Catalan Review

CONTRAST AND CONFLUENCE IN VERDAGUER’S AND MARAGALL’S POETIC PEOPLING OF BARCELONA

Catalan Review (2016), 30, (1), 87–109.

Abstract

This intertextual analysis juxtaposes and examines in detail the texts and contexts of Verdaguer’s “To Barcelona” (“A Barcelona,” 1883) and Maragall’s “New Ode to Barcelona” (“Oda nova a Barcelona,” 1909), with particular attention to, in the latter case, Maragall’s three seminal Setmana Tràgica articles in connection with his poem, as well as Maragall’s debt to, and break with, Verdaguer; and in the former case, Verdaguer’s debt to, and break with, Rubió i Ors’ earlier poetic vision of the city (“Barcelona,” 1840). In Verdaguer’s foundational vision of Barcelona, and, by extension, Catalonia, Christian faith underpins an unmistakably patriotic faith in country, where Christendom and pagan antiquity blend in tandem to ensure the dynamic city’s, and country’s, future. In Maragall’s re-foundational palimpsest, the poet calls for the renewal of a faith that has degenerated into static or class-inscribed ritual, and for spiritual and social regeneration spotlighted by the shift in symbolic focus from Barcelona Cathedral — to which Verdaguer had given empowering voice in the concluding stanzas of his poem — to the Expiatory Temple of the Holy Family, which in Maragall’s vision empowers the faithful with atonement and reconciliation amid the profound social strife concomitant to the Setmana Tràgica, and whose emergence marks the rise of a new source of hope and faith alongside which the people of the city and the country might also rise together in future conviviality. Finally, while Verdaguer’s enumeration of a shared history on a shared geography points to the outward manifestation of a collective inner life, the absence, in Maragall’s poem, of explicit denotation of important places and events signals the need for an inward turn, calling for crucial examination of that same collective inner life.

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PUPPO, RONALD