It was on October 23, 1983 when Josep Cots, M. Àngels Agulló and Jordi Rojas – later the actress Carme Sansa and later Jordi Muñoz would be added – founded the company that the following year would publicly become Edicions de 1984, today under the still under the supervision of Cots, the editorial direction of Laura Baena and the participation of Núria Miralpeix. Now, with the horizon of celebrating the 40th anniversary, they publish “the great thunder” of the celebration, the edition of Guerra i pau by Lev Tolstoy in translation by Judit Díaz Barneda. It is the first time that this novel has been published in Catalan directly from Russian and in a "canonical edition", as Cots explains, alluding to the version that Carles Capdevila had published in 1928, almost a century ago.
For the editor it is “a completely risky bet, like flying with a paraglider but without the sail”, since there are two volumes of 956 pages each, for which they had to have help from the Perevoda Institute – dependent on Russia – which Given the consequences of the war in Ukraine, it will not be possible to collect, or who knows when. It is a long-range project that began to take shape more than ten years ago, with a translator aware that the work would have to be done slowly but surely. For her, “it is a book that should be in every home, it is essential,” she says, and assures that among other things, without this novel “neither current soap operas nor much of the narrative that is made today would be understood.” both literary and cinematographic or television, since it builds “the foundations of a type of language” that is almost standard today. “It's like a marathon, you have to read it calmly and enjoy it a lot,” she adds.
The publisher assures that they cannot be very precise about what they will do next year because there are still some details to be finalized, but one of the things they want to do is also commemorate the 15 years since the publication of Olor de colònia, the novel by Sílvia Alcàntara that was an editorial surprise, whose author is finalizing a short novel that in some way “closes that narrative.” Nor will they forget the 15 years of Una maquina d’espavilar ocells de nit, by Jordi Lara, another of the Catalan authors who, like Raül Garrigasait, have promoted during these years. Among the novelties that they will present soon – they intend to celebrate the anniversary well into the autumn of 2024 – there will be new translations by George Saunders, Laurent Binet, Tessa Hadley, Andréi Platonov or Paul Harding, as well as an unpublished volume in Catalan by William Faulkner , translated by Esther Tallada, and in international poetry they will publish books by none other than Ezra Pound and Arthur Rimbaud.
Furthermore, they have announced that in May they will publish the complete poetry of Ventura Ametller, a not very well-known writer, contemporary of Josep Pla and Salvador Espriu. For a few years now, the publishing house has published the winners of the award that bears his name, the last of which was Pol Vouillamoz with Proses del caient.
According to Cots, during these 40 years the publisher “has made an important cultural contribution, while at the same time it has been a stimulus for other small publishers who at the time said: 'If these have done it, why not us?'” . For the editor, the Catalan edition is currently in a good moment, because "linguistic normalization has emerged in this decade and that is why there are more readers", that is, "young people may speak less in Catalan but they know how to read in this language and they do it,” he says. For him, in fact, “the strength of the Catalan edition lies in its weakness.”
Catalan version, here