Joan Sales i Vallès

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Joan Sales i Vallès (Barcelona, November 19, 1912 – November 12, 1983) was a Catalan writer poet, translator and editor.[1] His best known work is the novel Uncertain glory (recently translated into English).[2]

As editor, he founded, with Xavier Benguerel, Club Editor, the publisher house of The Time of the Doves from Mercè Rodoreda and Bearn o La sala de les nines from Villalonga, among other important works. He was a promoter of the journal Quaderns de l'exili ("Exile notebooks").

He was awarded the Creu de Sant Jordi in 1982.

For 500 years, the Catalans have been fools. Is it, then, stop being Catalans? No, but stop being stupid.

— Joan Sales (Barcelona, 1912–1983)


Joan Sales i Vallès was born in November 19, 1912,[3] at the Eixample district of Barcelona, in a family originally from Vallclara, in Conca de Barberà. His familiar surroundings progresses, at a political level, from traditionalism to the Catalan nationalism closer to Lliga Regionalista. When his father's business goes to ruin, the family is determined to remain at Vallclara. But Sales, who by the time has became bachelor in Lleida, move to Barcelona despite he is only seventeen.

Joan Sales acted very young in opposition to the dictatorship of Miguel Primo de Rivera.He was also one of the first Catalan language teachers of the official census of the Generalitat of Catalonia formed by Pompeu Fabra.[4]

He graduated with a degree in law at the University of Barcelona in 1932. He affiliated with Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia, which will leave soon. At the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, he graduated at the School of War and was appointed official.[4] He felt sorrow about the anarchy in the rear and in his desire to help to maintain the power of the Republican Government of Generalitat[4] he went to the fronts of Madrid and Aragon. In 1933, he married Maria Núria Folch, Catalan publisher, with whom he had a daughter the same year: Núria Sales Folch.

He met the poet Màrius Torres, who was already ill of tuberculosiswith whom will share an intense friendship. They will keep an effusive correspondence until the death of Màrius, in 1942. From Màrius Torres he receives a deeply literary influence.

In 1939, he went into exile in France and then, in 1940, in the Dominican Republic, and from there, to Mexico in 1942. He worked there as linotypist. In exile, he drove a deeply ideological journal, Quaderns de l'Exili (1943–1947). His text Els Òrsidesis a criticism to the intellectuals that do not assume the critical challenges of the country. From there, he edited with notes and studies, L'Atlàntida, Canigó, La nacionalitat catalana and the first edition of Poesies from Màrius Torres (1947).[4]

Once returned to Catalonia in 1948, he focused on publishing tasks, discovering essential authors to the modern Catalan literature (Màrius Torres, Llorenç Villalonga and Mercè Rodoreda).[4]

In 1955, he founded, with Xavier Benguerel and Joan Oliver, El Club dels Novel·listes, with which they wanted to expand the readership Catalan, developing a narrative and a more popular level language more accessible.[4]

Since its imprint, el Club Editor, he will offer to the public his work Uncertain glory ("Incerta glòria"), that do not appeared in definitive edition until 1971 and his epistolary war and exile Letters to Màrius Torres (1976). Other works include the book of poems Viatge d'un moribund (1952), his translations from Kazantzakis and Dostoyevski or the outline of a comic opera, music by Joan Altisent, En Tirant lo Blanc a Grècia.[4]

Sales was documentary and commentator of Historia de España and also of Història dels Catalans form Ferran Soldevila, and he wrote numerous works prologues for books from Joan Coromines, Mercè Rodoreda and Llorenç Villalonga. He directed the Diputació de Barcelona Office of Catalan until he retired (1982). Posthumously, Contes d'ahir i d'avui (1987) and his correspondence with Mercè Rodoreda (2008) were published.[4]

He died in Barcelona on November 12, 1983 and was buried in Siurana (Cornudella de Montsant, Priorat). Núria, his wife, who died in 2010, was buried beside him.


  • 1950 Rondalles escollides de Guimerà, Casaponce i Alcover (illustrated by Elvira Elias)
  • 1951 Rondalles gironines i valencianes (illustred by Elvira Elias)
  • 1952 Rondalles d'ahir i avui (illustrated by Montserrat Casanova)
  • 1952 Viatge d'un moribund
  • 1953 Rondalles escollides de Ramon Llull, Mistral i Verdaguer (illustrated by d'Elvira Elias, preface from Carles Riba)
  • 1956 Uncertain glory ("Incerta glòria")
  • 1969 Incerta glòria (uncensored, revised and expanded)
  • 1972 En Tirant lo Blanc a Grècia, òpera bufa
  • 1976 Cartes a Màrius Torres
  • 1983 El vent de nit
  • 1986 Cartes de la guerra



  1. ^ Joan Sales i Vallès [Joan Sales i Vallès] (in Catalan). Barcelona: Gran Enciclopèdia Catalana. Retrieved April 8, 2015.
  2. ^ "Surt al mercat "Uncertain glory", traducció a l'anglès d'"Incerta glòria"". Nació Digital. October 2, 2014. Retrieved April 8, 2015.
  3. ^ "Joan Sales i Vallès". AELC. April 8, 2015. Retrieved April 8, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "Joan Sales i Vallès". Generalitat of Catalonia. Retrieved August 27, 2012.

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