Journal of Catalan Studies/Revista Internacional de Catalanisme

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[La Paret de J.V.Foix i el blanc del poema]
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Erem i serem?: varying perspective in the defence of Catalan culture

Dr Montserrat Roser i Puig
University of Kent at Canterbury

The War
After the war


In this paper it is my intention to consider the supposed erosion of "regional" difference in Spanish literature following the imposition of Castilian as the only official language of the state. To that purpose I shall start by tracing the origins and evolution of Catalan national identity starting from the mid 1930s and then I shall identify and analyse the constraints and limitations, other than official censorship, imposed by the Franco regime upon the Spanish literary intelligentsia.

Cmo no vamos a insultar? Cmo podremos dejar de gritar? Cmo vamos a pintar en estos momentos para exponer al mundo algo que no se relacione con esta horrible guerra? Cmo quieren que exaltemos las cosas nobles, bellas de la vida, si por dentro nos come (nos tiene que comer) el odio? No; hay que seguir atacando. Mientras silben balas, que nuestros lpices nos se rindan y rocen contra la pared de una manera enrgica, viril, como soldados que somos. Porque es necesaria esta pintura. Cuando se contempla una de estas estampas se siente la misma sensacin que ante la noticia inesperada de la muerte de un amigo en el frente, que levanta ms odio, ms deseo de venganza. Estamos en guerra? Pues guerra. Ya vendrn otros tiempos y la historia dir (1)


So, what did history tell? Did the end of the Civil War provide a different, a peaceful environment where the pen was no longer used as a political weapon? What kind of peace was it?


The first political body one can associate with the existence of a national identity in Catalonia was the Diputacin General, later to be called the Generalitat, which was established in 1359 as the representing body of the Catalan Principality, its main function being the collection of taxes and, later, the keeping of Estate Law. This first Generalitat, which functioned until 1714 (that is 355 years), allowed Catalonia to maintain its own institutions, laws, culture and language.(2) However, despite this political presence, at that stage:

La manifestacin ms visible de la cultura propia de Catalua es sin duda alguna su idioma, documentado desde el siglo XI y que desarroll una literatura medieval ciertamente importante, como las Cuatro Grandes Crnicas de los siglos XIII y XIV, la obra cientfico-filosfica de Ramn Llull (el primer autor medieval del gnero que en el siglo XIV abandona el latn para escribir en una lengua moderna), el enciclopedismo de Francesc Eiximenis, la poesa refinada de Ausias March (s.XV) y la novela de Joanot Martorell Tirant lo Blanch (s.XV), la nica obra que Cervantes salva de la quema de las obras de caballera en su Don Quijote . (3)


On the 11 September 1714 Catalonia lost almost everything. In the Decreto de Nueva Planta (16 Jan 1716) Philip V imposed Castilian political and civil law and the use of Castilian as the only legal and educational language (the actual banning of Catalan in schools did not take place until the reign of Charles III in 1768), alleging that this was an essential measure in order to facilitate the movement of civil servants all over Spain. The idea was that if all expression of power was to be in Spanish, the people would choose to adopt such language and the principles that its civilization brought with it.

This assumption is not uncommon, but likewise, from the early days of socio-linguistics, Antoine Meillet stated (1818) that "A nation is not tied to a specific matter or even a language, belonging to a nation is an affair which involves feelings and will." (4) The fact that numerous laws and warnings about the use of Catalan had to be passed in the next 300 years, - banning of Catalan in accounting 1772; banning of teaching in Catalan in Majorca 1778; banning of Catalan in theatre 1801 and 1867; reminder of the penalties imposed on children who spoke Catalan at school 1837; banning of Catalan in the register of births and deaths 1870; banning of speaking Catalan on the phone 1896, lifted with limitations in 1904; reminder to school teachers of the banning on Catalan in teaching of all subjects in 1900, inclusion of catechism in 1902 - points towards the existence of something else. (5)

The ideological history of Catalano-Castilian relations between 1714 and 1939 has been studied by Horst Hina in his book Castilla y Catalua en el debate cultural and, by tracing the development of such a relationship there emerges, as a primary issue, the power struggle between the centralising government and an independently-minded Catalonia, particularly from the time the latter became, with the Basque Country, the first sites of the industrial revolution in Spain. From this point onwards the main differentiating element between Catalonia and the rest of Spain was perceived by the Catalans as their modernity.

Hina declares that:

El concepto de nacionalidad , que aparece en la discusin catalana desde los aos cincuenta del siglo XIX y que determina esta discusin [sobre la autonoma cultural y poltica] desde finales de siglo, refleja la conciencia catalana ya recobrada (hegelianamente hablando), la cual puede alegar haber renovado su lengua literaria, haber encontrado la conexin con las propias tradiciones culturales y haber alcanzado un nivel de civilizacin que, sin duda, era superior al del resto de Espaa, todava agraria en gran medida. (6)


Nevertheless, this achievement had involved the replacement of Castilian literary, cultural and political values and thus, the ground for intellectual contacts and exchanges was very unsafe. Rebuilding of the prestige enjoyed by Catalan letters in Medieval times was the main aim of the intellectual movement known as the Renaixena in the XIX century. Its basic principles were regeneration and renovation and they were inextricably linked with the recovery of a Catalan national identity lost in the past. Catalonia demanded the right to cultural as well as political autonomy and this automatically affects its relationship with the rest of the country.

There followed a series of attempts at placing the Catalan language officially on the map: Josep Pau Ballot i Torres published his Gramtica i apologia de la llengua catalana in 1814; on the other hand, the Catalan philologist Antoni Campmany i Montpalau had written his "Observaciones sobre la excelencia de la lengua castellana"(1786) arguing for the superiority of this modern cultural language, inevitably linked to the political weight of the Spanish Empire, and suggested that one should "Catalanizar a Espaa, pero en lengua castellana". (7)

The whole of the XIX century, was characterized by the political conflicts, often of a bellicose nature, between Madrid an Barcelona, created by civil unrest and the consequences of the Napoleonic wars and reinforced by the loss of Spain’s last American colonies in 1898. In the meantime, the Renaixena’s process of recovery of a Catalan tradition, based on the updating of folkloric elements, ancient history and popular culture, understood as an inherent part of its function the revival of the literary language, which was considered the quintessential element in the revival of the Catalan spirit. The main event of this process is the reinstatement in 1859 of the Jocs Florals (popular poetry competitions in Catalan, not dissimilar in nature to the Welsh tradition of the Eisteddfod , which used to be celebrated in the Middle Ages). Even though these first Jocs took place in Barcelona, soon they started to be celebrated all over Catalonia and later adopted in Castilian in the rest of Spain. The Central Government’s support of "popular art" (regarded as harmless) as well as the presence of Government officials at the main events turned these celebrations into the first official point of contact between writers from all over Spain.

Also, as a direct consequence of these, the linguistic debate was rekindled between those who regarded Catalan as a dead language and those who believed that it was capable of expressing everything the modern mind was capable of envisaging. As far as the Catalans were concerned, the popularity of the Jocs Florals, together with the quality of what was being produced, served as conclusive proof of the existence of a distinct Catalan literature and of a language suitably equipped for literary use.

Towards the end of the century a number of writers, mainly academics, like Vctor Balaguer (a Catalan historian and man of letters member of the Real Academia de la Lengua from 1883), Juan Valera or Marcelino Menndez Pelayo, recognized the worth of Catalan literature and advocated the creation of closer links but refused to address the political side of the Catalan predicament. Catalan writers were divided between a few who were prepared to write in Castilian and thus compromise, and those who refused to give in, regarding the former with contempt.

At this time the Modernistes established the guiding pattern for the new Catalan conscience by looking for "things modern"; that is, forgetting all the folklore and adopting instead new ideas relating to the life-style and philosophy espoused by the progressive Bourgeoisie elsewhere on the Continent. This constituted the first conscious decision to place Catalan culture in a European context. (8) This group of artists and intellectuals fuelled their vitality by stressing the comparison between modern, cosmopolitan, successful, sophisticated Catalonia and the underdeveloped, rural and decadent rest of Spain. This emphasis on difference made intellectual contact with Castilian writers virtually impossible. Nonetheless, it was recognized that, for Catalan literature to be on a par with other European literatures, grammatical idiosyncrasies needed to be ironed out. This pressing need was what prompted for the first time the commission of much needed grammatical and linguistic studies and the corresponding award of greater social stature to the professional writer.

Modernista vitality, however, was not endless; the combination of modernity and Catalan nationalism was unstable and could not last. By 1900 the ideological basis of the movement had been diluted and taken over by political concerns and its aims were no longer clear. However, form the political rearrangement that followed there emerged Noucentisme, the very first cultural movement to become part of the political party in charge: la Lliga. (9)

It was the Noucentistes who provided the three fundamental pillars for Catalan culture:

1- the spirit, in the shape of Prat de la Riba’s book La nacionalitat catalana (1906),

2- the consolidation of a Catalan culture, with the creation of the Institut d’Estudis Catalans (1907) which was to cater for all educational needs not provided by the central Government, and

3- a standardized literary language with the writing of the definitive modern Catalan grammar by Pompeu Fabra (1912).

It is interesting to note, however, that as stated by A. Manent Noucentista writers, like Josep Carner or Eugeni d’Ors, were in constant contact with their counterparts in the Spanish language be it because of intellectual debate - like that mentioned above with Miguel de Unamuno, Po Baroja or Ramn Menndez Pidal -, or through a relation with colleagues of a more catalanophile disposition, such as Federico Garca Lorca, Gabriel Mir and Enrique Dez Canedo.(p.196)

In 1914 a new Catalan autonomous Government, the Mancomuntitat, was established and the Lliga became the party in power until Primo de Rivera’s abolition of all Catalan rights in 1924. This abolition prompted an unprecedented show of support for the Catalan cause from the rest of the country: the "Manifiesto de los escritores castellanos en defensa de la lengua catalana", which was signed by literary personalities as well known as Pedro Sinz Rodrguez (writer of the manifesto), Gregorio Maran, Angel Herrera Oria, Azorn, Federico Garca Lorca, Ramn Menndez Pidal, Ramn Gmez de la Serna, Salvador de Madariaga, Manuel Azaa, Jos Ortega y Gasset, Lus Jimnez de Asa, Gabriel Maura, Claudio Snchez Albornoz, etc. (10)

This does not mean that during Primo de Rivera’s dictatorship (1923 - 1930) the situation was any easier but in those 7 years certain events of an important nature occurred; such as the 1927 exhibition of Catalan books in Madrid enthusiastically supported by the same writers (some of them, including Antonio Machado returned this visit by going to Barcelona in 1928) and the spectacular public support for the visit of Spanish intellectuals to Barcelona in 1930, all of which greatly contributed to the consolidation of the Catalan ethos. Thus, when the Second Republic was declared in 1931 the same group of Catalan intellectuals, some Noucentistes and their successors, the Catalan republicans, took charge of the recovery of sovereignty. However, even though the Second Republic was considered as an opportunity for united prosperity and even though it could not create a stable government (given the clear areas of difference between Catalan republicans and republicans from elsewhere), it nevertheless provided a fertile ground for the recovery and consolidation of Catalan letters which during those years saw a great resurgence, being duly promoted and recognised abroad.

All this background information allows us to evaluate the difference of the impact that the banning of the natural language had in 1714, 1924 and, finally in 1939. It will also help explain the reluctance with which Catalan writers responded to such an imposition and the strength and determination to preserve their national identity, with or without their natural language, against all odds, in the fervent hope that the day would come when their attempts to preserve and defend it would prove triumphant.

For Franco, however, the old principle still applied: speaking the language was identified with belonging to a nation, hence the popular slogan "Si eres espaol, habla espaol!". Indeed, by repressing the Catalan language, it was his aim to perpetrate cultural genocide against Catalonia, the idea being brutal in its simplicity: if a nation has a soul and the organ of expression of such soul is its language, by eliminating the language you effectively kill the nation.

The imposition of Spanish as the only official language meant the erosion of difference; and the Catalans perceived it as a direct threat to their collective conscience. (11) The reaction before this sudden turn of fate was, in the majority of cases, a retreat into anonymity or exile and only in very few cases the reluctant acceptance of the imposed language and culture as their own. In addition, the instinct of self-preservation discouraged any Catalano-Spanish contacts for the best part of the period 1936-1941 during which censorship was at its height.

The War

While the Spanish Civil War lasted, there was a good rapport between Catalan writers and Republican writers from the rest of Spain. At least from a political point of view. The offshoot of this rapprochement was a qualitative change in intellectual relations. One has to bear in mind, for instance, that in 1935 Catalan difference was at its height. That year saw Barcelona host the first International P.E.N. Congress to be celebrated in Spain. It attracted writers from all over the world (South Africa, Germany (London group), England, Argentina, Belgium, Bulgaria, Catalonia, Denmark, Scotland, U.S.A, France, Holland, Hungary, India, Italy, Yugoslavia, Lithuania, Norway, New Zealand, Palestine and Poland) but had no Spanish representation and the Catalan P.E.N. did not include any writers in Castilian (the Catalan presence in the P.E.N., with full recognition of the rightful use of the Catalan language, dated from 1922).

However, by contrast, in the 1937 congress, which took place in Paris, the Catalan representatives, Carles Riba, Joan Oliver, Francesc Trabal and Joaquim Xirau, teamed up with Enrique Dez-Canedo and Corpus Barga to form a single Spanish delegation the aim of which was to draw attention to all the victims of Fascism, taking as an emblematic example the execution of Federico Garca Lorca.

The relationship between Lorca and Catalonia has been well documented, but here it is worth mentioning that the previous year, 1936, the Associaci Intel.lectual per a la Defensa de la Cultura contra la Guerra i el Feixisme was created and their manifesto was signed by 37 intellectuals one of whom was Frederic Garca Lorca. This association later organised meetings with similar associations in the rest of Spain, creating a real sense of institutional co-operation between intellectuals. They also attended general meetings in Madrid, Valencia and Barcelona with representatives of the International Solidarity association. (12)

Indeed, the common enemy united writers from all over in publications like, as is epitomized by the publication Hora de Espaa. In this magazine, which only lasted between 1937 and 1938, we see how in their common quest Catalan and non-Catalan writers, adopting of their own accord Castilian as the language of communication, had published articles such as " Lneas sobre los poetas y para los poetas en los das actuales" by Lus Cernuda (June 37), "El II Congreso Internacional de Escritores: Su significacin" by Corpus Bargas (August 37), "La adhesin de los intelectuales a la causa popular" by Antonio Snchez Barbudo (July 37), Manuel Altoaguirre’s review of the Catalan Nova antologia (February 38), "Sntesis histrica del movimiento teatral en Catalua" by Manuel Valldeperes (July 38) or "Ante un abismo de confusiones..." signed Q.P., and the review of Maurici Serrahima"s book Joan Maragall, by S.V. (Possibly Vicente Salas Viu), the tone of which is in itself revealing:

Pocas veces se habr hablado de Maragall con ms acertadas palabras, ni con una comprensin ms profunda de su personalidad. El recio espaolismo del poeta, la manera en que por su acendrada catalanidad se afirma en l todava ms, est visto, y mostrado que es ms difcil, por Serrahima con absoluta justeza. [...] Impulsado por este amor profundo que le une a su tierra, por esta caudalosa ternura, el poeta asoma sus miradas a toda la "espaciosa y triste Espaa". La fuerza de su catalanismo, la hondura que en l cobra este sentimiento precisamente es lo que le hace rebasar el huerto cerrado de su tierra a todas las de la patria, y aun sobre estos mismos horizontes, abrirse a otros ms amplios. Porque al espritu de Maragall no le es dique esta o la otra frontera, ninguna supuesta muralla. (13)


However, these harmonious intellectual relationships tended to get fraught whenever Catalan nationalism came into the picture. A good example, for instance, is Rafael Alberti"s 1936 reaction against Catalan Republicans described by Stephen Spender in World Within World, which, however, was followed by the poem "Defensa de Madrid, defensa de Catalua", in his book El poeta y la calle (1937). (14)

After the War

With the end of the Civil War in 1939 Catalan speakers and writers would again find themselves directly targeted, this time by Franco’s dictatorship. On 28 January 1939 and reflecting how the new establishment regarded its taking of power in Catalonia, Diego. F. Collado wrote:

En esta batalla de Catalua es algo ms que unos cientos de kilmetros cuadrados lo que se gana. Se salva la grandeza de Espaa, hecha unidad indestructible; se salva el sentido y la tradicin de un pueblo seor y cristiano, es decir el espaol. Pero se salva, adems, con reconquista, que es como se gana para siempre a la mujer y a la Patria. Dios as lo ha querido! (15)

The effects of the banning of the Catalan language and the repression of Catalan culture which followed have often been compared to 1714. However, during the Second Republic Catalan letters had experienced a great boom and the repression of a strong culture, capable of producing works of European standing, was no easy task and would have required a more assiduous political and economic effort than the Central Government could possibly afford or sustain. In the first years of the Dictatorship there were no publications in Catalan at all. In fact, as Hina has illustrated (p.415), it took until the 1960s before the number of new Catalan books reached the pre-war levels again; but a recovery of such a scale over such a long period of time would clearly never have been possible had Catalan literature not reached the high literary level it had before 1939.

As during Primo de Rivera’s regime before, during the Franco era there emerged a great feeling of solidarity between opposition intellectuals from all over Spain. This time, however, efforts at intellectual and artistic rapprochement were redoubled for fear of another major crisis which, like that of 1936, could again be blamed on irrational hatred. In those very first years, however, all of those who had found themselves on the losing side had to give priority to reconstruction of their own personal livelihoods. In fact, the reorganization of political opposition did not start to show any results until the mid forties when, with the end of the Second World war and the defeat of Fascism, Franco had to rethink his political position.

This change of circumstances produced what became known amongst the Catalans as l’escletxa (the crack): that is the first sign of opening/relaxation of the Central Government with regard to Catalan letters. (16) Thus in August 1945 the new Gobernador civil, Bartolom Barba Hernndez, adopted a policy of "moderacin, ponderacin, medida, prudencia y orden" and, according to Josep Massot i Muntaner, received strict instructions de "hacerse querer por los catalanes." (17) The new strategy was one of collaboration , which of course meant that there was a price to be paid: there would be a modicum of freedom but it would need some sacrifice.

The new collaboration was not only offered to Catalan intellectuals. It was addressed at all Spanish intellectuals and reflected the Government’s craving for Imperial supremacy which, of course, required a major intellectual presence with which to impress the rest of the civilized world. The Republicans, the losers of the war, were painfully aware of the fact that they had become the real carriers of genuine Spanish culture. As Santos Sanz Villanueva explains:

Con frecuencia se habla de una poesa imperial (estimulada, por ejemplo, por la conocida antologa preparada por Rosales y Vivanco) o de un teatro imperial. No se pas de unas vagas desideratas y de alguna deplorable realizacin (tal el drama Y el Imperio volva... , del padre Cu) y aquellos proyectos obtuvieron un rotundo fracaso. Persista, sin embargo, el propsito de mostrar la fecundidad artstica del nuevo Rgimen y se proclamaban listas de nombres que, en su mayor parte, conocen hoy un misericordioso olvido.(18)

Nonetheless, Franco’s determination to legitimise his administration internationally led him to seek the international prestige embodied in the Nobel prizes, no matter where they came from. Any sign of excellence was, as a result, to be claimed as part of the new Spain.

This move infuriated almost all Republican intellectuals but in Catalonia it created a division between those who remained in exile and who looked at the move with extreme suspicion on the one hand and, on the other, those who had either stayed in Spain or returned after the 1945 amnesty and who were tempted to collaborate. (19)

In a manifesto published by the CNF (Catalan National Front) a clear warning was issued:

Un primer instint ens obliga a malfiar-nos ms de l’enemic quan ens adula que quan ens escomet. Fins ara Franco ha atacat Catalunya i les coses catalanes despiadadament encara que sordament.[...] Cal estar alerta. Cal que tothom estigui alerta. Franco est fent maniobres per a fer perdre el nord a la nostra gent, de fora i de dins, poble i dirigents. (20)

Collaboration was typified by a number of cultural and literary publications which were under the protecting umbrella of the Direccin General de Prensa y Propaganda, such as Destino, Escorial, El Espaol, La Estafeta Literaria, Juventud, Haz, Garcilaso, Cuadernos de Literatura Contempornea, Fantasa, Artes y Letras, etc.

It was at this time, however, that the first publications in Catalan were authorised (not without serious limitations). They had to be creative works: books of poetry, novels or plays, which were regarded as harmless and which were seen as examples of regional folklore. By contrast, essays, scientific texts and translations into Catalan of foreign creative works were still forbidden thus ensuring that this language could not be regarded as a language of culture. It may be hard to imagine how they authorised, for instance, cultural events such as the dancing of sardanes (the Catalan national dance) in July 1945, but the official notice explains it very clearly:

La sardana, he aqu la danza que junta con sus hermanas las dems danzas regionales espaolas, proporciona la verdadera alegra al corazn sin dejar en el resabios amargos de las pasiones enervantes, porque ella es toda espaola, toda nuestra, sin la ms pequea inmiscuicin de extranjerismo, es toda espaola y por ende bella, culta, alegre, sensata y limpia como la sonrisa de nuestros mozos y doncellas unidos por las anillas prodigiosas de nuestra danza: la sardana que alegra, que une, que lleva. (21)

The first new Catalan books appeared on Saint George’s day 1946. The first number of Ariel, Revista de les arts, one of the first literary magazines in Catalan authorised by the new regime, appeared in May. As Joan Triad explained in 1995:

Malgrat que sabem que la revista, amb la seva aparena de normalitat, podia ser utilitzada (i ho fou) per agents del rgim, en una maniobra de les de per riure, no abandonrem mai la posici inicial de mirar de fer-nos respectar presentant-nos tal com rem, des d’una publicaci normal en catal. (22)

Showing themselves thus to be not what the Government wanted there ensued warnings, forced apologies and, finally, the magazine was obliged to stop publication altogether in 1951.

Given the difficulty of the status quo, some writers decided to change their language of expression to Castilian. The magazine Destino was the prime example of this formula. It started out following the poltica de unidad in 1946 but gradually moved towards temas vernculos. In fact, after realising that most of its readership was Catalan, from around 1950 one can see the collaborations of first-class writers like, for instance Josep M. de Sagarra, who started a trend towards trying to exert Catalan influence even if that meant writing in Castilian.

It is from this time that we find the emergence of a bilingual press and, once again, some renewed attempts at placing Catalan letters in the wider context of Hispanic culture. Miquel Dol’s comment on Guillem Daz-Plaja’s Historia general de las literaturas hispnicas (Barcelona, 1949), pointed to the inclusion of Catalan and Galician literatures as its singular novelty: "Es injusto, a todas luces, hablar de literaturas hispnicas si se siguen arrumbando como cargas inertes aquellas literaturas." (23) This Hispanist movement, which had supporters in Spain and abroad,was the origin of the Instituto de Estudios Hispnicos de Barcelona in 1948, the creator of the Premio Juan Boscn de poesa (which only accepted originals in Castilian) in 1949.

Quite surprisingly, however, this prize did not attract the attention of poets from the rest of Spain, instead it appealed to a new generation of Catalan writers like Alfons

Costafreda, Jaime Gil de Biedma, Carlos Barral and Jos Agustn Goytisolo, who had adopted Castilian as their creative language, who had created the magazine Laye and who would, eventually make their place within Spanish literature under the label of La escuela de Barcelona. The reaction to this development from some reactionary Catalan quarters was quite violent. In the last number of the clandestine cultural magazine Occident, Antoni Ribera described Alfons Costafreda (the winner of the first prize) and his friends as:

Aquells quatre joves de Trrega nascuts per atzar en el vuit nacional, pobladors dels llimbs, que emprenen, amb delcia d’esnob la llengua forastera i en sn exalats per un cor de mercenaris. (24)

Nevertheless, leaving aside for a moment their excellence as poets in Spanish, the great contribution of these writers to Catalan letters is that they were responsible for the majority of translations of Catalan works into Spanish published in the fifties.

The fifties were a particularly critical time for Catalan letters. One has to remember, for instance, that the implementation of the Government policy to create new industrial wealth around Madrid (to balance the economic strength of Barcelona and Bilbao), was not enough to stop the massive immigration of workers from all over Spain to Catalonia, which posed an added threat to the survival of Catalan culture.

This perceived vulnerability, coupled with the desire to reactivate the publishing industry in Barcelona, might have been part of the reason why Catalan writers were much more receptive than usual to initiatives from Madrid. Thus, it is worth noting that at this stage still most of the publications in Catalan were authorised only in small Bibliophile editions, expensive to produce and hard to sell, which would inevitably make a loss. The publication of more lucrative Spanish texts was an essential requirement to subsidise such editions. As Albert Manent declares:

En 1952 se produjo un deshielo histrico entre los intelectuales de ambas nacionalidades. Un escritor de padre castellano y madre catalana, Rafael Santos Torroella, residente en Barcelona, tuvo el acierto de negociar unos encuentros entre intelectuales catalanes y de expresin castellana, a travs de Joaqun Prez Villanueva, director general de Universidades, siendo ministro Joaqun Ruiz-Gimnez. Dichos encuentros cristalizaron en los Congresos de Poesa celebrados, entre 1952 y 1954, en Segovia, Salamanca y Santiago de Compostela. (25)

The Catalan protagonist of these congresses was, without doubt, Carles Riba whose role in the establishment of literary links was of the utmost importance. (26)

These three conferences were very successful and had very tangible results, such as the formation of lasting friendships between writers, the publication of Catalan works in translation in the collection Adonais (directed by Jos Luis Cano) and the open discussion of Catalan letters in the magazines Alcal, Insula and of Spanish letters in the Revista. Amongst the literary figures present at these events and who would lead and inspire the continuing rapprochement of efforts of the 1960s we find Jos Luis Cano, Jos M. Valverde, Antonio Tovar, Joaqun Ruiz-Gimnez, Pedro Lan Entralgo, Dionisio Ridruejo, and Julin Maras. (27)

In this paper we have traced the struggle between centralising powers and independently-minded Catalonia as part of a longer historical development than that of the Spanish Civil War. We have seen that for the duration of the War, the high points of contact between Catalan and Castilian intellectuals were the celebration of the Paris PEN Congress in 1937 and the publication of the cultural magazine Hora de Espaa in 1938. In particular we have looked at the effects of the banning of the Catalan language following the end of the War and seen how, in the initial stages, self-preservation worked against Catalano-Castilian literary contacts even amongst those who during the War had been together on the Republican front. However, we have also pointed out that Franco's political repositioning in the mid forties resulted in Catalano-Castilian collaboration and in the publication of the first books in Catalan. We have seen how, as a result of the general use of Castilian as the only educational language, some Catalan writers felt able to contribute to Spanish letters in Castilian and how such a decision was seen with great suspicion by those who saw the preservation of Catalan as essential to cultural survival. Finally, a link has been established between the perceived vulnerability of Catalan culture, derived from both the continuing repression and the imminent impact on Catalan society of the growing number of workers from all over Spain, and the Catalan acceptance of invitations from Madrid to take part in the Congresos de Poesa in the fifties.