Journal Article

¿Cuanto falta para Jerusalén?: Lorca's Apocalyptic and the Paradigms of Peace in <i>Poeta en Nueva York</i> and <i>El público</i>

Dennis Costa

in Literature and Theology

Volume 22, issue 1, pages 64-87
Published in print March 2008 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online December 2007 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/litthe/frm049
¿Cuanto falta para Jerusalén?: Lorca's Apocalyptic and the Paradigms of Peace in Poeta en Nueva York and El público

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Many of Federico García Lorca's best readers have noted a distinctly apocalyptic tone in Poeta en Nueva York and drawn inaccurate conclusions from it. This article maintains that a specific set of images from the Apocalypse—constituting an ‘irenic’ discourse concerning peace in the midst of violence—is Lorca's measure or paradigm for what can be said to be most true. What can be said to be most false is any image or reality that confusingly mimics such paradigms of peacefulness. Like the Johannine ‘revelator’, Lorca unveils not only the world's violence but also the curious stance of those who are enduring patiently in the midst of it. Lorca's verse exists so that such people—blacks, impoverished immigrants, dying children at the moment of their deaths—may be envisioned as taking the measure of everyone else.

I identify a class of adverbs in these poems (echoing adverbials in Revelation) that seek to give the lie to a universally accepted norm according to which New York's Harlem could never be considered to anticipate the ‘new Jerusalem’.

Lorca's imaginative project of a ‘theatre underneath the sand’, announced in the unfinished play El público, requires that genuine community, like the primitive Christians, go underground in order to ‘play’. The verbs sostenir (to endure) and resistir (to resist, to parry), taken from the irenic lexicon of Revelation, define how the actors must play their parts, enacting ‘an incalculable love’ at the risk of their own lives.

Journal Article.  11663 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

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