Illustrations and title pages by
Riquer himself for some of his poems.
List of works:
-Notas del alma (Soul notes 1875)
-Quan jo era noy (When i was young 1897)
-Crisantemes (Chrysantemums 1899)
-El rei dels àlbers (The king of the àlbers 1900)
-Anyoranses (Yearnings 1902)
-Aplech de sonets (Assembly of sonnets 1906)
-Les Cullites (The harvests 1906)
-Un poema d’amor (A poem of love 1906)
-En Bartomeu (Bartholomew)
-Poema del Bosch (Forest poem 1910)
-Robert Anning-Bell (1910)
Riquer primarily composed poems. We discuss here his basic works, omitting
his ample correspondence with his family and with other artists of the era.
Symbolism appeared on the Catalan poetry horizon in 1893 and is counted
among the currents contributing to the
world of the Art Nouveau period.
in particular gave an important impulse to this new aesthetic. One example
is Casellas’s “La damiseŀla santa”, which exhibits clear pre-Raphaelite
In the waning years of the nineteenth century, the most active followers of
the Art Nouveau immersed themselves in the political evolution that resulted
in a considerable resurgence of Catalan identity. A combative poetry opposed
to Symbolism’s abstract idealism emerged as a result.
The impact of the theories of John Ruskin and his invigorating vision of
nature influenced not only Alexandre de Riquer, but also
and other writers of this period.
and Aexandre's early poetry:
According to Eliseu
Trenc, Riquer was already writing verse at the age of nineteen. He developed
his poetic prose in “Quan era noy” (“When I Was Young”) and entered lyric
poetry with “Cristantemes” (“Chrysanthemums”), a decidedly Symbolist work
containing not only free verse, but also some illustrations of images
elaborated in his text. This theme continues in “Anyoranses” (“Yearnings”)
and “Un poema d’amor” and culminates in “Petons” (“Kisses”), in which the
unity of love is contrasted with the pain of separation and death.
Riquer evokes in his poetry the image of a woman-fairy that represents the
His first book of poetry, “Anyoranses”, is a song to his absent wife and the
impossible love that can be attained only in Paradise, after death. In this
work appear themes previously elaborated by Dante and the pre-Raphaelite
In “L’Aplech de Sonets” (“Assembly of Sonnets”), Riquer speaks of days gone
by and the lost life of love, while in el “Poema del Bosch” (“Forest Poem”),
a devastated Nature laments the loss of youth.
concepts gave rise to an exaltation of the individual as the fount of poetic
creativity and a belief that the author must liberate his emotions
regardless of imposed social conventions. This current, termed “Spontaneism”,
and Carles Riba and was linked to the pre-Raphaelitism which so heavily
influenced Riquer – particularly its emphasis on popular legends and the
Riquer was well-acquainted with the world of the Renaissance Quattrocento
(Dante, Petrarch) through pre-Raphaelite literature. The prevalence of
pre-Raphaelite themes and motifs is evident in the pages of the journal
Joventut, with which Riquer actively collaborated around 1900 (the year
Ruskin died), devoting space to Parnassian and Decadentist trends and joined
by other poets including Jeroni Zanné (1873-1934) and later by writers such
as Miquel de Palol (1885-1965) and even Guerau de Liost.
de Riquer’s poetry, as did that of other poets, evolved toward an ever more
cultured and classical and at the same time Intimist poetic language obvious
in his later poems.
No discussion would be complete without mentioning the “battle of the
sonnet” that raged at the end of the nineteenth century, in which Riquer
found himself inevitably involved. Led by the “New Pleiades” group, it
championed the sonnet as the most sublime form of poetic expression.