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Gabriel Ferrater, an intellectually passionate author

The geniuses that have existed throughout history were often characterized by a very strong intellectual passion. In those cases in which “the love of art” is put into practice, it usually results in a precarious economic subsistence. This compensates because they gain creative freedom or, specifically for a writer like Gabriel Ferrater, “a complete freedom of thought, in a firm sense of not wanting to submit, not having any idea that was not really his.”

This is how the editor and writer Jordi Cornudella, curator of the Ferrater Year, describes one of the main attributes of the man from Reus. In fact, he says that he hated ideologies and cold houses because it meant “buying an idea that someone else had invented and prevented him from thinking on his own.” Without a doubt, Gabriel Ferrater stood out for having a particular personality.

As for his work, he can only be criticized for its brevity, since despite being considered the first poet of modernity, he only published 114 poems, divided into three books that were collected in a room. Even so, Cornudella affirms that “there is a before and after with Gabriel in part because his freedom of thought consists in occupying the position in the world that he believes he should occupy.” The man from Reus moved away from the Catalan tradition and embraced German and English poetry and, in addition to this change of register, he was the first to introduce themes such as love and eroticism.

Without losing sight of everyday life, Ferrater modernized the genre and adapted poetry to his times. It is curious to think of modernity when he and his family were lifelong residents of Reus who suffered the consequences of the Civil War, saw how the wine business collapsed and survived widowhood, leaving their hometown to find a new job in Barcelona. .

diversified culture

The case of Gabriel Ferrater is quite peculiar, since he did not go to school until he was 10 years old. Later, he would have to go into exile in France, where he continued studying to later finish high school back in Barcelona. Cornudella points out that he also suffered “the emotional consequences of the war”, since “he had grown up with the expectation of being able to be someone or do something important and, suddenly, it was as if his past was locked up and abolished ».

In spite of everything, he became passionate about painting – he dedicated himself to pictorial criticism – and was fascinated by mathematics. It was in the world of letters, however, where he found great friends as well as love: the editor Carme Balcells introduced him to what would be his only wife, the American Jill Jarrell.

One of the little-known facets of Gabriel Ferrater was his job as a literary editor for a German publisher. And, also, he made innumerable translations in which he demonstrated an extraordinary mastery of different languages.

Passion for the ‘original version’

The man from Reus was a voracious reader and, from a very young age, he began to read the great literary classics. In fact, he incorporated into his own spirit the idea of ​​becoming wise by reading. “If that passion for reading had not existed in his life, there would have been practically no work by Ferrater,” says Jordi Cornudella.

Moreover, in his later years, he became obsessed with learning numerous languages ​​in order to read the original version. Gabriel Ferrater, whose mother tongues were Catalan, Spanish and French, learned English and German and also knew how to read Italian; but he decided to study the Slavic languages, especially Russian and Polish, and the Scandinavian ones.

That almost implausible intellectual curiosity made him an international cultural icon. Furthermore, in a certain way, he helped to expand Catalan literature and directly influenced other writers. «There are young poets like Maria Carís or Jaume Coll Mariné who could not be explained without Ferrater», concludes the curator. Future generations will continue to be educated with his peculiar legacy, especially those from Reus who not only remember him as one of his Fills Il·lustres, but also dedicated an institute to him.

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