Thursday, August 5, 2010

Josep Pla

Josep Pla (1897 - 1981). He devoted his life to literature and journalism and is the most widely read and popular Catalan writer. Publication of his complete works involved more than forty-five volumes and some twenty thousand pages of prose. Like other Catalan writers, his culture is French, and his literary models are Stendhal and Proust, though his ideological influences are found in Leopardi, Voltaire and Montaigne. He decided on a literary career when he was very young. As a journalist he worked in France, Italy, England, Germany and Russia, from whence he wrote political and cultural chronicles. After the period of Noucentisme (the turn-of-the-century cultural and political movement in Catalonia), his style represented, following Coses vistes (Things Seen) (1925), a novelty in its naturalness and in the contribution he made in addressing his literature to an ample public. His work as a whole has become a valuable memoir, real and recreated, of half a century of Catalan society, landscape and way of life. 

For political and ideological reasons, he is the most controversial of Catalan writers, in particular for his supposed links with the fascist side in the Spanish civil war. As a result of this, after 1969, the juries repeatedly refused to concede him the Award of Honour in Catalan letters. He was awarded, on four occasions, the Serra d'Or Critics' prize, and two years before his death, the Generalitat (Autonomous Government) of Catalonia presented him with the Gold Medal. His work is constantly being republished. 

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