Josep Pla | Cultural Heritage. Goverment of Catalonia.
Josep Pla The Journalist of the 20th Century
His literary legacy, fully current, has turned Josep Pla (1897 – 1981) into a benchmark in Catalan literature and journalism. He popularized clear, seemingly simple, folkloric literature, which described his closest surroundings. His original and extensive work (narrations, travel books, biographies, newspaper reports...) would help to Europeanise Catalan literature.

The son of a family of rural business owners in Palafrugell, he studied law at the University of Barcelona. He began working as a journalist in 1918 in Las Noticias and collaborating in media such as La Publicidad, La Veu de Catalunya, El Sol, Fígaro and the Revista de Catalunya. His profession would lead him to long stays in Madrid and different countries in Europe (France, Italy, England, Germany, the Soviet Union...). The fruit of these trips were his first books: Coses vistes and Rússia (1925).

In 1939, he definitively settled in Catalonia, almost without ever leaving Empordà. He wrote some books in Spanish: Guía de la Costa Brava (1941), Humor honesto y vago (1942) and Un señor de Barcelona (1945). Starting in 1947, he published his books in Catalan. His most fruitful time as a writer began with works such as Cadaqués (1947), El carrer estret (Premi Joanot Martorell 1951), Nocturn de primavera (1953), Les hores (1953), L’Empordanet (1954), Cartes d’Itàlia (1955) and Santiago Rusiñol i el seu temps (1955).

In 1956, Josep Pla made his first failed attempt to gather his complete works, Obres completes (Editorial Selecta), which included reprints and also unedited works such as Homenots (1958-62). In 1966, Pla would sign with the Editorial Destino publishing house to make a new compilation of his work which would start with his first unedited book: El quadern gris, one of the most important autobiographies of Catalan literature. The first Edition of the Obra Completa would include 45 volumes (around 30,000 pages). In 1973, the writer would create the Josep Pla Foundation.

The grandeur of Pla’s work can be seen as a mix between traditional language and a great verbal imaginative richness. He excels like none other at detailed, sensory description, social critique and psychological portraits. He continues to be one of the most read authors and even today he is a privileged testimony to the history of the last century.