Salvador Espriu (Santa Coloma de Farners, 1913 - Barcelona, 1985) is one of Catalonia's most significant post-war writers and an outstanding poet. Although he first became known as a narrator, his relatively later incursion into poetry was no obstacle to his achieving swift recognition as a poet, not only within the sphere of Catalan letters but also internationally. He also played an important part in the revitalisation of Catalan theatre.
He published novels, El Doctor Rip (1931) and Laia (1932), collections of stories, Aspectes (1934), Ariadna al laberint grotesc (Ariadna in the Grotesque Labyrinth) (1935), Miratge a Citerea (Mirage in Citerea) (1935), Litizia i altres proses (Litizia and Other Prose) (1937), works which led to his being considered the most original Catalan narrator after the period of Noucentisme (the turn-of-the-century cultural and political movement in Catalonia). Amongst his published collections of poetry are: Cementiri de Sinera (Sinera Cemetery) (1946), Les hores (Hours) and Mrs Death (1952), El caminant i el mur (The Wanderer and the Wall) (1954), Final del laberint (The End of the Labyrinth) (1955), Les cançons d'Ariadna (Songs of Ariadna) (1949), La pell de brau (The Hide of the Bull) (1960), Llibre de Sinera (The Book of Sinera) (1963), and Setmana Santa (Holy Week) (1971). He revised the entirety of his work with the aim of creating a unified corpus. He was translated into many languages and his name frequently appeared amongst those proposed as Nobel laureates. He received the Award of Honour in Catalan Letters in 1972, the City of Barcelona Gold Medal and that of the Generalitat (Autonomous Government of Catalonia) in 1980. He was given honorary doctorates by the universities of Barcelona and Toulouse (Llenguadoc). In 1982 he was awarded but declined to accept the Spanish distinction, the Cross of Alphonse the Wise, because of his civic stand with respect to Catalonia.
Espriu was one of the founding members of Associació d'Escriptors en Llengua Catalana (Association of Catalan Language Writers, AELC).
Documentation: Emili Gil and Josep Miàs.
Up-date: Nausica Solà and Josep Miàs for AELC.
Photographs: © Centre de Documentació i Estudis Salvador Espriu CDESE.
Translation: Julie Wark.