Coleridge perhaps meant this when he said that a great mind is androgynous. It is when this fusion takes place that the mind is fully fertilized and uses all its faculties. Perhaps a mind that is purely masculine cannot create, any more than a mind that is purely feminine, I thought. But it would he well to test what one meant by man-womanly, and conversely by woman-manly, by pausing and looking at a book or two. Coleridge certainly did not mean, when he said that a great mind is androgynous, that it is a mind that has any special sympathy with women; a mind that takes up their cause or devotes itself to their interpretation. Perhaps the androgynous mind is less apt to make these distinctions than the single-sexed mind.
All who have brought about a state of sex-consciousness are to blame, and it is they who drive me, when I want to stretch my faculties on a book, to seek it in that happy age, before Miss Davies and Miss Clough were born, when the writer used both sides of his mind equally. One must turn back to Shakespeare then, for Shakespeare was androgynous; and so were Keats and Sterne and Cowper and Lamb and Coleridge. Shelley perhaps was sexless. Milton and Ben Jonson had a dash too much of the male in them. So had Wordsworth and Tolstoi. In our time Proust was wholly androgynous, if not perhaps a little too much of a woman. But that failing is too rare for one to complain of it, since without some mixture of the kind the intellect seems to predominate and the other faculties of the mind harden and become barren. However, I consoled myself with the reflection that this is perhaps a passing phase.
Cuanto deberían aprender los escritores de hoy! Sin embargo, hubo un parágrafo que me trajo a la mente a esa escritora tan popular a día de hoy, Lucía Etxebarría, que sin duda ha leído este ensayo:
Is that a tree? No, it is a woman. But . . . she has not a bone in her body, I thought, watching Phoebe, for that was her name, coming across the beach. Then Alan got up and the shadow of Alan at once obliterated Phoebe. For Alan had views and Phoebe was quenched in the flood of his views.Algo similar a esto ocurre con los personajes masculinos de Etxebarría. Recuerdo que cuando leí Un milagro en equilibrio, novela ganadora del Planeta, tuve la sensación que los hombres eran, o bien malvados, o bien individuos pusilánimes a lo Charles Bovary. No es rara la incapacidad de retratar correctamente al sexo opuesto. Sin embargo, hay diferentes tácticas para evitar este defecto: en la obra de Lovecraft apenas encontramos mención alguna al sexo femenino; Dostoievski lo evitaba convirtiendo a todos sus personajes en arquetipos, y haciendo a la mayoría de las mujeres símbolos de un orgullo ancestral; Tolstói lo sorteaba con esa compasión enorme hacia sus personajes, o caracterizándolos con un rasgo muy concreto -la ligereza de Natasha, por ejemplo-. Sin embargo, una escritora no especialmente dotada como Etxebarría -especialmente si la comparamos con los dos autores rusos anteriormente mencionados-, convierte a sus personajes masculinos en grotescos, al enfrentarlos de frente y con, por qué no decirlo, algo de desprecio.