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Rosalía de Castro Misreading and Misread: The Case of En las orillas del Sar

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This article explores firstly the ways in which poems from Rosalía de Castro's En las orillas del Sar emerge as misreadings both of her contemporaries and of writers of the Golden Age. In particular Castro's engagement with Bécquer, Fray Luis de León and San Juan de la Cruz serves to demonstrate distinctively negative and sceptical views of life and belief in God. In like manner an analysis of ‘Santa Escolástica’ reveals how over much of the poem the city of Santiago de Compostela is associated with restlessness and turmoil, emotions at odds with the holy place of pilgrimage. In the second part of the article I argue that these misreadings substantially represent that facet of Castro's work that many critics, starting with her husband Manuel Murguía, wished to downplay. In this connection I examine the methods by which a more ‘sanitized’ reading of the text was achieved in Murguía's 1909 edition, principally by means of textual emendation and the incorporation of poems not present in the original edition of 1884. Finally, I indicate how the impact of Castro as a thoughtful, questioning poet, has been further undermined by a tendency to stereotype her on the basis of her gender and ethnicity.
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Keywords: En las orillas del Sar; Manuel Murguía; Rosalía de Castro; Santiago de Compostela; misreading; sceptical; stereotype; ‘Santa Escolástica’

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Swansea University,

Publication date: September 1, 2013

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