DIARIO 16, 15 Feb 90
By Jesus Morenzo Sanz
This book, resounding like an impassioned speech in favor of clarity,
liberty and the enjoyment of life, not exempt from the tragic burden
of destiny, is constructed from a prologue, 'A Writer's Ten Commandments',
which is a programmatic declaration of the dissolving acid that
Vizinezey sprinkles over the vain complacencies of literature, and
seven thematic sections (France; Cruelty and Death; Germany; Sex,
Science, politics; Russia; What Matters Most; Christianity, Communism,
Poetry) which are like windows opened on our ignorance, impotence
and tribulation, letting in crystalline light and pure air.
The author of In Praise of Older Women and An Innocent Millionaire
collects here 52 newspaper articles, essays and book reviews, all
of them free from the diplomacy of those critics who, as Vizinezey
says, write as if they were talking out of both sides of their mouth,
and which turn this book into a passionate protest against stupidity,
deceit and literary squalor. Stimulating in his loves as well as
his hates, Vizinczey's hypercritical and plainspoken writing will
undoubtedly help more than one reader (and more than one writer)
to be less pedantic and pretentious, to become wiser and more lucid,
and also, perhaps, more courageous. For Vizinczey's ardent attempt
to free life from its lies with writing (like the great ones be
admires - Shakespeare, Swift, Rousseau, Sterne, Stendhal, Baizac,
Kleist, Tolstoy, Nerval) cannot fail to communicate his force, the
coherence of his passion which is precisely that constant tension
towards what he calls truth and authenticity, a tension necessarily
founded on the polar opposites of love and hate, scorn and pity.
Because any other type of consistency which does not assume these
tensions and distances between reasoning and the emotions would
be either a sham or - as Vizinezey says - 'a virtue for trains'.
Erudite and a 4eclared rationalist, Vizinczey is interested (and
this is also an attempt to sum up the two authors he admires most,
Stendhal and Kleist) in undermining all the domains of 'irrationality'
and bringing to light the reasons why human beings are tossed to
and fro between love, politics and crime.
His -incorruptible gaze scans equally vain illusions buoyed up with
hope (that 'universal cant') and the calumnies of those who vituperate
against the scheme of things. Vizinczey refutes the liars who slander
life in the name of literature and submit it to the rules .of impotence
and the negation of human dignity, because 'In real life there is
no power which could inescapably prevail over our vitality and love'.
For Vizinczey there are two kinds of literature: one helps you to
understand, the other helps you to forget; the first helps you to
be a free person and a free citizen, that other helps people to
manipulate you. Included in this category are flattery, illusions,
white lies, pretences and self-deception. Vizinczey attacks this
literature, as he attacks its complicity with the politics that
breed degradation and crime. And as he attacks the critics who are
summed up in that figure already portrayed by Proust in Contre Sainte-Beuve,
the 'authoritative critic' who 'praises the false, the innocuous.,
the pretentious, damning everything that is truthful, lively, passionate,
unruly - anything that might move us deeply and stir us to think'.
Because if we change, the world might change too.
In short, this book is an intellectually exciting and morally inspiring
text concerning those 'little true facts' about the problems in
which, through the course of time and in the world of the present,
literature interlocks with politics, religion, sex, personal identity
and group identities. (The excellent last chapter is about the permanent
revolution in Hungary.) A true book, full of the 'calamities that
haven't yet destroyed us, but which, on the contrary, stated and
reported with clarity, turn words into the lances of a permanent
living cavalry charge (sometimes a desperate one, considering .ts
defeats) in defense of the joy and dignity of existence. Unsubmissive
writing which challenges the idea we have of ourselves and which,
based on the denunciation of any kind of literary opportunism, offers
certain safe-conducts against despair.
By Jesus Morenzo Sanz