Federico Garcia Lorca and the duende

with Dr William Rowlandson

Tuesday 18th January 2022 – 6:30pm – 8:00pm (UK Time) via Zoom

The Spanish word duende may be translated as goblinimp, 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.’ Lorca writes: 

“I heard an old maestro of the guitar say: ‘The duende is not in the throat: the duende surges up, inside, from the soles of the feet.’ Meaning, it’s not a question of skill, but of a style that’s truly alive: meaning, it’s in the veins: meaning, it’s of the most ancient culture of immediate creation.

The duende I mean, secret and shuddering, is descended from that blithe daemon, all marble and salt, of Socrates… 

The duende works on the dancer’s body like wind on sand…

The duende….Where is the duende? Through the empty archway a wind of the spirit enters, blowing insistently over the heads of the dead, in search of new landscapes and unknown accents: a wind with the odour of a child’s saliva, crushed grass, and medusa’s veil, announcing the endless baptism of freshly created things…”

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. Where, we ask with Lorca, is the duende? 

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Dr William Rowlandson is an entity currently operating as Senior Lecturer in Hispanic Studies at the University of Kent in Canterbury. He is the author of Sartre in Cuba—Cuba in Sartre (Palgrave, 2017), Imaginal Landscapes (Swedenborg Society, 2015), Borges, Swedenborg and Mysticism (Peter Lang, 2013), co-author with Angela Voss of Daimonic Imagination: Uncanny Intelligence (Cambridge Scholars, 2013) and contributor to DMT Dialogues: Encounters with the Spirit Molecule (Park Street Press, 2018, ed. David Luke & Rory Spowers). Author of books and articles on Latin American cultural and political history, Cuban literature, Borges, Swedenborg, mysticism, psychedelics, the Imaginal, Faery, and the Daimonic. University Sustainability Champion, co-founder of Canterbury Climate Action Partnership (CCAP), gardener, composter, vermiphile, mycophile, drummer, proud tree-hugger, megalithomaniac and weirdonaut. Father of two girl entities. William’s contributions to this site can be found here.

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