One Day of Life is Life: Joan Maragall

In this article we feature a video of translator Ronald Puppo talking about his forthcoming One Day of Life is Life: Joan Maragall (Fum d’Estampa Press), which contains selected poetry and prose of Joan Maragall (1860-1911) in a rigorously prepared, generously annotated bilingual volume with Puppo’s introduction and headnotes.

The venue for the recording was the 2020 Sant Jordi in New York online festival, where you can also see authors, critics and translators discussing many other publications.

The transcript of Puppo’s recording follows below.

Transcript of the video

Joan Maragall is the outstanding Catalan-language poet of the early twentieth century, and his works and his stature in Spain’s pantheon of diverse languages and literatures single him out as a modern European classic. His groundbreaking poetry is, on the surface, uncomplex – to the point of disarming his readers – but the poetry encapsulates both the turbulence of his time and place (the anarchist bomb attack in Barcelona’s Liceu Opera House, the spiritual cost of the Spanish-American War, the social meltdown of Barcelona’s 1909 Tragic Week), and at the same time there comes through clearly the serenity of his gaze into both world and soul. His late-life landmark poem “Cant espiritual” caught the eye of Albert Camus and Eugenio Montale, who then translated it into French and Italian; and his steadfast friendship with Miguel de Unamuno sheds light on their contrasting views about how Spain might be put on democratic track.

These translations of Maragall’s verse capture and recreate the straightforward, yet subtle, modern lyricism of Maragall, and are combined with the scholarly framework articulating and situating Maragall’s remarkable accomplishment in its multiple contexts: the specific literary and artistic movement of Catalan modernism (Modernisme); the broader Iberian cultures network of writers; and of course, Maragall’s own lifelong commitment to forging an empowering poetics, and yet also engaging boldly in the debates of his troubled times, and cutting an emerging figure, not unlike that of Émile Zola, of prototype for the twentieth-century intellectuel engagé.

There are poets and writers who walk us through the halls of history and peoples, and yet at the same time, they also walk us through ourselves, both as individual persons and as part of a larger human network. Congratulations, Fum d’Estampa Press. We can now walk with Joan Maragall in English.

Ronald Puppo (editor and translator) (2020). One Day of Life is Life. Joan Maragall. Fum d’Estampa Press (London/Barcelona). (Forthcoming; see the publisher’s catalogue page.)

Ronald Puppo

About Ronald Puppo

Ronald Puppo, senior lecturer in the Department of Translation, Interpreting and Applied Linguistics (UVic-UCC), has taught English studies and translation since 1994. His articles and reviews have appeared in Babel, Catalan Review, Translation Review, Anuari Verdaguer and others, including book chapters for Reichenberger and Routledge. Translator of several Catalan poets, his annotated translation, Mount Canigó: A tale of Catalonia (Barcino/Tamesis, 2015), was awarded the 2016 “Serra d’Or” Critics Prize for Research in Catalan Studies, and his extensively annotated anthology of poetry and prose by Joan Maragall, One Day of Life is Life (Fum d’Estampa Press, 2020) won the 2021 Ramon Llull International Translation Prize.
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