Poet, playwright and novelist, Salvador Espriu (1913-1985) is considered, along with Josep Pla
and Josep Maria de Sagarra, as one of the revivalists of the nineteenth-century forms of Catalan prose. He himself described his work as a "meditation on death". As a member of the generation '36, he focused not only on a death and individual spirituality,
but also on the collective. He sang like no other of the defeat and the hope of a Catalonia subject to social and political tensions.
The son of a notary, he divided his childhood between Barcelona and Arenys de Mar. This village in the Maresme region was his "little homeland" and appears mythicised in his work as Sinera
(Arenys backwards). He studied law and ancient history while he was making his first forays into literature (El doctor Rip
). Before the outbreak of the Civil War, he published collections of short stories Aspectes
(1934) and Ariadna al laberint grotesc
and Miratge a Citerea
(1935), works which confirmed him as the most original story-teller of his generation. He followed this with Letizia i altres proses
(1937) and the play Antígona
(1939), about fratricidal war and compassion for the defeated.
His first volume of poetry, Cementiri de Sinera
, was not published until 1946. Along with the play Primera història d’Esther
(1948), it marked the beginning of his popularity in the post-war period
. Recognition came with La pell de Brau
(1960), an allegory critical of the Spain of the post-war period and its intransigence with the different peoples of the Iberian Peninsula. It used the myth of Sepharad and went on to become a symbol of the anti-Franco struggle.
As of 1968, on the occasion of the publication of his complete works, Espriu revised his entire literary output and rewrote many of his works
, particularly those of his early years. His last works were the play Una altra Fedra si us plau…
(1978), the volume of prose, Les roques i el mar, el blau
(1981), the poem D’una vella i encerclada terra
(1979) and a collection of poetry Per a la bona gent
(1984). Translated into various languages, Espriu's work has won international recognition.