Catalan Review

Ghostly Presences and Blank Pages: Mirall Trencat, País Íntim, and La Meitat de L'ànima

Catalan Review (2009), 23, (1), 37–52.

Abstract

Haunting, for Avery Gordon, "describes how that which appears to be not there is often a seething presence, acting on and often meddling with taken-for granted realities," and for Jo Labanyi ghosts are "the form in which the past lives on in the present." Ghosts and haunting play a major role in the narratives that are the subject of this essay—Mercè Rodoreda's Mirall trencat, Maria Barbal's País íntim, Carme Riera's La meitat de l'ànima—and assume various forms. The Civil War is a ghostly presence in each of the books, there is a "real" ghost in Mirall trencat, and the specter of its author—the grande dame of contemporary Catalan literature—haunts the novel as well as some of Rodoreda's successors. Also important to this essay is the concept of the blank page, brilliantly illustrated in a tale by Isak Dinesen about the art of storytelling and the impact of silence. Both Rodoreda and Barbal, whose novels are characterized by textual lacunae and disruptions, employ a rhetoric of silence and frequently do not narrate important events. Riera too makes use of a discourse of silence in creating a work of sustained ambiguity. La meitat de l'àni ma is a text which does not reveal its secrets and which systematically casts doubt upon the "explanations" it sets forth.

Access Token
£25.00
READ THIS ARTICLE
If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Arkinstall, Christine R. Gender, Class, and Nation: Mercè Rodoreda and the Subjects of Modernism. Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell UP, 2004. Print. Gender, Class, and Nation: Mercè Rodoreda and the Subjects of Modernism Google Scholar

Arnau, Carme. Introducció a la narrativa de Mercè Rodoreda: El mite de la infantesa. Barcelona: Edicions 62, 1979. Print. Introducció a la narrativa de Mercè Rodoreda: El mite de la infantesa 62 Google Scholar

Barbal, Maria. Interview with Matilde V. Alsina. Avui Cultura 18 January 2006: 3-4. Print. Interview with Matilde V. Alsina Avui Cultura 3 4 Google Scholar

Barbal, Maria. País íntim. Barcelona: Columna, 2005. Print. País íntim Google Scholar

Barbal, Maria. "La plaça del Diamant, una relectura." Serra d'Or 588 (2008): 23-26. Print. La plaça del Diamant, una relectura Serra d'Or 588 23 26 Google Scholar

Bergas, Catalina. "La narrativa de Maria Barbal o el món del record." Lluc 783 (1994): 22-26. Print. La narrativa de Maria Barbal o el món del record Lluc 783 22 26 Google Scholar

Bieder, Maryellen. "Carme Riera and the Paradox of Recovering Historical Memory in La meitat de l'ànima." Visions and Revisions: Women's Narrative in Twentieth-Century Spain. Ed. Kathleen M. Glenn and Kathleen McNerney. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2008. 169-89. Print. Visions and Revisions: Women's Narrative in Twentieth-Century Spain 169 89 Google Scholar

Bloom, Harold. The Anxiety of Influence: A Theory of Poetry. New York: Oxford UP, 1973. Print. The Anxiety of Influence: A Theory of Poetry Google Scholar

Bonilla, Lara. "Maria Barbal guanya el Bertrana amb País íntim." Avui 9 September 2005: 41. Print. Maria Barbal guanya el Bertrana amb País íntim." Avui 41 Google Scholar

Casals i Couturier, Montserrat. Mercè Rodoreda: Contra la vida, la literatura. Barcelona: Edicions 62, 1991. Print. Mercè Rodoreda: Contra la vida, la literatura 62 Google Scholar

Chatman, Seymour. Story and Discourse: Narrative Structure in Fiction and Film. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1978. Print. Story and Discourse: Narrative Structure in Fiction and Film Google Scholar

Cotoner i Cerdó, Lluïsa. "Perspectivisme, tècnica i procediments narratius a La meitat de l'ànima de Carme Riera." Revista de Cata lunya 220 (2006): 41-52. Print. Perspectivisme, tècnica i procediments narratius a La meitat de l'ànima de Carme Riera Revista de Cata lunya 220 41 52 Google Scholar

Derrida, Jacques. Of Grammatology. Trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1976. Print. Of Grammatology Google Scholar

Dinesen, Isak. "The Blank Page." Last Tales. New York: Random House, 1957. 99-105. Print. Last Tales 99 105 Google Scholar

Encinar, Ángeles, Eva Löfquist, and Carmen Valcárcel, eds. Género y géneros: Escritura y escritoras iberoamericanas. 2 vols. Madrid: Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, 2006. Print. Género y géneros: Escritura y escritoras iberoamericanas 2 Google Scholar

Gilbert, Sandra M., and Susan Gubar. The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination. New Haven: Yale UP, 1979. Print. The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination Google Scholar

Giorgio, Adalgisa. "Writing the Mother-Daughter Relationship: Psychoanalysis, Culture, and Literary Criticism." Writing Mothers and Daughters: Renegotiating the Mother in Western European Narratives by Women. Ed. Adalgisa Giorgio. New York: Berghahn Books, 2002. 11-45. Print. Writing Mothers and Daughters: Renegotiating the Mother in Western European Narratives by Women 11 45 Google Scholar

Glenn, Kathleen M. "Conversation with Carme Riera." Moveable Margins: The Narrative Art of Carme Riera. Ed. Kathleen M. Glenn, Mirella Servodidio, and Mary S. Vásquez. Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell UP, 1999. 39-57. Print. Moveable Margins: The Narrative Art of Carme Riera 39 57 Google Scholar

Gordon, Avery F. Ghostly Matters: Haunting and the Sociological Imagination. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1997. Print. Ghostly Matters: Haunting and the Sociological Imagination Google Scholar

Intxausti, Aurora. "Carme Riera/Escritora: ‘Mis novelas son subsidiarias de la historia olvidada.’" El País 19 January 2005: 34. Print. Carme Riera/Escritora: ‘Mis novelas son subsidiarias de la historia olvidada’ El País 34 Google Scholar

Iser, Wolfgang. The Act of Reading: A Theory of Aesthetic Response. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1978. Print. The Act of Reading: A Theory of Aesthetic Response Google Scholar

Isern, Joan Josep. "Mapa d'un país íntim." Avui Cultura 16 November 2005: 12. Print. Mapa d'un país íntim Avui Cultura 12 Google Scholar

Isern, Joan Josep. "Maria Barbal, o el poder de suggerir." Lletra de Canvi 31-32 (1990): 18-22. Print. Maria Barbal, o el poder de suggerir Lletra de Canvi 31-32 18 22 Google Scholar

Jofre Aparicio, Montserrat, and Neus Samblancat Miranda. "La memoria en La meitat del'ànima de Carme Riera." Género y géneros: Escritura y escritoras iberoamericanas. Vol. 2. 177-84. Print. La memoria en La meitat del'ànima de Carme Riera Género y géneros: Escritura y escritoras iberoamericanas 2 177 84 Google Scholar

Julià, Lluïsa. "Tria personal." Serra d'Or 478 (1999): 130-31. Print. Tria personal Serra d'Or 478 130 31 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

Labanyi, Jo. "History and Hauntology: or, What Does One Do with the Ghosts of the Past? Reflections on Spanish Film and Fiction of the Post-Franco Period." Disremembering the Dictatorship: The Politics of Memory in the Spanish Transition to Democracy. Ed. Joan Ramon Resina. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2000. 65-82. Print. Disremembering the Dictatorship: The Politics of Memory in the Spanish Transition to Democracy 65 82 Google Scholar

Labanyi, Jo. "Introduction: Engaging with Ghosts; or, Theorizing Culture in Modern Spain." Constructing Identity in Contemporary Spain: Theoretical Debates and Cultural Practice. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2002. 1-14. Print. Constructing Identity in Contemporary Spain: Theoretical Debates and Cultural Practice 1 14 Google Scholar

López, Óscar. "Carme Riera: Palabras treinta años después." Qué Leer 96 (2005): 52-55. Print. Carme Riera: Palabras treinta años después Qué Leer 96 52 55 Google Scholar

Martí-Olivella, Jaume. "Isabel i Maria: Mercè Rodoreda's Mother/Daughter Plot." Voices and Visions: The Words and Works of Mercè Rodoreda. 224-39. Print. Isabel i Maria: Mercè Rodoreda's Mother/Daughter Plot Voices and Visions: The Words and Works of Mercè Rodoreda 224 39 Google Scholar

McNerney, Kathleen, ed. Voices and Visions: The Words and Works of Mercè Rodoreda. Selinsgrove, PA: Susquehanna UP, 1999. Print. Voices and Visions: The Words and Works of Mercè Rodoreda Google Scholar

McNerney, Kathleen, and Nancy Vosberg, eds. The Garden across the Border: Mercè Rodoreda's Fiction. Selinsgrove, PA: Susquehanna UP, 1994. Print. The Garden across the Border: Mercè Rodoreda's Fiction Google Scholar

Palau Vergés, Montserrat. Maria Aurèlia Capmany: Escriure la vida en femení. Tarragona: Arola Editors, 2008. Print. Maria Aurèlia Capmany: Escriure la vida en femení Google Scholar

Pérez, Janet. "Gothic Spaces, Transgressions and Apparitions in Mirall trencat: Rodoreda's Adaptation of the Paradigm." The Garden across the Border: Mercè Rodoreda's Fiction. 85-97. Print. Gothic Spaces, Transgressions and Apparitions in Mirall trencat: Rodoreda's Adaptation of the Paradigm The Garden across the Border: Mercè Rodoreda's Fiction 85 97 Google Scholar

Piñol, Rosa Maria. "La memoria es nuestra alma." La Vanguardia 3 March 2004: 41. Print. La memoria es nuestra alma La Vanguardia 41 Google Scholar

Rabinowitz, Peter J. Before Reading: Narrative Conventions and the Politics of Interpretation. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1987. Print. Before Reading: Narrative Conventions and the Politics of Interpretation Google Scholar

Riera, Carme. "Cómo se escribe una novela." Género y géneros: Escritura y escritoras iberoamericanas. Vol. 1. 33-40. Print. Cómo se escribe una novela Género y géneros: Escritura y escritoras iberoamericanas 1 33 40 Google Scholar

Riera, Carme. "Les esberles d'un Mirall infinit." Serra d'Or 588 (2008): 30-32. Print. Les esberles d'un Mirall infinit Serra d'Or 588 30 32 Google Scholar

Riera, Carme. La meitat de l'ànima. Barcelona: Proa, 2007. Original edition 2004. Print. La meitat de l'ànima Google Scholar

Rodoreda, Mercè. Cartes a l'Anna Murià 1939-1956. Barcelona: laSal, 1985. Print. Cartes a l'Anna Murià 1939-1956 Google Scholar

Rodoreda, Mercè. Mirall trencat, Obres completes/3. 1967-1980. Barcelona: Edicions 62, 1984. Original edition 1974. Print. Mirall trencat, Obres completes/3. 1967-1980 62 Google Scholar

Scarlett, Elizabeth. "‘Vinculada a les flors’: Flowers and the Body in Jardí vora el mar and Mirall trencat." The Garden across the Border: Mercè Rodoreda's Fiction. 73-84. Print. ‘Vinculada a les flors’: Flowers and the Body in Jardí vora el mar and Mirall trencat The Garden across the Border: Mercè Rodoreda's Fiction 73 84 Google Scholar

Schumm, Sandra J. "Reparation to the Ghostly Mother in Carme Riera's La mitad del alma." Symposium 62 (2008): 139-58. Print. Reparation to the Ghostly Mother in Carme Riera's La mitad del alma." Symposium 62 139 58 Google Scholar

Spacks, Patricia Meyer. "Selves in Hiding." Women's Autobiography: Essays in Criticism. Ed. Estelle C. Jelinek. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1980. 112-32. Print. Women's Autobiography: Essays in Criticism 112 32 Google Scholar

Stewart, Melissa. "Shifts in Textual Author(ity): Grappling with Unstable Identities in Carme Riera's La meitat de l'ànima." Letras Peninsulares 19.2-3 (2006-2007): 235-42. Print. Shifts in Textual Author(ity): Grappling with Unstable Identities in Carme Riera's La meitat de l'ànima." Letras Peninsulares 19 235 42 Google Scholar

Stout, Janis P. Strategies of Reticence. Charlottesville: UP of Virginia, 1990. Print. Strategies of Reticence Google Scholar

Vollendorf, Lisa. "Exchanging Terms: Toward the Feminist Fantastic in Mirall trencat." Voices and Visions: The Words and Works of Mercè Rodoreda. 156-74. Print. Exchanging Terms: Toward the Feminist Fantastic in Mirall trencat." Voices and Visions: The Words and Works of Mercè Rodoreda 156 74 Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

Glenn, Kathleen