Josep Maria de Sagarra (Barcelona, 1894-1961) was a playwright, journalist, memoirs writer, translator and, above all, poet.
His vivid, rich use of language, his use of highly expressive rhetorical devices and, in particular, his aim of diverting or moving the reader and spectator brought him an enthusiastic reading public and theatre audiences and he was rewarded by such resounding successes as La corona d'espines (The Crown of Thorns – 1930), L'Hostal de la Glòria (Glòria's Hostel – 1931), El Cafè de la Marina (The Seaside Café – 1933) and La Rambla de les floristes (The Rambla of Florists – 1935). Notable among his poetic works are Cançons de rem i de vela (Songs of the Oar and the Sail – 1923), El comte Arnau (Count Arnau – 1928) and El poema de Nadal (Christmas Poem – 1931). His novel Vida privada (Private Life – 1932) is deemed to be the quintessential Barcelona novel.
He wrote assiduously for the press and eventually published some of these writings collected in two volumes, Cafè, copa i puro (Coffee, Drink and Cigar – 1929) and L'aperititu (Aperitif – 1937). In 1938, he went to live in France where he was mainly working on his translation of the Divina Commedia. On his return to Catalonia in 1940, he joined clandestine literary circles and, with the help of various patrons, he finished his translation of Dante, translated Shakespeare's plays and wrote his highly readable and extensive Memòries (Memoirs – 1954). A considerable part of his oeuvre has been translated into other languages and some of his works have been made into films or television productions.
Web page: Gabriel Boloix for AELC.
Update: Toni Terrades.
Translation: Julie Wark.
Photographs: © Photographic archive of La Vanguardia and Barcelona i els llibres.