Snippet: Josep Pijoan, a little known 20th century intellectual

Pol Pijuan, Pere Maragall, Josep Pijuan. La vida errant d’un català universal [J. P. The wandering life of a universal Catalan], 2014, 312 p.

Publisher’s summary:

With Josep Pijoan. La vida errant d’un català universal, Pol Pijoan and Pere Maragall present the results of a very long research on the life journey of one of the most important and least known Catalan scholars and intellectuals of the 20th century. From Josep Pla’s portrait [1960s] we had an idea of the importance of this “great man”. But still he was a great unknown. The only more or less precisely known facts referred to the time of the foundation of the Institut d’Estudis Catalans [Catalan Studies Institute], his clash with Josep Puig i Cadafalch, and his friendship with the poet Joan Maragall. Once he had left for Rome with Teresa Mestre, there were hardly any traces to follow. It was known that Pijoan had lived in Italy, Switzerland, Canada, the United States, and that he had returned occasionally to Catalonia. With this book his comings and goings have been reconstructed, the changes of address, the publishing assignments, the successful projects of this scholar from Barcelona who was always uncomfortable and polemic. For Josep Pijoan, confidant of Enric Prat de la Riba, Catalonia became too small. Spain could not follow him, the North American universities did not understand his innovative methodology and the Society of Nations had no capacity to assume a counterproposal of his.

Whatever, this great art historian and first class disseminator, to whom we owe the discovery of the romanic mural paintings in the Pyrenees, among other things (he was one of the founders of the Institut d’Estudis Catalans), enlarged our culture and always carried Catalonia in his heart, though he was often the object of incomprehension.

SOURCE: Galerada (publisher); review by Adolfo Sotelo Vázquez, “Cultura/s”, La Vanguardia, August 22, 2015, pp. 6-7.


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