sábado, 24 de septiembre de 2016

William A. Sessions

Me entero por el Boletín de Andalusia, la casa de FO'C en Milledgville, que ha muerto William A. Sessions, uno de los grandes estudiosos de su obra y amigo suyo desde muy joven.
En las cartas a Betty Hester aparece mencionado con frecuencia; ambas bromeaban sobre él (datos en la wikipedia / una biografía oficial aquí). Así cuenta ella la primera visita de Sessions:
The unnecessary worry of the year was whether it would be necessary to hold a literary conversation with Billy. No conversation whatever was necessary. He arrived promptly at 3:30, talking, talked his way across the grass and up the steps and into a chair and continued talking from that position without pause, break, breath, or gulp until 4:50. At 4:50 he departed to go to Mass (Ascension Thursday) but declared he would like to return after it so I thereupon invited him to supper with us. 5:50 brings him back, still talking, and bearing a sack of ice cream and cake to the meal. He then talked until supper but at that point he met a little head wind in the form of my mother, who is also a talker. Her stories have a non-stop quality, but every now and then she does have to refuel and every time she came down, he went up. After supper she retired and I listened to Billy until around 10. If I said six complete sentences all afternoon and evening I don’t know what they were. Two days later, we both get thank you letters from him saying he knew he stayed too long but he had enjoyed the conversation so much that he forgot the time. My mother and I howled.
Él, que comenzó de bailarín clásico, acabó siendo un respetado catedrático de inglés y una de las figuras centrales de la investigación sobre FO'C. Fue el quien publicó el Diario de oraciones en 2013. Estaba trabajando en una biografía «autorizada», que se retrasaba año tras año. Ahora anuncian en este obituario que la biografía se publicará póstumamente y que tendrá más de 800 páginas.

Yo coincidí con él en Congresos. Era una excelente persona.

En esta foto está con Betty Hester, su mujer y Sally Fitzgerald

En esta noticia recogen más información sobre la biografía que estaba escribiendo. Ahí cuenta su punto de vista de su primer encuentro con ella:
Although Flannery had written to invite me to drop in that afternoon at any time, I felt the need to see some motion from the house. I knew Flannery had special times for special activities, including times to take her medicines, the periods changing with the plateaus and descents of her incurable disease. I also knew the porch was special. As she had warned me in her invitation, she did not emerge from her room until around 11:30 every morning, when she finished her work. She added that on good days, she would sit on the porch and, tired from the morning’s writing, crutches, across the wooden floor of the porch, and then a command to the birds, nasal and drawling. As I turn back to clear my legs, the front screen door at the top of the brick steps squeaks, opens. I look up.
Large deep blue eyes behind rimless glasses stare directly down at me. They hold that gaze as my own eyes look back. Then the eyes relax, as the young woman of medium height and with uneven teeth leans slightly on one gray metal crutch, holds the door open with the other crutch.
She glances at the beat-up car and then at me.
“Well,” she says, “you got here.

Yo hablé hace tiempo de un artículo suyo. Él es quien explicó quién era Betty Hester. Y esta anécdota sobre el precio a pagar. Y sobre su intervención en el Congreso de Roma (uno, dos, tres, cuatro). Y una entrevista.

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