The Creation of a French Catalan Identity through the Landscape of the Roussillon: The Writings of Josep Pla and Jean

Alice Emma Popowich


The end of the 19th century saw the Roussillon at a crossroads: to the north were the social and financial opportunities that came from adopting French, the language of the aristocracy and the elite (Berjoan, 2009, pp. 121-122), to south was the shining example of Barcelona, now living its Renaixença period, where Catalan arts and culture were gaining the attention on a world stage. In Perpignan, and in neighboring communities, the intellectual classes of the Roussillon were weighing their options. Catalan was widely spoken in this area of France, but few could write it. In fact, the efforts by the French government to unify the nation under one language had resulted in the devaluing of Catalan among its speakers. A lack of grammatical and orthographical norms in French Catalonia had also led native speakers to become confused about the language they spoke (Berjoan, 2009, p. 122). Was it Catalan? Were they?

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