Rodoreda, Mercè (1909–1983)

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Rodoreda, Mercè (1909–1983)

Spanish author. Name variations: Merce Rodoreda. Born in Barcelona, Spain, on October 10, 1909 (some sources cite 1908); died in 1983; married and separated; children: one.

Born in Barcelona on October 10, 1909, Mercè Rodoreda was only allowed to attend school until age nine and often lamented her lack of formal education. As a teenager, she married her mother's brother, with whom she had a child. After separating from her husband, she began writing, using Catalan rather than Spanish. Rodoreda finished five novels (she later disowned four of them, retaining only the Crexells prizewinning Aloma [1938]) and a number of short stories in the mid-1930s. The Spanish Civil War interrupted her writing and her life. A supporter of the socialists and the Republic, she fled to France when Francisco Franco and the Nationalists triumphed in 1939. In exile, she became the mistress and housekeeper of Joan Armand Obiols, another Catalan writer. When Obiols, who was married, refused to break with his wife, Rodoreda felt used and betrayed by her own love for him.

When the Second World War ended, Rodoreda took up her writing again. She found little pleasure during a visit to Franco-controlled Barcelona and decided to live in exile, first in Paris and later in Geneva. A collection of short stories, Vint-i-dos contes, won the Victor Catalá prize in 1957. In 1962, she published La plaça del Diamant (The Time of the Doves), her most celebrated work and a masterpiece of Iberian literature. As with her other writings, it portrayed the failure of human relations, especially between the sexes, in some ways a reflection of her own experiences. Her later publications include another collection of short stories La meva Cristina i altres contes (1984), and the novels Jardí vora el mar (1967), Mirall trencat (1974), and Quanta, quanta guerra (1980). At her death in 1983, she left several drafts of another major novel, La Mort e la Primavera.


Arnau, Carme. Mercè Rodoreda. Barcelona: Edicions 62, 1992.

Pope, Randolph D. "Mercè Rodoreda's Subtle Greatness," in Women Writers of Contemporary Spain: Exiles in the Homeland. Ed. by Joan L. Brown. University of Delaware Press, 1991, pp. 116–135.

Kendall W. Brown , Professor of History, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah

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