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Xordica republishes "Lista de locos y otros alfabetos"

2019-04-11  ¦  Publications

Lista de locos y otros alfabetos was first published 20 years ago (Siruela, 1998), and last week the republished edition was launched at an event in Madrid.

Xordica republishes

Xordica has just republished one of Bernardo Atxaga's most personal works, Lista de locos y otros alfabetos.

The book's launch was held at the La Buena Vida bookstore in Madrid (Calle Vergara, 5) on April 9th. Atxaga spoke during the launch event, along with journalist Jesús Marchamalo and publisher Chusé Raúl Usón.

"Lista de locos" is a collection of experimental texts, both fiction and essay. It was first published in Basque by Erein (1988) and in Spanish by Siruela (1988), and in that same year it won the Premio Euskadi de Literatura, the Basque Country prize for literature. It was also published in Denmark by Aschehoug Dank Forlag, and some of the texts have been published in anthologies in Poland, Hungary, Portugal and other countries.

In the excerpt below, Atxaga explains how he came to the idea of writing the 16 alphabets that deal with literature and the different forms of narration, and where the author, playing a game with the knowing reader, pens a work brimming with freshness and originality.

"They say that the monks of eight or nine hundred centuries ago often had to face unenthusiastic, occasionally hostile audiences, who were most reluctant to follow the steps of a theological proof or of a moral sermon, and that the Alphabeta exemplorum was born out of that difficulty and the need to overcome it. What the monks did was to share out the weight of the discourse equally, so that each of the twenty or so letters of the corresponding alphabet would bear some of that weight on its tiny shoulders and help to carry the load; for example, A might be used to demonstrate the existence of the Afterlife, B would speak of St. Basil (...) When one of those Alphabeta exemplorum first fell into my hands, I immediately saw the point of that verbal contrivance (...) I decided at once to appropriate the method (...) A year passed, and already ten or so such alphabets had left my desk to be read or published in the most disparate places (...) My friends were beginning to worry."

Excerpt from Words Without Borders (by Jull Costa).