Abstract

This article analyzes how the writer and publisher Carlos Barral (Barcelona, 1928–89) talks about his relationship with the Catalan language in many of his autobiographical texts. Examining the close connections that Barral establishes between Catalan and masculinity, I argue that the relationship between language and masculine models is essential for Barral in explaining why Spanish—and not Catalan—was the language in which he chose to write. Barral associates Catalan with his childhood, an important language needed to understand the self and closely related to Calafell, a small town situated on the Catalan coast where he spent time as a child. Catalan is also the language of the father and the fishermen from Calafell, men Barral considered role models during his childhood but who disappeared as he grew up. The article considers how Barral’s choosing Castilian over Catalan as a literary language and as the language of his publishing business is explained in the author’s texts as related to the disappearance of the father and the fishermen of Calafell, popular men who vanish in favor of the bourgeois and urban intellectuals who are Barral’s literary colleagues of the generación de medio siglo and who also wrote in Spanish. With this analysis, I aim to highlight how, in Carlos Barral’s texts, linguistic subjectivity is constructed vis-à-vis ideas of class and gender and how certain personal and libidinal elements are presented as essential in explaining Barral’s decision to use Spanish as a literary language.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2164-9308
Print ISSN
0034-818X
Pages
pp. 481-502
Launched on MUSE
2015-12-10
Open Access
No
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