Pedrolo; Scifi, Mecanoscrit, Catalan, 20thCentury, feminism,
The ambitious literary project of Catalan author Manuel de Pedrolo i Molina (1918-1990) has generally been perceived as belonging to the tradition of popular literature, a label often reinforced by the unprecedented success of his minor work Mecanoscrit del segon origen. This has clearly damaged Pedrolo’s status in the Catalan literary; as Kathryn Crameri highlights, “(w)hen authors such as Manuel de Pedrolo championed more popular genres such as crime fiction” –or science fiction as far as this study is concerned– “they had to endure criticisms of the quality of their writing” (Crameri, 2008, p. 23). This article will challenge traditional approaches to Mecanoscrit del segon origen that tend to regard it as inconsistent with the global politico-aesthetic project of the writer, thus highlighting how narratives of destruction and reconstruction of social space permeate the work in the form of a national allegory –aided by the author’s post-apocalyptic depiction of the Catalan landscape and his use of the ‘Last Woman’ motif. This study will also object the often idealised image of female protagonist Alba as a feminist heroine that the presence of this novel in secondary teaching has helped to construct, by acknowledging the way in which Pedrolo politicises the landscape of the female body through an often problematic depiction of violence against women in his corpus, as noted by works such as P. Louise Johnson’s (1999).