The Spanish word duende may be translated as goblin, imp, or pixie. For poet, dramatist, actor, artist, puppeteer and pianist Federico García Lorca, the duende is ‘a force not a labour, a struggle not a thought.’ In this talk we discuss the duende, following Lorca’s 1933 poetic lecture, ‘Juego y teoría del duende’ (‘Play and Theory of the Duende’), exploring the presence of the duende in music, poetry, painting and other artistic expression, exploring the daemon and the daimonic, exploring the presence of the duende in life and in death.
Some writers are influential enough to have their own adjective – Shakespearean, cervantino, Dickensian, Kafkaesque, Orwellian. (Douglas Adams should have one, but Adamsian sounds odd). Charles Fort is honoured not only with the adjective Fortean but also with the noun Forteana. What is, what are, Forteana?
The pesky pixies and naughty numens just won’t go away. They have been with us for millennia and they will remain with us, one assumes, for millennia. Ghostly stick beings and therianthropes adorn our ancestors’ cave walls. St Paul admonished the Corinthians to reject demons and pagan idolatry, and Christianity has since then had troubled relationship with sprites and spirits, fairies, elves and goblins. Why elves – why now?
It is an imaginal adventure to explore the imaginal. It is a little-known word that dances between discourses, and as such carries different baggage than some of its associated meanings, such as spiritual, mystical, oneiric, anomalous, paraphenomenal, psychedelic, weird…