Monday, September 27

When the RAE rejected Emilia Pardo Bazán, Córdoba said yes

Emilia Pardo Bazán won the battle against Royal Spanish Academy (RAE). The reasons given by the entity when it rejected her as an academic because she was a woman, and the subsequent attempts to correct that mistake, matter little. In her own right, due to her intellectual, artistic and social contribution, she has become a key figure in world literature who was, despite her detractors, named as a member of the Academy of Sciences, Fine Letters and Noble Arts of Córdoba. The Andalusian city welcomed her defending her integrity as a writer, and she, grateful, sent him the following words in a letter: “This academy has taught the other a lesson. Hopefully within a few years the ideas will have changed, on the impulse of those that are already spreading in Europe in such an overwhelming way. ”

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The text, dated 1913, was sent to the director of the Museum of Fine Arts and academic Enrique Romero de Torres. Belonging to a long family saga related to the cream of Córdoba, of which it stands out the painter Julio Romero de Torres, the relationship began thanks to the rapprochement between his brother and the novelist, who shared artistic interests. The documentary treasure of the 19th century lineage is in custody the Provincial Archive of Córdoba, in whose files María del Mar Ibáñez Camacho, archivist of the institution, found clues that uncovered the mystery of how Emilia Pardo Bazán became an academic in 1912.

Two postcards and a letter to show your appreciation to Córdoba

“Among Enrique’s documentation, I found three letters that Emilia had sent him, two postcards that she sent him from Galicia and another for having entered the Academy of Córdoba,” says the researcher. A peasant scene in Mondariz and the view from a window of her pazo were the illustrations that decorated the reverse of the epistles, while the black-edged paper suggested the author’s recent widowhood. “At first, I did not pay much attention, since the family’s correspondence is very rich, but since it is the centenary of the death of the writer, the letter was very interesting because it is known that she tried many times, vehemently, entering the RAE and was not granted due to her status as a woman, although her literary and intellectual merits far exceeded the requirements “.

The title given was known, but the course of the events has been revealed as a result of the investigations made by Ibáñez Camacho. “Until now it was unknown who had made the proposal and the circumstances of the appointment, so knowing that a modest Academy like the one in Córdoba, in reference to the fact that it is from the province, named it with acclamation is significant, above all, when they are outraged with the stubborn stance that the RAE maintained “.

Emilia Pardo Bazán died on May 12, 1921. This year, dedicated to the anniversary of her death, numerous pieces have been written in her memory, in addition to the ardent words that the Canarian writer Benito Pérez Galdós dedicated to her in the missives that have come to light in recent times. With this, the RAE dedicated a public – and posthumous – apology to the Galician writer on May 13, saying that “he more than deserved it” and symbolically dedicating chair number 47 of the institution to him.

The reason given by the RAE at the beginning of the 20th century, with a few sharp pangs for morality, was that “by the regulatory agreements of February 10, 1853, March 28, 1912 and April 2 of the same year, they strictly provide that Ladies cannot be part of this Institute. ” Stupefied, Enrique Romero de Torres wrote to the then Count of Romanones: “There is a precedent that at the end of the 18th century he granted the title of honorary academic to the noble lady María Isidra Quintina y de la Cerda”. The intellectual, who rests in Córdoba, received the honorary chair of the University of Alcalá and her title of Honorary Academician from the Royal Spanish Academy. So what about the Galician writer?

The RAE appointed the first academic in 1979

The controversy, served on a platter to the press of the time, had its defenders and detractors on both sides of the Spanish scene, although some terms reached somewhat offensive heights, such as the words that the Cordovan Juan Valera dedicated to him when describing Emilia from “that watermelon with legs.” The blisters that the writer’s attitude raised both because of her character and her determination to be independent both in bed and in the economy made her contemporaries suspicious. Despite the macho prejudice of his peers, he found unanimous support for his cause in Córdoba.

Among the pages of the press published at that time, María del Mar Ibáñez found some paragraphs that she transcribed in the article Emilia Pardo Bazán was an academic, in the magazine Andalusia in History. Ricardo de Montis, a journalist from Córdoba, wrote in 1913 that “it is worth mentioning the fact that, departing from the tradition followed by most of these corporations, it opened its doors to women for whom, until now, in Spain, Those of almost all the academies have been closed and the name of the illustrious writer Emilia Pardo Bazán will be included in the lists of corresponding academics. ”

Ibáñez highlights the lines that the aristocrat sent to Enrique Romero de Torres when he learned that she had been distinguished with such honor: “You privately receive my gratitude and consider me your admirer,” he replied. “In addition, the countess asks if he has a medal or badge because it was nice to be able to wear it sometime.” To which, the Academy decided in a joint meeting and stated in the minutes: “Unanimously agree to give the illustrious lady the insignia of the Academy and issue her the corresponding title free of charge.”

“I was very excited, I was pulling the thread and when I found Emilia Pardo’s letters, I also felt very proud that a modest city like ours was more socially progressive and advanced, taking into account that the RAE did not admit any woman until 1979 , when on the death of Miguel Mihura they named the poet Carmen Conde “, declares the archivist. The Academy of Córdoba was a pioneer in this sense because, being Emilia Pardo Bazán who inaugurated the entry of women to the order, an investigation by the historian María José Porro Herrera In the Academy Bulletin, the institution’s drive for equality manifested when it also included Rosario Vázquez Angulo, Camelia Cociña Riveira and Carmen Martel y Arteaga as full members in the years to come.

The documentation is digitized and the archive announces that, most likely, it will be available at the end of summer on the platform @rchivaWeb of the Junta de Andalucía. Researchers, the curious and the general public will be able to come, from anywhere in the world, to discover what other words remain to be discovered in the Romero de Torres family archive.