Emili Vilanova (Barcelona, 1840-1905) wrote fiction and one-act farces and is the most representative Catalan folk-literature writer of the nineteenth century.
He worked in the family marquees and decorations company in the Ribera neighbourhood of Barcelona and took part in the literary gatherings of his time whereupon he was urged by some writers and artists to work with some of humorous reviews that were appearing then. Emili Vilanova alternated his writings on manners and mores with satires on the more out-of-step romantic ideals. After 1868 he shifted from his earlier revolutionary republican position to monarchic, Catholic conservatism. He kept up his folk-style writing in a tone that was somewhere between moralising and sentimental, frequently using a colloquial style that was very true to the realist settings he had chosen.
Quadros populars (Popular Scenes, 1881), Entre família (In the Family, 1885) and Escenes barcelonines (Barcelona Scenes, 1886) are collections of texts that had previously been published with resounding success in weeklies and other reviews, which spurred him on to writing new works in the same genre. These, too, were brought together in the books Pobrets i alegrets (Poor and Happy Little People, 1887), Gent de casa (Homely Folk, 1889) and Plorant i rient (Crying and Laughing, 1891).
After 1892 and still true to his subject material, he wrote one-act farces on everyday existence for the theatre, for example Qui... compra maduixes? (Who … Buys Strawberries? – 1893) and Colometa la gitana (Colometa the Gipsy, 1896), which were also very well received by audiences and critics alike. After 1896 he had practically stopped writing, even though he was held in high esteem by the modernist generation.
Web page: Francesc Viñas for AELC.
Photographs: CURET, Francesc: Història del teatre català. Barcelona: Enciclopèdia Catalana / Aedos, 1967.