Ernesto Hernández Busto: “The reactionary writer shows us the hidden side of progress”

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Cuban writers analyze the literature of the right between the wars through profiles of nine authors

Ernesto Herne
Ernesto Hernandez Busto.David RamirezVehicle

Cuban writer, journalist and translator, exiled in Spain since 1999 and based in Barcelona, Ernesto Hernandez Busto addresses in Myth and rebellion. the faces of the reactionary writer (Turner), an expanded and updated version of the book, which won the Casa America Essay Prize in 2004, is a collective portrait of a range of wartime writers, such as Ernst Younger, ezra pound, Ernesto Gimenez Caballero hey Louis-Ferdinand ClineCursed, reactionary, anti-modern and in many cases pagan pen, which in his opinion outlines the “right-wing intellectual” in Europe.

You believe that it is possible to talk of right-wing literature…
As a literary or stylistic model the spectrum is too broad to be reduced to that definition: authors such as Ezra Pound, for example, have little to do with any other such as Mantralent. On the other hand, there are general elements that allow us to speak of a right-wing writer as an intellectual model. Each author that appears in this book is presented as part of a larger model that would serve to define the reactionary intellectual.
What is their specialty?
He is someone who does not believe in progress, who elevates the myth, which has a complicated relationship with the past and his time. This is very well explained by Antoine Compagnon antimoderns (Cliff), where he few words that French writers of the 19th century and the period between the wars, such as Baudelaire, Bloy or Pague, are more modern than those we usually describe as modern artists We do. Because they are writers who know the revolution very well and teach the hidden side of perceived progress. Quoting Thibaudette, Compagne affirms that during the Third French Republic, the moment France modernizes politically, the conservative impulse is transferred from politics to literature, with two guardian angels of authority, which Chateaubriand and de Maestre. Almost all the important writers of France from 1870 to 1940 were conservative, reactionary, anti-progress. The great contribution and clarity of the reactionary writer is to show how revolution can be the opposite.
An intellectual paradigm that continues to this day?
The Dreyfus case brought him into question, raised the intellectual as a right-wing anti-hero, and this view continues to this day. The landscape has changed little in recent decades. For example, the model of the Spanish intellectual was someone like Sempron or Alberti, but now more attention is paid to writers who were not active in the anti-Franco regime. There is a seminal book, which has changed the perception of Spanish literature in this sense, is Las armas y las letras by Anders Trapiello. An essay that revises literary understanding in Spain. Although Ruano, Sánchez Mazas or Fox are still rarely read, they were writers who read modernists and who, like them, did not want to give up on tradition.
You, from among these Spanish authors, choose Ernesto Giménez Caballero in your book…
His camp side caught my attention. The singular aspect to which only the avant-garde could contribute: despite being the embodiment of Facha, it also had a fundamental role in the artistic avant-garde. He was the innovator of Spanish culture between the wars. In some books the writings of Giménez Caballero are downright experimental, sometimes compared to Breton or Futurist. He was a perfect opportunist with a great talent for capturing the spirit of the times. Besides, it’s very funny, irresistibly comical.
In your essay, you state that a common characteristic of anti-Semitic reactionary writers is…
It is a common element among writers from various countries, including the Russian Vasily Razanov, little known in Spain, or Cline of the pamphlet, or the Mexican Vasconcelos. The Jew characterizes the representation of some inconveniences, the need for sacrifice, in the form of a scapegoat, rootlessness. But there is something else. Kline even said that he is a “Jew of the Jews”. Deep down, they all have a love-hate relationship with the Jewish basis of European culture.
The crisis of values, the fear of hurried progress, indifference to the past… all ingredients that remind us of the present moment. Are we facing a reactionary presence?
Absolutely. Curiously, just as the reaction moved from politics to literature, so now the reactionary right wing has returned to politics with populism. Here we have Putin and his leading ideologues such as Alexander Dugin or Ivan Ilyin, who speak of the loss of Western values ​​and once again awaken the old Eurasian ghost that will stop this decline through a great rebellion. And it is not just in Russia. One of the references to Steve Bannon is Julius Evola, a former Donald Trump ideologue. Both Dauguin and Evola speak of a West in crisis and a great inevitable rebellion.
Why this new title, what’s the difference between myth and rebellion?
It is a reflection on time. The biggest question of the modern intellectual, whether on the left or on the right, is the question of freedom. While distrusting progress, the question arises whether to remain prisoners of the cyclical impermanence of myth or aspire to the rebellion that will bring us back to freedom in a conditioned world.
Which current writers would you define as reactionary?
Despite not fitting into the chronological pattern of the book, I was tempted to add the Italian Roberto Calasso. He is a seminal writer as he has summarized and edited these writers long considered “cursed”. Analyze the myth and question the progress of our secular, accelerated and logarithmic society. Then there’s Houlebeck, who works on land fertilized by Huisman or Baudelaire. His novels are kept out of the intellectual comfort zone to popularize a certain nihilism. France, in this sense, seems to be another world. Without proceeding, last month, for example, GuerreKline’s new indie, the first edition sold 80,000 copies.

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