Domènec Guansé (Tarragona, 1894 - Barcelona, 1978) was a journalist, novelist and translator. A student of Antoni Rovira i Virgili and also self-taught, his work covers a range of literary genres and he is regarded as one of the best post-war Catalan prose writers, with a style that is at once cultured, poetic, precise and suggestive. He began his writing career as a regular contributor to Diario de Tarragona. In 1924 he moved to Barcelona and started to write professionally as a literary critic for Revista de Catalunya, D'Ací i d'Allà and Mirador, while also writing articles for La Publicitat and La Nau. His fictional work constitutes a psychological inquiry into the female world, as evidenced with his books La clínica de Psiquis (The Clinic of Psychis, 1926), La Venus de la careta (Venus of the Mask, 1927), Com vaig assassinar Georgina (How I Murdered Georgina, 1930), Les cadenes d'Eva (The Chains of Eve, 1932), and Una nit (One Night, 1935). After he went into exile, he continued writing about women with the novels La pluja d'or (Rain of Gold, 1950) and Laberint (Labyrinth, 1952). He also wrote the plays Volia ser feliç (She Wanted to be Happy, 1934) and Una noia és per a un rei (A Girl Is for a King, 1937).
In 1939 he went into exile in France, where he joined the group of Catalan writers in the Roissy-en-Brie castle, after which he went to live in Chile. Here he became director of Germanor (1945) and played a leading role in the activities of the Catalan Centre. In this period he published the shipboard diary Ruta d'Amèrica (Route to America, 1944) and his best-known work Retrats literaris (Literary Portraits – Mexico, 1947), a book that reflects a whole epoch. A reworked version was published in 1966 with the title Abans d'ara (Before Now). After his return to Barcelona in 1963, he published several biographies and literary portraits, his subjects including Pompeu Fabra (1964, a re-edition of the 1934 publication), Margarida Xirgu (1963) and Josep Anselm Clavé (1966). He also translated works by Maupassant, Voltaire, Mauriac, Prévost, Nelly Sachs, Pierre Louys and Evelyne Coquet.
Web page: Guillem Molla for AELC.
Translation: Julie Wark.
Photographs: ©Fons Domènec Guansé, Arxiu Nacional de Catalunya, ©Arxiu Serra d'Or, Biblioteca de Catalunya