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Euskal Idazleen Elkartea

A brief history of Basque literature

The 20th century is divided into two, the periods before and after the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39. The literary revival began at the end of the 19th century and grew little by little. It was the most productive century; the 300 books published until 1936 bear witness to this. Many literary festivals, markets and competitions were held throughout the Basque Country.

In the Northern Basque Country the literary movement grew up around journals like Eskualduna and Gure Herria and around associations like the Eskualzaleen Biltzarra.

On the Northern side of the Bidasoa river, which divides the Northern from the Southern Basque Country, the literature was more popular and more practical. The most prominent writers were: Jean Barbier (1875-1931), Jean Etxepare (1877-1935), Martin Landerretxe (1842-1930), Jean Saint-Pierre (1884-1951) and Julio Moulier “Oxobi” (1888-1958).

In the South, Basque culture found more fertile ground. Numerous cultural associations and groups sprung up as well as many new journals. This is without doubt the most import feature of this period.

At the beginning of the century a meeting was held in Hendaia (Hendaye) to create a unified Basque orthography, but no agreement was reached. Until the creation of the Euskaltzaindia, the Academy of the Basque Language, in 1919 no further attempts were made in this direction. The matter was addressed in 1968 in the assembly held in Arantzazu (Gipuzkoa).

During the early years of the century literature followed the way marked out by Sabino Arana-Goiri and R. M. Azkue. Interest in the Basque language and literature grew in the Basque Country. In 1907 Julio Urkijo founded the RIEV, the “Revista Internacional de Estudios Vascos”. Apart from attracting other writers this journal publicised many works that for a long time had been beyond the reach of the man and woman in the street. Gregorio Mujika also worked hard to make the journals Euskal Esnalea (1908-1918) and Euskalerriaren alde (1911-1931) known. Domingo Agirre, Arturo Campion, Karmelo Etxegarai and Julio Urkijo contributed to the second of these two journals. In 1921 the publishing of journals peaked.

The ones belonging to that time were: Zeruko Argia (Iruñea-Pamplona, 1919), Euskara (Bilbo-Bilbao, 1920), Argia (Donostia-San Sebastian, 1921), Arantzazu (1921), Gure Herria (Baiona-Bayonne, 1921), Eusko Folklore (Donostia-San Sebastian, 1921), Eusko-Deia (1921), Kaiku (1921), Gure Misiolaria (1924), Vida Vasca (1924) and the Bulletin du Musée Basque (Baiona-Bayonne,1924). Journals continued to flourish until 1930.

Idazleak Ikastetxeetan
Liburuak Gozagarri 2018
Literatur Jarduerak
Gure Programak
2011 Euskal Idazleen Elkartea
Zemoria kalea 25 · 20013 Donostia (Gipuzkoa)
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