miércoles, 21 de agosto de 2013

Una joven muchacha con una idea espantosa


Por   | Para LA NACION

El último libro de Esther Cross, La mujer que escribió Frankenstein , (Emecé), también podría titularse "De cómo enamorarse de la muerte". Es un texto mágico, oscuro, una extraña forma de biografía, más próxima al secreto, al desentierro. Ya en las primeras páginas Cross nos entrega a su biografiada en un párrafo mortífero: "En el Cementerio Protestante de Roma, en la tumba de Percy B. Shelley, hay una lápida que dice «Corazón de corazones», pero falta el corazón. El corazón de Shelley está enterrado con Mary Shelley, su mujer, a cientos de kilómetros, en la ciudad costera de Bornemouth, Inglaterra. Así que en una tumba hay una urna con cenizas incompletas y en la otra hay un corazón de más".
Así comienza -o termina, según desde dónde se la lea o entienda- la historia de la genial escritora Mary Shelley, autora de Frankenstein , esposa del poeta Percy Shelley, hija de una de las primeras feministas de la historia, Mary Wollstonecraft, y del filósofo político William Godwin, ambos progresistas que a fines del siglo XVIII consideraban el matrimonio el peor de los monopolios.
La muerte y el amor marcaron el ritmo de la vida de Mary Shelley. A las pocas semanas de nacer, su madre murió de una septicemia; a ella misma se le murieron dos hijos, y su amado marido falleció al hundirse su velero, en 1822. De adolescente ella solía pasearse entre las lápidas del cementerio hasta llegar a la de su madre; allí se recostaba a leer. Tanta muerte parece haberla impulsado a crear vida después de la muerte (más allá de la época, que coincidía con los experimentos de galvanismo). Frankenstein surge de las penas y las lecturas de Mary; es un monstruo capaz de amar, y de leer a Goethe, Milton y Rousseau. En realidad, es producto de un desafío. La historia es conocida: una apuesta para ver quién escribía el relato más escalofriante entre Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, su médico, Polidori, y Mary Shelley, una noche de desvelo, en una casa frente al lago Leman. Mary Shelley no sólo les ganó a sus colegas con su "Prometeo moderno", sino que también le ganó a la muerte, convirtiéndose en la mujer que escribióFrankenstein .
Así pasó a la historia. Y a la vez, su historia cobró vida a lo largo de los años -¡siglos!- en múltiples formatos, entre ellos el cine y el cómic. Varios escritores investigaron su tenebrosa vida y el origen de su engendro; entre ellos, Muriel Spark.
Esther Cross se arrimó de una manera distinta. A través de un recorrido por los fantasmas, sueños, naufragios, cartas, sepulcros y paisajes, reconstruyó la biografía como si reviviera a Mary Shelley de sus muertes. Es un texto con un ritmo desvelado; una biografía que viene con la respiración a cuestas (¿será la de Mary Shelley o la del monstruo?).
En la introducción a la novela de 1831, la propia Mary se preguntaba: "¿Cómo una joven muchacha pudo imaginar una idea tan espantosa?". Una vez creado, lo hizo andar: "...Pido a mi horrible progenie que ahora salga y prospere". Tanto prosperó que terminó creándola a ella.

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