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Casp and Adlert

Grup Torre
Torre Group. From left to right, standing: Francesc Navarro, Rafael Villar, Joan Fuster, Jaume Bru, Emili Beüt, Xavier Casp, Miquel Adlert i Lluís Margarit; sitting: Josep Sanç Moia, Maximilià Thous, Miquel Dolç i Francesc Bort.

A lot has been written about the picturesque and incredible "conversion" of these two individuals to Blaverism, both coming from the strictest Catalanism, being the founders and sustainers of Editorial Torre (first publishing house that distributed works in the Valencian language; in the 40s of the 20th century). Casp and Adlert were, it must be said, the main milestones of the literary and even political Valencianist movement of the 40s and 50s of the 20th century. Likewise, as we have said, both were in their beginnings, what they would later criticize, "Catalanists". For example, Casp won literary awards outside the Valencian Country's scope in various competitions "in Catalan language" (Natural Flower of the Floral Games of the Catalan Language of Perpinyà, in 1950; Golden Eglantine of the Floral Games of the Catalan Language of New York, in 1951; First Prize of Narrative of the Floral Games of the Catalan Language of Toulousse (Tolosa of Lengadòc), in 1952). And Adlert advocated for a long time the term "Catalanic Community" to refer to the territories where the Catalan language is spoken.

It seems, however, that both Miquel Adlert (Paterna [Horta Nord] 1911-València 1988) and Xavier Casp (Carlet [Ribera Alta] 1915-València 2004) were not so nationalist as they said. The two were well integrated into the Valencian upper class (Adlert for instance was a judge) and they can be considered politically right-wing. The two were also writers of great Christian inspiration, and it seems that they lived their Christian faith with the most rampant beatitude.

These two factors are important to understand their subsequent evolution. The fact that they were right-wing and defenders, so to speak, of the established order, would explain their confrontation with Fuster and others, who advocated rather left-wing policies and raised for the first time in Valencian politics, political options that were explicitly sovereignist. It also seems that they both had an egocentric personality, in which they both wanted to be the undisputed leaders of post-war Valencianism, and to have the movement controlled to their liking.

From the 1950s, however, a new generation of Valencianists emerged: Joan Fuster, Enric Valor, Manuel Sanchis Guarner, Santiago Bru and Vidal, etc. It seems that Casp and Adlert never put up with the emergence of a new generation of writers and thinkers, intellectually better prepared than they were, and that necessarily pushed them into the background.

In addition, since the 1950s and even more so in the 1960s, openly rupturist schemes with the Spanish state, and socially left-wing and committed ones, began to be proposed for Valencianism. This all culminated in the 1962 publication of “Nosaltres els valencians”, by Joan Fuster. It was obvious that people as right-wing and conservative as Adlert and Casp disliked this enormously. And in particular, their confrontation with Joan Fuster began immediately.

Xavier Casp
Xavier Casp

All this isolated Casp and Adlert more and more from the rest of Valencianists. It seems that at first the matter simply ended in a personal confrontation and distancing. However, in the 70s of the 20th century, Casp and Adlert began to elaborate some crazy theories about the existence of a supposed "Valencian language", different from Catalan [the pioneer was Adlert with his book "En defensa de la llengua valenciana", in 1977. And with this position it seems that he dragged his close friend, Casp, towards his ideals]. Apart from the scientific nonsense that this entailed, with the invention of this "Valencian language", Casp and Adlert broke the consensus that the Valencians had reached in 1932 regarding the linguistic standardization achieved with the Norms of Castelló. Curiously, both Casp and Adlert had a prominent part in the spread and propagation of these norms in the Valencian society, and dedicated many efforts to them during many years before their desertion. All this led to the elaboration of the bizarre secessionist "Norms of el Puig" in the early 80's of the 20th century. Needless to say, the two had an outstanding participation in their creation.

All this process was linked to an increasing anti-Catalan radicalization. In the end, the two were the figures, at least intellectually, at the forefront of anti-Catalanism during the Spanish Transition.

It is also very possible that, bearing in mind the interest of the Spanish centralist forces in giving birth to an anti-Catalanism opposed to Catalonia in the Valencian Country, these two characters "sold themselves" to the so-called "Madrid gold" (they would therefore do the opposite of their foes, whom they accused of selling themselves to the "Catalan gold").

We can say, however, that in some way they both acknowledged their mistake towards the end of their lives. Adlert is said to have died disappointed and disillusioned with Blaverism, and only his unbridled pride prevented him from publicly acknowledging his mistake. Xavier Casp implicitly accepted the unity of the Catalan language at the end of his life, accepting to be a member of the Valencian Language Academy in 2001, which nowadays regulates Valencian based on the Castelló Norms. However, he resigned a year later, in 2002, because of medical reasons and the pressure and threats made by Blaverists.

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