MIDEX Series: Merce Rodoreda in exile: Female Catalan identity through the ironic lens of horror and fantasy by Dr Alicia Moreno

21 February 2023

Mercè Rodoreda was a female Catalan author who spent thirty years in exile following the Spanish civil war. Like other Catalan male writers in exile, Rodoreda sometimes resorted to fantasy, in Todorov’s words (1973), as a means for exploration of complex identities, whilst irony became a psychological device to detach herself from the trauma inflicted by nostalgia and loss of home. Research into her writings has, however, overlooked the relevance of verbal irony in her narratives, and studies of irony have not fully developed a theory of gendered irony in literature. This paper interprets Rodoreda’s writings through the ironic lens that distorts her experiences through fantasy intertwining with horror resulting from her traumatic experiences of the Spanish Civil War and later on WWII, her peripheral condition as a refugee uprooted from her homeland, a Catalan author in times of censorship, a divorcee in an unconventional relationship with a married man in exile, a mother who had abandoned her son, and lastly, a woman resisting a patriarchal society. Her short narratives are a testimony of her struggling (multi)peripheral and marginal status as a Catalan woman who ironically challenged the dominant discourse of the Other during her exile. Adopting a multidisciplinary approach within discourse analysis, literary feminist criticism and psychosociology, this paper analyses “La Salamandra” [the Salamander] within the collection of stories La meva Cristina and altres contes [My Cristina and Other Stories]. The findings show that Rodoreda’s ironic short narratives are imbued with a gendered mind style that stems from the intersection of the author’s personal experiences within the sociocultural and historical context of her exile. Hence, I argue that Rodoreda’s irony hinges upon the author’s gendered narrative representation.


Alícia Moreno Giménez is a Foreign Language Coordinator and language tutor at Edge Hill University and a Distance Learning Tutor for the MA in Translation at the University of Birmingham. She holds a PhD in Linguistics from Lancaster University (2007) and an MA in Advanced Translation Studies from the University of Salford (1999) and graduated in English Language and Literature with German from the University of Barcelona in 1996. Her research centres on translation studies, verbal irony and exilic literature in Catalan and Spanish. She has delivered and published papers on the ironic short stories of Pere Calders. She is the author of the monograph The Translation of Irony: Examining its Translatability into Narratives, published by Peter Lang in 2022.


Friday 24 February 13.00-14.00 Online Link


More information pdf here (221 KB) .

Latest News

Angeliki Konstantinidou

Fully funded PhD scholarship: Horizon Europe project FAiR at Danube University Krems (AT)

20 March 2023
Deadline: 19 April 2023 The University for Continuing Education Krems specializes in part-time academic continuing education. As a public university for continuing education, it works with its expertise in teaching and research to overcome societal...
The Migration Podcast

Join the IMISCOE Migration Podcast as interviewer

Are you actively involved in migration research and would like to contribute to making migration research more accessible? Then consider joining us as an Interviewer.

read more

Elsa Mescoli

CFP Geographies of Migration and Art: Intersections and Imaginaries, Flows and Controls

Deadline 15/3/2023
Organised by Dr Saskia Warren (The University of Manchester) and Dr Amanda Rogers (Swansea University) Human Geographers have made a sustained, but perhaps under-recognised, contribution to understanding the relationship between migration and art...
IMISCOE Network Office

Doctoral position in Sociology with a focus on Migration and Integration: University of Gothenburg

08 March 2023
Doctoral student in Sociology with focus on migration and integration Deadline for applications: April 5, 2023 Ref PAR 2023/155 The University of Gothenburg tackles society’s challenges with diverse knowledge. 56 000 students and 6 600 employees make...
IMISCOE Network Office

International Women’s Day: Focus on 3 recent IMISCOE Research Series Books in the field of gender and migration

08 March 2023
Migration and Domestic Work Author(s): Sabrina Marchetti This open access short reader offers a systematic overview of the scholarly debate on the experiences of migrant domestic workers at a global level, in the past as well as in present time. It...