PROGRAMME: Autumn/winter 2020

Wednesday 2 December, 8pm

Joanot Martorell Lecture in Catalan Studies

Joan-Lluís Marfany

The “Renaixença” Myth. Language and Literature in Catalonia, 1789-1859

Online lecture, in English

Registration at: 

In this lecture Dr Joan-Lluis Marfany, Dr en Fil. Honorary Research Fellow School of Histories, Languages and Cultures at the University of Liverpool, will address «The “Renaixença” Myth. Language and Literature in Catalonia, 1789-1859».

A talk co-organized by Instituto Cervantes London and the Centre for Catalan Studies, Queen Mary University of London, to celebrate the annual Joanot Martorell Lecture in Catalan Studies.

In the canonical version of the history of Catalan literature, a glorious medieval period was followed by three centuries of well-nigh complete abandonment of Catalan as a literary language.

Then, starting from the 1830s, there began a revival (the Renaixença, literally «the Rebirth») which reached a first consolidating, milestone in 1859, with the foundation of the Jocs Florals, a poetry competition-cum-public festival which would go on taking place every year until the end of the century and beyond.

All the while, the process of restoration of Catalan literature went on gathering momentum until what one might call normality, as defined by the neighbouring great national literatures, was achieved in the early decades of the twentieth century.

In this lecture, it will be argued that this narrative runs counter to the historical evidence and an alternative one will be offered, based on a comprehensive look at the whole historical record which replaces the so-called Renaixença in the context of all the literary activity taking place in Catalonia during the first half of the nineteenth century.

Wednesday 16 December, 8pm

Queen Mary Catalan Book Club 


We will be talking about: Learning to Talk to Plants / Aprendre a parlar amb les plantes by Marta Orriols.

The author, Marta Orriols, and the translator of the book from Catalan to English, Mara Lethem, will participate in the discussion.

‘Marta Orriols has made her writing debut with a brilliant novel.’ Time Out

This bestselling novel has just been published in English this year. It is a moving portrait of grief which is strangely uplifting and coincidentally relevant for our present situation.

‘An exceptional writer.’ El Periódico

Join us to talk with the author and her translator.

The event is free, but places are limited so please register for your ticket. Registration at:

Queen Mary Catalan Book Club Tickets, Wed 16 Dec 2020 at 20:00 | Eventbrite

Presented by the Centre for Catalan Studies in collaboration with Pushkin Press.