Conversation · Gatomaquia
Gonzalo Torné & Laura Fernández
Gonzalo Torné &  Laura Fernández

This discussion, entitled after Lope de Vega’s burlesque poem, will deal with cats – black or otherwise – in literature and the arts, and the long-suffering felines that have endured the company of authors who have turned them into fictional characters, if not forced to pose with them in photographs. Among the latter, Laura Fernández is likely to mention those of her admired Stephen King, Philip K. Dick or Jack Kerouak. Gonzalo Torné will highlight the symbolic value of this animal, perhaps resorting to Lewis Carroll’s mysterious Cheshire Cat. That is, if he manages to do it in time – «sometimes, just for a second» – before it vanishes until only its disturbing smile is visible. It’s not for lack of examples to draw on. There are countless memorable cats in fiction. Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Black Cat’, and Charles Perrault’s ‘Puss in Boots’. When it comes to paintings, there are more cats than mice in Hamelin before the Pied Piper. Those with arched backs in Goya’s ‘Catfight’ or the one in Picasso’s ferocious painting with a bird in its mouth. The most famous cat in comics is the improper and underground Fritz, by our award-winning Robert Crumb, whom his author killed with an ice-pick in the cheek when a furious ostrich female stabbed him in the neck. Among the Walt Disney universe, the sinuous Siamese kittens that move in perfect harmony in ‘Lady and the Tramp’ stand out. As for Warner, the disastrous Sylvester, obsessed with eating the unbearable Tweety Bird. And in cinema, let’s not forget to include Jonesy from ‘Alien’, who watches in fearful fascination as the monster preys on poor Harry Dean Stanton and wonders who will be next. Spoiler Alert: the cat survives. (As always.)

Invitations can be downloaded from 24 September.

Book signing after the event.