Joaquim Ruyra (Girona, 1858 - Barcelona, 1939) was a novelist and prose writer. His best-known works are three collections of stories Marines i boscatges (Seascapes and Woods, 1903), La parada (The Stop, 1919) i Entre flames (Among Flames, 1928). He also wrote poetry, theatre and literary criticism. His literary world was the sea and the coast, in particular the town of Blanes where his family was based. He studied Law in Barcelona, but never practised as a lawyer because, as he said, “working as a lawyer would have prevented me from writing.”
Throughout 1903, he published, in pamphlet form for the review Joventut, the fifteen stories that comprise Marines i boscatges, after which he became a model narrative writer for coming generations. Marines i boscatges was reissued in 1920, now entitled Pinya de rosa (The End Knot) and with the addition of a long story, or short novel, El rem de trenta-quatre (published in English as The Long Oar, Aris & Phillips, 1994), which describes the wreck of a cabotage boat, offering beautiful descriptions of nature that are comparable with those of Joseph Conrad or Robert Louis Stevenson.
Ruyra is one of the great twentieth-century writers, to some extent along the lines of Edgar Allan Poe, his favourite writer. He is outstanding for the psychological depth of his characters, for example in stories like La Fineta (Fineta) and Jacobé, which also reveal his fatalistic view of the world. Also noteworthy is his knowledge of traditional stories and folklore, which is evident in stories like La vetlla dels morts (Watching Over the Dead) and El malcontent (The Malcontent).
Documentation: M. Rosa Ruiz González.
Updating: Lluïsa Julià i Capdevila.
Translation: Julie Wark.