Juan Goytisolo

  • post Type / Young Humanists International
  • Date / 5 November 2007

In the autobiographical essay “Dialogues without frontiers“, Juan Goytisolo elegantly interweaves his conceptions of litterature through his rejection of all essentialism. It gives a nice view of the several identitary struggles this author was involved in, of his anti-authoritarianism and of his quest for a refined, humanist understanding of multiculturalism. Or, in his own words a “dialogue without frontiers [which] is at the antipodes of provincial, religious and national orthodoxies, and the absolutism of identity.”

Links Section

Read Fernanda Eberstadt’s appreciative and cognizant review of Goytisolo’s work as appeared in the New York Times – here

A similar and equally instructive review from the Guardian dwells more explicitly on Goytisolo’s political views, his commitment to sexual liberation and his disapproval of any form of restrictive religiosity – here

Embroidering further on this rejection of religious fundamentalism, Goytisolo published an article “Voltaire y el Islam” in the Spanish daily El Pais. An English translation of this whortwile article, in which the author  criticises both Islam itself and its detractors (Ayaan Hirsi Ali etc) as he bases himself on Voltaire, Said and others, can be found here.

“Et quand le rideau tombe”, which comprises several reflections on individual loss and sorrow, on disillusionment in the face of the numerous atrocities committed by mankind (Chechnya) and on the search for an atheist way of dealing with both, has been translated in English as “The blind rider”. A nice English review can be found here, but in november 2005, “Le Monde Diplomatique” has devoted an entire dossier to the book. It presents an interview with the author, Guy Scarpetta reviews the humanist approaches to “the violence the universe inflicts on an individual” and Milan Kundera digs deeper in Goytisolo’s treatment of the Chechnya massacres. (in French)  

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