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11: Epilogue

<< 10: 1936: Civil War || Some Relevant Books

    In the United States as in England, the Spanish Civil War was seen as a fight against the Nazi-Fascist threat; there was little understanding of the complexity of the Spanish situation. The University of California at Berkeley had a left-wing faculty; in fact, some belonged to the Communist Party. The myth that the Lincoln Brigade (actually a battalion) was fighting for western-style democracy survives until this day. In fact it was really supporting the cause of Stalin. When I came to Stanford University in 1941 the situation was quite different. While pro-republican sentiment was general on the campus, the head of the Spanish department, Aurelio M. Espinosa was an extreme pro-Franco Catholic. He came from a tiny village in the borderlands of Colorado and New Mexico, and his Catholicism was typical of his generation in that area. Today it has been secularized, but my diplomacy was strained as I stood between him and those who hated Franco.

    I wanted to revisit Spain to study its intellectual life after the Civil War, so I applied for a grant to a major foundation run by a former professor I knew. He was in a quite different field, but I assumed that he would turn my application over to the appropriate officer. I was disappointed when it was turned down. Then I read that he had divorced his wife, and was taking his new wife to Spain for their honeymoon. In Spain he would study, and then followed a text very close to my own proposal. I never saw his report, if any. I concluded that, like God, but in a less noble way, foundations move in a mysterious way. Fortunately I received a grant from another source.

    In 1953 I therefore revisited Spain and met the new generation of intellectuals, including several then little known but who became famous later, like the novelist and Nobel laureate Camilo José Cela. Some of the older generation were still alive, although most of my earlier friends were dead or in exile. I visited Times correspondent Ernest Grimaud de Caux, who had returned with his wife to their old apartment after spending the war years interned in Biarritz. It was a sad meeting. He was his old, kind self, but his wife had lost her mind and did not know who I was. We talked about old times and the Civil War . I mentioned that students at the Residencia had looted my room, and I assumed I had lost a remarkable antique he had given me: a clock from the Napoleonic era, showing the Emperor and an aide riding in the background, while a French and a Spanish soldier fought it out in the foreground. He reassured me happily that he had realized the danger that it would be stolen; he had gone to the Residencia and recovered it. He brought it from his storage room, and gave it to me. It is now on a wall in my Stanford home, a cherished memento of one of the kindest people I have ever known. He died in 1960, aged 81. He and his wife are now buried in a Madrid cemetery.

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    I called on Gregorio Marañón at his Madrid home. This remarkable man had strived in vain to prevent the Civil War, which he miraculously survived. Since few English or American Hispanists had visited Spain since the Civil War, I was everywhere a cordial reception by all, and especially by Marañón. He invited me to visit his cigarral (country home) in Toledo, where I went that weekend. Again, we had a long and pleasant conversation. As a memento of our meeting, he gave me an admittedly worm-eaten copy of the 1627 edition of the books of Santa Teresa, originally published in 1587. It has 775 pages, with some 80 pages of tables, really an index, drawn up by Santa Teresa herself. It contains three of her books: her “Life”, the “Way of Perfection,” and the “Spiritual Castle.” Surprisingly, the page-long “censura”, i.e. nihil obstat, was signed by Fray Luis de León, who had serious problems with the Inquisition himself, as did Santa Teresa herself. That these two noble souls were thus hounded is evidence that there was much truth to the Black Legend. Marañón inscribed the book to me, and it keeps alive in me the memory of another noble Spaniard.

    Quite different was my meeting with the novelist Pío Baroja (1872-1956), who had posed as a revolutionary but had made his peace with the Franco regime, which held him in low esteem, as I do. I had always detested him since I read his silly novels. A Carlist gang threatened to shoot him; he escaped to France, where he wrote articles for the Latin American press, and then returned to Madrid. He has been called a fascist, a charge rejected by his admirer Caro Raggio, who has edited his works. He was now a sick, aging man, and he lay on his bed while we conversed. Really it was a monologue; fascinated with political violence, he would narrate in graphic detail a political assassination during the monarchy, and end by saying to me “It’s terrible, but it’s interesting, isn't it!” Then he would begin the story of another assassination, always with the same coda, and then da capo. He was clearly reliving events of his youth. He died three years later. I regret that the Basques have made him rather than Unamuno a hero, probably because they find his violence attractive or because there are few other Basque novelists.

    I visited the Residencia, which had been taken over by the Opus Dei, including the Auditorium, in which the library I had directed was located. The hall where many famous men had lectured had been transformed into a majestic church. I was surprised to see the wizened, rather gross caretaker I had known still there. I asked him about the transformation. “Cosas de curas!” he said with disgust—”priests and things!” Actually, there was an improvement. The buildings were now used by the Higher Council of Scientific Education, and, instead of rebellious students, the previously spartan, unattractive dormitories, now tastefully furnished, housed researchers attached to the Council.

    The Church had recovered its ancient privileges, and through the Opus Dei had gained control of the universities. However, already the enthusiasm for Franco was waning, and, when I called attention to the plaque on a church commemorating the founder of the Falange, José Antonio Primo de Rivera, my host expressed indifference by shrugging his shoulders. The feeling about Franco was expressed in the story about a foreign journalist who was writing an article about Franco’s popularity. He consulted one Spaniard, who took him into a corner and, making sure that no one else would hear him, he said in a low voice as though making a confession “You know, I like him.” I visited the Escorial, where now in the mountainside in the Valle de los Caídos—the Valley of the Fallen— a huge mausoleum had been carved out to house the remains of those killed on both sides. It was to symbolize reconciliation. Franco himself was later buried there.

    I ran into Franco’s censorship myself. In 1938 I toured the United States visiting centers of Hispanic research. Out of this came my Handbook of Hispanic Source Materials and Research Organizations in the United States. The University of Toronto Press published the first edition in 1942.  It attracted considerable attention, since no such survey had been made. A second edition was published by Stanford University Press in 1956, and a third edition is badly needed. In 1944 a Spanish Franciscan scholar Lino Gómez Canedo, whom I did not know, requested permission to translate the first edition. I readily agreed, and he did an excellent job. Cultura Hispánica was supposed to publish it, but then everything ground to a halt. Obviously I had been blacklisted as a liberal, as though that infected my scholarship. When in Madrid, I complained sharply about this censorship. My complaint was greeted with a scowl, but the wheels started turning again, and the translation appeared in 1957.

    I went to Lisbon, and called on the philosopher José Ortega y Gasset who was living in exile there. In Madrid, during the republic, of which he was a guru, I had found him stiff and pompous. Many intellectuals were thus during the Republic, of which they were the high priests, but exile deflated them. We had a long conversation, such as I had never had with him before, and he was charming. He impressed me as being very intelligent and well-informed, especially about politics, which was the main subject of our conversation. The son of journalist, he grew up in a very political atmosphere. He returned to Madrid, and died in 1955, aged only 72 (he was born in 1883).  He was far from being a leftist. His idea of an elite as a creative minority had a great appeal for the founder of the fascist Falange, José Antonio Primo de Rivera, whom the left had executed in Alicante in November 1936, shortly after the outbreak of the war. The black side of the admiration of the Falange’s founder was that Ortega himself was denounced as a fascist. In reality, the ideas of Ortega y Gasset were similar to those Madariaga expressed in O jerarquía o anarquía. Ortega was especially disliked in Catalonia because of this assertion that Castilians had what he called don de mando, the gift of governing, or rather commanding. The Catalans did not want to be bossed around by Castilians, and it must be admitted that in the Civil War this “gift of commanding” was conspicuously lacking among Castilians.

    I also visited Barcelona and stayed with my old hosts, the Pujol family, who had moved away from the center of Barcelona. The old Catalan movement had gone under ground or into exile. The atmosphere had changed, as had the language. Free political discussion was out, as was the use of the Catalan language. The city had been cleaned up, unlike some places I had visited, including Guadalajara, much of which was still in ruins. When Franco died, the old Catalan movement burst out more vigorously than ever, and with it the Catalan language. The new defiant attitude is still apparent in Catalonia.

    Since the Civil War, Spain under Franco had been boycotted by Western academics, so I had first-hand information and impressions which few if any of my colleagues had. While passing through New York, I called on the well-known Hispanist Federico de Onís, head of Columbia University’s Spanish program. I had known him when he was visiting professor at Oxford University. I took a seminar of his, and he was a fascinating speaker. Since he had not been in Spain since the Civil War, I thought he would be interested in my report. He received me cordially, and when I told him I had just been in Spain, he interrupted me and said “Look, I'll tell you what is going on in Spain.”, and he talked for a solid hour telling me his interpretation of the situation in Spain. I could not get a word in edgeways, so I finally interrupted him and said that I had to be going. He was sorry that I had interrupted his soliloquy, but we parted cordially without my having said more than a few words. I concluded that Spaniards speak beautifully, but are poor listeners. That may be a cause of the tragedy of Spanish history, indeed of the Civil War. The Spanish proverb says “Hablando se entiende la gente”—-”By talking people understand each other”—-nothing there about listening.


    The twentieth anniversary in 1998 of the constitution of 1978 brought up the whole constitutional question. In 1812 the Cortes de Cádiz passed the constitution which occupies a place of honor in Spanish history comparable to that of the American constitution in the United States. The difference is that the American constitution has survived without interruption, whereas the Spanish constitution of 1812 was the victim of the restoration of Fernando VII in 1815. The very idea of a constitution was repugnant to conservatives, especially to the Carlists, and the question arose as to whether the monarch, anointed by God, generously granted a constitution to his subjects, or whether these, whose will was the voice of God, had the initiative and granted sovereignty to the monarch. In any case, the result was that when a constitution was approved, the main squares of cities were named “Plaza de la Constitución” only to have the name erased when the constitution was discarded by the monarch. To trace this dismal history would be irrelevant, but we must consider the constitution of 1931, which failed.

    The congress elected in June 1931 was a constituent assembly, full of internal divisions. The president was the Catholic Niceto Alcalá Zamora. He and another Catholic leader, Miguel Maura, resigned in October in protest against the anti-clerical provisions of the constitution, which separated Church and State. Alcalá Zamora was, however, elected President of the Republic, to the annoyance of the anti-clericals, who from then on plotted to depose him, finally succeeding in 1936. They used a technical excuse about the number of the president’s terms, a problem which has arisen in the United States. A hereditary monarchy solves that problem, although there might be an argument about succession. There is concern in this regard that the heir apparent, Felipe Prince of Asturias, has given no hint that he plans marriage, despite many hopeful young ladies. Another, important structural weakness of the 1931 constitution was the absence of a senate, which would have provided stability. Instead, the demagoguery of the leftists prevailed. This weakness was denounced by José Calvo Sotelo, whose assassination was to be the signal for civil war.

    After the death of Franco in 1975, a new constitutional order was established thanks to a former Franco bureaucrat, Adolfo Suárez González, whose Union of the Democratic Center won the June 1977 elections, the first free elections in forty years. He had startled the conservatives by legalizing the Communist Party in April, thus inciting unrest in the Guardia Civil. He prepared the new constitution which was approved in December 1978. Although he and his party were roundly defeated by Felipe González and his Socialist Party in 1982, he remained a hero of the new order. The other hero was King Juan Carlos I, who in 1981 defied a Guardia Civil gang which, led by Lt. Colonel Antonio Tejero, invaded the Congress hall only to give up when the king denounced them and asserted his support for a constitutional regime.

    Sobered by this experience and realizing how fragile the constitutional order is, the political parties, even the Communist Party, have behaved with remarkable decorum, engaging in serious debates of a high quality. Indeed, there is no country in the world which surpasses Spain in this regard. The contrast between the raucous 1931 debates and those of the present is extraordinary. We may compare the rabble-rousing La Pasionaria of the 1931-36 republic with Rosa Aguilar, the leading woman of the present Communist Party. She, like the other party leaders, speaks like a “statesperson” who commands respect.

    The profound satisfaction Spaniards feel because of the survival of the new constitution was expressed in the celebration of its twentieth anniversary. For two days, the congress chamber, once the scene of shooting by the Guardia Civil, was open to the public, who crowded in. They were allowed to sit in the seats of the deputies while leaders explained to them the significance of the constitution. The celebrations culminated on December 6, when a thousand guests, from the royal family to sports figures, attended a reception, symbolic of the supremacy of parliament.

    The absence of a senate in the 1931 constitution was recognized as a weakness, and the 1978 constitution includes one. However, whereas the Senate plays an important role in the United States, in Spain, as in many other countries, it plays a subordinate role and is commonly referred to as “the great unknown.” The fact that it is located in another part of Madrid isolates it. To give it more publicity, it was made the center of attention a few days after the celebrations in the lower house. A major exhibition was held on the history of the constitution, and the public was admitted into the chamber. Spanish TV ran a program from there, with the president of the senate answering questions about its role.

    The left seemed unhappy with that role, since it is, as is usually the case, to force the lower chamber to reconsider its decisions. It is therefore essentially conservative. The dissatisfaction of the left came out when it asked the lower chamber to reconsider a budget decision. The problem was that José María Aznar’s government was really a minority one and depended on the Catalan and Basque nationalists for its majority, However, the nationalists disagreed sharply with Aznar over the budget, so he referred the matter to the Senate. The left, which had cast a shadow on the constitution by trying to establish a confederate state, objected on the grounds that financial matters were strictly the domain of the lower house. The issue remained unresolved, but the left did not suggest that the Senate should be abolished.

    The constitution, referred to as the “carta magna,” was repeatedly shown on television. It opened conspicuously with the name of King Juan Carlos 1, which was not only a tribute to him but also a symbol of the reconciliation between the monarchy and the congress. We sincerely hope that the constitution survives as the American one has. Banzai!

    By coincidence, King Juan Carlos I had another occasion to express his support for the constitution a few days later, on December 9, when in Madrid, as in other capitals, ceremonies were held to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. There was an impressive ceremony in the Royal Palace attended by some 1,000 guests. The King read a speech in praise of human rights. This coincided with the British government’s acceding to Spain’s demand that Chilean ex-dictator General Augusto Pinochet be extradited to face charges in Spain. This was an explosive issue, since it brought up the whole question of human rights throughout the world. Implicitly it affected Spain, since the King was really saying that he would never accept a dictatorship as his grandfather Alfonso XIII had that of Primo de Rivera. The speech was really written by the conservative government of José María Aznar and was a retort to the Basque nationalists who accused it of having fascist, pro-Franco inclinations. Presumably those responsible for the killings in the early days of the Franco dictatorship were dead, so the issue was not comparable with those committed more recently by Latin American generals, still alive. They were admirers of Franco, but now this hero was discredited.

    The issue of the status of the autonomous regions, conspicuously Catalonia and the Basque provinces, so important in the establishment of the republic in 1931 and in its defeat in the Civil War, was still very much alive. Many Basques and Catalans demanded that the constitution be revised to meet their demands, and they were supported by the Communist Party, which proposed a very loose federation. The other parties, including the Socialists, opposed this potential fragmentation of Spain, and Aznar repeatedly said there was no need to revise the constitution. The acute issue was the peace of the Basque provinces, which was threatened again when the Nationalists set up a coalition excluding the national parties. It then proceeded to withdraw the guards who accompanied the members of the Partido Popular on the pretext that ETA had promised to forsake violence. Aznar’s party expressed its disagreement. The Basque members of his party showed courage in continuing despite the increased possibility that they would be the target of assassination attempts like so many of their colleagues. That drama is still being played out.

    The first President of the Republic, Niceto Alcalá Zamora, exiled in Buenos Aires, died there on February 18, 1941. In a stupidly unkind gesture, the Franco government stripped him of his citizenship, even though he was a Catholic conservative. On the fiftieth anniversary of his death in 1999, Prime Minister José María Aznar rescinded the Franco decree and announced that Alcalá Zamora had died a Spaniard. While this rehabilitation was clearly part of a campaign to prove that, despite ETA, Acción Popular was not franquista, it was also appreciated as an appropriate gesture of respect for a man whom both the left and the Franquistas had treated disgracefully.

                       THE FALSIFICATION OF HISTORY

    This book is the record of one who lived through the whole period of the Republic, from the fall of the monarchy to the Civil War, and knew many of the leading figures of the period. The facts lead to the conclusion that serious individuals, like the members—Ortega y Gasset, Marañón, Madariaga—of Al Servicio de la República, could have saved the republic, while crazy individuals like García Lorca, Picasso, and la Pasionaria were in large measure responsible for the chaos which discredited it.

    A strange thing has happened. In the monarchy of King Juan Carlos and conservative Prime Minister José María Aznar, Ortega and his fellows are seldom mentioned, whereas there is a cult of García Lorca and Picasso, neither of whom would have favored a monarchy; they are given undeserved credit. The explanation is simply political correctness, similar to that in the United States where conservatives like the Christian Coalition are vilified. University presidents bow to political correctness for fear of triggering leftist campus riots.

    Strangely Luis de Góngora became the historic symbol of this group, in disregard of Cervantes or Spain’s great thinkers. The explanation may be that this was the period of art for art’s sake, and the young leftists wanted to be viewed as arty. Moreover, Góngora was Andalusian, as were García Lorca, Picasso and many of the Residencia group. From this survey it should be clear that, like Emilia Pardo Bazán I did not fall for Andalusian charm, what the Uruguayan novelist Carlos Reyles calls El Embrujo de Sevilla, the enchantment of Seville. Of all the peoples of Spain, the Andalusians are temperamentally the least qualified to run the country.

    The cult of Góngora, who had been dismissed as baroque and unreasonable, goes back to the Generation of ‘27, which held in that year a meeting in the Ateneo of Madrid, a leftist intellectual center. The cry was “Viva don Luis!” (Góngora). He was born in Córdoba, but Seville was idealized, not the Seville of the great cathedral but the Seville of bullfights (which really Europeanized men like Blasco Ibáñez despised, while one of García Lorca’s most famous poems is about the death of a famous bullfighter). What a decline! The Generation of ‘98 had serious concerns about the plight of Spain exposed by its defeat in the war with the United States, whereas the Generation of ‘27 had as its slogan (“grito”) “Viva don Luis!” To mark the thirtieth anniversary of that “grito,” the Residencia de Estudiantes, the gathering place of García Lorca’s gang, sponsored in 1987-88 an exhibition in Seville devoted to it. Two sections were entitled “Air of the Andalusian Rome: poetry and bulls,” and “Seville, the capital of Spanish poetry.” To compare Seville with Rome is an expression of a weirdly distorted historical perspective.

    García Lorca despised the monarchy, but this was not mentioned when King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía, on the centennial of his birth, they opened the year of celebrations at his birthplace in Fuente Vaqueros. He was born to the second wife of his father, who married her shortly after the death of his first wife. In all these accounts of his life there was no mention of the less attractive sides, including the possibility that he was not killed by the hated Guardia Civil but died in a homosexual brawl. In Granada, the Andalusian city closest to Fuente Vaqueros, the International Festival of Music and Dance devoted programs to Lorca and his contemporaries Rilke, Apollinaire and Shostakovich. It was an indigestible mixture, and the reviews were not too favorable.

    Lorca’s homosexuality was the subject of a play he wrote, El Público, which was virtually suppressed in his lifetime, but which was performed in El Teatro de la Luna in Arlington, Virginia in April 1988. It is a crazy play in which the “hero” talks to a horse, Christ is shown wrapped in cellophane on the cross, a lovely woman comes to life on her deathbed to make love to a horse, and actors crawl around on the floor. I recall that in Madrid at the time the 10-minute film “Ecstasy” of the American actress Hedy Lamarr, playing nude, was a great success. In it for some reason, which only a specialist in abnormal psychology can explain, the horse is a sex-symbol. Is this the idiocy to which modern Spain wants to look back with pride and official blessing?

    Numerous articles recalled La Barraca, the student theatrical group which toured Spain, with special attention given to “Fuente Ovejuna,” a name of a village where the peasants killed the unjust Commander (official ruling the district).  When justice officials demanded “Who killed the Commander?”, they shout in unison “The whole village!” (“¿Quién mató al Comendador?” “¡Fuenteoverjuna, Señor!”). It is curious that the name Fuenteovejuna is similar to that of García Lorca’s birthplace, Fuente Vaqueros. The play is really an incitement to mass violence, the kind of things La Pasionaria was preaching. La Barraca was essentially a left-wing propaganda operation. Yet, to mark the Lorca centennial, the conservative government issued a big stamp with a portrait of him flanked by the symbol of La Barraca.

    Barcelona was during the Civil War a center of leftists generally, and conspicuously of anarchists. Unlike Ortega y Gasset, regarded as a conservative centralist, Lorca was very popular there. The painter Joan Brossa, who died at the end of 1998, fought in the republican forces during the Civil War, and, as his obituary pointed out, did so with a book by García Lorca in his pocket, as a Christian might carry a bible. Brossa was a strange surrealist poet and painter who wrote in Catalan. Like Dalí, he represented the crazy opposition to the practical spirit of the businesslike Catalans.

    For some reason the Inter-American Development Bank joined the Spanish Embassy in sponsoring the performance of programs honoring Lorca. My guess is that the Spanish government calculated that in Latin America Lorca will have more popular appeal than Ortega y Gasset. Obviously his theater appeals to a mass audience which would never dream of reading the philosopher.

    It must have been cunning rather than ignorance which led the conservative government of the monarchy to co-opt even the famous Communists, suppressing all reference to their political allegiance for fear of being branded fascists or franquistas. The most notorious was the case of the surviving members of the International Brigades, which were Stalinist. They were received with great honor and made honorary citizens, without any reference to their political allegiance. There was no similar honoring for any who fought on the Franquista side.    

    Pablo Picasso was a Communist who never voiced any opposition to Stalin. His famous painting “Guernica” was originally to have been about bullfighting; hence the horse rearing up. It was renamed “Guernica” when the republican government asked him for a painting to display at an exhibit it was staged in 1937 in Paris, where Picasso lived. Now, the monarchical government, which he would have despised, treats the painting like an icon, displaying it in a special hall in Madrid, with no mention of its spurious origin or the painter’s political beliefs. Although he lived most of his life in Barcelona and France, Picasso was really Andalusian, having been born in 1881 in Malaga, the home of the founders of the Residencia. He died in France in 1973. While it is politically correct to admire his art, the consensus is that as a person he was quite nasty. There was no mention of this when King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia dedicated his birthplace as a museum devoted to him.

    It is politically incorrect to criticize Picasso; to do so invites damnation as a reactionary, a bourgeois, or a philistine. Yet there may be an explanation to the weirdness of his paintings.. In addition to an unbalanced personality, he may have suffered from an eye problem.  “The Biology of Art” (The Economist, 4/3/99) is an important article summarizing the scientific study of the effect of defects of vision on painting.  It is illustrated with reproductions of French painting of the Picasso period.  Either Picasso himself suffered from those visual problems, or he imitated those who did.  The pathology of his work deserved scientific study. The same could be said of Salvador Dalí, who was concerned about his own sanity and visited Freud in London.

    My pricking of the balloon carrying Picasso, García Lorca, and co to the heights of international fame let out the hot, foul air. The politically and artistically correct were dismayed, but now that the balloonists come back to earth, the world will see them as I knew them before their ride, as a group of sick individuals.

    Many of them realized they were unbalanced and consulted Freud. Clinical confirmation now comes from Professor John Casida of the University of California and his team in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Following the example (?) of well-known French writers and artists, Picasso and others were addicted to the "green fairy," absinthe. Their psychiatric, self-destructive symptoms were due to absinthe's effect on the GABA receptor controlling the excitation of brain signals. Because of this it was banned in the US in 1912, but Ernest Hemingway continued to drink it long after that in Europe. He refers to it is his books on Spain, Death in the Afternoon and For Whom the Bell Tolls.  Professor John Casida and his group explained their findings at the 2000 annual national meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Francisco. Contemporary writers and artists in this tradition get their kick from crack and other drugs. Caveat emptor.

   In all this fanfare about leftist artists, praise for Ortega y Gasset among the intellectuals was scarcely audible. There was a new edition of La Rebelión de las Masas and some critical works. notably Pensamiento de la Liberación. Proyección de Ortega en Iberoamérica by José Luis Martínez Gómez and Entre la jerarquía y la liberación: Ortega y Gasset y Leopoldo Zea by Tzvi Medin. While this imbalance between Lorca and Ortega y Gasset is unfortunate, it should not be unexpected. Americans know about the Civil War from Hemingway’s distorted popular account, not from sober studies by scholars like Burnett Bolloten, Raymond Carr, Stanley Payne, Paul Preston, or David Wingeate Pike. The fight against the “artistic” misrepresentation of history is endless, and probably hopeless.

    The Spanish Academy of Letters has recovered its “royal” status, it is now again the Real Academia, and its standing has been restored as part of the revival of the apparatus of the monarchy. From 1968 to 1980 its director was my old Oxford sponsor  Dámaso Alonso, who was not a political figure and whom I had met again in Franco Spain just before he became Director of the Academy.

    The centennial of his birth in 1898 provided an occasion to pay almost extravagant tribute to him, really to the Academy.  It was organized by his successor Fernando Lázaro Ferreter, whom I also knew and who was likewise not a political figure. He described Dámaso Alonso as much more than a poet of the Generation of [19]27.  He was “a fundamental figure in our culture.”

    Then there was another ceremony a month later in November attended by King Juan Carlos. It was really a pretext for him to give the Academy his royal blessing. He opened the handsome Sala Dámaso Alonso, which contains  his  ”book legacy”. At the same time the Institute of Lexicography was inaugurated, with its impressive new data bank. Dámaso Alonso had left “an important sum of money” in his will for it. This surprised me, since I never thought of him as wealthy. It seems obvious that both for the Franco regime and the monarchy he was a safe figure. His promotion of the Spanish language was much appreciated, since it is a continuation of the 1492 proclamation of Elio Antonio de Nebrija that “language is the instrument of empire.” Spain is using the Spanish language to rebuild its ties with Spanish-speaking America.

    The attempt to refurbish the image of the monarchy continued with the celebrations of the centennial of the death of Felipe II in 1598. Since he was known in England as the “Devil of the South” and was married to “bloody Queen Mary,” who persecuted English Protestants,  it was especially appropriate to get an English historian, Henry Kamen,  to promote this historical revision. His Philip of Spain (Yale University Press, 1997, pp.384) has been highly praised by specialists as “the first full-scale biography of him,” which is not quite true. He is also the author of The Spanish Inquisition, an attempt to lighten the color of that essential element of “the black legend.”  He is a professor at the Barcelona branch of the Higher Council for Scientific Research, and has published some works in Catalan, but his main concern is with 16th-century Spain, on which he is considered the leading specialist. The two aforementioned book have been translated into several languages. A British scholar with his standing is ideal for the rehabilitation of Philip II, who has been the target of leading historians like Jules Michelet, an anticlerical of Huguenot origin.

    Under the title “Philip II, A Monarch and his Epoch,” three exhibitions were held as part of the rehabilitation of Philip II. The first was held in the Escorial, his greatest monument, and dealt with his life.  The second was held in the Prado Museum under the title “A renaissance Prince,” and described his role as an art patron. The third was held in Philip´s birthplace, Valladolid, and was devoted to the Spain of his time. These exhibitions followed one to rehabilitate King Juan Carlos´grandfather, Alfonso XIII, who was overthrown by the Republic in 1931. All this was in sharp contrast with the long campaign to discredit the monarchy, which culminated in 1931, when I first arrived in Spain.

    The history of modern literature and art is very unfair Flashy writers and artists who took a strong political position, like García Lorca and Picasso, have been idolized uncritically, whereas quiet, more sensitive writers are forgotten. A case in point is Antonio Machado, born in 1875, who, before the turmoil of the republic, was regarded as a sensitive poet in the best Spanish tradition.  He still is by specialists. The Diccionario de Literatura Española (Madrid: Revista de Occidente, 1953) devotes a long article to him.

    He was born in Seville, where his father was a folklorist.  Both he and his brother Manuel, also a poet, went to Madrid to study. They were close to each other and collaborated in theatrical productions. Less important as a writer, Manuel was the happier of the two; he died peacefully in Madrid in 1947.

    Fate was unkind in its harsh treatment of the sensitive poet Antonio, a shy individual. He was deeply attached to his wife Leonor, whose death in 1912 affected him profoundly; thereafter death was a major theme in his poetry. The end of his life was equally tragic. A supporter of the republic, he went to Valencia in 1936 when the Civil War broke out and the republican government moved there. He collaborated in Hora de España, writing articles supporting the republican cause. Like many republicans, he was forced to flee the advancing Franco troops, and, with his old mother and other members of his family, he crossed into France at Collioure on the Mediterranean. Both Antonio and his mother were exhausted and sick. They died a there few days later. James Whiston has done a good job of rescuing him from oblivion in Antonio Machado´s Writings and the Spanish Civil War (University of Liverpool Press, 1996, pp.261).

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