Occitan poetry  980-2006

by Joan-Frederic Brun


XVI-XVIII century: tasty baroque antiliteratures

Medieval poetry: the kingdom of love
XVI-XVIII century: tasty baroque antiliteratures
XIX th century: toward a renaissance
XIX th century (1854-1914):  spreading and sclerosis of the Provençal miracle
XX th century (1920-1965): the anguish of no future
XX th century (1965-1981): "un país que vòl viure" (a country that just wants to live)
XX th century (1981-2000): postoccitanisme
XXI th century: just a living literature among many other ones? 


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Joan-Batista Fabre


After the XVIth century the traditional rules of spelling occitan are lost. This language is less and less written, and, when it is, the rules of French spelling are applied. Occitan is no longer "lingua occitana", but will become soon the "patois", ie, a 'non-language".

Paradoxically, this situation of "non-language" will attract generations of writers interested in finding a new area of expression on the edge of the noble official culture of the court of French kings.

Sporadically, in fact, some authors (as Pèir de Garròs, Godolin, Rodil) will have the feeling of writing a beautiful language that has the ability to express not only familiar or trivial purposes, but also elevated thoughts and feelings. However, they will never succeed in impulsing the rebirth of a true literature. Most of the time, poets like Isaac Despuech-Sage, Pèire Belaud de la Belaudièira, Pèire Pau, etc… will enjoy writing a wild language because they found in it a land of freedom. This makes the very special taste of the "antiliterature" of those years.

Actually, beside this "wild" and often "shocking" literature, occitan was also largely employed by catholic priests with a very different purpose. They used the people's language in order to disseminate the gospel and the religious education, after the Council of Trente. In some cases, those texts are not devoid of literary value (eg, Amilha, Plomet, Martin…).

During the second part of the XVIIIth century the important word of Joan-Batista Fabre (or Favre) a catholic priest, will acquire a huge success. Using all the richness of a popular tasty language, this surprising man will write very funny satiric poems, parodies of Homer and Virgil, and a wonderful novel "Joan-l'an-pres" (John-They've-caught-him") in which merge realistic and picaresc influences, and a deep knowledge of the human soul. Favre has no knowledge of the existence of ancient Occitan literature. He creates his own style from popular spoken language, richly idiomatic but somewhat corrupted by French. His influence will be seminal on the Occitan literature of the following centuries.


Pèy de Garros

Isaac Despuech-Sage

Pierre Goudelin

Jacques Roudil

Bertrand Larade

Robert Ruffi

Pierre Bellaud de la Bellaudière

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