Distinguished Readers of Don Marcelino


El Brujo de Villahisan writes to thank me for making him a part of a wonderful work Jose Luis Roldan on what is philosophywhich we discussed on these pages last week. He found several strong arguments for the historicism of Menendez Pelayo as a rich precedent for the historical mind of Ortega y Gasset. In his letter, he denounces those who despised Roldan’s work for sheer ideological illiteracy when they heard that its foundations lay in the texts of Don Marcelino. My friend Angel also praises the courage of Jose Luis. And he, of course, congratulates himself, because reading the texts of Menendez Pelayo swept away the current university stupidity.

Despite the environmental pressure, the dominance of the politically correct where free thought, the university, should prevail, no one managed to dissuade Jose Luis Roldan from reading Don Marcelino. On the contrary, he confirms himself in the intellectual power of the sage from Santander. Such statements usually occur when intelligence is combined with courage. Don Marcelino’s great readers have always had to deal with a lack of intelligence, if not complete ignorance, of his ill-wishers. In truth, all of us reading Don Marcelino today face similar challenges, especially when we try to make our readings of his work public. Neither Brujo de Villahisan nor José Luis are alone in this; I have a feeling that some of your most egregious readers have experienced similar inconveniences in the past.

Ramiro de Maesto and Louis Arakistein These can only be two examples out of hundreds of authors who made the defense of Don Marcelino a sensible way of learning about the Spanish past, in order to shape the present and future of a country that despised everything it did not know. Two very smart people, both rivals and opponents, had a common cause: protecting the life and work of Don Marcelino. Both of them were outstanding journalists. The first, arrested just after the outbreak of the civil war, was shot by revolutionaries in Madrid (Aravaca) in 1936; the second, the highest agitator in the socialist ranks of that war, director of the magazine Leviathan from PSOE he died in exile, repenting of his warlike impulses. The two, however, will always be united in their defense against Menendez Pelayo’s hardships.

The Maeztu case is relevant because it began with consideration ruthless arbitrariness of the historical erudition of Don Marcelino and ended with a passionate defense of all his works. If I leave the wavering Azorin aside Maestu is the only one who teaches us a lesson in intellectual self-criticism, among all authors of “Generation 98” in relation to the positions taken young people writers, artists and intellectuals who did not want or, worse, could not appreciate the main purpose of his work: the reconstruction of the entire history of Spain. They lacked the patience and intelligence to appreciate the lines of succession that Don Marcelino discovered in our history of literature, art and thought. Apart from the injustice of some young people who wanted to break with the whole Spanish past, including the work of the first modern man who taught us what is spanish, a thousand things we can learn from Maestu’s self-criticism. This is not trivial, because these young destroyers, simply and even dryly, were part of the most brilliant generations in the history of literature, art and philosophy, who, after our Golden Age, gave Spain a universal culture. It’s about generations of silver. Most of the authors of those intellectual generations after Don Marcelino broke with him, because he represented the past, and after the defeat of 98, they only wanted new life… That was the name of the weekly, which Maeztu himself founded together with Baroha and Azorin. Their goal was to reform everything, although they did not know how to do it. In addition to the reasons for the national defeat and the responsibility of official Spain, Maesto strikes with pessimism and says enough. It is necessary to build with statements, as Pedro de Tena would say today, a new Spain.

Maesto and his generational associates are campaigning to review Spain’s values ​​in Madrid newspapers. All this was collected in a book called To another Spain, 1899, was the only book of his youth about which he later said without hesitation: “All of its pages deserve to be burned, but the title expresses the ideal of 98 and now.” Of all the authors of the 98th generation, it was Maezt in journalism who had to fight the traditionalism of that time through the culture… It becomes new myth… This is what allows you to go beyond your personal passions. Maeztu rants against everyone and everything. Between 1898 and 1905, this was the conscience of a conquered and punished people. All his critical work in relation to official Spain does not leave a single puppet with his head, among them the figure of Menendez Pelayo stands out, but based on his experience of working in London as a newspaper correspondent. Press, his position on Spain in general and Don Marcelino in particular is not only changing, but also believes that Europe cannot teach Spain anything

His London years mark the intellectual zenith of his influence on the European press. Here he writes, when Don Marcelino dies, one of his wonderful articles on values ​​that personify the image of the wise man: loyalty or patriotism, truthfulness and fortitude… According to Maeztu, during the years of the Restoration of the Regency, Don Marcelino’s influence was pervasive. Undeniably deserved. In patriotism, no one defeated him, but in wisdom he excelled everyone. A love of knowledge or a claim to truthfulness encouraged “an unwavering demand to show the world the existence of Spanish science and to persuade the Spaniards to shape themselves spiritually with our traditional knowledge” as opposed to universal knowledge. Yes, among all the virtues that adorned the sage, it was first of all truthfulness, love of knowledge, constant purification and distinction between opinions and knowledge, the first of which was allocated to Maezt.

He contrasted this claim to the veracity of Don Marcelino with imposed voices, sometimes false and affected by the hypocrisy of beautiful souls belonging to Maest’s own generation, who, in a 1932 essay, remember the image of Menendez Pelayo. on the twentieth anniversary of his death, he openly denounced Generation 98’s misunderstanding with Menendez Pelayo. Self-criticism to Maeztu – to remember: “98 came, and the bitterness of defeat at the hands of a people who had no traditions (…) made many Spaniards neglect the value of Menendez Pelayo’s research. What is the use of our coats of arms and knowledge? (…). Spain needs cars, money and warships (…). “New life” (…); “A double key to Sid’s grave so that he no longer travels” (Costa). And then I called Menendez Pelayo, without having read it, but with the devotion of a journalist who must be a tight rope in the window so that the wind from the street vibrates in it: “Sad collector of dead trinkets.”

And the fact is that the value of 98 was not otherwise: “Well, the people, who are only richer than us, have defeated us, we will take care of the economy, not of traditions.” AND this is what we did mostly from 98… The words with which I ended my booklet then, To another Spain, they said literally (God forgive me!): “Since money was won on the sword of the military, on the cross of the religious and on the balance of the judge, this is because they include excellent greatness, strength. more intense than any of these artifacts. ” Until now in this century, Spain has mainly cared for, with more or less ability, its economy, its railways, banks, canals, irrigation, olive groves, wineries and so on. And since Menendez Pelayo had nothing to do with this activity, his position moved from the center of the stage to a secondary place. “

Two years later, in 1934, Maesto reiterates his self-criticism. Now in a more than dramatic, tragic tone. The Thinker senses evil coming to Spain. The machines from ’98 were destroyers; we didn’t want to realize that Menendez Pelayo was a true and highly developed conservative of history. I myself, says Maeztu, “called him (without reading it) a sad collector of dead trinkets.” We refuse to study his legacy: no civilization without continuity… “Anyone who has not yet realized that we are nothing but what we were, that our being consists only of the years that we carry on our backs and our experiences, plus the inaccessible spark of immortality, will fall under the temptation to accept past for death.

In Menendez Pelayo, the spirit of preservation is superimposed on the spirit of destruction that has caused so many impetuous souls to join the ranks under the banner of “blob and new account.” Temptation Bolshevik On the other hand, he is the same age as Adam (…). But Menendez Pelayo felt sorry for the past since childhood (…). His voice was like the voice of the whole city (…). In addition, by uniting the voices and hearts of Hispanic people, he also became a sculptor, modeler, remake, almost the creator of our spiritual unity. “

Sorry my friend, how long is your date, but this it is necessary to know what risks we run when we forget our past… This is what the socialist Luis Arakistein saw at the same time at an unusual conference held at the University of Berlin in 1932 on Marcelino Menendez Pelayo and German culture. But this, dear Dr. Sidad, we will leave for the next birth.

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