Fishy talk

Exit right, Zorro, his day's work done

Exit right, Zorro, his day's work done

I recently referred to Un deliri de mar, an abysmal novel–it’s about a dreamy descent into the chasms and crevices of a drained Med–by Josep M Miquel i Vergés. Un deliri was considered unpublishable by the author’s book-trade friends 50 years ago but, in the current rush of publicly funded patriotism, has been brought out, unaltered and with a lengthy apologia by Víctor Martínez-Gil. Miquel i Vergés seems to have been a fairly unsympathetic character: a rabid Catalanista, instead of going to the front to defend his nation against Franco’s Moors during the war, he had himself installed as private secretary to the Catalan “justice” councillor Pere Bosch Gimpera, another dodgy cove who came to prominence as the author of politically convenient anti-Spanish racial theories of Catalan archaeology that continue to be echoed by modern Basque fascists.

Miquel i Vergés wrote Un deliri in the late 50s and adheres pretty rigidly to the Pompeu Fabra norms, his characters communicating in a kind of Enid Blyton-speak or not at all (“None of [the fishermen] replied, all four deep in a discussion consisting of half words in an almost comprehensible argot”). Although his subject is Arenys de Mar (nearby walks), a village well inside “old” Catalonia, the village in which he was born, the village of which he fantasised in his Mexican exile, I’m pretty sure he couldn’t understand the average bar drunk, bar drunks having no role to play in the racial idealism espoused by journals like Quaderns de l’Exili, for which he wrote. I were to lose what little is left of my mind and become a patriot, I think this is the kind of stuff I would want to do do.

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