Collection: Adult fiction, num. 2
Objective public: General
Size: 15,5 x 23,3 cm
Reading Vilaniu can be enjoyed on different levels. Whether you are looking for a picture of the customs of a period, or to see how things have changed in a place you can still recognise. Whether you are looking for the internal vibration of the passions which move the characters, or if you are fascinated by the description of a nature which, despite everything, survives people’s destructive instincts. Or if you seek the finest pages written about castles, or a solid prose able to evoke feelings and impressions. The book unfolds a universe which remains open for Oller to make the masterly brushstrokes which evoke the forging of the modern world. The text was a link bringing together the easy confidence with which our 15th-century classics were written and contemporary European literature. A milestone. But also a signpost pointing a way to go.
Born in Valls in 1846 and dying in Barcelona in 1930, Oller is considered to be the father of the contemporary Catalan novel, as it was with him that the narrative of the revival of Catalan culture during the Renaixença achieved the intellectual and formal standards necessary to earn a place in the European context of the day. A lawyer by training, he discovered Catalan writing through his cousin, the critic Josep Yxart, who, together with Joan Sardà, encouraged him in his successive publications. He is the author of major novels including La papallona (The Butterfly, 1882), L’escanyapobres (The Usurer, 1884), Vilaniu (1886), La febre d’or (Gold Fever, 1890-92), La bogeria (Madness, 1899) and Pilar Prim (1906), as well as collections of short stories including Croquis del natural (Sketch of the Natural, 1879), Notes de color (Notes of Colour, 1883), De tots colors (Of All Colours, 1888), Figura i paisatge (Figure and Landscape, 1897), Rurals i urbanes (Rural and urban, 1916) and Al llapis i a la ploma (To the Pencil and the Pen, 1918). Mention should also be made of two little-known facets of the writer: as a dramatist and as a translator, which he pursued largely in the later part of his life. Finally, between 1913 and 1918 he wrote his Memòries literàries (Literary Memoirs), in which he describes his career as a writer. Oller earned great prestige both in Catalonia and beyond, and his works were immediately translated into other languages, including Spanish, French, Italian and Russian. Throughout his life the novelist strongly defended his choice of Catalan as the language in which he wrote, at a time when this decision inevitably stirred up debate and controversy.