Death of the prudent observer Josep Maria Espinas

On November 23, 2019 Josep Maria Espinas saw print his last column Only 70 years after he published his first article in El Correo Catalán, after 43 years Daily columns (First in “Avui” and The last 20 years at EL PERIÓDICO). It was a discreet farewell: there was no final essay with a farewell will for readers because Espinàs wrote until the last day he could and stopped doing it “accidentally”, as he once said he was leaving this world. In a writer to live for he should have noted, I did not understand the note without writing, Saying goodbye to his column will be much more than that. This cryptic withdrawal from papers and life began that day, and he passed away this Sunday at the age of 95.

2019 started off with a near-final blow: The death of his daughter, Olga, at the age of 64. The eldest of her three children and recipient “the name is Olga” (1986), a milestone, in those years, in the emergence of people with Down syndrome. thorns He is still writing about this loss, but he has already devoted many pages to the end of life. in Cadence temps. Notes on Life’ (2015), He fancied his own death: “Somebody will comment / Sincerely, em sembla / That li sabia greu. Things that are dewin / Debo, vegetarian. / He will regret not being able to thank you / Or excuse himself. But això jo m’avanço: / ha mort sense voler-ho & rdquo;.


Born into a “hidden bourgeois” family, the grandson of a doctor, early ‘lettraferit’, Law degree f Low Litigation Attorney For four years, aspiring to a nurturing and secretive position as municipal official, he explained that he had lost points because in the police station they had rated him as “indifferent ” to the system. On that occasion, he told the policeman that he had already posted in El Correo Catalán. The next time he needed In it to an endorsement, he tried to let him down as he wrote in “La Vanguardia.”At that time he got the stamp of “the addict”.

candidate Establishing a literary career as a novelist, general Between 1953 and 1968 he wrote four books of short stories and nine novels. became known for the novel Prize Joannot Martorell in 1953 “By Jabab or Flame”And in 1961 he was awarded Sant Jordi Prize for Fiction with “L’últim replà”. But he will be remembered not for his novels but for his status as an “observer” curious, distantly reflective, never exciting, often sarcastic. The relationship between Espinàs and the Catalan literary establishment (Winner of the Premi d’Honor de les Lletres Catalanes in 2002 and laureate of many awards) I oscillated between indifference and indifference. in “My Office” (2008) pointed out that since there was no “writer” for the inscriptions, a civil servant offered to classify him as “First class technician & rdquo;. He wrote: “Neither my relatives, nor friends, nor critics have praised me in this way.” I have published many books and thousands of articles without being able to do a “work”, and who knows if this also has some advantages or is just a failure. Because you become this terrible thing that is ‘multi-faceted’ (…) and jump from one side to the other, from a novel to a travel book, from a book about your daughter to a collection of musings about the passage of time, It is very difficult to make a “work” worthy of respect & rdquor ;. Although the readers, at least, had it.

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From “Destino” to Avui and “El Periódico”

His relationship as a junior member of the editorial board of a magazine “Destiny” on the arm of his son-in-law, Nestor Loganmainstay of the magazine, explains much of his prolific and varied work: the style and interests of the Pla, Luján, Delibes or Sempronio family perched above his books dedicated to the streets of Barcelona, ​​Cadaqués, the main festivals, personalities such as Josep Maria de Sagarra, his first travels on foot & mldr;

Member of the Setze Judges Committee, She has recorded 11 albums, of Brassens’ adaptations of children’s songs (ur He composed the words for FC Barcelona’s anthem As with Jaume Picas). “If a journalist or literary critic had the idea of ​​asking me what was the most important thing I’ve written, I wouldn’t mention my novels or the series of books on Walking Tours. The answer would be:”Cant boatNone of my readers stand up to read a book I’ve written, but they have access to 100,000 people singing The whole camp is clam and mldr;“, recognized in one of his articles. He conducted in-depth interviews with dozens of personalities, for six years, in the Televisió de Catalunya programs “Identitats” and “Senyals”. But they deserve a separate chapter 20 walking travel book And for him Four decades as a columnist in the daily press.

After the first of a trilogy of trips to the Pyrenees in Lleida (1957), Priorat (1962) and Segara (1972)After a long hiatus, Espinas hit the roads, first in Catalonia, then in other Catalan-speaking countries and then in other parts of Spain, beginning with founding La Campana publishing house with his since partner and inseparable editor, Isabel Martí. He was 17 more trips on foot, between 1989 and 2009, which led to One of the many misunderstandings about the elusive Espinàs, that traveler Espinas. He was walking on the asphalt, and it was hard for Isabelle Martí to stop ruining his city shoes. The scene that interested him was the human. People associate Espinas with Catalan and Cherokero. Rotten lie… I have never worn Cherokees, he replied.

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more london (We advocate that ironic distance must begin with oneself) that Montserrat described his relationship to religion in the manner of Spinas, denying that he was an infidel “because, in principle, etymologically, an unbeliever would be someone who believes and ceases to believe. He is very different from someone who never believed.” In Politics he hardly wrote. “Politics is unobservable & rdquor; drop though “Inventory of retirees” He saves an episode he barely talks about again: His participation in the 1980 parliamentary elections on the lists of the Nacionalistes d’Esquerra in third place for Barcelona (after Lluís Llach took a step back) behind Jordi Carbonell and Magda Oranich, above Armand de Fluvià, Vicenç Altaió, Jordi Coca, Tísner, Joan Oliver & mldr; ” I have never subscribed to any site & rdquor;I remembered in that book.

Life from a column

Espinàs’ vertical, from the beginning of his column was “A la vora de & mldr;” In Avoy 1976 Habit and Necessity Like Breathing. “It forces me to think,” he explained as he completed his first 40 years as a daily columnist. In 1999 his piece, now titled “Petit Observatori”, restoring the engraving of his old piece in “Destino”, passed to EL PERIÓDICO.

The bulk of his work as a columnist was collected in 2013 In the “Articulated Lives” folder, The book he wanted to remember. Speaking of, summed up his “relative & rdquor; and” present & rdquor. around the world: “My life is observation & rdquor ;; “Everything surprises me, everything interests me & rdquor ;; “I do not support grandiose statements and personal definitions & rdquor ;; “I do not consider myself of anything; “It is very difficult for me to be against anything &rdquor ;; Like all people who believe in feelings, I am against sentimentality &rdquor ;; “I’m not a generalizer, I’m more a specialist. I’m more into concrete and detail.”

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in 1992, When he turned 65, he opened a new branch in his prolific bibliography, series of Biographical texts This would add up to a kind of fragmentary autobiography: “Inventari de jubilacions” (1992), “Temps afegit” (2001), “Details of Relacions” (Anecdotes about his relationships with other writers, 2007), “El meu ofici” ( 2008), “I la festa segueix” (2009), “Entre els lectors i jo” (2011), “A ritme del temps. Notes on life (2015) and La vella capitana (2016).

Self obituaries

On “A ritme del temps,” Espinàs closes with this Self obituary in free verse His notes on life:

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Lespinas? Yes, Bon Noy, / gairebé is always friendly. / They will donate some literary prizes, / And above all some times / Where there was little competition. / Excursions to Pew? Yes, group, / però només explica allò que viba, / no hi projectava / cap tesi interessant / sobre l’espècie humana. / Lots of articles, això yes, / però de temes poc ambitious. / I am sure that everything you saw was of interest / But they did not formulate the doctrine / On the construction of man, / Not even the incident of Sulis / In the inscriptions. / “Cant del Barça” will be written, it is true, / The house had a trace of his verses / – Poetry is something else – / And I will be able to recognize it among their merits / That these songs mean knowledge of music. / He will know how to be humble – a difficult virtue – / Like a correspondent, / I may be, Sigones cymbla, / An enemy out of nothing. / I això, com és sabut, és el señal / de la insignificança & rdquor ;.

This was not the first time he had written about his last days. Living to be 95 gives you plenty of time to think about them. In “El meu ofici” (2008) he came to leave those “Last Commandments”: “That there be no more praise than necessities in seu commiat, If both statements can be phrased well, because in that case they are indefensible from ridicule. I am what Sorting out from Tanatore, people tried not to talk about politics, religion or the state of the Catalan language: What a talk about the heat, if it’s a good day, or about the beluga, if that’s what you do. And above all, I don’t have bad taste for applause. The deceased will appreciate the helpers sharing their silence.”

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