sexta-feira, 27 de dezembro de 2013

Leitura a acabar o ano:
'Stoner' de John E. Williams


Disse-me bastante, este livro, em parte por narrar a vida de um professor, os seus conflitos e contradições, glórias e vergonhas, surpresas e desenganos, sobretudo desenganos. O professor Stoner ensinava Literatura Inglesa na Universidade do Missouri, tinha nascido de uma família camponesa pobre e a sua primeira traição foi apaixonar-se por poesia e literatura em vez de técnicas modernas de cultivo. Ano após ano foi construindo a sua carreira tal como mobilou o seu escrtório, com minúcia, dedicação e gosto.

(...) it was himself that he was attempting to define as he worked on his study. As he sanded the old boards for his bookcases, and saw the surface roughnesses disappear, the gray weathering flake way to the essential wood and finally to a rich purity of grain and texture — as he repaid his furniture and arranged it in the room, it was himself that he was slowly shaping, it was himself that he was putting into a kind of order, it was himself that he was making possible.

 John Williams, Stoner


Stoner era um solitário, desterrado por decisão própria numa cidade, numa universidade e numa família onde não se sentia à vontade, onde era um outsider; não conseguira amigos e só nos livros encontrava conforto.

Sometimes, in his attic room at night, he would look up from a book he was reading and gaze in the dark corners of his room, where the lamplight flickered against the shadows. (...) The past gathered out of the darkness where it stayed, and the dead raised themselves to live before him; (...) Tristan, Iseult the fair, walked before him; Paolo and Francesca whirled in the glowing dark; Helen and bright Paris, their faces bitter with consequence, rose from the gloom. And he was with them in a way that he could never be with his fellows (...)

John Williams, Stoner

E o ensino? Stoner conseguia cursos muito bem sucedidos de quando em quando, admiração de uns alunos, ódio de outros, mas não sendo "da casa" davam-lhe quase sempre os piores horários e os cursos mais elementares.

The years immediately following the end of the Second World War were the best years of his teaching; and they were in some ways the happiest years of his life. (...) He worked harder than he had ever worked; the students, strange in their maturity, were intensely serious and contemptuous of triviality. Innocent of fashion or custom, they came to their studies as Stoner had dreamed that a student might - as if those studies were life itself and not specific means to specific ends. He knew that never, after these few years, would teaching be quite the same; and he committed himself to a happy state of exhaustion which he hoped might never end. He seldom thought of the past or the future, or of the disappointments and joys of either; he concentrated all the energies of which he was capable upon the moment of his work and hoped that he was at last defined by what he did.

John Williams, Stoner

O sonho de um professor: que o estudo seja para o estudante a própria vida, e não um meio para atingir algum fim. Utopia.

É um romance de feitura clássica, muito bem construído, que narra com solidez, eficácia e alguma secura a história de uma vida essencialmente desalentada, triste e inútil. Quando acaba, acaba: só resta o silêncio.

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