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Beyond Containment

Corporeality in Mercè Rodoreda’s Literature


Eva Bru-Dominguez

This book provides a critical and context-sensitive reading of corporeality in the narrative fiction of Mercè Rodoreda, through the perspectives of art and film theory, feminism, literary criticism, spatial studies, and nationalist theory. The text approaches Rodoreda as a Catalan woman writer whose work engages with and explores formulaic and normative notions of the gendered body in a particular cultural, geographical and political space. The study covers four main areas: corporeality as surface, image and texture; the relationship between the body and space; the idea of the culturally and politically constructed body as limit; and the concept of the abject or open body. The author places Rodoreda’s work in dialogue with a range of texts, media, modes of representation and discourses in order to examine how her artistic vision is both integrated with and a mediator of material experience in the twentieth century.


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Acknowledgements ix List of Abbreviations xi Introduction 1 Chapter 1 Textual Body 11 In Between Places: The Location of Rodoreda’s Literary Corpus 12 Feminism and Rodoreda 18 Body Theory: Reading Corporeality in Rodoreda’s Literature 22 Chapter 2 Body as Surface 31 Scopic Regimes: Challenging Spectatorship in Turn-of-the-Century Catalan Painting 37 Carving Out an Ideal Female Form: Interrogating the Aesthetics of the Catalan Nation in the Early Twentieth Century 47 Performing Patriarchy’s Anxieties: The Femme Fatale as Multiple Sexual and Political Other 67 Chapter 3 Body and Space 81 Lived Enclosures: Performing Domesticity in Mirall trencat 89 Retracing the Urban Map: The Body of the Prostitute as Writer of the Urban Text 100 viii Chapter 4 Coerced Bodies 121 The Male Gaze as a Form of Aggression: The Struggle Towards Embodied Vision and Public Visibility 130 Torture Space: The Unmaking of the World and the Destruction of Language 146 Chapter 5 Bounded Bodies, Embodied Liminalities 159 The Inside In: Contained and Legitimate Bodies 165 Reclaiming Desire: The Monstrous and Abject Materiality of Voice 171 Against the Power of the Norm: (Dis)obedient Bodies 178 Porous Boundaries: The Threat to the Integrity of the Subject and the Collective 184 The Spectacle of the Monstrous: Embodied Liminalities 197 Conclusion 203 Bibliography 207 Index 219

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