Ferran Soldevila (Barcelona, 1894 - 1971) was a poet, playwright and fiction writer who was particularly well known as one of the great twentieth-century Catalan historians.
Born into a liberal bourgeois Barcelona family, he went to the Polyglot Lyceum until 1910, after which, in 1915, he obtained an Arts degree at the University of Barcelona where one of his teachers was Antoni Rubió i Lluch. In 1916 he obtained a doctoral degree in Madrid. He then joined the Cos d'Arxivers i Bibliotecaris de l'Estat (Official Body of Expert Archivists and Librarians) and worked in this capacity in Maó, Logroño, the Archive of the Crown of Aragon and eventually became the librarian at the University of Barcelona from 1932 to 1938. In 1939, he went into exile in France and returned to Catalonia in 1943 to become a teacher, after which he again worked in his former profession as a librarian. He became a member of the Reial Acadèmia de Bones Lletres (Royal Academy of Belles Lletres of Barcelona) and was eventually appointed as section head of the Archive of the Crown of Aragon, where he worked until his retirement in 1964.
Ferran Soldevila's intense activity as a writer has three facets: that of the historian, that of the playwright and that of the poet. The first of the three was the most extensive and among the major works he produced are Història de Catalunya (History of Catalonia, 1934-1935), Historia de España (History of Spain, 1952-1959), Història dels Catalans (History of the Catalans, 1961-1970) and his edition of Les quatre grans cròniques (The Four Great Chronicles, 1971), with his own Prologue and notes. He also published a great number of historical monographs including Els Almogàvers (Almogóvars: The Shock Troops of Aragon, 1952), L'Almirall Ramon Marquet (Admiral Ramon Marquet, 1953), Pere II el Gran (Peter II the Great [King of Aragon], 1953), Vida de Jaume I el Conqueridor (The Life of James I the Conquerer [King of Aragon], 1958) and La Vida del rei en Pere III (The Life of King Peter III). His volume of poems Poema de l'amor perdut (Poem of Lost Love) appeared in 1916, this being followed by three more collections: Exili (Exile, 1918), Càntics de mar, d'amor i de mort (Songs of the Sea, Love and Death, 1921) and, somewhat later La ruta invisible (The Invisible Route, 1949). Among his works for the stage are some plays of relative repercussion, including Matilde d'Anglaterra (Matilda of England, 1923), Guifré (1927), L'hostal de l'amor (The Hostel of Love, 1951) and Don Joan (1960).
His posthumous works are Les quatre grans cròniques (The Four Great Chronicles) and appearing somewhat later were Dietaris de l'exili i el retorn (Diaries of Exile and Return, 1995-2000), Cronistes, joglars i poetes (Chroniclers, Minstrels and Poets, 1996) and Cartes d'amor i d'exili (Letters of Love and Exile, 2009).
Web page: Toni Terrades Oliver for AELC.
Documentation: Toni Terrades.
Photographs: Back cover of Les quatre grans cròniques. Barcelona: Selecta, 1983 [Portal] and Dietaris de l'exili i el retorn [Volume II]. València: Edicions 3i4, 2000.