'Roy Campbell in memoriam', followers and experts on the life and work of the South African poet, satirist, translator and Hispanist, considered by T. S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas and Edith Sitwell as one of the best poets of the interwar period, will offer this Saturday , May 28, four presentations at the Convent of the Discalced Carmelites in Toledo, thus giving continuity to the III edition of 2019. The event will begin at 5:00 p.m.
After the break due to the pandemic, these conferences are back where they address aspects ranging from the usual ones about the converted poet Roy Campbell, closely related to the Carmelite world through Fathers Eusebio and Evaristo, and Chesterton to the mystics Saint John of the Cross and Sto.
Thomas Aquinas, as well as an allusion to Hilaire Belloc.
The four speakers are Beatriz Villacañas, Emilio Domínguez, Miguel Ángel Gimeno and Santiago María Rodríguez Grediaga, who will be presented by Guillermo Rocafort. At the conclusion, there will be a night walk in which links between Roy Campbell and his family will be established with Toledo, the sacred city of his mind.
Miguel Ángel Gimeno will address 'Hilaire Belloc and Gilbert K. Chesterton: their anti-state vision'. In Hilaire Belloc we find an approach to the phenomenon of Power that can be defined as heterodox. In his opinion, freedom and property are the two criteria that define the type of State existing in each historical moment. Combining both factors, he makes the following classification: 1. The Servile State: Most members of society are forced to work, either by force of law or by imposition of custom, for the benefit of a small number of individuals or groups. 2. The capitalist state: Society is divided into two classes, owners and proletarians, the latter being much more numerous, but both are politically free. 3. The collectivist or socialist State: There is no private property and the means of production are managed by public representatives who act on behalf of the community. 4. The distributive State: It is defined as a society of owners in which its members are owners of the fruit of their work and therefore politically free.
The capitalist state is a transitional state that must resolve its internal contradictions, leading to one of the other three possible forms of political organization. Although nothing objectively prevents capitalist society from becoming a distributive society, attempts to build the economy on the basis of well-distributed property are inferior to collectivist purposes, which do not require that the capitalist machinery be dismantled. , to the point that for the Marxist orthodoxy capitalism is a necessary step on the road to socialism. However, the elimination of the economic uncertainty typical of the capitalist system is passing through the approximation to typical forms of the servile State, by transforming the economic dependence of the dispossessed into de jure dependence. Capitalism denies the very freedom that characterizes it and forces the dispossessed, in theory to protect them, to give up much of their autonomy. The servile-inspired laws materialize in the creation of a new status: the worker becomes an employee, and therefore inferior to the employer, since when it is said that he is being protected, in reality he is being forced to resign part of his freedom because he is not considered qualified to manage it. Belloc's only hope is a Christian-inspired moral revolution that generalizes ownership of the means of production among workers. Complementarity with Chesterton is inevitable and the solution is simple: build society based on the solidarity of cooperativism and the subsidiarity of the State with respect to private initiative.
For her part, Beatriz Villacañas will talk about 'Roy Campbell and Gilbert K. Chesterton: adventures of resistance'. The characteristics that dominate certain times, such as Chesterton's time, Campbell's time, and even the time we live in, must be investigated and, knowing them through the Truth, it is necessary to resist them. It is necessary to challenge the time of objectionable characteristics. Campbell and Chesterton challenged the times in which they had to live, they were resistant to them, they did not allow themselves to be manipulated. This was written by the poet Villacañas in her articles on Chesterton, published in ABC Artes y Letras. El Cultural de Castilla la Mancha, entitled 'Chesterton or how not to be a son of his time' Chesterton resisted and challenged his time as a Catholic: «A person who converts to Catholicism, then, suddenly has two a thousand years". But: what is his time?
We can say that during the lifetime of Chesterton and Campbell, Modernity had been installed. In Roy Campbell's time the negative was rejected by him, who, like Chesterton, valiantly resisted. The vital adventures of Campbell and Chesterton were adventures of resistance against all that was negative and objectionable about the times in which they lived. How could we define Modernity? Several definitions could be given, but what would summarize what modernity is, what characterizes modern times, current times, also the times in which Campbell and Chesterton lived, is a total disbelief regarding the permanent, of the immovable, of what is not altered, that is, the Truth. This is linked, in turn, to a materialistic vision: going with the times is weakness. Any change in this sense would be "changing the world to fit the Ideal, not changing the Ideal." To this Campbell and Chesterton clung with a resistance that we can call Vigor.
Also, Santiago María Rodríguez Grediaga will refer to the 'Mystique in Saint John and in Saint Thomas'. The search for God is the most authentic sign of the human spirit. This search, which occurs naturally in man, is not satisfied with a superficial knowledge of the divinity. Nor does it try to satisfy a simple curiosity or to more or less satisfactorily calm one's own conscience. On the contrary, it is a radical tendency of the soul towards the full possession of the object sought: God himself. It is ascending progress toward union with God that mystical theology is about. Numerous speculative mystics teach us what the phases of this progress are - the purgative, illuminative and unitive paths - and warn us of its errors and dangers. But the mystics teach us no less that experience prevails over theory, since both things are not at odds. A clear example of this is the influence of Saint Thomas Aquinas on Saint John of the Cross, while the doctrinal basis of the latter is none other than that of the Angelic Doctor. Far from the most common stereotypes and fantasies, the path of mystical union with God is extremely arduous. After some first experiences that are sensibly pleasant for the soul, dryness in prayer, hardness of spirit, aridity in meditation and loneliness with respect to a God who has psychologically disappeared (does not fall into the experience) follow one another. It is the story of the total stripping of oneself that leads to nothing and this, without having value by itself, is the previous step of the soul before being filled with God. Although very few are those who reach full union with God already on earth, the ideal is proposed to all of us: to the poet whose soul saved Spain and even to ourselves.
Finally, Emilio Domínguez will tackle 'Roy Campbell in ten anecdotes'. Surely, we all have our own stories. We have lived them, we remember them, we will gestate many more for the rest of our days. However, today we are going to look at those of Roy Campbell, the protagonist of this event. The anecdotes of the South African writer, without a doubt, give to write a book in which the chronology of situations of his hectic life will be able to give us an idea of his profile, of the experiences and vicissitudes that accompanied him in experiences as varied as those that, respecting the temporal sequence, we will detail to know the character from another perspective. Roy Campbell is synonymous with variety, from his literary contributions to the appearances that, in his own way, made him the watchword of 20th-century English poetry. And, for this, he had to face a harsh reality that, according to time, was disguised as detractors, enemies, difficulties, wars or trenches.
On the other hand, he also found the counterpoint and the way out to all of them through an ingenuity and character that would define vital moments of his existence such as those that, briefly, we will mention in this paper before the relentless marking of time and a selection of examples representative in which social, literary, war, economic and even spiritual allusions cannot be missing from the hand of Carmel, of this magnificent enclave in Toledo, of his conversion to Catholicism and, of course!, of Saint John of the Cross