Catalan Women Writers and Artists: Revisionist Views from a Feminist Space

By Kathryn A. Everly | Go to book overview

2
Familial Exile: Montserrat Roig’s
Rebellious Brand of Feminism

Las ciudades, como los países y las personas, si tienen algo que
decirnos requieren un espacio de tiempo nada más; pasado
éste, nos cansan. Sólo si el diálogo quedó interrumpido pode-
mos desear volver a ellas. [Cities, like countries and people, if
they have something to tell us require a small amount of time,
nothing more; this past, they tire us. Only if the dialogue was
interrupted do we desire to return to them.]

—Luis Cernuda, Historial de un libro

MONTSERRAT ROIG NEVER EXPERIENCED THE RUPTURE OF PHYSICAL exile as did both Mercè Rodoreda and Remedios Varo. However, Roig brings to her narrative a distinctly feminist view of social and political events that shape the way a young woman figures herself into the Catalan cultural dynamic. By approaching both political and literary history from a female perspective, Roig sees herself automatically sidelined from these traditions, in effect exiled from the prevalent national discourse on account of her gender. Uncovering the subaltern voice of women’s perspective on patriarchal histories has been the project of feminist criticism for most of the twentieth century.1 Roig openly claimed herself a feminist as Catherine Davies points out and her literary career focused on what she considered problematic convergences of being female and a writer.2 Her texts question the validity of institutionalized culture from a radical viewpoint and include criticisms of such social and political constructions as socialism, feminism, marriage, love, and motherhood.

Roig, a woman struggling to become a professional writer in the male-dominated public sphere, experienced the displacement, isolation, and longing for wholeness in a literary sense that Rodoreda and Varo expressed in a very literal sense. Roig’s works resound with the unjust pejorative status of women in society. She confronts

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