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Despuig, More Political than Shakespeare/DESPUIG, MÉS CLAR I CATALÀ QUE SHAKESPEARE

Despuig, More Political than Shakespeare

by Josep C. Verges

much ado

Shakespeare’s «Much Ado About Nothing» presents the just governance of the Catalan king Peter the Great, but unlike Boccaccio’s political statement, Shakespeare turns it into a comedy. Below: Despuig criticised Spaniards so ferociously that he remained unpublished for three centuries until the disappearance of the Spanish Inquisition with Napoleon. How many other Catalan manuscripts were burnt by Spanish intolerance? According to the contemporaneous Cervantes, many.

 

Cristofol Despuig’s «Dialogues» of 1557 have been translated by Henry Ettinghausen into English, sponsored by Fundacio Carulla (Tamesis, Barcino). He has done so “as if the protagonists spoke today. They were written in modern Catalan, that is in the language spoken in that time.” And, as we shall see, more openly political than Shakespeare.

Tortosa was the third city in Catalonia. The existence of the Spanish Inquisition did not let Despuig risk explaining that the money lender was probably a Jew, but he did allow himself a defence of “those people” who make profits that profit everyone: “Trade is an art that’s been held in high esteem for a long time now and practised by plenty of knights and gentlemen. Trade bloomed here and was practised far and wide, as far away as Genoa, Rome, Naples, Venice, Cadis, Cyprus, Sicily, Portugal, and even Flanders, England and beyond.” He contrasted trading with the luxuries of the corrupt: “There’s no such thing as a poor king in a rich kingdom, but that’s when love and charity abound and when people prefer the public good to private profit.” He contrasted the honest archbishop Thomas de Vilanova who “preferred giving all his income to the poor -he used to say they were the living temples of God-instead of building churches, which are dead ones.” He contrasted Catalan moderation to Spanish corruption: “As the saying goes: even in adversity moderation means duration. The Catalan nation is courteous, brave and wise, even though nowadays it’s been stuck into a corner by those Castilians who want everything for themselves.” The conflict arose from Spanish absolutism: “Now we see the Castilians ruling the roost. They talk big. On top of that , they’ve got something that is even worse, which is that they’re so despotic. They believe everything they have is the best , and that what other people h To avoid publicising the glory of those Spaniards who aren’t Castilian, they just leave out the truth and they don’t think twice about telling lies. It comes from the bad feeling and pure envy that they have towards us because we’re freer than them, which is why they’d like to deprive us of everything we’ve got. Most Castilians actually dare say out loud that this province of ours isn’t Spain and that, therefore, we aren’t true Spaniards.” Absolutist Castile threatens Catalonia: “People who live under the rule of a king can’t carry on forever enjoying that much freedom. Princes are never short of means to bring their subjects under their control. I don’t know which of the Counts of Barcelona seeing that the powers he had in Catalonia were very limited, that Count persuaded the Catalans to agree to all royal prerogatives.” As the Counts of Barcelona in Catalonia Castilian kings were forced to act as constitutional monarchs: “The king being left as sovereign in name only. Kings must be kings, not tyrants. When we say kings reign we’re referring to the notion a regendo a bene regendo -ruling means ruling well.” The people had won their Catalan liberty. When king Ramon Berenguer came too late to defend Tortosa, and despite apologising: “When he reached the gate, the citizens shut it firmly in his face. He had abandoned them in their hour of need. It seemed reasonable that the Count grant them the privileges and freedoms that they desired.” One freedom was the sovereignty and free election of government. Not a single aristocrat was in the government of Tortosa or Catalonia. Good government and good work: “Catalans have always been men of works rather than words, which is the opposite of the Castilians.” The Dialogues end as they began. The gentleman cannot dine with the aristocrat and the knight: “I’ve got some writing to do and there’s business to transact.”

(«Despuig, més clar i català que Shakespeare,» by Josep C. Vergés, Diari de Girona, 31 December 2014)

(«Cristòfol Despuig Dialogues. A Catalan Renaissance Colloquy Set in the City of Tortosa,» Translated by Henry Ettinghausen, Fundació Carulla, Barcino (Barcelona), Tamesis (Woodbridge) 2014)

Despuig in Catalan:
http://www.google.es/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&ved=0CC0QFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ehumanista.ucsb.edu%2FeHumanista%2520IVITRA%2FVolume%25201%2Fpdf%2F14%2520ehumanista.ivitra.Despuig.JAGonzalez.Col.loquis.pdf&ei=4K-jVLL8O4H_UvWhgJgL&usg=AFQjCNEZfPYbYif_9jAKQkceEJJyqZV8DA&bvm=bv.82001339,d.d24

 

Despuig, més clar i català que Shakespeare

per Josep C. Vergés

portada-llibre-dialogues-209x300Despuig criticava tan ferotgement els castellans que va restar inèdit durant tres segles fins que desapareixia la Inquisició Espanyola amb Napoleó. Quants altres manuscrits catalans han estat cremats per la intolerància castellana? Segons el contemporani Cervantes, molts. Primera foto: «Molt soroll per a no res» de Shakespeare explica el bon govern del rei català Pere el Gran, però mentre Boccaccio en fa una lectura política, Shakespeare en fa una comèdia.

 

«Los col.loquis” de Cristòfol Despuig de 1557 els ha traduit Henry Ettinghausen a l’anglès, patrocinat per la Fundació Carulla (Tamesis, Barcino). Ho ha fet “com si els personatges parlessin ara. Va escriure en una català modern, és a dir en la llengua del seu temps.” I, veurem, més clar i català que Shakespeare.

Tortosa era la tercera ciutat de Catalunya. La Inquisició castellana no permet que Despuig concreti el canvista, potser jueu, però aprofita per defensar “esta gent” que fan beneficis propis que beneficien a tots: “És un art, la del negosi, prou estimada y de molts cavallers y ciutadans honrats usada. S’estenia molt fins a Gènova, Roma, Nàpols, Venèsia, Càdiz, Chipre, Cicília, Portugal, y passaven a Flandes, Ynglaterra i altres punts.” Contrasta el comerç amb el luxe dels corruptes: “No sabeu que no’s pot dir ser rey pobre que sia rey de regne rich? Però això és quant l’amor y caritat abunda y quant se ha més lo bé comú que lo particular.” Contrasta l’honest arquebisbe Thomas de Vilanova que “estimava més distribuir tota sa renda entre pobres, que deia eren temples vius de Déu, que no edificar esglésies, que són temples morts.” Contra la corrupció castellana, la moderació catalana: “Diu lo refranch: qui mesura dura, a despit de mala ventura. És una gentil nació la cathalana, valerosa y molt sàvia, si bé que per a vuy se està arruinada, que estos castellans s’o beuen tot.” El conflicte ve de l’absolutisme castellà: “Ara veyem manar los castellans. Grans paraulistes són. Tras això tenen una altra cosa pitjor, y és que volen ser tan absoluts y tenen les coses pròpies en tant y les estranyes en tan poc que par que són ells sols venguts a soles del cel. Aquests castellans per honrar-se a sí mateixos disimulen y disfressen la veritat o publiquen la mentida. Són ràbies y enveja pura que de nosaltres tenen perquè’ns vehen amb més llibertat que ells y així voldrien desfer-nos, si pogesen, de tot. Gosen dir públicament que aquesta nostra província no és Espanya y per ço que nosaltres no som verdaders espanyols.” Castella absolutista amenaça Catalunya: “Los pobles que davall de domini real estan no poden durar ab tanta llibertat. No falten modos als prínceps per a reduir els súbdits al seu compte. No sé quin comte de Barcelona que veent lo que podria a Cathalunya era poch, indú als cathalans que li consentíssem en tot.” A Catalunya, com a comtes de Barcelona, els reis castellans eren obligats a ser constitucionals: “Al rey sol quedàs lo nom de senyor. Lo rey ha de ser rey i no tirà, que lo nom de rey a regendo a bene regendo se deriva.” Les llibertats catalanes les havien guanyat els ciutadans. Quan Ramon Berenguer arriba tard en defensa de Tortosa, tot demanant perdò: “Tanquaren-li los ciutadans la porta molt gentilment. Puix ells els havia desemparats, era molt gran rahó que lo comte los donas privilegis y llibertats a son plaher.” Una de les llibertats era la sobirania i lliure elecció del govern. Ni a Tortosa ni a la Generalitat governava ni un sol aristòcrata. Bon govern i bona feina: “Los de Cathalunya han tingut a tot temps més obres que paraules, lo que ne contrari és en los castellans.” Els col.loquis acaben com comencen. El ciutadà honrat no pot dinar amb l’aristòcrata i el cavaller: “Tinch que escriurer y ha’y negocis.”

(«Despuig, més clar i català que Shakespeare,» per Josep C. Vergés, Diari de Girona, 31 desembre 2014)

(«Cristòfol Despuig Dialogues. A Catalan Renaissance Colloquy Set in the City of Tortosa,» Translated by Henry Ettinghausen, Fundació Carulla, Barcino (Barcelona), Tamesis (Woodbridge) 2014)

Despuig en català:
http://www.google.es/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&ved=0CC0QFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ehumanista.ucsb.edu%2FeHumanista%2520IVITRA%2FVolume%25201%2Fpdf%2F14%2520ehumanista.ivitra.Despuig.JAGonzalez.Col.loquis.pdf&ei=4K-jVLL8O4H_UvWhgJgL&usg=AFQjCNEZfPYbYif_9jAKQkceEJJyqZV8DA&bvm=bv.82001339,d.d24

31 December 2014 - Posted by | Culture/Cultura, Politics/Política

4 Comments »

  1. Reblogged this on Floating-voter.

    Like

    Comment by joekano76 | 1 January 2015 | Reply

  2. Josep, Bon Any! M’alegra saber que en Henry Ettinghouse ha traduït Despuig! Magnífic.

    Like

    Comment by Salvador | 1 January 2015 | Reply

  3. Aprofito per demanar que tingueu feina i felicitat cadascun dels 365 dies de l’any nou i dono les gracies per poder-vos recomanar aquest escrit oportú de Vergés Jr., que be té guanyat amb la seva República Catalana, el títol de despertador de la consciència del nostre poble

    Like

    Comment by Eduard Cardona | 2 January 2015 | Reply

  4. Many thanks for the Repùblica Catalana version! Nice work! I’m glad you have been as heartily bowled over by Despuig as I have been since I first read him, three years ago. He’s definitely worth the publicity you’ve given him.

    Like

    Comment by Henry | 3 January 2015 | Reply


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