The grotesque has always held a powerful fascination for the mind and imagination, at times as metaphor for chaos and absolute evil, and at others as a manifestation of the sacred and even of laughter. All deformity—banal or extraordinary—as much attraction as revulsion, evokes a state of panic or a howl of laughter. It is Dionysus or the freak boy gang staging a fight in our streets, which—in the hour of our technological barbarity—Serigo González Rodríguez calls the daily “sacred” on a global scale. In one of the essays selected for this issue of Literal—dedicated to the universe of the freak—André Pieyre de Mandiargues affirms that, on the aesthetic plane, the grotesque belongs to the realm of beauty no less than to that of ugliness: in it we can see one of the best examples of those mysterious points at which beauty and ugliness converge, just as good and evil do at various disturbing ethical crossroads.
This edition is framed by interviews of three personalities undisputable central to international culture: Guillermo del Toro, director of horror films; Margaret Atwood, recent winner of the Premio Príncipe de Asturias (2008); and Rob Riemen, Dutch philosopher, director of the Nexus Institute, and author of Nobility of Spirit. In addition, we are presenting an article by Adolfo Castañón a writer and a member of our committee that recently was recognized by the Xavier Villaurrutia Award.