Journey Back to the Source: Alejo Carpentier: Viaje a la semilla (; Journey Back to the Source), for instance, set in 19th-century Cuba, is told in reverse. The Cuban novelist who invented the phrase “lo real maravilloso americano,” Alejo Carpentier considered “Journey Back to the Source” (“Viaje a la semilla”) to . Journey Back to the Source Analysis and Quiz According to Carpentier, language is an artificial, alienating construct, almost like structured.

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Relatives and friends gather to mark her passing. Sourfe the doctor shakes his head to indicate that there is no hope, the dying man feels better at once.

The infant Don Marciale has a close relationship with the household servant Melchor, with whom he shares secrets. The storyteller makes comprehensible and forces the reader back through the text the otherwise indecipherable death of the marquesa by water. Although the story includes other Afro-Cubans, he is not among them.

Carpentier is not the first author to put time in reverse. When Melchor is not there, his closest friends are the household dogs, with whom he shares his life. An old Negro sits in a garden where he watches an ancient house in the process of being demolished.

Since “seed” in English denotes semen, which is masculine, spurting out to join the egg, it cannot be used to describe the trip back up the vaginal canal to our source. They move back into the city from their country estate and get married.

A mumbling old black man roves the ruins of a dilapidated colonial mansion being demolished by workmen.

Then the natural world around him turns back to its roots and origins, leaving a blank where his house once stood. He visits his father who is ill in bed.

The ruined marquess trades bankruptcy for mourning, mourning for romance, romance for spiritual crisis, spiritual crises for toy grenadiers, the groom, and the only true perspective on a house—the one from the floor. The Cuban novelist who invented the phrase “lo real maravilloso americano,” Alejo Carpentier considered “Journey Back to the Source” “Viaje a la semilla” to be the story from which his maturity as a writer began.


Don Marcial and the Marquesa get to know each other in the early days of their marriage. Learn how your comment data is processed. Journey Back to the Source Viaje al surce was written inbut first published in in Havana, Cuba as part of the collection entitled The War of Time — Guerra del tiempo In Spanish the title of the story, “Viaje a la semilla,” literally means “journey” or “voyage” to the “seed,” which is feminine.

About Us Advertising Clients Contact. Your email address will not be published. Wells and observes that film runs its action backwards or forwards with equal ease. First published injurney same year as Jorge Luis Borges ‘s Ficciones and collected in War of Time”Journey Back to the Source” starts from an idea so simple and so universal that a six-year-old has uttered it, “What if we could live our lives backwards?

This story is a good example of the literary genre. Retrieved December 26, from Encyclopedia. In the penultimate section of the story this reversal of time accelerates very rapidly. But in fact the composition of the story is a little more complex than ho conceit would suggest.

Carpentier in Depth Spanish video documentary and interview with Carpentier Earlier, along with his male friends, he has visited a dance hall. He thus supplements the other story we have just been told and returns us to our own forward time. He is souce extra pastries one day, then sees servants carrying a coffin into the house.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every carpentifr entry or article, Encyclopedia.

Don Marcial gradually recovers and retracts the dying confession he has made to his priest.

Journey Back to the Source by Alejo Carpentier PDF

He is oppressed by the legal documentation involved in the sale of his house. With its search for illusory origins, its loving descriptions of colonial osurce, its contrast between past and present, its typical rather than individual protagonist, and its account of the material decline of an soure aristocracy, the story adumbrates much of Carpentier’s later writing.

Yet the ironic balance is maintained: So they sit out the day. Carpentier at Wikipedia Background, biography, magical realism, major works, literary style, further reading. His mistress gets out of bed, gets dressed, and leaves the house.


Journey Back to the Source – a tutorial and study guide

He feels under the weather after celebrating his minority with friends. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam.

Critics dispute whether the conclusion sourrce a glorious return to nature or a dismal annihilation of the human race. Unlike Carpentier’s later work, where the “marvelous” accrues from the juxtaposition of different realities, this story depends on a magician and an explicitly literary trick.

Once the house is reassembled, in the room where the marquess lies the tall candles grow longer and longer until a nun puts them out with a light. The house and its contents grow younger.

Walls have sloughed their paper like snakes shed their old skins; capitals lie fallen against their natural propensities, yet the vines recognize their affinity with the acanthus of fallen columns and twine round them. He has taken a mistress following jouurney period of mourning after the death of his wife.

With one or two minor exceptions, Carpentier delivers this chronological illusion very successfully. Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. What is important, then, is not the source but rather the journey, the stories people spin out in idleness as they wait for death, a destination reached by the “hours growing on the right-hand side of the clock.

The next day the demolition crew return to find the house has gone, and time progressing in its normal manner.

The main story starts with the death of Don Marcial and finishes with his birth. Don Marcial only does moderately well in his college examinations, and then learns less and less at school. Though the new growth may be unrecognizable, seeds in clay and water do come up again.

Thus, gradually, delightedly, the reader realizes that he is moving not forward but backward in time. Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.