Rafael Tasis (Barcelona, 1906 – Paris, 1966) was a writer, literary critic, bookshop owner, journalist and political activist.
A self-educated and prolific writer, he embarked on his literary career very early with the children's magazine La Mainada. He also wrote for La Publicitat, Mirador, Revista de Catalunya and Serra d'Or, inter alia. After June 1937, he was General Secretary of the youth section of the Catalan nationalist movement Acció Catalana and also director of the Correctional Services of the Generalitat de Catalunya (Government of Catalonia). Fruit of this work was the book Les presons dels altres (The Prisons of Others, 1990). When the Civil War broke out, he worked with the Commissariat of Propaganda of the Catalan Government. At the end of the conflict he went into exile in Paris where he lived until 1948. On his return to Barcelona, he worked as a printer as well as having a bookshop, while still engaging in politics, working as a link with those still in exile, and writing as well.
Particularly relevant is his contribution in the form of detective novels written in Catalan. His three best-known works in this genre are La Bíblia valenciana (The Valencian Bible, 1955), És hora de plegar (Time to Shut Down, 1956) and Un crim al Paralelo (A Crime on Paral·lel, 1960). In the genre of literary criticism he wrote essays such as Una visió de conjunt de la novel·la catalana (An Overview of the Catalan Novel, 1935), La literatura catalana moderna (Modern Catalan Literature, 1937); Antologia de la poesia catalana. De Ramon Llull a Verdaguer (Anthology of Catalan Poetry: From Llull to Verdaguer) 1949-1967; and La novel·la catalana (The Catalan Novel, 1954). He also wrote for the theatre, with plays like Un home entre herois (A Man among Heroes, 1957). Again, he wrote popular history and, in this genre, published Històries de coneguts (Stories of People We Know, 1945), La vida del rei en Pere III (The King's Life of Pere III, 1957), and Joan I, el rei caçador i músic (Joan I, Hunter King and Musician, 1959).
A lover of Barcelona and Catalonia, Rafael Tasis was a versatile writer, creator of an extensive literary oeuvre in the service of patriotism, in the finest sense of the word.
Web page: Toni Terrades Oliver for AELC.
Documentation and photographs: Rafael Tasis Ferrer.
Translation: Julie Wark.