«Football teams have replaced the classics of national literature»

Carme Riera, in a file image, during a visit to the Pérez Galdós House-Museum. / C7

The author speaks this Tuesday at the Pérez Galdós House-Museum about the complicity that women in literature feel for the universal canary.

Carmen Riera is
academic of the RAE, professor of Spanish Literature and famous Majorcan author who writes in both Catalan and Spanish. This Tuesday at
7:00 p.m., within the framework of the cycle 'Writers who speak of Galdós', she offers a talk entitled
'We love Galdós so much'in which she will refer to the affection of female writers for Don Benito, beginning with Emilia Pardo Bazán, in which she will stop, given the importance of her relationship with the writer, and will end with Almudena Grandes, going through her particular passion for work of the great writer.

-What power of attraction did the writer have over the most educated women of his time?

-The educated women of his time, such as Doña Emilia or Doña Blanca de los Ríos, were interested in Galdós's work, as could not be less, and recognized him as the greatest novelist of his time. But for Doña Emilia, Galdós was more than just the admired novelist.

G«Galdós was able to portray what does not appear in the photographs, that is the female soul»

- Can we speak of an intimate connection with the female soul in Galdós's work?

-Galdós was able to portray what does not appear in the photographs, that is the female soul, Fortunata, Jacinta, Isidora Rufete, from 'La Desheredada', Amparo Sánchez, from 'Tormento' and so many others. He had to know very well various types of women.

-Almost all contemporary writers have Galdós as a literary reference. Carmen Laforet read some of his novels until they fell apart, even on her deathbed. Are you also among the ranks of his devotees?

-Carmen Laforet read Galdós as a young girl and even made Galdosian phrases her own such as “he is as good as the priest Malvar”, but Laforet suffered from a degenerative disease that prevented her from reading even years before her death. For my part, I am devoted to Galdós.

-Have references been lost in Hispanic literature? Galdós said: «In the domains of Cervantes the sun will not set...».

-Galdós said it about the loss of the colonies and he was right. Later, Carlos Fuentes would refer to the territory of La Mancha as a place of convergence for authors from Hispanic America and those from Spain. As for whether referents have been lost, without a doubt. The national classics supposed elements of cohesion for the different countries -I think of Dante for Italy or Molière for France, as well as Cervantes for Spain- that have now been replaced by football teams.

The writer Carme Riera. /


-It has sometimes been defined as a "word trafficker". Is literature a currency of exchange?

-Who defined herself in this way was Carmen Balcells and I have used the phrase to baptize the biography that I have written about her and that has just come out: 'Carmen Balcells, trafficker of words'. Literature is much more than a currency, of course, but also as a currency it offers us the possibility of changing our lives, it happens with some books. For me, at least, some books changed it.

-In 1965 he actively lived the echoes of French May 68. Were those times decisive in forging your own view of reality?

-Without a doubt, and also the fact of running in front of the police horses in some demonstration or remaining locked in the auditorium until the police beat us out, although they only detained me for a few hours because they thought I was harmless. "You're going to get married," they told me, something that left me shattered... My colleagues stayed for 72 hours and they released me right away because I was a girl whose image did not match the politicized colleagues... I referred to that in my first story, 'I give you, love, the sea with penyora. I leave you, love, in pledge the sea'

-From your chair of the letter 'n' in the RAE, what does Castilian look like in 202two?

-Like an expanding language, with enormous power. Without a doubt.

-Does Spanish literature need to be defended in Catalonia?

-Not only in Catalonia, it needs more readers, but not only Spanish literature, but also Catalan.

-And in Education, has literature lost strength?

-That loss is dramatic and, for me, incomprehensible. Literature is essential to understand the past, reading the classics, for example, is, as Quevedo wrote, "listening with your eyes to the dead and walking in conversation with the dead." Teaching literature involves much more; it is to show different visions of the world that enrich the children and offer them different points of view. Giving up that educational possibility seems to me to be a great nonsense.

- Is there sorority among contemporary writers?

-Yes, of course, of course, among some more than among others

-You are an author who writes in Spanish, Catalan, and even Majorcan. How do you decide which language to use when you undertake the construction of a new project?

-It depends. If it is an essay, I almost always use Spanish and I do not translate my texts into Catalan. When I write novels I do it in both languages ​​at the same time and that helps me to spot possible mistakes. Languages ​​are glasses through which we see the world.

-As a philologist, she directs the José Agustín Goytisolo chair. What is the mark of this author in the history of Catalan literature and the rest of Spain?

-The footprint of Goytisolo, who wrote 21 books of poetry in Spanish, can be seen in the poets who write in this language, much more than in those who write in Catalan, although they have also read it. Also thanks to the singer-songwriters, especially Paco Ibáñez, his poems have reached many people.

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