Mihály Dés

is an Hungarian essayist and editor, living in Spain since 1986. He is director of the Spanish cultural review Lateral and professor of East-European Literature at Barcelona University.


Al cierre de esta edición (21 de enero de 2003, víspera de la impresión del presente número) Venezuela lleva ya 52 días paralizada o, según, movilizada por una huelga general. Este acontecimiento sin parangón no ha merecido mucha atención de la opinión pública ni tampoco ha despertado demasiada simpatía. El autor de este artículo investiga las razones.

Según observa la sabiduría popular, todas las cosas buenas de la vida o engordan o son inmorales. Pero esto ha cambiado. Los placeres, que hasta ahora se pagaban caros, se han convertido en un negocio que permite recuperar la inversión con creces. Estamos al albor de una nueva era: la Era de las Indemnizaciones. Todo depende de si tenemos un buen abogado.

The participation of the author in a symposium on literature and the media, organized by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute (Polish equivalent of the Cervantes Institute) has inspired this contribution to the eternal debate about criticism. In it, Mihály Dés reexamines the role of the critic and of literary criticism, a role, he argues, that remains as important as ever.

A brief news story obliges the author to give up an old dream. The chronicle of erratic trips in the era of the Cold War is mixed in this article with the realities of our hot war. Who now remembers how one travelled from a communist country to the West? What does this past have to do with the immigrants of today and the terrorists of yesterday?

Without wishing to be controversial, the author of this article takes the liberty of introducing a cautious note in the midst of the euphoria caused by the definitive recount of the human genome. Not that he is unhappy with the news. On the contrary, he is exultant. It is just that, rummaging around, he has found something in the waste (not necessarily in genetics) that he wants to tell you about.

What connects the familiar divine self-revelation, a passionate debate at a congress of European cultural periodicals and the silent demonstration against the latest assassination by ETA? Mihaly Des writes on personal identities and projections thereof.

Did the left realise the real significance of the fall of the Berlin Wall, or was it even willing to do so? In a decade of change, what has Europe achieved, or maybe more importantly, which achievements and challenges of the past decade have been recognised at all?

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