Tuesday, December 1

The Pazo de Meirás, a place to exalt … Emilia

Works in Meirás at the end of the 19th century, with Pardo Bazán on the left.

Works in Meirás at the end of the 19th century, with Pardo Bazán on the left.

“Where I am best to feel this pleasant fever of artistic creation is here, in the old Farm of Meirás, in this peaceful corner of the smiling Mariñas”, he confessed Emilia Pardo Bazán in 1902. As Torres, as she baptized that medieval-style summer residence that she herself designed and in which he wrote most of his workDuring his life, he was “a refuge for poetry”, according to a chronicle by Luis Antón del Olmet.

Meeting place for writers and intellectuals, its long gatherings were famous: “How can we forget those serene days, in the cuddly summer of Galicia, of the Meirás tower and those prolonged talks of long after-dinner meals!”, Recalled a nostalgic Miguel de Unamuno in 1921 on the death of Pardo Bazán.

In those years, Nothing suggested that As Torres would become the residence of Francisco Franco and one of the most powerful symbols the dictatorship. The mark of the writer is still present in the ornamental details engraved in the stone; in the library that overlooks the Balcony of the Muses; on the empire-style stairs from which she posed proudly at her daughter Blanca Quiroga’s wedding, or in the chapel, which preserves the sarcophagus in which she wanted to be buried and which was left empty after her surprise death in Madrid.

During the visits to this Site of Cultural Interest managed by the Francisco Franco Foundation, se extols the figure of this “extraordinary woman”, but her trace, present in the architectural details or in the chapel, fades when entering the pazo, between portraits of the dictator, hunting trophies, war scenes and allusions to the “Generalissimo”.

The provisional return of the pazo de Meirás to the State on December 10 opens a new chapter, still full of unknowns but with a certainty: it’s time to rewrite the story and make Doña Emilia the protagonist. It is something on which institutions, groups for the recovery of memory, cultural associations or historians consulted by this newspaper coincide.

The Inventory of assets ordered by the court will now reveal what remains of Pardo Bazán in Meirás. The City Council of Sada has been the first to request the modification of the decree of declaration of Asset of Cultural Interest of the pazo de Meirás in the category of historical site to anchor to this space any reference to the writer, such as the library that the Xunta will declare BIC by the emergency route. The future of these 3,200 volumes is still up in the air. The Royal Galician Academy, which has devoted almost five years to its cataloging, wants to unify the library in the family home of Pardo Bazán on Calle Tabernas, in A Coruña, where the museum house that already guards around 8,000 titles is located. The president of the RAG, Víctor F. Freixanes pointed out yesterday that, regardless of the future of the library, it is very necessary “to preserve the memory of Pardo Bazán in the pazo”: “She did a lot of work there”, this writer emphasizes , which considers that As Torres should have a future as a “cultural space at the service of Galician society”. The Department of Culture, which has asked the State for the management of As Torres, pronounces along the same lines: “We want to return the pazo to what it always was, a building linked to culture, the cradle of great intellectuals“, pointed out last week its head, Román Rodríguez.

The Provincial Council, the City Council of Sada and historians advocate combining the memory of Pardo Bazán with the resignification of the pazo as a space for memory and repair. Manuel Pérez Lorenzo, co-author of Meirás, un pazo, un caudillo, un espolio considers that enough elements of the writer are preserved to make the entire Torre de Levante museum, where the rooms for more personal use were located: a space that was dominated by books, including the bedroom, and that crowned the office from which Emilia looked out onto the Balcón de las Musas and from which, recalled in 1939 Manuel Vidal, came out a “typing so energetic and fast that it felt from the park as if it were side”.

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