Catalan Review

Josep Maria de Sagarra and the Ethics of Catalanism

Catalan Review (2009), 23, (1), 71–93.

Abstract

Although Josep Maria de Sagarra (1894-1961) is the author of an impressive body of work that spans almost every literary genre (plays, poetry, novels, memoirs, journalistic columns, and translations, to name a few) and is considered one of the few truly popular Catalan writers of the twentieth century, he has not received much favorable critical attention. While in the last few years this tendency has shifted, the simplicity and popularity of his plays, together with the fact that he distanced himself from political Catalanism and published in Spanish after the Civil War, still impedes some from critically engaging his work. Indeed, some viewed Sagarra as having breached the moral code of post-Civil War Catalanism; others went so far as to accuse him of being a traitor to the cause. This article takes the patriotic columns that Sagarra published in the weekly magazine Mirador (1929-1936) during the Second Republic as an entry point to reformulate the relationship between ethics and Catalanism. It argues that Sagarra's literary columns offer a repertoire of the emotions and practices of a Catalanist ethic that constructs both Sagarra and his readers as patriotic, democratic Catalan subjects. In this manner, Sagarra's journalistic works acquire a civic value that was all but eradicated by Francoism.

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Krauel, Javier