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The Poetry of Salvador Espriu

The Poetry of Salvador Espriu: To Save the Words

Series: Monografías A
Copyright Date: 2006
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    The Poetry of Salvador Espriu
    Book Description:

    Two standpoints govern the approach taken to the poetry of Salvador Espriu (1913-85) in this first extended study of his work in English. First, the author explores the structural implications of symmetry and numerology, in a chronological rather than thematic survey of the poetry - a procedure that involves a consideration of how each book (what could be termed in most cases a macro-poem) attains its distinctive character while having common preoccupations and stylistic traits. Secondly, he examines the tension implicit in Espriu's poetry between involvement and detachment or between the civic and the lyric. One issue addressed is why Espriu is perceived both as the symbol of moral resistance against Francoism and as a hermetic, 'difficult' poet. Central to the study is an awareness of the precarious status of the Catalan language in the period when Espriu wrote most of his poetry, and of how his work represents, by dint of its linguistic character, an act of defiance and affirmation, in Delor's view, a 'metalinguistic literature'. D. GARETH WALTERS is Professor of Hispanic Studies at the University of Swansea.

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-499-7
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
    (pp. vi-viii)
    D. Gareth Walters
  4. Part 1 Definitions and Interpretations
    (pp. 1-29)

    Jordi Pujol, the former President of the Autonomous Region of Catalonia, observed that Salvador Espriu was quite simply the ‘poeta nacional de Catalunya’ [national poet of Catalonia].¹ For Manuel Vázquez Montalbán he was ‘un dels símbols de la resistència cultural i moral de Catalunya contra el franquisme’ [one of the symbols of the cultural and moral resistance of Catalonia against Francoism].² Yet Espriu was an unlikely hero. He never sought the limelight and disliked official recognition because he did not feel he merited it; when he was awarded the Premi Nacional de les Lletres Catalanes he stated that, in his...

  5. Part 2 The Palindromic Cycle
    (pp. 30-125)

    The unity of the first five complete collections Espriu published between 1946 and 1955 is obvious; there is no need for recourse to any esoteric or cabbalistic scheme to discover this. Castellet refers to their ‘rara construcció simètrica’ [unusual symmetrical construction], forming as they do a pattern that is chiastic or palindromic in nature: the first and last of the cycle have 30 poems each, the second and fourth, both divided into three parts, 44 poems, and the central, third book has 30 poems.¹ In summary we have: 30 − 44 − 40 − 44 − 30. Delor i Muns...

  6. Part 3 The Later Poetry
    (pp. 126-188)

    The title of this book alludes to the comparison by the Greek geographer Strabo of the map of the Iberian Peninsula to a bull hide hung up to dry. Yet the most important point of influence on the work is Jewish: the use of the term ‘Sepharad’ to refer to Spain, or, more precisely, Iberia. This was the word used by the Jews who had been expelled from Spain in the wake of the decree issued by the Catholic Monarchs in 1492 to refer to their lost land. The word also figures in a biblical context: the location of the...

  7. Part 4 Summation and Conclusion
    (pp. 189-208)

    In 1949, exactly midway between the appearance ofCementiri de SineraandLes hores, Espriu published the first edition ofLes cançons d’Ariadna, a collection of 33 poems that bore as indicative dates of composition March 1944 to January 1946. In the definitive edition of the poetry, however, this collection had grown to 100 poems, dated 1934–1980. The stages of growth dated mainly from the last decade of Espriu’s life: the second edition (1973) contained 68 poems, the third (1977), 88, the fourth (1979), 89, and the fifth and final edition 100 (1981). Yet it was not merely a...

    (pp. 209-213)
  9. INDEX
    (pp. 214-216)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 217-217)