The National Library the exhibition will open from this Wednesday, June 9 ‘Emilia Pardo Bazán. The challenge of modernity ‘, a journey through the figure of the Galician writer on the centenary of her death that reveals a “radical feminist, capable of being conservative and progressive at the same time”.
“Already when I was writing her biography that disturbing question arose in me: Can you be conservative and progressive at the same time? Yes, because she was: she was trying to do the usual in a country as polarized as this one (she was also one before), that is why they wanted to pigeonhole her in political culture “, The curator of the exhibition and the author’s biographer, Isabel Burdiel, has explained.
In fact, Burdiel recalled that a part of Pardo Bazán that the exhibition wants to highlight is his “modern and anti-modern side”, something that puts him at “the height of other greats like Baudelaire”. “It was one of those modern people who do not believe in all modernity or that there is a linearity: they do not trust it,” he commented.
The expert ‘pardobazaniana’ has defended that the author of ‘Los pazos de Ulloa’ she was “an absolutely radical feminist” with new points of view for the time. “For example, motherhood. She thought that it is not the fundamental destiny of women, but rather a choice – she was the mother of three children – an issue that was untouchable at that time,” he stressed.
The exhibition -with the collaboration of Acción Cultural Española, the Xunta de Galicia and the Community of Madrid- includes more than two hundred pieces such as books, manuscripts, photographs, oils, drawings or furniture, in addition to addressing other facets of Pardo Bazán more beyond that of a writer (journalist, literary critic, political, business or playwright). But Burdiel has focused on an unpublished document.
It is a letter, which was in the Lázaro Galdiano Foundation, written to her by her former confessor on the occasion of the death of her father, whom she adored. “He accuses him of being guilty of the death of his father because of the type of life he leads in Madrid and also because he had separated and wanted him to return with the husband. It is brutal and an absolute blackmail,” Burdiel lamented.
“‘Will it be rash to suppose that the (…) unexpected death of your good Father is the means of terror and horror with which God calls you again, since you did not heed any of the advice given by your confessor? a punishment that God wanted to execute on the Father, on the daughter or on both ‘”, highlights the letter from the Franciscan Manuel Castellanos, dated April 1890.
Galdós and the Pazo de Meirás
The exhibition also addresses two current issues regarding the figure of Pardo Bazán. On the one hand, his correspondence with Pérez Galdós. “There are two or three quotes from Bazán and Galdós and an extract of two letters from her. We have not wanted to get into the rowdy and scandalous thing of talking about that relationship in the show”, Burdiel has settled, who has also explained that he searched for the missing letters of this correspondence but did not find “reliable evidence” of their existence.
On the other, that of the property of the Pazo de Meirás, the place where he lived for many years and then passed into the hands of the Franco family. “She makes Meirás in the style of Víctor Hugo or Zola, she says that her aesthetic sense is engraved in stone but she does not explicitly say ‘I want Meirás to become this.’ There is no specific letter in which it says that Meirás will be this or that thing when he dies“, has alerted.
Previously, the Galician Minister of Culture, Education and University, Román Rodríguez, stated that Pardo Bazán had “expressed his wish” that the Torres de Meirás could be visited to “know his work.” “Hopefully soon see his dream come true and have a place to honor his work”, has pointed out.