The Battle over Spanish between 1800 and 2000: Language Ideologies and Hispanic Intellectuals

By José Del Valle; Luis Gabriel-Stheeman | Go to book overview

5

Menéndez Pidal, national regeneration and the linguistic utopia

José del Valle

La función histórica de la utopía no consiste precisamente en traducir a la realidad aquí y ahora…sus contenidos; sino en ensanchar las posibilidades históricas de un pueblo a través de un enriquecimiento de su conciencia colectiva. 1

(Jover Zamora 1991:189)


Pidal and the turn-of-the-century crisis

When at the end of the nineteenth century Menéndez Pidal emerged as a distinguished intellectual figure in the Spanish academic and cultural scene, his beloved nation was in the midst of a most disconcerting crisis of identity. As the Spanish Empire finally crumbled, Spain's image in the international arena reached an all-time low. Most of its American colonies had become politically independent a few decades earlier, and their leaders had begun to build their own cultural and political destinies with models from nations other than the former metropolis. Pidal earned his professorship at the University of Madrid in 1899, a few months after the last remnants of the empire were lost in 1898's heart-wrenching defeat against the United States, the new economic and military power that now spread its dominance over the American continent. Within Spain, regionalist and nationalist movements-with both cultural and political fronts-were emerging in parts of the north, in regions such as the Basque Country, Catalonia and Galicia, threatening Spain's cultural and political unity and its viability as a nation, and hurting the pride and aspirations of liberal Spanish nationalism. 2 In addition to the colonial disaster and the nationalist outbreak, Pidal also experienced how the social order and lifestyle conceived by liberalism-not to mention conservatism-were placed in jeopardy, as the anarchist and socialist movements gained political influence and as the voices of the lower classes found their way to the privileged discursive spaces of politics and literature. 3

Knowing that their country was perceived, both inside and outside its borders, as intellectually and politically decadent, Spanish intellectuals

-78-

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The Battle over Spanish between 1800 and 2000: Language Ideologies and Hispanic Intellectuals
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Biographical Notes ix
  • Preface xii
  • Acknowledgments xiv
  • 1 - Nationalism, Hispanismo, and Monoglossic Culture 1
  • 2 - Linguistic Anti-Academicism and Hispanic Community 14
  • 3 - The Ideological Construction of an Empirical Base 42
  • 4 - Historical Linguistics and Cultural History 64
  • 5 - Menéndez Pidal, National Regeneration and the Linguistic Utopia 78
  • 6 - "For Their Own Good" 106
  • 7 - A Nobleman Grabs the Broom 134
  • 8 - José María Arguedas 167
  • 9 - "Codo Con Codo" 193
  • References 217
  • Index 231
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