Iberian Sights

excerpt In 1846, M. Kogalniceanu travels to France and Spain (Notes sur l'Espagne). The recollection of Moldavia lingers with him at the opposite end of the continent. "I have studied Spain a great deal," he writes to I. Ghica, "a very curious country whose language, character, customs, and even historical stages resemble ours." What are those "despondent songs, simply modulated on a few notes," if not love, grief, and outlaws' doinas? In Spain too outlaws, "bandits," are the "poetic sons of the people." Another retro "illusion": "Upon climbing up or down a mountain, the illusion was terrible. I would hear a sad, droning song, then I would notice a gang of riders, and I thought I was seeing our highlanders coming down from the Carpathians and making for the fair in Falticeni." These similarities are explicable through an Oriental substratum. Excerpted from: The Auspices of Hermes. Travel Memoirs (before 1900) between the Real and the Imaginary, Minerva, 1993

by Florin Faifer