Seis barbas de besugo (Six Beards of Sea Bream and Other Whims)

Ramón Gómez de la Serna
Illustrations by Alfredo González
Commentary by Ignacio Carrión

ISBN: 978-84-934038-8-1
Late Reading Collection, number 5 / Spanish edition / 1st edition: July 2007 / 18,5 x 23 cm / 132 pages / 28 two-page bicoloured illustrations + portrait of the authors / hardcover with dust jacket / printed at Brizzolis, Madrid, Spain

These 50 very short stories, which the author called «whims», are set in a borderland between credulity and incredulity, the tragic and the comic, life and death. Alfredo, the illustrator, has perfectly portrayed in red and black ink the real and unreal landscapes the characters wander through.


Ramón Gómez de la Serna (Madrid, 1888 – Buenos Aires, 1963) delved into every literary genre: he was a novelist, a writer of short stories, an essayist, a columnist, a memoirs writer, a playwright (cough cough), and, with great pride, a writer of book flaps. He never wrote poetry, so he never became a poet, but he did invent the greguería, a humorous invention as well conceived as anchovy stuffed olives, which became his way of poetically stating the reality of things.

Generally, he preferred the brief and even the briefest methods due to the necessity to write and publish regularly and quickly rid his head of streams of words and ideas. Micro short stories, which today enjoy new prestige, fill many books of his extensive library. He called them “trampantojos” (optical illusions), “gollerías” (delicacies), “disparates” (nonsense), “fantasmagorías” (phantasmagorias); the first greguerías had also been short stories.

Although the name “whims” predates its use by Goya, who popularised the term in his famous series of engravings, Ramón’s whims are induced by the nightmarish dreams of the Aragón artist. The last edition of whims published in Ramón’s lifetime contains 376 short stories. For our book, we have selected 50, which we offer to our readers alongside illustrations by Alfredo González (Agüeria, Asturias, 1933), a wonderful illustrator, who, like Ramón, has made his name universally known. As well as Ramón, he is both a provincial and a cosmopolitan author, which is useful to these stories set in a borderline territory, since, as the biographer states in his book about Goya, whom he considers to be the first Spanish humorist, “humour is what merges credulity and incredulity, the tragic and the comic, life and death, (…) all the contradictory poles”.

VAT included