Jacint Verdaguer i Santaló 

Portrait of Jacint Verdaguer i Santaló

Jacint Verdaguer i Santaló is widely regarded as the greatest Catalan poet. He was born on 17th May 1845 in Folgueroles, Spain and died on 10th June 1902 in Barcelona, Spain aged 57.

Major Works

“L’Atlàntida” (Atlantis) (1876)
Idil·lis i Cants Místics” (Idylls and Mystic Songs) (1879)
“A Barcelona” (To Barcelona) (1883)
Canigó” (1886)
“Flors del Calvari” (Flowers of Calvary) (1896)

Biography Timeline

Jacint Verdaguer i Santaló was born on 17th May 1845 in Folgueroles, Spain. His father was Josep Verdaguer i Ordeix a farmer and bricklayer. His mother was Josepa Santaló i Planes and endowed her son with a love of literature. He was the third of eight children.

1855: He enters the theological college in the town of Vic in Barcelona province aged ten. He is a studious learner and athletic.

1863: At the age of eighteen he starts work as a tutor for a family at the Can Tona estate in Sant Martí de Riudeperes and also helps with the farm work.

1865: He takes part in Barcelona’s Jocs Florals (Floral Games) poetry competition and wins four prizes.

1866: He wins two prizes in the Jocs Florals poetry competition.

1870: He is ordained as a priest on 24th September by Bishop Lluís Jordà in Vic. He says his first mass in October in the Sant Francesc hermitage nearby.

1871: His mother dies on 17th January. In September he is appointed Bishop Coadjutor (Assistant) in the town of Vinyoles d’Orís.

1873: He publishes the ode “Passió de Nostre Senyor Jesucrist” (Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ). He leaves Vinyoles d’Orís due to bad health and moves back to Vic. He then goes on a trip to Roussillon and the mountain of EL Canigo. In December he becomes a chaplain for the Companyia Transatlàntica (trans-Atlantic steamship company) in Cadizas as doctors think the sea air will improve his health. His ship sails for Havana, Cuba.

1876: He writes the epic poem “L’Atlantida” (Atlantis) about the wanderings of Heracles in the Iberian Peninsula. His father dies on 8th September and he sets sail back from Cuba on the ship “Ciudad Condal”. In November he becomes alms chaplain in the palace of Antonio Lopez, the first Marquess of Comillas.

1877: He is awarded a special prize for “L’Atlantida” by the Jocs Florals committee.

1878: He travels to Rome and has an audience with Pope Leo the Thirteenth and they discuss “L’Atlantida”

1879: He writes the book of poems “Idil-lis I Cants Mistics” (Idylls and Mystic Songs). By now he has become a prominent literary figure of the Renaixenca Romantic cultural revival movement.

1880: He wins three prizes in the Jocs Florals competition and is proclaimed “Mestre en Gai Saber”. (Master of the Gay Sciences). He publishes the poetry book “Montserrat” which includes “Llegenda de Montserrat” (Legend of Monserrat) in thirteen verses.

1883: Barcelona City Council publishes “A Barcelona” (To Barcelona) in a print-run of a hundred thousand copies about the transformation of the city from the mid nineteenth century onwards. He had started the poem originally in 1874.

1884: He travels to Paris, Germany, Switzerland and Russia.

1885: He publishes his collection “Caritat” (Charity) in aid of victims of the Andalusian earthquake in December 1884.

1886: He publishes the epic poem “Canigo” on 21st March. Bishop Morgades crowns him “Poet of Catalonia” in the monastery at Ripoll. He makes a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

1893: He leaves the post of alms chaplain due to controversy over his working methods and his office as a priest is removed but is eventually restored. He publishes the trilogy “Jesús Infant” and he is assigned to the sanctuary of La Gleva.

1894: He publishes the books “Roser de Tot L’any” (Rose for all the Year) and “Veus del Bon Pastor” (Views of a Good Pastor). On 31st March he leaves the sanctuary of La Gleva.

1895: He publishes “Sant Francesc” (St Francis).

1896: He publishes “Flors del Calvari” (Flowers of Calvary).

1902: On 17th May he leaves his home at Carrer Aragó in Barcelona to move to a country house in Vallvidrera in order to convalesce.

Jacint Verdaguer i Santaló died of tuberculosis on 10th June 1902 in the Vil·la Joana in Vallviddrera, Barcelona, Spain. He was buried in the Montjuic Cemetery in Barcelona.