Ana Rosa Quintana in his novel Flavor a gall
For more than a month the talk in the forums of this country has been the subject of the plagiarism committed by Ana Rosa Quintana in his novel Flavor a gall. There was everything: jokes in the newspapers, disqualifications in the markets and in the everlasting radio gatherings, brave articles of the best feathers and even messages spread by email that make fun of the famous woman fallen into disgrace, like the one that reproduces the cover of the edition that Martín de Riquer made of Don Quixote, only that in her the name of Cervantes is replaced by that of the presenter put into novelist. Anyone would say that the helpless little lamb suffers the harassment of a pack of wolves down the mountain to tear it apart and I confess that I also fell into the evil of resending some friends the aforementioned Quixote de la Quintana that one day I received in the mailbox of my computer.
The idea of harassment transmitted by the movie Ana and the Wolves (Carlos Saura, 1972) translates in my opinion the spirit of what I intend to comment here and that is why I have not hesitated to use it as the title of these lines, even knowing that, just as the courtyard is, anyone could accuse me of plagiarizing the Aragonese director, which is an artistic crime against the majesty.
The DRAE thus defines the second meaning of the plagiar verb: “Copy in substantial works of others, giving them as their own”. When seized in his book of some pages taken from novels by Danielle Steel, by Angels Mastretta, by Colleen McCullough and who knows how many more authors (that will be deciphered in their day), Quintana becomes the inmate of one of the literary crimes most persecuted by the hypocritical Western Judeo-Christian society: the theft with copyright copyright. The examples are famous: the beatle George Harrison was sentenced to pay a heavy sum in compensation for the plagiarism of the chords he allegedly incurred in composing his sales success My Sweet Lord and, in France, the writer Calixte Beyala had difficulties with the justice for reproducing in her novels passages from other books, to which she replied that in the African oral tradition from which it comes, precisely because it is oral, everyone tells stories to the neighbor and nobody cares to attribute authorship. The case that concerns us now smells of fresh money in abundance and, therefore, not many moons will pass before the lawyers launch themselves into the jugular of Ana Rosa Quintana or her editorial, hunting for a good pinch to throw Body.
However, things were not always like that and it is enough to take a look at yesterday to realize that in other times the method used in Gall Flavor was common. To make it clear how his contemporaries were to understand the Book of Good Love, Juan Ruiz, the Archpriest of Hita, left textually written in a notebook via that “any man who hears it, even if Trovar knows, can add and amend if I want to “(quartet 1629). Let us not forget that during the Middle Ages – as still today in some rural areas of the Third World – literature was largely oral and that is why Juan Ruiz addressed the notice to his listeners, not to his readers, but the same principle can be applied to the print letter. Most likely he, who knew “well trovar”, used material from others to rework his book and, aware that art was something communal, offered in fair compensation the fertile ground of his verses to whom he was able to enrich them. “Add and amend”, there is the key. I don’t think there is a more beautiful concept in the work of a writer than the one expressed by those magical words of the archpriest: creation as a universal heritage.
Time was responsible for breaking that state of affairs. Gutenberg invented the printing press, literature began the path of no return that took her away from orality and the author was born, more and more eager to see his name on the cover and to preserve the content of his works as non-transferable property whose usufruct, within a very capitalist logic, it belongs exclusively.
Despite this, this logic can be objected, which will not help but at least intend to undermine principles considered today as dogma. It is enough to read two germinal works of our culture, Lazarillo or Don Quixote, to warn that any book worth its salt does not disdain resorting to loans from the previous baggage, since basically literature, like life, is a chain in which We are all adding links. Lázaro de Tormes begins the story of his adventures by quoting Pliny: “there is no book, however bad it may be, that it has no good thing.” Then go to Tulio (Cicero): “Honor rears the arts” and then proceeds relentlessly to a string of hidden allusions – the text is literally sown – to the Golden Ass of Apuleyo, Salustio, Marquis de Santillana, El Crotalón, to the Psalms, to the Deuteronomy, to the prophets, to Tacitus, to La Celestina, to the Journey of Turkey, to the Andalusian lozana, to the Amadís de Gaula, to Fray Antonio de Guevara and many more, and even games of words with passages from the gospels of San Mateo and San Juan (I interrupt the list here so as not to bore the reader, that you can check what I say by going to the enlightening study published by Francisco Rico in the collection Letras Hispánica, de Cátedra). Already in the pit of the ridiculous, if through a temporary extrapolation we applied to Lazarillo the reasoning of these wolves, perhaps we could suggest the hypothesis that the real reason that forced the author of the first modern novel to remain anonymous was not to give credibility “autobiographical” to his story, but to prevent a constipated inquisitor from burning him at the stake for plagiarism.
Did anyone accuse Pablo Picasso of plagiarizing Velázquez for having shot Las Meninas or Don Miguel of having plagiarized Ariosto by putting an end to the first part of Don Quixote with the forse altri canterà with miglior plettro, taken from the song 30 of Orlando furioso ? What would happen if the famous Arabian Cide Hamete Benengeli had really existed, would Cervantes be a plagiarist for having adapted the history of the best novel of all time to Spanish? I suppose that the most violent wolves of the pack that now roam around Ana Rosa are unaware of the innumerable commented editions that the Knight of the Sad Figure has been subjected to, to begin with that of Diego Clemencín, who show Cervantes shaking hands like a possessed of what he had at his disposal, because like every good artist, he knew instinctively that the plagiarized verb is epistemologically a solemn nonsense.
But let’s go back to Ana Rosa. The media society that we have embraced so hard according to the vacuous model of the United States makes a whole blooming of clowns among us spring blooming, that under the protection of certain media live as bishops sucking the tit of the “Famous.” The legion of rocioítos, folklore, lequios, mazagateras and cantantuchos that today swarm in Spain is a real ignominy, but the worst thing is that some of them, as my illustrious countryman Francisco Ayala has said with the grace that characterizes him, once literate They decided to be novelists (and why not, we could ask, if the mentecatez lacks limits?), which means, I add, that in addition to going out in the Hello they sigh to look like curtos and the ideal shortcut is to be written.
I think (although I would not put my hand in the fire) that Ana Rosa is somewhat above average in this fauna, but is a victim of the social environment in which she moves by her own will, a rarefied environment of falsehoods, stabbed in the back , arribismos, elbows to see who climbs more and bad milk to blanket. With black or without black writing in the shade Flavor of gall, the curse has not fallen on Quintana for quoting even the morning star, but for searching at any price – vanity vanity – a glory for which perhaps not be prepared, using a lever as vain as the public image that transmits daily on the small screen.
It is sadly possible that today the medium is the message, as Marshall MacLuhan predicted, but that does not turn a pretty face into a novelist overnight, because you do not learn to be it in the cocktails of beautiful people or in the television marujeo programs. Bestsellers and Kleenex literature – of consuming and throwing away – are another mirage of this postmodern era, which deceives the innocent with their appearance of ease, hiding that writing well is an arduous and hard work, which is slowly forged For years in the silence of a work room, reading to the teachers who preceded us and blurring pages with the desire – almost always useless – to be able to live up to one day.
Since ignorance is usually a bad counselor, someone should have done Ana Rosa Quintana a favor and warned her where she got when she submitted the manuscript. However, what is really serious, what shows how far we have not come back, is that more than one hundred thousand unsuspecting people bite a hook whose bait – the fame of a face – belongs to the realm of virtual reality. Forges has already said it on other occasions: what country!