La República Catalana

News Comment/COMENTARI AL DIA

Josep Pla’s Discreet Illiterate Lover/LA DISCRETA ANALFABETA DE JOSEP PLA

Josep Pla’s Discreet Illiterate Lover

by Josep C. Verges

callCarrer d’es Call (Ghetto Street) in Cadaques where Consuelo Robles lived in Pla’s house. Below: Salvador Dali and Josep Pla in Mas Pla.

Pla’s 79 letters from 1945 to 1965 were bought from Consuelo Robles by Dali’s secretary Sabater, editor of Museum Works by Dali and Pla. Consuelo died in 2008 aged 91 and Dali’s secretary in 2013. The journalist Victor Fernandez would like to pay homage to his great Dalinian friend by publishing these surrealist letters between the literate writer and the illiterate lover.

A spring day with Tramuntana wind that cut up the blue sky into geometry my father, the publisher Josep Verges Matas, took me to meet Josep Pla at his mas in Llofriu. We went up to the first floor where we found Pla writing at a tiny table below the radiant window of a room at the back, left of the big mantelpiece. Instead of talking with my father about censorship, their usual subject as the most censored writer by Franco, he began surprisingly to question me on grammar! I was barely 15 and preparing my university entrance exams, but I would not be able to go to university for two years because I was too young. Pla tried to make me get into a tangle about the correctly discreet use of the most incorrect forms. Perhaps he was trying to help for my university entrance exam where I do remember that my oral examiner in English wanted to fail me. Why? I asked. Because you know more English than I do! That was Franco’s Spain. My still unbroken voice made a woman come out of another room whom Pla introduced as Consuelo. Pla talking man to man with a boy, when he hated youth! Later I asked my father who she was: He takes care of Pla he answered. Takes care of Pla, not takes care of the house as I would have thought. When my mother found out that Pla had introduced me to her she was furious: What is that woman doing at the mas! Pla was discrete about women and my father more so. As my father used to say, they understood each other with a look. The thousand letters I am editing between Pla and his publisher frequently mention Cadaques, but not once Consuelo. Pla constantly brings up Cadaques to get the proofs, and the money, from my father. In Cadaques Pla had installed Consuelo at a house he owned in the symbolic Call (ghetto) Street, before taking her to his mas. His Complete Works do not mention her either. Consuelo Robles was illiterate. That is the reason Pla wrote in a distant tone, because someone had to read the letter out loud. These are not the sensual letters of his Canadell love, the Swiss German Jewess Lilian Hirsch! Here it is essential that discretion is outspoken: «Dear Consuelo: My brother leaves Saturday. I’ll go with him to Barcelona and maybe I can be in Cadaques by Saturday night or perhaps Sunday. They will take me by car most likely. See you in a moment, goodbye. Greetings, Josep.» The secret assignations are humdrum: «Consuelo. You didn’t get my letter? How odd! Wednesday evening I’ll be in Figueres. You should come. I will be at the hotel at the Sant Pau crossroad. You’ll find it. Ask for me and come up to the room. If I remember rightly you have already been to the hotel I am talking about. Goodbye, until Thursday. Your aff. Greetings, Josep.» Pla’s letters are written out loud, but his irony is never silenced: «I see that in Cadaques you made a great reception to the Virgin of Fatima. You know that I find little to like in virgins, whether made of wood or real ones, For my taste women have to have the baccalaureate.» The baccalaureate in making love, where no grammar is required.

(«La discreta analfabeta de Josep Pla,» by Josep C. Vergés, Diari de Girona, 31 August 2014)

 

La discreta analfabeta de Josep Pla

per Josep C. Vergés

pla daliSalvador Dalí i Josep Pla al Mas Pla. Primera foto: Carrer d’es Call a Cadaqués on Pla tenia casa amb Consuelo Robles.

Les 79 cartes de Pla de 1945 a 1965 les va comprar a Consuelo Robles el secretari de Dalí Sabater, editor d’Obres de Museu de Dalí i Pla. Consuelo moria el 2008 als 91 anys i el secretari de Dalí el 2013. El periodista Víctor Fernández vol retre homenatge al seu bon amic dalinià publicant aquest cartes surrealistes entre l’escriptor lletrat i l’amant illetrada.

Una primavera de tramuntana, amb un cel blau tallat en geometria, el meu pare, l’editor Josep Vergés Matas, em dugué a veure Josep Pla al seu mas de Llofriu. Pujàrem al primer pis on trobàrem Pla escrivint en una tauleta minsa sota la radiant finestra d’una habitació al fons a l’esquerra de la gran campana. En lloc de parlar amb el meu pare de la censura, tema habitual amb l’home més censurat per Franco, es posà a questionar-me, sorprenentment, sobre gramàtica! Jo tenia 15 anys justos i estava acabant el preuniversitari, però no aniria a la universitat fins dos anys després perquè era massa jove. Pla s’esforçà en fer-me entrebancar sobre l’us discretament correcte de les formes més incorrectes. Potser volia ajudar-me abans de l’examen d’entrada a la universitat, on sí recordo que l’examinador oral d’anglès em volia suspendre. Per què li vaig demanar? Perquè saps més anglès que jo! Així anàvem. La meva veu sense trencar va fer sortir una dona d’una altra estança, que Pla em presentà com a Consuelo. Pla parlant de tu a tu amb un noi, ell que odiava la joventut! Després vaig preguntar al meu pare qui era: Cuida en Pla digué. Cuida en Pla, no cuida la casa com seria d’esperar. Quan la meva mare sabé que Pla me l’havia presentat s’indignà: No sé què hi fa aquest dona al mas! Pla fou discret amb les dones i el meu pare encara més. Com deia el meu pare amb la mirada ja s’entenien. Les mil cartes que estic editant entre Pla i el seu editor citen sovint Cadaqués, però ni un sol cop Consuelo. Constantment parla Pla de Cadaqués per a rebre les proves, i els diners, del meu pare. A Cadaqués Pla hi havia instal.lat la Consuelo en una casa seva del simbòlic carrer del Call, abans de dur-la al mas. A l’Obra Completa tampoc diu mai res d’ella. Consuelo Robles era analfabeta. Per això Pla escriu en to distant, perquè algú ha de llegir la carta en veu alta. No són les cartes sensuals al seu amor del Canadell, la suissa alemanya jueva Lilian Hirsch! Aquí mana la discreció en veu alta: «Estimada Consuelo: El meu germà marxa dissapte. Iré a Barcelona amb ell i podria ésser que arribés a Cadaqués potser la nit del dissapte o potser diumenge. M’acompanyaran en cotxe probablement. Fins d’aquí un moment, adéu. Recorts, Josep.» Les trobades secretes són rutinàries: «Consuelo. No has rebut la meva carta? És estrany! Dimecres al vespre seré a Figueres. Hauries de venir. Jo seré a l’hotel de la travessia de Sant Pau. Ja ho trobaràs. Demana per mi i puja a l’habitació. Si no recordo malament tu ja has estat a l’hotel de que et parlo. Adéu, fins dijous. El teu aff. Recorts, Josep.» Les cartes de Pla estan escrites en veu alta, però la seva ironia mai calla: «Veig que a Cadaqués heu fet una gran rebuda a la Verge de Fàtima. Ja saps que a mi les verges m’agraden poc, tant les de fusta com les de veritat. Per al meu gust les dones han de tenir el batxillerat.» Batxillerat en fer l’amor, on no cal gramàtica.

(«La discreta analfabeta de Josep Pla,» per Josep C. Vergés, Diari de Girona, 31 agost 2014)

1 September 2014 - Posted by | Culture/Cultura |

4 Comments »

  1. Moltes gràcies per l’article. M’ha agradat molt i li he enviat còpia a la dona de Sabater.Genial la foto de l’abraçada!! La va fer el meu amic Sabater. Fa uns anys vam publicar ell i jo la suite completa de fotos, amb imatges com aquesta.

    Like

    Comment by Víctor Fernàndez | 1 September 2014 | Reply

  2. Muy interesante. Gracias.

    Like

    Comment by Juan | 2 September 2014 | Reply

  3. Nice!!! The only woman we knew who knew Pla was Lola, the wife of the postman in La Pera, who cooked for him and introduced us. So you’re editing 1000 letters??? Wow!

    Like

    Comment by Henry | 2 September 2014 | Reply

  4. I’m not sure that in love making, grammar is unnecessary. El Diví Marquès pensava altrament, com Pla sabia, car era molt llegit.

    Like

    Comment by Salvador | 2 September 2014 | Reply


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