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News Comment/COMENTARI AL DIA

Josep Pla’s Two Gray Notebooks/ELS DOS QUADERNS GRIS DE JOSEP PLA

  Josep Pla’s Two Gray Notebooks

by Josep C. Verges

 

vergespla

 

Publisher Josep Verges heeds Josep Pla’s points at the writer’s mas in the Costa Brava. Below: One of the two Gray Notebooks, this one from 13 October 1918 to 25 May 1919.

 

 

 

Peter Bush, the translator into English of The Gray Notebook, asked me what was mentioned in the one thousand letters of Josep Pla and his publisher, my father Josep Verges Matas. Like everyone else, he wondered whether Pla had rewritten the diary in his mature years. The correspondence I am editing gives many surprises. There are two Gray Notebooks, written entirely as a young artist, without any alterations other than from proofreading. The idea of the Complete Works came not from my father but from Pla. This year 2014 commemorates fifty years of Pla revealing to him for the first time the Gray Notebooks which would become the first volume of the Complete Works.

 

 

 

On the 30th June 1964 my father wrote to Pla: “I have to go to La Jonquera and in the afternoon –around 7 p.m I believe- I will come around to see you at the mas. We will be able to talk awhile because I shall come only with my wife who will be happy to be with your mother. I say this because it seemed to me that you wanted to speak to me alone. I am always ready to listen to you as you well know.” On the 16th July 1964 he added: “I have thought a lot these past days on the manuscripts that you showed me and on the models for your Complete Works. I agree that these cannot be done immediately, but I also think it would be a mistake to wait too long. My idea is to start publishing in five years’ time at a rhythm of three big volumes a year. I count five years as the time it will take me to collect, buy and liquidate the unsold volumes published by Cruzet. So long as these dispersed volumes exist –which was a mistake to do- it would be useless to issue a final edition in large volumes of your Complete Works. Nor do I agree that you withhold the unpublished manuscripts that you showed me.” In January 1965 my father suggested unifying the two Gray Notebooks: “We should put together the two Gray Notebooks and since the second one is shorter we would get a volume of 700 pages. What do you think? The first thing is to give the two manuscripts to be typed. This is simply a question of economics because printers refuse to take handwritten originals. Then we shall hand it over to a good corrector. Naturally nothing essential will be altered, but it is important that there be no typos and that the norms are respected –both those of the Academy and your own. You should not have the slightest worry in this regard.” Pla agreed: “I have no objection that the Gray Notebook I gave you comes out as a single volume. I also believe that we should begin – and end- with a bang.” The publisher on the 16th March: “The girl typing the Gray Notebook is far advanced although it is slow work.” Pla gave the next titles: “The second volume will be titled Sea Water. I have written for the volume a completely new book = 125 sheets. First Flight will be finished in three or four days. The fourth –Paris- has still to be organized. This won’t be easy.” The perfumery industrialist Cendros wanted to publish Pla at Omnium Cultural as I already revealed (Diari de Girona, 14 December 2011). Pla chose my father and Omnium launched a dirty campaign that lasted until his death. Pla wasn’t convinced about the success of the Gray Notebook: “You are too much of an optimist. I’m far less so.”

 

(“Els dos Quaderns Gris de Josep Pla,” by Josep C. Vergés, Diari de Girona, 12 January 2014)

 

 

 

Els dos Quaderns Gris de Josep Pla

 

per Josep C. Vergés

 

quadern gris

 

Un dels dos Quaderns Gris, aquest del 13 octubre 1918 al 25 maig 1919. Primera foto: L’editor Josep Vergés escolta les puntualitzacions de Josep Pla al mas empordanès de l’escriptor.

 

 

 

Peter Bush, traductor a l’anglès del Quadern Gris, vol saber què hi diuen el miler de cartes entre Josep Pla i el seu editor, el meu pare Josep Vergés Matas. Com tothom, pregunta si és una obra reescrita a la maduresa. La correspondència que estic editant dóna moltes sorpreses. Hi han dos Quaderns Gris, una obra absolutament de joventut sense tocar res més que la correcció editorial. La idea de l’Obra Completa no fou del meu pare sinó de Pla. Aquest 2014 fa cinquanta anys que Pla li ensenyà per primer cop els Quaderns Gris que seran el primer volum de l’Obra Completa.

 

 

 

El 30 juny 1964 el meu pare escriu a Pla: “He d’anar a la Jonquera i a la tarda –cap allà a les 7 calculo- passaré a veure’t al mas. Com que només vindré amb la dona podrem parlar una estona mentre ella es distreu amb la teva mare. Ho dic perquè em va semblar que em volies veure a soles. Estic a la teva disposició, ja ho saps.” El 16 juliol 1964 afegeix: “He pensat molt aquest dies en els originals que vas ensenyar-me i les maquetes de les teves Obres Completes. Estic d’acord que aquestes no poden fer-se ara, però em semblaria un error també deixar-lo per més endavant. Jo crec que s’hauria de començar a publicar d’aquí a cinc anys a un ritme de tres grossos volums l’any. Dic cinc anys perquè aquest és el temps que necessitaré per esgotar, liquidar o comprar les restes de volums publicats per Cruzet. Mentre existeixin aquests volums dispersos –que foren un error- és inútil pensar en fer els volums grossos d’Obres Completes definitives. Tampoc estic d’acord en que retinguis els originals inèdits que vas ensenyar-me.” El gener 1965 el meu pare suggereix unificar els dos Quaderns Gris: “S’haurien de posar junts els dos Quaderns Gris i tenint en compte que el segon encara és més petit faríem un volum de 700 pàgines. Què en penses? S’ha de donar primerament a passar a màquina els dos manuscrits. Simple qüestió econòmica perquè les impremtes refusen els originals a mà. Després ho donarem a llegir a un bon corrector. Naturalment no tocarà res essencial. Però és molt important que no hi hagi faltes ortogràfiques i que es respectin les normes –tant les de l’Institut com les teves. Cap preocupació en aquest aspecte.” Pla accepta: “No tinc cap inconvenient en que el Quadern Gris entregat faci un sol volum. També crec que s’ha de començar –i acabar- donant el pes.” L’editor el 16 març: “La noia que posa a màquina els Quaderns Gris ho té avançat encara que és una feina lenta.” Pla dóna els títols seguents: “El segon volum es titularà Aigua de Mar. He fet per al volum un llibre inèdit = 125 quartilles. Primera Volada estarà acabada dintre de tres o quatre dies. El quart –París- s’ha d’acabar d’organitzar. Això no serà pas fàcil.” El perfumista Cendrós vol però editar Pla a Òmnium Cultural com ja he explicat (Diari de Girona, 14 desembre 2011). Pla tria el meu pare i Òmnium inicia una campanya bruta que durarà fins la seva mort. Pla no veu clar l’èxit del Quadern Gris: “Tu ets massa optimista. Jo no tant.”

 

(“Els dos Quaderns Gris de Josep Pla,” per Josep C. Vergés, Diari de Girona, 12 gener 2014)

 

13 January 2014 - Posted by | Culture/Cultura |

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