Josep Lleonart i Maragall (Barcelona, 5 May 1880 - Barcelona, 26 January 1951) was a poet, literary critic, translator, playwright, novelist, and educator. A well-known figure of the Catalan literary panorama in the first three decades of the twentieth century, he made his debut as a writer with poems he sent to the magazine L’Atlàntida from Switzerland and Germany, where he had travelled to train as a goldsmith with a view to working in the family trade. However, encouraged by his maternal uncle, the poet Joan Maragall, he eventually decided to devote himself fully to a literary life. In particular, he wrote intimist poetry which, with variations over the years, was often influenced by Maragall’s lyricism and German Romanticism. Notable in his poetic oeuvre are the volumes Elegies germàniques (1910), La merla i altres cants (1914), Tres poemes (1920), Les elegies i els jardins (1938), and Jornades líriques (1980). A connoisseur of German culture with great knowledge of the language he stood out as a meticulous translator of German works into Catalan, especially with his remarkable translation in verse of Goethe’s Faust. Moreover, he wrote for many periodical publications including Joventut, Catalunya, La Revista, and La Veu de Catalunya. Before the Mancomunitat (Commonwealth of Catalonia) was established, he endorsed the postulates of the conservative Regionalist League of Catalonia, although he subsequently supported, in particular, intellectual freedom over specific political action.
In addition to poetry and translation, he also wrote novels, plays, and educational works throughout his life. After the end of the Civil War, he was completely isolated from cultural life and, in the post-war years, he made a living translating a large number of biographical and educational works from German into Catalan.
Web page: Andreu Gabriel i Tomàs for AELC.
Photographs: Ceded by Serra d’Or.