Zitate von Richard Rodríguez

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Richard Rodríguez

Geburtstag: 31. Juli 1944

Richard Rodriguez is an American writer who became famous as the author of Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez , a narrative about his intellectual development. Wikipedia

Zitate Richard Rodríguez

„His name was William Saroyan. He was the first writer I fell in love with, boyishly in love. I was held by his unaffected voice, his sentimentality, his defiant individualism. I found myself in the stories he told… I learned from Saroyan that you do not have to live in some great city — in New York or Paris — in order to write… When I was a student at Stanford, a generation ago, the name of William Saroyan was never mentioned by any professor in the English Department. William Saroyan apparently was not considered a major American talent. Instead, we undergraduates set about the business of psychoanalyzing Hamlet and deconstructing Lolita.“

—  Richard Rodríguez

In my mind Saroyan belongs with John Steinbeck, a fellow small town Californian and of the same generation. He belongs with Thornton Wilder, with those writers whose aching love of America was formed by the Depression and the shadow of war. … Saroyan's prose is as plain as it is strong. He talks about the pleasure of drinking water from a hose on a summer afternoon in California's Central Valley, and he holds you with the pure line. My favorite is his novel The Human Comedy... In 1943, The Human Comedy became an MGM movie starring Mickey Rooney, but I always imagined Homer Macaulay as a darker, more soulful boy, someone who looked very much like a young William Saroyan...
"Time Of Our Lives" (26 May 1997) http://www.cilicia.com/armo22_william_saroyan_6.html

„TSS: Who is your audience then?“

—  Richard Rodríguez

Violating the Boundaries: An Interview with Richard Rodriguez (1999)

„Why couldn't I get the lesbians for an hour? And the lesbian poet serenade my Mexican audience?“

—  Richard Rodríguez

Brown : The Last Discovery of America (2003)
Kontext: My reading was scheduled for the six-thirty slot by the University of Arizona. A few hundred people showed up – old more than young; mostly brown. I liked my "them," in any case, for coming to listen, postponing their dinners. In the middle of one of my paragraphs, a young man stood to gather his papers, then retreated up the aisle, pushed open the door at the back of the auditorium. In the trapezoid of lobby-light thus revealed, I could see a crowd was forming for the eight o'clock reading — a lesbian poet. Then the door closed, resealed the present; I continued to read, but wondered to myself: Why couldn't I get the lesbians for an hour? And the lesbian poet serenade my Mexican audience?

„It is one thing to know your author-man or woman or gay or black or paraplegic or president. It is another thing to choose only man or woman or et cetera, as the only quality of voice empowered to address you, as the only class of sensibility or experience able to understand you, or that you are able to understand.“

—  Richard Rodríguez

Brown : The Last Discovery of America (2003)
Kontext: It is one thing to know your author-man or woman or gay or black or paraplegic or president. It is another thing to choose only man or woman or et cetera, as the only quality of voice empowered to address you, as the only class of sensibility or experience able to understand you, or that you are able to understand.
How a society orders its bookshelves is as telling as the books a society writes and reads. American bookshelves of the twenty-first century describe fractiousness, reduction, hurt. Books are isolated from one another, like gardenias or peaches, lest they bruise or become bruised, or, worse, consort, confuse. If a man in a wheelchair writes his life, his book will be parked in a blue-crossed zone: "Self-Help" or "Health." There is no shelf for bitterness. No shelf for redemption. The professor of Romance languages at Dresden, a convert to Protestantism, was tortured by the Nazis as a Jew — only that — a Jew. His book, published sixty years after the events it recounts, is shelved in my neighborhood bookstore as "Judaica." There is no shelf for irony.

„Literature cannot by this impulse betray the grandeur of its subject — there is only one subject: What it feels like to be alive. Nothing is irrelevant. Nothing is typical.“

—  Richard Rodríguez

Brown : The Last Discovery of America (2003)
Kontext: Books should confuse. Literature abhors the typical. Literature flows to the particular, the mundane, the greasiness of paper, the taste of warm beer, the smell of onion or quince. Auden has a line: "Ports have names they call the sea." Just so will literature describe life familiarly, regionally, in terms life is accustomed to use — high or low matters not. Literature cannot by this impulse betray the grandeur of its subject — there is only one subject: What it feels like to be alive. Nothing is irrelevant. Nothing is typical.

„It is a kind of possession, reading. Willing the Other to abide in your present.“

—  Richard Rodríguez

Brown : The Last Discovery of America (2003)
Kontext: Only a few weeks ago, in the year in which I write, Carl T. Rowan died. Hearing the news, I felt the sadness one feels when a writer dies, a writer one claims as one's own — as potent a sense of implication as for the loss of a body one has known. Over the years, I had seen Rowan on TV. He was not, of course he was not, the young man who had been with me by the heater — the photograph on the book jacket, the voice that spoke through my eyes. The muscles of my body must form the words and the chemicals of my comprehension must form the words, the windows, the doors, the Saturdays, the turning pages of another life, a life simultaneous with mine.
It is a kind of possession, reading. Willing the Other to abide in your present. His voice, mixed with sunlight, mixed with Saturday, mixed with my going to bed and then getting up, with the pattern and texture of the blanket, with the envelope from a telephone bill I used as a bookmark. With going to Mass. With going to the toilet. With my mother in the kitchen, with whatever happened that day and the next; with clouds forming over the Central Valley, with the flannel shirt I wore, with what I liked for dinner, with what was playing at the Alhambra Theater. I remember Carl T. Rowan, in other words, as myself, as I was. Perhaps that is what one mourns.

„The genius of American culture and its integrity comes from fidelity to the light.“

—  Richard Rodríguez

"Night and Day" in Frontiers (1990)
Kontext: The genius of American culture and its integrity comes from fidelity to the light. Plain as day, we say. Happy as the day is long. Early to bed, early to rise. American virtues are daylight virtues: honesty, integrity, plain speech. We say yes when we mean yes and no when we mean no, and all else comes from the evil one. America presumes innocence and even the right to happiness.

„Books are isolated from one another, like gardenias or peaches, lest they bruise or become bruised, or, worse, consort, confuse.“

—  Richard Rodríguez

Brown : The Last Discovery of America (2003)
Kontext: It is one thing to know your author-man or woman or gay or black or paraplegic or president. It is another thing to choose only man or woman or et cetera, as the only quality of voice empowered to address you, as the only class of sensibility or experience able to understand you, or that you are able to understand.
How a society orders its bookshelves is as telling as the books a society writes and reads. American bookshelves of the twenty-first century describe fractiousness, reduction, hurt. Books are isolated from one another, like gardenias or peaches, lest they bruise or become bruised, or, worse, consort, confuse. If a man in a wheelchair writes his life, his book will be parked in a blue-crossed zone: "Self-Help" or "Health." There is no shelf for bitterness. No shelf for redemption. The professor of Romance languages at Dresden, a convert to Protestantism, was tortured by the Nazis as a Jew — only that — a Jew. His book, published sixty years after the events it recounts, is shelved in my neighborhood bookstore as "Judaica." There is no shelf for irony.

„A boy named Buddy came up beside me in the schoolyard. I don't remember what passed as prologue, but I do not forget what Buddy divulged to me: If you're white, you're all right; If you're brown, stick around; If you're black, stand back.“

—  Richard Rodríguez

Brown : The Last Discovery of America (2003)
Kontext: A boy named Buddy came up beside me in the schoolyard. I don't remember what passed as prologue, but I do not forget what Buddy divulged to me: If you're white, you're all right; If you're brown, stick around; If you're black, stand back.
It was as though Buddy had taken me to a mountaintop and shown me the way things lay in the city below.

„The sight of them together does not lead you to wonder about a history in which you are not the narrator?“

—  Richard Rodríguez

Brown : The Last Discovery of America (2003)
Kontext: The Indian refuses civilization; the African slave is rendered unfit for it.
But cher Monsieur: You saw the Indian sitting beside the African on a drape of baize. They were easy together. The sight of them together does not lead you to wonder about a history in which you are not the narrator?
These women are but parables of your interest in yourself. Rather than consider the nature of their intimacy, you are preoccupied alone with the meaning of your intrusion.

„Only a few weeks ago, in the year in which I write, Carl T. Rowan died. Hearing the news, I felt the sadness one feels when a writer dies, a writer one claims as one's own“

—  Richard Rodríguez

as potent a sense of implication as for the loss of a body one has known. Over the years, I had seen Rowan on TV. He was not, of course he was not, the young man who had been with me by the heater — the photograph on the book jacket, the voice that spoke through my eyes. The muscles of my body must form the words and the chemicals of my comprehension must form the words, the windows, the doors, the Saturdays, the turning pages of another life, a life simultaneous with mine.
It is a kind of possession, reading. Willing the Other to abide in your present. His voice, mixed with sunlight, mixed with Saturday, mixed with my going to bed and then getting up, with the pattern and texture of the blanket, with the envelope from a telephone bill I used as a bookmark. With going to Mass. With going to the toilet. With my mother in the kitchen, with whatever happened that day and the next; with clouds forming over the Central Valley, with the flannel shirt I wore, with what I liked for dinner, with what was playing at the Alhambra Theater. I remember Carl T. Rowan, in other words, as myself, as I was. Perhaps that is what one mourns.
Brown : The Last Discovery of America (2003)

„I remember Carl T. Rowan, in other words, as myself, as I was. Perhaps that is what one mourns.“

—  Richard Rodríguez

Brown : The Last Discovery of America (2003)
Kontext: Only a few weeks ago, in the year in which I write, Carl T. Rowan died. Hearing the news, I felt the sadness one feels when a writer dies, a writer one claims as one's own — as potent a sense of implication as for the loss of a body one has known. Over the years, I had seen Rowan on TV. He was not, of course he was not, the young man who had been with me by the heater — the photograph on the book jacket, the voice that spoke through my eyes. The muscles of my body must form the words and the chemicals of my comprehension must form the words, the windows, the doors, the Saturdays, the turning pages of another life, a life simultaneous with mine.
It is a kind of possession, reading. Willing the Other to abide in your present. His voice, mixed with sunlight, mixed with Saturday, mixed with my going to bed and then getting up, with the pattern and texture of the blanket, with the envelope from a telephone bill I used as a bookmark. With going to Mass. With going to the toilet. With my mother in the kitchen, with whatever happened that day and the next; with clouds forming over the Central Valley, with the flannel shirt I wore, with what I liked for dinner, with what was playing at the Alhambra Theater. I remember Carl T. Rowan, in other words, as myself, as I was. Perhaps that is what one mourns.

„But the academic is brought closer to lower-class culture because of his very distance from it. Leisured, and skilled at abstracting from immediate experience, the scholar is able to see how aspects of individual experience constitute a culture. By contrast, the poor have neither the inclination nor the skill to imagine their lives so abstractly.“

—  Richard Rodríguez

Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez (1982)
Kontext: Courses were offered in such fields as nineteenth-century black history and Hispanic-American folk art. The activists made a peculiar claim for these classes. They insisted that the courses would alleviate the cultural anxiety of nonwhite students by permitting them to stay in touch with their home culture. The perspective gained in the classroom or the library does indeed permit an academic to draw nearer to and understand better the culture of the alien poor. But the academic is brought closer to lower-class culture because of his very distance from it. Leisured, and skilled at abstracting from immediate experience, the scholar is able to see how aspects of individual experience constitute a culture. By contrast, the poor have neither the inclination nor the skill to imagine their lives so abstractly.

„I write about race in America in hopes of undermining the notion of race in America.“

—  Richard Rodríguez

Brown : The Last Discovery of America (2003), p. xi

„Books should confuse. Literature abhors the typical. Literature flows to the particular, the mundane, the greasiness of paper, the taste of warm beer, the smell of onion or quince.“

—  Richard Rodríguez

Brown : The Last Discovery of America (2003)
Kontext: Books should confuse. Literature abhors the typical. Literature flows to the particular, the mundane, the greasiness of paper, the taste of warm beer, the smell of onion or quince. Auden has a line: "Ports have names they call the sea." Just so will literature describe life familiarly, regionally, in terms life is accustomed to use — high or low matters not. Literature cannot by this impulse betray the grandeur of its subject — there is only one subject: What it feels like to be alive. Nothing is irrelevant. Nothing is typical.

„The scholarship boy does not straddle, cannot reconcile, the two great opposing cultures of his life. His success is unromantic and plain. He sits in the classroom and offers those sitting beside him no calming reassurance about their own lives. He sits in the seminar room—a man with brown skin, the son of working-class Mexican immigrant parents.“

—  Richard Rodríguez

Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez (1982)
Kontext: To many persons around him, he appears too much the academic. There may be some things about him that recall his beginnings—his shabby clothes; his persistent poverty; or his dark skin (in those cases when it symbolizes his parents’ disadvantaged condition)—but they only make clear how far he has moved from his past. He has used education to remake himself. They expect—they want—a student less changed by his schooling. If the scholarship boy, from a past so distant from the classroom, could remain in some basic way unchanged, he would be able to prove that it is possible for anyone to become educated without basically changing from the person one was. The scholarship boy does not straddle, cannot reconcile, the two great opposing cultures of his life. His success is unromantic and plain. He sits in the classroom and offers those sitting beside him no calming reassurance about their own lives. He sits in the seminar room—a man with brown skin, the son of working-class Mexican immigrant parents.

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