"A Splendid Prolongation": Studies in Crap Visits Mallorca, the Land of the Gilded Run-On

Your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from  basements, thrift stores, estate sales and flea markets. I do this for one reason: Knowledge is power.

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Mallorca: English Edition

Author: Antonion Campana and Juan Puig-Ferran

Publisher: Postales Color CYP, Barcelona

Date: 1975

Discovered at: Thrift store

The Cover Promises: None of the mangled glory found within.

Representative Quote: "Throughout these pages commenting on the different aspects of the Balearic Islands, in unison with the purely narrative parts, there are interspersed, perhaps with even greater attractive force, the marvelous landscapes picked out from among the beauties of Nature, that so prodigally sublimates the thousands of attractions that swarms of painters have managed to capture through their talent, and who never tire of proclaiming that they have found the Mecca of their dreams in the witchery of the Islands." (page 5)

And it goes on like that.

Sun-drunk and tender-brained, Mallorca: English Edition is not merely a tourist dispatch from Spain's beautiful Balearic Islands. No, this book hails from some realm far removed from this mortal sphere, a dreamscape where the collision of ambitious prose and shaky translation sparks new and impossible life.

"Majorca, Ibiza, the whole archipelago has come to live its new mission of infecting the world with its calm and sharing its treasures with the rest of the Universe. Statistics show fabulous figures of the traffic on its airports. The gilded blue-girdled land receives the great ones of the world as well as the more modest travelers. It can put them all up and put its seal on all of them, offer them landscapes and beauty, sun, sea and calm."

"The great ones." "Put its seal on all of them." Normally, your Crap Archivist would work up some sucky gag involving Jackie Gleason with a porpoise on his belly. But up against the endless tumbling beauty of Mallorca: English Edition all I can do is savor.

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"On the arrival of Spring, Majorca becomes covered all over with the white of her almonds, whose young blossoms rock with their murmurs the sleep of the tortured, ancient olive trees."

And:

"The Cathedral's structure, massive and bristling with towers, is like - at one and the same time - a temple, a fortress, and another rock among the cliffs. It is reflected in the sea which, robbing it of its rigidity, rocks it as if Palma had two cathedrals,-- one between heaven and earth, the hieratic one, and the other shimmering in the sea."

Has ever a guidebook taught such vocabulary? A peninsula becomes "a splendid prolongation." Look-out points become "belvederes." And - distressingly - bagpipes become "the goatsack."

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Of course, all this bruised-up beauty gets in the way of comprehension. See how the preface labors to introduce a poem:

"In the achieving of the aims of the editors of this book, perhaps the poetical contagion wich [sic] which the author of the following lines endeavors to crown this prologue - devotep [sic] to his beloved Motherland Majorca --, may collaborate."

Highlight:

"In a land of so much beauty, the normal passes unnoticed, and so the South coast that brings us back to Palma lives its quiet life, little disturbed by tourists since, though pretty, it is not so strikingly beautiful as the rest. In the interior, too, men and women, attending calmly to their very fertile soil, know little of hotels and motor cars, and go on being land and hand workers whilst the sails of their windmills go leisurely turning."


Oh, Mallorca! So much beauty! So much crazy!

May your gentle and dappling brokenness of prose continue to inspire very much the raptures beloved to the highborn and, too, the people of modest normalcy who tend to their offices of duty and turn, when a breeze thus suggests it, to your cleavages loined by sea!


The Crap Archivist lives in Kansas City, where he originates his on-line Studies for the Voice's sister paper, The Pitch.


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