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SP10: Modern Catalan Literature and Culture

Homenatge a Mercè Rodoreda by Albert de la Hoz Bofarull

This paper will run in the academic year 2022-23.

This paper provides an intensive introduction to the literature and culture of Catalonia and other Catalan-speaking regions and countries, most notably Valencia and the Balearic Islands.The course of twenty lectures with fortnightly supervisions will examine major tendencies in literature, architecture, sociolinguistics, politics, history, film and the visual arts.

The paper is divided into three literary and cultural sections, ordered chronologically. The first is devoted to the “re-birth”, consolidation and diversification of linguistic, cultural and national consciousness from the romantically inflected Renaixença to the internationally orientated Avant-Garde (c.1833-1936), with an emphasis on poetry, linguistic politics, urban planning, architecture, painting, photography and World’s Fairs. The second period focuses on cultural production during the Franco dictatorship (1939-1975), with special attention to literature and film. The final section addresses questions of constitutional democracy, postmodernism and globalism, with reference to cinema, theatre, poetry and prose fiction.


RenaixençaModernisme, Noucentisme and the Avant-Garde (c1833-1936)

Architecture and Barcelona:

Ildefons Cerdà; Antoni Gaudí;

Literature, Art and Politics

Bonaventura Carles Aribau;  Jacint Verdaguer; Joan Maragall; Caterina Albert (Víctor Català); Santiago Rusiñol; Ramón Casas; Eugeni d'Ors; Joan Salvat-Papasseit; Pablo Picasso; Salvador Dalí; Llorenç Villalonga.

The Franco Dictatorship (1939-1975)

Literature, Film and the Performing Arts

Agustí Centelles; Salvador Espriu; Joan Fuster; Antoni Tàpies; Mercè Rodoreda; Vicent Andrés Estellés; Josep Maria Forn; Pere Portabella.

Democracy and Globalisation (1975 to present day)

Literature, Film and the Performing Arts

José Luis Guerín; J M Benet i Jornet; Carme Riera; Maria Antònia Oliver; Mercè Ibarz; Imma Monsó; Empar Moliner

Preparatory reading: 
  • Brad Epps, "Modernisme in Catalonia." In Modernism. Eds. Astradur Eysteinsson and Vivian Liska. (Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2007), 781-800.
  • ------ (Ed.), Barcelona and Modernity, Catalan Review: International Journal of Catalan Culture 18.1-2 (2004).
  • Montserrat Guibernau, Catalan Nationalism: Francoism, Transition and Democracy (London: Routledge, 2004).
  • Dominic Keown (ed), A Companion to Catalan Culture (London: Boydell & Brewer, 2011).
  • David Mackay, Modern Architecture in Barcelona (Sheffield: Anglo-Catalan Society, 1985)
  • Arthur Terry, A Companion to Catalan Literature (London: Boydell & Brewer, 2003).
Teaching and learning: 

Instruction in this paper will consist of twenty lectures and supervisions focused on each of the three periods. Students will be examined and are thus expected to study works from all three historical periods, six to seven lectures devoted to each.

Candidates enrolled on this course will be of intermediate language level having successfully completed SP6 at IB or satisfied the Director of Section of their appropriate linguistic proficiency in Catalan.


Assessment for SP10 consists of a standard three-hour end-of-year examination. One question will be answered from each of the paper's three sections.

Course Contacts: 
Prof Bradley Epps