Updated: Sep 23
"Así el espejo averiguó callado, así Narciso en pleamar fugó sin alas".
from Muerte de Narciso, by José Lezama Lima
In our so-called first world of emptiness, consumerism and exacerbated narcissism, the real estate industry offers new and more sophisticated versions of paradise at every turn - depending on one's pocketbook: from suburban developments with perversely identical houses (I wonder if the families will also not be identical and therefore interchangeable their members, pets and cars) to urban skyscrapers between the clouds with huge swimming pools, gardens in the air and even heliports that allow the wealthiest to fly over the mob and filth, without having to get your shoes dirty.
Meanwhile the medical wizards follow us with injections of hormones and vitamins, terrifying hyperbaric chambers and sterilized scalpels. Smiling they promise - for a small fee - to shield us against Cronos. Make way, Plato and Confucius, to the gurus of success and the New Age, who bring us the formulas to make all our wishes come true and even complete happiness-for a small fee- in five simple and short lessons.
It is already established: the residence must be furnished according to the dictates of fashion: branded Italian furniture or modern Nordic furniture for the minimalist look; tons of furniture combined with luxurious antiques for those of ancient ancestry. Books can be bought by the meter, as some families used to do. “Please give me twenty feet of books on this wall. I prefer dark spines. How much would it be? Would you take a check?
But I did not come here to complain. I am here to propose low-cost, high-quality alternatives that can be integrated into any room and, above all, into our inner shelves and interstices.. Since the Greeks had already perfected this type of interior decoration, in their honor, I will start with them.
For those who prefer austere interiors with a touch of magical archaism, I recommend Homer's poems. They always look good, especially at the entrance. Greek tragedies are also welcome there; they give a venerable air to the decoration. When it comes to archaic epics, the Gilgamesh poem isn't bad either.
On a majestic pedestal, Don Quixote. Chivalric novels and epics in Spanish like the Song of Mío Cid look good in any room. room. Near an armchair, the stories of the Count Lucanor, La Celestina or some other picaresque novel, by contrast, will never hurt. I always recommend, should you visit the heroic quests, to stay away from the battlefields, wear light armor and above all, to bring lona good pair of shoes to run when necessary and stay out of trouble.
In the anteroom I prefer something by Schubert. Along with a naturalist painting, some of those simple songs that talk about streams, jumping trout and healthy village women. These pieces, with their touch of modest bourgeois elegance, lend a respectable air to any interior.
For a more visceral effect, Goethe's poems - try the incandescent Prometheus, or if you prefer something more modern, Rilke's Elegies. For those who prefer to renew their hopes in humanity, the works of the exalted nineteenth-century American transcendentalists are unbeatable. On afternoons of mild madness, Dickinson's poems; for intense madness, Ulysses. In dark attics, and under several padlocks, some passages from Kafka and Poe. They should not be visited frequently, and above all, you must be very careful that The Raven does not come escape.
In the inner sanctum, illuminated medieval manuscripts with elongated figures, books of hours, Borges' stories, Malte's notebooks, and above all, Chopin's music. In its gardens I hide entire afternoons, and thus I avoid - like Julián del Casal - the brightness of the tropical sun and the vulgarity of the times. The poems of the French symbolists complete the decoration of the boudoir, between cushions and Persian rugs. The Thousand and One Nights should not be missing there. For Pushkin or Tolstoy melancholic evenings - their natural complement, the music of Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky.
As pillow stuffing, I recommend impressionist miniatures like The Girl with Flaxen Hair by Debussy, or one of his symphonic poems, like The Clouds. If you choose one of the latter, please make sure to tie yourself to the bed before falling asleep, as the different timbres and the dalliances of the orchestra tend to cause astral excursions, dizziness and lightheadedness.
For those of dramatic temperament, add a bit of Beethoven, to taste. These works must always be accompanied with the judicious accent provided by a bust of the Master. To slit one’s wrists, Puccini. For inveterate suicides, the famous Ponchielli aria, but, only if sung by a dramatic soprano with a voice like thunder.
Wagner is for those with great powers of concentration. His music is favorable to the robust. In any case, always remember to bring a good snack and comfortable clothes for those long excursions. For meditation, Gregorian chant.
And if it is true that, as they say, Nature abhors a vacuum, let's rush to decorate our own interior. If not, we run the risk of others decorating it to their liking without our permission, or even filling it with rubbish… And then a river would be required to clean it, las when Hercules was asked to clean the stables of that famous King whose name I can't remember…