The Martyrs

Juan Esteban Constaín

SHORT STORIES. SEIX BARRAL, 2004. 184 PAGES

"This is a volume of stories about writers," Constaín writes in a prologue that sets a bold, enthusiastic tone for his portraits of dozens of legendary figures including Pushkin, Conrad, Dickens, Dumas, Quevedo, Chateaubriand, Rimbaud, Boethius, Shelley, Ariosto, Hölderlin and Camoens, as well as people overwhelmed by fame such as William Shakespeare's double, Samuel Johnson, and Lonnie Johnson, the blues singer.

"It was guided by admiration and gratitude, and in a couple of cases by indignation. We are liable, and wrong, to forget it, but literature is a fate in whose service one delves into the most profound aspects of the mystery of human existence and this may have tragic, grotesque, wonderful or terrible consequences, but it will never leave you unmoved. A writer is born to be the instrument of overpowering forces and he (or she) ends up as an essential part of a creation in which they are not a witness but complicit when not actually the physical victim of its slings and arrows," he says.

PUBLISHED BY: Spanish SEIX BARRAL

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