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The Seven Madmen (Extraordinary Classics) (original 1929; edition 1998)

by Roberto Arlt

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287939,220 (3.91)38
Member:joecanas
Title:The Seven Madmen (Extraordinary Classics)
Authors:Roberto Arlt
Info:Serpent's Tail (1998), Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
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The Seven Madmen by Roberto Arlt (1929)

  1. 00
    Dream of Heroes by Adolfo Bioy Casares (iijjaallkkaa)
  2. 00
    Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk (CarlosMcRey)
    CarlosMcRey: Like Palahniuk's Joe, Arlt's Remo Erdosain seeks salvation through depravity and self-destruction in the midst of an urban wasteland.
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English (8)  Spanish (1)  All (9)
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Bolano compares his fellow writer Roberto Arlt to a character from one of Dostoyevsky’s later novels, and indeed it is Raskolnikov that comes to mind most often when reading about the ordeal of Remo Erdosain. With this difference I must add ,that Raskolnikov’s self-mortifying rambling takes place after the crime and that of Arlt’s character before the crime.

Erdosain, a nobody lost in a great city, himself acting and reacting on the basis of his own mad illusions, moves through a world of hookers, pimps, murderers, thiefs, thugs and other looneys, characters all who live their lives in accordance with their own mad and criminal logic, their self-constructed desperate schemes, their perverse apocalyptic nightmares.

For the reader of the 21th century it is chilling to realize how all these evil plans have turned out to become painful reality in our last century and that Argentine’s most forgotten writer, Roberto Arlt, has turned out to be one hell of a prophet. ( )
  Macumbeira | Jan 8, 2017 |
A group of criminals, sociopaths, and man-babies, inspired by the KKK, decide to take over the Argentinian government using false propaganda, replacing the government with industry-based society that is run by slave labor and forced prostitution. A brutal absurdist tale whose characters recognize that those they are following are madmen, but follow them anyway. This fever dream of an early 20th century mind eerily prescient of 2016 America. ( )
1 vote Jan.Coco.Day | Dec 31, 2016 |
Remi Erdosain knows his soul to be only a centimetre square, circumscribed by no one and contained within nothing. This brings moments of intense and vividly-described anguish relieved by the faint hope that something will happen--perhaps if he stands in the street looking sufficiently tortured, a millionaire might take him up. Erdosain is as well willing to kill himself or another simply to prove to himself his existence and is perhaps because of that receptive to a plan to take over the country and then the world. Indeed, he finds something so appealing in the coup plot that he daydreams of variations of it in which he himself becomes Lord of the Universe.

Halfway through the book I almost decided to give it up and move on to another. It was less than enthralling and those anguished moments had become too repetitious for even the most fervent of superfluous man groupies. And the book is very sloppy: It's repetitious, the author of those abruptly-introduced footnotes changes, and the continuity is weak. It's like a hastily-written first draft with pages slightly shuffled. But the sloppiness is organisational; the writing itself is fine. Only once or twice was I pulled up short by an infelicity in the writing (or translation). Otherwise, it was a smoother read than the sort of metaphor-laden fiction praised as 'well-crafted' and it made other fiction seem anaemic.

I'm glad I carried on reading. For one thing, despite the exaggerated anguish abandonment & despair, Arlt can be quite amusing albeit in a heavy-handed way. Erdosain finds it difficult to maintain that millionaire-baiting pose because his eyes turn to the legs of passing women. The world-domination plans are wonderfully loopy in some of the details. The messiah with which the masses will be drugged will be 'someone in between Krishnamurti and Rudolph Valentino.' Erdosain has a long conversation so immediately reminiscent of Dostoevsky that it's surely a pastiche; it ends with feet being kissed not out of heartfelt Russian self-abnegation but in gratitude for the inspiration for blackmail.

I enjoyed Seven Madmen quite a lot, although I've no idea why it's sometimes praised so wildly. The important thing, I suppose, is that it's available in English. I'm suprised then that it isn't better known in this part of the world: it has all the makings of a campus cult novel. ( )
1 vote bluepiano | Dec 30, 2016 |
Tengo la cabeza medio alterada, mañana haré una reseña decente. Cuando me recupere.

Mientras tanto,



Acabo de conocer a los personajes más interesantes de la literatura argentina, eso sin duda.

Uno peor que el otro, cada cual con su perversión, su locura implacable, su crueldad, su ambición. Insoportables, imposibles de querer, y con todo, impresionantes...

Anonadada.

No puedo entender cómo no se me ocurrió leer antes esta obra maestra.

"...los directores del movimiento eran unos cínicos estupendos, que no creían absolutamente en nada. Nosotros les imitaremos. Seremos bolcheviques, católicos, fascistas, ateos, militaristas, en diversos grados de iniciación."




"Usted siente que va cortando una tras otra las amarras que lo ataban a la civilización, que va a entrar en el oscuro mundo de la barbarie, que perderá el timón, se dice y eso también se lo dije al Astrólogo, que provenía de una falta de training en la delincuencia, pero no es eso, no. En realidad, usted quisiera vivir como los demás, ser honrado como los demás, tener un hogar, una mujer, asomarse a la ventana para mirar los transeúntes que pasan, y sin embargo, ya no hay una sola célula de su organismo que no esté impregnada de la fatalidad que encierran esas palabras: tengo que matarlo. Usted dirá que razono mi odio. Cómo no razonarlo. Si tengo la impresión de que vivo soñando. Hasta me doy cuenta de que hablo tanto para convencerme de que no estoy muerto, no por lo sucedido sino por el estado en que lo deja un hecho así. Es igual que la piel después de una quemadura. Se cura, ¿pero vio usted cómo queda?, arrugada, seca, tensa, brillante. Así le queda el alma a uno. Y el brillo que a momentos se refleja le quema los ojos. Y las arrugas que tiene le repugnan. Usted sabe que lleva en su interior un monstruo que en cualquier momento se desatará y no sabe en qué dirección.



«¡Un monstruo! Muchas veces me quedé pensando en eso. Un monstruo calmoso, elástico, indescifrable, que lo sorprenderá a usted mismo con la violencia de sus impulsos, con las oblicuas satánicas que descubre en los recovecos de la vida y que le permiten discernir infamias desde todos los ángulos. ¡Cuántas veces me he detenido en mí mismo, en el misterio de mí mismo y envidiaba la vida del hombre más humilde! ¡Ah!, no cometa nunca un crimen. Véame a mí cómo estoy. Y me confieso con usted porque sí, quizá porque usted me comprende…"




Y la Coja Hipólita...

—¡Sí había soñado!

Días hubo en que se imaginó un encuentro sensacional, algún hombre que le hablara de las selvas y tuviera en su casa un león domesticado. Su abrazo sería infatigable y ella lo amaría como una esclava; entonces encontraría placer en depilarse por él los sobacos y pintarse los senos. Disfrazada de muchacho recorría con él las ruinas donde duermen las escolopendras y los pueblos donde los negros tienen sus cabañas en la horqueta de los árboles. Pero en ninguna parte había encontrado leones, sino perros pulguientos, y los caballeros más aventureros eran cruzados del tenedor y místicos de la olla. Se apartó con asco de estas vidas estúpidas.

En el transcurso de los días los raros personajes de novela que había encontrado, no eran tan interesantes como en la novela, sino que aquellos caracteres que los hacían nítidos en la novela eran precisamente los aspectos odiosos que los tornaban repulsivos en la vida. Y, sin embargo, se les había entregado.

Mas, ya saciados, se apartaban de ella como si se sintieran humillados de haberle ofrecido el espectáculo de su debilidad. Ahora se sumergía en la esterilidad de su vivir igual a un arenal geográficamente explorado."







--------------------------------------------------​

Lectura conjunta con Liz* y Nanu de Emma's Tea Party

A empezar el 20 de marzo ( )
  LaMala | Jun 7, 2015 |
The Seven Madmen is the sort of work that never seems to lose its impact. Even 80 years after its original publication, there's something uniquely unsettling about Arlt's account of one man's involvement in a bizarre criminal conspiracy. The man in question, Remo Erdosain, finds himself in trouble at the beginning of the novel. His bosses at The Sugar Company have figured out that he has been embezzling, and give him a day to return the money he has robbed. To make things worse, when he gets home, he learns his wife is leaving him for another man.

Desperate, he seeks out the help of a man who goes under the moniker of The Astrologer, a strange figure obsessed with criminal conspiracies and the overthrow of the established order. He is soon drawn into the Astrologer's strange plan, in which are involved several other strange characters, including Hafner, a math professor turned pimp whom people call "The Melancholy Ruffian," an army Major and the Gold Seeker.

I remember the first time I read it, I found it sort of disappointing, perhaps because it ends so abruptly with a "To be continued..." This time around, I found myself drawn more into its unique and nightmarish character. Of particular note is The Astrologer, which has struck me as one of the most intriguing characters in literature, up there with Ahab or Heathcliff. With his fascination for political philosophies, his deep cynicism and his strange schemes, he seems like a foreshadowing of the rise of men like Hitler, Stalin or bin-Ladin. The whole conspiracy he heads strikes similar strange tones, with each participant seeming to have their own strange scheme at play as well.

Arlt's description of the city is wonderfully evocative, and he draws heavily on the smells of the city as well as a pervading sense of darkness. It struck me as having interesting parallels with film noir, in which shadows are part of the atmosphere of moral decay. ( )
1 vote CarlosMcRey | May 22, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Roberto Arltprimary authorall editionscalculated
Cortazar, Juliosecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sabarte Belacortu, MarioleinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wellinga, KlaasAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The moment he opened the door to the manager's office, with its milk-glass panels, Erdosain tried to back out; he could see he was done for, but it was too late.
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