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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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. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Unlike Carpentier’s later work, where the “marvelous” accrues from the juxtaposition of different realities, this story depends on a magician and an explicitly literary trick. Journney Back to the Source — critical commentary The principal conceit of this tale is that it is a narrative in which time goes backwards. As he “slips towards life,” everything carpentidr in the house rushes still faster and farther back: He begins to play with toy soldiers, and takes to sitting on the floor and hiding under the clavichord.

He thus supplements the other story we have just been told and returns us to our own forward time. This was a group of stories all told in radically different styles, first published in English by Victor Gollancz in and translated from the original Spanish by the Bloomsbury Group diarist Frances Partridge. Don Marcial gradually recovers and retracts the dying confession he has made to his priest. The house jougney its contents grow younger.

Journey Back to the Source by Alejo Carpentier PDF

The story is an amusing meditation on time and causality — but it is situated within a rational framework of normal temporality. Modern Language Association http: Cancel reply Your email address will not be published.


When he leaves the seminary he enters a period of spiritual doubt and emotional crisis. Going back, everything passes much more quickly. 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 farpentier a light.

Don Marcial and the Marquesa get to know each other in the early days of their marriage. A door frame lets in the darkness.

Journey Back to the Source

A mumbling old black man roves the ruins of a dilapidated colonial mansion being demolished by workmen. This story is a good example of the literary genre.

First published inthe same year as Jorge Luis Carpentief ‘s Ficciones and collected in War of Timealsjo Back to the Source” starts from an idea so simple and so universal that a six-year-old has uttered it, “What if we could live our lives backwards? The furniture in his house grows taller. Retrieved December 26, from Encyclopedia.

The main story starts with the death of Don Marcial and finishes with his birth.

He begins using baby-talk. In Spanish the title of the story, “Viaje a la semilla,” literally means “journey” or “voyage” to the “seed,” which is feminine. 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.

He finally renounces the light, and all grows dark, warm, moist again. Don Marcial only does moderately well in his college examinations, and then learns less and less at school. The next day the workmen return, but the house they were to demolish is gone, the statue of Ceres carted off and sold.

In the penultimate section of the story this reversal of time accelerates very rapidly. Thus, gradually, delightedly, the reader realizes that he is moving not forward but backward in time. The next day the demolition crew return to find the house has gone, and time progressing in its normal manner.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. His mistress gets out of bed, gets dressed, and leaves the house. About Us Advertising Clients Contact. Jourjey one or two minor exceptions, Carpentier delivers this chronological illusion very successfully. He forgets his own name, and before his christening exists in a world of touch alone. This antithesis is too simple, since the fiction enacts an exuberant, uniquely human contemplation of the dismal reality, always and forever impending, of the annihilation of our last trace.

Journey Back to the Source by Alejo Carpentier PDF | – Part

Yet the ironic balance is maintained: Friends take their presents vack home and Don Marcial lives in his house alone as a bachelor. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Once he has reset time’s direction and lit the lamps, the Afro-Cuban sorcerer and his magical reality vanish into the text. Although the story includes other Afro-Cubans, he is not among them. 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. 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.

Relatives and friends gather to mark her passing. He has taken a mistress following a period of mourning after the death of his wife.