Noir in Catalan : La Cua de Palla Series

Cua de Palla

With thanks to  Stewart King


Starting in Barcelona in  1963 and directed by author and translator Manuel de Pedrolo (1918-1990), La Cua de Palla  (meaning The Tail of Straw, i.e the guilty one) is the first series of Crime fiction translated into Catalan. Published by Edicions 62 a publisher whose activity had been launched  on Sant Jordi’s day (i.e World Book Day)  the previous year, it has proven successful in instrumentalising the mass market appeal of Crime Fiction in order to promote a linguistic agenda. It translated the best and most popular Crime novels published in America, but also in  England,  in France (with representative authors such as Véry, Kassak, Japrisot, Stewart, and of course Simenon) or elsewhere (such as novels by Swiss author Dürrenmatt). In doing so, it effectively created a thrilling collection of books in Catalan, encouraging reading in that language. Whatever the political content of the books translated ( the series comprises many classical detection novels as well as noir novels)  the series had a counter-cultural impact under the Franco Dictatorship, as a defense and an illustration of the Catalan Language.


La Cua

Georges Simenon. L’home de Londres. Traducció de Carme Vilaginés. Barcelona, La Cua de Palla; 52, 1967

Further reading

Dídac Pujol, A Catalan series of crime fiction: ‘La Cua de Palla’ and its sequels (1963-2009), Journal of Catalan Studies, 2011, 173-199

Jordi Jané-LligéLa llengua literària en les traduccions de “La Cua de Palla” (1963-1970). A la recerca d’un model d’anàlisi, Treballs de la Societat Catalana de Llengua i Literatura, 13, 2017





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