Modernisme Catala in literature

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Modernisme Catala in literature

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1castel15
Muokkaaja: joulukuu 28, 2016, 4:18 am

I am reading two of the most important Catalonian writers of the Modernisme in narrative (Albert Catala, nom de plume of Catarina Albert, and Raimon Casellas), and wanted to provide an introduction to this important movement. The information was taken from Wikipedia.

"Modernisme (Catalan pronunciation: muðərˈnizmə, Catalan for "modernism"), also known as Catalan modernism, is the historiographic denomination given to an art and literature movement. Its main form of expression was in architecture, but many other arts were involved (painting, sculpture, etc.), and especially the design and the decorative arts (cabinetmaking, carpentry, forged iron, ceramic tiles, ceramics, glass-making, silver and goldsmith work, etc.), which were particularly important, especially in their role as support to architecture. Modernisme was also a literary movement (poetry, fiction, drama). Although it was part of a general trend that emerged in Europe around the turn of the 20th century, in Catalonia the style acquired its own unique personality. Its distinct name comes from its special relationship, primarily with Catalonia and Barcelona, which were intensifying their local characteristics for socio-ideological reasons after the revival of Catalan culture and in the context of spectacular urban and industrial development. It is equivalent to a number of other fin de siècle art movements going by the names of Art Nouveau in France and Belgium, Jugendstil in Germany, Sezession in Austria-Hungary, Liberty style in Italy and Modern or Glasgow Style in Scotland, and was active from roughly 1888 (the First Barcelona World Fair) to 1911 (the death of Joan Maragall, the most important Modernista poet). The Modernisme movement was centred in the city of Barcelona, though it reached far beyond, and is best known for its architectural expression, especially in the work of Antoni Gaudí, but was also significant in sculpture, poetry, theatre and painting. Notable painters include Santiago Rusiñol, Ramon Casas,1 Isidre Nonell, Hermen Anglada Camarasa, Joaquim Mir, Eliseu Meifrèn, Lluïsa Vidal and Miquel Utrillo. Notable sculptors are Josep Llimona, Eusebi Arnau and Miquel Blai."

"In literature, Modernisme stood out the most in narrative. The nouvelles and novels of decadent writers such as Prudenci Bertrana (whose highly controversial Josafat involved a demented priest who ends up killing a prostitute), Caterina Albert (also known as Víctor Catala), author of bloody, expressionistic tales of rural violence, opposed to the idealisation of nature propugned by Catalan Romantics, or Raimon Casellas have been highly influential upon later Catalan narrative, essentially recovering a genre that had been lost due to political causes since the end of the Middle Ages. Those writers often, though not always, show influences from Russian literature of the 19th Century and also Gothic novels. Still, works not influenced by those sources, such as Joaquim Ruyra's slice-of-life tales of the North-Eastern Catalan coast are perhaps even more influential than that of the aforementioned authors, and Rusiñol's well-known L'auca del senyor Esteve (roughly "The Tale of Mr. Esteve"; an auca is a type of illustrated broadside, similar to a one-sheet comic book) is an ironic critique of Catalan bourgeoisie more related to ironic, pre-Realist Catalan costumisme."

"In poetry, Modernisme closely follows Symbolist and Parnassian poetry, with poets frequently crossing the line between both tendencies or alternating between them. Another important strain of Modernista poetry is Joan Maragall's "Paraula viva" (Living word) school, which advocated Nietzschean vitalism and spontaneous and imperfect writing over cold and thought-over poetry. Although poetry was very popular with the Modernistes and there were lots of poets involved in the movement, Maragall is the only Modernista poet who is still widely read today."

"Modernista theatre was also important, as it smashed the insubstantial regional plays that were popular in 19th century Catalonia. There were two main schools of Modernista theatre: social theatre, which intended to change society and denounce injustice—the worker stories of Ignasi Iglésias, for example Els Vells ("The old ones"); the Ibsen-inspired works of Joan Puig i Ferreter, most notably Aigües Encantades ("Enchanted Waters"); Rusiñol's antimilitaristic play L'Hèroe—and symbolist theatre, which emphasised the distance between artists and the bourgeoisie—for example, Rusiñol's Cigales i Formigues ("Cicadas and Ants") or El Jardí Abandonat ("The Abandoned Garden")."

2DavidX
tammikuu 9, 2017, 4:12 pm

Very interesting and informative! Thank you Luis!

3Randy_Hierodule
tammikuu 11, 2017, 9:53 am

And unfortunately for many of us, only a few authors associated with Catalonian modernism have been translated into English -Dark Vales, a novel by Raimon Casellas and (perhaps?) Josep Maria de Sagarra's portrait of a decadent Catalan nobility, translated as Private Life. I'd love to see more from this period/sensibility from Spain and Latin America made available to readers of English.

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