Catalan Review

LA GRAN ENCISERA: THREE ODES TO BARCELONA, AND A FILM

Catalan Review (1998), 18, (1-2), 121–128.

Abstract

Three odes to Barcelona, written by Jacint Verdaguer, Joan Maragall, and “Pere Quart” [Joan Oliver] respectively, make clear the changing faces of the city. For Verdaguer, Barcelona is an expansive metropolis on its way to greatness. For Maragall, Barcelona, while rocked by conflict, remains the inescapable center and “great enchantress” of Catalan life. For Pere Quart, Barcelona is the locus of a sweeping revolution aimed at bringing about a new social order —a hope promptly shattered by the Spanish war of 1936-39. The three odes roughly correspond to three generations and offer a poetic history of the city. Skipping a generation and shifting from poetry to film, the article addresses Barcelona at the turn of the twentieth century as seen by Pedro Almodóvar in his 1998 Oscar-winning film, Todo sobre mi madre. In Almodóvar’s portrait, Barcelona is detached from its role as Catalan capital and becomes a globalized city for postmodern pilgrimages. As if to underscore this move, the celebrated technique known as trencadís employed by Gaudí and other modernists (and consisting of broken pieces of ceramic put together to form new ornamental compositions) serves as a symbolic backdrop to a number of characters who flock to the city to give new meaning to their fragmented selves.

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Author details

Sobrer, Josep Miquel