Artur Bladé i Desumvila (Benissanet, 1907 - Barcelona, 1995) was a writer, a chronicler of exile, memoirs writer, and biographer. His work covers the twentieth century almost in its entirety and forms part of the corpus produced by the Catalan intellectuals who went into exile as a result of the Civil War.
In a long journey into exile that took him first to Montpellier (1939 – 1941) and then to Mexico (1942 – 1961), Bladé's work takes three different forms. First, are the memoirs-style, semi-autobiographical books, with such notable titles as L'Exiliada (Exiled), which was published in 1976 although it had been written in diary form between 1939 and 1940 at the time when Bladé had to flee to Montpellier, and De l'exili a Mèxic (On Exile in Mexico). Second, are the titles that constitute an elegy to his home town Benissanet, in particular, and the Ebro region in general, for example Benissanet and Crònica del país natal (Chronicle of My Native Land). Third are the books in which he portrays his contemporaries, the politicians and intellectuals whom he admired, for example Francesc Pujols per ell mateix (Francesc Pujols by Himself, 1967), La vida d'un català excepcional (Antoni Terré, de Móra d'Ebre) (The Life of an Exceptional Catalan (Antoni Terré, of Móra d’Ebre – 1978) and El meu Rovira i Virgili (My Rovira i Virgili – 1981).
On his definitive return to Catalonia in 1961, Bladé once again took up his Catalan nationalist and republican commitment. He gave lectures, participated in a range of cultural and social activities, while also continuing to develop his gifts as a sagacious observer of everyday reality, writing a great number of pages in diary form. It was during these years that he published the greater part of his work.
Deeply rooted in his native land and committed to republican Catalan nationalism from an early age, Bladé produced not only a personal – but not remotely self-centred – account of a difficult and very coherent life but also a valuable testimony of a whole group of people who withstood the hardships of a long exile.
Web page: Abel Ramon Vidal for AELC.
Translation: Julie Wark.
Photographs: From Xavier Garcia (ed.), Centenari Artur Bladé (The Centenary of Artur Bladé). Barcelona: Generalitat de Catalunya, Institució de les Lletres Catalanes, 2006.