The night I arrived at the Gijón cafe; his books on the two Ramones (Valle Inclan D Gomez de la Serna) or two of his “Snob’s Diary” series, easily resisting the passage of time.

Now, none of that stops him intellectually from continuing to sound like an asshole, a frivolous, bad gossip.



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