Alfred Busch publishes “Obriu pas!” About the epic work of the Catalans who saved the language

Alfred Busch publishes “Obriu pas!”  About the epic work of the Catalans who saved the language

BarcelonaThe future of Catalanism was decided in a night of social gatherings and alcoholic drinks. In 1859 a group of “letter-wounded, drowsy, incandescent and drunken” decided to restore the pink games held at the Provençal court in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Moreover, they agreed to do this only with works written in Catalan and Occitan, and not in Spanish which they all used in classes, in poems and in correspondence. They did this not to save the language, but to bury it with dignity. They were not aware at all times of the goal they were going to achieve: nothing more and nothing less than “to transform the speech of the peasants and the cantons into a first-class language, which has grammar, which has a standard, and which is taught in schools, which means written there…” This is the dramatic and epic story of Alfred Bosch (Barcelona, ​​1961), a novel by A make way! (Column) in which he narrates “the saga of those who saved the Catalans… against their will.”

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The novelist, politician and educator believes that the fact that the Catalans are alive today is “the most triumphant history of the Catalans in modern times.” What is most likely is that it happened to Catalan just as it happened to the Venetian, Sicilian, Irish or Breton languages, which are the languages ​​of kings and troubadours, but today they do not enjoy, not even remotely, the authenticity of Catalan. “The case of Catalan is unique, it is a miracle. It is not our subject, no, no, it has universal value. The only language that can be remotely compared to it is Hebrew,” explains the author. On the other hand, Bush argues that we don't realize it, and we don't really know how it worked. Perhaps in a country that hates defeats, it is difficult to acknowledge victories?

Floral movement

For Bush, the historical landmark that marked the beginning of the Renaissance was not himAn ode to the motherland Di Bonaventura Carles Arribao – “It's anecdotal, very little has been written” – but the action around the pink games, which he depicts from the human side, including literary rivalries, jealousies, duels with pistols, confrontations over friendships… “It's like a docudrama the crown But with the history of the Catalan language. “If someone brings it to cinema or television, we will enjoy it as a beauty and re-evaluate the adventure of the language,” asserts Bush, who already warns in the introduction that it is a “free and dramatic reconstruction.”

The book rescues names that might seem like institutes and libraries to the general public, and humanizes them. For example, the imposing and brooding Manuel Milla i Fontanals, who had the academic authority to propose, against all odds, that the Pink Games be held in Catalan and Occitan. Or the masculine and elegant Victor Balaguer, who calls himself Lo Trobador de Montserrat, always confronting Anthony de Boffarol's bookworm, Lo Coblejador de Montcada. “They are poets, poets who want to succeed in the literary world and to be flattered by the ladies. Victor Balaguer would like to be Verdi! And they made a great historical decision in a fleeting way and with very little epic, which gives it more value,” says Busch. Within two years, it had already become clear that Catalan – which they called Limousin and combined with Occitan – was undoubtedly a language. “At that time, Catalan succeeds because it is linked to the nation: there is no country without a language, no language without a homeland. There is a national project and this is the national language,” Bosch notes.

Wars between donkeys and donkeys

There remained an eternity from the “Byzantine Discussions” to the “Pax Fabriana”, which Bush described as volcanic wars: love and hate with the Provencals led by Frederic Mistral, and coffee fights between the Enzians and the Asiatics (i.e. those who supported the Byzantines). Plurals ending in -es and those ending in -as), among Greek and Latin, among dictionary builders (Alcover, Aguiló, Fabra). “Until Fabra there was no attempt to professionalize philology. Fabra is the tallest of all, he is an idiot and a pragmatist. He corners others and is willing enough to shoot down what will not flourish [com l’eliminació de les hacs] And he takes what he throws [com la ç]. It also drops dead weight from the nape. “He embraces what works,” the author explains.

These quarrels do not reach the population as an intellectual debate, but they reach through the Petara Theater (which was obliged by decree to put in its popular plays a character who speaks Spanish and put on a parody of the police called Sàntxes), of the high school students and the crusaders, of the poems, the songs, the orpheons… “All this is linked to a broad cultural movement, Catalanization, in which the language is the norm. The bulk of the population supports this linguistic revolution and when [els poetes] “They see that the reaction is so positive and so huge, that's when they start defending it with passion and enthusiasm,” Bush says. Thanks to this, I wrote the next batch, such as Gumera, Verdaguer, Costa y Lobera, Oller and Catala. In Catalan his work, otherwise “they might have done like Blasco Ibáñez”.

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Four Lessons for the “Second Renaissance”

Alfred Busch hopes so in his book “Open the Way!” Not only is there a picture of the past, but lessons are extrapolated from it for the present. “We need a second renaissance,” he says. Bush sees four examples to follow from this victory. The first: “There must be a national project, and the language must be central to the national project. You cannot create a country in Spanish. It was not like this before and it does not make sense.” Second: “You have to believe in Barcelona. Everything that happens here will mark a milestone for the country.” The third relates to modernity. “Modernity is not in conflict with tradition. The Lesso school was very modern. The bourgeoisie points to modernity. They are not ashamed of the poetry of the medieval troubadour, they are not ashamed of historical mythology, they defend James I, they are not ashamed of the baritina or 'the sardine dance,'” he points out. . On the contrary, they take it and update it. Like what we did in recent years with castles. And now it's time to do it with our modernity, with artificial intelligence.” Finally, “it's important to believe, to be convinced that you can do it.” Bush recalls: “From the moment they believe, they do it with such unbridled and profound faith, that they reach People who weren't clear at first, like Narcissus Oller.”

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