• Humanities
  • 24 de June de 2024
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  • 8 minutes read

Josep Lluís Martín i Berbois: “ERC had no interest in Catalan women voting in the 1932 Parliament elections”

Josep Lluís Martín i Berbois: “ERC had no interest in Catalan women voting in the 1932 Parliament elections”

Interview with Josep Lluís Martín i Berbois, historian and Holmesian

Josep Lluís Martín i Berbois: “ERC had no interest in Catalan women voting in the 1932 Parliament elections”

Detail of the author’s photograph: Lluís Franco.

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Andreu Navarra


We interviewed Josep Lluís Martín i Berbois, a hyperactive figure in Catalan historiography, who combines research on facts and figures of Catalanism with a curious «mania» for pursuing first editions and rarities related to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.


You have just published the biography of Joan Llonch i Salas. Could you give us a clue? Who was the “Cambó from Sabadell” and what did he do?

All right. He was a patron, a businessman and a Catalan and conservative politician from Sabadell. It is worth to highlight the role he played in several cultural and economic entities of the city he was involved with since he had inherited from his ancestors, who had previously been involved in too and Joan Llonch kept on playing. Besides playing this role as a patron,  we must highlight as well his political role, especially during the Civil War, when he was in charge of Francisco Cambó’s Propaganda and Press Office in Paris, which supported the generals revolted against the Republique. A political position from wich he later separated during the Franco’s regime.

How did you join the Holmes Circle? What have you published so far about Conan Doyle and what are you currently considering?

Well, it was a bit by chance. During the End-of-High School trip I was reading ‘A Study in Scarlet’ that I had started to read when I was eleven years old but I had given up before ending. By the way, my History teacher sat in front of me and asked if I liked it. When I answered affirmatively, he explained to me that there was an entity that was devoted to the study and diffusion of this famous detective. And that’s how I entered the Holmes Circle when I was only seventeen years old.

Tell us how you ended up writing the only decent biography of Mr. Porcioles, mayor of Barcelona? You generated certain controversies…

Well, there is previous one written by the historian Martí Marín that is dedicated to the period he was the mayor of Barcelona. However, it is true that mine was the first one to cover his entire life. It’s a biography that was commissioned by the Fundación Noguera (A foundation linked to the Catalonian Assotiation of Notaries) who wanted to create a collection of biographies of notaries. After three years dedicated to writing this biography, the  Fundación Noguera finally changed its mind and did not publish it. Then, I had to wait three years to have the rights to the book and in the meantime I continued adding new information until, thanks to the publisher Santi Sobrequés, it was finally published. It must be said that it had an outstanding success and that I’m still currently having interviews about the controversial figure of this Barcelona mayor.

“The issue of women’s suffrage has been and it still is one of the issues to which I have dedicated myself the most”

Who opposed women’s suffrage in Catalonia after 1932?

The issue of women’s suffrage has been and it still is one of the topics that I have been most interested in researching. In the book ‘Ignorades pero desitjades‘ –Ignored but requested- I demonstrated that ERC had no interest in Catalan women voting in the 1932 Parliament elections, for this reason it argued several and poorly founded excuses for women not to exercise their right. The fear of it because they had heard in most countries that had allowed women to vote the conservative parties had won the elections. By the way, an absolutely false idea. Nevertheless, conservative parties did not support women’s suffrage either, but the fact that “women were supposedly conservative” was already good enough for ERC to oppose it.

In 2015 you curated and cataloged a curious exhibition in Sabadell…

Well, I have always tried to study other issues that were not just pure and simple history. I believe that we must be “transversal” and study and learn about other disciplines that will undoubtedly enrich our research and, above all, ourselves.

Photography: Lluís Franco

For this reason I became interested in the ‘Art Nou‘ exhibition that was held in 1915 in Sabadell. My intention was to study this magnificent exhibition, which many art historians considered very relevant, but nobody had in fact studied yet.

This led me to do a study that was published in book format and reproduced the 1915 exhibition with some of the original works from the exhibition.

How do you see the immediate future of the university and research in Catalonia?

I am a pessimist. There are quite a few researchers and specialists outside the universities who could be doing a great service at the university, but for different reasons, some not very transparent, they have done and do so that things do not get better and many possible careers are cut short.

What are you currently writing?

I am redoing, at times, the book “Ignorades pero desitjades”, but I don’t know yet when am I going to finish it. And at times I’m also occupied with a story related to basketball, but that’s all I can say so far…. ha, ha, ha!

Do you rather agree with Cambó or with Maciá?

I don’t know, maybe a little of both. What I am clear about is that they are two great political figures of the first half of the 20th century and both are very interesting political figures to study.

Holmes or Challenger?

This one it’s much easier, Holmes of course. Challenger is a very interesting character and I think he is not as recognized as he should be because the fame of Sherlock Holmes has eclipsed many others of Conan Doyle works, wich have gone unnoticed, and the truth is that there are very good ones.

Source: educational EVIDENCE

Rights: Creative Commons

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