“A harlequin, the reviewsome elephantine women, dislocated guitars, Guernica, coincide in denouncing a tragic vision —sometimes, also like Goya, grotesque— of the world. This is recognized by those who are repugnant to Picasso’s painting”. The intellectual Joan Fuster (Swedish, 1922-1992), the most important essayist in the Valencian Country during the 20th century, traced a unique vision of cultural criticism in the heart of Franco’s wasteland from his home in the capital of the Ribera Baixa region, now converted into a museum. Attracted by European modernity, Fuster took advantage of the loopholes in the regime’s press, an unfortunate compendium of trifles and propaganda, to filter out everything that was read north of the Pyrenees and, furthermore, with a truly Valencian vision. “Gide’s readers today are usually honorable, academic fellows, unable to kill a fly,” he wrote in The vanguard.
Four decades of the ultra rubber attack 2 against the essayist Joan Fuster who barely deserved a 40-page judicial investigation
Virginia Woolf, Michel de Montaigne, Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, George Orwell or Franz Kafka are some of the authors who parade through the pages of Cultural Criticism Writings (Publicacions de la Universitat de València, 2002), a compendium published in Spanish by specialists Salvador Ortells and Francesc Pérez Moragón coinciding with the celebration of Any Fuster. “The idea was born informally at a dinner with Paco Pérez Moragón, Artur Heras, Màrius Garcia Bonafé, Anacleto Ferrer and Josep Salvador”, explains the director of the Espai Joan Fuster, Salvador Ortells. “From there we thought about the possibility of making a book dedicated to the Hispanic world, published in Spanish with this intention, to make known his side as a cultural critic”, he adds.
In 1979, the magazine Economic News, as Francesc Pérez Moragón recalls in the initial biographical note, placed Joan Fuster as one of “the 100 most influential Spaniards”. Systematically vilified by the Valencian right, with terrorist attacks included, Fuster’s work has been centrifuged by the centralist and rather humble Spanish cultural scene towards the Catalan-speaking territories, where he is a first-rate author for several generations.
“Joan Fuster”, explains Salvador Ortells, “is based on the concept of satellite culture of the poet TS Eliot”. The modernity of the essayist from Sueca consists of “accessing universal culture without the interposition of Castilian culture, based on translations and being connected with international reality”, adds the author of the introduction, entitled Joan Fuster or the inquisitive ability.
The book, edited by two specialists who will soon publish a biography of the Sueca essayist, is divided into three parts: literary, artistic and musical criticism. “All this wide range of interests of Fuster does it from the Valencian Country and in Spanish because he has no other choice”, recalls Ortells.
survive the wasteland
The compendium includes writings in the press of the Movement, such as I raised either Working day, and also in magazines janus either Verb, edited by Fuster and the writer José Albi between 1946 and 1958. “José Albi’s father had contacts in high levels of Francoism and he made French magazines reach his son and Fuster”, recalls Ortells. In the cultural desert of the regime, the intellectual from Sueca “searches in second-hand bookstores or by clandestine means, and also in the libraries of friends that are much better than his.” “They agreed as they could because everything came with a dropper,” says the editor of the work. “With the interwar intellectuals, like Sartre or Camus and all this troop, they don’t get done with them until the 1960s,” adds Ortells.
The Cultural Criticism Writings are also nourished by a multitude of texts from two of his most important essays: “There is an important presence of two capital books in Fuster’s cultural criticism, Dictionary for idlers Y The discredit of reality”, his first work with a notable influence of Eugeni d’Ors and José Ortega y Gasset.
“Fuster lives by writing, sometimes he writes about things that are not the subject that he dominates the most, but he had a special grace (or the inquisitive ability) to search for issues and know how to relate them to knowledge that he had, making connections between various disciplines and taking it with him. to your land. He was very intelligent in that aspect”, concludes Salvador Ortells.