Mercè Rodoreda

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Mercè Rodoreda
Mercè Rodoreda
Mercè Rodoreda
Born(1908-10-10)10 October 1908
Barcelona, Spain
Died13 April 1983(1983-04-13) (aged 74)
Girona, Spain
Resting placeRomanyà de la Selva
OccupationNovelist, Dramatist, Poet
Notable worksThe Time of the Doves, Mirall trencat, Aloma
Notable awardsPremi d'Honor de les Lletres Catalanes (1980)
Premi Joan Crexells de narrativa (1937)
Mestre en Gai Saber (1949)
PartnerArmand Obiols

Mercè Rodoreda i Gurguí (Catalan pronunciation: [məɾˈsɛ ruðuˈɾɛðə]; 10 October 1908 – 13 April 1983) was a Catalan novelist.

She has been called the most important Catalan novelist of the postwar period.[by whom?] Her novel La plaça del diamant ('The diamond square', translated as The Time of the Doves, 1962) has become the most popular Catalan novel to date and has been translated into over 30 languages. Some critics consider it to be one of the best novels published in Spain after the Spanish Civil War.[1]


She was born at 340 carrer de Balmes, Barcelona, in 1908. Her parents were Andreu Rodoreda, from Terrassa and Montserrat Gurguí, from Maresme.[2] Her parents' financial problems forced her to leave school at age nine.[3] In 1928, just 20 years old, she married her uncle Joan Gurguí, 14 years her senior, and in 1929 she had her only child, Jordi. She began her writing career with short stories in magazines, as an escape from her unhappy marriage. She then wrote psychological novels, including Aloma which won the Crexells Prize, but even with the success this novel enjoyed, Rodoreda decided to remake and republish it some years later since she was not fully satisfied with this period of her life and her works at that time.

At the start of the Spanish Civil War, she worked for the Generalitat de Catalunya, the autonomous Government of Catalonia.

She was exiled in France and later Switzerland, where in 1957 she broke her silence with the publication of her book Twenty-Two short stories, which earned her the Víctor Català Prize. With Camelia Street (El Carrer de les Camèlies) (1966) she won several prizes. In the 1970s, she returned to Romanyà de la Selva in Catalonia and finished the novel Mirall trencat (Broken Mirror) in 1974.

Amongst other works came Viatges i flors (Travels and flowers) and Quanta, quanta guerra (How much War) in 1980, which was also the year in which she won the Premi d'Honor de les Lletres Catalanes. During the last period of her lifetime, her works developed from her usual psychologic style to become more akin to symbolism in its more cryptic form.

In 1998 a literature prize was instituted in her name: the Mercè Rodoreda prize for short stories and narratives.

She was made a Member of Honour of the Associació d'Escriptors en Llengua Catalana, the Association of Writers in Catalan Language. The library in Platja d'Aro is named in her honor.

She died in Girona of liver cancer, and was interred in the cemetery of Romanyà.[4]

Most important works[edit]

Original editions[edit]


  • 1932, Soc una dona honrada? ("Am I an Honest Woman?") (Barcelona: Llibreria Catalòna).
  • 1934, Del que hom no pot fugir ("What one Cannot Flee") (Barcelona: Clarisme).
  • 1934, Un dia de la vida d'un home ("One Day in the Life of a Man") (Barcelona: Biblioteca a Tot Vent 70).
  • 1936, Crim ("Murder") (Barcelona: Edicions de la Rosa dels Vents).
  • 1938, Aloma (Barcelona: Institució de les Lletres Catalanes), revised in 1969 (Barcelona: Edicions 62).
  • 1962, La plaça del diamant ("Diamond Square") (Barcelona: Club Editor).
  • 1966, El carrer de les Camèlies ("The Street of the Camellias") (Barcelona: Club Editor).
  • 1967, Jardí vora el mar ("Garden by the Sea") (Barcelona: Club Editor).
  • 1974, Mirall Trencat ("Broken Mirror") (Barcelona: Club Editor).
  • 1980, Quanta, quanta guerra '...' ("So Much War …") (Barcelona: Club Editor).
  • 1986 (posth.), La mort i la primavera ed. Nuria Folch ("Death in Spring") (Barcelona: Club Editor).
  • 1997 (posth.), La mort i la primavera ed. Carme Arnau (Barcelona: Institut d'Estudis Catalan).
  • 1991 (posth.), Isabel i Maria ("Isabel and Maria") ed. Carme Arnau) (Valencia: Ediciona 3 i 4).

Short Story Collections[edit]

  • 1958, Vint-i-dos contes ("Twenty Two Stories") (Barcelona: Editorial Selecta).
  • 1967, La meva Cristina i altres contes ("My Christina and Other Stories") (Barcelona: Edins 62).
  • 1979, Semblava de seda i altres contes ("It Seemed Like Silk and Other Stories") (Barcelona: Edicions 62).
  • 1980, Viatges i flors ("Travels and Flowers") (Barcelona: Edicions 62).

Complete Works[edit]

  • 1984, Obres completes (Barcelona: Edicions 62) ISBN 8429711716.


  • Mendos, Maria Isidra, Mercè Rodoreda: A Selected and Annotated Bibliography (1963-2001) (Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 2004) ISBN 0810850001.

English translations[edit]

  • 1981, The Time of the Doves (Plaça del diamant) trans. David H. Rosenthal (New York: Taplinger) ISBN 0915308754.
  • 1984, My Christina & Other Stories trans. David H. Rosenthal (Port Townsend, Washington: Graywolf Press) ISBN 0915308657.
  • 1993, Camellia Street (El carrer de les Camèlies) trans. David H. Rosenthal (Saint Paul, Minnesota: Graywolf Press, 1993) ISBN 155597192X.
  • 2006, A Broken Mirror (Mirall trencat) trans. Josep Miquel Sobrer (Lincoln, Nebraska: Bison Books) ISBN 0803239637.
  • 2009, Death in Spring (La mort i la primavera) trans. Martha Tennent (Rochester, New York: Open Letter ISBN 1940953286.
  • 2011, The Selected Stories of Mercè Rodoreda, trans. Martha Tennent (Rochester, New York: Open Letter) ISBN 9781934824313. (Selected from Vint-i-dos contes and La miva Cristina i alters contes).
  • 2013, In Diamond Square (La plaça del diamant) trans. Peter Brush (London : Virago) ISBN 1844087379.
  • 2015, War, So Much War (Quanta, quanta guerra …) trans. Martha Tennent and Maruxa Relaño (Rochester, New York: Open Letter) ISBN 1940953227.
  • 2020, Garden By the Sea (Jardi vora el mar) trans. Martha Tennent and Maruxa Relaño (Rochester, New York: Open Letter) ISBN 9781948830089.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ García Márquez, Gabriel (18 May 1983). "¿Sabe usted quién era Mercè Rodoreda?". El País (in Spanish). Retrieved 29 March 2014.
  2. ^ Archived July 8, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Vosburg, Nancy (1993). Gould Levine, Linda; Engelson Marson, Ellen; Feiman Waldman, Gloria (eds.). Merce Rodoreda (1st ed.). Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. p. 413. ISBN 9780313268236. Retrieved 11 October 2018.
  4. ^ Article in La Vanguardia of 1983/04/16
  5. ^ "Garden By the Sea". Kirkus Reviews. 10 November 2019. Retrieved 15 March 2020.

External links[edit]