Pedro Aparicio

On Monday evening Pedro Aparicio presented a collection of essays in a nice event held in the spectacular Salón de los espejos at City Hall.  There were about 150 people in attendance.  Aparicio was mayor of Malaga from 1979 to 1995, a time of incredible growth and change for Spain.  The currrent mayor, Francisco de la Torre, presided the event, along with Juvenal Soto, the director of the Cuatro estaciones collection, as part of which this volume is published.  Manuel Alcántara presented the book.  In a time of such political tension in Spain, it was wonderful to see a former mayor from the PSOE being so warmly introduced by the current mayor, who represents the opposition PP.  In most cities in Spain right now such a scenario is simply unimaginable.  Both Aparicio and De la Torre are highly educated, intelligent, and gracious individuals.  Aparicio is a delight to read and a wonderful, engaging conversationalist.  In a small gathering afterwards at the Maestranza hotel, Pedro asked me my opinion regarding the different translations of Shakespeare into Spanish.  I told him it hadn't occurred to me to read Shakespeare in Spanish, and so I really couldn't offer an opinion.  He acted astonished, called over some of the others, and said, "hey, get this, our American professor friend says he can't offer an opinion.  Can you imagine any Spanish professor not offering an opinion..."  And so there were some brief and funny impressions of pompous professors.  Fortunately, few Spanish university professors today respond to that stereotype, but there is no doubt that many Spaniards hold the professoriate in low esteem.  (I do know at least one professor, who shall remain nameless here, who responds quite well to the stereotype -- he will gladly go on for hours on any topic whatsoever.)  Finally: Alcántara observed in his introductory remarks that Pedro Aparicio, in his modesty, may have harbored some doubts about having much of anything to say in these essays, but that there could be no doubt regarding the importance of having things to say to himself (decir vs. decirse).  I'll borrow that: regardless of its possible interest to others, what I write here is of at least some importance to me, and for no other reason than that the simple act of writing helps me order my thoughts and to establish in my mind, if not the reality of clear thinking, at least a passable simulation of it.

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