Catalan Review

Unveiling Disconcertment: "La Meva Cristina" and "El Batalló Perdut" as Literature of Exile

Catalan Review (2009), 23, (1), 95–103.

Abstract

The end of the Spanish Civil war marked the beginning of a massive exodus that displaced a whole generation of Spaniards who still carry with them the scars of exile. Many expatriates adapted to the disconcertment of their new circumstances, and upon their return carried with them an amalgamation of who they were and what they had become, making their process of reintegration quite difficult. Taking into consideration—as per Frederic Jameson—that literature is a cultural product that textualizes the Real through the author's "political unconscious," it is possible to offer a reading of Mercè Rodoreda's "La meva Cristina" and Pere Calders's "El batalló perdut" as literature of exile. The use of fantastic elements and situations where disconcertment reigns can be seen as an articulation of the bizarre experience of rootlessness. Through the use of the fantastic these stories contribute to the representation of exile and translate sensations and emotions that history books can rarely capture. Their ultimate triumph is that of replicating "the feel" of rootlessness. This article looks at the life circumstances of the authors in order to help establish the context of production of the stories. Later it examines the use of the fantastic genre as a way of projecting the ambiguity that arises from banishment. Finally, it unveils various elements within the stories that point toward the disconcertment of exile: identity crisis and status determination; acceptance and inertia; attempts at defining an incongruent space; pervasive wounds and scars; and reintegration and remembrance.

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Author details

Ribadeneira, Alegría