January 8, 2010

Internet Resources

Gómez Dávila in the Original Spanish
My first suggestion to anyone who has been inspired by Gómez Dávila's aphorisms on this blog is to learn Spanish and to read Gómez Dávila in the original language. Gómez Dávila, like any author, should be read in his original language, whenever possible.

On my bibliography page, I provide information on how to obtain Gómez Dávila's aphorisms (and other writings), whether from Villegas Editores in Colombia or from Atalanta in Spain.

For those searching for more of Gómez Dávila's work on the Internet, there are a few sites out there.

The place to begin is Escolios a un Texto Implícito: Selección. This is the book from which I have been translating most of the aphorisms on this blog. This anthology includes aphorisms from each of the five volumes of Escolios published in Gómez Dávila's lifetime, selected by his own daughter. An online copy of this book can be found here. A Word file can be downloaded here.

I should also note that this anthology includes two invaluable essays. The prologue is by a personal friend of Gómez Dávila's, Mario Laserna Pinzón: "Nicolás Gómez Dávila: The Man." It is a brief, personal reflection on the friendship of the two men. The epilogue is by the late Franco Volpi, who was responsible for drawing attention to the importance of Gómez Dávila's work, especially in Italy but also in Europe in general. In this essay, entitled "An Angel Imprisoned in Time," after an aphorism from the first volume of Escolios (translated here), Volpi traces some of the main themes found in the Escolios.

Another anthology has been edited by philosopher Juan Arana. It is available for downloading in pdf format at Arana's personal website (at the bottom of the page), and is being distributed commercially by Los Papeles del Sitio. This anthology, while containing fewer aphorisms than that edited by Gómez Dávila's daughter, has the advantage of being organized by topic.

Next, I would recommend this blog, named after the same aphorism as Volpi's essay. It has made freely available many of the aphorisms not found in the anthology.

For a shorter collection of aphorisms, all on the topic of religion, there is this compilation of aphorisms by Álvaro Mutis, a well-known writer in his own right and another personal friend of Gómez Dávila. (For an English translation of many of these aphorisms, see my Gnosticism page.)

Besides the aphorisms that were the core of his output as an author, Gómez Dávila also wrote some more discursive works, such as Notas, Textos I, De iure, and El reaccionario auténtico. The last of these is a short unedited essay, published a year after his death; it can be found here. Textos I can be downloaded in pdf format here. And, De iure is on Scribd here.

Finally, for those who want to hear Gómez Dávila reading some of his own aphorisms, Italian publisher Adelphi has made that pleasure possible.

English Translations and Reviews
Besides this blog, there are at least two other websites with translations of Gómez Dávila's aphorisms into English.

The first set of translations is that of Nikos Salingaros.

The second set was made by Michael Gilleland. (Incidentally, Mr. Gilleland's blog, Laudator Temporis Acti, often makes for delightful reading.)

An unknown "tweeter" has begun posting his own translations of selected aphorisms.

Modern Age, a publication of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, recently published a translation of The Authentic Reactionary. The translation was done by R.V. Young

As far as I know, there are not yet any major publications in English about Gómez Dávila. However, there is a short review essay by a professor at the Catholic University of America, Virgil Nemoianu, available in two versions (html and pdf).

For examples of German reviews of Gómez Dávila, please see my translations of Martin Mosebach, Jens Jessen, and Doja Hacker.

Other Translations
As mentioned on the bibliography page, the entirety of Gómez Dávila's work has been translated into German, and portions of it into French. For those who are more comfortable with German, some of those translations can be found here. Those who prefer French can explore Gómez Dávila's aphorisms at this link.

An Italian translation of The Authentic Reactionary is available here. Other resources in Italian can be found at the website AttivaMente.

Also available now is a Portuguese translation of The Authentic Reactionary.

A Czech blogger has posted translations of a few aphorisms (here, here, here, and here).

A Russian website, which appears to be updated on a regular basis, has posted some Russian translations and other general information about Gómez Dávila.

Secondary Literature
In Germany
Most of the secondary literature about Gómez Dávila is available in other languages, primarily Spanish and German.

One of the first writers to draw attention to Gómez Dávila during his lifetime was the Austrian Gerd-Klaus Kaltenbrunner.

The author, though, who has probably done the most extensive work on Gómez Dávila is Professor Till Kinzel, a German scholar currently teaching in Braunschweig. The writings of his that I have read on the Internet provide, in my opinion, the best general introduction to Gómez Dávila. Prof. Kinzel has written what I believe to be the first book-length study of Gómez Dávila, entitled Nicolás Gómez Dávila - Parteigänger verlorener Sachen (Nicolás Gómez Dávila: Partisan of Lost Causes). An excerpt from that book can be found at the website of Sezession (in html and pdf formats).

I have found four other essays by Professor Kinzel online. The first is "Ein kolumbianischer Guerillero der Literatur: Nicolás Gómez Dávilas Ästhetik des Widerstands" ("A Colombian Guerrilla Warrior of Literature: Nicolás Gómez Dávila's Aesthetic of Resistance"). The second is "Denken als Guerillakampf gegen die Moderne" ("Thinking as Guerilla Warfare against Modernity"). The third is a review of the German translation of Notas, "Die unverwechselbare Stimme Gómez Dávilas" ("Gómez Dávila's Unmistakable Voice"). The fourth is an essay entitled "Gómez Dávila als Lehrer des Lesens" ("Gómez Dávila as Teacher of Reading").

The second German writer who has helped to popularize (in the good sense) Gómez Dávila in Germany is Martin Mosebach. Mosebach is a prominent German author, who in 2007 was awarded the prestigious Georg Büchner Prize. The prize committee's decision to honor Mosebach provoked considerable controversy in Germany, mostly because of his unabashed avowal of reactionary viewpoints and his advocacy of Gómez Dávila's work. While Mosebach is probably best known in Germany for his novels, he is best known in the English-speaking world among traditional Catholics for his collection of essays, The Heresy of Formlessness: The Roman Liturgy and Its Enemy. (Ignatius Press has posted this excerpt on its website.)

I have already translated into English one of Mosebach's accounts of his visit to Gómez Dávila in Bogotá, "A Hermit on the Edge of the Inhabited World." The other account of this visit originally appeared in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and was later included in Mosebach's collection of essays Schöne Literatur.

Finally, those who read German might profit by an article Mosebach wrote for Die Tageszeitung, "Der Meister der schwarzen Sentenzen."

For a creative response--in aphorisms--to Gómez Dávila's aphorisms, see this short "essay" by the prolific German philosopher Vittorio Hösle, who now teaches at Notre Dame.

In Colombia
Despite his relatively early popularity in Germany--as attested by the number of translations and essays about him published in Die Zeit, Der Spiegel, and elsewhere in the popular press--Gómez Dávila for a long time was neglected in his native Colombia, though this is now changing.

The most notable Colombian in this respect is Alfredo Abad Torres, who has produced what I believe is the second book-length study of Gómez Dávila: Pensar lo Implícito en Torno a Gómez Dávila. Alfredo Abad was also the moving force behind a recent issue of Paradoxa devoted entirely to Gómez Dávila. The journal contains essays (in Spanish) by Abad as well as Franco Volpi, Till Kinzel, and Krzysztof Urbanek, among others. Finally, Abad has published a 9-page article on "Nicolás Gómez Dávila and the Gnostic roots of modernity."

Juan Fernando Mejía Mosquera is a philosophy professor at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá. He has recently written an article devoted to "three Colombian readers of Nietzsche" in which he explores Gómez Dávila's appreciation of Nietzsche. Prof. Mejía is also teaching a seminar on Gómez Dávila and has posted the course description at his website.

Another Colombian to write about Gómez Dávila is Amalia Quevedo of the Universidad de la Sabana in her essay ¿Metafísica aquí? ("Metaphysics Here?"). In this essay, Prof. Quevedo notes, inter alia, the intellectual confrontation with Heidegger that can be sensed in some of the Escolios.

A more in-depth investigation of the influence of Heidegger and other phenomenologists on Gómez Dávila is provided by Guillermo Hoyos Vásquez in "Don Nicolás Gómez Dávila, pensador en español y reaccionario auténtico" ("Don Nicolás Gómez Dávila, Thinker in Spanish and Genuine Reactionary").

Besides the influence of Heidegger, the influence of the German Romantics has often been noted in Gómez Dávila's writing, such as in Edgar Giovanni Rodríguez Cuberos' "El Romanticismo de Nicolás Gómez Dávila: Entre la reacción y la subordinación" ("The Romanticism of Nicolás Gómez Dávila: Between Reaction and Insubordination").

Another Colombian essay about Gómez Dávila was written by Mauricio Galindo Hurtado, "Un pensador aristocrático en los Andes: una mirada al pensamiento de Nicolás Gómez Dávila" ("An Aristocratic Thinker in the Andes: A Look at the Thought of Nicolás Gómez Dávila"). In this essay, Galindo Hurtado examines the influence of certain conservative and reactionary thinkers on Gómez Dávila.

One last Colombian essay is that of Óscar Torres Duque, "Nicolás Gómez Dávila: la pasión del anacronismo" (Nicolás Gómez Dávila: The Passion of Anachronism").

In Italy
The late Franco Volpi wrote an introduction to the Escolios that is included with the Villegas edition.

Another now-deceased Italian scholar, the medievalist Marco Tangheroni, was working at the time of his death on a book about the nature of historiography called Della Storia: In margine ad aforismi di Nicolás Gómez Dávila, available from Sugarco Edizioni. For a review of the book by Marco Respinti, see here.

The website AttivaMente has posted review essays by Giovanni Cantoni, Alfredo Cattabiani, and Emanuele Severino.

In France
Philippe Billé has published a small pamphlet with biographical and bibliographical information in French, Studia Daviliana. Billé also maintains a website of the same name which contains information in French about Gómez Dávila.

In Poland
The last country on this small tour of the world is Poland, where Gómez Dávila has also been attracting some attention in recent years. Besides translations of the Escolios, Warsaw publisher Furta Sacra has issued two collection of essays about Gómez Dávila. The first came out in 2008, and is called Między sceptycyzmem a wiarą. Nicolás Gómez Dávila i jego dzieło. While all the essays are printed in Polish, the book also contains an essay in Italian by Franco Volpi, as well as a couple translations into Spanish. The table of contents is available here. The second collection, published in 2010, is entitled Oczyszczenie inteligencji. Nicolás Gómez Dávila - myśliciel współczesny?. Like the first collection, all the essays are in Polish, but four are also in Spanish, one in Italian, and another in German. The table of contents can be viewed here.

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