Catalan Poetry Analysis

Medieval Period

(Critical Explorations in Poetry)

Catalan, a romance language that serves as a bridge between the Ibero-Romanic and the Gallo-Romanic languages, is spoken today mainly in Spain, in the regions of Catalonia, Valencia, and the Balearic Islands. In addition, it is the official language of the tiny nation of Andorra, which lies in the Pyrenees Mountains on the border between Spain and France. Although clearly related to its sister Romance languages, it is not a dialect but a fully developed language with a venerable history and literature of its own. It flourished from the Middle Ages through to the twentieth century, but during Francisco Franco’s totalitarian rule (1939-1975), it was banned from use in schools, government agencies, and the media. It did not die, however, but was reborn, along with a sometimes radical sense of nationalism, in the late 1970’s after Franco’s death. In 1979, both Spanish and Catalan were officially recognized in Catalonia, and in 1983, the Linguistic Normalization Act reinvigorated the language’s use in official and commercial contexts. In 1997, the Catalan Language Act actually required broadcast media in Catalonia to offer programming in Catalan. Schools expose children to Catalan from a young age. This rebirth of the language has given rise to a revived interest in Catalan poetry both new and old.