Proposals for Literary Creation in the Valencia Area in the 21st Century

Meseguer, Lluís B.
Quaderns Divulgatius, 13 2000

There is no literature nor criticism that does not have a time. Adducing both the apocalypse and integration -- to use the terminology of Umberto Eco -- it would seem appropriate to remark that many epochs, regarding themselves as transitional, present a special awareness of a liturgy of voices, of polyphony with respect to the historic appropriation of the meeting point between the discursive diversity of literature and the social diversity of reality. Overlooking this meeting point implies overlooking two treasures of literary and therefore social art: on the one hand, the autonomy and complexity of the sense of any text or document and, on the other, the importance of analysing literature within the cultural framework that creates (it).
It is not speaking loosely to report optimistically that there is a possibility of improving the greater part of literature in Catalan in the Valencia region, which is to say, writing it and representing it in better economic, media, social and cultural conditions. This literature has begun to be adapted or broken up in two very different senses: adapted to forms of dialect and territorially reduced. The subjects studied in the secondary schools for the baccalaureate are called "Valença - Literatura" or "Literatura Valenciana", and the publishing houses will eventually have to make a virtue of necessity, and rightly so too, and we shall find that all the literary models and the texts themselves will be "Valencian". The exclusion of Llull, Bernat Metge, Fontanella, Verdaguer, Maragall, Carner, Salvat, Riba, Espriu, Pere Quart, Gimferrer and Ferrater is being perpetrated. In other words, the references.
The implicit proposals are the recognition of criticism and the overcoming of regionalised markets. These proposals should be in the framework of reflections on attitudes which are particularly present-day:
1. A constant renovation of knowledge and linguistic registers because writing with a literary volition cannot adduce ignorance, nor act as an adoring genuflexion of the basic prescriptive norm: not to betray it is to betray it. In this sense, every Valencian book is starting from zero. On the other hand, there are writers who speak Valencian well and who have not been educated in the written registers, and writers who know the written registers well at the historical point when the oral uses are disappearing.
2. Participation in the inherited or unfinished debates of modernity which all literatures now share. For example, active participation in debates on ethics and technology in which the Valencian writer finds himself or herself in medias res. This is to say the "hurry" to get to modernity -- confusing it with the forms of urbanity or hyper-originality -- goes hand in hand with the "hurry" to abandon traditional and provincial customs and manners.
3. A constant renovation of the written tradition in the framework of oral interaction. A period of changes is preferable to a period of inertia and one should not discard the element of play contributed by doubt and conversation derived from themes and questions to be clarified.
4. An active awareness of social and literary diversity demonstrated in all possible spheres: intercultural, interlinguistic and interliterary awareness; awareness of the capacity for combining diversity and quality; awareness of the rupture of borders between fiction and non-fiction; awareness of the functional paradox of literary prizes as a vehicle against endogamy; awareness of the proximity to the genres of communication; awareness of the nature of the new contract of reading, since nowadays the reader tends to be a spectator. The notion of aperture is not a condescending presumption, but the conversion of fear of the times into awareness of the times. And the times are open, like language.

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