Pequeña Sinfonía del Nuevo Mundo (Small Symphony of the New World) by Luis Cardoza y Aragón

Luis Cardoza y AragónTo open the pages of a book written by Luis Cardoza y Aragón is to enter a literary fantasy, and Pequeña Sinfonía del Nuevo Mundo is no exception, as this story offers a narrative where poetry shows off Cardoza’s talent in the description of landscapes and feelings in a prose story whose central theme is the relation to consciousness.

There are three key stages in this story: Havana, New York, and Florence, cities that reflect the concerns of the young artists of the time (written between 1929 and 1932) who seek the forefront of the future that was accompanied by medievalism and the invention of large cities.

“Pathways in the world of analogies, with projections of deep and versatile affection which walk through the imagination, directed by a compass of smoke, without brakes, to get to the real, that is, the unknown, not to explain but to transfigure,” is how Cardoza y Aragón describes his story which is filled with metaphors of childhood, death, martyrdom of saints, the primitive, and the indigenous world.

And as the author himself says, a book of this nature is not described in a linear fashion, as its multiple facets lead the reader to discover a new world, created by a man, that majestically describes the feelings of his innermost fantasies, forming a new meaning inside himself.

Luis Cardoza y Aragón was born in La Antigua Guatemala on June 21, 1901. His literary work was complemented as a diplomat in other countries, and his convictions led him into political exile: he lived in Mexico, where he died.

His literary output includes poetry, essays, and art criticism. At age 20 he moved to the United States and Europe where he frequented literary circles and lived through the emergence of surrealism. After the abolition of the dictatorship of General Jorge Ubico, the revolution that emerged in 1944 was an event that marked him, because he was serving as a diplomat while still working on his literary production during that period.

He founded and edited the literary review Revista de Guatemala, and his writing made him an intellectual icon in Latin America; he, along with Miguel Ángel Asturias and Cesar Brañas, constituted a golden age in Guatemalan literature.

His works include: Luna Park; La torre de Babel (The Tower of Babel); Dibujos de ciego (Blind Drawings); Fez, ciudad santa de los árabes (Fez, Holy City of the Arabs); Pintura mexicana y contemporánea (Contemporary Mexican Painting); Miguel Ángel Asturias – Casi Novela (Miguel Ángel Asturias -Almost a Novel); Pequeña Sinfonía del Nuevo Mundo (Small Symphony of the New World); and Canción de las razas (Song of the Races), among others.

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Cover photo courtesy of Editorial Universitaria

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Luis Cardoza y Aragón2In tribute to the anniversary of the birth of Luis Cardoza y Aragón, Casa del Río presents a pair of events about the Guatemalan author and intellectual icon.

The first is the Guatemalan film Luis y Laura. In this film from director Sergio Valdes Pedroni, Luis Cardoza y Aragón stresses his radical statements about art against propaganda. In addition, he addresses the young, asserting authenticity and the right to fight for their vocation, while highlighting the importance of La Antigua in his career, and he says farewell to life in a touching scene. Laura Aldana de Pineda exerts a counterpoint as a popular poet who, in a sense, represents the image of a complete Guatemala, courageous and painful, which Cardoza y Aragón carries within himself.
Luis y Laura (Guatemala, 2000, 45 minutes). Script, direction, and editing: Sergio Valdes Pedroni. Friday, June 7th at 7 PM. Casa del Río, Calle del Hermano Pedro Prolongación #6, MAP L1.

The second is Recordando el Porvenir (Remembering the Future) a “scenic intervention” by Alejandro Marré during the projection of unpublished 16 mm images of Luis Cardoza y Aragón. The work is a dialogue between a figure on stage and the projected images of Luis Cardoza y Aragón, who returns to the present to make us partake in his lyrical dreams and his infinite thirst for invention.
Casa del Rio MapRecordando el Porvenir (Remembering the Future), a scenic intervention with Alejandro Marré, poet and star of the film Luis y Laura, with live music. Friday, June 21st at 7 PM. Casa del Río, Calle del Hermano Pedro Prolongación #6, MAP L1.

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