The Spanish poet Federico García Lorca is the man behind the renowned lecture known as “Theory and Play of the Duende” in Argentina’s Buenos Aires in the year 1933. He described that Duende is in close associated with the Latin flamenco, yet Lorca has defined it as a powerful universal concept in art. Lorca was under deep influence of the Greek culture and many other artists. It is particularly interesting to see that he was able to reinterpret the symbolism, giving new roles to Muse and Angel (García, 1981). As per his explanations, an Angel is symbolic of the inspiration and the grace of Garcilaso while the Muse is symbolic of the intelligence of Góngora. He also explained that the Duende is a powerful passion that comes from inside. A Lorca Specialist, Marie Laffranque, said that the Duende is the wounding, the pain, evil and misfortune.
Thesis: The Duende is a fiery passion that is grown from within oneself
According to Garcia Lorca, the Duende is a deep struggle that takes place within an artist to bring life to their work or art. It is a force that originates from the farthest and most remote mansions of the blood. He further explained that the Duende is cannot be found or discovered like other external influences in art but must rather be fought from the inside of an artist during the time of creation, this helps bring a kind of purity of thought and emotion that shakes the body (García, Maurer, & Di, 2010). Some of the elements related to the Duende are irrationality, earthiness, a high awareness of death, as well as the diabolical. For Instant, Garcia made a description of a performance done by Pastora Pavon, a flamenco singer, where he not only exhibited her talent but also robbed themselves of security and skill in a helpless struggle with the Duende inside her as well as the song. St. Sebastian symbolizes vulnerability which is a central part of the Duende described by Lorca as a powerful force that transforms a girl into a Lunar paralytic. The Duende affects both the performer and the audience and is thus not limited to the artist.
The Duende is seen as fleeting, dependent on the ability to take risks, never repeating itself and transient. Lorca talks about it as something that doesn’t come unless he sees the possibility of death. The Duende according to him is fought “on the edge of the well” and inside the “open wounds where creation happens” (67).This is the reason why Duende is so much connected to the bullfight which is an art strongly connected to the possibility of death and this makes it clear that the Duende comes at the point of danger and that is when the truth in art can be achieved. The relationship between the bullfight and the Duende is an insight to the way that death functions in the Spanish Culture. This thus highlights the way death is closely associated with the feeling of being alive and celebration (García, 1981). The suggestion of Lorca is that Death in Spain is usually a national spectacle.
While looking at this for the first time, the first lines of the essay by Garcia, The Theory and Play of the Duende which is also referred to as the Duende seems like an incrimination. However, it is looked at through a deeper lens to realize that the contents of the essay are pure intentions towards learning about history, culture, as well as the history of culture in the present times (Bader, 2014). This is something that carries a lot of concern and importance in the life and soul of the modern person. García Lorca starts his conversation through recalling how in his ten years as a student, he heard a thousand lectures. He was saying that in the same place where he happens to have said that “longing for fresh air and sunlight, I was so bored that when I emerged I felt as if I was covered with a thin film of ash that was about to turn into itching powder.” His attack was centered towards educating, at the many lectures he received that were meaningless, which could be repeated in an unending cycle like Ixion’s while.
The thousand lectures give as a clear glimpse of the feeling of irritation by García that happens through people as a curse of hellish dimensions. These many lectures, which gives clearly a plethora of knowledge that can never be fully experienced or assimilated in real practice, exist in deepening of the abyss between the knowledge within the soul of any person. In the history of scholarship, Nietzsche happened to be the innovator of his age when it came to the statement of the problem. At the exposure of madness, he was able to write that the present day’s conflict, Man was the oldest. He was able to demonstrate it through the form of adolescent intuitions in the olden Greece in insoluble dichotomies such as Dionysus and Apollo. Nevertheless, there is no room for doubt that he happens to be the first individual to draw a lot of attention to the simple facts that had been forgotten in history and were already out of sight. However, we see that the patrimony left a millennia ago is still in fresh existence in us. We understand that it is present through bursts of disorder, and pathology, suffering in their forms, through lack of understanding, and the effort it costs people to come close to the things that cannot be framed for reference in the life that has been forced on us by history. Everyone can understand that due to the fact that sometimes we can experience the feelings long forgotten as a means of access to our innermost persons and when our deeper feelings are stirred through the taking of a small amount of wine, music, listening to a poem, positive company, or dreams, something will always move within us.
Philosophy is unable to take the challenge as well as deliver answers to the questions presented to it. It instead used other paths, the way of a thousand lectures with the exploration of intricacies in linguistics. These are the scientific assertions that end up increasing the greed of deification of the economy and the titanic. Lastly, about the exploration of man, it is evident that there is a vacuum in existence that is already there is literature which is a void where the Duende can never make an appearance. Scholars accept the whole challenge and found that there was something existing in the atmosphere. This was the form of need of the man in the present times to take in more breath which is also an inspiration that is like absorbing images, stimuli, as well as images from a far away from the limitations of the air that can only reach to our lungs (Bader, 2014). Whatever that has to be best suited to sustaining our needs to find a way from the farthest sections that has been bypassed by history; whatever is most precious comes from the body. The people who initiated these studies tried to focus our attention on a central problem in geography. These people were humanitarians who lives beyond the Alps who were in a culture in which Dionysus never meant anything up to the second half of the 19th century. The necessity of history drove them into studying about it and they did so through the tools offered to them by history as well as other humanistic studies offered to them. These means the racial, geographical, and historical, considerations which are today called the Trans-Alpine psychology.
These were the products of a Protestantism built on fantasies of domination by imperialism and those that kept distancing them from positions that were more favorable, the personal experience of the inner them that they were studying about. They began to explore the irrational from the shield of the Nazi shame through an incurable optimism. This was like pure madness that had no relationship to whatever they were studying (García, Maurer, & Di, 2010). Through the romantic pains of their hearts, they brought an eroded tradition with most of them expressing the valuables that limited them on a daily basis. As it was put by Walter Otto: “Thus previous attempts to explain the madness of the Dionysian orgies in terms of human needs, whether spiritual or material, have ended in complete failure. Their conclusions are not only unbelievable in themselves, but they are intolerably contradictory of the most important and the most explicit sources.”3 This statement by Walter gives us a clear picture of the remoteness of these scholars from the irrationality of the Dionysian complexes where all the rejected and the incredible are clearly manifested in one single body.
The words of Otto are a clear indication of the boundaries between the studies about humanities in academics and something else that keeps eluding them which is the territory of the subterranean gods where whatever is meant by words, study, gets to its limits and the experience of living starts (Bader, 2014). It’s not possible to have a conception of Dionysus as belief. Thus is because we have a clear understanding of him as a living experience of feelings, complaints, emotions, grief, and other bodily expressions that are always under the pressure of consensus and are relegated to geographical and social lines in their constant war of survival making attempts for self-expression. To talk of those that have been overcome by history, as is the case for Duende by García Lorca that continues to live on in a region full of Jewish, Roman, Gypsy, and Moorish complexes. From the turn of the century, the disciplines have been working to handle the problem where one of the approach used has been psychotherapy. This is the psychic process that has been accepted and reflected as life in its real sense.
Returning to equation of the Duende by Lorca, that emphasizes that any person who has Duende also bears death; due to the fact that whoever gets to deny that the moments that are propitious to the Duende’s appearance will occur at the point or in the process of death is the supreme Suerte. He also continues to say that this Duende’s epiphany tells people about whatever belongs to the present moment. This is what philosophers and the traditions will refer to as the meaning of life. It has been hidden and preserved in deep initiations of the Dionysius only to be felt during a state of Duende or at the moment of dying. The Duende may never come not unless there is the possibility of death. The Duende belongs to a divine intervention realm (García, Maurer, & Di, 2010). This is where Dionysus makes his epiphany at the right time that belongs to him or divinity allows him. People become less powerful due to the fact that people are faced with the divinity, mortality and they ought to accept the intervention of the Dionysus to experience the state of the Duende. As a mortal being the only thing that Lorca Garcia ventured most into talking about was that in bullfighting, they had to do their best with a clarity of the Duende and out fear and the conflict at hand.
Bader, C. “Duende and Psychoanalysis.” Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion, 2014, pp. 541-544, doi: 10.1007/978-1-4614-6086-2_189.
García, L. F. Theory and play of the Duende: And, Imagination, inspiration, evasion. Kanathos, 1981.
García, L. F., et al. In search of Duende. New Directions, 2010.