It does not take long for anybody interested in Galicia to come across a reference to the writer Rosalía de Castro. Whether in the textual and visual body of Galician cultural history or in the material and imaginary landscapes of the country's ongoing national construction, the name of Rosalía de Castro resonates with power, symbolizing a collective heritage. For the first-time or occasional visitor to Galicia her significance will be felt in the many monuments, statues, street names and city parks or gardens across the country that bear her name or image: Santiago de Compostela's monument to Rosalía de Castro, raised in the city's Alameda park in 1917, Rosalía de Castro Street in one of Vigo's vibrant central neighbourhoods or the Parque Rosalía de Castro in Lugo are only a few examples among the many instances of commemorative practices in her name. For the more specialized reader in Galician culture and history, references to de Castro form the substrate of a shared structure of meaning which has been seen as historically bonding the community together with extraordinary success. However, for all their immediate obviousness and unquestionable coherence to several generations of Galicians – living in and away from their country – the life, work and legacy of Rosalía de Castro continue to mount a challenge for literary critics, historians and public actors engaged in the various discourses of the nation coexisting in Galicia.
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