Catalan Review

“DECRÈPITA I TEATRAL”? ON LITERARY EXPLORATIONS OF BARCELONA

Catalan Review (1998), 18, (1-2), 149–160.

Abstract

Two novels, Montserrat Roig’s El temps de les cireres (1976) and Luis Goytisolo’s Recuento (1973), provide numerous examples of how walking in the city can be a particularly significant experience, profoundly marked by history and politics. This article discusses the ways that Roig and Goytisolo guide their characters and readers into an urban jungle of words with a very precise purpose: the critical interpretation of space according to the values of the writer in the present. Proffering a quasi-archeological reading of a jumble of temporal traces scrawled on the walls of old buildings, Goytisolo’s narrator expresses, in a manner not unlike that of Roig’s characters, a complex mise en question of the past and the present. In Roig’s novel, what comes to the fore is the funereal-like theatricality of the old Ribera neighborhood, which functions not only as a space of habitation but also as a setting for cultural memory and the representation of Catalan history.

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Author details

Bou, Enric