Biography

1897-1919

Primera volada - "First Flight"

The Pla family was one of the wealthiest families in Palafrugell. They decided to enrol their four children Josep, Pere, Maria and Rosa at a primary school. From the very beginning, Josep Pla stood out because of his passion for reading (Montaigne, Pascal, Stendhal, Baroja, Azorín, Ruyra, Eugeni d’Ors…), for his incredible memory and for his nonconformist character. While living in a boarding school to study Batxillerat (Secondary education), the apprentice writer began his first narratives, as well as contributing to different local magazines. He became enthralled by Girona where he went to school.

Living in host houses while studying at University, the young student’s preoccupations were above all, reading and walking. Although he never lost contact with his friends or Palafrugell and its landscapes, for which he felt an unbounded affection, little by little, he got used to frequenting the cultural areas of Barcelona of that time. In the Ateneu Barcelonès, Josep Pla discovered a library rich in French literature where he could read the best daily European newspapers of the time. He also met a group of intellectuals who formed a peculiar circle (Joaquim Borralleres, Joan Estelrich, Alexandre Plana, Josep M. de Sagarra, Enric Jardí…). They all had a decisive impact on him at the beginning of his literary and journalistic career.

 Josep Pla with his brother and sisters: Rosa, Maria, Pere and Josep. C. 1904. 
Fundació Josep Pla, col. Edicions Destino.

 Josep Pla with friends and family on Canadell beach. Calella de Palafrugell, 1915-1916.
©: Baldomer Gili i Roig. Fundació Josep Pla.

During the last years of his law studies, Pla started to seriously publish various poetic works. These compositions reflect a writer with an immature and rhetorical style. However, they already showed a synthesis of the themes of his works: passionate narrations of the closest reality, poetical subjectivism, apparent refusal of imagination, subtle irony, manipulation of real facts and characters. At the end of 1919, after a short stay at the newspaper Las noticias, Pla started to work as an editor for the newspaper La Publicidad, which soon would change its headlines into Catalan. Journalism helped him find a more natural, concise and synthetic style.

The writer Alexandre Plana with Josep Pla. C. 1919. 
Fundació Josep Pla, col. Edicions Destino.

Lluís Llimona with Josep Pla on Canadell beach. Calella de Palafrugell, 1919. 
Fundació Josep Pla, col. Col·legi de Periodistes Girona.

1897
Josep Pla is born in Palafrugell on March 8, at 49 carrer Nou, where his parents, Antoni Pla i Villar and Maria Casadevall i Llach, are renting while the house in carrer del Sol is being built.

1904
The Pla family moves to the new house in carrer del Sol, which today is 56, carrer Torres i Jonama. He studies primary education at “Germans Maristes” in Palafrugell.

1909
He studies secondary education at the High School of Girona and also lives in a boarding school called Maristes. In his final year (1912-1913) he is expelled from the boarding school and has to take his exams as an independent candidate.

1913
He starts his studies of science at the University of Barcelona, but half way through the course he decides to change to the Faculty of Law. He studies five years of law as an officially registered student.

1917
His first forays into literary prose are published in a variety of periodicals “Ofrena”, “Cenacle”, “Diario de Gerona” and “L’Instant”.

1918
He starts to frequent the Ateneu Barcelonès. Alexandre Plana becomes his literary mentor. He starts his regular contribution to “Baix Empordà” of Palafrugell and some of his literary prose is published in “Alt Empordà” of Figueres and “El Camí”, of Barcelona.

1919
He graduates in Law. He starts working in “Las Noticias”, and soon after he starts working on the evening edition of “La Publicidad”.