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English edition

2015

Issues 9&10

Journal of Catalan Intellectual History Revista d’Història de la Filosofia Catalana

http://revistes.iec.cat/index.php/JOCIH

issues Journal of Catalan 9&10 Intellectual History

2015

Revista d’Història de la Filosofia Catalana

JOCIH The Journal of Catalan Intellectual History (JOCIH) is a biannual electronic and printed publication created with the twofold purpose of fostering and disseminating studies on Catalan Philosophy and Intellectual History at an international level. The Journal’s Internet version is published in Catalan and English at the Open Journal System of the Institute of Catalan Studies (IEC) and its paper version is published in English by Huygens Editorial, Barcelona. The JOCIH is edited by four Catalan public universities – the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), the University of Barcelona (UB), the University of Valencia (UV) and the University of the Balearic Islands (UIB) – and by three academic societies – the Catalan Philosophical Society, the Valencian Philosophical Society and the Mallorcan Philosophical Association. The JOCIH also draws on the support of the Institute of Catalan Studies (IEC), the Institute of Law and Technology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (IDT-UAB) and the Ramon Llull Institute.

CONTENTS

Print ISSN: 2014-1572 Online ISSN: 2014-1564 Print ISSN: 2014-1572

http://revistes.iec.cat/index.php/JOCIH Print ISSN: 2014-1572 // Online ISSN: 2014-1564

As its name suggests, our journal focuses mainly on philosophy. However, we also understand intellectual history, in a broader sense, to be a synonymous with cultural heritage and the JOCIH therefore regards cultural history, the history of ideas and the history of philosophy as different branches of a single tree. And for that reason we not only publish historical analyses of various subjects in philosophy, the humanities, the social sciences, religion, art and other related subjects, but also offer critical reviews of the latest publications in the field, memory documentaries and exhaustive bio-bibliographies of various eighteenth- to twentyfirst-century Catalan, Valencian, Balearic and Northern Catalan authors.


Journal of Catalan Intellectual History. Volume I. Issue 1. 2011. Pp. 7-8 Miquel Carreras i Costajussà, i la filosofia catalana d’entreguerres (1918-1939) [Miquel Carreras i Costajussà and Catalan philosophy of the interwar period (1918-1939)]

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REVISTA D’HISTÒRIA DE LA FILOSOFIA CATALANA. Volume I. Issue 1. 2011. Pp. 7-8 ANNA PUNSODA

Journal of Catalan Intellectual History Issues 9&10, 2015

Editors-in-Chief Pompeu Casanovas (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) Joan Cuscó (Societat Catalana de Filosofia) Josep Monserrat (Universitat de Barcelona) Xavier Serra (Societat Catalana de Filosofia) Scientific Board Ramon Alcoberro (Universitat de Girona) Jesús Alcolea (Universitat de València) Misericòrdia Anglès (Universitat de Barcelona) Salvador Cardús (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) Enric Casaban (Universitat de València) Jordi Casassas (Universitat de Barcelona) Antoni Estradé (investigador independent) Montserrat Guibernau (Queen Mary University of London) Salvador Giner (Institut d’Estudis Catalans) Thomas Glick (Boston University) Tobies Grimaltos (Universitat de València) Pere Lluís Font (Institut d’Estudis Catalans) Joan Lluís Llinàs (Universitat Illes Balears) Jaume Magre (Universitat de Barcelona) Isidre Molas (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) Antoni Mora (Societat Catalana de Filosofia) Carles Ulisses Moulines (Ludwig Maximilians Universität München) Vicent Olmos (Universitat de València) Joan Lluís Pérez Francesch (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) Joan Ramon Resina (Stanford University) Ignasi Roviró (Universitat Ramon Llull) Jordi Sales (Universitat de Barcelona) Josep-Maria Vilajosana (Universitat Pompeu Fabra) Conrad Vilanou (Universitat de Barcelona) Executive Committee Meritxell Fernández Barrera (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) Marta Lorente Serichol (Societat Catalana de Filosofia) Marta Poblet (Royal Melbourne Institut of Technology) Marta Roca Escoda (Université de Lausanne) Joan-Josep Vallbé (Universitat de Barcelona) Editing Institutions Institut de Dret i Tecnologia (IDT-UAB) Societat Catalana de Filosofia, filial de l’Institut d’Estudis Catalans Associació Filosòfica de les Illes Balears Societat de Filosofia del País Valencià Institut Ramon Llull

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English edition Language Editor D. Sam Abrams Translation Lucille Banham, Dan Cohen, Joe Graham, Barnaby Noone Journal Management Enkeleda Xhelo (Institut d’Estudis Catalans) Blanca Betriu (Societat Catalana de Filosofia) Rebeca Varela (IDT-UAB) Jorge González (IDT-UAB) Edition Editorial Afers Apartat de correus 267 46470 Catarroja http://www.editorialafers.cat http://revistes.iec.cat/index.php/JOCIH http://ddd.uab.cat/record/112087 Print ISSN: 2014-1572 Online ISSN: 2014-1564 Dipòsit legal B-14929-2011

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contents JOURNAL OF CATALAN INTELLECTUAL HISTORY, Issues 9&10, 2015 | Print ISSN 2014-1572 / Online ISSN 2014-1564 http://revistes.iec.cat/index.php/JOCIH

Issues 9/10 articles

Paul Ludwig, a Knight Errant of the Spirit in Barcelona. Xavier Escribano. 9 As if my soul’s salvation depended on it, or the luck of the City. Introduction to the theoretical work of Eugeni D’Ors related to the students’ pension from the Diputació: The process of Creation and Awarding. Víctor Pérez i Flores................................................................. 35 “Phrenology Brings Sound Judgment to Our Selection of Rulers”: the Failure of Phrenology in Social Reform Efforts in Catalonia in the Nineteenth Century. Iván Sánchez-Moreno...................................................... 53 Philosophy and humour. Joan Cuscó i Clarasó........................................ 77 memoirs

The immediate posterity of Eugeni d’Ors. Writings by Joan Fuster and Josep Roure-Torent........................................................................... 91 Joaquim Xirau in the journal Ciència................................................. 103 life-writting

Joaquim Xirau i Palau. Conrad Vilanou & Jordi Garcia................................ 109 reviews

Ricardo Horneffer: El problema del ser: sus aporías en la obra de Eduardo Nicol. Mario Alvarado.............................................................................. 119 Joan Cuscó: Francesc Pujols, filòsof [Francesc Pujols, Philosopher]. Josep Monserrat Molas..................................................................................... 125 Xavier Serra: La filosofia en la cultura catalana [Philosophy in Catalan Culture]. Sal·lus Herrero......................................................................... 127 Mercè Rius: D’ors, filósofo [D’Ors, Philosopher]. Josep Monserrat Molas..... 131

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article JOURNAL OF CATALAN INTELLECTUAL HISTORY, Issues 9&10, 2015 | Print ISSN 2014-1572 / Online ISSN 2014-1564 DOI: 10.2436/20.3001.02.92 | P. 9-34 Reception date: 10/09/2014 / Admission date: 25/09/2014 http://revistes.iec.cat/index.php/JOCIH

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aul Ludwig Landsberg, a Knight Errant of the Spirit in Barcelona Xavier Escribano Humanities Faculty International University of Catalonia (UIC) xescriba@uic.es

abstract Paul Ludwig Landsberg (Bonn, 1901-Oranienburg, 1944) was a prominent student of the German philosopher Max Scheler. Born into a Jewish family, Landsberg was a professor at the University of Bonn until 1933, when he left his country at the time of Hitler’s rise to power. In spring 1934, Joaquim Xirau, dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters of the University of Barcelona, invited him to give lectures and teach classes in the Seminar on Education. During the academic years 1934-35 and 1935-36, Landsberg led classes in Barcelona on St. Augustine, Maine de Biran, Nietzsche and Scheler. His personality and his teaching were to leave a lasting impression in the memory of an entire generation of young university students who joined in the intellectual climate fostered by university autonomy and by Joaquim Xirau’s encouragement. Drawing closely on Phenomenology, Existentialism and Personalism, Landsberg was especially known for his reflections on the experience of death and the moral problem of suicide. His own tragic end in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, where he died of starvation and exhaustion, further underscores the unity of thought and life that typified his work.

keywords Paul Ludwig Landsberg, University of Barcelona, experience, death, Nietzsche, Max Scheler.

1. Life and work of an itinerant philosopher Paul Ludwig Landsberg (1901-1944), a German Jewish philosopher, professor at the University of Bonn and student and friend of Max Scheler, taught at the University of Barcelona in the academic years 1934-35 and 1935-36, during the brief period of university autonomy. Invited by Joaquim Xirau, who served as dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters from 1933 to 1939, Landsberg took part in the activities of the Seminar on Education, giving lectures and teaching classes on St. Augustine, Maine de Biran, Nietzsche, Max Scheler and others. As an outcome of his stay, he left an indelible mark

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on many students both as an intellectual and as a human being, particularly among the students most closely allied with the figure and teaching of Joaquim Xirau. From the evocation of this brilliant, passionate, young philosopher written many years later in widely varied contexts by prominent intellectuals and academics, such as Jordi Maragall, Miquel Siguan and Francesc Gomà, it is clear that Landsberg’s impact was surprisingly profound. All of them experienced a lasting effect from their contact with this exiled thinker who was pursued by a tragic fate that his own writings on the experience of death and the moral problem of suicide seemed almost to prophesy: “My image of Paul Ludwig Landsberg,” wrote Francesc Gomà, by way of example, “is that of an authentic knight errant of the spirit. I can see him on the upper gallery of the Humanities Courtyard walking with his ever stylish wife Madeleine and with younger home-grown professors, who graciously accompanied the couple. A handsome couple, with him having been a student of Max Scheler persecuted as a Jew and carrying himself with the obvious air of a man of ideas, they made a striking impression”.1 Son of Ernst Landsberg and Anna Silverberg, Paul Ludwig Landsberg was born in Bonn on 3 December 1901. His father was a renowned professor of Roman law and criminal law at the University of Bonn. Although both of his parents were descendants of long-standing Jewish families that had been settled in the Rhine Valley for many generations, they decided to baptise and educate their son in the Evangelical Church. Landsberg, however, always considered himself much closer to Catholicism. His writings are notable for their profound and wide-ranging knowledge of the philosophy of the major Christian authors, most particularly St. Augustine. Indeed, he produced several studies and planned a far-reaching work on St. Augustine that was left unfinished, though numerous fragments were published.2 Landsberg studied for two semesters at Freiburg under Edmund Husserl. He not only recognised the enormous influence of Husserl on German philosophy in his time, but also credited him with the rebirth of genuine philosophy in the country. Many years later, he recalled their decisive meeting in a paper paying tribute to the father of phenomenology: “Many of us believed that we had experienced our first real contact with philosophy in Husserl’s seminar, and it is still unforgettable even after one has set off down very dif-

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1 Gomà 1988, p. 74. I have added the italics to highlight the expression borrowed for the title of this paper. 2 Pierre Klossowski, who introduced and translated the texts into French, offers a general outline of this work, Augustin philosophe. Contribution à l’histoire de son esprit. Of its projected three parts, we have two, which were published in the French journals Dieu vivant, II (1948), under the title “Les sens spirituels chez Saint Agustin”, and Deucalion, 3 (1950), under the title “Du concept de vérité chez Saint Agustin”. Cf. Klossowski 1948, p. 86. Cf. Cavarero 2013.


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Paul Ludwig Landsberg, a Knight Errant of the Spirit in Barcelona

ferent paths in search of truth”.3 Indeed, Husserl’s philosophical greatness was not diminished in Landsberg’s eyes simply because he failed to share in Husserl’s idea of philosophy or his conception of truth. In Landsberg’s view, Husserl had made lasting contributions to thought, such as his critique of psychologism and its relativistic consequences or his work to free the notion of experience from empiricism. Landsberg also praised Husserl’s extraordinary teachings on the intentionality of consciousness, but he criticised the man’s Cartesianism, his conception of philosophy as a science and his desire to attain an ideal region governed by mathematical necessity based on a conception of truth as something suprapersonal. In his flight towards the eternal, Husserl showed no interest in the “specific accidents of a person’s life”4 nor did his approach lead to an “understanding of people in their actual totality”.5 Landsberg believed that it was possible to distinguish between at least two quite distinct types of philosophers: “One type [the author mentioned Scheler] strives to shine a narrow beam of light onto the concrete mysteries of the concrete reality of the lived life. The other type, such as Husserl, aspires to absolute clarity, a spiritual region that precedes or transcends human existence”.6 Landsberg, who defined his work as an “effort to reintroduce the problems of the concrete, of history, action, existence, life and death that are not reducible to ‘geometric reasoning’ “,7 clearly must be put in the first of these two camps, that is, in the company of Max Scheler. Over four semesters of university studies at Cologne, Landsberg soon became Scheler’s favourite student and then grew to be a close friend. Later on, in his classes and lectures, Landsberg was able to offer highly specific details of the style of working and thinking and even of the personality of the author of Ordo amoris. While still at Cologne, Landsberg published his first work, Die Welt des Mittelalters und wir (The World of the Middle Ages and Us) (1922), which he wrote over a few weeks of uninterrupted work with no thought to publication, but driven by a kind of internal need. The work, which he completed at barely twenty years of age and dedicated to his teacher Max Scheler, was extremely well-received by critics, who emphasised its liveliness and originality. The poet and writer Hermann Hesse, for instance, spoke of it as “a beautiful book written with the ingenuousness of love, which will soon be a banner gathering many followers”.8 A year later, Landsberg defended and published his 3 Landsberg 1939, p. 325. Unless otherwise indicated, any original texts were translated into Catalan from other languages by the author. (The English translation of this paper is based on the author’s Catalan text.) 4 Ibid, p. 321. 5 Ibid, p. 325. 6 Ibid, p. 321. 7 Ibid, p. 319. 8 H. Hesse, Vivos voco, III (1922), cited in Oesterreicher 1961, p. 293.

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doctoral thesis Wesen und Bedeutung des platonischen Akademie [The Essence and Meaning of the Platonic Academy] (1923). This and his first work were promptly translated into Spanish as part of the “Nuevos hechos/Nuevas ideas” series of the Revista de Occidente under the baton of José Ortega y Gasset; they appeared in 1925 and 1926, respectively.9 Only months after the death of his teacher, Max Scheler, on 19 May 1928, Landsberg obtained his license from the University of Bonn to teach philosophy and history of philosophy, thanks to his thesis on the philosophy of St. Augustine. With the subsequent publication of his work Pascals Berufung [The Vocation of Pascal] (1929), he began to show a clear preference for authors of a more existential bent, such as St. Augustine, Kierkegaard, Maine de Biran, Nietzsche, Kafka and Unamuno. From the outset, Landsberg opposed Hitler. He was never in any doubt about the fanatical and violent nature of the Nazis. In his essay Rassen ideologie und Rassenwissenschaft [Racist Ideology and the Science of Races] (1933),10 he set out a thorough analysis of the traits defining racist ideology and discredited its pseudo-philosophical biologism and naturalism from a personalist conception of the individual and human spirituality, which takes race to be an irrelevant fact. Unsurprisingly, the books that he had written since 1932, including Einführung in die philosophische Anthropologie [Introduction to Philosophical Anthropology] (1934),11 were banned and even burned.12 On 1 March 1933, just four days before Hitler took office and a few months before the Nazi authorities revoked his teaching license, Landsberg left Germany and went into exile. This was the start of a long and event-filled journey that took him first to Switzerland (where he married Madeleine Hoffman) and Paris, and then onto Catalonia, particularly Tossa de Mar, where he took refuge with other Jewish intellectuals and artists,13 and Barcelona, where he was invited by Joaquim Xirau to teach for two years.

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9 This explains why Landsberg, when he arrived in Barcelona in 1934, was already known to the public as the author of The Middle Ages and Us, and why the young philosophers in Xirau’s circle had read his early works. Cf. Gomà 1988, p. 75. 10 In Paris, Landsberg came into contact with the local branch of the Institute for Social Research, whose director was Max Horkheimer, one of Landsberg’s old friends. Horkheimer published his paper in the Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung, the Institute’s in-house journal. Benjamín Jarnés helped to publicize the piece in an article written for La Vanguardia: Jarnés 1934, p. 3. 11 A review written by Joaquim Xirau was to appear in the journal Revista de Psicologia i Pedagogia, II:8 (November 1934), pp. 450-452. 12 Cf. http://verbrannte-und-verbannte.de/person/1429 (last consulted on 24-IX-2014). 13 In the summer of 1934, Landsberg completed his first essay on Unamuno in Tossa de Mar and it was published in the journal Cruz y Raya (run by his friend José Bergamín) in October 1935. Since the beginning of the twentieth century and especially after the outbreak of World War I and again in the nineteen-thirties, Tossa de Mar had become a stopping-off point and a haven for intellectuals and artists: Georges Bataille, Marc Chagall, Henri Matisse, Francis


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Paul Ludwig Landsberg, a Knight Errant of the Spirit in Barcelona

Landsberg’s academic activity in Barcelona consisted of giving seminars, thematic classes and public lectures as part of the Seminar on Education, which was created and first run by Xirau in the academic year 1930-1931.14 Specifically, during the academic year 1934-1935, Landsberg taught a seminar on Nietzsche and Scheler, to which we shall return later, and a course entitled “Philosophical Introduction to the Study of St. Augustine’s Confessions”. He also gave an extracurricular lecture (in French) on “The Meaning of Life and the Experience of Death”,15 organised by the Conferentia Club at the Ritz Hotel in Barcelona on 8 May 1935. Throughout the academic year 1935-1936, he offered a seminar on “The Problem of Time in the History of Philosophy” and a specialised course on “Philosophical Anthropology: the Problem of the Unity of Man”, introduced by an inaugural lecture entitled “Maine de Biran et l’anthropologie philosophique” that he gave on 28 March 1936. In keeping with the teaching style of Joaquim Xirau, who blended intellectual rigour and personal approachability, Landsberg became teacher and friend to a lively group of young students at the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters with whom he taught seminars and engaged in conversations. Some were recent graduates, while others had just begun their degrees and were excited to discover and experience the philosophical attitude as a way of life. Though there are other, rather more disparate testimonies, the fullest and most moving account of Landsberg’s intellectual and personal significance to the group appears in the text “Paul Ludwig Landsberg: Vida, obra i mort” [“Paul Ludwig Landsberg: Life, Work and Death”] (1966) by Jordi Maragall, who was always to treasure his memories of Landsberg. “At twenty-three years of age,” Maragall writes, “meeting Landsberg came at a critical moment for us. True, when he arrived, we were favorably disposed because of the teachings that had shaped him: Max Scheler, for us, represented a kind of gigantic figure out of legend, even though he had died just when we were embarking on our first courses in philosophy (1928). To find ourselves suddenly with one of his most esteemed students produced in us a kind of innermost joy that pushed us to grow, instilling in us a more mature sense of responsibility for our studies. It cannot be forgotten that it was Joaquim Xirau who brought Landsberg Picabia, Dora Maar, Fred Uhlman, Georges Kars, and many others stayed there. The writer Nancy Johnstone offers a portrait of this milieu in her memoirs Hotel in Spain (1937) and Hotel in Flight (1939). 14 The lecturers invited to take part in the Seminar on Education included philosophers and researchers such as Manuel G. Morente, Xavier Zubiri, José Ortega y Gasset, José Gaos, Joan Mascaró, Joan Zaragüeta, Charlotte Bülher and Jean Piaget. 15 The lecture was introduced as early work on a book being prepared at the time, Essai sur l’expérience de la mort, which was published in Paris in 1936. However, a portion had already appeared in the journal Cruz y Raya in May-June 1935 under the title Experiencia de la muerte. A glowing review of Landsberg’s lecture appears on page 11 of La Vanguardia on 9-V-1935.

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to Barcelona. And it was Xirau who had first taught us to respect Philosophy not as abstract knowledge but as the determining factor of a way of life”.16 Landsberg’s documented presence in Barcelona does not extend beyond the early days of July 1936. The outbreak of the Spanish Civil War caught him unawares in Santander, where he had been invited to give a summer course at the International University on his work The Middle Ages and Us. Two-and-ahalf years later, with the civil war still raging, Landsberg wrote a letter to his friend José Bergamín in which he confessed the profound inner meaning of that dramatic time for him: “Those days of 1936 that I spent in Santander, as you know, constituted for my life the end of a period of relative unconcern and youthful restlessness, and also a new starting point. Maturity would have no meaning for us if we failed to understand the power of evil upon the earth and upon ourselves and if, at the same time, and even more so, we did not make our hope and ourselves stronger for the necessary struggle”.17 After the outbreak of civil war in Spain, Landsberg had returned to Paris. With the help of his friend Pierre Klossowski, he wrote “Essai sur l’expérience de la mort” [“Essay on the Experience of Death”] (1936) directly in French and had it published in the series “Questions Disputées” edited by Desclée de Brouwer. The essay was an enormous success and quickly sold out. In 1937, at the behest of Léon Brunschvicg, Landsberg taught a course on existential philosophy at the Sorbonne. Though he published in other French journals as well, he became an important contributor to Esprit, writing articles on myth, marriage, war and peace, Kafka and more.18 Eventually Emmanuel Mounier came to see him as a genuine cornerstone of personalist-inspired thought. According to Mounier, Landsberg was the reason that Esprit ultimately rejected the temptations of utopian thinking and abstract language and instead seized on the many interesting elements of existential thought at a time before it became fashionable. In Mounier’s view, the two essays “Réflexions sur l’engagement personnel” [“Thoughts on Personal Engagement”] (1937) and “Le sens de l’action” [“The Meaning of Action”] (1938),19 both appearing in Esprit, stand as “landmark dates in our history”.20

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16 Maragall 1966, p. 10. Jordi Maragall provides a list of his classmates and other regular participants in the seminars: Josep Calsamiglia, Joan Rubert, Concepció Casanova, M. Lluïsa Caparà, Jordi Udina, Domènec Casanovas, Eduard Nicol, Joan Roura Parella, M. Aurèlia Capmany, Jaume Bofill, Ramon Sugranyes de Franc, Gabriel Tortella, Ferrater Mora, Josep Font i Trias, David Garcia Bacca, Amàlia Tineo, Fortuny and others. To this list, we should add Francesc Gomà and Miquel Siguan, who were younger; cf. ibid, p. 17. Cf. Maragall 1986. 17 Landsberg 1956, p. 460. 18 A good number of these papers were collected and published posthumously by Jean Lacroix in Landsberg 2007. 19 This text was presented at the Esprit conference on 26 July 1938. 20 Mounier 1946, p. 156.


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After Hitler’s invasion of Poland in 1939, Landsberg could no longer avoid some kind of engagement in the fight against the forces of destruction advancing implacably across Europe. He went to work at the French government’s information center where he contributed to daily broadcasts made for Germany. In May 1940, however, German forces invaded France, unleashing panic, and Landsberg fell afoul of internment measures aimed at foreign nationals. Forcibly separated from his wife, he was sent to a concentration camp in Brittany, where suspicious elements mixed indiscriminately with foreign émigrés who were victims of the Nazis. From then on, the philosopher’s life acquired the cast of a tragic epic. With the German troops on the verge of entering the camp where he was held, Landsberg successfully scaled the walls and then crossed the occupied zone of France on bicycle for two months until he reached the so-called free zone, where he took refuge in the house of Jean Lacroix in Lyon for some weeks. Thanks to Lacroix’s account, we know that the fugitive philosopher “since his fight against Nazism in the thirties in Germany, always carried poison on his person and was determined to take it if he fell into the hands of the Gestapo”.21 This is an interesting fact to bear in mind if we wish to better grasp the meaning of his writings on the moral problem of suicide that were published posthumously, as they were a product not only of his thinking but also of his lived experience. After his time in Lyon, he moved to Pau in the foothills of the French Pyrenees, where his wife had been admitted to a sanatorium suffering from mental illness. Though he received offers from friends such as Jacques Maritain to accept a position as professor in the United States, he refused to leave his ill wife and the country that had taken him in. He remained in Pau under a false identity, pretending to be a doctor going by the name of Richert. Even though knowledge of his real identity began to spread in 1941, he seemed to enjoy the protection of a force that somehow kept him shielded from the eyes of his enemies. During his stay in Pau, he was working on a study of Machiavelli in which he outlined his conception of the humanity of the Renaissance and, through this, his conception of man. To prevent its loss, he scattered three manuscript versions, which have not yet been found. Despite the circumstances, his intellectual activity was unceasing, but his suffering and his spiritual evolution are best reflected in his “Poèmes spirituels”,22 which he wrote during this trying period. As he became more and more deeply Christian over the course of what he described as a genuine process of conversion, he definitively abandoned the idea of voluntary death. This is the backdrop of the wellknown essay on suicide that he wrote in mid-1942 and sent to Jean Lacroix 21 Lacroix 1966, p. 34. 22 P. L. Landsberg, “Poèmes spirituels”, Esprit (January 1952), pp. 49-57.

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in autumn of that year. As Miquel Siguan has put it fittingly, the essay signified “more than a philosophical reflection” for Landsberg; it was “a personal decision on the meaning of existence. Once he had written the essay, his poison was useless”.23 In December 1946, Lacroix published the piece in the journal Esprit under the title “Le problème morale du suicide” [“The Moral Problem of Suicide”]. Nevertheless, what had seemed inevitable did, in the end, happen. On a day in late February or early March 1943, Landsberg received a warning that the Gestapo were nearby and he hurried to the railway station to catch the last train, which he fatefully missed. Recklessly, he returned to his hotel to spend the night, planning to depart early the next morning. Instead, he was captured and sent to the Drancy transit camp, outside Paris, and then onto other camps (in Bordeaux, Lyon, Compiègne). In the autumn, he was finally deported to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in Oranienburg, near Berlin. The testimonies of prisoners being held with Landsberg speak to his moral energy, to his hopefulness despite the circumstances, to his unwavering resolve. Sadly, though, his body was exhausted, battered and famished, it could not withstand the violence and abuse, and he died of starvation and exhaustion on 2 April 1944. As in the cases of Edith Stein and Walter Benjamin, whose biographies share many points in common with his, Landsberg’s death resonates with as much meaning as his life does. Unsurprisingly, the news of his tragic end was deeply moving for the young students at the University of Barcelona who remembered him with admiration: “Landsberg’s meditations on the subject of death and suicide,” wrote Francesc Gomà, “have made him famous. For us, who know of his heroic death on 2 April 1944 in the concentration camp at Oranienburg, it represents a testimony to the greatness of a philosophy professor who defended human truth and dignity right to the end”.24

2. “Study of Nietzsche and Max Scheler”: a seminar in the spring of 1935 Over the months of April, May and June 1935, Landsberg gave an inaugural lecture and a series of twelve classes in the Seminar on Education at the University of Barcelona. The offering went by the generic title of “Study of Nietzsche and Max Scheler” and it was attended by students in the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters, not only the younger ones taking core subjects, but also those in the recently created education department (or other depart16

23 Siguan 1967, p. 80. 24 Gomà 1988, p. 75.


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ments) and still others who had finished their studies or were collaborating with lecturers in the teaching activities of the Faculty. In addition, those attending Landsberg’s seminar included teachers who wanted to supplement and expand their training.25 What remains of his seminar is the full text of the inaugural lecture, translated into Catalan under the title “Nietzsche and Scheler”26 and published in the journal Revista de Psicologia i Pedagogia,27 as well as a summary that an anonymous attendee wrote of each of the twelve classes.28 If we add the notes taken by Jordi Maragall, who was also in attendance29, and the fact that the content of some of the classes corresponds to the content of two published articles,30 we can say that this is the course or seminar given by Landsberg during his stay for which we have, at least for the time being, the most comprehensive information. But the main reason why it seems appropriate to give careful consideration to the seminar is that the classes—and Landsberg’s effort to understand the figures of Nietzsche and Scheler, whom he considered “the most authentic philosophers of our time”31—convey his conception of philosophy as a spiritual activity that he himself must have embodied in a fully rounded and exemplary manner in that memorable seminar.

2.1. The lecture

True to his clear instructional style, the lecture “Nietzsche and Scheler” expanded on and made explicit the ideas contained in an initial definition 25 In the words of the organisers of the Seminar on Education and its activities: “The purpose of these courses is the professional and spiritual development of teachers in accordance with universally recognised standards. (...) It is to bring teachers to the University and bring the University closer to teachers so that the University takes on the quality of a school and the school beats with the soul of the University.” I am indebted to the generosity of Dr. Conrad Vilanou who has given me a facsimile copy of the original program for the Seminar on Education at the University of Barcelona for the academic year 1930-1931, the first year that it was held. The quoted text is from this program. 26 Landsberg 1935b. This text by Landsberg exists only in Catalan. 27 Quarterly publication, directed by Emili Mira and Joaquim Xirau and published jointly by the Psychotechnical Institute of the Catalan government and the Seminar on Education at the University of Barcelona from February 1933 to August 1937. The journal is noteworthy for the excellent scientific quality of its contributions and the openness of its editors to academics from abroad. 28 Anonymous 1935. 29 These notes are mentioned by Maragall 1966, especially pp. 22-30. 30 The articles include one on Nietzsche’s poetry entitled “Los poemas de Nietzsche”, published in the Revista de Occidente (1935), and one on Max Scheler’s philosophy entitled “L’acte philosophique de Max Scheler”, published in Recherches Philosophiques (1936-1937) and later collected in Problèmes du personnalisme (1952). See bibliography. 31 Landsberg 1935b, p. 98.

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to which Landsberg returned repeatedly throughout his presentation: “The philosopher is a man who, out of the love of truth, transforms his life into a series of experiences and dedicates himself through thought to the investigation of the meaning and unity of these experiences”.32 First, it is necessary to look carefully at the notion of “experience”, which plays an absolutely fundamental role in his definition. Here we recall that Landsberg considered it one of the principal merits of Husserl’s philosophy that the man had freed the notion of experience from empiricism: “The possibility of conceiving of forms of experience other than those allowed for by the Sensualist hypothesis was enormously fruitful”.33 An experience is distinct from a simple occurrence. Many things happen in our lives, but in most cases they happen without our stopping to grasp their profound meaning. For Landsberg, for example, the people who had fought in World War I came to experience its meaning only many years later. Following the examples proposed by the author himself, one of Proust’s characters who loses the person he most deeply loves comes to understand how great his loss is only when he is suddenly overwhelmed by a profound and intense sadness at the least expected moment; his beloved has already died, but he does not go through the real experience of the meaning of her death until his sadness reveals it to him. Similarly, a linie by Goethe on love that we have learnt by heart in school acquires its real meaning only on the day that the love of our life appears, and so on. Everyone, it could be said, is called to transform the events of his life into experiences. Though many events apparently slip away without ever becoming an experience, this transformation does not constitute an exclusive privilege of the philosophical life. Rather, it is a possibility immanent in humanity. In any event, the philosopher distinguishes himself by means of a special awareness, grasping what it is that he does when he scrutinises the content of life, and thus doing so more doggedly and more pervasively: “The philosopher, therefore, is he who insists, who neither lets events pass by nor flees from them without listening to what they tell him. In this sense, being a philosopher is also to remember, to search for lost time”.34 To articulate thought and life, philosophy and existence, is one of the most characteristic traits of Landsberg’s style of thinking. It defines his specific philosophical act. Unsurprisingly, therefore, after proposing the above examples, he turns to his own biography to offer the principal illustration of his notion of experience: “My current life largely consists of the effort to transform exile into experience in order to pull from it the secret of its meaning, to read

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32 Ibid, p. 98. The text appears in italics in the original. 33 Landsberg 1939, p. 321. 34 Landsberg 1935b, p. 100.


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in its essence a page from the great book of life and truth”.35 Forced into exile, Landsberg saw this specific event in his life as an essential trait of human life in general: as a wanderer and stranger on Earth, where no one remains forever because there is death.36 Thus, while an event is a passing incident, an experience endures and has an unlimited depth that points towards a mystery: “In each experience, man transcends himself in the direction of a mystery. Experience has its layers which constitute the layers of its interpretation and ultimately interpretation always ends in mystery and words in silence”. 37 Following the general characterisation of the notion of experience, it is necessary to underscore that all experience for Landsberg is transcendent. That is, all experience points to something beyond itself. It does so in two directions, corresponding to the two facets of experience itself, which has a subjective pole (experience of ourselves) and an objective pole (experience of a thing that is not ourselves): “In all experience, we transcend ourselves in two directions: towards ourselves and towards the essence of things”.38 When I see a blue sky—the example is once again Landsberg’s—the event contains an experience of myself in the correspondence between the colour of the physical sky and the affective hues of the soul itself. Experience as act could be described by this movement of bilateral transcendence. Adapting the terminology of Jung,39 Landsberg proposes a classification of philosophers as introverts/extraverts based on the direction of the movement of transcendence that predominates in their thought. St. Augustine, Pascal, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and Unamuno would be examples of a predominantly inward movement, while the opposite movement prevails in Thomas Aquinas, Goethe, Scheler40 and Ortega. We might well include Lands35 Ibid. 36 Life in exile has an important place in Landsberg’s thought. For him, it contains a profound spiritual meaning tied to the transcendent eschatology of Christianity. See, for example, Landsberg 1938b, p. 266. Some of the pages in his personal diary clearly show his philosophical and moral style of confronting the experience of exile and being a refugee, seeking out the universal anthropological content in these personal circumstances. For his collected diary entries, see Oesterreicher 1961, pp. 308-309. 37 Landsberg 1935b, pp. 100-101. Gabriel Marcel is one of the philosophers with whom Landsberg was in contact in Paris. He is also a direct influence, which is apparent from Landsberg’s use of the notion of “mystery”. 38 Ibid, p. 101. 39 Cf. C. G. Jung, “Tipos psicológicos. (Introvertidos y extravertidos)”, Revista de Occidente, 29 (November 1935), pp. 161-183. 40 “Scheler, for example,” writes Landsberg, proposing a significant case that he knew personally, “loved human society with an unflagging love. Every human and nearly every book interested him, they constituted experiences that he devoured. Finding himself forced to be alone, even for a few days, caused him great annoyance. (...) Indeed, his spirit lived primarily from contact and his curiosity was as immense as Nietzsche’s, though it looked in the opposite direction”, Landsberg 1935b, p. 102.

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berg himself in the first of the two groups, but that is not to say that he values one direction over and above the other: “The greatness of a man’s spirit does not depend on the dominant direction of his experience, but on the energy to follow it to its depths.41 At the same time, it was quite clear to Landsberg that there can be no personality of a pure type and that behind this antithesis there is the unity of the philosophical life: “He who seeks to understand himself, seeks also to understand the whole world; he who seeks to understand the whole world, also understands himself ”.42 Experiences are not isolated phenomena. Thought tends to “deepen our experiences by integrating them with other experiences.43 To integrate and delve deeply are inseparable acts. This is why the philosopher seeks unity in the depth of all experiences. Attaining unity and understanding the meaning of all experiences is the final aim of philosophy. While it is not possible to forgo this aim, however, it can never be wholly attained. Landsberg saw in the closed systems of German idealism, for example, restless—and yet also splendid—anticipations of the ultimate aim of Philosophy: “At the foundation of every closed system there is a will to system and it is the will to latch onto and apprehend the illusion of having realised the unrealisable, of holding in one’s hands the philosopher’s stone or at least the magical key that can open all doors”.44 For Landsberg, one of the characteristic traits of the state of philosophy in his time, represented by Nietzsche and by Scheler, is the relinquishment of a closed system or universal method. Unity and universality remain indispensable governing ideas, philosophy’s task and dream,45 but the honest expression of the philosophical life leads both authors to an open system, a deliberately fragmentary one. To give a few examples of contemporary authors, Landsberg also saw the philosophy of Unamuno and Ortega, in Spain, and of Bergson and Marcel, in France, as similarly embarked on an indefinite search by means of open-ended and partial systematising, that is, led “by ever new experiences towards a felt unity that always becomes hidden again”.46 The text of the lecture concludes with another expression that appeared in the initial definition: the “love of truth” in the philosophical sense of the word “truth”. This type of love must be distinguished from curiosity or eagerness for information. It must be also distinguished from the scientific interest in seeking certain truths about particular fields of knowledge. To explicate the authentic philosophical meaning of the love of truth, Landsberg turns to Plato.

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41 42 43 44 45 46

Ibid, p. 104. Ibid, p. 103. Ibid, p. 105. Ibid, p. 108. Landsberg gave a transcendent and eschatological meaning to the revelation of this total unity. Ibid, p. 110.


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In Plato, according to Landsberg’s interpretation, knowledge is participation in and transformation of our mutable and temporal being into the essence of the object of knowledge. The knowledge of divine being makes the human being divine and gives him immortality: “Truth for Plato exists and to move towards it is to move towards existence. Love of truth is the love of our true existence, the love of divinisation and eternalisation, it is the movement of this adaptation towards God”.47 Thus, Landsberg proposes an existential conception of knowledge and of philosophy itself. The love of truth is the love of being, the love of our participation in being and, therefore, an affirmation of existence itself: “From dissolution in non-existence, it moves towards concentration in true existence, in the truth. It is the philosophical man who, in the fullness of experiences, seeks the unity of the mystery”.48

2.2. Seminar sessions

According to the “news” section of the Seminar on Education, the seminar led by Landsberg took place in the months of April, May and June 1935.49 The seminar sessions began a few days after the inaugural lecture on Nietzsche and Scheler mentioned above. The anonymous author of the “news” item gives a brief overview of the twelve sessions50 intended to contrast the philosophical act in Nietzsche and Scheler. The style of the seminars was based on dialogue, with input and questions from the participants. Indeed, the working method was twofold: on one hand, there was interpretation and commentary on the texts, led by Landsberg; and on the other hand, there were referata or summaries of some of the doctrinal points of the philosophies given at the start of some sessions by various participants who took turns.51 Landsberg’s goal was not to give a systematic doctrinal presentation of the two authors’ thinking, nor to provide a detailed account of their intellectual biography. Rather, his aim was to describe the specific nature of their philosophical act, their style of thinking, their way of living philosophy, of be47 Ibid, p. 114. 48 Ibid, p. 115. 49 Anonymous 1935. 50 The first session was introductory in nature. Some points were discussed in order to clarify the previous lecture. Sessions II, III, IV and V focused on Nietzsche’s commentary and sessions VI-XII addressed Scheler. 51 As an example, Eduard Nicol was in charge of reading the first referata with information on the life, periods, influences and other general considerations on Nietzsche’s work (session II, May 1935) and David Garcia Bacca read a referata on the concept of philosophy in Scheler, based on the essay Vom Wesen der Philosophie (session VI, May 1935). Other participants, such as Calsamiglia and Rubert, did likewise with other subjects. Cf. Anonymous 1935, pp. 164 and 169-170.

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ing philosophers, both Nietzsche and Scheler. We know that Landsberg prepared a work based on this subject matter that never saw the light of day.52 Nietzsche and Scheler, for Landsberg, represented two opposite directions in the philosophical effort to delve deeply into experience and integrate it. While Nietzsche conducted his search along an inner road, penetrating his soul in a process of self-discovery and seeking out an unknown God that he never reached, Scheler is an ecstatic philosopher, an extravert intoxicated by the superabundance of a world that appeared to him to hold infinite riches.53 These are the starting points or initial situations (Ausgangsituation) of their respective philosophies. However, the two situations must be overcome, because each is ultimately unsustainable: being unable, in Nietzsche’s case, to reach out to that which is found within himself; and, in Scheler’s case, finding a world of unsurpassable riches but not knowing the place of each thing, most particularly of oneself. In the first case, the peril is nihilism and in the second case, it is chaosism.54 As Landsberg wrote in another study of Nietzsche published earlier, the important truth for this kind of philosophy, and the only one that matters, is hidden deep inside and not in the depths or relations of nature. The field of experience of a man like Nietzsche is, first and foremost, his own entirely individual inner life.55 As a consequence, Landsberg found it easier to plumb Nietzsche’s depths through his poems, because he hid his true face less in them: “Nietzsche, however, has been honest to himself. He has dressed others in guises, not himself. (…) To understand his philosophical life, therefore, you must read his unpublished papers (poems and notes) in which he did not conceal himself ”.56 Accordingly, in the four seminar sessions on Nietzsche, Landsberg primarily addressed some of the poetic texts, beginning with “To the Unknown God”,57 a poem from Nietzsche’s youth to which Landsberg attaches special importance because, according to the notes of one of the seminar participants: “This unknown, highly personal God, which is like an inner storm, appears in his youthful poems and leaves a mark on the entire Nietzschean quest”.58 Certainly, it is not my intention to offer an orderly and systematic account of the content of these seminar sessions, which unfolded with the freedom typical of this style of academic work. In any case, only relatively frag-

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52 This is noted on the first page of Landsberg 1936-1937. 53 Anonymous 1935, p. 172. 54 Ibid, p. 173. 55 Landsberg 1934b. 56 Anonymous 1935, p. 166. 57 Landsberg also discussed other poems in this text: “The Wanderer”, “Before Sunrise”, “The Traveller and His Shadow”, “The Poet’s Vocation”, “Drunken Song of Midnight” and more. 58 Maragall 1966, p. 22. The italics are Maragall’s.


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mentary references remain. However, by drawing on the review that appeared in the Revista de Psicologia i Pedagogia, the notes taken by Jordi Maragall and the article on Nietzsche’s poems entitled “Los poemas de Nietzsche” that appeared in the same period in Revista de Occidente, we can mention at least the main lines of Landsberg’s interpretation over the course of the seminar. In effect, from a perspective tinged with a certain Augustinianism, Landsberg sees Nietzsche as a pilgrim or wanderer, who delves deeply into his own soul in search of an inner divinity in order to free himself from traditional religion. The wayward or wandering style of Nietzsche’s thought is related to states of solitude and suffering. In the three states of the soul, according to Landsberg, it is possible to find an antithetical or dialectical structure: the distance the traveller reaches from what he has abandoned gives him knowledge; solitude awakens the poetic creativity that makes communication possible; illness reveals health and the miracle of living. For Landsberg, Nietzsche is one of those rare spirits who, through experience, have known the positive value of suffering in the fulfilment of the individual spirit. This is a creative suffering that leads to a more intense, more spiritual life.59 As Landsberg sees it, Nietzsche’s doctrine of suffering is the most Christian element in his thought. Indeed, he holds that Nietzsche does not really know the figure of Christ: “There is a misunderstanding of Nietzsche’s here; in all of his blasphemies, he is closer to Christ than he believes. The Christ that he attacks is the Christ of Schopenhauer, the Christ of the philistines of culture, the Christ of a utilitarian period”.60 In Nietzsche, Landsberg sees a swinging back and forth between titanism and despair, between Luciferianism and Christianity, between pride and humility. According to Jordi Maragall in his seminar notes, however: “Zarathustra will not tell his disciples what he tells himself. Nietzsche’s honesty lies in his confession of despair, not in his exaltation of the life that he wishes to give the disciple”.61 Accordingly, Landsberg interprets Nietzsche primarily as an existential philosophy of despair: “All atheist and despairing existential philosophy will always be influenced by Nietzsche”.62 Landsberg attributes to Nietzsche the pride of the creative genius who has received a gift, but does not know its bounds, until he reaches the extreme of wanting to create the very gods themselves, when in reality he ends up creating mythical images (e.g. Zarathustra or Dionysus) from certain possibilities immanent within himself. Nietzsche represents the tragedy of the soul that tries vainly to find its spiritual essence apart from God. As an authentic phi59 60 61 62

Cf. Landsberg 1953c, pp. 263-265. Anonymous 1935, p. 165. Maragall 1966, p. 24. Anonymous 1935, p. 166.

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losopher of wandering, solitude and suffering, what he sought in all the experiences of his life, in Landsberg’s view, was simply truth. In short: “The great merit of Nietzsche is, without doubt, to have rediscovered the autonomy of life values though he was unable to see their connection to spiritual and religious values”.63 After Nietzsche, two paths remain open to philosophy: a path that leads from the unknown God to the sacrificed God and the adoration of nothingness, the path of a philosophy against existence that plunges the human being into the void; and another path that leads from the unknown God to the rediscovered God, the path of a philosophy of existence that transcends the human being. For Landsberg, the first is the way followed by Heidegger, while the second is the “way out of the labyrinth”64 followed by Scheler. From session VI through the final session of the seminar, session XII, the commentaries, discussions and referata focus on the work of Max Scheler.65 The essential trait by which Landsberg characterises Scheler’s style of thought, that is, the formal aspect of his philosophical act, consists in that it is a “hierarchizing way of thinking”.66 Faced with the extraordinary richness of the world, it is necessary to find order: not to create it, but to describe it. With his typical keenness for clarity, Landsberg offers three different examples from Scheler’s work to show how his hierarchising way of thinking operates. The first example comes from Scheler’s ethics, in which he carries out “an orderly integration of values discovered by man through history—values relating to pleasure, life, the spirit and the holy”.67 The second comes from Scheler’s theories of the different forms of knowledge (categorized as scientific, “essential”, and knowledge for salvation), and the third is drawn from Scheler’s philosophy of history. In all of these quite different fields, Scheler starts from the recognition of a diversity, a plurality, that corresponds to the richness of the initial experience, but then, without rejecting any of the discovered elements, he goes on to put them in hierarchical order. His hierarchising way of thinking entails a synthesis of richness and judgment68 that is distinct from the zealot and the relativist. Where the zealot will not acknowledge more than one value, the relativist treats all values as

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63 Ibid, p. 169. 64 Landsberg 1935c, p. 277. 65 The main focus of the study of Scheler’s philosophical life, sessions IX and X, coincides with the essential elements of Landsberg’s previously mentioned essay “L’acte filosòfic de Max Scheler”. This enables us to follow the thread of his presentation in a more orderly and continuous manner than in the case of his commentaries on the poems of Nietzsche, which are necessarily more impressionistic and fragmentary. My focus is essentially on sessions IX and X. 66 Anonymous 1935, p. 173. 67 Ibid. 68 Landsberg 1936-1937, p. 217.


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equal. As Landsberg sees it, however, Scheler neither denies nor levels values: “If the zealot has sacrificed all values for the sake of one and chooses it readily, the relativist equates all values and chooses none of them”.69 In practical life, self-fulfilment—and here I follow the nearly parallel text of the published article—always demands choice and sacrifice. The only possibility is to pursue one’s own vocation: “Nobody would know how nor can wish to realise the entire universe of values”;70 it is not possible to be Achilles, Goethe and St. Francis of Assisi simultaneously, though the world needs heroes, geniuses and saints all to exist at the same time71. The individual must find his place in the world according to his own specific vocation, that is, by discovering the values that he can realise, and then by grasping that “it is necessary to understand his situation in the overall hierarchy of values and respect their limits”.72 The individual must answer two questions: first, what is his vocation; and second, what is the place of his vocation in the universe of values.73 Another trait that is characteristic of this hierarchising tendency in Scheler’s thought, according to Landsberg, is his search for authentic meaning. To reclaim the universe, the authentic essence of things must first be discovered. This is firstly intended to avoid theories that find at the heart of anything not the thing itself, but something else. These are the theories of “it is simply …” Scheler also sought to avoid judging the authentic forms of human attitudes and emotions on the basis of their counterfeit or unhealthy guises. In several works, for example, on shame, on the virtues of reverence or humility, on remorse or contrition, Scheler seeks to distinguish between an essence and the sham forms that replace it through imitation. To achieve this aim, the phenomenological method is indispensable in the exploration of essences: “The phenomenological method, the exploration of essences abstracted from their reality, renders [the method] independent of the number of times that the essences are carried out and it thereby becomes an incomparable tool to restore to the idea its genuine content, finding it again even in its most imperfect expressions”.74 Landsberg stresses the importance of love in the whole of Scheler’s philosophy: love of the essential, love of being. Only in this way can the truth of the universe be approached through the diversity of its structure. Contrary to the scientific tendency towards universal identification, the tendency of phi69 Anonymous 1935, p. 174. 70 Landsberg 1936-1937, p. 218. 71 Anonymous 1935, p. 173. 72 Ibid. 73 Landsberg 1936-1937, p. 218. 74 Ibid, p. 227.

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losophy lies in “perceiving the essential diversity through love”.75 According to the final words of the summary of seminar session X: “If that is Science, says Scheler, then Philosophy is the opposite, it diversifies. It never destroys, never identifies, but it sees each and every thing in its corresponding place”.76 In the twelfth and final session of the seminar, Landsberg raises a critical point: the danger for Scheler lies in arriving at order too quickly and, therefore, arriving at an incomplete or falsified order. The crisis comes when a thing resists inclusion in the hierarchy, such as, for example, the blind, impulsive, daemonic force of life. Scheler always wanted to give the values of the spirit a higher place than the others, but the blind impulse of life, in Landsberg’s judgment, throws his scheme into disorder. His ultimate metaphysics was a last attempt to salvage the spirit and its superiority, while recognising the blind force of life. However, the Spirit-Life duality, which was intolerable to him, also becomes insurmountable: “But the miracle did not come,” Landsberg concludes, “that would extricate him from this metaphysics in which he vested all of his final concerns and in which we find not solutions, but only problems”.77

3. Philosophical anthropology and the unity of the human being (Maine de Biran) On 28 March 1936, approximately a year after his seminar on Nietzsche and Scheler, Landsberg gave a lecture in the Seminar on Education entitled “Maine de Biran et l’anthropologie philosophique”. It was delivered to open the course “Philosophical Anthropology: the Problem of the Unity of Man”78 and his text, which is collected wholly in French,79 also appeared in the Revista de Psicologia i Pedagogia.80 Based on the title and the subject matter, the lecture may have been a portion of a work that Mounier mentioned as Traité de l’unité de l’homme [Treatise on the Unity of Man],81 which remains lost. Nor is the text of the lecture accompanied by an overview of the sessions that presumably followed it. The lecture and the course on the unity of

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75 Ibid, p. 230. 76 Anonymous 1935, p. 176. 77 Ibid, p. 178. 78 This course took place on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 5 pm to 6 pm. Cf. La Vanguardia (22-III-1936), p. 12. 79 Wartime hardships probably impeded any possibility of translating the text, as it did in the case of the lecture “Nietzsche and Scheler”. 80 Landsberg 1936a. 81 Mounier 1946, p. 156. As a consequence, the text collected in the Revista de Psicologia i Pedagogia may be the only surviving fragment of this work.


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man are bound up with one of the predominant lines of work in Landsberg’s thought: philosophical anthropology.82 In a brief summary of the lecture that opens the course, Landsberg introduces Maine de Biran as someone who lives in constant touch with his inner reality, in the depths of that specific experience. Thus, Landsberg classifies him as an author who, in the line of Montaigne or Nietzsche, starts from introspection. Perpetual meditation on his life is what led him into the area of philosophical anthropology.83 Maine de Biran wanted to study the human being in his totality, without isolating his physical or spiritual dimension as a separate reality. Accordingly, he developed a tripartite schema in his anthropological essays. The human being, as a whole, has three elements: a) “animal life” (which corresponds to the external man and our natural fate); b) “human life” (which corresponds to the inner man as a free and active being); and c) “life of the spirit” (which corresponds to the inner man, open to grace, endowed with a receptivity to the transcendent).84 According to Landsberg, the greatest originality of Biran’s anthropology lies in the second element and its doctrine of the effort of the will, which constitutes the core of the human person.85 To grasp the unity of the human being, who is neither angel nor beast, it is necessary to start specifically with the middle level. Both animality and spirituality in the human being must be understood in relation to this intermediate level where the unity of the human composite resides. This anthropological schema, according to Landsberg, belongs to an ancient Christian tradition; the principle of trichotomy already exists in St. Paul and St. Augustine and it is further developed in Franciscan anthropology, particularly in St. Bonaventure.86 In Landsberg’s view, what distances Maine de Biran’s philosophy from any rationalist construction is his strong, almost instinctive adherence to experience.87 Given its stance, Maine de Biran’s philosophical anthropology is part and parcel of the anthropocentrism and egocentrism of modern man, but it approaches ever more closely to a subjective depth in which the Creator still exists in man and philosophical anthropology must again find an

82 Joaquim Xirau had already offered to review the first, much admired publication of Landsberg in this discipline, entitled Einführung in die philosophische Anthropologie (1934), a work that had serious difficulties reaching the public due to its date of publication. Cf. J. Xirau, “Paul L. Landsberg: Einführung in die philosophische Anthropologie. Vittorio Klostermann. Frankfurt a/M. 1934” (review), Revista de Psicologia i Pedagogia, II:8 (November 1934), pp. 450-452. Cf. Zwierlein 1989. 83 Landsberg 1936a, pp. 344-345. 84 Ibid, pp. 351-352. 85 Ibid, p. 354. 86 Ibid, p. 358. 87 Ibid, p. 364.

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existential philosophy like that of St. Augustine, which situates God within one’s own interiority.88 In April 1936, we can still follow Landsberg’s trail. By then, he was in Tossa del Mar. This is apparent from references made by Jordi Maragall, who went with his wife shortly after their wedding to visit Landsberg in Tossa.89 In July 1936, as noted earlier, the outbreak of the Spanish civil war caught the German professor by surprise while he was engaged in an academic activity in Santander. After his return to France, he would never again set foot in Catalonia. In the November 1936 issue of the Revista de Psicologia i Pedagogia, the scheduled activities of the Seminar on Education for the academic year 19361937 include no further reference to Joaquim Xirau’s distinguished visiting professor. Many years later, in 1946, the French group at the journal Esprit received positive confirmation from Mounier of Landsberg’s death (“We have long held back news that would have been cruel to confirm publicly while a glimmer of hope remained. We will never again see Paul-Louis Landsberg”),90 and it must have been at roughly the same time that his former students in Barcelona—Maragall, Calsamiglia, Gomà, Siguan, Rubert, and many others— also heard the tragic news of the demise of a most deeply missed teacher, and in the same year, moreover, as the death of Joaquim Xirau in Mexico.

4. The experience of death and the temptation of suicide We have to look two decades later, specifically to the year 1966, to identify a certain reverberation of Landsberg’s work in Catalonia. In fact, two examples appear: first, in the Catalan publication of Reflections on Suicide and Death91 as part of the series “Llibres del Nopal”, published by Edicions Ariel;92 and second, in the journal Convivium of the University of Barcelona, which 88 89 90 91

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Ibid, p. 367. J. Maragall, “Abriles”, La Vanguardia (14-IV-1998), p. 23. Mounier 1946, p. 155. The text appeared in a Catalan translation entitled Reflexions sobre el suïcidi i la mort (translated by Ramon Rabassa i Riu) and it brings together both Essai sur l’expérience de la mort (1936) and Le problème moral du suicide (1946), which appeared in English as The Experience of Death and The Moral Problem of Suicide. The Catalan translation also featured an intense, heartfelt introduction by Jordi Maragall, which has already been quoted, and a foreword to the French edition written by Jean Lacroix. I am especially grateful to Dr. Josep Monserrat i Molas for his generosity in providing me with a copy of this prized edition. The Spanish translation appeared in 1995 and included a prologue by Paul Ricoeur. 92 Again, Jordi Maragall provides information about the circumstances in which his friend Josep Calsamiglia pushed forward with the publishing house Edicions Ariel and “the publication of difficult books for the period in which we find ourselves”. J. Maragall, “Josep M. Calsamiglia, història d’una amistat”, La Vanguardia (5-VII-1987), p. 43.


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published a translation of an article by Landsberg on Marx,93 with an eloquent note by Miquel Siguan, who also appended a bibliography on Landsberg containing all the works known to him at the time.94 To follow the path laid out by Landsberg himself in his essay on death and his reflections on suicide, it is necessary by means of reflection to turn lived events into genuine experiences. In the first case, the death of his brother Erich in World War I at the age of nineteen (1916), the passing of his father (1927) and the subsequent death of his teacher and friend Max Scheler (1928), are most likely to have provided the experiential basis for his invaluable meditations on death. Unlike Heidegger, he drew close inspiration from book IV of St. Augustine’s Confessions and gave particular emphasis in his meditations to the death of the other,95 the death of a loved one. If the awareness of death per se is not merely as the vague terminus or ending of my life, but also as a real possibility that accompanies me at all times, it can be called an “absent presence”,96 and the death of a close relative, which takes from us the uniqueness of their presence, is a “present absence”.97 Existential participation, the creation of an us constituted by the community between two people, leads to the rupture of this mode of coexistence upon the loss of the other, and therefore, “to the knowledge of our having to die”.98 While the other is still alive, we can always reach out to him or her in one way or another: “[O]nly the experience of the death of the other teaches us qualitatively what absence and alienation are”.99 Bluntly in opposition to the Heideggerian Sein zum Tode, Landsberg holds that human existence aims at the realisation of itself and of eternity. Anxiety about death reveals to us death’s extrinsic character and its opposition to the most profound and most inescapable tendency of our being: the affirmation of the oneness of our existence beyond the boundaries of time. From these postulates, Landsberg develops a philosophy of hope that he sees as a “structure of being that transcends the psychological subject”100 and also points to the fullest realisation of the individual: “the future of hope is the future of my 93 P. L. Landsberg, “Marx y el problema del hombre”, Convivium, 23 (1967), 83-95. 94 Siguan 1967, pp. 79-82. The bibliography provided by Siguan is excellent, but it is understandably incomplete because the German writer’s works were so scattered over time and space: see bibliography. 95 According to Silvano Zucal: “The specifically Landsbergian merit, his really original quality (...) is his application of the dialogical method to an event that appears in essence anti-dialogical, which is to say, death”. Cf. Zucal 2007, pp. 307-308. 96 Landsberg 1966, p. 83. 97 Ibid, p. 91. 98 Ibid, p. 93. 99 Ibid, p. 98. 100 Ibid, p. 105.

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very person”.101 The essay concludes with a meditation on the Christian experience of death, particularly its mystical aspect. The mystic’s experience of God contains an experience of death that is unique to them: the anticipation of death in ecstasy.102 The love of death, a recurring theme of mystics like St. Teresa of Ávila and Meister Eckhart, comes out of lived experience, out of a state analogous to death, which at the same time is experienced as a birth into eternal life. It follows then that this death, which is in reality Life, supposes no annihilation of the person, but the affirmation and ultimate fulfilment of his being: “It is the fulfilment of ontological hope by that which, not originating in it, comes to complete it. Man as person, through the work of grace, finds himself becoming that which is in God. At last, he feels being and understands that until then he was only nothing, he was only a thing, save for a hope yet to be fulfilled. Spiritual joy is but a reflection of the movement towards being”.103 In his final piece of writing, which addressed the moral problem of suicide and appeared in print posthumously, we once again find pages that were lived before they were written. The text is a philosophical meditation by a person who has experienced, at very close quarters, some sympathy for the idea of taking his own life when fate seems to present no other way out. Landsberg highlights the problematic character of suicide as a “temptation immanent in human nature”,104 the temptation to gauge the ultimate bounds of freedom. Landsberg expresses admiration for the Stoic morals of virtue and inner freedom in the face of life and death: “The Stoic is a man who can die if reason so commands”.105 In opposition to bourgeois morality, which condemns suicide out of its attachment to the empirical life, the Stoic attitude appears to stand on a higher moral ground. So then why does Christianity so radically oppose suicide? Landsberg examines the arguments against voluntary death from Christian philosophers such as St. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, but he finds them inadequate. For Landsberg, the fundamental character of Christian life is an effort to imitate Christ and this entails a radical conversion, particularly on the subject of suffering: “Preferring martyrdom to suicide is a peculiar paradox of the Christian. (…) You must not kill yourself, because you must not cast off your own cross”.106 Reassessing the idea of suicide based on this radical conversion, Landsberg holds that a man ultimately takes his own

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101 Ibid. I briefly note that Landsberg’s distinction between “waiting” and “hope” is also found in Gabriel Marcel. 102 Ibid, p. 145. 103 Ibid, p. 148. 104 Ibid, p. 40. 105 Ibid, p. 46. 106 Ibid, pp. 62 and 64. 107 Ibid, pp. 61 and 69.


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life to escape his suffering and move in the direction of an unknown happiness and peace. Suicide is a flight by which the human being seeks to regain paradise lost. It is a kind of regression to a pre-birth state: “the goddess of suicide hurls us down into the dark womb of the mother”.107 As Roberto Garaventa wrote: “The peculiarity of Landsberg’s essay lies in the fact not only that it stands against the rightness of suicide (…), but also that it contains a glorification of Christian martyrdom as the authentic way to face an ineluctable fate of pain and death”,108 and that therefore “for Landsberg, the only response to the temptation of suicide can come from a metaphysical-religious endowment of meaning”.109

5. Coda The young university students who first encountered Landsberg in Barcelona in the spring of 1934 were unaware that he had been carrying poison in his pocket for some time, ready to end his life should he fall into the hands of the Gestapo. Nor did they find out until many years later, thanks to the testimonies of friends and to the philosopher’s own writings, that his thinking on spirituality had evolved and that he had renounced suicide. “His memory and his death, in the wake of his writings on death and suicide,” recalls Jordi Maragall, “are still troubling to me”.110 They had shared seminars and lectures, long conversations and leisurely strolls, philosophical debates after dinner in the house of one or another member of the group that, in youthful enthusiasm, they had christened “Club Xirau”. Among the many extraordinary teachers they were lucky enough to have in those years of study before the outbreak of the Spanish civil war, Landsberg remained prominent in the memory of each of them: “His courses on Nietzsche and Scheler, on St. Augustine, on Maine de Biran, stay in my memory as my most intense hours of learning how to do philosophy”.111 The journey of Landsberg’s life, which led him, among other things, to publish in various languages including Catalan, and also his tragic end support Francesc Gomà’s characterisation of the man as a “knight errant of the spirit”,112 who in the course of his eventful wanderings left a permanent imprint on kindred spirits. His tragic fate may have left his work unfinished—though he defended the intrinsically fragmentary, open and unfinished nature of all philosophical work—but it did not leave his 108 Garaventa 2007, p. 331. 109 Ibid, p. 340. 110 Maragall 1986, p. 55. 111 Ibid. 112 Gomà 1988, p. 74.

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life unfinished: “Because if his presence is so conspicuous and telling today in spite of his physical absence,” stated Maragall in 1966, “it is because his act of life was to find death’s place in it”.113 In conclusion, I turn to a few words by Miquel Siguan, written nearly fifty years ago, to which this paper would like to offer a modest response, while acknowledging in passing my debt to their impetus: “There is no point wondering what Landsberg’s work might have been under more favourable conditions. Such as he was able to do it, fragmentary and scattered to the beat of his harried existence, it yet awaits someone who wishes to collect it and present it and I am hopeful that it will be those in Barcelona who devoutly keep his memory alive who will one day accomplish this task”.114

Bibliography115 Anonymous (1935), “Treballs de Seminari sobre ‘Nietzsche i Scheler’ dirigits pel Prof. P. L. Landsberg”, Revista de Psicologia i Pedagogia, III:10 (May), pp. 162-178. Cavarero, G. (2013), Agostino e Pascal nel pensiero di Paul Ludwig Landsberg, Albo Versorio, Milan. Garaventa, R. (2007), “Esperienza del dolore e tentazione del suicidio in P. L. Landsberg”, in Nicholetti, M. et al. (eds.), Da che parte dobbiamo stare. Il personalismo di Paul Ludwig Landsberg, Rubbettino Editore, Soveria Mannelli, pp. 329-362. Gomà, F. (1988), “Records de la meva vida universitària”, Anuari de la Societat Catalana de Filosofia, II, pp. 63-77, inaugural lesson of the academic year of the Catalan Philosophical Society. 1984. Jarnés, B. (1934), “De pura raza”, La Vanguardia (3-VIII), p. 3. Klossowski, P. (1948), “Les sens spirituels chez saint Agustin par Landsberg”, Dieu vivant, II, 11, pp. 83-105. Lacroix, J. (1966), “Prefaci de l’edició francesa”, in P. L. Landsberg, Reflexions sobre la mort i el suïcidi, trad. Ramon Rabassa i Riu, col·lecció “Llibres del Nopal”, Ariel, Barcelona, pp. 31-35.

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113 Maragall 1966, p. 16. 114 Siguan 1967, pp. 79-82. 115 The bibliography has an alphabetical list of the works cited in this essay. An especially valuable bibliography appears in Nicholetti et al. 2007, pp. 385-395. It includes a very thorough list of the scattered works of Landsberg, including posthumous publications, biographical sources and secondary literature.


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Landsberg, P. L. (1922), Die Welt des Mittelalters und wir. Eingeschichts philosophis­ cher Versuchüber den Sinn eines Zeitalters, Friedrich Cohen, Bonn; Spanish translation by J. Pérez Bances: La Edad Media y nosotros. Ensayo filosóficohistórico sobre el sentido de una época, Revista de Occidente, Madrid, 1925. — (1923), Wesen und Bedeutung der Platonischen Akademie, Friedrich Cohen, Bonn; Spanish translation by J. Pérez Bances: La Academia platónica, Revista de Occidente, Madrid, 1926. — (1929), Pascals Berufung, Friedrich Cohen, Bonn. — (1933), “Rassen ideologie und Rassen wissenschaft. Zur neuesten Literatur über das Rassen problem”, Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung, II. — (1934a), Einführung in die philosophische Anthropologie, Vittorio Klostermann, Frankfurt am Main. — (1934b), “Essai d’interprétation de la maladie mentale de Nietzsche”, in Pierres blanches. Problèmes du personalisme, Éditions du Félin, Paris, 2007, pp. 231-262; originally published in Revue philosophique (September-October 1934). — (1935a), Experiencia de la muerte, Cruz y Raya, Madrid. — (1935b), “Nietzsche i Scheler”, Revista de Psicologia i Pedagogia, III:10 (May), pp. 97-116. — (1935c), “Los poemas de Nietzsche”, Revista de Occidente, XIII:CXLIV (June), pp. 255-277. — (1936a), “Maine de Biran et l’anthropologie philosophique”, Revista de Psicologia i Pedagogia, VI:16 (November), pp. 342-368. — (1936b), Essai sur l’expérience de la mort, Desclée de Brouwer, Paris. — (1936-1937), “L’acte philosophique de Max Scheler”, Recherches Philosophiques, VI, pp. 299-312, collected in Pierres blanches. Problèmes du personalisme, Éditions du Félin, Paris, 2007, pp. 211-230. — (1937), “Réflexions sur l’engagement personnel”, Esprit (November), pp. 179-197. — (1938a), “Le sens de l’action”, Esprit (October). — (1938b), “Pierres blanches”, Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung, p. 266; originally published in Les Nouvelles Lettres (October 1938). — (1939), “Husserl et l’idée de la philosophie”, Revue Internationale de Philosophie, I:2, pp. 317-325. — (1946), “Le problème moral du suicide”, Esprit, XV, p. 128. — (1956), “Lettre de Paul-Louis Landsberg à José Bergamín (2-I-1939)”, Esprit (September), pp. 460-464.

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— (1966), Reflexions sobre la mort i el suïcidi, translated by Ramon Rabassa i Riu, for the series “Llibres del Nopal”, Ariel, Barcelona; original titles: Le problème moral du suicide–Essai sur l’expériencie de la mort. — (2007), Pierres blanches. Problèmes du personalisme, Éditions du Félin, Paris; re-issue of Problèmes du personnalisme, Seuil, Paris, 1952, selected and edited by J. Lacroix. Maragall, J. (1966), “Paul Ludwig Landsberg. Vida, obra i mort”, in Landsberg, P. L., Reflexions sobre la mort i el suïcidi, translated by Ramon Rabassa i Riu for the series “Llibres del Nopal”, Ariel, Barcelona, pp. 9-30. — (1986), “La generació filosòfica de 1932”, Revista de Catalunya, 2, pp. 49-59. Mounier, E. (1946), “Paul-Louis Landsberg”, Esprit, XIV:118 (January), pp. 155-156. Nicholetti, M. et al. (eds.) (2007), Da che parte dobbiamo stare. Il personalismo di Paul Ludwig Landsberg, Rubbettino Editore, Soveria Mannelli. Oesterreicher, J. M. (1961), “Paul Landsberg, defensor de la esperanza”, in Siete filósofos judíos encuentran a Cristo, translated by M. Fuentes Benot Aguilar, Madrid, pp. 271-346. Siguan, M. (1967), “Noticia sobre Pablo Luis Landsberg”, Convivium, 23, pp. 79-82. Zucal, S. (2007), “Il silenzio infidele: la morte come ‘esperienza di prossimità’ in Paul Ludwig Landsberg”, in Nicholetti, M. et al. (eds.) (2007), Da che parte dobbiamo stare. Il personalismo di Paul Ludwig Landsberg, Rubbettino Editore, Soveria Mannelli, pp. 289-327. Zwierlein, E. (1989), Die Idee einer philosophischen Anthropologie bei Paul Ludwig Landsberg. Zur Frage nach den Wesen des Menschen zwischen Selbstauffassung und Selbsgestaltung, Könighausen und Neumann, Würzburg. Translation from Catalan by Joel Graham

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article JOURNAL OF CATALAN INTELLECTUAL HISTORY, Issues 9&10, 2015 | Print ISSN 2014-1572 / Online ISSN 2014-1564 DOI: 10.2436/20.3001.02.92 | P. 35-51 Reception date: 12/09/2014 / Admission date: 25/09/2014 http://revistes.iec.cat/index.php/JOCIH

A

s if my soul’s salvation depended on it, or the luck of the City: Introduction to the theoretical work of Eugeni d’Ors related to the students’ pension from the Diputació: The process of Creation and Awarding Víctor Pérez i Flores Universitat de Girona moixic@gmail.com

summary This article is a general introduction to the theoretical work of the philosophical formation of Eugeni D’Ors; that related to the ranting of a scholarship from the Diputació Provincial de Barcelona. It shows the process of creation and awarding starting with a quaint Commission of New Services formed ad hoc to publicize these scholarships. It then reviews the newspaper coverage which was published in parallel, which suggests a more or less direct intervention of d’Ors in the writing of the project writing. Finally, it incorporates a previously unpublished document which shows the importance that Eugeni D’Ors gave to this theoretical production, which is still unpublished and almost completely unknown.

key words Eugeni d’Ors; Catalan Philosophy; Noucentisme.

Any introductory approach to the work of Eugeni d’Ors has to face the problem of dealing with a personality who, if not undeniably a classic, is not unknown, either. The name circulates – discretely and with more or less prestige, or eccentricity – through a wide spectrum of European culture; no one knows when the news became tediously propaedeutic or, on the other hand, excessively specialized. Therefore, instead of guessing what might be pertinent in the introduction, it might be more interesting and appropriate to go directly to the chiaraoscura character of the subject and his work, without any further background. To deal with the topic, the first thing to keep in mind is that Eugeni d’Ors originally expressed himself in three different languages: Catalan, Spanish

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and French, enjoying a good reception in each of the literary systems. At the same time, each of the communities considered him an unusual element. Eugeni d’Ors is considered a tangential part of the literary traditions which could have considered him one of their own. In the case of Spanish and French literary culture the alienation is natural and easily explained; he is an adopted member of the family; French readers who know Eugeni d’Ors, normally a specialist in questions of aesthetics and art theory, associate his work with a theory of art which, while written in French, proposes an aesthetic vision which often is nurtured by archetypes which the French reader associates with Spain; he is one of the leading theorists of Baroque and considers Picasso as a pivotal figure in twentieth century painting. On the other hand, the Spanish readers see, from the beginning of his career, collected works presented as translations from Catalan and clear, specific examples of the cultural renovation in Catalonia, and of the Catalan language. In both cases, and despite the success of the works of Eugeni d’Ors, they are not received as a local product. The case of Catalan culture, however, is different and more complex. They cannot ignore Eugeni d’Ors as a central, local product. His name, as journalist or cultural activist, is too present in the web of Catalan culture in the first quarter of the twentieth century to ignore the fact that he is part of it. On the other hand, in contrast to his work in French or Spanish, his work in Catalan is almost never brought together in books; it appears in the form of newspaper articles. The few books published are collections of articles reworked and presented on the assumption that the reader has read them in their original format. His books published in Catalan are a subproduct of a prior relationship between reader and writer; their goal is not to be read, but to be reread or to be possessed. This is an extraordinary accomplishment, for although collections of articles by great authors are not rare, it is unusual that the value of an author be based exclusively on his journalistic work and his cultural activity, without which one could not understand the fascination with Eugeni d’Ors. The journalistic nature of his work and his eagerness to intervene make a normal literary evaluation impossible; the relationship between Eugeni d’Ors and the reader leaves the strictly literary dimension to add a social dimension. Therefore, if one wants to approach the phenomenon of Eugeni d’Ors in the framework of Catalan culture, it is not enough to read his works; remember that the collected works hide the original periodical dialogue which inspired him. It is essential to search, whenever possible, the specific movements and cultural intentions of the man who wrote them.

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This article tries to explain the processes and bureaucracy which created the conditions under which a scholarship from the Diputació de Barcelona, gravited to Eugeni d’Ors on April 21, 1908, had to be returned. This


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As if my soul’s salvation depended on it, or the luck of the City: Introduction to the theoretical work of Eugeni d’Ors related to the students’ pension from the Diputació: The process of Creation and Awarding

scholarship motivated the start of his theoretical work, set the framework for his intellectual and academic training and, as a result, shape the teaching material for the classes taught by the professor of “Logic and Methodology of the Sciences” in the Catalan University Studies; although unpublished these notes had an important impact and notable repercussions. Whenever a reference might be too remote for the reader, and to minimize adulteration in reporting on the awarding of the scholarship, this article prefers to transcribe the unpublished documentation stored in the archives of the Diputació de Barcelona or published in the Boletin Oficial de la Diputación de la Provincia de Barcelona or La Veu de Catalunya (The Voice of Catalunya, a newspaper of the era) rather than summarize or interpret information. Following this line, besides noting the close harmony and synchronization of official decisions and writings by Ors, we consider of special interest the publishing of a letter signed by Eugeni d’Ors in February 1910 and addressed to Prat de la Riba. This letter, surprising in its bureaucratic style unthinkable in Ors, is a true curriculum vitae of Eugeni d’Ors’ academic and intellectual life during the time he was on scholarship.

1. The Commission of New Services First, it is necessary to consider the creation of the quaint Commission of New Services, an organ created, just after Prat won the elections, for the purpose of facilitating the renovation of the most urgent and perhaps delicate1 questions without having to pass through one of the ordinary permanent commissions. On the one hand, it is clear that this was a way to speed up the hot issues without the customary bureaucratic red tape, and on the other, a procedure which would keep the opposition always on guard. In this sense, it is interesting to highlight Prat’s astuteness because the natural invective of the Diputació assembly, which ended up repealing the comission2, didn’t stop the pushing 1 Proposed and approved May 21, 1907 and constituted May 28 (divided in five reports: 1. Secondary rails, 2. Transformation of Provincial Schools in the Autonomic sense, 3. Creation of New Establishments, 4. Foundation and encouragement of institutions related to language, history and other elements of Catalan culture, 5. Encouragement of Socioeconomic institutions (CENSP4:1). The scholarships are part of 4. 2 Joan Pelfort proposed the repeal on July 7, 1907 so that every report would go to the corresponding permanent commission. In the public session on March 9, 1909 “the central department repealed the preceding order” certified secretary Parés. It is a reference to an order against Pelfort’s proposal of February 20, 1909, because some of the problems which justified its creation, such as lack of time, continued. The document stressed that the DPB should do the best it could. The best it could was to ignore the repeal of the order. Months went by, it was finally admitted, upon Pelfort’s insistence, on August 1, 1909. with the strategy of one who lets the days go by effortlessly, it was not repealed until the end of 1910 (CENSP4: 1).

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of the principal actions for which it was created, including the scholarships in this article. We transcribe the proposal of its creation, which clearly defines the urgency which inspired Prat de la Riba: Proposition: All innovation, all reform, any project which is novel in the functioning of a corporation, collides with obstacles: the obstacles of routine, precedent, tradition, that is, the obstacles the old set against the new. This general sort of obstacle, in important corporations, is increased by special ones such as being absorbed in an office so busy with its day-to-day affairs that it has no time to consider and resolve the problems that any new enterprise entails, and on the other hand, the circumstance that these problems almost always include complex questions which involve more than one permanent commission, and so they cannot be solved by one without infringing on the rights and prerogatives of another. Therefore some corporations have successfully followed the procedure of trusting a special commission to study this sort of affair when there is a desire to respond quickly to public demands about important issues. Public opinion expects of this provincial corporation a period of intense activity, and we must respond to their demands. Public opinion expects a vigorous push behind the problem of branch lines, that we deal decisively with the problems of Catalan culture and the transformation of the province’s schools system, to the extent that it depends on the Diputació. It is our duty to provide immediate satisfaction to these expectations. Based on the considerations, the deputies undersigned have the honor to propose to the provincial body the adoption of the following agreements: First. A special commission will be created to propose to the Diputacio the agreements it considers necessary with regard to secondary train lines, the transformation of the province’s schools in question of autonomy, the creation of new establishments and the foundation of or support for institutions related to the language, history or other elements of Catalan culture. Second. The commission will be made of the provincial parliament president and eight deputies. Third. This commission may request speakers, request information and advice from specialists and people with technical expertise. Diputació Palace, 21 May 1907 (CENSP4: 3-4) Signed:Ramón Albó, Luís Argemí, Jaime Brutau, Jaime Cruells, Santiago Gubern, Buenaventura Mª Plaja, Francisco Pi y Suñer i Joaquín Sostres Rey and the President Prat de la Riba. 38


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As if my soul’s salvation depended on it, or the luck of the City: Introduction to the theoretical work of Eugeni d’Ors related to the students’ pension from the Diputació: The process of Creation and Awarding

2. D’Ors’ contribution to the spirit of the writing of the Diputacio scholarships proposals With respect to the fourth report of the commission of new Services on a competition for three scholarships to study the methods of teaching (technical, secondary and higher) in foreign countries (cf. AHDPB 2282 P 3-4), Jardí affirms that “Everything leads one to think that the president of the provincial corporation has a special interest in economically favoring the reporter (not well paid, to tell the truth) of the LVC, and no one was unaware of his roletion as inspiration” (Jardí 1990, p 84). In regard to economic favors, we know that the scholarship nearly doubled Eugeni d’Ors’3 income; he, from his position as Paris correspondent for the Voice of Catalonia, was not only accumulating merits to win the scholarship, but was also contributing to the writing of the structure of the competition. Simply taking into account his inspirational function, we must highlight two series of articles: four commentaries about the usefulness of forming students in methods of higher education in other countries and three “chronicles” which describe the scientific life in Paris, which were recycled for the report which he would present to the Diputacio as part of his application.

2.1. Commentaries about the importance of methodolgy in university studies This series of commentaries, written three months before the scholarship competition (Gl 29/10/1907; 30/10/1907; 9/11/1907; 11/11/1907) show that Eugeni d’Ors contributed powerfully in the definition of the scholarship which would be awarded and established some of the criteria evaluating the scholarship in a foreign country. Specifically, there is the need to send the scholarship holders out of the country for a long period of time, and a preparatory seminar for future grantees, all for the benefit of optimizing resources and for a scientific structure for Catalonia (Mes: MP, p42). Ors presents the case of a student who plans to stay in Berlin for eight months to finish his studies. The commentary asserts that eight months is hardly enough time to open one’s eyes, and that he will have to return home, pretending he has acquired the methodology and knowledge which, in fact, he has only sniffed from a distance. He will think that the intellectual capacity and scientific knowledge of his colleagues is superior to his own. Xenius (nickname of Ors), to the contrary, insists that the only thing lacking is an easily acquired proficiency: “the moral and sentimental preparation for 3 Cf. Castellanos 1981, p. 78, says he will collect 150 pesetas per month, and AHDPB, 2282: an agreement, where it states he will receive 1750 pesetas per year.

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the scientific life, previous possession of scientific instruments and methods” (Gl 29/10/1907), abilities that the Spanish university has never supplied (Gl 30/10/1907). a few days later, in an untitled commentary “which talks about something as necessary for reading Pliny the Younger in Latin as for doing physiology experiments” (Gl 9/11/1907), he gives a journalist named Vidal Tarragó, angered by his previous commentary, some advice for taking advantage of his stay in Berlin. First, he insists on using the phrase “blessed attempt” (Gl 8/9/1906) which he used in his commentary on Beerbohm’s “The Happy Hypocrite”. Second, he insists on the utility of as long a stay as possible in the grant, so that the student can adjust to the new place without worrying about the imminent return home. Then he can leave aside the vain attempt to try to learn the science by streaks of genius, by the force of intuition4. Xenius says that the “living word” has made us think that words must come by intuition, but if one doesn’t understand declinations, one can’t read Pliny... That is, both method and discipline are needed (Gl 9/11/1907). Finally, he demands an introductory seminar on scientific life which can facilitate, from the home country (cf Mes:MP: p 5-45), the scientific teaching methods used in Europe to optimize the integration of young Catalans who, more and more, opt to finish their studies in other countries (Gl 11/11/1907). Altogether this is much in harmony, and especially in sync with the writing in the fourth report of the Commission of New Services.

2.2. Three scientific “chronicles” about scientific life in Paris en The Voice of Catalonia

In the spring of 1906 Eugeni d’Ors inherited the Paris column which Pere Coll i Ratflutis’s transfer had left vacant. We must mention that at first, Eugeni d’Ors not only took over his byline, but also followed Coll’s style and selection of topics, leading the reader on an almost imperceptible change from life in Paris to scientific life in Paris. The chronicles (LVC 12/11/1907, 19/11/1907, 23/11/1907), published in the time between the acceptance of the fourth report by the Commission of New Services to the writing of the rules for public competition for the scholarships are a good example (cf. AHDPB 2282: 3-4 and BODPB 29/2/1908 number 52, p 2 right column). According to Jardí, “these three articles must be interpreted beyond the anecdotal, as they show the author’s intent in giving the local reader a vision of the scientific life in Paris, which can contribute to forming the atmosphere needed for the rigor and demands necessary for the work which will have to be done by the new Institut d’Estudis Catalans” (Institute of Catalan Studies) (Jardí 1990, p 82). 40

4 Cf. Mes:MP: [1-4], deals with the need for systematic tools which, because they are always handy, are not necessary to reference, such as the Baldwin dictionary.


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As if my soul’s salvation depended on it, or the luck of the City: Introduction to the theoretical work of Eugeni d’Ors related to the students’ pension from the Diputació: The process of Creation and Awarding

Certainly these three chronicles distill fervor, not so much for science as for the customs of the scientific community. It is not science’s rigor and demands which are highlighted, but the mystic aura and sacred respect for the surrounding claptrap: I have not been able to enter Madame Curie’s office without a sense of terror invading my soul. Imagine, although it’s midday siesta time, the great physics amphitheater is artificially lit. Vast, rigid, thick curtains cover the length of the windows, thus giving a funereal decoration to the room. The electric light descends from metal screens, also black. In the back, strange reflections the shiny blackness of three huge wax figures.With all that, there is a taste of clarity, aided by the shady dress of the multitude, a true multitude, with an air of a public meeting, more intuited than seen in the semidarkness of the long benches. Below, far away, the doctoral table decorated with four scientific apparatuses, poor, skeletal things without glass, no gold, no shine. Among them, the lean specter dressed in mourning lowered her reddish face to the quiet applause of the confused multitude. The specter was Madame Curie (LVC 12/11/1908; Ors 1915, p 370).

It is not vanity which makes him force all three chronicles in his Msmcc, the third in the appendix, under the title: “About discipline in the scientific community”. Ors describes the passing of the chair in urology from Dr Guyon to Dr Joaquín Albarran as if it were the seating of an abbot; he compares the scientific community with the Benedictines: The new master enters the order with all his power. As he and his own works illuminate the name of his master, Guyon, the young urologists’ work will illuminate the name of Albarran. Like him, he dedicated time and energy to collective work, the interns and residents of the Necker Hospital will examine the ill, analyze substances, work with statistics in anonymous Benedictine labor for the greater glory of French academe. All, in this disciplined harmony, have their place and they know it. Each has his place in the hierarchy and knows which tasks are obligatory, which permitted and which forbidden (LVC 19/11/1907, cited Ors 1915, p 368).

Then he describes the extraction of a kidney with the religious fervor of a devout in a trance when he sees the splendor of a Montserrat Eucharist liturgy: (...) This morning I saw the sacred legion in the clean, white amphitheater of the Necker... Albarran was surrounded by aides, interns, residents, students and Motz was there, too... A young woman was on the operating table, whining lightly under the influence of the chloroform. The aides had washed her and had placed her as Titian painted Venus. Then the body disappeared under white cloths. Only a small section was exposed, a bit of the side... there the master made his incision. The hands and tools dug in there... It was a difficult case. We got up from the benches to see better. There was silence in the hall. From time to time it was interrupted by three or four words from the master.

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The operation had lasted seven minutes. In the end, as the aides took away the patient, the master came to our area, with the bloody piece in his hand. It was a kidney, horribly misshapen due to illness. And he said, with traces of a Spanish accent, summarizing twenty years of of renal studies in a single phrase: “As this kidney serves no more, I have not hesitated to remove it” (LVC 19/11/1907; also in Msmcc; cited from Ors 1915, p 369.

During this time the parallel between scientific and devout or religious life is evident5; the coining of the phrase “scientific life” comes shortly after a series of commentaries on Introduction to the Devout Life by Francesc de Sales6. Later he will publish, first in the Glosari and then in a volume in Spanish, Flos Sophorum, which will be the work with the most editions in the author’s life (Gl 12/8 – 7/10/1912; Ors 1914). It is even more interesting to note that, once he had received the scholarship the chronicler will take the reader further, from the scientific life in Paris to the scientific life, no longer needed; he will eliminate almost immediately the chronicles of Paris and will only report, occasionally, in first person, chronicles and later direct debates on international scientific congresses7.

3. The process of the competiton Below we present the opinion which proposed the creation of three scholarships; this will allow us to trace points in common with the previously analyzed work, which will show Ors’ implication in the design of the scholarships; not on an executive level, but on an intellectual level. Opinion: If the initiatives adopted by this Diputació are to produce the desired effect of raising general cultural levels, and not just a slight increase in the number of our scholars, they must align their forces with systematic regulation, destined not so much to provide lucid training for a few young people as to definitively install among us the scientific life which fills and moves the souls of advanced nations and which is found in the organs and institutions which we are bereft of, and without which the energy and heroism expended in study is reduced to an atomized individual benefit and a complete inefficiency for the people

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5 For information about religion and mysticism in Ors’ thinking, see Rius 2010, p 337-8. 6 Cf. LVC (12/11/1907; 19/11/1907 i 23/11/1907) i Gl (7/03/1908; 13/03/1908; 20/03/1908; 27/03/1908; 3/04/1908; 10/04/1908; 17/04/1908). 7 After receiving the scholarship he only published a few more chronicles on Paris life (LVC 19/5/1908; 30/5/1908). the following chronicles signed by Eugeni D’Ors are “El III Congrés de Filosofia” (LVC 8/9/1908; 9/9/1908; 10/9/1908; 14/9/1908; 16/9/1908 i 18/9/1908) and “El VI Congrés de psicologia” (LVC 19/08/1909; 24/08/1909; 31/08/1909; 2/09/1909). It is curious that the few chronicles published between the congresses (LVC 30/10/1908; 11/11/1908 i 17/11/1908) are signed Octavi de Romeu, an Ors heteranym.


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As if my soul’s salvation depended on it, or the luck of the City: Introduction to the theoretical work of Eugeni d’Ors related to the students’ pension from the Diputació: The process of Creation and Awarding

as a whole. Recognizing the increasing complexity of human knowledge, science is at this time social work, for which a few well educated people can do little with their personal efforts; coordination, collaboration and discipline of the whole organism is needed. The most appropriate medium for this is use of scientific methods, powerful intellectual instruments absolutely indispensable for any local research, attempt to invent or discover, as they are the base of scientific life. In our present schooling science is taught as something already finished and the doctrines are repeated constantly; no one shows or teaches the students how to do science, which is precisely the goal of instruction in middle and higher level education in more educated countries, for there are sufficient books and magazines to find the results of scientific endeavors already obtained. Even during primary education one must try to awaken and develop the tendency toward personal investigation replacing, whenever possible, mechanical rote exercises with activities which observe and experiment with the physical and moral world. But that, which we are just starting to apply, disappears in secondary education where all is reduced to mnemonic repetition and, in the university our pedagogical tools are limited almost entirely to the text books. Despite all this, modern peoples have given more importance and preparation to the theory and practice of methodology and to individual research. It is, therefore, both convenient and urgent to establish a base for a scientific lifestyle by studying the organization and research methods in other countries. And as this city government has studied the option of satisfying part of this need by sending a group of young primary teachers to a European capital to study modern pedagogical methods at that level, it is essential that the Diputació do the same at secondary, superior and technical levels of education, which are presently orphans deprived of educational methodology. These scholars, in addition to receiving training and discipline in modern scientific methods, must also constitute a sort of advisory commission situated close to the academic authorities and the foreign centers of formation, so that they can provide news and facilities needed to make our plan of cultural expansion develop in the most favorable manner possible toward its goal. Therefore this presentation has the honor to propose to the Special Commission of New Services, so that it can propose to the Diputació, the adoption of the following agreements: First: Three scholarships will be created to be given by a qualified jury, so that the recipients can be sent to a foreign country to study the organization, procedure and methods of technical, secondary and higher education. Second: These scholarships will last for two years, that is, four semesters. The value is fixed at 3500 pesetas. Third: Every semester the students must present a report, in which they must indicate what they have accumulated in pursuit of their objective of study and considerations of what it might imply.

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Fourth: To request a scholarship there will be a public competition, in which applicants will do the exercises which the jury determines and will consist principally in the demonstration of knowledge of the language of the country they are destined to and general knowledge of the subject they will study. Fifth: The jury will be formed by“Fundació i Foment de Instruccions de Cultura Catalana” (Foundation and Promotion of Teaching of Catalan Culture), adding people as deemed convenient, and Sixth: In the next special budget fifteen thousand pesetas will be assigned to cover these costs. Barcelona 3 de febrer de 1908 (AHDPB 2282: 1-3).

This opinion, which includes every one of Ors’ concerns about the scientific life and methods of teaching, was approved by the Commission on February 3, 1908 (signed by José Parés), ratified by the Dipuració on February 4, 1908 (signed by José Parés) and by the Civil Governor (signed by Blanquer) on February 7, 1908, ordering it to be published in the Boletín Oficial de la Provincia de Barcelona (BODPB, 29 de February 29, 1908, num. 52, p. 2, right column). Anyway, although there is no doubt about Ors’ inspiration in the establishment of these scholarships it is important, to not arouse suspicions, to make it clear that Eugeni d’Ors fulfilled all the requirements and passed tests with excellent scores: of the twelve candidates who applied, Eugeni d’Ors is the one who best met the requirements of section four (AHDPB, 2282, pp. 47-52). This is not so impressive if one considers that the competition planned to favor him. In addition, however, as far as point six, and ignoring the fact that he is the only candidate for higher education8, a quick glance at the other applicants shows that his application has the clearest expression, is the most original and well construed and by far the best informed. The same thing happened with the language test: on April 15 they called the candidates and jury to celebrate the language test. Ors did a test in English which, while not an excellent translation, was the only one translating into Catalan. Besides, he presented both a literal and a literary translation (AHDPB, 2282, p. 90).

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8 AHDPB, 2282, 6, pp. 7-76. A list of the candidates —Eugeni d’Ors is seventh— and the title of the report: “1. Alfredo Elias i Pujol (who lived in New York and only presented a baptismal certificate) ; 2. Emilio Vallés Vidal – Pge Domingo 5, 2n 2a (who didn’t apply, or if he did, left no record of his report or language exam); 3. Juan Matabosch Basols – Bruc 33 4t 4a; 4. Antonio Llorens Clariana, Balmes 61, 3r, 1a (report in Catalan: Notes on the organization of teaching) ; 5. Guillermo Busquets Vastravers – Rda. Universitat 29, 2a; 6. Enrique Jardí Miguel – Clarís 35, 1r (report in Catalan: Notes on the organization of secondary education- general problems- The type of secundary education most appropriate to Catalonia); 7. Eugenio Ors Rovira – Rda. St. Antoni 57, 3r 1a (report: Critique and methods of conttemporary science); 8. Cebrián Montoliu Togores – Carril 141 (St. Gervasi); 9. Juan de Dalmau Domingo – Professor auxiliar d’arts...; 10. Juan Vidal Martí – Corts 596 – 4t.”


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As if my soul’s salvation depended on it, or the luck of the City: Introduction to the theoretical work of Eugeni d’Ors related to the students’ pension from the Diputació: The process of Creation and Awarding

According to the expert Kroener, Ors made “af half mistake and a three quarters mistake in French and a fourth of a mistake in English “ (AHDPB, 2282, pp. 95-96). According to this report, he has the smallest number of mistakes and therefore, the highest grade. His candidacy was impeccable. The same cannot be said for the other candidates: for example Enric Jardí, father of the biographer often cited here, didn’t pass the French examination but (AHDPB, 2282, p. 96), was given the secondary scholarship anyway. Finally, on April 21, decisions were made regarding the secondary and higher education scholarships: After a careful examination of the merits and abilities of the candidates, and with the advice from the people named for this purpose by the jury, the jury agrees unanimously to designate Eugeni Ors Rovira for the scholarship for higher education and Enric Jardí Miquel for the secondary grant. It will not decide on the technical education scholarship until it has the report from the three experts (AHDPB, 2282, p. 97).

One should note the unanimity of the jury, which is not repeated in the last scholarship. The third was not resolved until June 19. The jury formed by Prat, Plaja and Corominas – Gubern excused himself – gave the scholarship to Antoni Llorens (AHDPB, 2282, pp. 104 i 98). The process of awarding the scholarship for technical studies showed a certain lack of agreement among the jury: Prat and Plaja, and later Corominas, on one side and Gubern on the other. Be that as it may, the order to leave for their destinations was immediate; on the same page of the resolution there is a space to fill in name and destination “Mr Eugeni Ors Rovira (Paris), Mr Enrique Jardí Miquel (Brussels)”, “in accordance with the stipulation in point 8 of the aforementioned competition, prepare to leave for (Paris-Brussels), the destination designated, to begin the referred to studies and indicating the date of verification...” (AHDPB, 2282, p. 98). On May 11, Ors tells Prat de la Riba that he has settled in Paris, 27 Rue Jasmin (XVIe), and would he please pay the first stipend to his father or to Francesc d’Assis Amau i Ors to cover the costs of the trip, settling in and living costs for the first few months. On May 21, Prat approves the expenditure of 865 pesetas requested by Ors (AHDPB, 2282, p. 100). It seems that the payments were normally made punctually. At the end of the scholarship, in April 1911 Ors notes a delay in payment when he is in Florence (Ors 1997, p. 240), but it is due to the “poste restante”(Ors 1997, p. 245). Therefore we can affirm that, despite the slight arbitrariness in the granting the scholarship to Jardí and Llorens, precisely because such anomalies appear in the public record, the public competition for and the distribution of the scholarships was, administratively a transparent process.

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4. Eugeni d’Ors’ curriculum vitae presented to the Diputació Equally noteworthy is Ors’ scrupulousness in meeting the bureaucratic demands during the period of his scholarship. In this sense, his letter to Prat de la Riba requesting a six month extension is a capital document for structuring the theoretical body of Ors’ work we mean to show. On the one hand, from a bibliographic point of view, this document is a very detailed presentation of the merits, tasks, research, publications and activities that the scholarship holder did during the time he was on scholarship; it’s a true curriculum vitae. On the other hand it is also important from a biographical viewpoint: both the extreme formality and the exhaustive detail of the author’s merits are fundamental traits of his personality. We will also have a chance to show his ability to profit from his merits, something essential in writing a curriculum: The undersigned, commissioned by the Excel·lent Diputació of Barcelona, in relation with the public competition celebrated April 1908, with the mission of studying methods of higher education in foreign countries, comes to your excellency respectfully today to request that there be an extension, until December 31 of this year, of the scholarship which according to the limits of the agreement in the competition previously cited, should finish in May of 1910. During the time he has carried out this mission, and to comply with its goals, the undersigned has visited the Universities of Paris and Toulouse in France, Brussels (free and new), Gant and Louvain in Belgium, Heidelberg in Germany, Geneva and Lausanne (old and new) in Switzerland, having informed himself carefully in each on the organization and educational procedures. In the University of Paris the undersigned has finished various stays for study, as well as in other centers of higher learning in the French capital, dedicating himself especially to logic and methods of philosophical, biological and psychological science. He has attentively followed classes, in the Sorbonne and the College of France, devated to epistemology, methodology and biology. In both of these establishments, as well as in the Catholic Institute of Paris and the laboratories of Assil de Sainte Anne and Assil de Villejuif associated to the Ecole d’Arts, he has worked in psychology and especially in experimental psychology. He has followed, as well, as a foreign assistant, the sessions and occasionally the tasks of the “Société de Philosophie”, the “Société de Biologie”, and the “Institut général psychologique” in París.

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As he did these tasks, the undersigned, considering the duty he had established with his compatriots, and not wishing to delay the communication to his country of the knowledge gained in some of his journeys, nor of the results of his personal research, has taught, within the limits of available time, public classes in Barcelona. Named in August 1908 professor of Logic and Methodology of Science at the Institut d’Estudis Catalans, he inaugurated his teaching in April 1909 with four introductory lectures presenting the theory and methods


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of biological logic; he continued in December 1909 with four more lectures about the psychology of attention, a preface to later lectures to be given about the logic of attention. In addition, and taking into account the practical character which, in the pedagogy characteristic of foreign universities is customary for such teaching, and to accustom the students to the use of experimental methods, the undersigned has organized, with the cooperation of a group of amateurs and well deserving staff, an annex to the class at Estudis Universitaris Catalans,“A Seminar in Biological Logic” which to date includes three experimental works: a psychological survey on the aims of Catalan youth, which now includes over 500 documents, classified and organized; a test according to the American style of tests on attention, using copy editors as subjects; a laboratory session, verified by the physiology group of the medical faculty for the study of the influence of mental processes on respiratory movements. The programs and documents about these courses have been or will be published in the Review of Catalan University Studies. A summary to the introductory lectures has appeared, as well, in the Archives de Neurologie in Paris. Complying with the conditions of the mission confided to him, the undersigned has periodically remitted reports referring to the objects of his studies to the Diputació of Barclona. The report of the competition, where the ideas of modern authors on Epistemology are presented, was deposited in the Diputació archives in March 1908 and others have followed, corresponding to the past three trimesters: one details the organization and program of an introductory survey course which will serve to introduce students of university teaching to the study of scientific specialties; the second includes two works presented at the Philosophy Congress at Heidelberg and the third is on biological logic. The undersigned has, on the other hand, represented Catalonia in two scientific congresses: Philosophy Congress III in Heidelberg 1908 and Psychology Congress IV in Geneva 1909 (In Heidelberg he presented two communications; one, ”The residue of measurement in the science of action” offers a criticism of modern pragmatism. This was printed separately by the publisher Karl Winter of Heidelberg and was translated in the bulletin of the Estudis Universitaris Catalans in Barcelona and the Boletín de la Institución Libre de Enseñanza in Madrid; summarized in the Revue de Metaphysique et de Morale, in París and cited in several other journals. The second comunication to the Philosophical Congress, “Religio est libertas”, indicates from an exclusively epistemmological perspective, the necessary limits if scientific determinism, claiming to study religion as a psychological phenomenon. This was discussed at the congress by Mr Waldapfel, professor from the University of Budapest, and M Norero of Paris. It was inserted, translated by Prof Giovanni Vidari, in Rivista filosófica italiana (March – Abril 1909); printed as a booklet by the publisher Formiggini, in Modena; summarized in the Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale in París and the Annales de Philosophie Chrétienne, also París, and has been discussed and cited in other journals9. 9 (...) Indicates a paraphrased fragment from McIiIIs.

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At the psychology Congress, the undersigned presented a summary of his research on logical facts considered as an immunity phenomenon. This was discussed by Prof Madây from the Univeristy of Geneva and Anthropos from Paris. It was published in the Archives de Neurologie in París, and is being reprinted as a booklet by Blond and Bougault. It will also appear, like the two from the Philosophy Congress, in the respective volumes of Comptes-rendus. Besides these written works, the undersigned dares to indicate some laboratory work done by him in the male section of the assil de Villejuif, on the logic of mental illness, the logic of dreams, logic and spoken language, as well as his collaboration on articles and bibliographic notes for various Spanish journals; a Spanish version of Blaise Pascal’s philosophical work, presently being published by Garnier in Paris, a psychological essay in French on the relationship between logical activity and phonetic articulation, which will be part of the “Biblioteque de Psycologie experimentale et de Metapsychie” published by Blond, in París. The undersigned presents this list of works to his Excellency in the hopes that he will approve the requested extension which he plans to use, if approved, for a stay in Germany, visiting universities and continuing his work on logic and biology, and preparing a dignified national representation in the Bologna Philosophy Congress. The undersigned gives thanks for any recognition this may bring May God keep your Excellency for many years. Paris, 1 [...] February, 1910 Eugeni d’Ors 27, rue Jasmin París – XVIe Excm. Mr. President of the Diputació Provincial de Barcelona (AHDPB, 2282, pp. 142-145).

On March 23, Prat accepted Ors’ petition and decided to extend the scholarship half a year more, with funding of 1500 pesetas which came from an allatment of 6000 pesetas for a German professor which had money left over (AHDPB, 2282, pp. 146-148).

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Without establishing comparisons, we can consider that the exhaustive curriculum and the distant, hygienic tone of Eugeni d’Ors’ letter correspond to the demands of bureaucracy necessary in public administration, but it seems that, in the name, we suppose, of greater executive speed and efficiency, that the provincial offices move faster and faster until they run the risk of losing their protocol: we know that on March 15 E Jardí, in London with empty pockets, decided to write a very personal letter to Prat (AHDPB, 2282, p. 149); he also requests, if not an extension, some sort of


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advice, support or aid from the president of the corporation. In fact, it seems a personal letter addressed to a close friend more than to the president of the Excel·lent Diputacion, and tells the story of his extremely precarious situation and asks advice about what to do... There is not a specific request for an extension of the scholarship. Just the same, Prat accepts the letter, we repeat, a desperate one, as a formal communication to the administration and on March 23, 1910 accepts, in fact offers without a formal request, an extension to be paid in the same way as before, but in this case for only three months (AHDPB, 2282, pp. 150-151). We want to clarify that the scrupulousness and detail of Ors’ request are in response to the demands he sets for himself, and not requirements set by the administration. In our view, this shows the importance Ors gave to the task associated with the scholarship and the great care in presenting the results. Therefore, we feel that the works cited in the preceding document are important. There is testimony to the effort and dedication used in writing these reports. Ors writes to Maragall, in a letter dated March, 1909: Until recently I have been writing as hard as I can the first of the semester reports required by my Diputació scholarship, and which has been delayed since New Year’s. A sad task because one puts, despite all precautions, his effort, spirit and love into something no one will ever read... and there’s no solution to the problem. I’ve tried to do it differently: I tried to breathe life into a hundred pages which will rot in the provincial archives, and I can’t. A strange imperative of scruples obliges me constantly to do the most hateful things, diligently, as if the salvation of my soul depended on it, or the luck of the city (Ors 1997, p. 187).

So we don’t discard the possibility, as exaggerated as it may seem, that by resurrecting these documents, half forgotten, from the Diputació archive, we are helping to save the soul of the author, which would do him well, and offer a better future to the luck of the city, equally invisible and equally necessary.

5. A sort of conclusion We take into account that the concern to start a reform in university education appears as a central element, dominating Ors’ action from the start of his career; his first documented public act is about this subject (Pérez 2014, pp. 30-42). In addition, he deals with it constantly throughout the years, and in whatever publication he writes for. Contrary to the normal view one has of Ors, it is not an exaggeration to say that Eugeni d’Ors subordinates his jour-

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nalistic talent to his academic ambitions. And this places the documents we have just presented and the related theoretic body of work, especially that form his curriculum vitae, in the epicenter of his production. From his start as a public figure in the first Catalan University Congress in 1903, Eugeni d’Ors appears linked to programs of university renovation and is the representative of the Federació Escolar Catalana (Federation oif Catalan Schools), a group linked to Prat de la Riba’s Lliga Regionalista. The affinity between his considerations of studies in other countries and the opinion of the Diputació is long standing. So it seems that his influence and intervention in the Lliga’s public education program is prior to the publishing­ of his Glosari, which presents him, from the start, as an active, programmatic intellectual more than a populizer of ideas, and especially link him to the study of application of university models and methodologies designed for higher education. This is the topic defended in the presentation at the first Catalan University Congress and coincides with the mission assigned by the Diputació to the scholarship recipients. It is this Lliga project which leads him to The Voice of Catalonia, and not the other way around. The granting of a scholarship, and as a later result, becoming a professor of Estudis Universitaris Catalans, give Eugeni d’Ors the possibility to go from a mere observer of things to an institutional delegate. This put him in contact with the most important academic environments. Ors knew how to take advantage of the possibility: he participated in international congresses with his own papers; in compensation for the scholarship he taught in Catalonia what he learned elsewhere. The first hand acquisition of scientific, literary and cultural knowledge that he got in other lands and the transmission of this to the EUC gave Eugeni d’Ors a prestige unknown at the time in Catalonia.

Cited works Castellanos i Vila, Jordi (1981), “Memòria d’Eugeni d’Ors: Noucentisme i censura (a propòsit de les cartes d’Eugeni d’Ors a Raimon Cassellas”, Els Marges. Revista de llengua i literatura, 22-23, pp. 73-95. Jardí i Casany, Enric (1990 [1966]), Eugeni d’Ors: obra i vida, Quaderns Crema, Barcelona. Ors, Eugeni (1914), Flos sophorum. Ejemplario de la vida de los grandes sabios (trad. de Pedro Llerena, con Prefacio de Palau Vera y dedicatoria del autor a Enrique Prat de la Riba), Seix y Barral, Barcelona. 50

— (1915), Glosari MCMVII, Barcelona.


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— (1997), “Epistolario inédito”, a Vicente Cacho Viu, Revisión de Eugenio d’Ors, Quaderns Crema, Publicaciones de la Residencia de Estudiantes, Barcelona. Pérez i Flores, Víctor (2014), Estudi i edició de: Eugeni d’Ors: curs sobre els fenòmens de l’atenció. Hivern de 1909, tesi doctoral UdG. Rius, Mercè (2010), “Ors i el misticisme del segle XX”, a Josep Maria Terricabras (ed.), El pensament d’Eugeni d’Ors, Documenta Universitaria, Girona.

Abbreviations AHDPB, 2282: Memòria de les pensions per a l’estudi dels mètodes d’ensenyança a l’estranger, AHDPB, lligall 2282. BODPB: Boletín Oficial de la Diputación Provincial de Barcelona. CENSP4: Dictamen de la Ponència 4 de la Comisión Especial de Nuevos Servicios. AHDPB, lligall 2282. Gl (dd/mm/aaaa): Glosari. Disponible a: http://mdc2.cbuc.cat/cdm/search/collection/veup1/searchterm/ Any/field/title/mode/exact/conn/and/order/title/page/3. LVC: La Veu de Catalunya. Disponible a: http://mdc2.cbuc.cat/cdm/search/collection/veup1/searchterm/ Any/field/title/mode/exact/conn/and/order/title/page/3. McIiIIs: Eugeni d’Ors, Memòries corresponents als I i II semestres. AHDPB, lligall 2282. Mes:MP: Eugeni d’Ors, Els mètodes de l’ensenyança superior: Missió a París. AHDPB, lligall 2282. Mscmcc: Eugeni d’Ors, Memòria sobre la crítica i els mètodes de la ciència contemporània. AHDPB, lligall 2282. Translation from Catalan by Dan Cohen

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article JOURNAL OF CATALAN INTELLECTUAL HISTORY, Issues 9&10, 2015 | Print ISSN 2014-1572 / Online ISSN 2014-1564 DOI: 10.2436/20.3001.02.92 | P. 53-76 Reception date: 9/10/2014 / Admission date: 24/10/2014 http://revistes.iec.cat/index.php/JOCIH

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hrenology Brings Sound Judgment to Our Selection of Rulers”. The Failure of Phrenology in Social Reform Efforts in Catalonia in the Nineteenth Century Iván Sánchez-Moreno Doctor in the History of Psychology Nou Barris History Group ivan.samo@gmail.com

abstract While this paper begins with a definition of phrenology and its theoretical foundations, the primary focus is on the efforts to spread phrenology in Catalonia undertaken by Marià Cubí and other mid-nineteenth century followers of the tenets of Gall and Spurzheim. Cubí saw the money-making potential of applying these ideas in diverse areas of society. In Catalonia, he and his followers took the view that it would be highly opportune to use phrenology to achieve reformist goals not only in education and business but also in the selection of the best political candidates. The ideological ambiguity of their approach, however, undermined the credibility of the supposedly scientific parameters of applied phrenology because they sold it as a tool to any and all parties. The elite that took an interest in the supposedly reform-minded aspects of Catalan society put forward by phrenology proved to be the same bourgeoisie that wanted to oust the aristocratic, conservative and Spanish nationalist sectors that still clung to their monopoly over the institutions of greatest authority and social influence. Phrenology used reform as a pretext, while what it actually guaranteed was merely an easy-to-use pseudoscience that called for nothing more than a prominent skull, enormous powers of suggestion and a steady stream of imaginative, seductive verbiage.

keywords Phrenology – Social hygiene movement – Political reform – Classism – Epistemology.

Science, economics and social governance form a perverse, yet common triad in modern Western thought. The case of phrenology in Catalonia in the mid-nineteenth century offers a clear example of this intrinsic relation. Phrenology, however, did have the potential to contribute to a new ideal social model of progressive reform, which the ascendant Catalan bourgeoisie of the period, for a variety of reasons, were nonetheless unable to exploit.

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In Spain, however, it was not until the reign of Isabella II that academia made tentative openings towards ways of thinking imported from abroad. Prior to that, a number of Spanish intellectuals had been frustrated in their attempts to move into step with the artistic and scientific developments being promoted by the nationalist policies of Europe’s great powers. This led to a mass exodus of intellectuals who were to come into contact with new ideas that had not yet succeeded in crossing Spain’s borders. Indeed, the introduction of phrenology into the country in the nineteenth century arose out of the political and intellectual tension between the “two Spains” that resulted from the French invasion: the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy gave rise to a significant rejection of Enlightenment ideas and bolstered a more absolutist, reactionary orientation that opposed any kind of liberal undertaking. Thus, the nineteenth century witnessed the co-existence of a conservative tendency that clung to the status quo and the principles of the ancien régime and a progressive line eager for profound political and social transformation (Carpintero 1996; Domènech and Sáiz 1996). This clash also resulted in a clear split in the scientific thinking of the period. In the human sciences, for example, there was a current indebted to French influence that was spiritualist and speculative in nature, while support also grew for a tradition that was naturalist and staunchly positivist in character, drawing on a mechanistic view of human beings and their social constitution. Phrenology drew its mixed inheritance from both of these two tendencies. The period from 1833 to 1868 marks phrenology’s greatest flourishing in the country, though its impact was most evident in the Catalan-speaking lands (Domènech and Sáiz 1996), thanks particularly to the exhaustive campaign of dissemination undertaken by Marià Cubí (1801-1875). Even so, Cubí was always encumbered by certain conservative positions that were nonetheless still too radical in Spain. At this point, it is necessary to define what we mean by phrenology.

Definition of phrenology

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If we take the explanation that Nofre (2006) gives of its possible etymological origins, the noun phrenology was coined by the physician Benjamin Rush (1745-1813) from the Greek phren (φρήν: “mind”) and logos (λόγος: “science”). Indeed, phrenology was destined to serve as a new science of the mind, though the professionals in the field saw themselves more as anatomists than as philosophers and metaphysicians of the psyche. As a result, phrenology must be understood as a clear precursor to the scientific establishment of psychology in that it established the brain as the fundamental organ of the mind.


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Phrenology’s place in the history of psychology and related sciences can be attributed to its emphasis on the relation between certain human capacities and the structure of the body, further reinforcing the organicist conception of the mind. While this did lead to psychology being subordinated to physiology, it also opened up a new practical approach to psychopathological diagnosis, career guidance, expert legal opinions, educational psychology and development, and other social applications (Sáiz 2008; Rodríguez 1989). Phrenology brought together a disparate assortment of organicist tenets that sought to explain differing mental capacities in terms of certain anatomical features of the skull. Taking the brain as the sole organ of the mind, phrenology tried to break down its functions into a number of particular, specialised areas, based on the knowledge of the mind at the time. According to the theoretical beliefs that concern us here, an intimate connection was purported to exist between the outer shape of the skull and particular functions of the mind, thereby linking questions of intellect, morality and personality with given expressions and patterns of behaviour (Hergenhahn 2001; Pérez and Tortosa 2006; Siguan 1981). From a belief that each psychological faculty originated in a surface region of the brain, it was speculated that the skull enveloped the brain so closely that its contours would indicate deviations in the brain itself. Accordingly, it followed that more highly developed functions would present bumps in the skull, while more deficient ones would correspond to small clefts or indentations. Measuring these irregularities would reveal the degree of the mental capacities in question. The founding father of phrenology, Franz Joseph Gall, established twenty-seven different functions, while his follower Spurzheim added eight more. By contrast, the system of Marià Cubí had up to thirty-seven different faculties that were distributed over the entire cortex and all of them affected the physical shape of the skull. Therefore, any mental propensity could be determined by measurements of the skull. Phrenology offered the man in the street a theory of personality and a quick and easy diagnostic method to find individual differences with at least a degree of scientific assurance, based on the classification and description of the skull currently in use in other strands of natural history, such as comparative anatomy —which established similarities between man and ape— racial eugenics and physiognomic morphology in relation to supposedly innate propensities. Building on these suppositions, phrenologists conceived of the brain as a set of functional areas that could be developed independently. Thus, strengthening the most deficient functions could successfully restore a sound mental balance to an individual.

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On one hand, phrenology overthrew the metaphysical conception of mental phenomena that was still a subject of contention in academia. The phrenological perspective was closer to a naturalist view of the human being than other less objective tools which were in use at the time in the diagnosis of mental and behavioural disorders and which employed a confusing terminology based on the soul or the spirit, according to the critique levelled by Gall himself (1825) in his inaugural text in the discipline. On the other hand, phrenology reinforced the belief in individual differences, overcame the Cartesian distinction between mind and body, and contributed a detailed descriptive system of the brain’s functions. It also offered a supposedly objective analytical technique to analyse the mind, an approach that could serve as an alternative to the introspective methods of a psychology still too cloaked in metaphysics (Hergenhahn 2001). Today, though, authors like Peña-Casanova (2009) find substantial points of similarity between phrenology and neuropsychological exploration. As noted earlier, however, phrenology aimed not only to address an individual’s level of intellect but also his or her innate moral principles, to which an internal organisation and an associated skull shape were thought to correspond. This aspect of the measurement of moral characteristics was to have serious consequences in the establishment of an ideal model of society, thanks to the intended application of phrenology in the civil government of the country. Its overwhelming success, however, went hand in hand with the simplicity of its methodology and its ease of comprehension, which reduced diagnosis to cranial palpation—or, as it was also known, the “cranioscopy” (Gall 1825). Based on a hitherto unprecedented relation between behaviour and the nervous system, phrenology combined a theory of the brain and a science of character and temperament that could be summarised in the following points: 1. The brain is the sole organ of the mind. 2. The brain is an aggregate of functional areas that are independent of one another. 3. Each area is located on the surface of the brain and fulfils a specialised function. 4. As the skull ossifies over the brain during its development, the external part of the skull is a reflection of the brain within. 5. The mind can be analysed by measuring the correspondence between the bumps and indentations of an individual’s skull and his or her inherent faculties. 56

The most controversial aspect, though, was the claim that mental faculties did not exist in the same manner and to the same degree in everyone.


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This was used to justify not only a whole series of individual differences, but also differences of class, race, gender, age, cultural background, and other factors used to distinguish between people and account for diversity. As a consequence, phrenology was quickly adopted by the liberal movement to defend the need to fix certain social problems on the basis of studies resulting from its application in some segments of the population. Despite worldwide success, particularly in England, France, Switzerland and the US, phrenology’s positive impact in Spain was limited to the Catalan-speaking lands. What was the source of the disdain that greeted phrenology in the rest of the Iberian Peninsula? Before answering this question, it would be useful to look at the distortions that befell the original model created by two pioneering figures in phrenology: Franz Joseph Gall (1758-1828) and Johann Caspar Spurzheim (1776-1832), whose biographies are practically a mirror image of the life of Marià Cubí (1801-1875).

The founding fathers of phrenology While still a boy, the Vienna-born Franz Joseph Gall (1758-1828) noted that most people who were endowed with a great memory had enormous, prominent eyeballs. This fact was the starting point of an intense career as a physician and anatomist, which Gall, in his writings, drew on to make systematic comparisons of the external traits of individuals and precise measurements of their personalities. At the same time, Gall amassed years of experience in Austria measuring the craniums of thousands of prison inmates, patients in mental institutions and children in orphanages in order to produce a differential ranking that put human beings of lesser intellect nearer to the level of animals, a fact that Gall himself wanted to corroborate, stating that the cranial bone in these cases was much less developed than in men of intellect (Hothersall 2005; Hergenhahn 2001). Together with his follower Spurzheim, Gall presented his phrenological model in 1808 to the Scientific Committee of the French Institute chaired by the physician Phillipe Pinel. It was rejected at once, however, because of its speculative nature (Pérez and Tortosa 2006). One of the most contentious aspects was Gall’s view that the shape of the skull was determined in childhood and that the individual’s development was already marked by an innate imprint. This implied a highly pessimistic conception of human beings, in that certain functions of the brain could not be changed despite efforts to correct their deficiencies. Going so far as to describe one of the innate capacities of man as “murderous”—namely the area that governs the impulse for destructiveness—Gall left no doubt about his ethical stance towards human beings or

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the highly relative likelihood of reform that he predicted for certain individuals. One example of this can be seen in Gall’s detection of a particular bump above the ear. According to him, this bump housed the cerebral locus of greed and power, which would obviously be more pronounced among convicted and recidivist pickpockets (Hothersall 2005). Beyond the criticism that it received from scientific academies, the Schädellerhe or “doctrine of the cranium”—Gall avoided the term “phrenology”—was accused by the Church of being extremely determinist and materialist and of sowing atheism among the population. To circumvent the censure of the Catholic Church, Gall argued in his defence that he had discovered “the organ of religion” in the brain, which proved not only an individual’s degree of faith, but also the very existence of God. Despite his arguments, however, his work was put on the Vatican’s list of prohibited books (Hothersall 2005). Further, the emperor of Austria, Francis II, decreed that Gall should never again practice medicine in the country, calling his thinking subversive and contrary to the public morals of the era. Nofre (2006) suggests that the decree may have been the result of professional jealousy on the part of the monarch’s personal physician. The outcome, however, was that Gall, together with Spurzheim, was forced into exile. Even at Gall’s death in Paris in 1828, the Church refused to permit a cemetery burial, reiterating its charges of blasphemy and heresy. Seen as one of the chief forerunners of the behavioural sciences and criminal anthropology, Gall was unable to see the possibilities offered by phrenology to proponents of social reform. Credit for this must go primarily to Johann Caspar Spurzheim (1776-1832), the first to postulate the applications of phrenology in therapeutic, educational and social settings, steering the discipline towards moral philosophy (Nofre 2006). Unlike his teacher, Spurzheim had a more optimistic, utopian conception of human beings. He started from the premise that everyone can improve and that phrenology could light the new path towards perfection. Unlike Gall, he relied on scientific methods that involved a much more exacting use of dissection to establish the relations between physiological behaviour, the anatomy of the brain, and the makeup of the nervous system.

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Perhaps professional jealousy impelled Spurzheim to distance himself from his former teacher. In 1832, while Gall was encountering more controversy than good fortune in Paris, Spurzheim emigrated to the United States, where he was regaled with honours of all sorts. At the universities of Yale and Harvard, for example, he gave a series of lectures attended by a wide array of influential figures in US society who were looking to phrenology for an etiological explanation of human behaviour, a simple predictive technology to evaluate character and intellect, and a biological imprint to justify the urgency of social reform and to correct aberrant patterns of behaviour. In short, phrenology was to provide the foundations of the future behaviouralism (Hergen-


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hahn 2001). Unfortunately, six months after his arrival on the American continent, Spurzheim fell gravely ill and died. His principal follower, George Combe (1788-1858), translated his work, but qualified (and suppressed) some ideas that clashed with the thinking of a certain elite, particularly the psychosexual theories that Gall had passed down to his student. To start with, Combe did not see it as normal that the sexual appetite should appear naturally in early childhood, as Freud would state years later with psychoanalysis. Nor did he accept that sexual activity was beneficial for human health. To the contrary, Combe rejected any display of sexuality in children and women and he even removed from his translation all of Gall’s pages on the orgasm (Nofre 2006). These incremental distortions of the very foundations of phrenology were not to be the only ones to undermine, in a self-serving fashion, the supposedly reformist inspiration that could have shored up the motives of applied phrenology. Despite drastic changes to the original work of Gall and Spurzheim, Combe’s manual on phrenology became an undisputed bestseller. By the end of the nineteenth century, it had even overtaken Charles Darwin’s revolutionary On the Origin of Species. If Darwin’s book achieved enviable sales of 50,000 copies, Combe’s manual surpassed it by selling 80,500 copies (Nofre 2006). Among its avid readers, we will later find Marià Cubí during his years of residence in the US. Rapidly, phrenology piqued the interest of many opportunists who saw the newly arrived science from Europe as an easy way to make money, despite the US scientific community’s critical view of the validity of phrenology as a reliable psychometric method. The public reputation of phrenology grew in proportion to its disrepute in the scientific arena. Men and women of letters such as Edgar Allan Poe, Mark Twain, Arthur Conan Doyle, Walt Whitman, Herman Melville and Charlotte Brönte not only took a closer look at phrenology out of curiosity, but also made use of facial features and expressions based on its theories in order to construct their fictional characters (Hothersall 2005). The so-called “new science” gave rise in the US to a plethora of companies dedicated to the profitable exploitation of phrenology. One of the leading brands in phrenological consulting was the firm Fowler & Wells, founded by the brothers Orson and Lorenzo Fowler and their brother-in-law Samuel Wells. By the mid-nineteenth century, they owned a major chain of consulting offices that gave advice on labour issues such as staff hiring, the design of professional profiles and candidate selection for prestigious posts. In some job interviews, it was necessary to submit a detailed phrenological report carrying the Fowler & Wells seal of approval in order to demonstrate the worth of staff being considered for employment and avoid legal repercussions as a result of any negligence or irresponsible conduct on the job.

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In addition, Fowler & Wells, which had offices all over the country, carried out educational activities and sometimes acted as marriage brokers, ascertaining the compatibility of a couple that had made the decision to get married. The firm gave a guarantee of its thoroughness at practically 100%. Indeed, among its success stories, Fowler & Wells boasted of having examined Ray Kroc when he was a boy of only four and predicted his fame in the food sector: years later, Kroc would found the world-famous fast-food brand McDonald’s (Hothersall 2005). The business of phrenology was not limited solely to consulting. It also included the publication of informational guides and the marketing of objects, apparatuses and equipment for phrenological measurement and examination, such as maps or charts to do exploratory work and busts with an anatomical distribution and functional classification of the different regions of the skull that could be used as a guide for phrenological analysis. These tools, which were readily available to anyone at a modest price, resulted in the proliferation of “bump-readers”, itinerant phrenologists who sold their services from town to town, turning phrenology into a relatively easy way to earn a living. Their use of phrenology as a pseudoscience to predict clients’ futures, their lack of technical training and their reputation as fairground hucksters posed even greater obstacles to the acceptance of the discipline among the official human sciences. Yet even though phrenology’s days were already numbered in the US and the rest of Europe, Marià Cubí saw the commercial opportunities offered by its introduction into the constricted panorama of Spain. And he was to enjoy unexpected success.

The introduction of phrenology into Catalonia Marià Cubí, who is the focus of a later section, was not the only author to spread phrenology in Catalonia. As noted earlier, however, phrenology had made little impact in Spain before Cubí’s return from the US, where he discovered its social (and economic) potential. In reality, phrenology had arrived in Spain some time earlier, but prior to Cubí’s efforts, publications on the subject largely went unremarked.

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By 1806, Gall’s theory had been translated and published in Madrid. But neither the first edition nor the second—thirty years later—garnered much interest across the length and breadth of Spain. A critical review by Lelut, entitled “Refutation of Gall’s Phrenological Organology”, and hand books by Combe and Bessières were forgotten as quickly as they arrived on the shelves of Spanish bookshops. In addition, works such as Debreyne’s study did lit-


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tle to improve the country’s general opinion of phrenology, understood as a pseudoscience—at times even mystical—that sought to embrace all of human complexity, as Debreyne’s overreaching title suggests: “Thoughts of a Catholic believer or philosophical, moral and religious considerations on modern materialism, the souls of beasts, phrenology, suicide, grief and animal magnetism” (Domènech and Sáiz 1996). The widespread indifference to phrenology in Spain was not replicated in Catalonia, where acceptance of the new science was without precedent elsewhere in the country. While the case of Marià Cubí may be the most conspicuous, a sizeable group in the city of Vilanova i la Geltrú should not be forgotten (cited by Nofre 2007; Domènech and Sáiz 1996): Magí Pers, Josep Pers, Narcís Gay, Teodor Creus, Joan Llach, Pau Mimó, and more. In particular, Narcís Gay i Beyà (1819-1872) and Joan Llach i Soliva (1821-1860) collaborated closely with Marià Cubí and oversaw the publication of El Eco de la Frenología in 1847. Magí Pers i Ramona (1803-1888) was the editor-in-chief of another critical avenue for disseminating the discipline in the years 18521854: the journal Revista Frenológica. Author of the bestselling Manual de Frenología al alcance de todos, Magí Pers claimed to have identified the functional organ of the brain responsible for national allegiance and a staunch preference for one’s own country, which he located in the occipital lobe (Siguan 1981). In additional to these periodicals appearing in Catalonia, mention must also be made of La Antorcha, which Marià Cubí himself edited. In Madrid, however, a number of journals commented on phrenology only very sporadically and in highly critical terms. Significantly, this coincided with the courses that Cubí gave in the Spanish capital between 1840 and 1850. The Gaceta Médica and the Boletín de Medicina, Cirugía y Farmacia were the two journals most frequently to attack Cubí’s work (López 2000). From a comparison of the quite rare opinions that were voiced in these journals, it appears that phrenology in Madrid had become a major bête noire to be fought and fought hard. The list of Catalan authors who defended the newly arrived phrenology did not stop there. The physicians Pere Mata i Fontanet (1811-1877) and Pere Felip Monlau (1808-1871) also contributed their knowledge to the cause of phrenology. The former held a more liberal, progressive stance than many other professionals in his field: he praised phrenology’s capacity to provide a scientific explanation of the individual and society. Highly sceptical of its non-professional and unapproved use by charlatans, Pere Mata warned of the perils of dressing up the discipline into an unscrupulous palm reading of sorts. In addition, he was doubtful of the virtues of phrenological cranioscopy (Carpintero 1996).

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Nevertheless, Mata saw psychology as a part of physiology, further underscoring the organicist and localist reading of applied phrenology in the study of the mind. For Mata, both psychology and phrenology were supposed to be empirical sciences that treated the human being as a subject of external study, rejecting any temptation to use introspective methods. Unfortunately, when Mata used phrenology to speak in psychological terms, his view of the mind moved so close to the field of physiology that he was often accused of being a materialist and a stark reductionist of the sciences of the mind. The harshest criticism, needless to say, came from more conservative political and academic quarters. By way of evidence, Menéndez Pelayo called Mata the “fervent henchman of Gall’s tenets” (Nofre 2007). Monlau similarly held phrenology in low esteem because of its treatment of subjects such as the soul or consciousness based on arguments of a supposedly organic or physical nature, which he took issue with in his Elementos de psicología. He also concurred with Pere Mata in disapproving of the cranioscopic method and he accused phrenologists of being moralists more than scientists. Contrary to Mata, however, Monlau welcomed the prospect of a science that could provide a simple understanding of highly complex human conditions such as the passions and temperaments, innate traits and personality differences, and he saw in phrenology an excellent approach for the betterment of individuals in the service of public hygiene and social advancement (Nofre 2007). The long list of prominent Catalan figures in science and medicine who embraced phrenology include such distinguished names as Joan Drument (1798-1863), Ramon Ferrer i Garcés (1803-1872), Agustí Yáñez i Girona (1789-1857), Ignasi Miquel Pusalgas (1790-1874), Emili Pi i Molist (18241892) and Pi’s friend Josep Oriol i Bernadet (1811-1860), the mathematician and architect with whom Pi designed the Mental Hospital of Santa Creu and Sant Pau in Barcelona (Pi i Molist 1860).

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Drawing on Nofre (2007) and Domènech and Sáiz (1996), we find a number of key facts about the introduction of phrenology in Catalonia, thanks to the authors mentioned in the previous paragraph. Drument, who was born in Barcelona, was appointed professor of the Faculty of Medicine in Madrid and dedicated a great deal of his academic work to phrenology. This was also true of Ramon Ferrer, a stalwart progressive and a champion of cranioscopy, whose book Tratado de Medicina Legal appeared in 1847. Lecciones de Historia Natural, published three years earlier and written by Agustí Yáñez, introduced a ranking of the races based on the phrenological analysis of skulls and facial features, while Miquel Pusalgas put forward the suggestion that the anatomy museums scattered across the Iberian Peninsula ought to have a section dedicated exclusively to a good collection of skulls and brains of the mentally


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insane and the criminal, and Pi i Molist (1870) devoted his doctoral thesis to the field of phrenology, though he was careful not to mention Marià Cubí at any point. In addition, mention should be made of the contributions of the Majorcan physician Bernat Fiol, the physiology classes given by Joan Magaz at the University of Barcelona in 1860, the book Exposición del sistema del doctor Gall published by Joan Mayer in 1822 under the pseudonym Ernest Cook and the kind references appearing in the print media from Josep Maria Pelegrí (physician at the General Hospital in Tarragona), Julián Álvarez (director of the Military Hospital in Tarragona) and Sebastià Vinent (supporter of cranioscopy in El Eco de la Frenología) over the course of the nineteenth century. Phrenology won over many adherents, but it also raised many voices in opposition, such as Joan Ribot i Ferrer (1788-1851), who was openly critical of Gall’s original system in the book Lecciones de Fisiología, which he published shortly before his death. At the opposite extreme from Joan Ribot, Dr. Baldomero Comulada gave an address at the Royal Academy of Medicine in Barcelona in the late nineteenth century, defending Gall’s cranioscopic methods, though he did reject Marià Cubí’s classification of 38-40 discrete functional areas. Comulada accepted that the intellectual faculties were located in the frontal region of the brain, the affective faculties were in the upper region and the instincts were in the hind region, but he added that the brow also presented visible traits of the intellectual capacities of the individual. To his understanding, a prominent brow was a sign of higher intellect, a view for which he sought proof in the examples of Kant, Descartes, Cervantes, Fortuny and Zorrilla (Parellada 1986). There is no doubt, however, that the most important figure in Catalan phrenology was Marià Cubí, schoolmaster, linguist and tireless traveller, who amply introduced the new science to Catalonia, even though his efforts bumped up against the obstinacy of the more reactionary elements in the scientific establishment just when phrenology began to fall out fashion abroad.

Marià Cubí and the heyday of Catalan phrenology Born in Malgrat de Mar (Maresme), Marià Cubí i Soler (1801-1875) did not leave much of an impression in his place of origin. The writer Josep Pla makes note of this lapse of historical memory in his own inimitable literary style: Mr. Cubí was a child of Malgrat. On one of my last visits to the village, I tried to discover if there was still any recollection of their illustrious son, and I found that his memory was cloaked in the most absolute oblivion (...). In Malgrat, Cubí is entirely forgotten (Pla 1951).

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It should be added, however, that Cubí did not reside long in his native village. While he was still a boy, the family moved to Maó when the Peninsular War against the French broke out (Siguan 1981). Gifted with a fine command of languages, the young Cubí gave private classes in English and French and emigrated to the US when he was only twenty in order to work as a Spanish teacher. He even went so far as to create his own system of spelling based on phonetics. According to Pla, the system had so many letters z and j that it seemed to be written in some dialect of Andalusia. After living in Baltimore for a long period, Cubí travelled first to Cuba, where he founded the Buenavista School in Havana in 1829, and later to Mexico, where he ran another school. His American wanderings came to an end in New Orleans, where he became a fervent convert to the cause of phrenology as a result of the writings of Combe and the merchandising of the firm Fowler & Wells. Two publications attest to his time in the US: Introducción a la frenología por un catalán [Introduction to Phrenology by a Catalan], published in New Orleans in 1836; and Phrenology, published in Boston four years later (Siguan 1981). For some biographers, it is no accident that Cubí came into contact with phrenology in the Caribbean and the American South. Both of these regions were highly susceptible to the influence of certain branches of medicine and homeopathy that were likely to have excited his curiosity before any genuine scientific concern (Nofre 2007; Domènech and Sáiz 1996). Fully trained in the “new science” by the time of his return to Catalonia, Cubí organised an entire series of private courses with influential members of high society. The cost of tuition was steep and he also sold them his products and books. Nofre (2007) and Domènech and Sáiz (1996) note that these publications were genuine bestsellers—if we discount the relatively more modest success of La Antorcha, the weekly journal on the sciences, arts, literature, industry and more, which first appeared in the mid-nineteenth century. Some examples of these texts appear below.

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Published in 1842, every copy of Cubí’s book Sistema complejo de frenología con aplicaciones prácticas para el mejoramiento del hombre, individual y socialmente considerado was sold out immediately. His short guidebook Manual de frenología o Filosofía del entendimiento humano sobre la Fisiolojía del Zélebro, which came out in the following year, also sold out quickly. Elementos de frenología, fisiognomía y magnetismo humano en completa harmonía con la espiritualidad, libertad e inmortalidad del alma, of 1846, enjoyed the same good fortune, as did La frenolojia i sus glorias (1852), a hefty tome of a thousand pages, which gathered nearly all of the content from Cubí’s preceding books. This last work sets out his definition of phrenology as “the study of the functions of the soul” and it presents a clear dualist position in which the body and the mind are separate,


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with the former being a mobile instrument that is merely in service to the latter, which sits in the driver’s seat. Cubí’s students, who included the crème de la crème of the Catalan bourgeoisie and aristocracy, were predominantly educators, physicians and lawyers (Siguan 1981; Nofre 2007; Domènech and Sáiz 1996; Carpintero 2004). His classes also went beyond private sessions in homes to include practical lessons in prisons, orphanages and mental institutions, in keeping with the example set by Gall, the founding father of phrenology. Among the clients that he visited, Cubí analysed Eusebi Güell i Bacigalupi (1846-1918) when Güell was 21 years of age. Examining Güell’s aptitudes and talents, Cubí singled out the young man’s orientation towards the natural sciences, above all the branch of chemistry, and towards commerce and literature. He also highlighted Güell’s excellent dealings with people, his discreet but firm character, his tenacious and forceful temperament where required—“courtesy detracts not from bravery”, as an old Spanish adage goes—and his values of justice, respect and benevolence, all critical for the diplomatic career that Cubí foresaw for the young man (Peña-Casanova 2009). Even in the heyday of his services as a phrenologist, Cubí limited his analysis to the most noticeable positive features of his clients. By contrast, he only highlighted the psychopathological and criminal tendencies of prison inmates and mental patients on the basis of his cranial examinations. In this way, he won over many powerful politicians and officials in Catalonia who saw in phrenology an opportunity to carry out social reforms to counteract the failings of the Spanish government. Things went wrong between 1845 and 1847 when Cubí launched a full-scale campaign to spread phrenology outside Catalonia. He travelled to Saragossa, Madrid, Gijón, León, Lugo, A Coruña and Santiago de Compostela and these were just some of the provinces that had the privilege of witnessing a phrenology event organised or chaired by Cubí, including lectures, courses, empirical demonstrations and more. It was in Santiago de Compostela where he was denounced to the religious authorities by Antonio Severo on suspicion that he was promoting Protestant tendencies veiled behind scientific presuppositions and that he also denied the idea of sin, proposing exculpatory etiologies that were naturalist in character (Siguan 1981; Domènech and Sáiz 1996; Carpintero 2004). A lengthy trial in the Ecclesiastical Tribunal of Santiago stranded Cubí in the home of one of his students there for nearly the entire year of 1847. This unfortunate period is when Cubí wrote Polémica religioso-frenológico-magnética (1848) in his own defence. In the work, Cubí clarified his theories. Without denying the bounds of scientific rationality, he argued that his classification of brain functions included the capacity to de-

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velop a certain natural degree of religiosity, but his backtracking was ignored and he was forced to pay a symbolic fine. The social scandal significantly tarnished Cubí’s public image. From then on, he was the focus of harsh criticism from some of his colleagues in phrenology who viewed his model as a failure because he sold his services to the highest bidder without maintaining any objective consistency and because he took such fervent inspiration from out-of-date theories on the functional regions of the brain that were hard to prove by cranioscopy. Some of the criticisms had already been suggested in the writings of Mata and Monlau. Theirs, however, were not the only voices to speak out against the man who was the main standard-bearer for phrenology in Spain and Catalonia. Cubí was attacked chiefly for basing his work on unfeasible hypotheses about capricious associations with certain cranial irregularities that were ambiguous to interpret and highly contentious to use diagnostically (Carpintero 2004; Siguan 1981). At the same time, however, Cubí made little attempt to correct the shortcomings of his theoretical model. Rather, he limited himself to the reproduction of what earlier authors had said about phrenology. Never a brilliant theorist, he was merely a shrewd populariser who, like Fowler & Webb, turned phrenology into good business. At the same time, he tried to make money as a hypnotist, but without any of the therapeutic pretensions of the French school of psychiatry. Taking hit after hit, Cubí’s reputation did not improve when he insisted that his greatest contribution to the world was, as he called it, the organ of “deductivity”. According to him, this organ had the power to see, by means of logical operations, what would occur in the near future. This idea of Cubí’s was not that far removed from the mystical belief in the existence of a certain degree of innate divination. Exploiting the scientific ignorance of the time, Cubí even claimed confidently that the regular application of leeches was necessary to assist in the development of deficient cranial protuberances (López 2000). Anecdotes such as these clearly demonstrate that Cubí’s primitive phrenology was unable to keep pace with advances in the neurosciences as they gained ground in Europe and began to have an impact in Spain.

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When he had finally fallen into total disrepute, Cubí was spoken of as a wise man who had gone mad, unable to compete with rivals as persuasive in the street as the gypsies who could see the future by reading palms (Pla 1951). In addition to his exclusion from scientific arenas, his desperate attempts to beg for political favours already denied to him in the past entirely overshadowed the publication, in 1952, of Al pueblo español, sobre las causas que hacen el comunismo imposible y el progreso inevitable [To the Spanish People, on the Causes that Make Communism Impossible and Progress Inevitable]. He was only to regain a modicum of his former credit when the work La phrénologie regénérée appeared six


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years later in France, a volume which the author dedicated in a blatantly obsequious tone to Napoleon III (Domènech and Sáiz 1996). His gradually declining numbers of students and the constant attacks from the conservative press shunted Cubí out of public arenas and he turned his full attention towards teaching foreign languages in Spain. Despite the memory of past controversies, Cubí returned to Galicia and opened an office in Ferrol in 1866. Nearly a decade later, Marià Cubí died of a stroke (Siguan 1981).

Phrenology, an ambiguous model for social reform As it happens, the presumed reformist intentions of Marià Cubí are thrown into question when we review his particular phrenological classification based on Gall’s original model (1825). While Gall reduced all mental faculties to 27, later authors including Cubí expanded the total to 37 or even more, depending on their individual interests (Hothersall 2005; Pérez and Tortosa 2006; Sáiz 2008). Cubí (1852) and Gall (1825), however, concurred in drawing a distinction between the three major areas of the brain: the frontal regions, which were dedicated to matters of the intellect; the upper regions, which dealt with moral questions; and the lower regions, which were relegated to the animal instincts. Traits such as tenderness, courage, ingenuity, pride and cunning were, according to these authors, exclusive to human beings. But other capacities like the acquisition of a moral sense, a given degree of religious sentiment, a talent for poetry and even the desire to rob and kill were distinctive only of certain individuals. Hence phrenology’s major use as a tool of prevention. Cubí spoke of rebalancing capacities that had decreased during their development in order to correct and compensate for the aberrance. This was not contrary to the idea that the detection of a slight depression in a specific area of the skull could predict a correlative reduction or weakness in the associated mental faculty. Just to be on the safe side, though, Cubí himself (1852) pointed out that phrenology was more approximate than exact. In addition, unlike the radically determinist position of Gall, he accepted that the individual is more or less responsible for changing his or her behaviour or way of being. That is, freedom can have an influence on the causes and modifications of a particular mindset or character. In this way, Cubí took an ambiguous view of an innate and predictable dimension of humans that was detectable merely by feeling the skull, and yet also opened up the possibility of introducing indeterminate environmental variables that triggered a certain potential or deterioration in some functions of the mind.

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Like other authors working with Gall’s original model, Cubí distorted some of the categories in Gall’s classification for his own material advantage. We should not forget that the catalogues of mental capacities estimated by each phrenologist could vary perceptibly from one to another. In the case of Cubí, however, he not only changed the nomenclature from the one used in the pioneering model, but also added and subtracted some of Gall’s categories (Peña-Casanova 2009). Initially, Gall had distinguished between affective faculties—divided into propensities and sentiments—and intellectual or cognitive faculties—distributed into perceptive and reflective capacities. Among the most basic sentiments of humans, Gall (1825) measured prudence, self-esteem, benevolence, respect and hope, for example. Among such propensities, however, Cubí’s model reflects substantial differences, particularly in relation to the functional interpretation of each of the included capacities. For Cubí (1852), these functions did not depend so much on an instinctual foundation that would be same for all individuals, but rather blended moral qualities that were uncommon in certain segments of the population. The ability to be kind to one’s fellow man—which Cubí called “Jeneratividad” and “Amatividad”—and the parental love of one’s children—“Filojenitura”, “Prolevidad” or “Filoprogenitividad”, according to Cubí’s nomenclature— were located next to the instinct for destruction. Thus, this would account for the fact that, in the individual, a more developed function could come at the expense of neighbouring functions. Though they were mutually exclusive, the development of some functions could affect other functions. According to Cubí (1852), some of these functions were prominent in people with weak purchasing power or a very low level of culture or education, who might show a high degree of appetitive instinct (“Alimentatividad”), no ability to exercise tact in business dealings (“Estratejividad” or “Secretividad”), a minimal ability to experience aesthetic pleasure in the presence of a work of art (“Sublimividad”), deficits in the acquisition of social manners (“Imitatividad”) and in the capacity for public excellence (“Idealidad” or “Mejoratividad”), an impoverished hunger for distinction (“Aprobatividad”), a high degree of inferiority (“Inferiorividad”, or a respect for the venerable, submission to authority and a legitimate resignation in the face of frustration) or a meagre fondness for their place of residence or household (“Habitabilidad”).

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Beyond the ridiculous names given to some of the categories—e.g., “Chistosividad”, “Jocosidad” or “Hilaridad” to refer to a sense of humour; “Con­yugatividad” to speak of marital fidelity, and “Benevolentividad” with respect to compassion and generosity—the classification system of Cubí (1852) pointed to an intention to establish a clear separation between social classes. It reaffirmed categories such as the development of self-love (“Superiorividad”) and of elements of religiosity and devotion (“Maravillosidad”, “Realividad”)


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that went hand in hand with a corrective social model based on values that would flatter the great and the good. Thus, a person with a high coefficient of religiosity, marital fidelity, rectitude and a sense of hope would have a greater chance to triumph in society than a person with a different set of sensibilities. By contrast, the cognitive faculties relating to the physical environment, in Cubí’s system (1852), only circumscribed mental processes such as numerical calculation (“Contatividad”), the measurement of time and speed (“Duratividad”), the discernment of shapes and facial recognition (“Configuratividad”) and the ability to predict events (“Movimentividad”). Cubí’s notion of perceptual faculties was also limited to the most basic aspects of the senses: “Tactividad”, “Visualividad”, “Audividad”, “Gustatividad”, “Olfatividad”. Cubí had devised his phrenological system not to improve or correct any maladjusted function, but rather to select individuals in accordance with their qualitative status. One needs only to turn to his own definition of his discipline, which Pla gives a sarcastic treatment in one of his novels: (...) Phrenology brings sound judgment to our selection of rulers, of husband or wife, of friends, acquaintances, servants, for which reason there is no state or condition whatsoever in which this science is not supremely useful (Pla 1951).

Cubí (1848, 1852) took the view that phrenology could be used to re-adjust any political organisation by providing facts on the population to be governed. It could serve to choose the best leaders based on specific analysis and design social reforms à la carte. He understood, however, that the best government is not necessarily one elected by a democratic majority, but one represented by an elite deliberately selected in line with standards that phrenology could legitimate according to supposedly scientific criteria. Nevertheless, many champions of phrenology latched onto the discipline as a tool for reform in opposition to the conservative policies of the Spanish government, building on the idea that phrenology aimed at the betterment of individuals, not all individuals clearly, but those most able and ready to change for the better. It is no accident that phrenology was highly touted by reformers of the mid-nineteenth century. It offered insights into human behaviour, personality and social organisation, drawing on premises whose roots, when all is said and done, reached back to old Enlightenment thinking that earlier reformers had once fought. The naturalist view that they supposedly wanted to convey with phrenological principles also used organicist metaphors to explain society. Starting with the notion of the brain as an organ combining all human faculties, as if it were analogous to a parliamentary republic, the body would then act as the functional and applied means of a new social model resulting from the brain’s deliberation, in which each specific area would take part equally with

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its voice and vote. The similarity between the brain as a society and the collective group of mental faculties as voters engaged in a concerted action is subtly endorsed in the theories of Mata and Monlau, but it is much more ambiguous in Cubí. According to the three authors, if all human beings share the same organ to manage all mental functions, everyone should have the same likelihood of changing. Thus, the nobler their needs are, the more ennobled will be the spirit of those who control society, while the lower their passions, the more debased will be their rulers’ social model (Nofre 2007). In their explanations of phrenology, the cited authors go on to say that the proper expression of moral pleasures leads to the most prized works of art, while the successes of the intellect give rise to the sciences. By contrast, there appears to be no room in the model for thinking that runs counter to the ideal model being sought. It gives no account of human beings, but limits itself to “a better world”, and it ignores the supposedly dark or primitive side of human nature, which Gall did consider in his own classification system. Ideally, phrenology should be thought to contribute to the betterment of an individual by manipulating certain environmental factors that enable the individual’s more or less developed capacities to flourish. Ultimately, these ideas at the heart of phrenology are perfectly in keeping with the desire to overhaul the educational systems of the period in order to correct shortcomings and strengthen the most inadequate mental functions through practical exercise, as if the question were one of atrophied muscles (Hergenhahn 2001). Therefore, the pertinent instruction of an individual in favourable conditions would lead in the direction of social betterment, by reversing these shortcomings in many citizens at once. If we accept this socio-environmental relativism, the presumption that all human faculties have the same value (or right to exist) is thrown into question. Catalan phrenologists, with Cubí at the forefront, considered that the duty of humans was to achieve a balance among all faculties, respecting each and every one in equal measure and preventing some from dominating others. In this case, however, it makes no sense to call for some capacities to enlighten others because of their functional specialisation. This naively suggests that the instincts would not ultimately give in to the designs of the moral regions because they lack the ability to choose rationally; or perhaps the opposite would be the case. Imposing a social ideal, therefore, would lead to the overriding of some areas in the interest of others and the much-vaunted egalitarian balance would be highly unrealistic in the final result.

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The science of phrenology did not conceal its interest in stressing individual differences or the intrinsic relationship between political theory and socioeconomic factors. To the contrary, it put within reach of everyone an accessible science that was practical, affordable and understandable, providing a


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simple tool for the exercise of social control accredited by improvements in educational psychology. It was no accident that the bourgeois classes were the most receptive to the discipline, given that the aims of phrenology were the reflection of a lens between the desire for power and the emergence and influence of an increasingly industrialised society freed from the feudalist policies of the past. Like all social sciences, phrenology was no more than a mirror of the zeitgeist of its time, but it emerged in Catalonia specifically under the wing of a bourgeoisie oppressed by a backward State. Catalan phrenology, however, failed to lay out its social programme well enough. It allowed itself to be led by a befuddled liberal thinking that applied its reformist foundations ambiguously, benefiting the elites of one political side as much as those of the opposing side. This ambiguity is plain to see in an article written by Francisco Ramos in 1846, in which Ramos takes issue with one of the courses given by Cubí in Madrid. The author is ferocious in his attack on the utopian “do-goodism” by which Cubí sought to correct a “sundered” nature in the arenas of education and crime: In addition, poor behaviour spreads in the lower classes of society, and in the lower classes of society phrenology cannot be spread. The lower classes would give themselves over to fatalism, and saying their makeup led them to do wrong would be to excuse their crimes. (…) Let us forget phrenologies, for he who robs once will rob a second time with cunning, whenever he is sheltered by impunity (cited by López 2000).

Ramos’s harsh words challenge the effectiveness of phrenology to correct, but they also support theories that claim that the aberrant character of the criminal’s nature is very hard to change, thus even more forcefully rejecting the delinquent’s chances of redemption. According to Ramos, if the delinquent were aware of his lack of guilt, he would be made a victim of an innate determinism. At the same time, the best conditions of social life are assigned to the affluent classes, which are, according to the tenets of phrenology, made up of those with the greatest capacities. This opinion both for and against phrenology clearly demonstrates the porous boundary between psycho-physiology and moral philosophy and, in passing, shows an obvious debt to the degenerationist claims of Nordau, Lombroso and Moral in the field of anthropology, the influence of Darwinism by way of Spencer’s interpretations, and the eugenicist thinking of Galton, all of which were pervasive in social hygiene campaigns in Catalonia in the nineteenth century. Phrenology’s ambiguous translation in the social sphere, therefore, was equally as attractive to conservatives who dismissed it as it was for reformists who embraced it, because it provided further justification for a natural distinction between classes and it isolated innate traits that impelled one towards

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crime or madness, clearing the way for the new bourgeoisie to capitalise on a new social arrangement. Theories derived from phrenology gave legitimacy to the notion that the bourgeois was an agent of progress or that the aristocracy was an agent of tradition, but in either case always with a watchful eye on public health and safety. As a consequence, phrenology’s account of the human being gave arguments for the rise of elites and it stymied social egalitarianism. A glimpse at Gall’s, Cubí’s and other phrenologists’ systems of classification is more than enough to see the lack of community values, such as solidarity. Instead, phrenology was whipped into an ideal science for the development of personal authoritarianism and individualistic betterment. In summary, the Catalan bourgeoisie had found in phrenology a discipline on which to construct their distinctiveness relative to a government that oppressed them. The price to pay, however, continued to be a civilian population where some held sway over others.

“It is necessary to combat it, and combat it forcefully”: the end of Catalan phrenology As we have seen, the introduction of phrenology in Catalonia was not without controversy. Because it was linked with political opposition to the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy, many champions of the new science were forced to take enormous pains to moderate their position in order to avoid clashes with the conservative establishment of Spain, which often accused them of sowing atheism and spreading an excessively materialist view of the human being. Cubí was one of those affected by the censure of the Catholic Church, which is clear from what happened to him in Santiago de Compostela (Cubí 1848). Phrenology did enjoy an early prestige in the mid-nineteenth century, together with other disciplines such as mesmerism—a forerunner of therapies using hypnosis—physiognomy and homeopathy. However, it quickly fell into disrepute as a result of a series of critiques levelled at its epistemological principles, which can be summarised in six points: 1. Phrenology was a science focused exclusively on the body and not on the person, starting from a determinist and excessively organicist idea of the mind. The particular conditions of the individual had no place in the general theories of phrenology, a weakness that was exploited by those interested in social reforms contrary to the policies governing the country at the time. 72

2. Phrenology was used in social hygiene campaigns, which were based on a clearly moralising dimension that used naturalist arguments


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to justify the waywardness of certain segments of the population and the mental superiority of other individuals in high society. 3. Phrenology furnished a social philosophy and a guide for self-improvement, placing more emphasis on extremely positive character traits and ignoring or downplaying negative ones, which were only valid to explain the causes of anomalous or aberrant behaviours. 4. Phrenology was a starkly classist and segregationist science, which was built on the foundation that people were born with different characteristics, but were endowed with a common nature. As a consequence, it claimed that the differences among some individuals in society were innate and that society was divided between classes on the grounds of mental and moral superiority. 5. Phrenology did not delve beyond the structure of the skull to understand the etiological motives expounded in its theories. It limited itself to serving as a descriptive analysis, not to finding a satisfactory explanation of the causes. Thus, it provided no response for the therapeutic area, only prescriptions that lacked any experimental backing. 6. Phrenology was underpinned by an associative hypothesis, but it provided no conclusive results. It was able to demonstrate empirically neither the existence of clearly defined functions in the cortical areas of the brain nor a direct relation with the shape of the skull. Apart from any training or definitive diagnosis, evidence was also emerging to support the potential regeneration of certain neurological functions in spite of the severity of injury, a phenomenon that phrenology could not explain as the neurosciences advanced. At the time Marià Cubí “discovered” phrenology, the theoretical foundations promoted by Gall and Spurzheim had been long superseded and left in the dust. Pierre Flourens, for instance, had already disproved, in 1843, that the cerebellum was the organ of sexual instinct, as Gall had thought, and showed instead that it was responsible for motor functions (Hothersall 2005). The criticisms levelled by religious sectors—such as those of Jaume Balmes and Riera i Comas against Cubí—caused serious damage to phrenology in the public’s estimation and this was compounded by its popular caricaturing as the work of professional hucksters and frauds without any scientific training, as is evident from a well-known piece of comic theatre by Bretón de los Herreros that opened in 1845 with the title Frenología y magnetismo [Phrenology and Magnetism] (Siguan 1981). The growing hegemony of other sciences quickly marginalised phrenology. It did not receive the backing that it had expected from those with

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political and social power, who had instead found better allies in the medical establishment. The professionalisation of psychologists and physicians elbowed phrenology aside rather unceremoniously, obstructing its development and blocking its access to the academic world. Once the laboratory had become firmly established as a place strictly for scientific research, phrenology could no longer compete against more persuasive disciplines that required better training. Charged with being a farce by some and a pseudoscience by others, phrenology was gradually eclipsed and by the close of the nineteenth century it had completely vanished from the public sphere. The persecution of phrenology from the loftiest heights of institutional power, however, took on almost political colourings, because phrenology came with the endorsement of liberal intellectuals and it was an attack on the moral and religious ideas associated with the monarchy. This is evidenced by the verbal assault of the previously mentioned Francisco Ramos on Cubí’s approach to phrenology, in which Ramos ironically put himself on the side of the incredulous against the side of the fraudulent: Those who call his theories science ought to call it a sham (…). It is not science, it cannot be science if the results do not correspond to the principles in each and every case. It is not a sham, it cannot be a sham, if the principles are confirmed by the facts. But can and must the practical application of this theory lead to some result that is advantageous for mankind or for society? No. When external protuberances do not always correspond to organic development, when these signs are not infallible, to what end do we employ ourselves by establishing a spurious system, a building on the sand, a castle in the air? We combat the theory of phrenology not because it is absurd, but because it is useless. What is useless must be discarded. (...) If phrenology is flawed in its judgments, if its signs are sometimes wrong, the theory is harmful in practice, and it is useless. It is harmful if education based on it makes a man walk according to a false sign, down a path other than that which leads him to glory; and it is useless because the hypothesis that it is right in some cases, comes together with the hypothesis that it errs in others, which leads to incredulity. If we have no faith in it, the theory is crippled. As its judgments are dreadful, if we believe in it, it is always harmful in practical application, and if we do not believe, it is always useless. Therefore, this theory is harmful, and it is useless. (...) If there is reason for doubt, and if there exists vagueness in practice when one wishes to apply it to matters as important as education and the prison system, it is necessary to combat it, and combat it forcefully (extract from López 2000; the italics have been added). 74

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the preoccupation evident in the environment that phrenology was an approach with the potential to shake the very principles and values of an antiquated society anchored in tradition and conservatism. Phrenology offered arguments to prove the differences between peoples at loggerheads, thus raising the gravest alarm among Ramos and his circle of acolytes. Cubí, protected by his clients and students in the Catalan haute bourgeoisie, appeared to arrive in the Spanish capital with a tool capable of legitimating the need for social change through education, the democratic vote, and equality of opportunity. Unfortunately, the skewed conception of the common nature of individuals was not properly addressed. The Catalan representatives of phrenology, with Cubí in the lead, were broadly discredited for overstepping the mark in their social ambitions, reducing the capacity for change to a few exceptionally fine minds that were to be determined more by economic status than on purely mental grounds. As a result, the elites of the great and the good selected by phrenology ran straight into a brick wall, one erected by a God and a kingdom that did not care to listen to reason. Or perhaps they both feared the tantalising interpretation that was suggested by having an absolutely smooth skull.

Bibliography Carpintero, H. (1996), Historia de las ideas psicológicas, Pirámide, Madrid, pp. 433-436. — (2004), Historia de la psicología en España, Pirámide, Madrid, pp. 62-64. Cubí, M. (1848), Polémica religioso-frenolojico-magnética, José Tauló, Barcelona. — (1852), La Frenolojía i sus glorias, Imprenta Hispana, Barcelona. Domènech, E. and Sáiz, M. (1996), Mariano Cubí y la frenología, in Sáiz, M. and Sáiz, D. (coord.), Personajes para una historia de la psicología en España, Pirámide, Madrid, pp. 151-165. Gall, F. J. (1825), La frenología, in Ferrándiz, A., Lafuente, E. and Loredo, J. C. (eds.) (2008), Lecturas de Historia de la Psicología, UNED, Madrid, pp. 135-137. Hergenhahn, B. R. (2001), Introducción a la Historia de la Psicología, Paraninfo, Madrid, pp. 249-252. Hothersall, D. (2005), Historia de la Psicología, McGraw-Hill, Mexico, pp. 79-87. López, J. M. (2000), “Nuevos datos para el estudio de la difusión de las doctrinas frenológicas en España (1840-1850)”, Gimbernat, 34, pp. 111-128. Nofre, D. (2005), Una ciència de l’home, una ciència de la societat: frenologia i magnetisme animal a Catalunya, 1842-1854, doctoral thesis under the super-

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vision of Agustí Nieto, Centre for the Study of the History of Science (CEHIC)/Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), Barcelona. — (2006), “En el centro de todas las miradas: una aproximación a la historiografía de la frenología”, Dynamis, 26, pp. 93-124. — (2007), “‘Saber separar lo bueno de lo malo, lo cierto de lo incierto’: La frenología y los médicos catalanes, c.1840-c.1860”, Scripta Nova, 11 (248). Parellada, D. (1986), “Sobre la tipologia cranioscòpica del doctor Baldomero Comulada”, Gimbernat, 6, pp. 271-276. Peña-Casanova, J. (2009), “Mariano Cubí, la frenología y el Conde Güell”, Fundación Alzheimer, Artículo de interés (September), pp. 1-13. Pérez, E. and Tortosa, F. (2006), “Lo psicológico en la primera mitad del siglo XX”, in Tortosa, F. and Civera, C. (eds.), Historia de la Psicología, pp. 4759, McGraw-Hill, Madrid. Pi i Molist, E. (1860), Proyecto médico-razonado para la construcción del Manicomio de Santa Cruz de Barcelona, Tomás Gorchs, Barcelona. — (1870), ¿Qué relaciones guardan las enfermedades mentales con las formas del cráneo?, Jaime Jesús Roviralta, Barcelona. Pla, J. (1951), Un senyor de Barcelona, Destino, Barcelona. Rodríguez, S. (1989), “Trayectoria histórica de la psicología en España”, in García, L. (ed.), Historia de la Psicología, Eudema, Madrid, pp. 435-466. Sáiz, M. (2008), “La aportación de la fisiología”, in Sáiz, M. (coord.), Historia de la Psicología, UOC, Barcelona, pp. 36-42. Siguan, M. (1981), La psicologia a Catalunya, Edicions 62, Barcelona, pp. 85-92. Translation from Catalan by Joel Graham

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article JOURNAL OF CATALAN INTELLECTUAL HISTORY, Issues 9&10, 2015 | Print ISSN 2014-1572 / Online ISSN 2014-1564 DOI: 10.2436/20.3001.02.92 | P. 77-89 Reception date: 8/11/2014 / Admission date: 20/11/2014 http://revistes.iec.cat/index.php/JOCIH

P

hilosophy and humor Joan Cuscó i Clarasó The Catalan Philosophy Society jcusco@vinseum.cat

abstract Humour helps us to hoist and fasten the sail with which we navigate the seriousness of our lives. Ever since the Classical period, laughter and humour have informed philosophical thought and from the nineteenth century onwards, many modern thinkers have continued to debate this subject. This paper reviews the debate in the context of Catalan writing during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, particularly the writing of Francesc Pujols. In it, the author compares Pujols and other Catalan writers with their contemporaries in other parts of Europe, like the Hungarian Béla Hamvas.

key words Humour, greguería, Francesc Pujols, Béla Hamvas, Xavier Nogués, Johan Huizinga, Gómez de la Serna.

Unlikely as it may seem, philosophy and humor share close ties which can be traced back through the history of ideas to classical Greece. As this paper will show, their relationship is fundamental in Catalan culture and has even been debated in the field of neuroscience, which suggests that it might be time to address the subject more directly. Humor is central to the way we think and opens a window on the world around us. It is fairly significant that a writer as thoroughly pessimistic as Schopenhauer should have chosen to expound upon the subject of humor and laughter1, or that in an essay titled Goût (“Taste”), Montesquieu lowered the guard of his own historical pessimism to say that “the works of nature and art can give pleasure to the soul”2. In our times, the 1 Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Presentation, trans. Richard E. Aquila in collaboration with David Carus, New York: Longman, 2008, andThe Wisdom of Life, trans. T. Bailey Saunders, London: Swan Sonnenschein&Co., 1890; London: Dover, 2004 (unabridged republication). 2 In Montesquieu’s words, «les ouvrages de la nature & de l’art, peuvent lui donner du plaisir» (Diderot and d’Alembert, Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, Vol . 7, p. 762, http://artflsrv02.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/extras/encpageturn.pl?V7/ ENC_7-762.jpeg, accessed 26 May 2015), «Taste», The Encyclopedia of Diderot & d’Alem-

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philosophy–humor equation continues to enter new permutations, as evidenced in the research of writers like clinical psychologist Rod A. Martin, who proposes that “the view of humor as cognitive play may provide a framework for thinking about the interaction of cognitive, emotional and social elements”3. Like aesthetic pleasure, humor clearly informs our human mode of being4 and enables us to communicate with others and seek their attention more effectively. The artist Salvador Dalí was one of a number of artists who understood this and regularly used humor in his work. And as science teaches, both human play and playful activity in other primates provide the circumstances under which laughter can appear5. Acts of celebration are engendered by play, and in celebration the sonorous figures created by musical instruments occupy space as laughter does. As Eugeni d’Ors understood, even culture, which emerges from the logos, is born of play. Ancient history reveals that our concern with the workings of humor and its expression in laughter was already present in the Hebrew Scriptures, where verbs denoting laughter like sāhaq described the laughter of gladness and rejoicing, while other words like lāʼag primarily meant to mock or scorn. This basic ambivalence endured in our Judeo-Christian cultural baggage, which contains the laugh of pleasure and happiness but also the laugh of those who feel superior and are derisive of others’ misfortune or infirmity. The word “humor” has also gone through various transformations, originating in ancient humoral medicine and coming to stand as the technical term describing bodily fluids, having passed from Old French to Middle English as “humor” (and eventually acquiring its present-day meaning in the poles of “good mood”, synonymous with wellbeing, and “bad mood”, which relates to sadness and pain). The medical theory of the humors was first used in the thirteenth century but remained prominent to the modern era. From the sixteenth century onwards, people began to speak of good and bad “moods” and in the seventeenth century the notions of “humor” and “comic” begin to be associated. The term ‘humorist’ was used to describe an eccentric person whose unbalanced temperament led him to indulge in odd or whimsical ways, so

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bert Collaborative Translation Project, trans. Nelly S. Hoyt and Thomas Cassirer, Ann Arbor: Michigan Publishing, University of Michigan Library, 2003. http://hdl.handle.net/2027/spo. did2222.0000.168 (accessed 26 May 2015). 3 Rod Martin, The Psychology of Humor: An Integrative Approach, Elsevier Academic Press, 2007, p. 109. 4 It has been known since Darwin that tickle-induced laughter is a characteristic of different mammal species and can be provoked by some nonhuman primates. See David Leavens, “Animal Communication: Laughter is the Shortest Distance between Two Apes”, Current Biology, 19:(13) (2009), R511-3. 5 Marina Davila Ross et al., “Reconstructing the Evolution of Laughter in Great Apes and Humans”, Current Biology, 19:(13) (2010), R511-3.


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that the laughter he prompted was not so much shared with him as it was at his expense. It was not until the nineteenth century when the term was finally described someone who consciously sought to make others laugh by perceiving eccentricities and imitating these: professionals who were skilled in making people laugh. And especially in England, humor was perceived to be essential for a healthy lifestyle and as important a virtue as compassion, tolerance or common sense.

Philosophy and humor When we consider philosophy and humor in Catalonia, the two writers who immediately come to mind are Pompeu Gener and Francesc Pujols. But both were part of a broader tradition involving various thinkers in Catalonia and the rest of Europe. For example, one of these two writers’ travelling companions was the humorist Joan Martí i Trenchs (1844–1920) who, after completing his university studies in philosophy in 1874 and in pharmacy in 1879, published various articles and books. Martí published in the satirical magazine Lo burinot, Periodich il·lustrat, satíric de bon genit i millor humor, y gastant ínfules de literari (“The Bumblebee: an Illustrated Periodical Buzzing with the Satire of Ingenious and Congenial humbugs”), which ran from 1879 to 1882. Amongst its targets was Darwin’s evolutionary biology, which it parodied by drawing on the tradition of identifying the traits of animals in humans, proposing that while men were learning to become monkeys, the monkeys were learning to become men6. Martí went on to write several books between 1886 and 1916. But philosophy’s interest in humor and laughter inevitably comes from much further back. Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose (1980) created a story around the disappearance from an Italian Benedictine abbey of the second book of Aristotle’s Poetics, on comedy, of which, indeed, no copy survives. However, in the Nichomachean Ethics, Rhetoric and the extant first book of the Poetics, Aristotle also discusses the subject of humor and laughter, in part developing Plato’s theories; and between the end of the Roman Republic and the beginning of Roman Empire, Cicero and Quintilian also studied humor. From that moment until the present day the debate has continued, even though the Church drew back during the Copernican Revolution (as Eco also explains in his tale of murder, heresy and sexual awakening) and monastic law declared that laughter was the most serious violation of the vow of silence, which was one of the fundamental virtues of religious life. 6

Note that in a later period the magazine was published as El borinot. Setmanari de barrila, between the years 1923 and 1927, coinciding with the first years of the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera (1923–1930).

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Beyond the Middle Ages, Renaissance theories of humor revisited the Classical and Roman periods and, in the modern era, an increasingly strong case was made for relating laughter and humor to the bodily humors and to health and wellbeing. In the mid-seventeenth century, Descartes was one of the first writers to examine the physiology of laughter as well as its psychology (Article 124, Les Passions de l’âme, 1649). In an essentially psychological analysis titled “Of the interior beginnings of voluntary motions”, Hobbes proposed that the passion he called “sudden glory” led to a particular kind of laughter and pleasure (Chapter VI, Part I of Leviathan, 1651). In the early eighteenth century, the Scottish-Irish philosopher Francis Hutcheson argued against Hobbes by saying that any discussion of humor had to bear two subjects in mind, laughter and ridicule, and that humor came from man’s ability to use metaphors inappropriately, prompting laughter by turning the other’s ideas on their heads the other’s ideas on their heads. For this reason, writers like Hutcheson argued, humor could encourage intellectual elasticity and make people more sociably adept (Thoughts on Laughter, Dublin Journal, 1725). In the same way that Hobbes had discussed these aspects of humor in Leviathan, in 1651, in 1790 Immanuel Kant proposed in The Critique of the Power of Judgment that laughter and music were simply feelings of pleasure, Hegel addressed humor in his Lectures on the History of Philosophy in 1833 and Darwin made it a subject of The Expressions of the Emotions in Man and Animals in 1890. Laughter and humor were therefore constant subjects of philosophical disquisition all through the period, revisited by some of the most prominent thinkers.

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Another writer who practised humor as a style of thought was Johann Paul Friedrich Richter (1763–1825), commonly known as Jean Paul. A key figure in German literature and also a prolific author, Jean Paul invariably went against the grain of his contemporaries, oscillating between quiet reason and a kind of feverish excess. In his writing, which combined humor, perspicacity and mordent wit, he was known for his singular ability to associate ideas that had appeared irreconcilable and he was widely considered to be a wise and cultured man who was both happy and bold in his style of thought. In a letter to Goethe, Friedrich Schiller observed that Jean Paul was a writer with a busy imagination and a sense of humor. For Jean Paul, the “science of humor” (to paraphrase Pujols) was “the inverted sublime” (“umgekehrte Erhabene”): the philosophical chuckle of an anonymous spectator lost in the infinite world, “in which both pain and a greatness abide” (“jenes Lachen, worin noch ein Schmerz und eine Größe ist”); a kind of universal comic spirit that communicated tolerance and man’s willingness, as Bonghi observed, to discover the grotesque within the serious and the serious within the absurd.


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These are the characteristics of humor. And to return for a moment to the subject of Francesc Pujols, we might argue that it was at a very early age that he chose to give up theology and dedicate his life to literature. Menéndez y Pelayo considered his humor to be eccentric and unclassifiable while Pujols himself said he had taken the Romantic and ideal conception of the sublime that the Germans made their altar-piece and turned it on its head. Humor and comedy could thus serve to refute the dogma and reveal the other face of reason7. The figure of Jean Paul is also interesting because his work cultivates the ideas on poetic theory put forward by Friedrich Schiller in his paper On Naïve and Sentimental Poetry (1795), which are key in the development of contemporary humor (as is the idea of “contrast” proposed by Montesquieu in 1758 in Goût, which is cited above). Using Schiller’s reflections on Attic tragedy as his point of departure, in 1804 in The Pre-School of Aesthetics Jean Paul described the relationship that laughter and humor had with established literary genres and defined “humor or the romantic comic” as the category which went beyond the notion of the sublime. This idea was taken up again by Hegel and further explored by the avantgarde movements of the twentieth century. Musically, it might well be argued that these disquisitions acquired expression in Beethoven’s most heroic and sublime works, the Egmont Overture and the Third Symphony, and in the comic operas of Rossini’s later years, which are clearly humorous and festive8. The Danish philosopher Harald Høffding (1843–1931) studied the psychology of humor and argued that humor allows people to experience disparate elements in the same instant in what becomes a complex experience. Høffding held that humor expressed pleasure in general and was at the same time a particular satisfaction related to an individual’s preservation of his life and health. He also took the Hobbesian thesis somewhat further to discuss the notion of sympathy. From 1900 until the present day, humor and laughter have been discussed by major authors like Bergson, Freud and Pirandello; and from the first third of the twentieth century, the following works are particularly noteworthy: Henri Bergson’s Laughter (1900); James Sully’s An Essay on Laughter (1904); Sigmund Freud’s Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious 7 Jean Paul, Das Lob der Dummheit („In Praise of Stupidity“) in SämtlicheWerke, Abteilung II, Jugendwerke und Vermischte Schriften, vol. I, ed. Norbert Miller, Munich: Hanser, 1974. 8 Kant’s ideas were well suited to the Classicism of Haydn and Mozart, whose music was chiefly directed to the senses, while Beethoven’s music was fuelled by the ideas of German idealism and Romanticism, which called upon the listener to play an emotionally active role. The former focused on pleasure while the latter was inspired by the formative and transforming activity of human subjectivity.The classicists measured music by its beauty while the Romantics measured the degree to which it could express the sublime (and the other face of the sublime, as Jean Paul would say, in works like Rossini’s, which we have cited).

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(1905); Fernand Baldensperger’s chapter on the definitions of humor in his Études d´Histoire Littéraire (1907); Luigi Pirandello’s On Humor (1908), which revisited classical thought and was an exploration in style; and finally André Breton’s Anthology of Black Humor (1940), which reviewed Hegel and Freud. Through humor in general and the joke in particular, we reveal those things that sometimes remain hidden: the flipside, the fallible nature of Pietism, the moment when all great ideas must topple and the “conflict of opposed systems or dogmas”9. This is what Pirandello observed when he argued that “through the ridiculous aspect of this discovery, the humorist will see the gravity and pain; he will cause this ideal construct to topple but will not only do this to laugh; and instead of protesting he may, in his laughter, express pity”10.

Humor in the twentieth century Before fully examining Francesc Pujols in the context of Catalan contemporary culture, we should consider two of his intellectual brothers: Ramón Gómez de la Serna (1888–1963), who wrote the book Humorismo in 1930, and Johan Huizinga (1872–1945) who wrote his treatise Homo ludens in 1938. Gómez de la Serna was born and died in almost exactly the same years as Pujols and his humorist writing is as important for Spain, culturally, as Pujols’s is for Catalonia. Gómez de la Serna began his intellectual career almost at the same time as Pujols, in 1905, but this cannot be properly addressed in the context most generally employed by academic historiographers, first because our concern is these writers’ use of humor and second because both men created a discursive style that combined the essay and artistic treatise. In fact, it is arguable that this was the only style they could have chosen, whether it was Wagnerian and organic, as Pujols’s humor has been described, or neo-Baroque avantgarde, as Gómez de la Serna’s is sometimes considered. (Taken together, this writer would argue, these styles are practically the same). Such an amalgam of genres (poetry with narrative and essay, for example) provided the two men with a text that raised new issues, shocked, pleased and generally stirred up society’s thought systems, prejudices, habits and theories. In short, essay and artistic treatise converged in a single style with one objective. It is no accident, therefore, that Gómez de la Serna’s style should be based on the

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9 Kuno Fischer wrote in such terms in 1889, associating the catharsis of humor and joking with what he called “disinterested judgement” (“ein speilendes Urteil”), which also underlies the relationship between art and philosophy. 10 In Pirandello’s words, “L’umorista [...] attraverso il ridicolo di questa scoperta vedrà il lato serio e doloroso; smonterà questa costruzione ideale, ma no per riderne solamente; e in luogo di sdegnarsene, magari, ridendo, compatirà”. In Luigi Pirandello, L’Umorismo, Florence: Luigi Battistelli, 1920 (second, enlarged edition), p. 207.


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greguería, the figure of speech which dismantles and multiplies the realities of our world and which, after various drafts and in his definitive “Prologue” of 1955, he defined as “metáfora + humor = greguería”11. For Gómez de la Serna, humor was an expansive genre that could be used to express the happiness of a life spent in search of one’s mental health: Humor floods contemporary life and dominates almost every style [...] the humorous emerges as the most eternal of all celebrations because it honours the passing of what is false or imposed and celebrates the moment of subversion. [...] The best way to respond to the transcience of our lives is with humor.The practise of humor is our rational mind’s most indispensable duty [...]. We have an obligation to upset the absolute person we appear to be.12

With these words Gómez de la Serna took the thesis that humor was not just a literary genre one step further; instead, he argued, it could respond to the basic challenge of living without fear and its attendant obsessions and prejudices (like the Catholicism Pujols condemned). The chemistry of humor dispelled intrigue and obsession and distanced itself from the fear that built walls around our lives, closed the doors and shot the bolts. As for its chemical components, these were the grotesque, sarcasm, the absurd humor of the jester, and the pathetic. If we used these to illustrate what Francesc Pujols and Eugeni d’Ors did or said, we could argue that while the former was a humorist, the latter was an ironist; and that while humor is an enthusiastic partner, only too ready to take part, irony directs from a cool-headed distance. But as Gaston de Pawlowski has observed, the humorist is in no position to draw conclusions because this would mean certain intellectual death. And these are the two faces of non-academic philosophical thought in Catalonia in the first half of the twentieth century. Francesc Pujols’s other intellectual brother was Johan Huizinga, who used the humanism of Erasmus of Rotterdam and Schiller’s game theory to discuss play as a facet of progress and civilization. Huizinga excised the negative connotation from the notion of play and shared Schiller’s view that man’s delight in play was his enactment of freedom and beauty. Play—or the playful element—was not the frivolous activity we might imagine it to be for highbrow culture, but instead involved individuals interacting in the creation of a new universe. Play was a struggle that created a drama, a competition that made people take sides and come up, repeatedly, against the rules of the game and the rules of others. Play created a style that emerged from the excess of vitality, creating repetition and rhythm. And it was clear that every culture needed to play, as it does when it feasts and performs music. 11 Ramón Gómez de la Serna, “Prologue”,Total de greguerías, Madrid: Aguilar, (1955), 1962, 2nd edition, xxxiv. 12 Ramon Gómez de la Serna, Humorismo, Madrid: Casimiro, 2014, pp. 47–50.

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Huizinga would like to find in the relationship between play and wisdom a playful foundation in the work of the sophists and the ability to ask increasingly more appropriate questions. Indeed, in its original Greek the word ‘problem’ means “a task put forward” and therefore the manner in which a challenge is conceived or a gaming area for intelligence is created, where scholarship can be an intellectual competition. The history of thought reserves an important place for play and for competition (or dialogue), particularly in music13. No mere pastime to be separated from culture, play effectively informs the sciences and arts—far more than we might first imagine.The playful element in culture and civilization is all-important. And very often the gravest issues are the most ridiculous, while the playful ones are the issues we should be taking seriously.

Catalan humor Francesc Pujols understood that humor was crucial in contemporary Catalan culture, as evidenced in his last published works and the notes preserved in his official residence the Torre de les Hores de Martorell14. In 1948 in the prologue to L’humor a la Barcelona del noucents, he had this to say: If we were made to define the soul of the modern style of Catalan literature that had its renaissance in the seventeenth century with the Rector de Vallfogona [the pen name of the Baroque Catalan poet Francesc Vicent Garcia i Torres] and continues to this day, we could only say that it was humor, in contrast to the ancient Catalan literature, (...) [the] dominant stress.15

Pujols also considers this humor to have a painterly context in the works of Xavier Nogués, Joaquim Mir and Isidre Nonell16. Humor as a lifestyle and attitude, a form of revolt and the defeat of game theory in the Noucentisme movement; humor as humanism and mental wellbeing: these are the issues we need to address when we study the “humorist tradition” in Catalan culture. Humor to be taken seriously, without forgetting to laugh. And it remained an open question for these reasons when in 1925 Eugeni Xammar wrote to Josep Pla about the authors included in the Anuari dels Catalans:

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13 Johan Huizinga, ‘The Cultural Limits of Play and the Serious’, University of Leiden address, 1933 (revised as ‘The Play Element of Culture’,Warburg Institute lecture, 1937). 14 Unpublished manuscripts collection, Box 22, Lot 556, sheaves 4 and 5, the Francesc Pujols Foundation of Martorell. 15 Francesc Pujols, Preamble, L’humor a la Barcelona del noucents, Barcelona: Aymà, 1948, p. 9. 16 Note the publication in 1938 of L’humorisme a la Catalunya del segle XIX, which would be the prelude to this, published by the Government of Catalonia (Generalitat de Catalunya)for distribution amongst the soldiers fighting in front in the Civil War.


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If you promise not to tell I’ll let you all in on a secret, which is that I’m the only Catalan who knows how to write. But there’s [Josep] Carner, you’ll say, and of course you’ll be right. But Carner is chiefly a poet and his voies d’approche, as we French call them, are infinitely less direct in his prose than the rest of yours. Mr Pujols is an exception to the general rule.The rest of you—or of us—are nothing more than fancy-looking coques.17

Before we turn exclusively to Francesc Pujols, however, there is one last figure who can provide interesting parallels: the Hungarian philosopher and essayist Béla Hamvas (1897–1968), a thinker who experienced the twentieth century’s warring strife at close quarters and who attempted to create a dialogue between the eastern and western cultural traditions in the various volumes of his treatise Scientia Sacra (the first two published in 1942–1943). Hamvas’s humor was grafted both upon the style of his writing and how he looked for intellectual freedom, as evidenced in The Philosophy of Wine, which addressed wine and philosophy—or perhaps more precisely, philosophy and the metaphysics of wine18. In fact, Hamvas’s humor is present in both Wine and the three volumes of the novel Carnival, both written during the 1940s and 1950s but never very widely read. A comparison between Hamvas and Pujols reveals the following. First, that they shared the same period, both dying in 1968. Second, they had a common geographic and cultural context, which put wine at the centre of their humor. Third, both believed that the mind needed cultural training and should be versed in the classical writers Homer and Euripides and in Shakespeare, Rabelais, Cervantes and Dante. Fourth (and now we begin to look at the more complex similarities), both believed that the history of the world’s religions needed to be reinterpreted. Fifth, they shared a conviction that science, philosophy and religion were in reality the three boughs of a single canopy of human knowledge whose purpose was to lighten the load of human life. Sixth, neither made any bones about declaring that the mystery was not God but Nature (or Reality). And seventh, they both had a similar regard for art. But what Hamvas and Pujols shared most, the former in his writing and the latter with Xavier Nogués in the 1919 album of drawings La Catalunya pintoresca, was the belief that reality is polyphonic quite simply because life is polyphonic (and that all good works of art must therefore reflect this). This was clearly appreciated by the thinkers of the period when the album was published, as the writer J.M.M. makes clear:

17 The word coques comes from coca, a sweet or savoury Catalan pastry. Xammar may have used it here to suggest that the people he described were not writers of any real substance. Eugeni Xammar, Cartes a Josep Pla, Quaderns Crema, Barcelona, 2000, pp. 133–134. 18 Béla Hamvas, The Philosophy of Wine, Editio M Publishing, 2003.

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La Catalunya pintoresca is a merry breviary of all things Catalan, a raucous celebration of the Catalan soul complete in all its peculiarities and so stereotyped that Nogués might have painted it with the point of a twig taken from a branch of Mediterranean pine and dipped in the juices of the fruits of this earth.19

La Catalunya pintoresca includes all of this and chuckles happily as it classifies every manner of woman, from the commonest streetwalker to the highest paragon of virtue, and every type of man, from the crooked profiteer to the penniless beggar. It mirrors Catalan society, warts and all, multifaceted and polyphonic; it leaves theory behind and puts society down on paper as it really is, in one single piece, both excessive and miserly. Longstanding and productive for both of them, the relationship between Nogués and Pujols eventually straddled half a century, from the years during which the magazine Papitu was published (1908–1937)20 until the publication in 1954 of the book Xavier Nogués, pintor del vino. Their humor may have been of two different kinds, Pujols’s defined by the sensuality of Papitu and Nogués’s more inclined towards social irony. But twentieth-century Catalan humor has proved to be markedly multifaceted and at its side we have the tragic humor of Tomàs Roig i Llop (1902–1987), illustrated with the figures of men and women drawn by Jaume Busquets21. In the first third of the twentieth century and until the Franco Regime years, Catalonia’s satirical publications enjoyed a heyday that was evidenced in many aspects of the country’s cultural life. Their social and political criticism became so outspoken that in 1905 a group of 400 officials of the Spanish army actually raided the printing works and offices of the magazines Cu-cut! and La Veu de Catalunya, immediately followed by central government measures restricting the materials publishers could print. First published in 1907, the magazine Papitu contributed to a lively journalistic landscape which already featured L’Esquella de la Torratxa (a progressive publication which Pujols contributed to), La Campana de Gràcia (social satire) and Cu-cut! (associated with the political right). Understanding this variety is key in any analysis of the ideas that were being talked about and the social life during this period. Authors like Rodolf Llorens and Àngel Carmona are part and parcel of this plural, complex and dynamic context, just as

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19 J. M. M.,“Xavier Nogués”, L’Instant Revista Quinzenal, II:1 (1919), Joaquim Horta, Barcelona. On a similar note was expressed that appeared in the magazine Marvella (December 1919). 20 Lluís Solà, Papitu 1908–1937 i les publicacions eroticos i calíptiques del seu temps, Dux, Barcelona, 2008. Jaume Capdevila, Papitu. Sàtira, erotisme i provocació (1908-1937), Efadós, Barcelona, 2014. 21 Tomàs Roig was the father of the writer Montserrat Roig. His first book Facècies (Barcelona, 1924) exemplifies his tragic humor and its portrayal of a wine-based culture contrasts with the pictures offered by Hamvas or Pujols.


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the down-to-earth commonsensical face of Catalonia cannot be understood separately from the Catalan character in those moments when its whimsical “catalanades” comes more to the fore22. Three very different styles of humor in this multifaceted terrain could be seen in the work of Santiago Rusiñol (whose savage sarcasm was a regular feature of L’Esquella de la Torratxa), Francesc Pujols (whose humor, as we have said, was sensual and voluptuous) and Xavier Nogués (whose Anglosaxon irony was based on the clear-eyed observation of everyday life). All three share a well-reasoned critical attitude towards the Noucentisme postulated by Eugeni d’Ors. If Rusiñol practised sarcasm, Pujols was more sensual and Nogués chose irony. This was nowhere more clearly expressed than in Rodolf Llorens’s insightful and uncompromising criticism of both d’Ors and Ferrater Mora in the books Com hem estat i com som els catalans and Servidumbre y grandeza de la filosofia23. In this particular context, two writers offered interesting portraits of Nogués. First, in Els Gravats de Xavier Nogués, Jaume Pla proposed that “his was a life (...) dappled by varying shades of meaning, an inner life, a struggle conducted with elegance and absolute discretion. His was a life taken seriously under an outer guise of irony”24 And second, Francesc Pujols himself provided a context for humor in Catalan painting when he made the following observation, even while he also displayed that more personal aspect of humor that ensured that imagination and irony would endure in the honest observation of everyday life at the level of the streets on which people lived: If we want our humor to be directly absorbed by the eyes and not the mind or the ear, all we need do is look at the pictures in this book, which invoke the spirit of the author of La Catalunya pintoresca, the Celler de les Laietanes and this collection, all dedicated to humor in art and painted by the artist whose visual poems in the Born district’s Sala Plandiura [in Barcelona] take their leave of humor to soar to the heavenly heights of poetry and painting, united by drawing. / Given our subject, we cannot conclude without mentioning that, beyond the paintings they left us, Xavier Nogués, Isidre Nonell (the greatest 22 The importance in the Catalan character of rauxa (whimsy) and catalanades is clearly illustrated in the story of what happened in 1948 in Costa Rica when José Figueres Ferrer, the country’s recently invested president and also a native son of Catalonia, decided to abolish the state’s entire army in one fell swoop. Years later when he visited the Catalan Centre in Santiago de Chile and was asked how he had dared to do something so reckless, his simple reply was that it had been a spur-of-the-moment decision or whim (“Fou una catalanada”). (Note, of course, that however whimsical he may have seemed, Figueres was perfectly aware of the substantial changes this decision would involve for his country). 23 Rodolf Llorens, Com han estat i com som els catalans, Pòrtic, Barcelona, 2010, and Servidumbre y grandeza de la filosofía, LleonardMuntaner, Palma, 2009. 24 “Prologue” in Jaume Pla, Els gravats de Xavier Nogués, Fundació Xavier Nogués, Barcelona, 2008, p. III.

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of our twentieth-century painters) and Joaquim Mir (the most popular of all) were also humorists; that had the observations, commentaries and sayings they inspired been published, Catalonia would be blessed with one of the most intensely humorous cultures of all the world.25

This ripe, overflowing humor would act as the flipside of the ethnic psychology promulgated by Tomàs Carreras i Artau in the lecture halls of academia. In an article in the magazine Mar Vella, published in December 1919, the writer M.V. defined the political role these humorists played. There, he argued that in their carelessness Utrillo and Sunyer had made themselves responsible for the fact that no room was given to Catalan art in the Salon of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris (even while the same two men complained that Catalan art was always made to play second fiddle to Spanish art): The title The accordionists could just as easily have been The dilletantes,The apsotates or simply The men who fail. But the implications of this graphic epithet are more far-reaching. The accordionists are those who keep their real intentions well hidden behind one popular tune or another. There are so many of them and the phrase is becoming so popular that Xavier Nogués will no doubt end up drawing us a picture of the accordionist, accompanied by a brief commentary by Francesc Pujols, to be included in the definitive edition of La Catalunya pintoresca.26

In fact, humor is very good at appealing to people’s conscience and working on how they regard issues, on their imagination and ideas, not to mention their understanding of more serious issues; most of all, it also has the ability to reach out to many people at the same time. To understand just what this means in practical terms, we might recall that for Hegel the word ‘humor’ was a threat to power and a potent weapon. Beyond the satire practised in Cu-cut! and La Veu de Catalunya, consider the murder of Josep M. Planes, the director of the satirical weekly Be Negre in 1936 by members of the Iberian Anarchist Federation [FAI]. And in our own lifetime, almost as a reminder that democracy’s feet are made of clay, remember the attacks on the Spanish magazine El Papus in 1977 by the far-right Argentine Anticommunist Alliance, the censorship of El Jueves (the Barcelona magazine first published in 1977) for its cartoons of the Spanish royal family and its satirical comment on the Spanish Constitution, and finally the attack in January 2015 on the offices of the French magazine Charlie Hebdo by Islamic fundamentalists.

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25 Francesc Pujols, Preamble, L’humor a la Catalunya del noucents, cit., pp. 11–12. 26 M.V, “Els homes de l’acordió i una manifestació d’art català frustrada”, Mar Vella. Revista Nacionalista de Joventuts (December 1919), Barcelona, pp. 7–8.


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Philosophy and humor

Laughter and humor are antidotes for intransigent discourse, hardened doctrines and puritanical attitudes. They enact reasoned respect and clear-mindedness. They favour the elasticity of reappraisal and realignment. They hone the imaginative element in language, reach out to more people than many other principles do and refresh the beaurocratic vocabulary of sensible speech. They are essential for the cultural wellbeing of our present and inseparable from well-founded thought. Our appreciation of what they mean makes it possible for us to say, as Joan Alcover once did, that the wealth of a community is not measured by how many rich people it has but by how few poor people there are27. Humor is the expression of a culture experienced with pleasure and gregarious satisfaction. This is why Catalan culture celebrates popular dances like the “balls de diables” (in which the people dress as feasting devils), so that there can be a place for social satire where the everyday is turned on its head. Celebration and satire come together in this country’s culture just as, in the strictest sphere of philosophy, the work of Harald Høffding is interchangeable with the writings of Søren Kierkegaard. Here we have two contemporary authors, in the same way that in Catalan letters we may contrast d’Ors with Pujols or, in our country’s art, the woodcuts of Enric Cristòfor Ricart with the prints of Nogués28. Translated from Catalan by Barnaby Noone

27 Joan Alcover, Art i literatura, L’Avenç Barcelona, 1904. 28 This necessary cultural duality can also be appreciated in the individual subject and the theme of “good humor” in relation to health (as observed above). Writers have studied the role of humor under especially dramatic or extreme human circumstances, such as the concentration camps of Nazi Germany, and its effect upon people’s psychological wellbeing (an effect that is similar to the humor that each person must practice with regard to themselves) and their ability to survive. See Chaya Ostrower’s doctoral thesis “Humor as a Defense Mechanism in the Holocaust”, Tel Aviv University, 2002. (http://web.macam98.ac.il/~ochayo/me.html, accessed 9 June 2015).

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memoirs JOURNAL OF CATALAN INTELLECTUAL HISTORY, Issues 9&10, 2015 | Print ISSN 2014-1572 / Online ISSN 2014-1564 P. 91-102 Reception date: 3/09/2014 / Admission date: 10/09/2014 http://revistes.iec.cat/index.php/JOCIH

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he immediate posterity of Eugeni d’Ors. Writings by Joan Fuster and Josep Roure-Torent

Eugeni d’Ors died in the autumn of 1954 in the town of Vilanova i la Geltrú. When Joan Fuster heard the news, he immediately decided to open a debate in the Catalan journals published in exile, to shed light on some obscure aspects of this figure. Any endeavour of this kind would have been unthinkable in the Spanish press, which was censured by the Franco dictatorship. The article by Fuster, which was published in Pont Blau, a journal of Catalan exiles in Mexico, provoked an indignant reply from Josep Roure-Torent, and thus a controversy arose that would fortunately lead Josep Maria Capdevila to write his articles in the “Un testimoni” (A testimony) series some years later. The Editors JOAN FUSTER: Diari 1952-1960, Edicions 62, Barcelona, 1969, pp. 144-145. Saturday, 25 September [1954]. Sueca. Yesterday Eugeni d’Ors died. What a difficult obituary is required! So difficult that nobody dares to write it.What I mean is a calm, honest obituary, with neither excessive devotion nor resentment. Of this death too, we should not speak “except after a very pure silence”. But for reasons that are very different from those that prompted Xènius to make this statement on the passing away of Maragall. JOAN FUSTER: Quaderns inèdits, Bromera, Alzira, 2004, pp. 197-198. 26 [September 1954], night: Yesterday morning, in the Chapel of Sant Cristòfol in the town of Vilanova i la Geltrú, Eugeni d’Ors died. I have always had a special attraction to the work of this “illustrious turncoat”, and now I cannot remain indifferent to this sad news. I have decided to write a long obituary for Pont Blau: Ors’s figure should be vindicated before Catalan nationals. That is, the aspects that can be vindicated of course. The press has reported the news, at varying length,

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depending on the affection that “each newspaper” felt for the writer. In official quarters, the mourning has been insignificant. The radio and news agency, which are under direct orders of the Spanish State, have provided just a few, short news items. It is sad: Ors placed his prestige and his writing in the hands of the current regime, from the start of the Civil War. Why? It would be difficult to explain. Did the immense vanity of the former Xènius lead him to believe that General Franco was a Spanish Prat de la Riba who was going to give him the position of “spiritual dictator” in the State? Ors’s adherence was real; it was not nominal like that of Azorín, or along the lines of “silence means consent” as in the case of Baroja, nor that of Ortega’s adept excuse. And Ors knew what the new regime meant, and what had happened in the entire geography of Spain, and what could happen... Him, a man who tried to revive the attitude of an eighteenth-century French intellectual! Did the “despotism” that was looming here give even the slightest indication of being enlightened? What was there that could have made him think of his hopes of “heliomachy”, the struggle towards the sun? Intelligence, friendship, dialogue, antinationalism, Europeanism, standards, light? As there was none of this, there was not even tradition—tradition in the sense of Ors... Perhaps the reason was baser—more human: the money? Perhaps it was fear of “the others”? Perhaps—as I said already—it was the vanity that he expected to satisfy once and for all? Or maybe it was all three things at the same time. If today, if the day before yesterday, Ors had examined his conscience on this matter, wouldn’t he have felt disappointed? So much indignity for what; in return for what? For some regular, well-paid work with a newspaper, which he might equally have obtained without doing all of that? For an academic secretaryship that only existed on paper? For a false professorship that he did not need and was not able to enjoy? And now, not even one minister at his funeral. It’s clear that the devil does not pay those who serve him at all well. JOAN FUSTER: Correspondència, vol III, Tres i Quatre, València, 1999. Joan Fuster to Ernest Martínez Ferrando Sueca, 15 October 1954 [...]

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And what do you say about Don Eugenio’s death? A priest from here who went to the funeral complained about the absence of Catalan intellectuals. It was to be expected, of course, this corporate indifference. But now the body of Don Eugenio has gone, the irritating part of Xènius that had survived, it would be well worth looking at him with a little more sympathy. I must confess that I still get a lot of satisfaction from reading the old Glosaris. And it has to be said out loud that no Catalan writer after him has had such literary grace, or such ingenuity, or such depth of vision. But perhaps they were not as frivolous either.


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JOAN FUSTER: “En la mort d’Eugeni d’Ors”, Pont Blau, no. 25 (Mexico, November 1954), pp. 368-370, included in the collection Papers d’exili 19501967, Curial, Barcelona, 1995, pp. 279-282. On 25 September, Eugeni d’Ors died in his residence at the Chapel of Sant Cristòfol, in the town of Vilanova i la Geltrú. For Catalan literature, he had already “died” around thirty-five years ago, but even so, the passing of the illustrious writer has led to a voiceless rekindling of our intellectuals’ old animosity against him. And I say “voiceless” because the expressions of this animosity, which could be neither positive nor openly declared, have been limited to reticence, to cold silence, which has made them equally clear. At the funeral, which was held in Vilafranca del Penedès, there were hardly any figures that are at least moderately representative of our literary world, from what I gather. By all appearances, in a more favourable climate, the Catalan obituaries for Eugeni d’Ors would have been written in a harsh tone of reproach, of bitter hostility. But, if we had been able to read one that could be considered Catalan, it would hide the fact that it was inspired by the same inner feeling. Anyway—and I want to assume this, in honour of our moral integrity—it would not have detracted from at least the “strange sadness” that, in the words of Josep M. de Sagarra, some more than others, but almost all of us, felt when we heard the sad news. The statement of this fact leads us to question—we, the innocent, distant observers—what was really behind the Ors case, which has continued to have such a long, festering impact. I confess with total candour that I am completely unaware of the magnitude and nature of the incidents that led to Xènius’s desertion; I have found nobody who could explain them satisfactorily, with one of those explanations that could meet the impartial demands of posterity. Clearly, this point is only of very secondary interest, because Ors was not right because, at the end of the day, Ors stopped being right, if he ever had been, the moment he abandoned the language and the mission that he had adopted. However, the fact that his attitude was unjustifiable does not mean that the attitude of others—and I repeat, I do not know who they are or who they were—was justified. I believe I am not far wrong in considering that this conflict was reduced to a struggle between the vanity of the writer— almost certainly an enormous vanity—and the imprudent obstinacy of those who confronted him. In short, this already discredits the latter. When I read pieces from that and later periods, I am always surprised by the two-pronged, and in some way contradictory, reaction that Ors’s departure had on Catalonia. There was a tendency to diminish the importance of the work and figure of Xènius; and at the same time the clearly resentful criticism he received was quite unusually persistent and aggressive. In no time at all, and from a very important collection—Cataluña ante España, “Cuader-

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nos de La Gaceta Literaria”, 1930—we can extract some brilliant examples of this: “esprit faux”, “theatrical”, “illustrious turncoat”, “this is not, exactly, worthy of a hero of Plutarch”, “he was attracted by the rich bride”, “we could manage perfectly well without his daily column”, “we could continue on our way without the need for a personal power with encyclopaedic and absolutist tendencies”... This is what Estelrich, Riba, Garcés and Soldevila said. There is no doubt that all of this was true, but at the same time as it was true, it was unjust, and, above all, it was—except in some cases in which it was compensated by the corresponding praise—an expression of vehement ingratitude. If Xènius was only an “esprit faux” and all of that, if he could be pensioned off without any danger, then why was his defection lamented? And it is clear that it was lamented. Every invective contained a secret desolation. In short, it seems that by denying his usefulness and tumbling his prestige, the full responsibility for the incident was made to fall, morally and exclusively, on Ors. In other words: the accusation against Xènius does not appear to be as disinterested and honest as it should have been, but instead concealed the defence of other things, which were perhaps not exactly sublime. But I am inclined to believe another theory. It is not too farfetched to imagine that at the fore of the sharp remarks against Ors was a feeling of disappointment, and, what is worse, disappointment that we would now find to be unfounded. Writers whose age or inclinations would position them as natural successors of Xènius—including the aforementioned writers and others—probably got carried away in their opinions of this dazzling man. Ors gave Catalonia the first taste of European-style normality, strived to sweep from our culture the ever-problematic domesticity and spontaneity, and displayed a repertoire of formulae and instructions that appeared to be offering salvation, that was suggestive and convincing. Without them really wanting this, couldn’t that Xènius become their idol, the complete image that was needed? Perhaps this was only subconscious. But I am convinced that, without any interference of a personal kind, the generation following that of Ors felt for Xènius a respect beyond measure, which was perhaps even a little puerile. And when suddenly they realised, and what is more in a violent way, that their idol had failed them due to misfortunes that were all too human, they must have been painfully disappointed. It was not only a political fickleness that they saw in Ors’s position, but a total betrayal of the highest principles and of the entire path of a promising life. They were still young: Ors was almost a big brother to them, more than a teacher, but they were attracted to his exemplariness, as if it really was the truth.

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Clearly, Xènius was not indispensable. He was not indispensable when he went off with the “rich bride” as Estelrich said; and he was not indispensable before that. The cultural shift of Noucentisme would have happened with-


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out Eugeni d’Ors, because it was being driven inexorably by time. But would it have been as extensive? And, above all, would it have happened so quickly? Consider that, in a race against time, Catalan culture since the Renaissance has had to cover the stages that were still pending, due to its historical abnormality. Many of our writers—and we have been lucky that their genius has been devoted to the purpose it was meant for—have, alone, accomplished what in other literatures would correspond to a literary movement or a period lasting more than one generation. Xènius was one of these writers. His Glosari is proof of this. On another level, his initiatives are proof of this. Despite everything, Xènius was a dilettante—only a dilettante? Yes. But an exceptional dilettante. To do what he had to do, this condition was essential and sufficient. None of the Catalan writers after him had this: their rigour may be more tenacious; their work, in general, more solid; their ambition, more honest; their loyalty, more (but not always) secure; their efficiency... but in a circumstance such as noucentisme they would not have been capable of being so lively or so effective. I would not want this to be interpreted as a vindication—which is literally impossible—of Eugeni d’Ors; or even a vindication of Xènius, who disappeared in around 1920, and may well deserve it. The tragic clowning around of the writer, after the date above, no longer affects us; nor, unfortunately, does his mature work belong to us. My intention is only to provide some considerations, simplistic if you like but observant, for the “mise au point” of a topic that now, taking the opportunity of this “strange sadness”, should be returned to and aired. When I write this, I cannot avoid, in the end, the uncomfortable feeling—shared no doubt by many Catalans of my age—that we have been cheated of a great writer: that Catalonia has been cheated. Perhaps it is not worth considering what is singular about the Ors case, but we should stop to think about its instructive nature. Everyone should meditate on it. And even above all this, we should forget the anecdote, for a moment, instead of raising it up to a category—to what category?—and pay tribute to a man who was ours, who was also ours, and who has left us some of the most elegant, ingenious pages of twentieth-century Catalan literature. J. ROURE-TORENT: “El cas Ors. Rèplica a Joan Fuster”, Pont Blau, no. 27 (Mexico, January 1955), pp. 31-32, included in the collection Papers d’exili 1950-1967, Curial, Barcelona, 1995, pp. 283-285. Following Eugenio d’Ors’s death, Joan Fuster questions the reason for the outcry sparked in Catalonia in around 1920, against the writer Eugeni d’Ors, that brilliant, profound Xènius who sought the Europeanisation of Catalan literature and had become the authority on our literary world. Not finding an answer that he considered satisfactory, Fuster ventured to suggest that the

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“sharp remarks against Ors” reflected the “imprudent obstinacy of those who confronted him” and the predominance of “a feeling of disappointment, and, what is worse, disappointment that we would now find to be unfounded”. In his opinion, Fuster considers that the invectives against Ors when he went over to Spanish literature, made by Carles Riba, Joan Estelrich (who would think it today?), Carles Soldevila and Tomàs Garcés (to name just the authors that Fuster cited), were unfair and indicate, above all “an expression of vehement ingratitude”, and he even states that he has the “the uncomfortable feeling [...] that we have been cheated of a great writer”.

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After thirty-five years, what is known as the Ors case may not seem very clear to our friend Fuster, but there is no doubt that the most notable fact of the entire affair was the defection of Eugenio d’Ors, and that this decisively condemns the accused. The eulogist recognises that Xènius had “almost certainly an enormous vanity”, but he also arrives at the assumption that those who attacked Xènius made him into a turncoat. It was, in fact, the pride and vanity of Ors, which became unbearable, that would determine the need to stop him in his tracks and remove him from the direction of the Biblioteca de Catalunya; Jaume Bofill i Mates, the deputy director, a personal friend of Ors and attached like him to the Noucentisme movement as a poet under the pseudonym Guerau de Liost, raised the case on behalf of the Mancomunitat de Catalunya, and Eugeni d’Ors reacted unreasonably, and this soon led to his defection. If we assume—to position ourselves as close as possible to the doubts expressed by Joan Fuster—that the first attacks were associated with the anecdote, then there was no justification for the defection, and the anecdote only serves to qualify the attackers. In an oppressed country like ours, relinquishing the dignity of being a Catalan writer to serve the literature of the oppressor constitutes an unforgiveable act. Whatever the reasons that lead to desertion, anyone who defects turns against the mother country. Ors himself provides irrefutable proof of this with his pro-centralist position and—as Fuster states, although he considers it does not affect us—his subsequent “tragic clowning around”. If, in the face of an attack, a Catalan quickly withdraws his loyalty to Catalonia, then his loyalty was not very solid, and some day or other he would have defected. A patriot faces his adversary, even if he is very vain, and resorts to whatever means possible before he considers the attraction of another literature and betrays his own. Eugeni d’Ors, fallen from grace, sought first the admiration of the syndicalists, the university students and other social groups, but when he was rejected by them he went over to the enemy camp. In the years that he invested in the pursuit of his lost devotion, he took advantage of all opportunities to attack his attackers and the Mancomunitat de Catalunya, and it was under the protection of the Presidency of the Jocs Florals de l’Empordà (Empordà Floral Games) of 1922 that he began move over


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to the other side, with his speech L’arúspex de Castelló d’Empúries (The Haruspex of Castelló d’Empúries). From that moment, everyone realised that, despite his talent, he only wanted the greatest benefit for himself and the idolisation of the writer that he was, without caring whether he was known as Eugeni d’Ors with the Catalan spelling, Xènius, or Eugenio d’Ors with the Spanish spelling. If in Catalonia he had adhered to the doctrine of Catalan independence, in Spain he would stand among the pillars of the pro-Spanish camp. The change clearly rewarded his vanity, but Eugenio d’Ors would never be the writer he had been before, because in the Spanish language he lacked the sap that had nourished him, and he lived from the glory obtained through his Catalan works. He probably felt satisfied, as they never scrimped on his honours, but whoever looks critically at his output in Spanish will see for themselves that his flame began to wane right from the very beginning and the lustre was lost a little every day, until we reach the grey articles, mere plays on words, of his later years, such as those that he published in the newspaper Excélsior in Mexico in 1953 and 1954. We fully recognise the value of the works that Xènius contributed to our literary world, but, as members of Catalan-speaking countries, with the same impartiality, we cannot see in Ors’s gesture, the source of the “Ors case”, anything but betrayal of the mother country, blinded by a vanity that did not allow him to see that this country was the reason for the new existence as a writer, and seduced as he was by the greater reach his name would have in Spanish literature. Why then, my friend Fuster, do we have to “pay tribute to a man who was ours”, if he stopped being ours precisely to become a traitor? If you yourself recognise that “Ors was not right because, at the end of the day, Ors stopped being right, if he ever had been, the moment he abandoned the language and the mission that he had adopted”, why then, in a desire to have it both ways, do you almost attempt Ors’s vindication—specifically you say that “Xènius, who disappeared in around 1920”, and “well deserves it”—and you almost forgive him for having turned to Spanish literature, for the ideology he held subsequently and for his “tragic clowning around” with “the uncomfortable feeling… that we have been cheated of a great writer”? A people such as ours cannot excuse turncoats, because, although it is true that a Catalan person educated in a Spanish environment can write in Spanish without being anti-Catalan, the writer who betrays the Catalan language always follows base desires and his ideology, which he had previously concealed or perhaps was only a resting ferment in his subconscious, is inevitably opposed to the sacred interests of the homeland. 97


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JOAN FUSTER: “Noves precisions sobre Ors. Dúplica a J. Roure-Torent”, Pont Blau, no. 31 (Mexico, May 1955), pp. 165-169, included in the collection Papers d’exili 1950-1967, Curial, Barcelona, 1995, pp. 286-291. No, no, my friend Roure-Torent: that was not what I wanted to say; what is more, I believe that is not what I did say in my obituary for Eugeni d’Ors. So your reply is well worthy of this rejoinder. However, I should make it clear from the beginning, unreservedly, that I did not intend to rekindle the old debate on what is known as the Ors case, nor do I intend to follow you there, so please take it up again yourself. Above all, I have not tried to justify the unjustifiable, or to vindicate anything that cannot be vindicated: I believe that this point was made literally in my piece. Now: if, despite that, you were able to interpret me in a way that was so distant from the intention behind my article, then it must be that I did not dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s. Allow me then, Roure-Torent and the readers of “Pont Blau”, to add the ones that were missing. If, that is, some were really missing, something that—forgive me my arrogance—I doubt. First of all, I relinquish the right to complain because Roure-Torent, in his considerations, has distorted the meaning—that I found, and find, of course—of certain words of mine. He not only isolates and mixes phrases that were written to make several specific points, outside of which they can only be misinterpreted, but he also overlooks some crystal clear statements used to organise part of my analysis. This, after all, is natural and often occurs in controversies such as the one that has sprung up between us. Each challenger tends to attribute to his proponent whatever he wants to refute. I will try, for my part, not to fall into the error I have indicated, although I consider it to be a very human error, and I am just as vulnerable as anyone else. Likewise, on reading Roure-Torent’s article, I wondered whether my impertinence consisted not so much of the fact that I presented some opinions—accurate or not—about Ors, but of the much simpler fact that I spoke about Ors. I believe that for many Catalan intellectuals, the topic of Ors is taboo. Non ragioniam di l’Ors, ma guarda e passa (let us not talk of Ors, but look and pass) stated one of these writers quite gracefully, in a play on a verse by Dante. And, all things considered, that, this combination of contempt and fear, this stubborn denial, is in itself good material for reflection.

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For me, at this stage, the ins and outs of the quarrel between Ors and the Mancomunitat is only of—as I already stated—“very secondary interest”. I have never been much of a fan of digging into the past for gossip, and those incidents, seen with the perspective of time, are merely a perfectly forgettable anecdote. However, whether we like it or not, one day they may be an object of curiosity for scholars of our cultural history—we could place ourselves on


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this level, without too much trouble—and then a question mark will hang, inflexible, serene and clinical, over each and every one of the reasons for the quarrel. In my article, I declared my ignorance of the events in question. The information that Roure-Torent furnished in his article convinces me of what I already suspected: that the bottom of this issue—the apparent bottom, and the paradox is valid—was extremely trivial, a bureaucratic dispute. Carles Soldevila—I have been assured—recounts in his memoirs that Ors was accused of misappropriating his department’s budget by purchasing lace curtains and curios for the tables. The case was to take on grotesque proportions beyond all expectations. Starting then from my ignorance, and drawing on an urge to make deductions that was not very daring, I proposed the hypothesis of a struggle between the vanity of the writer and the “imprudent obstinacy of those who confronted him”. I am not sure by virtue of which logical connection Roure-Torent detected a strange idea in this: namely, that I imagined there was a causal association between what we could call the bureaucratic attacks on Ors and his defection. As if this were not enough, my final conclusion would have been to attribute to the people from the Mancomunitat—if they were from the Mancomunitat, something I am unaware of—all of the blame. With respect to Ors, my terms could not be more explicit: “Ors was not right because, at the end of the day, Ors stopped being right, if he ever had been, the moment he abandoned the language and the mission that he had adopted”. Not one word more then. With respect to Xènius’s detractors, I confined myself to qualifying them—or disqualifying them—by referring to their “imprudent obstinacy”. I go no further than that, but also come no nearer. Imprudent is everything that has a negative result, a loss, a diminishing of collective heritage. When Xènius departed, I believe we all lost something. That, of course, is my opinion! So I am not trying to exonerate Xènius. Nor do I wish to say that his enemies were the cause of his defection. But can we not reproach them for allowing it to happen, for not stopping it? It is this sin of omission—which it seems did occur—that I wanted to highlight, and that I branded as imprudent. Everyone in “noucentist” Catalonia knew who Xènius was and what Xènius was like. They knew the worth of Xènius, both for what he had given and what he could give. And they knew what his character was like and what his ideology was: they knew that he was not a nationalist in the classical sense of Catalan nationalism; they knew that he was immensely vain. But was there no place among us for a man like that—a place such as the one he occupied in Spain, where he was also not a nationalist in the classical sense of Spanish nationalism and where his vanity could not be, or was not, satisfied any more than in our homeland? Was it not worth making some kind of effort to pre-

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vent his impending defection? Was it so hard to find a solution to the bureaucratic incident? Not having found one was a political mistake. Roure-Torent could tell me about the dignity of being a Catalan writer and loyalty to Catalonia. If he has read this far with the serenity that I hope for, he will have realised that I have now correctly underscored this aspect of the “Ors case”—the only one that I have always found to be discussed. Even so, I wanted to say something about the other side of the problem, and because of this I highlighted the “instructive nature” of the events that we are discussing. I am not sure whether it would be appropriate to discuss this without euphemisms. In any case, an indication would not hurt. The obligations of Catalan writers to Catalonia has often been written about—in relation to the total or partial “turncoats” described in our current literature. We all agree that loyalty to the language and the mother country should be required of Catalan writers, even heroism, if necessary. All well and good. But, when will we talk clearly about the obligations of Catalan society, of Catalans—of pro-independence Catalans—to Catalonia when this country is represented—yes, represented—by Catalan writers? Let us put aside don Eugeni, and instead consider the current situation of most Catalan writers. If every Catalan who criticised a certain novelist or a certain journalist who occasionally writes in Spanish, bought just one book in Catalan, most of our semi-defectors—I am not referring to those who are defectors by vocation—would have no need to be this. How can pro-independence Catalans expect to have a solid Catalan culture, if they do not provide the help that is needed? The pro-independence Catalan who is not a writer can earn his living doing business in the Catalan or Spanish language— and if he works in Spanish, he does not have a guilty conscience. Now, from this position, it is very easy to require heroism of those who live by the pen.

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I hasten to add that I do not intend to defend the tendency to defect either. I am merely announcing, or denouncing, a fact, and explaining it. What is more, I know that this is just one facet of many in the problem of our current culture. Probably—I accept—my view is affected by a lack of experience, and who knows if this removes my right to speak of these things; probably, moreover, my being from Valencia gives all of this the wrong appearance. But I will not resign myself to the idea that there is not any truth in what I have just said. Let me reiterate: I do not defend the tendency to defect. I simply ask that we comply with our evangelical principle of only casting the first stone if we are without sin. And, above all, I ask that we consider the many forms of the sin of omission could take apply to Catalans today. Many writers have resisted the temptations of defection: they are the best and the healthiest part of our literary corpus and we should be proud of them, and grateful. They are both an example and a guarantee. The fact that there is an abundance of them among the young is the best sign, the most encouraging. However, we


Journal of Catalan Intellectual History. Issues 9&10. 2015. P. 91-102 The immediate posterity of Eugeni d’Ors. Writings by Joan Fuster and Josep Roure-Torent

should think what it would have cost to prevent sporadic defections, and to what extent we are also responsible. You see, my friend Roure-Torent, my friend the reader, what an unexpected—unexpected?—direction my obituary of don Eugenio took. Sometimes I am on the verge of believing that peoples—like men as the saying goes—have the fate that they deserve... and that ours has deserved, or is deserving, defection. But this would be an extreme conclusion. Let us leave it there. Perhaps I have also gone too far with the tone—that I hope you do not find too poignant—used in the paragraphs I devoted to the Ors case. It almost seems that the case was a national disaster, which of course, it was not! In fact, much of my obituary “En la mort d’Eugeni d’Ors” revealed the exaggerated attitudes of Catalan intellectuals in their reactions to the former-Pantarch’s resignation from the Catalan language. Unlike the petite histoire of the dispute between Ors and the Mancomunitat, which I consider to be quite trivial, an analysis of this reaction appears to be of great importance to the cultural evolution of Catalonia in the twentieth century. Without going into great detail, I should explain a little more about that “disappointment” and the “vehement ingratitude” that surprised Roure-Torent so much. And I will begin—sed primo, as Sant Vicent Ferrer said—by quoting a Spanish verse that I learnt from reading the works of Ors. Yo tengo una prima hermana, la presenté al Padre Santo, y el Padre Santo me dijo: «¡Hijo mío, no es pa tanto!» [I have a first cousin, I introduced her to the Pope, and the Pope said to me: “My son, it’s not so bad, you can cope!”]

In fact: it was not so bad. Catalans from the start of the century—at least many of them—received Eugeni d’Ors as a kind of messiah-panacea, if you will allow me to pair these words. In the area of culture, Xènius knew everything and came to straighten out everything. Hadn’t his aspirations to be “spiritual dictator of Catalonia” met with a high degree of tolerance, that of the most intelligent of the politicians in the Principality? Everyone knows what “Noucentisme” means in Catalan literature; and to what extent Xènius was its manager. If we compare the real value of Ors, of the Catalan Ors, with the value bestowed on him, we can see a great imbalance in favor of the latter, an imbalance that can only be explained by the abnormality of our cultural life. (We should not be ashamed to say that, even today—today more than ever—Catalan culture is an abnormal culture.) Ors was held in greater esteem than he was worth, and he was worth a lot. When he left, even though his star was perhaps on the wane, the upheaval had to be quite considerable, in

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quantity and quality. Only thus—only thus—can I understand the hostility in the expressions I extracted from the work Cataluña ante España, spoken several years after the event, by the mouths of some of the clearest, most distinguished minds in Catalonia at the current time. Xènius disappointed his public. The strange thing about the case is that the intellectual disappointment only seemed to occur after the “patriotic” disappointment. We could say that we were only able to see Ors’s faults, his weakness, or weaknesses, when he started to write in another language: things that were, in fact, already present in his Catalan works, and were, what is more, quite evident. Suddenly, it was discovered that Ors was not a genius, but an “esprit faux”, “theatrical” and all the rest. Today, even the most inattentive reader who re-examines the Glosaris will quickly find that a lot of the young Xènius was posturing and tricks. There must have been a very special fascination with him not to realise this when he was glorified. However, the situation seems to have gone from one extreme to the other, and in the end he has been refused the literary bread and water. Here too, we could repeat the line: “My son, it’s not so bad”. That is why I spoke of “vehement ingratitude” when the reproaches were not accompanied by the “corresponding praise”. With all his faults, Xènius was a great promoter of culture and a notable writer; we have had few like him since then. And this Xènius does deserve vindication. He does deserve that we stop denying his rightful place among our writers. Some subtle pages by Ferrater Mora in El llibre dels sentits—which Mora has promised to expand and turn into a book—already hint at this rectification. We ought to pursue this, without excessive devotion, but also without resentment. I ask for nothing more. It is all the same to me if this is interpreted as “having it both ways”. I have already said that Ors’s work after 1922 does not affect us greatly. Leave it to the Spanish over there to discuss its value and its ideology. Personally, I believe that Ors continued to be a great writer. We would be mistaken—as those of the “disappointment” and “ingratitude” were mistaken—if, due to contempt from outside the literary sphere, we tried to deny the evidence. The idea is to stop measuring Ors’s degree of “Catalan-ness”—although more unwitting Catalan-ness subsisted in the former-Xènius than in the ineffable Jacinto Grau, for example, or in most of the Hispanicised Catalan writers. The idea is only to clarify whether he was or was not a valuable intellectual, in order to consider what we have lost. And he was: fifty or sixty volumes, maybe more, with studies on art of an unsurpassable ingenuity, with philosophical digressions that are at the very least curious, with all the kinds of mirabilia that are found in a writer of ideas. All of this we have lost. It is always Catalonia that loses. And that was all, or almost all. 102

Translation from Catalan by Lucille Banham


memoirs JOURNAL OF CATALAN INTELLECTUAL HISTORY, Issues 9&10, 2015 | Print ISSN 2014-1572 / Online ISSN 2014-1564 P. 103-108 Reception date: 3/09/2014 / Admission date: 10/09/2014 http://revistes.iec.cat/index.php/JOCIH

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oaquim Xirau in the journal Ciència

The journal Ciència. Revista Catalana de Ciència i Tecnologia (Catalan Science and Tecnology Journal) appeared in 1926 and disappeared in 1933 (after a total of fifty that three issues). It was a journal made it clear that good science could be done in Catalan. It was a model scientific publication begun in one the darkest moments of contemporary Catalan culture: the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera. Science was one of the key elements for a solid and prestigious culture and there was a generation of authors (from different fields) who made this possible. In addition, the journal echoed the advances from all over Europe and included translations of foreign articles. The philosophers of the University of Barcelona were quite present in this publication. Tomàs Carreras Artau wrote about the unconscious (1926); Jaume Serra Hunter wrote about Bacon (1929); Alexandre Galí dedicated two articles to preschool education (1929); and Joaquim Xirau, in 1929, wanted to contribute with an article on the latest tendencies in philosophical research, which is reprinted below. A few years earlier he had produced an article about his fellow student, Joan Crexells, who died young1. Those were the years when Xirau, who had won the Fundamental Logic professorship of the University of Barcelona, was presented by Francesc Mirabent (in the newspaper La Publicitat) as the next link in the Catalan philosophical tradition. The Editors Noves etapes de la investigació filosòfica2 Joaquim Xirau A characteristic of the last thirty years of European thought is the struggle to free itself from positivist ideas and the affirmation, more and more decidedly, of the need for a strictly philosophical, that is, metaphysical, idea. All sectors of society collaborate in this movement. But the most decisive factor is the acute internal crisis of understanding which is sparked. 1 See this article reprinted in Josep Monserrat Molas, “Joaquim Xirau i Joan Crexells, colleagues», Anuari de la Societat Catalana de Filosofia, XVIII, 2007, pp. 49-69. 2 Ciència. Revista Catalana de Ciència iTecnologia, any IV, núm. 32 (juliol-agost de 1929), pp. 3-8.

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Positivism emerges from the lively opposition to the metaphysical constructions of romantic philosophy. But its deeper roots are in the premises of Renaissance philosophy. The ideological structures of metaphysics are oppos­ ed to the immediate confirmation of facts. It is necessary to ignore the “ideas” and pay attention to the “things”offered by well controlled experiments. Mathematical physics, the favorite child of modern times, offers an excellent example. The theory, in its short history, is a marvelous story of sure, constant progress without hesitations or detours. In practical culture, the past century has been an apotheosis for physics. So one must follow the path of physics and apply the powerful efficiency of its methodology: don’t accept anything unsupported by experiments; determine carefully the regularity of its legal course. Experiment and mathematics are the alpha and omega of the structure of knowledge. Pay attention to facts, limit oneself to experiments, ignore “ideas” and deal with “things”. But what are these “things”? Not everything that common sense says is a thing is accepted as one by science. One must distinguish between real and illusory factors. Science is not a simple photograph of reality. Control and selection are necessary. The brute experiment is submitted to methodical elaboration. The only things which can be included in science are those which resist rigorous, methodical analysis. Appearances are some­ times deceiving. One must distinguish appearance from reality. To understand this, the only path is that of implacable analysis of experience, decomposition of reality in its irreducible factors. Only that which resists such analysis can be admitted as true reality. Here, too, physics serves as a model. The result of its analysis is the reduction of physical reality to atomic corpuscles. But the corpuscles only have a hypothetical reality. Physics exercises its fascination over the whole society. But,in turn, psychological science, reduced to “physics” (Aristotole said that psychology is the physics of the soul), reacts against it and imposes the task of revision on it. The immediate reality of experience must be opposed to the hypothetical “constructs” of physics. Atomic reality is not a given. To be real, it must be perceived. Reality, in the end, is reduced to perception. Esse est percipi said Bishop Berkely. Psychological analysis of perception turns all things to sense content. All things real or illusory, obvious or hypothetical, rose, centaur, star or atom, are sensations or combinations of sensations. The sensations are the only given. It is therefore the only thing which can be accepted without a doubt.

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This conclusion of positivism, reached when it is self-coherent, is the beginning of the end. The Greeks knew it, remember Protagares and Plato, and modern science has confirmed it. Sensation depends radically on the


Journal of Catalan Intellectual History. Issues 9&10. 2015. P. 103-108 Joaquim Xirau in the journal Ciència

sensor,and therefore on the subject that perceives it. A great positivist, Taine, affirms that the world is a “normal hallucination”. Things turn into “contents” of conscience. If the subject disappears, the Cosmos disappears. And so the physical world is reduced to the multiform flux of sense experiences. “Things” disappear, they are no longer independent units which persist through changes. The only indisputable reality is the reality of change. The old “substance” desegregates into its “accidental” elements. Only phenomena, that is, “appearances”, offer a firm guarantee of reality. Reality, paradoxically, is reduced to immediate experience. The rest are “ideas”, inconsistent fantasies. There still remains, however, a fixed center of reference. Appearances appear to “someone”. The reality of the subject does not seem to be in doubt. However, rigorous subjective analysis destroys its unity, and thereby, its consistency. The ties of memory: brief, changing and unsure, are the simple result of mechanical associations among sensations. The “subject”, the same as in substantial “things”, never appears. The Cosmos takes on a spectral quality. All points of support disappear. The scurrying kaleidoscope of sensation, dazzling, formless and fluffy, is all that is left. So positivism, which began with the noble desire for truth and reality, ended up dissolving all truth and reality. The world and science slip through its fingers. We’ve lost all frames of reference. Forms of pragmatism appear as precarious solutions. At this moment, in connection with the reconstructive efforts of Neo­ kantian idealism, the work of Husserl and his followers appears in the evolutionary curve of western thought. In opposition to sensational positivism, its affirms that the fundamental principles of science, the laws of pure logic and mathematics, if viewed without prejudice, are irreducible for any fact, they are a priori universal, necessary and eternal. Empirical laws are particular and contingent, they depend on the flow of the experiment and depend on its course and are, by definition, apparently true, as apparently as one likes, but no more than apparently, and exact within the limits of actual experience. The laws of logic and mathematics are independent of experience, anterior and posterior to all experience, immediate and evident. They don’t give the appearance of truth, but truth; their validity is for all time and absolute. But the laws of mathematics and classical logic have no dominion over what is given immediately or a priori. They constitute but a minimum part of ideal reality. Next to them, and above them, there must be a discipline of a priori, which includes all possibilities of thought and being. It is the return of the mathesis universalis begun by Leibniz and widely developed by modern mathematical logic.

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Notice that the a priori indicated here is not a spiritual function nor an activity to give structure to awareness, in the Kantian sense. It’s much more a fundamental structure of the being, irreducible to the chaos of flowing sensations. In this sense it is given to us, it becomes evident to us, it is the object of immediate intuition, parallel to sense intuition. We have two essential results which set us above the positivist conception of science and the Cosmos: 1st, an objective structure, independent of all spiritual and physical events, which conditions and rules all events; 2nd, the possibility of intuiting non-sensual realities given by their own evidence, with surer evidence, than the contents of sensation. Without leaving awareness, and one should underline this fine limit, awareness takes on a polar structure. Subject and object are irreducibly opposed. It is essential to the subject the reference to the object. The fact of the reference, directly or by mental intention, constitutes the essence of the phenomenon of awareness. Observe, however, that neither of the terms of the polar relationship, neither subject nor object, are considered “reality�, as empirical or metaphysical existences. In this sense, positivism is taken to its ultimate logical consequences and its most exact realization. Ancient philosophy rushed to consider the object as an indisputable metaphysical reality. Modern philosophy, since Descartes, but especially since Hume, corrects the innocence of that realism but incurs in a new error, and in the end, in a new bit of naivete. From the fact that one can conceive nothing outside of the dominion of awareness, one concludes things are given within awareness, considering this to be the maximum reality, the product of a spiritual substance. In both cases, the innocence is patent. The truth is that one cannot conceive anything with evidence from outside awareness. But awareness is not a reality, but an ideal state, the ideal place where, by definition, the polar extremes of subjective and objective, together and inseparable, meet. Object without subject is nothing; but the other way around is nothing, either. The only thing which is evident is the fact of the coexistence of all knowledge. The problem of the existence of each is a second order problem. The partial positivism of modern philosophy is opposed to total positivist phenomenology. Nothing not given to us can be accepted. We must pay attention to appearance, to phenomena3. But whatever is given to the intuition must be taken first hand, without deformation; it must be taken within the limits in which it is given without extending it by better or worse founded hypotheses nor damaging it by the use of our active faculties. In other words: philosophy, in its ultimate foundations, must be pure speculation, as in 106

3 Editors note. There is an error in the Greek alphabet.


Journal of Catalan Intellectual History. Issues 9&10. 2015. P. 103-108 Joaquim Xirau in the journal Ciència

speculum, pure observation without the intervention of all that is offered to immediate awareness and within the limits in which it is offered to us. Philosophy must be pure theory. Its attitude, in juxtaposition with the practical attitude, must be strictly descriptive, spectacular. The world is considered a pure spectacle, and as a show it must be viewed clearly, intact, to see exactly how it appears, that is, how it is. From this point of view, phenomenological description tries to find the essential structure of awareness, that is, the immediate being, within its guidelines and their fine detail. Now awareness, the pure appearance of things, the world as it appears, offers, on one hand a fundamental structure derived from the fact of its irreducible polarity. We have, on the one hand, the center of reference, the I, from which infinite rays head out toward things. But this I refers to things by intentional acts which are constituted on their own terms. And the act refer to objects by sensory content, which is their amorphous matter. Dead, insignificant sensations are given life by acts of reference which give them meaning and spiritual content. This insufflation gives the sensations meaning, refers them to something, they have physiognomy and coherence. Therefore they fill with spirituality and are connected to an object, which is their ideal state and ultimate reason for being. Sensitivity is the matter of awareness, blind and formless. The acts which animate it and give it structure constitute its noetic aspect. The objects referred to and their ideal structure are the noema. It is a nomenclature of classical lineage but full of new potential. So phenomenology, in its infinite task must establish, in each of these aspects, the essential structures which inform it. Next to the noematic structures of pure logic and mathesis universalis one must establish the axiological and ethical objects in fine derail, which will form the basis of a formal ontology that can study the fundamental way of being possible in each of these domains. This task has been most heavily cultivated by Husserl and his immediate disciples. Some of them, for example Max Scheller, have lead the way to a new, realistic metaphysics which lies beyond the intentions and purposes if pure phenomenological research. Noetic studies have been, so far, less heavily cultivated. Husserl starts with them in is basic work and continues with them in his university classes. He tries to establish the essential structure of acts, by which the subject makes reference to objects. It is through the dynamic aspect of awareness that the vital movement that gives structure and meaning becomes clear. It tries to establish the essential relations between “I� and awareness which develops in time. A new force appears and the classic problems of personality and its development in time, as well as the consideration of time as pure duration in

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relation to a cosmic time, are planted in new terms, and through it all, there are new perspectives on the eternal problems of awareness and being. But that, which has been the object of outstanding work, will be the subject of the next article. Translation from Catalan by Dan Cohen

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life-writting JOURNAL OF CATALAN INTELLECTUAL HISTORY, Issues 9&10, 2015 | Print ISSN 2014-1572 / Online ISSN 2014-1564 DOI: 10.2436/20.3001.02.98 | P. 109-117 Reception date: 5/09/2014 / Admission date: 15/10/2014 http://revistes.iec.cat/index.php/JOCIH

J

oaquim Xirau i Palau (1895-1946) Conrad Vilanou i Torrano cvilanou@ub.edu

Jordi Garcia i Farrero jgarciaf@ub.edu

Firstly, we must say that the personal and intellectual career of Joaquim Xirau i Palau, one of the most successful thinkers of the twentieth century in this country, has been the subject of various literature proposals, so our contribution does not represent any significant development. Indeed, the figure of Xirau —who was forced into exile in 1939, where he died in 1946 as a result of a road accident— remained in the background during the long darkness of Franco’s regime. Only with the advent of the transition to democracy, his public recognition was allowed, with demonstrations of admiration and respect from some of his disciples such as Jordi Maragall, Josep M. Calsamiglia, Francesc Gomà and Miquel Siguan. Nevertheless, as Francoism vanished, Xirau’s work began to circulate in Catalonia, although many years had to pass for his complete works to be printed. In the same vein, it is worth mentioning that, in 1969, the book Manuel B. Cossío y la educación en España (Ariel, Barcelona, 1969) was published for the second time. It first came out in Mexico in 1945 and it served to stress the role of the Institución Libre de Enseñanza (Free Educational Institution), which had been systematically ostracised during the first decades of the Franco regime. At any rate, this process was accentuated when the transition to democracy arrived, with the restoration of civil and political liberties and in a new favourable environment for highlighting the links and connections between Catalonia and the core of the Institución. Thus, in 1978, the Provincial Council of Barcelona published the Bibliographical Exhibition Catalogue, which commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Institución Libre de Enseñanza. It was organised on the occasion of the 3rd Education in the 21st Century Week, which took place in April 1976, and saw the collaboration of the Club d’Amics de la Futurologia. The Catalogue included a chapter on the Institución Libre de Enseñanza, through a series of

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Journal of Catalan Intellectual History. Issues 9&10. 2015, p. 109-117 CONRAD VILANOU I TORRANO & JORDI GARCIA I FARRERO

Catalan authors and a collection of the most representative texts. Among the selected figures, and next to Joan Maragall and Josep Pijoan, the name of Joaquim Xirau stands out (pp. 54-55). Unsurprisingly, among the references of books on the Institución, some works by Xirau are cited, and L’amor i la percepció dels valors (Barcelona, 1937, 72 pp.) and Manuel B. Cossío y la educación en España (Mèxic, 1944, 316 pp.) are in a prominent position. Precisely that year, in 1976, Reine Guy’s book Axiologie et métaphysique selon Joaquim Xirau. Le personalisme contemporain de l’Ecole de Barcelone appeared, and became one of the first systematic approaches to the Catalan thinker, and followed the line of work begun by her husband, Professor Alain Guy. During the eighties Xirau’s most important philosophical work was republished. In particular, we are talking about the volume Amor y mundo y otros escritos, printed by Península in 1983. In addition to Amor y mundo (1940), Lo fugaz y lo eterno (1942) was reissued as well as a third minor text entitled Tres actitudes: poderío, magia e intelecto. This work was presented as a joint initiative of the Autonomous University of Barcelona and the Colegio de México. Furthermore, it included a preamble by Ramon Xirau in which he stated that the above-mentioned L’amor i la percepció dels valors (1937) was a clear antecedent of Amor y mundo (1940). A foreword followed the preamble, in which Jordi Maragall sketched a personal and intellectual profile about the author. Three years later, the publisher Eumo launched the anthology Pedagogia i vida, with an introduction and selection of texts by Miquel Siguan Soler, who had also had contact with Joaquim Xirau at the University of Barcelona, ​​in the thirties. This pedagogic anthology appeared in 1986, and the second edition was published in 1999. Meanwhile, as the 100th anniversary of his birth was approaching, references to Xirau’s work increased to the extent that several monographs appeared, most of which were collective. However, the most important thing was the recovery of Joaquim Xirau’s texts, which was achieved thanks to two near-consecutive endeavours. In 1996, Xirau’s Obra selecta appeared in two volumes, with an introduction and a selection of texts by Ramon Xirau (El Colegio de México, México). Subsequently, the edition of his Obres Completes in four volumes came out between 1998 and 2000. While more texts have been found later on (journalistic texts, especially) the truth is that this works’ edition — an initiative of the Fundación Caja Madrid and Editorial Anthropos— provides access to the Catalan thinker’s production of articles and books.

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Regarding the existence of bibliographies on Joaquim Xirau, we are aware of two collections. One is an authentic bio-bibliography and was published by Irene de Puig i Oliver within the Annals de l’Institut d’Estudis Gironins in the early eighties. As the 100th anniversary of Xirau’s birth was approaching, Daniel Gili, —with the collaboration of Enric Pujol and Ramon


Journal of Catalan Intellectual History. Issues 9&10. 2015. P. 109-117 Joaquim Xirau i Palau (1895-1946)

Xirau— prepared a second bibliography, which was published in 1995 by the Figueres Town Council. In view of what is being said, thus, the collection presented here aims to contain the most significant of what has been said and written about Joaquim Xirau since then, especially during the period 19952013 with some prior references. It is worth adding that, in recent years, the figure of Xirau has achieved a very strong position in the Catalan and Hispanic school of thought, which enables the study of his work to be carried out aside and regardless of commemorative dates. Somehow, we can point out — by way of conclusion — that as Catalan philosophy has normalised, the name of Joaquim Xirau has become a benchmark in our thought, and he now attracts the interest of scholars from America and Europe, so not only from this country but also from elsewhere. Whilst a few years ago Alain and Reine Guy followed the trail of Xirau, today other researchers — such as the Italian Alessia Cassani — track his footsteps, to the extent to which she pieced a bibliography together in 2006, which she entitled, in a very suggestive fashion, L’amore è stato creato per pensare. Once preambles and prior remarks are made, here is our bibliographic contribution, which simply aims to offer some references that can have propaedeutic value to gain knowledge of the line of thought and criticism (the most recent secondary literature) of this philosopher and educator, who put together a stimulating thinking built on the basis of loving consciousness, which points towards an axiom that seeks full meaning of life, with the understanding that the teacher should make one fall in love, and his disciple, in turn, should know how to love. After all, Xirau’s formula is steeped in the spirit of Saint Augustine. Not in vain, the thinker from Figueres wrote: “Through love all the roads are clear, all perspectives are bright. Ama et fac quod vis.”

Bibliography Books

Leibniz. Las condiciones de la verdad eterna, tesi doctoral, Imprenta Pedro Ortega, Barcelona, 1921. Rousseau y las ideas políticas modernas, Reus, Madrid, 1923. Descartes y el idealismo subjetivista moderno, Universidad de Barcelona-Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, Barcelona, 1927. El sentit de la veritat, “Publicacions de La Revista, 67”, La Revista, Barcelona, 1929; també en castellà: El sentido de la verdad, Cervantes, Barcelona, 1927.

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La teoría de los valores en relación con la Ética y el Derecho, Huelves, Madrid, 1929. Antologia de Fichte, selecció i introducció, “La pedagogia clásica, 3”, Publicacio­ nes de la Revista de Pedagogía, Madrid, 1931. Amor y mundo, Fondo de Cultura Económica, Mèxic, 1940. La filosofía de Husserl: una introducción a la fenomenología, Losada, Buenos Aires, 1941 (2a edició, Troquel, Buenos Aires, 1966). Lo fugaz y lo eterno, Centro de Estudios Filosóficos de la Facultad de Filosofía y Letras-UNAM, Mèxic, 1942. Vida, pensamiento y obra de Bergson, Editorial Leyenda, Mèxic, 1944. El pensamiento vivo de Juan Luis Vives, “Biblioteca del pensamiento vivo, 31”, Losada, Buenos Aires, 1944. Manuel B. Cossío y la educación en España, El Colegio de México, Mèxic, 1945 (2a edició, Ariel, Barcelona, 1969). Vida y obra de Ramón Llull. Filosofía y mística, Orión, Mèxic, 1946. Obras (Amor y mundo, Lo fugaz y lo eterno, Vida y obra de Ramón Llull), UNAM, Mèxic, 1963. Descartes, Leibniz, Rousseau, Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, Seminarios (Seminario de Filosofía Moderna)-UNAM, Mèxic, 1973. Amor y mundo y otros escritos, justificación de Ramon Xirau, prólogo de Jordi Maragall, Península, Barcelona, 1983. Pedagogia i vida, introducció i tria de textos de Miquel Siguan i Soler, Eumo, Vic, 1986 (2a ed., 1999). Obra selecta, introducción y selección de Ramon Xirau, 2 vols., El Colegio de México, Mèxic, 1996.

Edition of the Complete Works

Obras completas, edición de Ramon Xirau. Escritos fundamentales, Anthropos/Fundación Caja Madrid, Rubí, 1998. Escritos sobre educación y sobre el humanismo hispánico, Anthropos/Fundación Caja Madrid, Rubí, 1999. Escritos sobre historia de la filosofía. Vol. 1. Libros, Anthropos/Fundación Caja Madrid, Rubí, 2000. 112

Escritos sobre historia de la filosofía. Vol. 2. Artículos y ensayos, Anthropos/Fundación Caja Madrid, Rubí, 2000.


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There are suplements to this Complete Works in: Kima Moret i Serra, “Textos de guerra i exili poc coneguts de Joaquim Xirau (1931-1941)”, and Josep Monserrat Molas, “Suplements a les Obres Completes de Joaquim Xirau”, both chapters in El pensament de Joaquim Xirau, edited by Josep M. Terricabras, “Publicacions de la Càtedra Ferrater Mora, Noms de la Filosofia Catalana 4”, Documenta Universitaria, Girona, 2007, pp. 191-206 and 207-223.

Bibliography on Joaquim Xirau Abellán, José Luis (1967), Filosofía española en América (1936-1966), Guadarrama, Madrid, pp. 39-55. — (1998), “Joaquín Xirau: el sentido ontológico del amor y su proyección erasmista”, a El exilio filosófico en América. Los transterrados de 1939, FCE, Mèxic, pp. 47-64. Albero Alabort, Gonzalo (2010), “Persona, amor y sentido: desde el pensamiento de Joaquín Xirau”, Anales Valentinos. Revista de Filosofía y Teología, XXXVI, núm. 71, pp. 55-130. Bastons i Vivanco, Carles i Bastons, Miquel (1984), “Correspondència de figuerencs a Unamuno: estudi especial —vida, pensament i cartes— de Joaquim Xirau (1895-1946)”, Annals de l’Institut d’Estudis Empordanesos, 17, pp. 341-355. Bilbeny, Norbert (1985), “Joaquim Xirau, amor i pedagogia”, a Filosofia contemporània a Catalunya, Edhasa, Barcelona, pp. 235-248. Casasús, Josep Maria (1996), “Una aportació reeixida de Joaquim Xirau al periodisme d’informació política”, in Periodisme català que ha fet història, Proa, Barcelona, pp. 203-209. Cassani, Alessia (2006), “L’amore è stato creato per pensare. Bibliografia di Joa­ quin Xirau”, Rocinante. Rivista di Filosofia Iberica e Iberoamericana, 2, pp. 81-90. — (2008), “Joaquín Xirau: el alma hispánica entre España y América”, a Crovetto, Pier Luigi i Sanfelici, Laura (eds.), Palabras e ideas. Ida y vuelta, Actas del XXXVI Congreso del Instituto Internacional de Literatura Iberoamericana, Editori Riuniti, Roma, pp. 1-10. — (2008), “La religiosidad como categoría existencial del exilio: Joaquín y Ramón Xirau”, in Ascunce Arrieta, José Ángel, El exilio: debate para la historia y la cultura, Saturraran, Donostia, pp. 167-182. — (2008), “Joaquín Xirau, reformador universitario entre España y México”, in Ascunce Arrieta, José Ángel, Jato, Mónica i San Miguel, María Luisa (coords.), Exilio y universidad, 1936-1955: presencias y realidades, Donostia-

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Sant Sebastià, del 13 al 15 de desembre de 2006, Saturraran, Donostia, vol. 2, pp. 1.115-1.130. De Lara López, Francisco (1998), “Joaquim Xirau: Barcelona, Madrid... Mèxic”, Revista de Girona, 188, pp. 312-315. De Puig i Oliver, Irene (1982-1983), “Aproximació bio-bibliogràfica a Joaquim Xirau i Palau”, Annals de l’Institut d’Estudis Gironins, XXVI, pp. 477-522. Delgado, Buenaventura (2000), La Institución Libre de Enseñanza en Catalunya, Ariel, Barcelona. Durán Gili, Manuel (2007), Diario de un aprendiz de filósofo. Notas sobre magia, religión y ciencia, Renacimiento, Sevilla, 2007. — i Kluback, William (1994), Reason in exile: essays on Catalan philosphers, Lang, Nova York. Escámez Sánchez, Juan (2005), “El amor y la educación: una aproximación desde Joaquín Xirau”, in Bernal, Aurora et al., Cultivar los sentimientos: propuestas desde la filosofía de la educación, Dykinson, Madrid, pp. 63-76. Gili, Daniel (1995), Joaquim Xirau, 1895-1946. Bibliografia, elaborada per Daniel Gili, amb la col·laboració d’Enric Pujol i Ramon Xirau, Diputació de Girona/Ajuntament de Figueres, Figueres. Girau i Reverter, Jordi (1989), “Joaquim Xirau, pensador d’inspirador cristiana”, Revista Catalana de Teologia, XIV, pp. 553-564. Gomà i Musté, Francesc (1988), “Records de la meva vida universitària”, Anuari de la Societat Catalana de Filosofia, 2, pp. 63-77.Gómez i Inglada, Pere, Marquès i Sureda, Salomó, Pagès i Manté, Joaquim, Planagumà i Vilalta, Lu and Vilanou i Torrano, Conrad (2012), La carpeta de l’oncle: correspondència de Joan Roura-Parella, Ajuntament de Tortellà/Universitat de Girona, Girona. On page 289, there is an account of how Xirau sent four letters from Paris to Joan Roura-Parella, during spring 1939, the last of which was intended for both Joan Roura and Antoni Moles. Although these writings have not been transcribed in the book — which analyzes Joan Roura-Parella’s thought and correspondence — references to Joaquim Xirau and his relationships with people in exile, which were not always fluid, can be found throughout. Gotsens, Josep i Vilanou, Conrad (1995), Joaquim Xirau i Palau. En el centenari del fundador de la Facultat de Pedagogia (1895-1946), Facultat de Pedagogia, Barcelona.

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Guy, Alain (1966), “La philosophie de l’amour selon Joaquín Xirau”, in Mélanges à la mémoire de Jean Sarrailh, Centre de Recherches de l’Institut d’Études Hispaniques, París, pp. 425-436.


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— (1966), “La théorie du symbole chez Joaquín Xirau”, in Le Langage (Actes du XIIIe Congrès des Sociétés de philosophie de langue française, Genève, 1966), Ed. de La Baconnière, Neuchâtel, pp. 168-171. — (1993), “Actualidad del pensamiento de Joaquín Xirau”, in Diversas claves del pensamiento español contemporáneo, Fundación Fernando Rielo, Madrid, pp. 7-25. Guy, Reine (1976), Axiologie contemporaine selon Joaquim Xirau. Le personnalisme contemporain de l’Ecole de Barcelona, preface by Jean-Marc Gabaude, Association des Publications de l’Université de Toulouse-Le Mirail, Tolosa de Llenguadoc, 1976. — (1984), “Joaquim Xirau, militant du personnalisme”, Enrahonar, 10, pp. 63-70. Hernández García, Gabriela (2000), La plenitud vital. Ética de la conciencia amorosa en la filosofía de Joaquín Xirau, Col. Mirador de Posgrado, Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, División Estudios de Posgrado, UNAM, Mèxic. Larroyo, Francisco (1941), El romanticismo filosófico: observaciones a la Weltanschauung de J. Xirau, Logos, Mèxic. Llopart, Pilar (2002-2003), “De Joaquim Xirau a M. B. Cossío: dotze cartes i una targeta de visita”, Temps d’Educació, 27, pp. 419-439. Maragall, Jordi (1968), “Record de Joaquim Xirau”, Convivium, 26, pp. 115-122. Miquel Mut, Joan (2001), “Influències del concepte d’amor de Joaquim Xirau sobre l’espiritualitat de Joan Mascaró i Fornés”, Taula, quaderns de pensament, 35-36, pp. 81-92. Monserrat Molas, Josep (2007), “Joaquim Xirau i Joan Crexells, condeixebles”, Anuari de la Societat Catalana de Filosofia, XVIII, pp. 49-69. — (2012), “Joaquim Xirau i la Unió Socialista de Catalunya”, Afers, XXVII:71/72, pp. 305-323. Sáiz, Milagros i Sáiz, Dolors (2010), “El lugar de Joaquim Xirau en el ‘Institut Psicotècnic de la Generalitat de Catalunya’”, Revista de Historia de la Psicología, vol. 31, 2-3, pp. 41-62. Sánchez Carazo, José Ignacio (1997), “Joaquín Xirau: una filosofía del amor”, Mayéutica, 23, pp. 43-89. — (1997), Xirau (1895-1946), Ediciones del Orto, Madrid. — (2002), “Joaquín Xirau: la fecundidad del exilio”, El Ateneo. Revista científica, literaria y artística, 11, pp. 139-146. Sánchez Cuervo, Antolín (2008), “¿Pensamiento crítico en español? De la dominación al exilio”, Arbor. Ciencia, pensamiento y cultura, 734, pp. 1.015-1.024.

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— (2010), “Del exilio al arraigo. El organismo iberoamericano de Joaquín Xirau”, in Sánchez Cuervo, Antolín i Hermida de Blas, Fernando (coords.), Pensamiento exiliado español: el legado filosófico del 39 y su dimensión iberoamericana, Biblioteca Nueva/CSIC, Madrid, pp. 102-125. Siguan, Miquel (1995), Centenari Joaquim Xirau: 1895-1995, Generalitat de Catalunya, Barcelona. Terricabras, Josep M. (coord.) (2007), El pensament de Joaquim Xirau, “Publicacions de la Càtedra Ferrater Mora, Noms de la Filosofia Catalana 4”, Documenta Universitaria, Girona. [Contents: Ramon Xirau, “Memòria de Joaquim Xirau”, pp. 7-15; Antoni Vicens, “Amor i dignitat del món. Sobre la filosofia de Joaquim Xirau”, pp. 17-29; Gabriela Hernández García, “La plenitud vital”, pp. 31-60; José Ignacio Sánchez Carazo, “La dimensió religiosa de l’obra de Joaquim Xirau”, pp. 61-75; Miquel Siguan, “Joaquim Xirau. El ciutadà, el pensador, el mestre”, pp. 77-100; Conrad Vilanou i Torrano, “Joaquim Xirau: política vol dir Pedagogia”, pp. 101-145; Octavi Fullat i Genís, “Eduquem persones no pas sistemes”, pp. 147-161; Leticia Cabañas, “Joaquim Xirau i Leibniz: les condicions de la veritat eterna”, pp. 163-175; Miquel Verdaguer Turró, “Joaquim Xirau, deixeble de Serra Húnter”, pp. 177-180; Oriol Ponsatí-Murlà, “Joaquim Xirau i la consciència amorosa”, pp. 181-190; Kima Moret i Serra, “Textos de guerra i exili poc coneguts de Joaquim Xirau (1931-1941)”, pp. 191-206; Josep Monserrat Molas, “Suplements a les obres completes de Joaquim Xirau”, pp. 207-223]. Valdés, Margarita (2009), “El exilio español en México: José Gaos, Joaquín Xirau y Eduardo Nicol”, a Garrido, Manuel, Orringer, Nelson R., Valdés, Luis M. L. i Valdés, Margarita (coords.), El legado filosófico español e hispanoamericano del siglo XX, Cátedra, Madrid, pp. 535-562. Velasco Gómez, Ambrosio (2008), “Humanismo hispanoamericano”, Revista de Hispanismo Filosófico, 13, pp. 13-30. Vicens, Antoni (1979), “Joaquim Xirau i l’exploració d’un idealisme no egocèntric”, L’Avenç, 13, pp. 10-13.

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Vilanou, Conrad (coord.) (1996), Joaquim Xirau. Filòsof i pedagog, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona. [Contents: Antoni Mora, “Memòria de Joaquim Xirau i el seu temps”, pp. 9-19; Jordi Sales i Coderch, “Joaquim Xirau: relació amb el pensament i la cultura catalana”, pp. 21-27; Norbert Bilbeny, “Joaquim Xirau: l’ordre amorós dels valors”, pp. 29-34; Buenaventura Delgado, “Joaquim Xirau y el institucionismo”, pp. 35-44; Josep González-Agàpito, “Joaquim Xirau, polític de l’educació”, pp. 45-55; Lluís Folch i Camarasa, “El Seminari de Pedagogia de la Universitat de Barcelona (1930-1938)”, pp. 57-62; Conrad Vilanou, “Joaquim Xirau i la constitu-


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ció de la Pedagogia com a ciència de l’acció educadora”, pp. 63-91; Jorge Larrosa, “Variaciones a partir de “Amor y pedagogía””, pp. 93-107]. Vilanou, Conrad (1997-1998), “Un article de Joaquim Xirau sobre l’educació sexual”, Educació i Història, 3, pp. 143-148. — (2001), Joaquim Xirau, 1895-1946: quan la filosofia esdevé pedagogia, “Quaderns del Mercadal, 1”, Universitat de Girona, Girona. — (2003), “Joaquim Xirau. Deu fites en el pensament d’un filòsof-pedagog”, in Monserrat Molas, Josep i Casanovas, Pompeu, Pensament i filosofia a Catalunya. II: 1924-1939, INEHCA/Societat Catalana de Filosofia, Barcelona, pp. 149-184. — (2011), “La formación, entre el amor y la plenitud: de J. W. Goethe a Joaquín Xirau”, in Vergara Ciordia, Javier, Sánchez Barea, Fermín i Comella Gutiérrez, Beatriz (coords.), Ideales de formación en la Historia de la Educación, Dykinson, Madrid, pp. 399-436. Xirau, Ramon (1985), “Los filósofos españoles transterrados”, a Estudios de Historia de la Filosofía en México, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mèxic, pp. 295-318.

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icardo Horneffer: El problema del Ser: sus aporías en la obra de Eduardo Nicol

Facultat de Filosofia i Lletres, UNAM, Mèxic, 2013, 225 pp.

Mario Alvarado UNAM mario.alvarado@comunidad.unam.mx

It is most likely that the best way to describe the current perception of the history of metaphysics these days is by using Borges’ story “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius”, according to which “There is an abundance of incredible systems of pleasing design or sensational type. The metaphysicians of Tlön do not seek for the truth or even for verisimilitude, but rather for the astounding. They judge that metaphysics is a branch of fantastic literature”.1 Philosophy has denied the legitimacy of metaphysics as a science or rigorous knowledge, sometimes rightly (and sometimes wrongly). And it is in our era when it is most regarded with contempt and is most discredited. In such a science-orientated moment, or rather, techno-science orientated moment like today, the word “metaphysics” is inevitably misinterpreted. It usually gives rise to suspicion and dislike. In fact, however, the situation for metaphysics has never been easy and yet has persisted over twenty-seven centuries, as Aristotle defined it, as a first or highest science. Alongside the error of confusing the legitimacy of a “discipline” with the (more or less serious) mistakes presented by the “theories” that it itself promotes, one must realise that metaphysics responds to a vital need, and that, through it, humans raise fundamental questions. And as a result of these two facts it makes sense today (and at any other time), to question the most radical metaphysical problem: the Being. Not in vain Ricardo Horneffer’s book, entitled El problema del Ser: sus aporías en la obra de Eduardo Nicol, is a rigorous study of the Catalan-Mexican philosopher’s work and, at the same time, an extension of the history of metaphysics that responds to the human need —perhaps “too human”— for wondering about what is essential. A book in which one perceives rigour, systematicity, criticism and a method. These aspects provide a ra1

Jorge Luis Borges, Ficciones, Joaquín Moritz/Emecé, Mèxic, 2006, p. 29.

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tionale for his analysis and also for the vital concern that every thinker develops when approaching what is essential. To approach the problem of Being from a new perspective while assuming the philosophical tradition, Nicol proposed the “return to metaphysics”, through which he deemed it a “prima scientia” of Being and Knowing; whilst tackling, in a single operation, the problems of its foundation and the unity of knowledge.2 In this manner, he believed that, in order to overcome the point of exhaustion that metaphysics had reached in the twentieth century, a “revolution in philosophy” was necessary, through which he adopted dialectical phenomenology as a method3 with the primary purpose of demonstrating the phenomenal nature of the Being, from which it follows that entity’s temporary deployment does not prevent insight. This is the key to Nicol’s metaphysics, from which, in the same way as in any other thought that clings to approaching positively to the limit, the most significant problems of interpretation and breath-taking conclusions arise: the aporia. In our view, Ricardo Horneffer’s book which we are reviewing here responds to the same situation in which Nicol took action. We have found rigorous analysis of the changes, situations and circumstances that Nicol undertook in his attempt to formulate and conceive the Being accurately. Each formulation literally leads to one a-poria.That is, an extreme situation in which it seems that there is no way out or path for the thought to take; which compels it to retrace its steps and find (perhaps create) a new path. And, although the Catalan-Mexican philosopher stated that the Being is not a problem (because we can see it with our eyes) Horneffer recalls: “On the contrary, it is a problem precisely because, while there is logos, it is an inseparable part — whatever it is named — of the human being and his history”. 4 Thus, the author reminds us that while the Being is in sight, each comprehension of it is historical. In each formulation of the Principle (or, if you prefer, Substance, God, Eidos, Spirit, Nothingness or Being), and in the search for each of its attributes, the being of man is involved historically and vitally; something which is not superfluous. Consequently, Horneffer also deals with an important part of the history of metaphysics, highlighting the works of Heraclitus, Parmenides, Plato, Aristotle and Heidegger. To understand the aporia resulting from the problem of Being in Nicol’s work, and as a permanent exercise of the discipline, Horneffer very carefully analyses what Nicol’s statement, the sight comprehends the Being, means. According to this central idea, all that has continuity (i.e. permanent)

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2 Vid. Eduard Nicol, “El retorno a la metafísica”, Ideas de vario linaje, UNAM, Mèxic, 1990. 3 Vid. Eduard Nicol, Crítica de la razón simbólica. La revolución en filosofía, FCE, Mèxic, 1982. 4 Ricardo Horneffer, El problema del Ser: sus aporías en la obra de Eduardo Nicol, UNAM, Mèxic, 2013, p. 212.


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is seen through changes (in what is ephemeral). It is not hidden nor does it need any methodological operation to be comprehended. There is no need for a methodologically purified or trained reason to deal with what it is, “legitimately”. Consequently, the Principle precedes any science and any operation of reason that wants to show it. All sciences, even the first one, are based on the principle “de facto”. Hence the search for the Principle is, according to Nicol, a nonsense. Horneffer takes this fundamental idea from Nicol’s ​​metaphysics and engages in deep dialogue with the Catalan-Mexican philosopher. He makes a productive effort to understand Nicol critically (which adds very significant value to the analyses made) and takes the dialogue to a deeper level with the aim of deciphering “the reason” of what he says. In this manner, he can approach the postulations and commitments taken by Nicol in his philosophy while he recognises (when appropriate) the originality and the radical nature of his thought. Horneffer then ascertains that, although the project of a revolution in the philosophy proposed by Nicol aims to “break” the metaphysical tradition from Parmenides to Husserl, he inevitably maintains a number of postulations that actually extend this metaphysical tradition. While Nicol put forward a radical change in recognising the ontological “weight” of appearance, which had been traditionally discredited, the development of this fundamental notion gradually led him to question issues such as attributes and the precise assertion on how to “express” the presence of the Being. Primarily, according to Horneffer, Nicol finds himself with the necessity to justify the attributes of eternity and infinity of the Being, as the whole metaphysical tradition had done before, since he shares the feeling of helplessness resulting from the human being’s intuition that he comes from and goes to nothingness. Nicol insists on giving the Being a “transcendent meaning”, making it infinite and eternal — the two main attributes — in order to deny, thus, the possibility of contradiction before and after life. In this manner, he moves away from his own phenomenological precept which focuses only on what is given. The real motive to reach both attributes of the Being is emotional rather than phenomenological, says Horneffer. They stem from the horror generated by the pure possibility of contradiction, rather than real evidence. Horneffer rightly realizes that Nicol’s indecision in identifying or distinguishing the Being from reality “at once” is due to a combination of theoretical and existential reasons. And this is why he always encounters aporia. On the one hand, the Barcelonan philosopher draws the “deductive” conclusion in that the Being does not have any attributes and, on the other, he “feels” compelled to recognise the need for these attributes. If the Being is patent and nothing opposes it (because nothing escapes what is absolute), it is not related to nothingness. Therefore, it cannot be distinguished from nothingness nor can

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one define it. The intention of giving attributes to it would be equivalent to confusing Being with an entity. Determining what is undetermined. However, we must distinguish them because, “by definition”, Being and entity are not the same. And theoretical demands, rather than phenomenological evidence, lead Nicol to find the attributes of Being and to entangle himself in a web of aporia. In an attempt to confront that which is essential, there is a to and fro between “evidence of reason” and phenomenological evidence, which leads to the arguments of problems that seem unsolvable and, moreover, provide Nicol’s metaphysics with life and movement. That is to say, they denote their true development, which is established when one perseveres in problems, rather than in solutions. The criticism developed by Horneffer based on this set of theoretical reconciliations, unveils the ontological commitments undertaken by Nicol. If the Being is not the same as the entity, according to Heidegger’s formulation, the attributes of the Being and those of the entity cannot be the same. They must even be opposed. If the entity is finite, the Being is thought as infinite. If the entity is changing and temporary, the Being is eternal... However, these clear and logical differences, built on “conceptual” opposition, do not work when we move from the logical to the ontological field. Consequently, as Horneffer says: “This is aporia, because if it is true that human and entity ‘appear’ together, there is no ‘relationship’, properly speaking, between them”.5 Undoubtedly, the most interesting part of Horneffer’s book is when the “logos” comes into play. So interesting it is that the book could have been entitled “The problem of Being and logos…”. Because what its author demonstrates is that it is not just the “apophansis” of Being (the means by which it is visible and acquires meaning), rather, strictly speaking, “in reality, the Being ‘does not occur’, rather it precedes the ‘logos’ from the absence; Being ‘is’ in the ‘logos’, lives and re-creates itself in the ‘logos’ in infinite ways”.6 In Horneffer’s view, the thought, followed by the word, will inevitably re-create their object and will not be confined to re-reflect their presence.The presence of the Being, which would be a donation (or an act of gratitude) always requires that someone is able to comprehend this donation and to re-think it. Therefore, he says, the logos complements the phenomenon.The Being is visible and in sight.That is, phenomenon. It is impossible for all that is sensed in a “complete”, simple, immediate and instantaneous way is re-created as it is in the logos. The only way to do it, although it is always imperfect, is by “starting from” the logos. And this is the reason for the historical diversity of ways of speaking of the Being. Leaving Horneffer’s proposal (which “is in sight” and each reader can re-formulate it) aside, the other formulation he makes remains unresolved: that 122

5 Ibídem, pp. 106-107. 6 Ibídem, p. 212.


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of de-nominalise — if one can call it that — the Being and refer to what “is while it is”. Horneffer’s book offers a good analysis of the quintessential metaphysical problem, that of the Being. In addition, the value of carefully thought out and rigorous work must be attached to it. It also retains the momentum in making more extreme that which seemed to break the canon from the start. Nicol’s reader always has to deal with a kind of thought that goes on to create a counterpoint between some canonical ideas of the history of philosophy and the ground-breaking ones. And this is why he finds it hard to conform to statements like the following: “The Being is phenomenon”, “the Being has existed since there are men”, “error and truth have the same foundation”, or “appearances are a legitimate source of knowledge”. And now (if this was not enough) Horneffer corrects them and adds new ones, according to which “the Being precedes the Logos”, “without human beings there are no phenomena”, “strictly speaking there is no perception without logos”, and “the Being is an absolute complete, although unlimited”.

Horneffer’s book can be regarded as those narratives in which stories start with the end, which typically create uncertainty in the reader and trigger curiosity. When the end is so different from what is “usually expected” it is almost impossible not to wonder: What happened to have reached this point? Thus, every twist in history is surprising and lives up to the expectations for the next twist because we already know the ending. Undoubtedly, this is not a resource that a serious philosophical text like Ricardo Horneffer’s can afford; but this book review’s aim is to motivate the reader to go into the book in depth with enthusiasm and encouragement. As for the remainder, the text is itself sufficient. Finally, as we believe in philosophy that criticism is courtesy, we must say that for us Horneffer lacks not having dealt with one major aporia. Undoubtedly, his analysis is correct when he insists on the fact that the distinction between the Being and reality involves many problems. Now, he almost always tackles it from the attributes perspective, and not from the view of its phenomenal nature. One should not forget that when Nicol claims the ontological strength of appearance, mainly in the texts of Los principios de la ciencia and during that time, he usually does so with regard to the identification of the Being and reality.7 The ontological weight of phenomena lies in this identification and this is, to put it briefly, its foundation. Later on we do not know exactly how phenomenology is “laid out” and the legitimacy of the appearance of phenomena, and whether it is necessary to insist, even if it is done differently, on the ontological difference.

7 Vid. Juliana González, La metafísica dialéctica de Eduardo Nicol, UNAM, Mèxic, 1981.

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oan Cuscó: Francesc Pujols, filòsof [Francesc Pujols, Philosopher] Afers, Catarroja, 2014, 82 pp.

Josep Monserrat Molas Universitat de Barcelona jmonserrat@ub.edu

Knowing how best to treat a person is not something that can be made into a science or technique, unless it is a science or technique that teaches a kind of treatment that is not a treatment in the strict sense, but rather an interest.There cannot be a science or technique of this kind, just as there can be none of tact: their highest expression rises to the form of an art.We do not know how to deal with some people, just as others prove hard to deal with. Certainly, these are not the same people for each of us, but it is worth noting that we sometimes regret not treating a person well enough or not ending our dealings with another soon enough. Life itself keeps presenting us with occasions, but it is up to us to grasp them when they come, even to seek them out.And there are those who can teach us how to treat people as they require, because we have had no luck with them in the past.This is precisely one of the merits of Joan Cuscó’s book on Francesc Pujols, because Cuscó has treated the man with diligence. He has impressed this treatment upon us for some years now. In his Francesc Pujols i Morgades, el filòsof heterodox [Francesc Pujols i Morgades, the Heterodox Philosopher] (Barcelona, 2008), Cuscó gave us an approach to Pujols that was at once about Pujols and from Pujols, in a successful attempt to engage in dialogue with our culture framed in its European context.The book reviewed many subjects raised by a figure of multiple faces and facets, one we had not known how best to treat, largely because of the interruptions in our cultural tradition. In Francesc Pujols i la filosofia [Francesc Pujols and Philosophy] (Barcelona, 2012), Cuscó included not only an introductory overview, but also papers and lectures that Pujols himself had dedicated explicitly to philosophy. Now Cuscó’s new book stakes a claim for the man’s philosophy. After an introduction of his numerous facets and a defence of his philosophy, the added merit of Cuscó’s book Francesc Pujols, filòsof [Francesc Pujols, Philosopher], his third on the subject to be published by Afers, is that it shows us a sound way to treat Pujols. Before exploring the content in greater detail, though, the distinctive imprint of Vilafranca del Penedès should be noted in the renewed spotlight on

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Pujols. We have only to follow the trail of recent editions of his works, many of which have been rescued from neglect and even virtual disappearance. As a spur to the reader looking for a way to treat Pujols, let me mention the reissue of Vilafranca del Penedès en la Catalunya moderna [Vilafranca del Penedès in Modern Catalonia] (l’Odissea, Vilafranca del Penedès, 2003), El nuevo Pascual o la prostitución [The New Pascal or Prostitution] (Andana, Vilafranca del Penedès, 2005), Llibre de Job [Book of Job] (Andana,Vilafranca del Penedès, 2007) and the seminal Concepte General de la Ciència Catalana [General Concept of Catalan Science] (Andana,Vilafranca del Penedès, 2014). The city is handsomely repaying its debt to Pujols’s local ancestry. What is clear from Cuscó’s latest book is that Francesc Pujols is deserving of the name “philosopher”. And anybody who is unduly exercised by this claim might do well to revisit what he understands by philosopher.The original appearances of the word “philosopher” refer to men who stumbled into holes in the ground while gazing at the stars or who hung in baskets dangling in the air or who were pale and white from so much reading and discussion. Pujols is not this kind of philosopher, but he might be one of the sort who had a golden thigh, making everything they wore or carried, house included, according to their own peculiar tastes, or one of those who mocked all preceding philosophers with good humour, which is the sense of humour possessed by a person who laughs at himself too. In this way, Pujols joins together just as much or more of Aristophanes as he does of Plato and there is something, too, of Apuleius and Lucian. Joan Cuscó presents two texts that are extremely thorough and conscientiously written to be read—not all texts are written chiefly to be read.The first offers a treatment of Pujols’s Concepte general de la ciència catalana. It gauges the work’s value and sets out a way to read this singular book, that is, how to treat it. So how then should one read Pujols? Pujols himself shows how: in this respect, the helpful hand of a person like Joan Cuscó who knows the man is a guarantee against misfiring. Cuscó, above all, knows where to situate the sense of humour needed to approach Pujols. In the second text, which examines Ramon Llull and the Catalan philosophical tradition, the author inserts Pujols within a tradition, while at the same time showing how to treat the tradition—in any manner at all, except with disdain or ignorance. Pujols, who mocked most Catalan philosophers, embodies a defence of the work of thought grounded in its own circumstance and its own antecedents.

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A last, but not least, point to raise. Joan Cuscó writes at a key spot in his text: “knowing how philosophy is rooted in our culture, and in the authors who feel closest to us, is a cardinal tool for education and for democracy; to understand and be understood.To bring us nearer the major problems posed by philosophy by rediscovering the riches of the environment we inhabit (to live better)”. Certainly, these words could frame a programme for a university town.


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avier Serra: La filosofia en la cultura catalana [Philosophy in Catalan Culture] Afers, Catarroja, 2013, 210 pp.

Sal·lus Herrero Societat de Filosofia del País Valencià (The Valencian Country Philosophical Society) salus_gomar@hotmail.com

In his essays on the new philosophical historiography taking shape in Catalonia, Xavier Serra sets himself apart from, fixes boundaries to, defines, dismantles, inspects and analyzes the recesses of the history of Catalan philosophy, from the more or less prominent thinkers to the relatively minor ones. More than inspect it, he exhumes and dissects this philosophy, and strips it to the bone; with the eyes of an entomologist he peers into the darkest corners. He even scrutinizes the work of the most undistinguished of academic philosophers, or the translations undertaken by Cambó’s Bernat Metge Foundation in order to analyze the imprint they have left to this day and to show the effects of the ravages of the Civil War, and the ensuing exile and the Francoist repression which sought to eradicate the whole of Catalan culture. “They were many things that suffered destruction with the arrival of Franco,” Serra notes. In the preface he begins by saying: “Contemporary Catalan philosophy - and I suppose the reader agrees with me on this - has been undistinguished and minor in character, and has had a very weak speculative force. It is a philosophy, when all is said and done, of imitators and disseminators, working, furthermore, in an environment dominated by mistrust and arthritic survivals.” As Nietzsche said, thinking is mostly a biological matter, of the guts, the body; one often thinks, or always thinks, with the blood and liver, while attempting to disguise it as “civility.” However, Xavier Serra, rather than playing down and lessening the impact of his strong assertion about the weakness of philosophy in Catalan culture - of its undistinguished and minor status – reaffirms it with “the exceptions to the rule” (which they are not): “Someone such as d’Ors, or Fuster, or Pujols, is unclassifiable and they cannot even be considered as “philosophers’, as they do not conform to the rules and routines of the “guild of practitioners’.” Serra notes that most of the specialists in the field have limited themselves, sooner or later, to following in the footsteps of the currents and schools that emerged in the British Isles or the United States, in metropolitan

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France, and in Germany and Austria before 1939. Following Fuster, even imitating his “vitality”, he notes that “language is a decisive factor when it comes to explaining this geographical exclusivity. Once Latin had been put aside as an instrument of intellectual communication, certain other languages - English, French, German - took on plethorical possibilities for sustaining culture (...). The [philosophical] disquisitions of the last few centuries have been in these languages. And it is not always an easy or straightforward matter to make them available in other languages.” To translate these writings from French, English or German into Catalan ought not to be such an arduous task were it not for other, more deep-rooted factors, which have helped to undermine and ruin the possibilities for our literature and philosophy. As Serra puts it, “the other causes of this minor status are to be found in political or religious conditioning, or the vicissitudes of academic organization and of the policies of publishers.” This being the basis, the excellent thinkers are given the same attention as the shoddy, and the positive aspects have the same weight as the negative aspects. Obviously, the image that results in the case of these subsiduary cultures does not fit into the scheme of “universal history.” And it is exempt from the “viscosity of panegyrics.”

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There is a diagnosis in the chapter entitled “Opening or closing borders” about the intellectual folly which prevailed in the Valencian Country in the nineteenth century (the Principate was not immune to this either). An intellectual folly which was “very profound, in fact extremely profound, and impossible to dispel. It was a folly that pervaded all the institutions of the country (...). For Fillol, a professor of “General Literature and Spanish Literature”, the “native language” was an affliction and rotten from its inception”. In his “Notes per a una rectificació” (“Notes for a Rectification”) and “La filosofia al País Valencià entre el 1919 i el 1939”, (“Philosophy in the Valencian Country between 1919 and 1939”), among other things, Serra tells of the failed championing of humanism by Joan Lluís Vives in the postwar period. And there are also “La filosofia catalana durant la II República i les primeres dècades del franquisme”, (“Catalan Philosophy during the Second Republic and the First Decades of the Franco Regime”), “Les traduccions de filosofia en català (1900-1960)” (“Translations of Philosophy into Catalan (1900-1960)”) “(Joan Crexells, Carles Cardó, Jordi Arquer), and “Les traduccions d’assaig en l’edició catalana contemporània” (“Translation of the Essay in Contemporary Catalan Publications”) (Jordi Solé Turà, Miquel Adrover, Joan Francesc Mira, Josep Palàcios i Joan Fuster, Josep Lluís Blasco, Joan Leita, Gustau Muñoz, Manuel Carbonell, etc.). Serra also indicates the origin of these writings and provides an extensive bibliography of Catalan philosophy.


Journal of Catalan Intellectual History. Issues 9&10. 2015. P. 127-129 Xavier Serra: La filosofia en la cultura catalana [Philosophy in Catalan Culture]

One possible conclusion as regards translations, which is worth seeing against the background of the political arena that was “opened up” during the so-called “transition”, is that “with the statutes of autonomy of the Balearic Islands, Catalonia, and the Valencian Country, a possibility emerged – one insufficient in itself, but real nevertheless - that had been blocked off many years before, that of education: universities, colleges, schools of all kinds. It was necessary to respond to new needs, this time strictly educational ones. Speaking of “cultural normality” “would be excessive and inappropriate.The “normality” which we enjoy - as much as we do enjoy it - turns out to be terribly abnormal and precarious. And, for that reason, it was necessary to be ever-vigilant in any way.” During the dictatorship, books in Catalan had been banned, in many ambits the language had been prohibited, translations were prohibited, and when the publication of some little book or other was allowed, it had to be a book of religious devotions or something localised and folkloric. In this way it was made clear that our language was useful only as a local peculiarity for the aggrandisement of the “whole”, which was the Spanish motherland, Castilian in character. In the state, only the Castilian nation, language and culture had the right to exist and be universally recognized. As is happening right now in the Valencian Country, in the Western Fringe (the Catalan-speaking border area administratively in Aragon), and the Balearic Islands (and there attempts to bring this about in the Principate too), the process of destruction continues in order to complete the work only half done by the former dictatorship. Serra’s book highlights the fact that contemporary Catalan philosophy has had “weak speculative force”:“at the end of the twentieth century, therefore, Catalan literature still showed a clear deficiency in the field of the essay. And the lack of translations was just one aspect of the problem. Too often Catalan authors still preferred to publish in Spanish, seeking an illusory wider readership.” And this is how Serra concludes his text, and in my opinion, after the analysis, the exhumation, the diagnosis and the exploration, the foundations are put in place to construct a philosophy in keeping with the times, a philosophy which, as well as being devoted to reproducing the embalmed museum pieces of history, connects with present-day philosophical currents and strives not only to understand the world but also to transform it, analyzing the problems of current-day totalitarianisms, of feminism, of environmentalism, of pacifism, of the movements of stateless nations, of alternative social movements for social change. One concrete action for a philosophical normalization in Catalonia, to my mind, would be to translate Ferrater Mora’s Dictionary of Philosophy into Catalan. As if we were a normal country, made up of free women and men able to study and live fully in Catalan (for example, the cinema, the law-courts, legal documents, philosophy classes, nuclear physics, telecommunications ...), as if we were living in a democracy and had our own structure as a state.

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Journal of Catalan Intellectual History. Issues 9&10. 2015, p. 127-129 SAL路LUS HERRERO

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ercè Rius: D’Ors, filósofo [D’Ors, Philosopher]

Publicacions de la Universitat de València, València, 2014, 297 pp.

Josep Monserrat Molas University of Barcelona jmonserrat@ub.edu

Twenty years of ceaseless dedication has enabled the author to deepen and clarify her perspectives and intuitions about Eugeni d’Ors, with respect both to his membership in the philosophers’ guild and to the affinities of many of his considerations and approaches with some of the strands that run through the philosophy of the twentieth century. Without any aim to justify an interplay of influences, a certain air, spirit or “angel” gives the author license to weave a number of suggestive selective affinities. Within the upheavals of our cultural and academic world, the specific treatment of d’Ors’s philosophy, which has had a positive reception at different stages and in certain political quarters, contrasts negatively with an insistent disaffection, on political grounds, within certain other academic and cultural arenas. Now is not the time to address this matter, so let us try to remain at a certain distance. An initial reception of d’Ors’s philosophy included not only the immediate discrepancies of Ramon Turró, Jaume Serra Hunter and Tomàs Carreras Artau, among others, but also the critiques of his own followers and closest collaborators, such as Joan Crexells, Josep M. Capdevila and Alexandre Galí, to name but a few. From the perspective of his philosophy, attention should also be given to the early reactions from the Church and left-wing politicians. Since the Spanish civil war (1936-39), every attempt to reclaim what might go by the label, even vaguely, of “Catalan philosophical thought” has included the figure of d’Ors (whether the approach was that of Alfred Badia, Alexandre Galí, Josep Ferrater Mora or Eusebi Colomer), and they have treated him—if in no other way—as an inescapable piece of the story. In many cases, this recognition was not without criticism or effusive praise and it typically took place on the same controversial ground that d’Ors had staked out for himself. In this case, the adjective “controversial” is perhaps necessary in order to do justice to the truest

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Journal of Catalan Intellectual History. Issues 9&10. 2015, p. 131-133 JOSEP MONSERRAT MOLAS

sense of the man’s pugnacity. D’Ors’s work always kept to an extraordinarily violent terrain, one of cultural violence, peopled by insiders and outsiders, the blessed and the damned, so it is hardly strange, though it pains us, that even today his reception should be situated on that same terrain. Ironically, it is a sign of his success. At this point, though, would it not be useful to entertain the first steps towards a comprehensive d’Ors, adopting an approach that eschews the ground on which he situated himself, in order to understand the man and his ground better? Being unable to do so would be a sign of our academic immaturity if you will. But if that is genuinely where we are, perhaps we could at least agree on some foundations for such a treatment: “the complete d’Ors” might be a start. The publication of his oeuvre in a Catalan edition is not only imperative but also indispensable to obtain a rounded view of d’Ors. Recognition here needs to go to work being done to recover d’Ors’s unpublished writings currently scattered in various archives. One example is Xavier Pla’s edition of La curiositat [Curiosity], Quaderns Crema, Barcelona, 2009. Work also needs to begin on d’Ors the individual.

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Gaining a fuller view of d’Ors, we will be better able to resituate the pieces of his biography, his output, and his varied and complicated reception. One line of reception, the one in the arena of Catalan academic philosophy, has been woven out of a number of strands, including but not limited to those of José M. Valverde, the students of Emilio Lledó, the Col·legi de Filosofia (a philosophical society formed in the years of the country’s transition to democracy) and others committed to restoring the autonomy enjoyed briefly by the University of Barcelona during the Republic. Leaving aside any links that all this may have had with d’Ors’s own agenda from the nineteen-forties until his death in 1954, the book currently in our sights is a good example of an ongoing reception within the context of a philosophical assessment of the man’s work. Following her teacher and director of studies Xavier Rubert de Ventós, Rius nevertheless strikes out in new directions, offering in D’Ors, filósofo [D’Ors, Philosopher] an assortment of her own studies of the man since the appearance of her monograph La filosofia d’Eugeni d’Ors [The Philosophy of Eugeni d’Ors] (Curial, Barcelona, 1991). Both books fall within what I call a “philosophical assessment”, though if we accede to the author’s intent, the label “reassessment” might be more fitting, especially in the case of the second volume. This is because a major part of Rius’s contribution is to show how the spirit of d’Ors (his “angel”) can be linked to European philosophical concerns and formulations that occupy much of the twentieth century. A characteristic feature of Rius’s reception is that she hones in quite early (on page 19 of each of the two books) on a time and place that coalesced in one of d’Ors’s heteronyms and in a single work: Xènius and the Glosari [his Glossary]. This is the perspective needed to


Journal of Catalan Intellectual History. Issues 9&10. 2015. P. 131-133 Mercè Rius: D’Ors, filósofo [D’Ors, Philosopher]

understand and receive what Rius’s latest book has to offer in its two diverse sections. The first section contains five studies that have previously appeared in a variety of publications and are here revised and translated into Spanish. The studies present overviews (chapter I.2 frames what Rius calls a “cultural project” that she has published before under the title of “The Philosophy of Eugeni d’Ors”), offer analyses of some of d’Ors’s works (chapter I.3: Oceanografia del tedi [Oceanography of Tedium]), and explore central motifs (chapter I.1 looks at Xènius and the “heart of the city”; chapter I.4 focuses on “angels, not dragons”). Particularly notable perhaps is the crucial fifth chapter (“The Secret of Philosophy: a Final Balance”), which shows the extent to which d’Ors’s philosophy, viewed as a whole, can be thought of as reflecting a will to system, based on his 1947 work The Secret of Philosophy: on balance, Rius finds a reiteration of the fragmentariness, which she values positively, and of the fractal nature typical of d’Ors’s approach. It should not be forgotten that d’Ors’s The Secret of Philosophy first appeared in print two years after the book by José Luis López Aranguren entitled The Philosophy of Eugeni d’Ors. Rius takes stock of d’Ors’s readings and his journey of discovery and meditation, and she engages in dialogue with his text, bringing a wealth of in-depth knowledge. In the second section of her book, the “angel” or spirit moves with greater freedom. To d’Ors’s pyrotechnics, Rius adds her own skill at finding connections with contemporary philosophy. Enriching his prose, she weaves an entire cloth of new resonances and references. A venture of this kind, centred on rereading and comparative reading, proves nonetheless familiar in a standardised cultural tradition. D’Ors, filósofo by Mercè Rius shows how to write philosophically about someone else’s philosophical writing—in a spirit of renewal, not as a restorer of mummies in a museum. This brings us full circle, though, in that looking at matters as they are looked at by guests at a party or festival that is no longer their own, does not mean ceasing to grasp that the party or the writing was once authored or celebrated by somebody. Translation from Catalan by Joel Graham

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English edition

2015

Issues 9&10

Journal of Catalan Intellectual History Revista d’Història de la Filosofia Catalana

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issues Journal of Catalan 9&10 Intellectual History

2015

Revista d’Història de la Filosofia Catalana

JOCIH The Journal of Catalan Intellectual History (JOCIH) is a biannual electronic and printed publication created with the twofold purpose of fostering and disseminating studies on Catalan Philosophy and Intellectual History at an international level. The Journal’s Internet version is published in Catalan and English at the Open Journal System of the Institute of Catalan Studies (IEC) and its paper version is published in English by Huygens Editorial, Barcelona. The JOCIH is edited by four Catalan public universities – the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), the University of Barcelona (UB), the University of Valencia (UV) and the University of the Balearic Islands (UIB) – and by three academic societies – the Catalan Philosophical Society, the Valencian Philosophical Society and the Mallorcan Philosophical Association. The JOCIH also draws on the support of the Institute of Catalan Studies (IEC), the Institute of Law and Technology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (IDT-UAB) and the Ramon Llull Institute.

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As its name suggests, our journal focuses mainly on philosophy. However, we also understand intellectual history, in a broader sense, to be a synonymous with cultural heritage and the JOCIH therefore regards cultural history, the history of ideas and the history of philosophy as different branches of a single tree. And for that reason we not only publish historical analyses of various subjects in philosophy, the humanities, the social sciences, religion, art and other related subjects, but also offer critical reviews of the latest publications in the field, memory documentaries and exhaustive bio-bibliographies of various eighteenth- to twentyfirst-century Catalan, Valencian, Balearic and Northern Catalan authors.

Journal of Catalan Intellectual History  

Issues 9&10 - 2015

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