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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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After having focused so intensely on the exploration of the many and subtle ways in which the bodies that populate Rodoreda’s literature appropriate, resist, rewrite and transgress social, political, cultural and aesthetic values and norms, bringing this study of corporeality to a close almost seems an impossible – and most certainly daunting – task. Above all else, this book has aimed to broaden the critical spectrum on Rodoreda by adopting an analytical lens that successfully integrates an awareness of socio-historical context with a feminist outlook. Thus, it is an approach that has opened up new critical avenues to the study of Rodoreda whilst at the same time uncovering how her work revisits and often rewrites Catalonia’s cultural environment and geopolitical space. Placing Rodoreda’s work in dialogue with a range of texts, media, modes of representation and discourses, I have been able to explore more deeply how her artistic vision is imbricated with and mediates material experience of the twentieth-century. Such recogni- tion of Rodoreda’s engagement with other media and cultural spaces is of the utmost importance, especially if one considers how literary historical readings of her work have tended to locate it within very narrow sociocul- tural coordinates. Generally speaking, such studies have seen her fiction either in terms of literary innovation, linguistic originality, inf luence and canonical impact, or have celebrated her construction of her own par- ticular world (based on style, thematics or characterization). However, there has not been enough attention paid to how her narrative interrelates and interconnects with...

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