Catalan Review

JOAN MARAGALL, AT THE EDGE OF MODERNITY (IN MEMORY OF ARTHUR TERRY)

Catalan Review (1998), 18, (1-2), 97–105.

Abstract

In a tribute to the renowned scholar of Catalan literature, Arthur Terry, this paper offers a reassessment of certain aspects of the poet Joan Maragall. Maragall gives the appearance in his private and public life of being a typically patriarchal figure of the Barcelona bourgeoisie of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The impression is borne out in his article on “the Spanish woman” published in 1909 in The Englishwoman, in which, in a manner most conventional, the poet limits women’s activity to the home and the church. Yet Maragall also reveals les s conventional concerns that may be more properly considered as modern. Showing an unusual awareness of the complex nature of the violence that plagued Barcelona, he advocates—in both verse and prose—compassion rather than revenge. He also reaches out to Castilian writers like Unamuno and Giner de los Ríos. In his poetry, he seeks a distinctive spontaneity redolent of the more concentrated aspects of German romanticism and parallel in many ways to symbolism. At the same time he expresses an intense sense of temporality that leads him in his “Cant espiritual” to reconsider Faust’s pact with Mephistopheles.

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Author details

Ribbans, Geoffrey