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9: 1935-1936: To Italy and Back

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    Having received a grant to study in Italy, I went on a clockwise tour of the Western Mediterranean, first through France to Perugia. It was the period of Mussolini and the Ethiopian war. After the tensions and chaos in Spain, Italy seemed very orderly; the trains ran on time. Italy’s fascism was unlike Hitler’s Nazism. Mussolini enjoyed wide support. The family with which I stayed owned a grocery store. The Communists had invaded it and stolen all the vino santo. I heard this story innumerable times, and there was, as in Spain, a real fear of Communism. There was some opposition, but nothing like the gestapo. Once in a cafe I asked someone there what fascism was. His angry and negative picture of it caught the attention of the proprietor, but he merely scowled in an embarrassed way. The war in Ethiopia seemed far off. Once when I was strolling through the Umbrian countryside, I chatted with a peasant. He asked me in a worried way: “Is it true that there is a war going on?” The Church was coming to terms with the regime. I bought a postcard showing a pious-looking Italian soldier leaning on his rifle, equipped with a bayonet, while the Virgin Mary blessed him from above. From Perugia I traveled all the way down the coast and into Sicily, visiting historic sites, but I heard little about the war.

As for Spain, there was practically no talk about the republic and its politics. The attitude toward Spain was one of disdain or dislike of its historical role in Italy. This was partly the result of I Promessi sposi (1827) by Alessandro Manzoni, which was published in English under the title The Betrothed (1834). Manzoni is to modern Italian what Goethe is to German. Manzoni was born in Milan and wrote the novel originally in Milanese dialect, but he went to Florence and rewrote it to make sure that it was in the best Florentine language. As a result, it is required reading in schools, and, since it is a story of Milan under Spanish rule in the seventeenth century, it has fixed in the minds of Italians a memory of Spanish tyranny. Since the book was immensely popular throughout Europe, it contributed to the “Black Legend” of Spain’s nefarious role in the world.

    Northern Italians despise the Mezzogiorno, the south, and the role of Spain there has only heightened the blackness of the Black Legend. In fact, the growth of the mafia occurred during the Spanish rule over “the Two Sicilies,” as the area was historically known. The Normans seized Sicily beginning in 1060. They were succeeded by the Angevins in 1266, but the 1282 uprising known as the Sicilian Vespers ended their rule in Sicily, which became an Aragonese kingdom, and was absorbed, together with Naples, by Ferdinand V of Castile in 1503. The whole area remained under the control of Spain until the Treaty of Utrecht (1713). In 1735, the two Sicilies were ceded to the Spanish Bourbons, but were not to become part of Spain. The area became part of Italy in 1860 following the campaign of Giuseppe Garibaldi. There was a parallel between the liberation of the North from the Spanish Hapsburgs and of the South from the Spanish Bourbons. As a result of this history (here necessarily simplified), the North has viewed the South with the disdain of the French who, speaking of Spain, said “Africa begins in the Pyrenees.”

    From Palermo I took the overnight boat to Tunisia, then a French protectorate. In Carthage I had a long talk with an old Père Blanc, attached to the cathedral built in Moslem style. He told me his sad tale. He had spent his life traveling through the Sahara and beyond, preaching to the heathen and making converts. When he went back next year, all his converts had gone over to Islam, whose missionaries were more to their liking. The reasons obviously were simplicity of dogma, the acceptance of polygamy, even of concubinage, and the rejection of pacifism. The old priest did not analyze the causes of his plight. He simply knew he had wasted his life. He ended his sad story by saying “L’Islam, c’est le chef d’œvre du Diable!”— Islam is the Devil’s masterpiece.

    This is an appropriate place to discuss Islam, which figures prominently in the debate among Spaniards about the history and nature of their culture. It is common for Spanish intellectuals to boast that in places like Toledo three religions—Christianity, Judaism, and Islam—coexisted happily. Turning on its head the French charge that Africa begins in the Pyrenees, they say that Spain is Europe’s link with the Arab world and has a special role there. This has led to what might be called the Pink Legend that Islam was a tolerant society, as opposed to the notorious Black Legend that Catholic Spain was a hell of intolerance. Fernando de los Ríos (1879-1949), a nephew of Giner de los Ríos and a professor at the University of Granada before he entered national politics, dreamed of making that university an academic Mecca for Arab students. At the other extreme was Emilia Pardo Bazán, a  feisty neo-Catholic who debunked the Pink Legend of Islam. Possibly, as Spain’s leading feminist, she was especially incensed by the plight of women in the Islamic World. The historic Spanish hatred of the Moors was aroused when Franco used them to put down the revolt of the Asturian miners in 1934. The argument still goes on discreetly today. The government is pro-Catholic and promotes the Catholic tradition, but the annual ceremony in Granada commemorating its conquest by Ferdinand the Catholic has been countered with demonstrations denouncing this act of imperialism. To soften this criticism, the government has promoted exhibits of Hispano-Moresque art, and used a word unknown in the Spain of my time to designate Moorish culture: la arabía.

    This debate has fascinated me. While Catholic Spain’s Black Legend was earned, Spain, along with the Western world, has learned the lesson of religious tolerance. The Moslem world has not, and while the default position of Christianity is pacifism, war being accepted only in extreme cases, in Islam it is an essential part of the promotion of Islam. The claim that the jihad was just a spiritual struggle is just an evasion. As Disraeli said, Islam is Judaism on horseback, spreading around the world, whereas Judaism wandered unwillingly in the diasporas. Some Spaniards speak of friendly, likeable Arabs, but I met none. My ignorance of Arabic was admittedly a barrier. I have many Jewish friends in the United States, and, when I was later lecturing at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, I got along splendidly with the westernized Jews, but I had no contact with the unwesternized Sephardic Jews, originally from Spain who are very similar to the Arabs. In brief, while I promote good relations between the West and Islam, the to me unattractive basic nature of Islam is still there.

    What about the Jews? From Tunisia I crossed over into Algeria, still under French rule. On the way to Bone, the train passed through Numidia, now Souk-Ahras, where St.Augustine was born in 354. He later studied in Carthage, where a Carthaginian woman bore him a son. He spent his last years as Bishop of Hippo, now Bone, where I spent the night. He died a sad death in 430, as the city was being besieged by the Vandals who had swept through Spain (giving its name to Andalusia) and across Africa. Being Arians, the Vandals persecuted the conquered Catholics. They moved on to Rome, which they sacked in 455, gaining for themselves the reputation of being “Vandals.” They destroyed the Roman fleet off Hippo in 468. They set up a kingdom in Tunisia, but in 534 it was conquered by Emperor Justinian’s general Belisarius. In the seventh century the Arabs swept in from the east, and Byzantine rule ended. As a result of these invasions, for which religion provided a pretext, the area was left in ruins. The unity of the Roman mare nostrum was smashed, with the result that the Mediterranean has been a sea of warfare and piracy ever since. I meditated sadly on this as I surveyed the Roman ruins on the coast of Algeria.

    I thought also of the great mystic Ramon Llull (1231-1315), a Majorcan like his fellow Franciscan Junipero Serra (1713-1783), who much later established the California missions. Both have been beatified. Both incarnate the peaceful nature of the Franciscans and the Majorcans. Since he is a great figure in Catalan literature, I had made a special study of Ramon Llull. He was born just three years after the Catalans reconquered Majorca from the Moors, and he was inspired with the hope of converting the Moslems to Christianity. He became professor of Arabic and even translated some of his own works written in Latin into Arabic. He sailed to Tunis and was expelled for preaching Christianity. He came back, this time to Bougie, west of Bone, where he was stoned and died of his wounds. The peaceful Franciscan was a martyr of the fanatic Moslems.

    Before reaching Bougie I stopped at Constantine, then the capital of the easternmost of the three departments into which French Algeria was divided. The Roman emperor renamed the city Constantine with a lack of Christian humility, and strangely it is one of the old names which has not been Arabized. It became French in 1837. It is impressively situated on a plateau 1,000 feet higher than the surrounding plain, from which it is separated by deep ravines on either side. When I arrived it had been the scene of a mass murder of Jews. For ages Jews and Arabs had got along well in Algeria, but the French conquest changed all that. Jews were a powerful force in France, especially after 1870. The Jews easily became French citizens. In fact it was automatic, whereas the Arabs had to overcome many obstacles, especially renouncing their faith, which they refused to do. Thus the Jews became first-class citizens, the Arabs not citizens at all. The result was harsh resentment, for which the French must take the blame.

Residentes, Semblanzas y Recuerdos (Madrid: Alianza, 1989, pp.147). It was published posthumously by his heirs. Don Alberto was a kind man, who practiced “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.” The result again is a secular “flos sanctorum” which I do not emulate here. Much of the book is devoted to distinguished foreigners who had visited the Residencia. In his English exile, Don Alberto seemed to console himself by remembering old friends and illustrious visitors. Since they visited the Residencia before my time, I shall not speak of the famous foreigners who came to give lectures: General Charles Granville Bruce, who in 1922 made the first serious attempt to scale Everest; H. G. Wells, Lord Keynes, Howard Carter, Gropius, Le Corbusier, Eddington, and Madame Curie, to name just some of them. Spanish intellectuals have been divided into traditionalists and “europeizantes,” those who wanted Spain to join the main currents of Europe. By inviting many illustrious foreigners to the Residencia, Don Alberto made an extraordinary contribution to the latter group, as did my own mentor Salvador de Madariaga.

                                        The Writers

   Among Spanish intellectuals, a special place must be given to Emilia Pardo Bazán (1852-1921). She died ten years before I first went to Spain, but I almost feel as though I knew her, since I have devoted many studies to her, helping to bring her from relative obscurity to the prestige she enjoys today. Don Alberto devotes a chapter to her and to her friendship with Francisco Giner de los Ríos, with whom she long exchanged letters. The chapter is entitled “Jaime, Doña Emilia and Don Francisco” Jaime being her son to whom she was deeply attached. Don Alberto mentions that she gave a lecture at the Residencia, but strangely the chapter is devoted almost wholly to her correspondence with Giner de los Ríos (1840-1915), who was twelve years her senior. This failure to give a full account of her may be due to the fact that she was a neo-Catholic, and probably the only member of the Residencia group not hostile to the Church. She disliked the “Anglo-Saxons” and Protestantism. Since she was combative and argumentative, there were probably some sharp arguments which don Alberto preferred not to discuss.   Her husband, Jaime Quiroga, whom she had married in 1868, when she was 16, is simply mentioned. The chapter ends with a letter to her from Don Alberto’s father-in-law, Manuel Cossío, congratulating her on her appointment as Professor of Romantic Literatures at the University of Madrid over the objections of anti-feminists. For my accounts of this and other aspects of her life, see the bibliographical essay at the end of this book.

    A chapter of Don Albrto´s book is devoted to Federico Garcia Lorca, who was idolized as a poet by leftists as they did his friend Manuel de Falla as a composer. They were both companions of the English Hispanist J. B. Trend, who did much to spread the cult of them in England and the United States. The chapter opens describing a music festival one night in the gypsy quarter of Granada, the Albaicin. Lorca was very gitano, which in Spanish is a two-edged word. It can simply mean gypsy in a disparaging sense, or it can mean having a gypsy-like charm, manifest in song and dance. The same ambivalence exists toward the gypsies in Hungary. Leftist admiration for Lorca was quite uncritical. He was a notorious homosexual, which normally in Spain would have meant ostracism, but in his case it was overlooked. When he disappeared, the left spread the story that he had been killed by the hated Guardia Civil. His body was never found. One story was that he had been killed by a fellow homosexual in a brawl. He may simply have disappeared; who knows. Be that as it may, I took an instant dislike to him as the representative of the gypsy lifestyle and the irresponsibility which brought about the fall of the republic. The fact that Don Alberto placed this chapter ”Lorca and other poets” before the prose writers reflected the old romantic hierarchy which rated poets their own corner in Westminster Abbey. This chapter does nothing to enhance my opinion of García Lorca. In 1998, the centennial of his birth,  leftists and their ilk  organized festivals in his honor with the usual dithyrambs. In San Francisco the Theatre Flamenco  “celebrated the García Lorca centenario with dance, poetry and song.” The program was illustrated with exotic gypsies dancing the flamenco.

    It may be politically incorrect to say that the gypsies deserve the negative reputation they have, even among admirers of flamenco. They are cheats. Once a gypsy woman wanted to tell my fortune, and I frustrated her attempt to steal my wallet. She screamed angrily. García Lorca and his gang may admire gypsy lore, but civically the gypsies are a negative factor. This scarcely justifies the treatment they have received recently in the Czech Republic, but they must be reeducated. They were told to go to Spain, viewed as a land of gypsies. Gypsies from all over Europe recently held a congress in Spain, presumably hoping to find a home there. They were received politely, but top government officials told them to go home and become integrated in their countries of origin. The most positive approach has been made in Colombia, where the Catholic Church has organized classes for them and persuaded them to give up making a living by telling fortunes.

    The poet Juan Ramón Jiménez was an Andalusian, having been born in Huelva in 1881, but he was very different from the flamboyant García Lorca. He was almost apolitical and therefore not a public figure, but in literary circles he was beloved and even revered; in 1956 he received the Nobel Prize for Literature. He lived at the Residencia from 1913 until his marriage in 1919. He no longer came to the Residencia and he did not have a claque like García Lorca. The students never mentioned him, and since he was not a political symbol he is forgotten today. He designed the gardens of the Residencia. Because of the Spanish Civil War, he moved to Puerto Rico, then to Cuba, and finally to the United States. Another poet, Antonio Machado, was much like him; as a poet, I think he was deeper and more significant. He too seldom came to the Residencia. Probably they had isolated themselves to avoid the political tension.

    The next chapter is devoted to Miguel de Unamuno, who was part poet, although he is best remembered for his prose works and above all for the courage with which, as President of the University of Salamanca, he was later to defy General Millán Astray in a public ceremony at which Franco’s right-hand man furiously damned the Basques and the intellectuals. There was something manic-depressive about him, and when I knew him he was naturally depressed at the state of the republic. He sat opposite me at table, gloomy and totally uncommunicative. He was quite different from the earlier Unamuno described by Don Alberto. In politics he was notoriously muddle-headed. He was in Salamanca when Franco took the city. Franco confirmed him in his position as president of the University of Salamanca, and, were it not for the confrontation with Millán Astray, he would probably have remained in that post. As it was, he was put under house arrest, and he died shortly afterwards. He became a martyr and the revered symbol of the university. Today his house is a museum.

    The next chapter is devoted to José Ortega y Gasset, whom I would have placed at the top of the list, as I am sure other serious foreign observers would. His first book, Meditaciones del Quijote,  published by the Residencia,  launched his international fame as a social critic and philosopher. The Rebellion of the Masses revealed an insight into what was coming. With others he founded the group In the Service of the Republic, which was the voice of informed moderation in parliament. He was just a little out of place in the Residencia, since he was a great admirer of German culture and had little understanding of the English tradition. He took himself very seriously, and at the Residencia he seemed pompous. He was not popular, and non-Castilians resented his cult of Castile’s “don de mando,” gift for governing. This was an expression of the anti-regional centralism which Franco was to carry to its unfortunate extreme. He could be charged with being a racist, as when he applauded that the Berbers of North Africa were really a European people who had crossed into Africa. However, he was certainly not a Nazi as he preached tolerance and love, and it was this that linked him to the Residencia. In the early days of the Residencia, he visited it every day, but during the Republic he seldom came, since he was taken up with public affairs.

    Like so many Spanish intellectuals I met in Spain and who were inflated with their own importance, he seemed quite a different person when I later met him in his Lisbon exile. In conversation with me he was modest and showed himself `to be extremely well informed. I completely revised my earlier judgment of him. His contribution to Spanish intellectual life was great. The son of a journalist, he was one of the movers of Spain’s most influential newspaper, El Sol. He founded an important intellectual journal, La Revista de Occidente, and created a school of philosophers of which Julián Marías was the best-known representative. At the early age of twenty-six he had been appointed Professor of Metaphysics at the University of Madrid.

   Ramiro de Maeztu (1875-1936) had been a leftist writer in his youth, but he had moved to the Catholic right and thus no longer frequented the Residencia. His father was Basque, his mother English. He was active as a journalist, having for years written for the Bilbao daily, El Porvenir Vasco. He made his name with Hacia otra España (1901). The Bolshevik revolution shocked him, and he sided with first Primo de Rivera and later with Franco. During the republic, he was generally viewed as a Catholic conservative. A republican firing-squad executed him on October 29, 1936.

                                      The Scholars

   The most famous scholarly center at the time was the Centro de Estudios Históricos on Medinaceli street, downtown, close to Madrid’s main north-south avenue, which has a series of different names. The Centro, a creation of the Junta para Ampliación de Estudios, happily combines all historical disciplines, without the unfortunate division into history and literature departments as in American universities. It reflected the European tradition, observed also in countries like Russia, of having research institutes separate from teaching departments, although a few advanced students are accepted.

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    The most famous scholar at the Centro was Ramón Menéndez Pidal. He was a quiet, friendly man. When I visited him once in his home in Chamartín de la Rosa, then on the northern outskirts of Madrid, we had a long talk and I got to know him better. Born in 1869 in La Coruña, Galicia, he came to Madrid to study with Marcelino Menéndez y Pelayo. He was especially interested in medieval literature, and he was only twenty-four when in 1893 the Spanish Academy gave him a prize for a study on the Poema del Cid. This was at a time when liberals were debunking the cult of historical figures, especially the Cid. The famous Joaquín Costa (1846-1911) had proclaimed that the tomb of the Cid must be locked with seven keys to prevent his ghost from haunting Spain. Like his mentor, Menéndez y Pelayo, don Marcelino was a conservative, and, although the liberals of the Residencia respected him, I never saw him there and they had little in common. He became a professor at the University of Madrid and was still teaching there until the Civil War. While he wrote a number of studies on medieval Spanish literature, his international fame came from his establishing the history of language in Spain as a scientific subject. He published a historical grammar of Spanish in 1904 and in 1914 he established the Revista de Filología Española. However, his nationalism crept into his “scientific” study of language, notably in regard to Catalan. The standard view is that this is a variant of Provençal, i.e. French, whereas Menéndez Pidal maintained that the languages of the Peninsula, from gallego (i.e. Portuguese) to Catalan formed a continuum, so that Catalan belonged to the Spanish rather than the French family. This gave rise to a heated argument with the Catalans, but I had neither the will nor the interest to become involved. In 1902 he was made a member of the Royal Academy and in 1912 of the Academy of History. He edited a history of Spain in many volumes. In 1925, during the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera, he became director of the Royal Academy, a post he left when he abandoned Spain during the civil war. He returned quietly to Spain and was reinstated as director of the Academy in 1947 during the Franco regime. He was apolitical rather than a good Franquista. He received many international distinctions as a scholar. He died quietly in 1968. He was succeeded by a director of the Academy,  my old Oxford teacher, Dámaso Alonso.

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    I had closer ties with another literary scholar, Américo Castro, born in 1885. Although he worked in the Centro like Menéndez Pidal, they were totally different. Whereas the latter was modest, Castro took himself seriously, like Ortega y Gasset. I was hurt when he slapped me down for saying I was writing an article on Spain in the Divine Comedy. He said that had been done by other scholars, to which I objected that they had written about the Divine Comedy in Spain, which is quite a different matter. He refused to listen to me, and I was so discouraged that I put my manuscript aside. I was right, and he was wrong. I pulled my manuscript out of my drawer a few years ago, only to discover that an Italian scholar has just published an article on the subject. I threw my mss away. This is one of several cases when established scholars claimed wrongly that a subject I had studied had already been done or was invalid, discouraging me and leading to refrain from publication. In each case, they were speaking in ignorance. Advice to young scholars: listen to the counsel of senior scholars, but being always prepared to disregard it. After this experience with Castro, I avoided him, but after the Civil War he moved to the United States, settling finally in Princeton. Like Ortega y Gasset, he had been deflated by the Civil War, and he greeted me like a long-lost friend.

    He was much more political than Menéndez Pidal, and his scholarship shows it. He became famous through his 1925 book on the thought of Cervantes. He maintained that Don Quijote was really an anti-clerical work, basing this largely on one episode. When Don Quixote is seeking the divine Dulcinea, he and Sancho Panza come across a large stone building which Don Quixote thinks must be thinks must be her castle. Finally, realizing that it is a church, he says to Sancho Panza “Con la iglesia hemos topado”—”We have run into the Church.” It always seemed to me that this was a slender, indeed silly, basis for Castro’s theory that the book was anti-clerical, and, in later years, when he had lost his anti-clerical fervor, he admitted it. It was said that he was of Jewish origin, but I have not checked this.

    A parallel theory was is belief that Spanish culture was the result of the mingling of three cultures, Arab, Jewish and Christian. He expressed this theory best in España en su historia (1948), which has been translated into English. Again, the book is really anti-clerical. Whereas conservative Catholic historians describe Spanish history as a glorious crusade sponsored by the Church, Castro maintains that Catholicism is only one of three threads. After coming to the United States, Castro became more interested in Latin America, and wrote a popular textbook Iberoamérica, the term Spaniards are pushing to make it clear that “Latin America” is really an extension of the Iberian peninsula, not Italy.

    Here we should mention a very similar intellectual, Fernando de los Ríos (1879-1949), who deserves more attention that he gets. He was a humanist and a socialist, said to be a Jew and a Mason. He favored developing ties with North Africa, and he wanted to make the University of Granada to be a mecca for Moroccan students. He was sent as ambassador to Paris when the civil war broke out. During his exile he came to New York, and published there in 1944 a draft constitution for the United States of Europe. In this regard his ideas were similar to those of Madariaga.

    He was commonly thought to be slightly crazy, but he must have concluded that I was mad. I called on him in Paris. His office was on the third floor, so I took the rickety old elevator. I have always been afraid of being caught in such an antique, and sure enough it stopped between floors. Looking through the grill at the concrete wall, I called “concierge,” but no one came. So I shook the cage and yelled louder and louder. I happened to turn around, and I saw that the exit door was on the other side of the elevator. Standing outside, obviously alarmed, were several embassy employees. All they could see was the back of a madman shaking the elevator and yelling. I regained my composure and walked out stiffly, but I fear that I never overcame that impression on Fernando de los Ríos.

    His major scholarly work was on church and state in sixteenth-century Spain: Religión y estado en la España del siglo XVI (Mexico: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1957). Many of his publications express his socialist convictions. In 1922 he went to the Soviet Union and reported on his visit in Mi viaje a la Unión Soviética. His conviction that socialism was humanistic was expressed in El Sentido humanista del socialismo, the second edition of which was published by Ediciones Populares Argentinas of Buenos Aires in 1957.He was in exile at the time, and the book could not be reprinted in Franco Spain. During the Civil War he wrote actively in support of the Republican government. He believed that universities were an essential part of the political struggle; La Posición de las universidades ante el problema del mundo actual (1938) was published by the University of Havana, since publication in Spain was impossible. His warning Nazi Infiltration in Ibero-America (Ney York, 1940) denounced the support of Latin American dictators for Franco. Also published in New York (1941) was his optimistic Sovereignty and the coming peace. After his death and that of Franco, his beloved University of Granada published in 1982 his Estructura social y cambio político en España. Despite all of Spain’s problems, he remained an optimist.

    Students of the Spanish language at almost any level came into contact with Tomás Navarro Tomás, born in Arenas de San Pedro in the Sierra de Gredos in 1884. He wrote some literary studies (on Santa Teresa, Garcilaso de la Vega), but most of his work was on Spanish pronunciation. His Manual de pronunciación española (1918) went into many editions (the twelfth was published in 1965) and was translated into German and English. He wrote also on intonation and regional linguistics, including that of Iberoamerica. At the Residencia he taught students who had come for the summer session. He took himself very seriously and the Spanish students poked fun at him. In 1931, with encouragement from Dámaso Alonso, I began a study of the thousands of Spanish nouns which occur with different meanings; usually the feminine form indicates something bigger and better. I worked on this project for decades, and the Hispanic Society of America issued a draft of the resulting dictionary. It is now in the hands of the Spanish Academy; I hope it will be completed and published. When I mentioned this project to Navarro Tomás, thinking he would be interested and supportive, he simply dismissed it out of hand. I did not enjoy being rebuffed. His rather arrogant attitude was typical of the liberal intellectuals during the republic; they felt that their hour had come. In general I found the conservatives more considerate. As I mentioned elsewhere, defeat in the Civil War cured this arrogance.

    A similar person was Samuel Gili Gaya, somewhat younger and a disciple of Navarro Tomás. He too wrote a few literary studies (on Guzmán de Alfarache, Vida de Marcos de Obregón), but he was essentially a student and teacher of the Spanish language, which was rather odd, since, as his name indicates, he was of Catalan origin and edited Francisco de Moncada’s chronicle of the Catalan expedition against the Turks and the Greeks. He was pleasant but dull. Even though we often ate at the same table, I did not get to know him, which was unfortunate, since with his interest in lexicography, he might have been sympathetic to my subject; In 1960 he published in Madrid Tesoro Lexicográfico (1492-1726), describing the vocabulary of Golden Age Spanish.

                                     The Scientists

   By far the greatest scientist when I was in Spain was Santiago Ramón y Cajal (1852-1934). In 1922 he founded his Institute for the Advancement of Neurobiological Research. In 1906 he won the Nobel Prize in medicine for his work as a cytologist; he discovered a way to stain cells, and some cells located near the surface which he discovered are named after him. He died in 1934 while I was in Madrid; he was given a very impressive funeral. He was a key figure in the Junta para la Ampliación de Estudios. Curiously, he played an important role in my career. When I was interviewed by the Commonwealth Fund for the fellowship which brought me to the United States, a physiologist on the committee asked me if I knew of Ramón y Cajal. He pronounced the j in Cajal the English way, so I haughtily put him right, using the Spanish jota, and then proceeded to lecture him about Ramón y Cajal. I assume he voted for me, but I do not know.

    Later at Stanford I preached the doctrine of faction, not fiction, and based several of my courses on biographies and autobiographies. In one Spanish course I used Ramón y Cajal’s story of his youth, Mi infancia y juventud. He was born in an Aragonese village, Petilla, and as a youth he was a trouble maker, even spending a short time in jail. He went on to study medicine at the University of Saragossa. In 1898 he was drafted into the army and went to Cuba, where he fought as a private. In his book he describes the war from that viewpoint, which is virtually unknown in the United States. After his return to Spain he began his academic career, which ended brilliantly, even though his laboratory was badly funded. He writes a rich and difficult Spanish, and I feared that his book would therefore discourage my students. To my pleasant surprise they loved it. They were amazed that a juvenile delinquent from a Spanish village could rise to become a Nobel laureate. He seemed to offer them a model. Just before his death he wrote The World as seen at age eighty. He seemed disillusioned, and because of his age he had virtually retired from public life.

    Juan Negrín (1892-1956) came from Las Palmas in the Canary Islands to study physiology under Ramón y Cajal. He entered politics as a follower of the moderate socialist Indalecio Prieto, and during the republic he was a deputy for the Canary Islands. He had his laboratory in the Residencia complex, and I would see him passing by regularly. He was not a political leader, but the right regarded him as a leftist. A Swiss businessman who lived near the Residencia hated the whole group, and him in particular. He veered further to the left, and when the civil war broke out he became finance minister in the government of Prieto’s rival; Francisco Largo Caballero. He served as an intermediary between the two men, and later between them and Julio Alvarez del Vayo, who was even further to the pro-communist left. In 1937 he became prime minister and tried unsuccessfully to make peace with Franco. In 1939 he fled to France. In exile he was warmly received in the White House by President Roosevelt and especially Mrs. Roosevelt.

        Although he was on good terms with the Soviet Union and the Communists, it was Great Britain which offered him a refuge. He came to England on a Royal Navy vessel and settled in a pleasant house in Bovington, not too far from London, where he founded a republican organization which was quickly taken over by the communists. He died in Paris. Whereas some Spanish scientists did important work in exile, Negrín did not; he was obsessed with politics.

    My contacts with scientists were slight, although I knew many by sight or by name. As a result of the Civil War, many of them came to the United States and continued their work. The best known was Severo Ochoa, born in 1905 in Luarca, a small town on the northern coast of Spain. I went through it in 1934; it is noteworthy that small towns can produce Nobel laureates like Ramón y Cajal and Ochoa. He studied at the University of Madrid with Ramón y Cajal and then in Glasgow, Berlin and Heidelberg. He taught at both Madrid and Heidelberg. In 1940 after the Civil War he settled in New York and became a U.S. citizen in 1956. He joined the College of Medicine of New York University in 1942, being named chairman of the biochemistry department in 1954. He was the first to synthesize a nucleic acid, which exists in all cells and controls heredity. In 1959 he shared the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine with Arthur Kornberg of Stanford University. Arthur Kornberg was born in 1918 and was therefore thirteen years younger than Ochoa, and he was his first postdoctoral student. In his autobiography, For the Love of Enzymes. The Odyssey of a Biochemist (Harvard University Press, 1989), Kornberg pays warm tribute to Ochoa, describing the difficulties with Ochoa overcame without losing his charm. Ochoa wrote widely in his field and received numerous honors, but he seems to have published nothing about his life. He died in 1993, and Arthur Kornberg wrote two obituaries of him, one in Nature (12/2/93) and a more extensive one in the Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society (December 1997). The Civil War forced Ochoa to go from one place of exile to another, but he remained “imperturbable in the face of all kinds of adversities.” He had been under the influence of physiologist Juan Negrín, later the president of the Republic, and worked at Negrín’s laboratory at the Residencia. Naturally, the Franco regime was impressed when Ochoa won the Nobel Prize and tried in vain to persuade him to return to Spain. Instead, Ochoa sent Kornberg to Spain to renew ties with the scientific community there, and he performed that role in the course of many subsequent visits. When Ochoa and Kornberg made the discovery which led to the Nobel Prize, Kornberg shrieked “Holy Toledo!,” an American colloquialism unknown in Spain; it amused Ochoa; I have yet to discover how American slang picked up this euphemism. After Franco’s death, Ochoa and his wife Carmen returned to Spain in 1985, where she died. shortly afterwards. He is honored in a museum in Valencia founded by his disciple Santiago Grisolia. In Madrid, the Severo Ochoa Center for Molecular Biology is directed by another disciple, Margarita Salas. Among the many Spanish studies of Ochoa is a biography, Severo Ochoa, by M. Gómez Santos (Oviedo: Caja de Ahorro de Asturias , 1989, pp. 384).

    We should mention also Blas Cabrera, who came from Lanzarote in the Canary Islands  in 1894 to study at the University of Madrid. He is unusual in that both his son and this grandson became well-known U.S. scientists. His grandson, also named Blas Cabrera, is a professor of physics at Stanford University. The grandfather (in traditional Spanish usage Blas Cabrera Felipe) was honored on the centennial of his birth in 1978 as was the fiftieth anniversary of his death in 1995, when the Amigos de la Cultura Científica (attached to the Universidad Politécnica in Madrid) organized a commemoration with a large committee of scientists and an honor committee of leaders of all the Canary Islands. The 111-page catalog gives a good account of his life, to which one hall was devoted, and of his scientific activities, to which the second hall was devoted The sponsorship of all the Canary Islands testified to the fact that he was viewed as a glory of the whole archipelago. A list of collaborating institutions with which he was associated begins with the Academy of Scientific Research of Mexico and ends with the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico. Although this is simply because the list begins with A and ends with U, it is fitting since after the Spanish Civil War Blas Cabrera moved to Mexico, where he was associated with the two institutions and where he died from Parkinson’s disease in 1945, at the early age of sixty-seven. Also collaborating was the Blas Cabrera High School of Arrecife (the capital of Lanzarote Island) where he had gone to school and which was renamed after him. The family moved to the larger island of Tenerife, where he finished high school. In 1894 he went to Madrid to study law, but he fell under the spell of Ramón y Cajal and switched to physical-mathematical sciences.

    The Junta para Ampliación de  Estudios, discussed earlier, created a physics research laboratory, and in 1911 Blas Cabrera was named director of it. In 1926 the Rockefeller Foundation provided finds for a new building in the Residencia area, commonly referred to as “the Rockefeller Foundation.” In 1929 he became president of the University of Madrid, and he received many international honors. In 1934 he was made president of the Academy of Sciences, and in 1936 he was elected member of the Spanish Academy of Language (the adjective “Royal” had been dropped), occupying the chair of Ramón y Cajal.

    The republic had taken over the royal summer palace in Santander, and Blas Cabrera estabished a summer school there and became its president. When the civil war broke out, he was there. Santander was in the anti-republican zone, and he escaped through France to the republican zone and to Madrid. In 1937 he moved to Paris, where he was affiliated with the International Committee on Weights and Measures. In 1941 he emigrated to Mexico.

    His youngest son, Nicolás Cabrera  Sánchez (1913-1989), came to the United States and from 1951 to 1968 was Professor of Physics at the University of Virginia. He returned to Spain in 1969 as Professor of Physics at the University of Madrid. He kept alive the memory of Blas Cabrera’s scientific work, to which the second part of the catalog is devoted. The bibliography at the end of the catalog lists the informative 1994 volume The Silver Age of Spanish Culture (1898-1936) in the Historia de España” edited by Menéndez Pidal. The story of Spain’s exiled scientists was told by F. Giral González in Ciencia española en el destierro, 1939-1989, the last edition of which was published in Madrid in 1994.

    A well-known pupil of Blas Cabrera was Miguel A. Catalán (1894-1957), whom I knew in the Residencia. An exhibit honoring him was held there in 1994. The fate of Spain’s scientists is an important subject, but somewhat marginal to the subject of this book. Suffice it to say that, as is the wont of dictators, Franco blew Spain’s brains out.

    From Constantine, my itinerary took me through Bougie to Algiers. I traveled by bus through the territory of the Kabyles, who are now revolting against the attempts of the Algerian government to impose Arabic as the sole language. Then all was in appearance peaceful. In fact, from one end of North Africa to the other there was peace. It was only later that, with Soviet assistance, the independence leaders launched their armed revolt. Obviously there was simmering resentment, which would boil over later, but at the time I accepted the French view that Algeria was an integral part of France.

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    In Algiers I visited the home of the outstanding French Hispanist, Marcel Bataillon (1895-1977), who was teaching at the local university. He was working on his great dissertation Erasme et l’Espagne, which appeared in 1937 A new edition in three volumes came out in 1991, after his death. Several Spanish translations appeared. The subject dovetails with my discussions in religion, since the theme is the persecution of the Spanish followers of Erasmus by the Inquisition. Erasmus was an Augustinian, and it was Saint Augustine who inspired his Enchiridion (1503). He was a councilor to Charles V, but lost favor because he refused to join the persecution of Luther. Moreover he was friendly with moderate Protestants like Melanchton. To escape possible persecution, he spent several years in Switzerland. Bataillon revealed the extent of Erasmus’ influence in Spain. Bataillom’s  interest in liberal Catholics was evident also in his 1971 study Las Casas et la défense des Indiens. Later, during the Spanish Civil War, he did not take an active part in the anti-Franco campaign. He was a scholars’ scholar. I met him several time later, and he visited me in Stanford. We had very cordial relations.

While in Algiers I had an experience which revealed the degree of Islamic fanaticism. I hired an Arab guide to take me through the Casbah and up to a shrine on the hill back of the city. On leaving I sat down to take off the obligatory sandals. An old hag entered the temple with a child, presumably her grand-daughter. She stopped and stared at me. Trying to appear friendly, I said to her “That’s a nice child you have there.” My guide was appalled and dragged me outside. As we hurried off, he said with fear in his voice: “If they caught you speaking to a woman, they would have killed us both.”

    From Algiers I went west, visiting the Roman ruins at Cherchel, and on to Oran, where I planned to take a boat to Malaga. However, the sailing had been canceled, so, via Tlemcen, with its impressive mosque, I crossed boundary into Spanish Morocco, going to Melilla, where there was a boat sailing to Malaga. Spanish Morocco was a protectorate, but Spain had sovereignty over its plazas fuertes: the port cities of Melilla and Ceuta. When I was in Spain, resentment against the United States for its aggression in 1898 was dying down, but memories of the Moroccan War were very much alive.

Since Spanish history was depicted as a reconquest of its territory from the Moors, the idea was to carry victory to the enemy’s homeland, Morocco itself. The Moors were the enemy, and neo-Catholic Pardo Bazán despised them. So did the liberal Joaqín Costa, who preached that Spain had a special mission in Africa. Even my mentor, Salvador de Madariaga, maintained that Spain should have proceeded to the conquest of North Africa rather than diverting its efforts to the discovery and conquest of America. This, incidentally, was an example of his lack of political realism.

This wild scheme was launched by Prime Minister Leopoldo O’Donnell (1809-1867), who took the title Duke of Tetuan following its conquest in 1860. The campaign, described admiringly by Frederick Hardman in The Spanish Conquest of Morocco (Edinburgh, 1860), produced a wave of euphoria in Spain and a sense of national unity. The power and budget of the army increased, which backfired by strengthening the trend toward a military dictatorship and in response widespread anti-militarism. Occupation of Morocco required more military service, creating resentment among the conscripts.

In 1909, the government called up reservists to fight tribes which were attacking the iron mining operations of a Spanish-German company. The tension came to a head with the 1921 defeat at Annual by Abd el Krim. The psychological impact was similar to that of the 1898 defeat by the United States. The French had invaded Morocco and established a protectorate.  Spain occupied what became Spanish Morocco under an agreement with the French. Abd el Krim, who once had fought for the Spaniards, became enemy number one. The Spanish Army was now accused of incompetence and corruption.

King Alfonso was among the targets of attack in parliament, and in September 1923, General Miguel Primo de Rivera, a hero (?) of the Moroccan wars, proclaimed a dictatorship, with the approval on King Alfonso. This won them the enmity of both liberals and conservatives. Intellectuals like Ortega y Gasset fought the dictatorship. Miguel de Unamuno was exiled, and the Ateneo, the meeting place of the Liberals, was shut down. Universities were closed and students imprisoned. In 1930 the King dismissed Primo de Rivera, who fled to Paris, where he died shortly afterwards. This did not save the monarchy. All these events were still vividly in the memories of the older Spaniards and even of the students I knew. Morocco, which was to have brought Spain glory, had in fact triggered the long series of events which led to the Civil War.

 Since the Spanish Legion, which put down the rebellious Moors, had used Morocco as a battle field where soldiers could gain glory and promotion, there was surely deep resentment there against Spain, which also controlled Spanish Sahara, now defiantly occupied by Morocco, which rejects U.N. demands for a plebiscite to decide the territory’s future. The Spanish-owned Canary Islands are off the coast, and Moroccan nationalists are demanding their annexation as a geographical part of Morocco. Spain thus holds several pieces of Moroccan territory, but the Rabat government does not raise the issue publicly since it needs Spain’s assistance. It is quite likely that a nationalist regime will demand the return of the territories. It is therefore hypocritical for Spain to demand the devolution of Gibraltar, which has virtual independence, while it hangs on to Moroccan territories as a sovereign power. The devolution of Gibraltar is a constant theme of Spanish spokesmen at international meetings, but they carefully avoid the issue of Spain’s Moroccan territories.

After a stormy crossing from Melilla to Malaga, I took a bus to Grenada at the end of January 1936. Revolution was in the air. In the bus next to me a workman ranted endlessly about the political situation as though he were addressing a mob. A middle class man sat quietly, shaking his head, obviously disgusted by this idiocy. In Granada I was given a cordial reception buy the curators of the Alhambra. Then other buses took me to Valencia, passing through places like Guadix, where people lived in caves, Murcia, with its baroque cathedral and impressive religious wood carvings, and Elche with its large date-palm grove, unique in Europe. In the port of Alicante I had an experience which exemplified official corruption. Not wishing to lug my large suitcase through North Africa, I had shipped it from Italy to Alicante. When I arrived I saw it sitting in the customs warehouse, but I could not recover it without the help of the port agent. I was quite prepared to pay him, but he refused to cooperate, repeatedly saying “Es un hueso”—”It’s a bone” (no meat). He apparently was fighting to have the fee schedule raised. I ended up going to the office of the top port official, who angrily said the agent was obliged to cooperate. He went to the warehouse with me, and an angry argument began between him and the agent, while I listened helplessly as my sorry suitcase sat there. The agent was forced to submit to authority, I recovered my suitcase, and with it went on to Valencia, and thence to Madrid. The Civil War was in the offing.

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