lunes, 5 de diciembre de 2005

El ángel de la casa

De una conferencia dada por Virginia Woolf, parte del ensayo "The death of the moth". Algún otro día escribiré un poco más sobre misia Woolf, pero este texto me es especialmente interesante estos días.

"She was intensely sympathetic. She was immensely charming. She was utterly unselfish. She excelled in the difficult arts of family life. She sacrificed herself daily. If there was chicken, she took the leg; if there was a draught she sat in it —in short she was so constituted that she never had a mind or a wish of her own, but preferred to sympathize always with the minds and wishes of others. Above all —I need not say it— she was pure. Her purity was supposed to be her chief beauty —her blushes, her great grace. In those days —the last of Queen Victoria— every house had its Angel. And when I came to write I encountered her with the very first words. The shadow of her wings fell on my page; I heard the rustling of her skirts in the room. Directly, that is to say, I took my pen in my hand to review that novel by a famous man, she slipped behind me and whispered: “My dear, you are a young woman. You are writing about a book that has been written by a man. Be sympathetic; be tender; flatter; deceive; use all the arts and wiles of our sex. Never let anybody guess that you have a mind of your own. Above all, be pure.” And she made as if to guide my pen. I now record the one act for which I take some credit to myself, though the credit rightly belongs to some excellent ancestors of mine who left me a certain sum of money —shall we say five hundred pounds a year?— so that it was not necessary for me to depend solely on charm for my living. I turned upon her and caught her by the throat. I did my best to kill her. My excuse, if I were to be had up in a court of law, would be that I acted in self–defence. Had I not killed her she would have killed me. She would have plucked the heart out of my writing. For, as I found, directly I put pen to paper, you cannot review even a novel without having a mind of your own, without expressing what you think to be the truth about human relations, morality, sex. And all these questions, according to the Angel of the House, cannot be dealt with freely and openly by women; they must charm, they must conciliate, they must —to put it bluntly— tell lies if they are to succeed. Thus, whenever I felt the shadow of her wing or the radiance of her halo upon my page, I took up the inkpot and flung it at her. She died hard. Her fictitious nature was of great assistance to her. It is far harder to kill a phantom than a reality. She was always creeping back when I thought I had despatched her. Though I flatter myself that I killed her in the end, the struggle was severe; it took much time that had better have been spent upon learning Greek grammar; or in roaming the world in search of adventures. But it was a real experience; it was an experience that was bound to befall all women writers at that time. Killing the Angel in the House was part of the occupation of a woman writer."


Una anécdota extraña acerca de leer a VW. Estaba en Bariloche, a punto de tomar un micro para Baires cuando me puse a hablar con un escritor de Madryn, que había estado en un encuentro de escritores de fantástico y ciencia ficción. Estabamos hablando de nuestras lecturas y él me recomendaba leer a Proust, o a Flaubert, no recuerdo. Le comenté que había estado leyendo a Woolf y que también se lo recomendaba. Me dijo algo así como que de mujeres mucho no había leído. Me pregunto porque uno puede ignorar el sexo de Flaubert o de Proust y no el de Woolf. Si es bueno o si es malo, o si es inevitable.

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