Journey Back to the Source: Alejo Carpentier: Viaje a la semilla (; Journey Back to the Source), for instance, set in 19th-century Cuba, is told in reverse. The Cuban novelist who invented the phrase “lo real maravilloso americano,” Alejo Carpentier considered “Journey Back to the Source” (“Viaje a la semilla”) to . Journey Back to the Source Analysis and Quiz According to Carpentier, language is an artificial, alienating construct, almost like structured.

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Once he has reset time’s direction and lit the lamps, the Afro-Cuban sorcerer and his magical reality vanish into the text. The Cuban novelist who invented the phrase “lo real maravilloso americano,” Alejo Carpentier considered “Journey Back to the Source” “Viaje a la semilla” to be the story from which his maturity as a writer began.

Walls have sloughed their paper like snakes shed their old skins; capitals lie fallen against their natural propensities, yet the vines recognize their affinity with the acanthus of fallen columns and twine round them. Journey Back to the Source — critical commentary The principal conceit of this tale is that it is a narrative in which time goes backwards.

Journey Back to the Source

So they sit out the day. With one or two minor exceptions, Carpentier delivers this chronological illusion very successfully. When Melchor is not there, his closest friends are the household dogs, with whom he shares his life. Relatives and friends gather to mark her passing.

Like Laurence Sterne in Tristram Shandy, whose hero tells his story from the moment of his conception, or Machado de Assis in Epitaph for a Small Winner, whose hero begins his story just after his death, Carpentier starts from a conceit—a smart, clever, ingenious idea. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Your email address will not be published. The principal conceit of this tale is that it is a narrative in which time goes backwards. Modern Language Association http: When he leaves the seminary he enters a period of spiritual doubt and emotional crisis.

Thus, gradually, delightedly, the reader realizes that he is moving not forward but backward in time. Yet the ironic balance is maintained: The ruined marquess trades bankruptcy for mourning, mourning for romance, romance for spiritual crisis, spiritual crises for toy grenadiers, the groom, and the only true perspective on a house—the one from the floor.

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His mistress gets out of bed, gets dressed, and leaves the house. He finally renounces the light, and all grows dark, warm, moist again. Retrieved December 26, from Encyclopedia. Critics dispute whether the conclusion represents a glorious return to nature or a dismal annihilation of the human race. While accounts of the story emphasize carpentiwr portentous allegory, the tale itself, the reader’s journey, is ironic, witty, and fun.

Journey Back to the Source Analysis and Quiz by Ted Diepenbrock on Prezi

About Us Advertising Clients Contact. Don Marcial and the Marquesa get to know each other in the early days of their marriage.

They get dressed up in old clothes from the attic and hold a musical party where he flirts with a young girl.

Since “seed” in English denotes semen, which is masculine, spurting out to join the egg, it cannot be used to describe the trip back up the vaginal canal to our source. Nor does the story propose as Carpentier’s later work does that the man’s magic is real in his world though not in ours: He begins using baby-talk. Print this article Print all entries for this topic Cite this article.


Don Marcial only does moderately well in his college examinations, and then learns less and less at school. Friends take their presents back home and Don Marcial lives in his house alone as a bachelor. Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

He forgets his own name, and before his christening exists in a world of touch alone. For a more extended cafpentier of its kind, see his novel, The Kingdom of this World El reino de este mundo. Unlike Carpentier’s later work, where the “marvelous” accrues from the juxtaposition of different realities, this story depends on a magician and an explicitly literary trick.

Journey Back to the Source Viaje al semilla was written inbut first published in in Havana, Cuba as part of the collection entitled The War of Time — Guerra del tiempo Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.