Catalan Review


Catalan Review (2020), 34, (1), 43–58.


In this essay the question of landscape is tackled through the juxtaposition of two different but complementary approaches: Josep Pla’s writings on the Empordà, and Georg Simmel’s philosophy of landscape. The idea of Stimmung that, according to Simmel, “glues” a landscape together is challenged by Pla’s description of the ancient ruins of Empúries as a fragmented landscape in permanent reconstruction that lends itself to all kinds of interpretations. Pla not only focuses on the question of landscape in and of itself but also on how it affects the personality of the observer and how it generates a particular historical unity. In the case of Empúries, this unity turns out to be highly evocative and must be protected from the instrumental Catalan nation-building promoted by Noucentisme, as well as the banal gaze of mass tourism. However, the search for purity of experience and Mediterranean measure inevitably leads Pla to confess that he is a patriot of his landscape, thereby adopting some of the attitudes he is criticizing.

Access Token
If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here


Aristotle. Poetics. Penguin Classics, 1996. Google Scholar

Bachelard, Gaston. The Poetics of Space. Beacon Press, 1994. Google Scholar

Benjamin, Walter. On the Concept of History (Theses on the Philosophy of History), 1942. CreateSpace, 2009. Google Scholar

Berkeley, George. Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge. Penguin, 2004. Google Scholar

Castellet, J. M. Josep Pla o la raó narrativa. Destino, 1978. Google Scholar

D’Ors, Eugeni. Glosari. Edicions 62, 1982. Google Scholar

Guinart, Pau. La voluntat clàssica de Catalunya. El paper del jaciment arqueològic d’Empúries en la construcció del nacionalisme català: Prat de la Riba, Eugeni d’Ors i el Noucentisme. Brau Edicions, 2014. Google Scholar

Gumbrecht, Hans Ulrich. Atmosphere, Mood, Stimmung: On a Hidden Potential of Literature. Stanford UP, 2012. Google Scholar

Illas, Edgar. Thinking Barcelona. Ideologies of a Global City. Liverpool UP, 2012. Google Scholar

Matthei, R. Goethe’s Color Theory. Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1971. Google Scholar

Nietzsche, Friedrich. The Birth of Tragedy (1872), edited and translated by Douglas Smith. Oxford UP, 2008. Google Scholar

Pairolí, Miquel. La geografia íntima de Josep Pla. Edicions La Campana, 1996. Google Scholar

Pla, Josep. El quadern gris. Obra Completa. Vol. 1. Destino, 1966. Google Scholar

Pla, Josep. Guia de la Costa Brava. Destino, 1978. Google Scholar

Pla, Josep. El meu país. Obra Completa. Vol. 7. Destino, 1997. Google Scholar

Pla, Josep. Viatge a la Catalunya vella (1946). De l’Empordanet a Andorra (1959). Obra completa. Vol. 9. Destino, 2003. Google Scholar

Pla, Josep. Per acabar. Obra Completa, Volum 45. Destino, 2004. Google Scholar

Pla, Xavier. Josep Pla, ficció autobiogràfica i veritat literària. Quaderns Crema, 1997. Google Scholar

Puig, Valentí. L’home de l’abric. Destino, 1998, p. 37. Google Scholar

Resina, Joan Ramon. Josep Pla. Seeing the World in the Form of Articles. U of Toronto P, 2017. Google Scholar

Simmel, Georg. “The Philosophy of Landscape.” Theory, Culture & Society, Vol. 24, 2007, pp. 20-29. Google Scholar

Simmel, Georg. The View of Life. Four Metaphysical Essays with Journal Aphorisms. The U of Chicago P, 2010. Google Scholar

Subirats, Eduardo. Figuras de la conciencia desdichada. Taurus, 1979. Google Scholar

Viestenz, William. “Dit d’alguna manera: La filosofía de la llengua de Josep Pla.” L’Espill. Vol. 39, 2011, pp. 121-136. Google Scholar

Viñas Piquer, David. Josep Pla i l’invent “Costa Brava.” (Fragments d’una fascinació). Acontravent, 2013. Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here


Author details