A certain unity of purpose : Alejo Carpentier and his novel "La consagracion de la primavera"
Carpentier's life-long work in music has thus far received almost no attention from commentators. Utilising the recent republications in book form of a representative selection of his journalism, and utilising also research carried out in Havana in July 1981, the present thesis examines Carpentier's penultimate published novel, La consagracion de la primavera, as being the work of the same man as the author of that journalism, and postulates that La consagracion de la primavera with its socialist and revolutionary commitment to a progressive humanism, is to be read as a summa and Q.E.D. of Carpentier's entire life-work. This is done by examining the many ramifications of the ballet 'espectaculo' devised by Vera and described on page 412 of La consagracion de la primavera. The discussion of that 'espectaculo' itself requires some presentation, which is provided by an Introduction setting out the basic drive of the thesis, a Biography dealing with Carpentier's formative years, and a Journey to the Source in the. form of an examination of Carpentier' s earliest printed writings, the articles he wrote for the Havana daily La Discusion in 1922 and 1923. The Fourth Section then deals with the first half of Vera's 'espectaculo', examining each of the American composers represented, and concluding with a discussion of the symbolic value of the first half of the 'espectaculo'. The Fifth and final Section begins with a discussion of Carpentier and Igor Stravinski, and then examines some questions of structure in La consagracion de la primavera with reference to the musical aspects of the novel. The thesis ends with a consideration of Carpentier's use of the image of the Last Judgement in his writing, which is interpreted as being indicative not of a pessimistic belief in closed circles of history but of the deepest humanist optimism. The four Appendices provide material not readily available in Europe: a tabular presentation of Carpentier's work for La Discusion, the text of his first published fictional writing, a statement about La consagracion de la primavera. and an article of 1925 on Arnold Schoenberg. The list of works cited, with which the present text concludes, is as concise as possible and details only writings referred to in the text.