The Rise of Catalonian Literature
I love cat111
Bauçà - el canvi
Sirera bookcover
by Melcion Mateu, guest editor,
Translation by Graham Thomson.

Welcome to Transcript 3, devoted to Catalan literature. In these pages you will find some of the most popular, most widely-read and most translated names in contemporary Catalan literature, the linguistic territory of which, with some seven million speakers, takes in not only Catalonia itself, but also a part of the south of France, the Mediterranean coast as far south as Alicante and the Balearic Islands.

Prose writer Quim Monzó has been a constant presence in the last couple of decades thanks to a series of books, and his regular appearances in the press and on radio and television.

Poet Joan Brossa, although better known for his work as a visual artist and visual poet than for his extensive output of written texts, has nevertheless exercised a great influence on many younger writers.

Others here, such as the playwright Rodolf Sirera or the poet and prose writer Miquel Bauçà, have gained considerable reputations in their respective fields, and earned the support and respect of the critics.

We also feature a novel first published in 1967, winner of that year's Sant Jordi prize (one of the most prestigious awards in Catalan literature), which has since suffered undeserved neglect. 39º a l'ombra, by Antònia Vicens, has two great virtues: it is written in a living language of great spontaneity, richness and real poetic power, and was the first novel to reflect the impact of mass tourism on the island of Mallorca, a subject that is inevitably of ongoing concern to many Balearic writers. 39º a l'ombra has recently been republished and translated into German.

Given that two of the authors featured here - Bauçà and Vicens - are from Mallorca, and the fact that a number of Balearic writers have now been translated into other languages, we have included an article by the poet and novelist Sebastià Alzamora reviewing the condition of Mallorcan writing in recent years. Poetry is still a genre of major significance in Catalan literature, as can be seen from the importance of figures such as Bauçà and Brossa; this being so, the article by Josep Maria Sala-Valldaura, professor, critic and poet, gives an overview of contemporary Catalan poetry. Meanwhile, the bilingual Matthew Tree, who writes in English in Catalan, offers his vision of the state of Catalan literature today.

We include a brief section on books recently translated or republished: we hope to return to these books and their authors in greater depth in future issues of Transcript. As Catalan editor of the magazine, it has been a pleasure to bring to a wide readership the material presented in Transcript 3.

(Melcion Mateu (Barcelona, 1971) is the author of two books of poems - Vida evident (Octavio Paz prize, 1998) and Ningú, petit (2002) - and has translated writers such as John Ashbery and Michael Ondaatje.)

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