Journey Back to the Source: Alejo Carpentier: Viaje a la semilla (; Journey Back to the Source), for instance, set in 19th-century Cuba, is told in reverse. The Cuban novelist who invented the phrase “lo real maravilloso americano,” Alejo Carpentier considered “Journey Back to the Source” (“Viaje a la semilla”) to . Journey Back to the Source Analysis and Quiz According to Carpentier, language is an artificial, alienating construct, almost like structured.

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What is important, then, is carpentler the source but rather the journey, the stories people spin out in idleness as they wait for death, a destination reached by the “hours growing on the right-hand side of the clock. Nor does he spoil it in the telling.

Journey Back to the Source by Alejo Carpentier PDF |

Unlike Carpentirr later work, where the “marvelous” accrues from the juxtaposition of different realities, this story depends on a magician and an explicitly literary trick. Carpentier is not the first author to put time in reverse. He begins to play with bck soldiers, and takes to sitting on the floor and hiding under the clavichord. Learn more about citation styles Citation styles Encyclopedia.

Once the house is reassembled, in the room where the marquess lies the tall candles grow longer and longer until a nun puts them out with a light. The Cuban novelist who invented the phrase “lo real maravilloso americano,” Alejo Carpentier considered “Journey Back to the Source” “Viaje a la semilla” to be the story from which his maturity as a writer began.

A door frame lets in the darkness. The main story starts with the death of Don Marcial and finishes with his birth.

With one or two minor exceptions, Carpentier delivers this chronological illusion very successfully. Yet the ironic balance is maintained: Your email address will not be published.

Friends take their presents back home and Don Marcial lives in his house alone as a bachelor. Journey Back to the Source — critical commentary The principal conceit of this tale is that it is a narrative in sourcr time goes backwards.

Earlier, along with his male friends, he has visited a dance hall. With its search for illusory origins, its loving descriptions of colonial luxury, its contrast between past and present, its typical rather than individual protagonist, and its account of the material decline of an effete aristocracy, the story adumbrates much of Carpentier’s later writing.


Nor does the story propose as Carpentier’s later work does that the man’s magic is real in his world though not in ours: They get dressed up in old clothes varpentier the attic and hold a musical party where he flirts with a young girl.

In Spanish the title of the story, “Viaje a thd semilla,” literally means “journey” or “voyage” to the “seed,” which is feminine. The story is an amusing meditation on time and causality — but it is situated within a rational framework of normal temporality. Walls have sloughed their paper like snakes shed their old skins; capitals lie fallen against their natural propensities, yet the vines recognize their carpdntier with the acanthus of fallen columns and twine round them.

While accounts of the story emphasize its portentous allegory, the tale itself, the reader’s journey, is ironic, witty, and fun. Since “seed” in English joirney semen, which is masculine, spurting out to join the egg, it cannot be used to describe the trip back up the vaginal canal to our source.

In a reversal of time, the house is re-assembled, and the man enters the house where Don Marcial, its owner, is lying on his death bed. Outside the house, before the old man acts, a rich, baroque, typically encrusted description establishes the simultaneity of decay and renewal.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. He visits his father who is ill in bed. The principal conceit of this tale is that it is a narrative in which time goes backwards. Sokrce furniture in his house grows taller.

Journey Back to the Source

Critics dispute whether the conclusion represents a glorious return to nature or a dismal annihilation of the human race. Carpentier in Carpetier Spanish video documentary and interview with Carpentier The next day zource workmen return, but the house they were to demolish is gone, the statue of Ceres carted off and sold. Wells and observes that film runs its action backwards or forwards with equal ease. Print this article Print all entries for this topic Cite this article.

The infant Don Marciale has a close relationship with the household servant Melchor, with whom caarpentier shares secrets. Like Laurence Sterne in Tristram Shandy, whose hero tells his story from the moment of his conception, or Machado de Assis in Epitaph for a Small Winner, whose hero begins his story just after his death, Carpentier starts from a conceit—a smart, clever, ingenious idea.


latin american magical realism: “Journey Back to the Source”

As he “slips towards life,” everything else in the house rushes still faster and farther back: They move back into the city from their country estate and get married. Though the new growth may be unrecognizable, seeds in clay and water do come up again. When he leaves the seminary he enters a period of spiritual doubt and emotional crisis.

The storyteller makes comprehensible and forces the reader back through the text the otherwise indecipherable death of the marquesa by water. He forgets his own name, and before his christening exists in a world of touch alone.

The ruined marquess trades bankruptcy for mourning, mourning for romance, romance for spiritual crisis, spiritual crises for toy grenadiers, the groom, and the only true perspective on a house—the one from the floor.

He finally renounces the light, and all grows dark, warm, moist again. This story is a good example of the literary genre. This was a group of stories all told in radically different styles, first published in English by Victor Gollancz in and translated from too original Spanish by the Bloomsbury Group jojrney Frances Partridge. When Melchor is not there, his closest friends are the household dogs, with whom he shares his life. In the penultimate section of the story this reversal of time accelerates very rapidly.

Journey Back to the Source Viaje al semilla was written inbut first published in in Havana, Cuba as part of carpntier collection entitled The War of Time — Guerra del tiempo Thus, gradually, delightedly, the reader realizes that he is moving not forward but backward in time.

Going back, everything passes much more quickly. Don Marcial only does moderately well in his college examinations, and then learns less and less at school. He thus supplements the other story we have just been told and returns us to our own forward time.