Porcel, Baltasar 1937-

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PORCEL, Baltasar 1937-

PERSONAL: Born March 14, 1937, in Andratx, Mallorca, Spain; son of Baltasar (a sailor and farmer) and Sebastiana (a homemaker; maiden name, Pujol) Porcel; married Maria-Angels Roque (an anthropologist), July, 1972; children: Baltasar, Violant. Ethnicity: "Catalan." Politics: Democrat. Religion: Roman Catholic.

ADDRESSES: Home—Barcelona, Spain. Office—Institut Català de la Mediterrània, Ave. Diagonal, 407 bis, 08008 Barcelona, Spain; fax: 34-4-218-4513. Agent—Antonia Kerrigan, Agencia Literaria Kerrigan/Miro/Calonje, Travessera de Gracia, 12 5e 2a, 08021 Barcelona, Spain.

CAREER: Writer. Campus Universitari de la Mediterrània, Barcelona, Spain, president of Institut Català de la Mediterrània.

AWARDS, HONORS: Sant Jordi Prize, Joan Creixells Prize, and Generalitat de Catalunya, all 1986, all for Primaveres i les tardors; Best Books of 1995 citation, Publisher's Weekly and Critics' Choice, for Horses into the Night; Ramon Llull prize for Catalan literature, 2001, for El emperador o l'ull del vent.



Horses into the Night (novel), translated and with an introduction by John L. Getman, University of Arkansas Press (Fayetteville, AR), 1995, originally published in Catalan as Cavalls cap a la fosca, Edicions 62 (Barcelona, Spain), 1975, also published in Spanish translation as Caballos hacia la noche, Plaza & Janès (Barcelona, Spain), 1977.

Springs and Autumns, translation by John L. Getman, University of Arkansas Press (Fayetteville, AR), 2000, originally published in Catalan as Primaveres i les tardors, Edicions Proa (Barcelona, Spain), 1986, also published in Spanish translation as Primaveras y otoños, Anagrama (Barcelona, Spain), 1986.


Els condemnats; tragèdia en tres actes (play), Editorial Moll (Palma de Mallorca, Spain), 1959.

Solnegre (novel), Albertí (Barcelona, Spain), 1961.

La simbomba fosca; tragicomèdia, Editorial Moll (Palma de Mallorca, Spain), 1962.

La lluna i el "cala llamp," Albertí (Barcelona, Spain), 1963.

Majorca (travel book), translated from the Spanish by Betty Morris, Editorial Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1964.

Teatre (plays), Editorial Daedalus (Palma de Mallorca, Spain), 1965.

Els escorpins, Edicions Proa (Barcelona, Spain), 1965.

(Editor) Viatge literari a Mallorca (prose and poetry), Edicions Destino (Barcelona, Spain), 1967.

Arran de mar; viatges i fantasies (travel book), Editorial Selecta (Barcelona, Spain), 1967.

Las sombras chinescas, Editorial Taber (Barcelona, Spain), 1968.

Els argonautes, Edicions 62 (Barcelona, Spain), 1968.

Los encuentros; primara serie (interviews), Ediciones Destino (Barcelona, Spain), 1969.

Els xuetes, Edicions 62 (Barcelona, Spain), 1969, revised and expanded edition published as Els xuetes mallorquins: quinze segles de racisme, 2002.

Exercicis más o menys espirituals, Edicions 62 (Barcelona, Spain), 1969.

Difunts sota ametllers en flor, Edicions Destino (Barcelona, Spain), 1970.

(Editor) Cataluña vista desde fuera, Libres de Sinera (Barcelona, Spain), 1970.

Los encuentros: segunda serie (interviews), Ediciones Destino (Barcelona, Spain), 1971.

Los chuetas mallorquines; siete siglos de racismo, Barral (Barcelona, Spain), 1971, revised and expanded edition published as Los chuetas mallorquines; quince siglos de racismo, 2002.

Los catalanes de hoy (biographies), Seix Barral (Barcelona, Spain), 1971.

Crónica d'atabalades navegacions, Edicions 62 (Barcelona, Spain), 1971.

La luna y el velero (novel), Plaza & Janès (Esplugas de Llobregat, Spain), 1972.

Grans catalans d'ara (biographies), Edicions Destino (Barcelona, Spain), 1972.

Desintegraciones capitalistas, Editorial Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1972.

Los alacranes, Plaza & Janés (Barcelona, Spain), 1972.

Debat català; polèmica-diàleg amb la intellectualitat castellana, Editorial Selecta (Barcelona, Spain), 1973.

China, una revolución en pie, Ediciones Destino (Barcelona, Spain), 1974.

La palabra del arte (interviews), Ediciones Rayuela (Madrid, Spain), 1976.

Josep Tarradellas: "President de la Generalitat" (interview), Editorial A.C. (Barcelona, Spain), 1977.

Josep Pallach (interview), Editorial A.C. (Barcelona, Spain), 1977.

Jordi Pujol (interview), Editorial A.C. (Barcelona, Spain), 1977.

Conversaciones con el honorable Tarradellas (interview), Plaza & Janès (Esplugas de Llobregat, Spain), 1977.

Camins i ombres: del Llobregat a l'Alguer, una visión encantada de les terres catalanes (travel book), Editorial Selecta (Barcelona, Spain), 1977.

La revuelta permanente (biography), Editorial Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1978.

Personajes excitantes (biography), Plaza & Janès (Barcelona, Spain), 1978.

Reivindicació de la vídua Txing i altres relats, Edicions 62 (Barcelona, Spain), 1979.

Les pomes d'or, Edicions 62 (Barcelona, Spain), 1980.

Xavier Carbonell (biography), La Gran Enciclopedia Vasca (Bilbao, Spain), 1981.

Todos los espejos, Espasa-Calpe (Madrid, Spain), 1981.

El dolços murmuria del mar, Edicions 62 (Barcelona, Spain), 1981.

El misteri de l'alzinar i altres contes, Edicions 62 (Barcelona, Spain), 1982.

Tots els contes, Edicions 62 (Barcelona, Spain), 1984.

José Bascones (biography), La Gran Enciclopedia Vasca (Bilbao, Spain), 1984.

Les illes, encantades, Edicions 62 (Barcelona, Spain), 1984.

Els dies immortals, Edicions 62 (Barcelona, Spain), 1984.

Poemes i dibuixos, Taller de Picasso (Barcelona, Spain), 1985.

El divorci de Berta Barca, Edicions Proa (Barcelona, Spain), 1989.

A totes les illes, Editorial Moll (Palma de Mallorca, Spain), 1990.

Totes les Balears, Edicions Proa (Barcelona, Spain), 1991.

Reis, polítics i anarquistes, Edicions Proa (Barcelona, Spain), 1991.

Punts cardinals, Edicions Proa (Barcelona, Spain), 1991.

Obres completes, seven volumes, Edicions Proa (Barcelona, Spain), 1991-1997.

L'alba i terra, Edicions Proa (Barcelona, Spain), 1991.

Vayreda C.: els anys de París, Xavier Amir (Barcelona, Spain), 1992.

Molts paradisos perduts, Edicions Proa (Barcelona, Spain), 1993.

El mite d'Andratx, Edicions Proa (Barcelona, Spain), 1993.

Viajes expectantes: de Marrakech a Pekín (travel book), Edicións de Bitzoc (Palma de Mallorca, Spain), 1994.

Retrato de Julio Caro Baroja, Galaxia Gutenberg (Valencia, Spain), 1994.

Lola i els peixos morts, Edicions Proa (Barcelona, Spain), 1994.

Grans catalans (biography), Edicions Proa (Barcelona, Spain), 1994.

Mediterráneo: Tumultos del oleaje, Editorial Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1996.

El Mediterráneo: una globalidad emergente, Editorial Complutense (Madrid, Spain), 1996.

Ulisses a alta mar, Edicions 62 (Barcelona, Spain), 1997.

Les màscares, Edicions Proa (Barcelona, Spain), 1997.

El gran galiot, Edicions Proa (Barcelona, Spain), 1997.

Mallorca (travel book), photographs by Rainer Hackenberg and others, Lunwerg (Barcelona, Spain), 1999.

(Author of prologue) Carlos Garrido, Mallorca mágica, José J. de Olañeta (Palma de Mallorca, Spain), 2000.

El cor del senglar, Edicions 62 (Barcelona, Spain), 2000.

El emperador o l'ull del vent, Editorial Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 2001, also published in Spanish translation as El emperador o el ojo del ciclón, 2001.

Domèstics i salvatges (short stories), Editorial Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 2001.

Les maniobres de l'amor: tots els contes, 1958-2001, Ediciones Destino (Barcelona, Spain), 2002.

Also author of a daily opinion feature for the newspaper La Vanguardia.

SIDELIGHTS: Baltasar Porcel, a prolific Catalan writer of fiction and nonfiction, once commented on his work: "My primary motivation for writing is a desire to interpret the world through imagination, through the strength of words, and to communicate this to people. What particularly influences my work is the world that I know about, the Mediterranean, and man in its passions. My writing process is to absorb sensations, to glimpse ideas. It is a slow elaboration of mental and emotional atmosphere, a redaction as exigent as enthusiastic. Definitively, what inspires me to write on the subjects that I choose is my relation with reality.

"In 1996 I published, in Spanish, Mediterráneo: Tumultos del oleaje, a long book that is a historical report, through all the countries that include the Mediterranean cultures and their great creative moments from prehistory until today, with frequent lyrical incidences."

Of the dozen novels he has published in his native tongue of Catalan, two of Baltasar Porcel's novels have been translated into English, both thanks to translator John L. Getman and the University of Arkansas Press. The first, Cavalls cap a la fosca (sometimes cited by its Spanish title, Caballos hacia la noche), appeared as Horses into the Night in 1995, but was not widely reviewed. The second, Primaveres i les tardors, first published in 1986, appeared in English translation in 2000 to considerable praise. The novel itself, a melange of stories told by the members of a large Catalan family which has gathered to celebrate Christmas, sacrifices the linear certitude of plot in order to create a pastiche of Mallorcan culture in which old family feuds and allegiances, love affairs, and crimes of passion are as real today as they were in the decades that spawned them. "Through skillful interplay between the caustic and the tender, and between the poetic and the mysterious and mythical, Porcel masterfully portrays in microcosm the closed but sprightly peculiar Mediterranean spirit of the Majorcans," observed Albert M. Forcadas in World Literature Today. For Jack Shreve, who reviewed Springs and Autumns in Library Journal, the characters' desire to retell their stories exposes "the age-old need to impose order upon the chaos of memory" that is common to all humanity. Furthermore, a contributor to Publishers Weekly added, "Porcel scrupulously avoids nostalgia and idealization, the chief pitfalls of this genre."

Mallorcan history is also at the heart of El emperador o l'ull del vent, Porcel's 2001 novel, which was awarded several prizes in his own country. In 1808, ten thousand defeated French troops were imprisoned on a tiny Mallorcan island while they awaited the end of the Napoleonic Wars. The story of the imprisonment is told by Honoré Grapain some thirty years later, and fictional letters to Grapain written by his lover and his publisher, as well as an epilogue by Porcel each alter the reader's initial impression of Grapain's story in surprising ways. Nick Caistor, who reviewed El emperador o el ojo del ciclón (the Spanish translation of the novel) for the Times Literary Supplement, dubbed this "the work of an author who is keen to provoke and challenge his readers as well as to entertain them."



Baltasar Porcel, Edicions La Campana (Barcelona, Spain), 1987.


Library Journal, June 15, 2000, Jack Shreve, review of Springs and Autumns, p. 117.

Publishers Weekly, May 22, 2000, review of Springs and Autumns, p. 75.

Times Literary Supplement, July 13, 2001, Nick Caistor, "Incarcerated in Cadiz," review of El emperador o el ojo del ciclón, p. 22.

World Literature Today, spring, 2001, Albert M. Forcadas, review of Springs and Autumns, p. 408.*