William Rowlandson on ‘the immobile traveller’

Dr William Rowlandson, Senior Lecturer in Hispanic Studies in the Department of Modern Languages, has published a blog post for the Institute of Modern Languages Research titled ‘‘What are you reading?’ José Lezama Lima: the immobile traveller for immobile travellers’.

‘When man swings his axe, he swings it against his own neck. The man’s blood and mine flow in the mortal neck of the tree, and the tree will not survive this crime against itself.’ (José Lezama Lima)

Having studied the works of Cuban poet Lezama Lima for his PhD twenty years ago, William returns to Lezama’s huge and complex saga-novel Paradiso, first published in 1966, as reading material during the pandemic lockdown. William draws on the novel and on an interview with Lezama, recorded soon before his death in 1976, to explore to themes relevant to the present: lockdown immobility, and climate and environmental crisis.

William says: “Lezama’s voice resonates across the ages, and his wistful thoughts on deforestation chime with many of the questions and ideas we explore in the cross-disciplinary module SCL505 Cultures of Sustainability.”

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