by Javier Miró
November 23, 2017
Full original title: Dictionary of the ineffable.Segunda edición ampliada.
Title of Second Edition: Second extended edition.
Year : 2017
Published by Plaza y Valdés (1st edition), neolog Eds. (2nd edition)
Genre: Dictionary ?
When your own language is not enough for you
In our eagerness to bring you the most alternative, rare, almost that could be said strange works, today we are going to talk about a hybrid being, a book impossible to classify: a dictionary of fiction, because that’s what it is this Lexinario by Javier Enriquez. It is a sort of compilation of terms that the Mexican author has used in his three previous works.
Javier Enriquez (1955, Mexico City) is, in addition to a writer, also a physician, a surgeon and a scientist, lately [an executive] for pharmaceutical companies. According to his personal website and his Wikipedia page, his work is characterized by a very peculiar style that borders on surrealism. In his work he uses a huge amount of neologisms he created, in an effort to try to explain complex concepts that never before being explored.
The latter is what we will find in the Lexinary, an enormous amount of invented terms that come mostly from Castilian -and sound like Spanish-, but have alternative meanings. Of course, as already happened with other similar works - such as the Coll Dictionary of the 21st century , by José Luis Coll - the fundamental tool for the creation of these words is sense of humor. Do not expect to die of laughter reading this book. Rather, you will often find among the pages more than one thing that will you smile.
anempathy. noun. Psychology. 1. Insensitivity to or inability to react to graphic acts of violence and cruelty; generally the effect of pervasive use of exaggerated violence in movies and multimedia. 2. Violesthesia.* 3. Phenacultry.* 4. Empathectomy.*
violesthesia. noun. 1. Unbothered reaction to violence or the suffering of others as a consequence of frequent exposure to them. 2. Action and effect of recurrently perceiving with indifference extreme acts of cruelty and brutality in multimedia. 3. Passive familiarity with torture.
wippour. noun. 1. An abnormal sensation, typically pricking, tingling, and itching while sensing a morbid tranquility when the feeling of power is fused with the feeling of remorse. 2. Anesthetisia.
anestoloid. noun. A person with the absolute inability to reason.
anecstasy. noun. 1. An overwhelming feeling of self-repugnance during extreme states of abhorrence or disdain. 2. An overwhelming feeling of repugnance at one’s own appearance.
Surely there are more terms in this book than those that the author could have been able to use in his novels, since the Lexinary contains than 6,000 definitions. It seems impossible for all of them to appear in the three novels, since that would make them illegible; it would no longer be a language or anything related to a known language. Or maybe that was the intention of the author from the beginning: to invent an excuse to sell an extra book -the Lexinary- to his readers. Well, that does not make much sense. What is more logical is to consult the Lexinary once one is already familiar with his writings and wants to immerse more profoundly in the philological world he has created. For this same reason, I find it unlikely that this dictionary may prompt anyone to start reading Javier Enriquez’s novels.
As the author himself states in the introduction of the Lexinary, his intention of writing with invented words is of creating a symphony of words that, when read or heard, provoke an aesthetic pleasure simulating music and to awaken new, straphalaric sensations in the readers' minds and a unique interpretation in those who perceive them.It does not seem like a simple or a modest goal. Whether achieving this goal or not, what we must highlight is the impressive work done to come up with the words, give them meaning and internal coherence -which the book really looks like a professional dictionary- and invent so many other words to fill in the gaps to reach that tremendous figure of more than 6,000 definitions in 292 pages. Could that be a waste of such monstrous creativity?
magnefic. adjective. 1. Causing harm or destruction with magnets. 2. Performing magnetic bewitchment.
klobsten. noun. A force with an apparent magnetic field that forms around two fleeting lovers.
wogren. adjective. 1. Having the capability to offend or irritate with innovative insults. 2. Creative foulmouthedness. 3. Majaderic.
kortick. noun. 1. An error a man makes when doing something that a woman told him to do and not what she wished or meant for him to do. 2. Malcertitude. 3. Parasimiladia. 4. Malandrosis.
jable. verb. 1. To persuade someone with consummate ease. 2. To change, without breaking, the shape of something not easily malleable. 3. Malleat.*
malleate. verb. Physics. 1. To mold or manipulate something without changing form or behavior. Psychology. 2. To mold or manipulate someone without changing his or her form or behavior.
Taking the dictionary game to another level
Surely you know the game “dictionary,” which in different countries may have distinct names. It is a game in which random words are chosen from a dictionary and a person has to choose the true meaning of the word from the true definition along with definitions made up by other players. I use this game in my creative writing classes as it is great fun, quite simple and tremendously effective. The only drawback I see is if you play this game with a philologist or language wizard with some imagination, then, you are lost. Well, the solution to that game in such circumstances is to play with the Lexinary, since it is impossible for anyone to know the definition of a word in advance and, as has already been proven with the examples cited above, it is quite improbable to guess their meaning.
EL LEXINARIO DE JAVIER ENRÍQUEZ SERRALDE
Carlos Herrera de la Fuente, Doctor en Filosofía
En ocasiones los idiomas parecen detenerse: las distintas literaturas, que deberían ser, sin duda, sus voceros inconfundibles, se sumen de pronto en un sopor duradero, símbolo de una pausa entre una época y otra, o bien de un simple cansancio después de un apogeo creativo. Son tiempos difíciles, en los cuales los patrones establecidos tienden a repetirse y las búsquedas se agotan. De esos baches artísticos sólo nos logran sacar ciertos esfuerzos solitarios que, por su vocación rupturista e irreverente, por su innegable amor a lo diverso e irreductible que hay en la lengua, están llamados a convertirse en símbolos de una nueva época. Me gustaría pensar, sin adelantarme al juicio de los lectores, que el Lexinario de Javier Enríquez Serralde está llamado a sacudir muchas cosas que estaban dormidas en nuestro idioma y a despertar un sincero interés por arriesgarse a salir de las cómodas fronteras en las que nos hemos acostumbrado a escribir y a vivir.
Lo primero que sorprende de las obras de Javier Enríquez Serralde es su compromiso con el idioma. Esta afirmación podrá parecer incompatible con una obra llena de neologismos y de violaciones a la gramática española. No es así. Todo compromiso verdadero se mide por la fidelidad que se tiene al objeto o al sujeto en cuestión, más allá de las reglas que lo limitan y gobiernan. Esta fidelidad y este compromiso se expresan, en el caso de Enríquez Serralde, en la exigencia que le impone al idioma español para decir más de lo que él mismo cree que es capaz de decir; en otras palabras: en su amor por lo inagotable de la lengua. La empresa de Enríquez Serralde es la de alguien que observa el cansancio momentáneo en el que está sumido su idioma y se compromete a sacarlo de él (incluso a pesar de él); es la empresa de quien asume que todo idioma es creación constante, cambio perpetuo y gozo ilimitado de las palabras; es, más que compromiso con lo ya hecho, amor por aquello que está por hacerse, por aquello que está por decirse y pensarse. Compromiso con el futuro: labor de poeta.
Quien se sumerja en las páginas del Lexinario habrá de encontrarse con un mundo posible que vive en nuestro idioma. Con un mundo y un lenguaje paralelos tan legítimos como cualquier otro. En ellos hay risa, tristeza, inteligencia, soledad, emociones, cansancio, abusos, desconsuelo, etc., al igual que en nuestro mundo y en nuestro idioma. Sus definiciones nos presentan una realidad que, en su diferencia, nos da cuenta de la nuestra de una manera inesperada. Leer el Lexinario es, a la vez, escapar y regresar. Escapar de nosotros tan sólo para rencontrarnos a nosotros mismos. Soñar con otros mundos para soñarnos a nosotros de una manera diferente. Aprender a imaginar. El Lexinario es una convocatoria para dar rienda suelta a nuestra imaginación. Ojalá que alguien preste atención a este llamado.
Ciudad de México, 28 de mayo del 2013.
THE LEXINARY OF JAVIER ENRIQUEZ SERRALDE
Carlos Herrera de la Fuente, Ph.D.
Sometimes languages seem to stop. The different literatures of each language, which should be their undeniable voices, unfortunately join the lengthily soporiferous times. These are the signals of a pause between one epoch to the next or, simply, tiredness after a creative apogee. These are difficult times in which established patterns tend to repeat themselves and the search for other alternatives seem to be exhausted. From these artistic doldrums only a few solitary works emerge. These are written by those with irreverent or rupture-like stamina, those with the passion for the diverse, the heterogeneous, the insurmountable of a language and with an undeniable love for letters who will likely be considered symbols of a new epoch. I'd like to think, without getting ahead of the readers' judgment, that the Lexinary of Javier Enriquez Serralde will shake many aspects of our language that are dormant and will awake a sincere interest to attempt to escape from the comfortable frontiers in which we have become accustomed to write or to live.
The first thing that surprises me about Javier Enriquez Serralde's literary work is his commitment to the language. This statement appears incompatible with a body of work filled with neologisms and grammar violations. This is not the case. Every truthful commitment is measured by the loyalty one has to someone or something beyond the rules that define them or govern them. In the case of Enriquez Serralde, the loyalty and the commitment are expressed in the strictness he demands from the Spanish language to express more than he himself is able to express. In other words, is his love for the inexhaustible resources of a language.
The endeavor of Enriquez Serralde is that of one who witnesses the lapse of tiredness in which his language is submerged and his is committed to rescue it (despite himself). It is the enterprise of someone who believes that every language is a constant creation, a perpetual change, an unlimited joy for words. It is, more than a commitment for what has been accomplished, a duty of love for what is about to be made, for what is about to be said and thought. A commitment to the future; it is the endeavor of a poet.
Those who immerse themselves in the pages of the Lexinary will bump into a possible world that lives already in our language. Such reader will come across a parallel world as well as a language that are as legitimate as any other. In those worlds and languages there is laughter, there is sadness, there is intelligence, there is solitude, there are emotions, tiredness, abuse, grief, etc. and all as real and as tangible as those in our world and our language. His definitions introduce us to a reality that makes us realize our own in an unexpected manner. To read the Lexinary is both to escape and to return simultaneously. It is to escape from ourselves and to reencounter with ourselves. It is to dream of other worlds to dream of ourselves in a different manner. It is to learn to imagine. The Lexinary is a call to let our imagination run free. I hope someone listens to this call.
Mexico City, May 28, 2013