Proliferación de viudas
El tema de las viudas literarias -o sus herederos- vuelve a tomar actualidad con la aparición de libros póstumos de autores como Roberto Bolaño, David Foster Wallace o Vladímir Nabokov. Y reciéntemente, lo de Julio Cortázar o Raymond Carver. Todos estamos de acuerdo con que Max Brod salvó a la literatura universal de quedarse sin un genio literario. Pero esa es la excepción. ¿Queremos más viudas literarias? ¿Son necesarios esos libros póstumos? ¿Las viudas tienen la razón en decidir o deberían dejar eso a los especialistas? Un artículo en el reciente número de la revista virtual The Quartely Conversation comenta el tema:
For those who can claim to have read every page of Wallace (well over 4,000 of them), or all of Nabokov (18 novels, plus 1,000 pages of stories, plus two books of lectures, numerous volumes of poetry, and translations . . .), or even the bilingualists who have exhausted Bolaño, then perhaps they can claim that an unexpected addition to an oeuvre is like a seductive phone call from beyond the grave. But for those of us who have yet to complete these authors’ works, our cynicism insists that the unpublished manuscripts are just an excuse to gossip about so-and-so and get excited about the publication of a “new” book, an item for which, we must observe, we are not currently lacking. Wallace, Nabokov, and (now) Bolaño are brands, and brands sell, especially in times of economic uncertainty. It’s easy to generate press for Wallace’s “last” “novel,” not so much for Wallace’s first novel, to say nothing of midlist author X, whose last book (total sales of around 5,000 copies in cloth and paper) generates a lukewarm brush-off from Barnes & Noble’s computer algorithm. Still, we would be remiss if we did not admit that an unfinished work’s very nature promises certain pleasures that no completed work can. There is something humbling, if not a little satisfying, to know that the force that could produce Invisible Man could also struggle for the rest of his life to again satisfy his muse. Well, let’s see why! Crack that ms open! The intrigue is inarguable. In the unfinished novel we can see the writer in all her wretched humanity, prone to distractions and failures just like us. At the same time, all those lacunae and disjunctions, the scribbles and blots and jagged lines, afford us unprecedented access to the creative mind at work. So now we have finally secured an invitation to our favorite writer’s study; we can hover like an unwanted in-law, make little snorts and suggestions at the writer’s trembling pen, project our own petty psychological theories. All this will make great banter at the next party.