On Catalina Albert’s “Silent Souls”

Els dos llibres

Last year’s Catalan Review (Volume 33) included Ronald Puppo’s review of Kathleen McNerney’s edition and translation of Caterina Albert’s “Silent Souls” and Other Stories. His text recalls Francesca Bartrina’s key contribution to studies of Albert and we are pleased to quote from the beginning and end of his review below.

Not since David H. Rosenthal’s groundbreaking 1992 translation of Caterina Albert i Paradis’s modern classic Solitude (Solitud, 1905) have English-language readers been gifted with access to the extraordinary world of the extraordinary writer who penned as a woman and signed as a man. In her seminal study of the literary giant, Caterina Albert / Víctor Català: La voluptuositat de l’escriptura (2001), the sorely missed Francesca Bartrina delves incisively into the subterfuge of the manly mask screening womanly authorship (16–28); the uncanny potential of which is encapsulated by Kate Good (Catalan Review XXIX: 23–39), she herself perched on the shoulders of the giant Bartrina: “The male pen name, Víctor Català, then, becomes both a mask of modesty for Albert and a mask of audacity” (26). And so, womaning the controls in the operations room behind the mask, Caterina Albert goes about her writerly mission: “forging a culture of female autonomy and strength” (Good, 24).


Congratulations to Professor McNerney on this landmark volume. Her dedication reminds us that we are ever perched on the shoulders of giants: To Francesca Bartrina, in memoriam.

Excerpts from
Catalan Review
XXXIII (2019), 157–190

You may be interested to read an earlier Tradiling article about the same volume of short stories, in which we also spoke of our erstwhile colleague Francesca Bartrina. Happy summer reading!

Albert, Caterina. “Silent Souls” and Other Stories. Edited and translated by Kathleen McNerney. New York: The Modern Language Association of America, 2018, 154 pp.

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