Catholic Iconography in the Novels of Juan Marsé

Catholic Iconography in the Novels of Juan Marsé

ROSEMARY CLARK
Series: Monografías A
Copyright Date: 2003
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 216
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7722/j.ctt14brtdk
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    Catholic Iconography in the Novels of Juan Marsé
    Book Description:

    The prize-winning novelist Juan Marsé, born in Barcelona in 1933, is widely-read not only within Spain but also in translation, for his often provocative portrayals of life in post-war Barcelona. Clark's study discusses Marsé's engagement with Catholic popular culture, Spanish National Catholicism and Catalan Catholic Nationalism, exploring his subversion of iconic imagery as an ironic sub-textual commentary on political ideology, by which he is able to experiment with outer reality and inner reconstructions of experience. Dr Clark shows how religious and profane visions of love are subtly intertwined, how the tales told by children and the novel form itself are interrelated, and finally how a variety of biblical topoi, ranging from the Garden of Eden to the Song of Songs, are deployed in Marsé's fiction. Particular attention is paid to La oscura historia de la prima Montse, Si te dicen que ca and Im genes y recuerdos. ROSEMARY CLARK lectures in the department of Spanish and Portuguese, University of Cambridge. El novelista Juan Marsé, nacido en Barcelona en 1933 y ganador de varios premios internacionales, es un autor muy leído no solamente en España sino también en otros países del mundo, a través de traducciones, y su obra se aprecia especialmente por sus descripciones provocativas de la vida cotidiana en la Barcelona de posguerra. La monografía de Clark analiza el profundo interés que sentía Marsé por la cultura popular católica y el nacionalcatolicismo - tanto en su forma española como en su forma catalana. Demuestra que la manera en que Marsé utiliza los íconos y las proyeciones visuales del Catolicismo constituye un comentario irónico y sutil sobre la ideología política de la época franquista. Las novelas de Marsé - especialmente La oscura historia de la prima Montse, Si te dicen que caí y Imágenes y recuerdos -- exploran los lindes entre la realidad objetiva y la reconstrucción sujetiva de aquella realidad en el mundo de la ficción.

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-036-4
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. ILLUSTRATIONS
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. ABBREVIATIONS AND EDITIONS
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. INTRODUCTION: SUBVERT AND SURVIVE: PLAYING WITH ICONS
    (pp. 1-19)

    Juan Marsé is a hybrid whose vigorous non-conformity under the Franco dictatorship, and since the Transition to democracy, has presented a constant challenge to hegemonic discourses. Though a Catalan speaker throughout the years of Francoist post-war repression of regional difference and language, his brief schooling was in Castilian, as were the books he read and the films he saw. A religious sceptic, he was brought up a Catholic in Franco’s Spain and actually chose to involve himself in his local parish’s youth activities, lured by the ping-pong tables, plays, music and girls that he depicts so vividly in his narratives....

  6. 1 GAMES OF HIDE-AND-SEEK: ELUDING THE CRITICAL EYE
    (pp. 20-50)

    The hybrid has advantages in literature as in life. Foremost is the strength derived from counteracting the debilitating effects of inbreeding; in addition, being claimed by no single group, the hybrid is answerable to none. There is scope in the marginality of hybridity that allows voices of power – regime voices – to be challenged or mimicked, parodied, mocked and subjected to critical scrutiny through the creation of languages of freedom whose strength has been found to lie in their multiplicity and often duplicity.

    This chapter looks at ways in which Marsé, the hybrid – Castilian-speaking Catalan, churched religious sceptic, barely schooled, having...

  7. 2 GAMES OF MAKE-BELIEVE: PLAYING WITH HISTORICAL DISCOURSES
    (pp. 51-79)

    Having depicted critical discourse as a pliable toy in the narrative play area in Chapter 1, I concluded that Marsé’s playful attitude to official discourses leads to a provocative challenge to the notion of ‘fiabilidad histórica’. History appears more intractable than literary criticism; in the popular mind and among historians, the conviction remains strong that history should and can be an accurate reconstruction of what has taken place in reality: history deals in research and the quest for truth; literature deals in imagination and fiction. Yet this is, of course, an oversimplification. Historians, like literary critics, may try to take...

  8. 3 SEXUALISING THE SACRED: VATICAN II AS A ‘NOVELA ROSA’ IN LA OSCURA HISTORIA DE LA PRIMA MONTSE
    (pp. 80-114)

    Up to this point in my discussion of Juan Marsé’s multidimensional games of representation, fuelled by desire and imagination and daring to challenge official discourses in order to exploit existing textual conventions in inventive new ways, literary criticism and history have been viewed as two examples of textual convention whose authority he has dared to undermine. The textual games in my remaining three chapters, which consider religious discourses, are bolder still. For even today, the wars that are claiming religion as their cause in the new millennium offer chilling evidence of the passions roused and dangers inherent where that which...

  9. 4 CATALONIA AND PARADISE GARDENS: EROTICISING EDENS
    (pp. 115-148)

    My discussion has already given an indication of the extent to which the religious culture that surrounded Marsé in his early years provided him with a source of potent stories and images that greatly enrich his narratives as well as fuelling his critique of Catholicism in post-war Spain and Catalonia. One religious myth in particular needs further exploration, because it underpins so much post-war rhetoric, because it surfaces repeatedly in Marsé’s novels, and because it is an endless source of controversial imagery and ideas that he playfully exploits with knowledge and inventiveness. Linked in Chapters 2 and 3 with the...

  10. 5 DARK ANGELS AND BRIGHT DEVILS: GAMES WITH AMBIGUOUS ICONS
    (pp. 149-191)

    With a noteworthy change of medium, the protagonists of Marsé’s two most recent novels – Daniel (ES) and David (RL) – are depicted struggling for self-expression not with words but with images: Daniel using coloured pencils in his attempts to represent a suggestive but elusive Susana, and David photography to capture the tension, vibrancy and danger of the 1951 Barcelona Tram Strike (Raguer ‘El día de los tranvías o la huelga que fue una fiesta’). Marsé’s interest in image has been evident from his first novel on. In Chapter 1 I showed how, inEncerrados, Andrés, Tina and Martín all cultivated and...

  11. CONCLUSION
    (pp. 192-195)

    This study has examined how Juan Marsé uses Catholic iconography to powerful effect in his novels to explore and subvert the ideologies of the Catholic Church, Spanish National Catholicism and Catalan Catholic Nationalism. It has considered both the broad background of Marsé’s depiction of popular religious culture in post-war Barcelona, and has focused discussion on specific discourses of Vatican II, on myths of biblical Paradise Gardens, and on individual icons. It draws attention to Marsé’s preoccupation with the extent to which religious ideology can permeate public and private life, yet at the same time, throughout my discussion I have emphasised...

  12. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 196-204)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 205-207)