Humility – Literary


Mercè Ibarz


Seven wells and seven of the longest nights came together to have it born (…) It opens for seventy night-nights: the darkest, the quietest, the deadest. They grope for it to make the ointment that makes you suffer (…) After two days and two nights you wake up with a sorrow so great that it doesn’t let you breathe (…) Don’t let it run away; if this sorrow goes away, you will be nobody again.      -‘Black flower’, in Viatges i flors (Trips and flowers), Mercè Rodoreda, 1980

Introductory remarks:

There are no words, they would need to be made The title of the session comes from Quanta, quanta guerra… (How much, how much war) by Mercè Rodoreda (1980), a book she published the same year as Viatges i flors (Trips and Flowers). We will focus on the Flowers. Brief prose of fiery poetic imagination and luminous obscuracy that fighting for meaning and word in the trace of T.S. Eliot: ‘making new discoveries in the use of words’, in which the entire post-war work of Rodoreda is inscribed. A work that raises humble characters with the humble register of the Catalan language elevated to the highest nobility.