Joan PERUJO MELGAR, "La coherència estructural del Tirant lo
Blanch", Textos universitaris, València: Institut de Cultura
Juan Gil-Albert and Generalitat Valenciana, 1995, 287 p.
"Memòries de licenciatura" are rarely published. That Joan
Perujo's did find it's way into print speaks highly of the
training he received under professor Alemany at the University of
Alacant, of his own youthful intelligence and eagerness, and of
the two meritorious funding institutions.
The goal of Perujo's research was to "establish clarly if there
is a cohesive narrative project in the [Tirant] or if it is
nothing more than an incoherent narration" . The method
applied to determine this is the semiological structuralism of the
Propp-Todorov-Greimas school, with which Perujo familiarized
himself through Roland Barthes' and Claude Bremond's model studies
published in Barthes' anthology translated into Spanish under the
title [Ana'lisi estructural del relato.
Perujo first explains the key concepts used in an Inventory of
narrative Functions, functions which can be of a Distributional
nature [cardinal nuclei and catalytic or complementary units], or
else are Integrative (of the indicative or informative kind). In
the main part of his book [37-190], he takes us through all of the
[Tirant], grouping the narrative nuclei into sequences, often
helping to visualize macrostructures with morphosyntactic
flow-charts. Anyone familiar with the [Tirant] will enjoy this
part of the book, since it is basically a well structured
plot-outline, separating the main elements from complementary
units. Some theory-induced claims might surprise, for instance
the statement that after cap. 98, after Tirant's return to
Brittany, "la narracio' nome's pot continuar en el sentit d'un
proce's de degradacio'" . Some thematic groupings into
macrosequences are less convincing than others: Tirant's progress
in love is divided into four sequences, "[l'enamorat] [fenyedor /
pregador / entenedor / drutz]", which is in itself quite
interesting, but is not justified by the structuralist method
alone. That method, on the other hand, is [ab]used by Perujo to
create a super-macrostructure, where the whole dramatic chain of
events from Tirant believing that his bride had sex with the
gardener to his shipwreck as a nude prisoner in Africa disappears
between the cracks. Strictly separating Tirant's
military/political life from his love life, Perujo tries to
achieve his main objective: to show that there is no "fourth
part" in the novel which one might be tempted to identify with
the "fourth part" mentioned in the colophone of the 1490
incunabulum, attributing it to a second author.
To prove that there is only one mind at work behind the [Tirant]
is the purpose also of the second chapter of Perujo's thesis. He
offers dozens of exemples of how the novel's author reinforced his
masterplan by recapitulating narrative elements of previous
chapters [193-198], by anticipating through dreams, prophecies,
announcements and forshadowing future events in the novel
[198-213], and by elaborating parallelisms or contrasts between
events [213-215]. Perujo then adds seven pages to explain away
what he calls "Mi'nimes incoherències del relat" [221-226].
The theory that Martorell was the one and only author of the
[Tirant] is then shown in the book's final part to be the best,
since all opposing opinions, by a good dozen of other scholars,
can be eliminated for one reason or another [229-269].
Nevertheless, Perujo lets his reader know in more than one passage
that he does not want to forclose the question if there were more
than mind and one pen at work in the [Tirant] [in addition to the
sources used]. After all, Martorell died around April 1464, and
the novel wasn't published until 1490.
No doubt, the recent announcement by Marti' de Riquer that he now
believes that the moneylender Galba had done nothing to the
manuscript Martorell had given him as a pawn but storing it until
the day it was printed, has had its intended impact. But maybe it
backfired! While many readers of the [Tirant] now [re]discover
the thematic and structural unity of the novel, some now believe
that the mastermind behind the novel as published in 1490 could
be.... Joan Roi's de Corella!
Once this new hypothesis by Josep Guia will have been published,
the debate will heat up. I hope [tirantists] from all over the
world will participate in the discussion. Joan Perujo's book will
be required reading for all of them.