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The page of Ferrater, Gabriel, English biography

Image of Ferrater, Gabriel
Ferrater, Gabriel


The intellectual and poetic career of Gabriel Ferrater i Soler (Reus 1922 - Sant Cugat 1972) covers a relatively short period (from 1950 to 1972, the year of his tragic death) but it was intense, brilliant and of undeniable intellectual vigour and quality. Gabriel Ferrater represents a heterodox and atypical model of the intellectual and poet, at least according to the canons of his time. A long way from being the organic intellectual type described by Gramsci - which was totally unthinkable in the Catalonia under the Franco dictatorship - and also at quite a remove from the patriot-resistance model, Ferrater appears as a liberal and independent man of letters, sceptical, anti-provincial, suspicious of any ideology and dogmatism, politics and aesthetics and, above all, he was lucid, iconoclastic and provocative. He was an unconventional character, self-taught, rigorous, elegant, didactic and always impassioned. Ferrater is mainly known as a poet, and it was in this domain that he undoubtedly achieved his most remarkable results. Noteworthy too, however, are his professional activities as a publishing reader and director, teacher and translator, while his contributions as an art critic, linguist and literary scholar are particularly interesting. His approximations to the works of Josep Carner, Carles Riba and J.V. Foix are obligatory references, both for the readings of them he proposes and for the way in which he discusses them. Taken as a whole, his intellectual career is quite coherent, with a manifest complementarity among its different elements. His non-poetic production, despite its partial and, in some cases, unfinished nature, offers a glimpse of a clear unity of purpose so that it seems to be part of a deliberately comprehensive project. Ferrater himself defined this in a critical piece published in the review Laye, as a basic requirement for the modern "culture worker", whose work should only consist of "making his speciality robust enough to absorb all possible knowledge and to integrate this into an organised and dynamic  expressive system".

(Editor of this page: P. T.)

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