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Karen Volkov
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El quadern gris: A Masterpiece of Catalan Literature by Josep Pla

El quadern gris: A Masterpiece of Catalan Literature by Josep Pla

El quadern gris (The Gray Notebook) is a book by the Catalan writer Josep Pla in the form of a diary, with a high autobiographical content. It is considered his masterpiece, and one of the most important autobiographical works of Catalan literature.

The book is based on a personal diary that Pla kept during the 1920s, when he was a young law student in Barcelona and a journalist in Madrid and Paris. He later revised and expanded it for publication in 1966 as the first volume of his colossal Obra completa (Complete Works), which comprises more than 45 volumes.

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In El quadern gris, Pla reflects on his life, his family, his friends, his travels, his observations of people and places, and his opinions on politics, culture, art, literature, and history. He does so with a sharp eye, a witty humor, a clear prose, and a distinctive voice that combines irony, realism, skepticism, and lyricism.

The book is not only a portrait of Pla's personal journey, but also a chronicle of a turbulent period in Catalan and Spanish history, marked by the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera, the Second Spanish Republic, and the Spanish Civil War.

El quadern gris is a classic of modern Catalan literature that has been translated into several languages and has inspired many writers and readers. It is a book that invites you to discover the rich and diverse world of Josep Pla, one of the most influential and original authors of the 20th century.Josep Pla was born in Palafrugell, a small town in the province of Girona, on March 8, 1897. He came from a family of landowners and merchants who had a strong influence on his worldview and his literary style. He studied law at the University of Barcelona, but he soon realized that his true passion was writing.

He began his journalistic career in 1918, working for various newspapers and magazines in Catalan and Spanish. He traveled extensively throughout Europe and Asia, covering political and cultural events and writing insightful reports and essays. He also wrote novels, short stories, biographies, memoirs, and travel books, creating a vast and diverse literary oeuvre that spans more than six decades.

Pla was a keen observer of reality, with a critical and independent mind. He was not aligned with any political party or ideology, but he defended the Catalan identity and culture against the centralism and repression of the Spanish state. He was also a master of language, who cultivated a simple and elegant prose that aimed to capture the essence of things.

Pla died in Llofriu, near his hometown, on April 23, 1981. He left behind a legacy of more than 30,000 pages of writings that have been collected and edited by the Fundacià Josep Pla. His works have been widely read and praised by critics and readers alike, and have earned him a place among the most important writers of the 20th century.Among Pla's most notable works are his novels Coses vistes (Seen Things), El carrer estret (The Narrow Street), and La vida amarga (Life Embitters), which portray the social and political changes in Catalonia during the first half of the 20th century. He also wrote biographies of prominent Catalan figures, such as Salvador DalÃ, Francesc CambÃ, and Pompeu Fabra, as well as historical and cultural essays on Catalonia, Spain, and Europe.

Pla was also a prolific travel writer, who visited and wrote about countries such as France, Italy, England, Germany, Russia, Greece, Turkey, Morocco, Egypt, Israel, India, China, Japan, and the United States. His travel books are full of vivid descriptions, personal impressions, anecdotes, and humor. He was especially fascinated by the Mediterranean world and its civilizations.

Pla's works have been praised for their clarity, realism, irony, and elegance. He was a master of the Catalan language, who enriched it with new words and expressions. He was also a keen observer of reality, who captured the essence of people and places with his sharp eye and his distinctive voice. He was a writer who loved life and literature, and who left behind a valuable testimony of his time. 0efd9a6b88


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