Industries of false memoirs: Representing Salvador Orlan

Johnson, P. Louise
May 2013
DIGITHUM;2013, Issue 15, p64
Academic Journal
Miquel López Crespí's proposed trilogy of novelized memoirs of Llorenç Villalonga (1897-1980), as narrated by Villalonga's own alter ego, Salvador Orlan, raises questions about the motivation for and place of such pseudo-memorialistic literature, both in the local Mallorcan context and in the testimonial space more generally. The second of two volumes so far published, Les vertaderes memòries de Salvador Orlan(2012), draws on previous auto- and pseudo-autobiographical writing by Villalonga to present an exculpatory and at times petulant first-person narrative whose stylistic flaws alone seem unlikely to endear the subject to the reader. This essay explores why Villalonga, through his own tradition of mystification, might seem to lend himself to re-writing but not to empathy, and suggests that positioning him as a whipping boy/victim who has still to make reparation for his Civil War allegiance is both ethically problematic and pragmatically futile. It concludes that this contribution to the culture of historical memory responds as much to the market as it does to political exigency or a need to remember.


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