*Madariaga, Salvador de

Salvador de Madariaga

Salvador de Madariaga



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Madariaga, Salvador de

Spanish, 1886–1978
Salvador de Madariaga can be considered a truly international European. Educated in Spain and France, he traveled extensively and lived in England for long periods of his life; he had assignments and held positions in Spain, England, France, and Switzerland; he wrote essays in their original form in Spanish, English, and French. After graduating from the School of Mines in Paris and briefly working at his profession in Madrid, he dedicated the rest of his life to the exercise of his intellectual interests, including journalism, as well as several years as a world public servant (the League of Nations), as a Spanish civil servant for the Spanish Republic (Ambassador in Washington and Paris), and as congressman and cabinet minister of justice and education. Because of his pacifist convictions he left Spain during the Civil War in order to work on a possible reconciliation between the contenders; he made a further attempt to broker a rapprochement between victors and vanquished in 1962. With the victory of General Franco in 1939, Madariaga established his residence in England, where he continued his intellectual work. He returned only briefly to Spain in 1976 after Franco’s death. In sum, his life, his work, even the languages in which the ideas of this multifaceted personality were expressed in print bear the seal of European internationality.
Madariaga wrote essays for the most part, but he also wrote novels, drama, and poetry. He is mainly known for his essays of literary interpretation, as well as those analyzing Spanish culture, history, politics, and biography. His literary interest is apparent in Shelley and Calderón (1920), The Genius of Spain (1923), Guía del lector del “Quijote” (1926; Don Quixote: An Introductory Essay in Psychology), De Galdós a Lorca (1960; From Galdós to Lorca)—primarily the product of his years as professor of Spanish literature in Oxford, where he was a Fellow at Exeter College between 1928 and 1931. After the Spanish Civil War he returned to live in Oxford, where he pursued his intellectual interests.
The political essays are a corollary to Madariaga’s work in public service.
Disarmament (1929) is a consequence of his participation in the League of Nations, first as a member of the Press Division, later as head of the Disarmament Section. His interventions in Spanish politics and as a public servant of the Spanish government are compiled in Discursos internacionales (1934; International speeches). His ruminations on liberal democracy are part of Anarquía y jerarquía (1935; Anarchy or Hierarchy), where he admonishes both left and right that hierarchy is the very architecture of the state and must be saved. He distinguishes between liberty and democracy, the latter being defined as a set of practices that can be revised and adjusted.
However, Madariaga is best known internationally for his work interpreting Spanish culture, addressed to Spaniards as well as non-Spaniards. Beginning in 1930, he published Spain: A Modern History (1930), and went on to write a trilogy of biographies on Columbus, Cortés, and Bolívar. These were complemented by The Rise of the Spanish American Empire (1947) and The Fall of the Spanish American Empire (1947), where Madariaga elaborates a controversial explanation of why that empire fell. His theory of the emancipation of the Spanish kingdom in America is based on two principles. The first, of a biological nature, originates in the integration of Spaniards with the native population, resulting in a land that conquers its conquerors when the Creole stops feeling Spanish and begins to feel American. The second principle, of a legal nature, considers that Spanish America was a kingdom rather than a set of colonies. Therefore when the Spanish crown fell in Bayonne in 1808 during the Napoleonic wars, the kingdoms in America were left without a king. Had they promulgated Ferdinand VII as king, only then could they have remained a kingdom.
One of his most widely known essays, Englishmen, Frenchmen, Spaniards (1928), was inspired by Madariaga watching the English and French sort out their differences while he served as the disarmament chief in the League of Nations. He characterizes the English as people of action, the French as people of thought, and the Spanish as people of passion, with Miguel de Unamuno as the model for his assertion. His linguistic versatility (he was trilingual), which manifested itself in all of his work, can perhaps be observed most vividly in this instance. According to Madariaga the original text was written directly in English in the first part, in French for two chapters, and the rest in Spanish. By the same token, Madariaga states in his memoirs his preference for writing historical works in English because he felt he could exercise more discipline in his writing and be more objective.
Madariaga’s essay discourse is more expository than argumentative, but as is proper in the nature of the essay, in trying to illuminate the reader there is an implied desire to promote acceptance or appreciation of the presented viewpoint. His essays originate in observation and intuitive knowledge, which provide the grounds for interpretation of the observed (as in Englishmen, Frenchmen, Spaniards). They also draw on personal experience (e.g. the political essays) or on reflection as well as documentation, with
various degrees of objectivity and opinion in interpreting sources. Intuition plays an important part in some essays, with a degree of imagination that reveals intuitive finesse.
As an essayist Madariaga did not produce treatises or learned articles with critical apparatus. His essays are discourses in the true sense of the word. Being a generalist with a broad cultural and intellectual knowledge, he did not address a specialized readership or follow a specific methodology. His texts mirror the contemporary reader’s world. He aimed to promote understanding among men, in an engaging form, expressed in flowing language but based on solid information, honest and acute observation, and intuition. His essays are knowledgeable, earnest, persuasive, written with skill and subtlety, and inspired by a spirit of controversy.
Madariaga was respected for his spirit of tolerance and conciliation. It has been said justly that he was a true universalist at home in the international society of world culture.


Salvador Madariaga y Rojo. Born 23 July 1886 in La Coruña, Galicia. Studied at the Collège Chaptal, Paris, until 1906; École Polytechnique, Paris, 1906–08; École Supérieure des Mines, Paris, until 1911. Worked on railroads in Spain, 1911–16. Married Constance Helen Margaret Archibald, 1911 (died, 1970): two daughters. Staff member, the London Titnes, 1916–21. Staff member, 1921, head of Disarmament Section, 1922– 27, and Spanish delegate, 1931–36, League of Nations, Geneva. Chair of Spanish literature, Oxford University, 1927–31, and from 1939. Spanish Ambassador to the United States, 1931, and France, 1932–34; minister of education, 1934, then minister of justice. Moved to England during the Spanish Civil War and lived there for most of his life. Married Emilie Szekely Rauman, 1970. Elected to the Royal Spanish Academy (received, 1976). Returned to visit Spain after Franco’s death, 1976.
Awards: Ere Nouvelle Prize; Europa Prize, 1963; Goethe Prize, 1967; honorary degrees from seven universities; Orders of Merit from several countries; Grand Cross, Legion of Honor (France); Knight Grand Cross of Order of the Republic (Spain), Died in Locarno, Switzerland, 14 December 1978.

Selected Writings
Essays and Related Prose
La guerra desde Londres (Times articles), 1918
Shelley and Calderon, and Other Essays on English and Spanish Poetry, 1920; as Ensayos anglo-españoles, 1922
The Genius of Spain, and Other Essays on Spanish Contemporary Literature, 1923
Guia del lector del “Quijote”: Ensayo psicologico sobre el Quijote, 1926; as Don Quixote: An Introductory Essay in Psychology, 1934; revised edition, 1961
Englishmen, Frenchmen, Spaniards: An Essay in Comparative Psychology, 1928
Disarmament, 1929
Americans, 1930
Spain: A Modern History, 1930; as España: Ensayo de historia contemporánea, 1931;
revised edition, 1934
Discursos internacionales, 1934
Anarquía y jerarquía, 1935; as Anarchy or Hierarchy, 1937
On Hamlet, 1948
Bosquejo de Europa, 1951; as Portrait of Europe, 1952
Essays with a Purpose, 1954
Presente y porvenir de Hispanoamérica, y otros ensayos, 1959
De Galdos a Lorca, 1960
Retrato de un hombre de pie, 1964; as Portrait of a Man Standing, 1968
Memorias de un federalista, 1967
Mujeres españolas, 1972
Obras escogidas: Ensayos, 1972
A la orilla del río de los sucesos (selected essays), 1975
Mi respuesta: Artículos publicados en la revista “Ibérica” (1954–1970), edited by Victoria Kent, 1982

Other writings: many novels, poetry, plays, biographies of Christopher Columbus
(1940), Hernán Cortés (1941), and Simón Bolívar (1951), works on the Spanish American empire, and memoirs.

Further Reading
Bénitez, Rubén, “Madariaga e Hispanoamérica,” in Studies in Honor of José Rubia Barcia, edited by Roberta Johnson and Paul C.Smith, Lincoln: Nebraska Society of Spanish and SpanishAmerican Studies, 1982:27–38
Caminals Gost, Rose, Salvador de Madariaga and National Character (dissertation), Barcelona: University of Barcelona, 1986
Carvalho, Joaquina de Montezuma, “¿Habrá sido Cristóbal Colón un mitómano?,” Norte 364 (1991):23–27
Cifo Gonzalez, Manuel, “El tema de Cervantes en Ortega y Gasset: Meditaciones contrastadas con las de Américo Castro, Salvador de Madariaga, Ramiro de Maeztu y Azórin,” Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos 403–05 (January-March 1984):308–16
Cuence Toribio, Jose M., “Madariaga, historiador de la contemporaneidad,” Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos 429 (1986): 141–46
Fawcett, Michael Leon, Salvador de Madariaga: The Essays (dissertation), Los Angeles: University of California, 1979
Sacks, Norman, “The Man Who Entered Through the Window: The Memoirs of Salvador de Madariaga,” Hispania 59 (1976): 942–51
Sacks, Norman, “Salvador de Madariaga and George Orwell: Parallels and Contrasts,” in Estudios in Honor of Rodolfo OrozSantiago, edited by Marino Pizarro Pizarro, Santiago: University of Chile, 1985:285–97
Sacks, Norman, “Salvador de Madariaga’s Interest in Language,” in East Meets West: Homage to Edgar C.Knotvlton, edited by Roger L.Hadlich and J.D.Ellsworth, Honolulu: University of Hawaii, 1988:246–66
Torre, Guillermo de, “Rumbo literario de Salvador de Madariaga,” Revista de Occidente 17 (1967):368–69

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