The writer Sebastià Juan Arbó
Sebastià Juan Arbó
(Sant Carles de la Ràpita, 1902 – Barcelona, 1984)
Sebastià Juan Arbó is the best-known Catalan writer from Montsià county. He was born into a farming family in Sant Carles de la Ràpita on 28 October 1902. At the age of eight, he moved to Amposta with his family.
In 1921 he moved to Barcelona, taking with him the manuscripts to his first works. In 1931 he published L’inútil combat [The Useless Combat], whilst Terres de l’Ebre [The Ebro Country], which came out the following year, was awarded the Fastenrath Prize in 1935.
In 1948, he was awarded the Nadal Prize for his novel Sobre las piedras grises [On the Grey Stones]. The previous year he had published his most important work, Tino Costa, which was later made into a TV series.
Arbó died in Barcelona in 1984, leaving an extensive body of work, mainly in Catalan, but which also included plays and newspaper articles, as well as biographies, including “Cervantes”, which has been translated into several languages.
L’Obra Catalana Completa[Complete Catalan Works] by Sebastià Juan Arbó comprises three volumes. The first contains the three novels in the “first Ebro cycle”: Terres de l’Ebre ([The Ebro Country], 1932), Camins de nit ([Night Tracks], 1935) and Tino Costa (1947). The second is formed by two outstanding novels: L’inútil combat ([The Useless Combat], 1931) and Hores en blanc ([Sleepless Hours], 1933); short stories: Febre ([Fever], 1932), L’estel ([The Kite], 1959), La nit de Sant Joan ([The Night of St John], 1961) and Narracions del Delta ([Stories from the Delta] 1965); plays: La ciutat maleïda ([The Damned City], 1935), Despertar ([Awakening], 1936) and Nausica (1937); and some poems. Volume Three includes the novels in the “second Ebro cycle”, comprising, on the one hand, L’espera ([The Wait], 1967) and, on the other, Entre la terra i el mar ([Between the Land and the Sea], 1966) and La masia ([The Farmhouse], 1975).
Terres de l’Ebre([The Ebro Country], 1932)
Amposta lay invisible, hidden half by the rice fields, half by the olive fields, on the banks of the Ebro, with the high chimneys of therice factories rising against the horizon.
The wide ducksflew over the lagoons,calm as mirrors.
Down there, nearL’Encanyissada, he owned some barren land.
Anunseen robin began to sing from over the lagoons.
At that moment, on the opposite side, a skiff was sailing up beside the towpath.