Jacint Verdaguer | Cultural Heritage. Goverment of Catalonia.
Jacint Verdaguer The Poet of the People
No one was left unmoved when, at just 20 years of age, Jacint Verdaguer (1845 –1902) won his first Floral Games and went to collect his prize dressed in peasant clothing. And his rural origins would impact him throughout his life. A romantic poet, affiliated with the Restoration generation of 1874, he established rich language patterns that were half cultured and half traditional. Verdaguer is one of the biggest figures of modern Catalonia, who made the Catalan language a literary language.

The son of a modest teacher and peasant from Folgueroles (Osona), he entered the Seminary of Vic in 1855. He would become a priest in a small rural parish in Osona, but he left it when he took ill and moved to Barcelona. There he would meet the Marquis of Comillas, who would make him the priest of the family and later the alms chaplain. In this period (1877-93), during which he lived in the Palau Moja and regularly attended the highest social events, he wrote two of his most important poems: L’Atlàntida (1877) and Canigó (1886), the most genuine expression of his work.

Ultimately, a spiritual crisis, diagnosed as insanity, led him to leave the Comillas family and Barcelona. This was a direct affront to the Marquis and the church authorities, who sent him to La Gleva (Osona) where he dedicated two years to writing. The work Flors del Calvari (1896), with great dramatism, alternates personal justification with the most scathing attacks against his enemies. He spent his later years as a beneficiary to the church of Betlem, in Barcelona.

This work comes from two sources, longing and dreams, but done through more or less jointed storylines and material taken directly from life in the countryside (Pàtria, 1888). A large part of his religious poems are legends or traditional allegories (Montserrat, 1880). Other poems of his are more personal (Els Idil·lis i cants místics, 1879), Aires del Montseny, 1901). He also published come fictional books: Excursions i viatges (1887) and Rondalles (1905).

Verdarguer’s writing has been set to music by different composers (L’emigrant, 1894) and translated to a large number of learned languages.