Galician Cultural Identity in the Works of Ramón Otero Pedrayo

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In the 1920’s, the grouping of Galician intellectuals known as the Xeración Nós began, through their wide-ranging literary output and political activities, to articulate and reinterpret essential notions of Galician cultural identity after several centuries of cultural repression and centralization. This book examines both the nexus of inherited positions informing this cultural recovery, and its original reformulation, through the works of the most prominent intellectual of the Xeración Nós, Ramón Otero Pedrayo (1888 - 1976). Otero was an important figure in Galician intellectual and cultural life over the larger part of the twentieth century, especially when expression of Galician distinctiveness, whether political or cultural, was severely limited and largely discouraged by the Franco regime. He is particularly deserving of an in-depth study, especially since this theme so intrinsically associated with him has not yet been written upon from a perspective of cultural history, and also given his sheer intellectual versatility and position as the leading cultural anthropologist of that generation of Galician writers and thinkers. This work is, therefore, an intellectual history of the cultural activity prevalent in the northwest of Spain - from 1918 to 1936 and beyond - and its interaction with other notions of Spanish identity.


“ ... To the dedicated student of intellectual history, Otero’s gargantuan and multi-faceted production, as I quickly determined, offers an almost incomparable, if daunting, range. It is no exaggeration, meanwhile, to say that, were Galician language and culture to possess the international status of English, French or German, then Ramón Otero Pedrayo would be spoken of in the same breath as a Thomas Carlyle, a Chateaubriand or a Friedrich Schlegel ... What Dr. Patterson so admirably uncovers is the depth, as well as range, of a man whose own disposition to read, reflect and learn seemed to know no boundaries: a man who understood the profound humanity of language, landscape and geography, and who sought to turn into written expression the mysterious and transcendent possibilities of that elusive German term Volksgeist with a greater degree of success than any other Spanish writer I have known ... Otero Pedrayo is an enormously rewarding author, just as Dr. Craig Patterson’s sympathetic engagement with his writing has produced an enormously rewarding book. I invite anyone who is moved by the history of ideas to profit from it.” – (from the Preface) Professor Derek Flitter, University of Exeter

“The subject of this book is a man of enormous erudition and vast output, and, despite his central importance in modern Galician culture, has been little studied ... Dr. Craig Patterson has the enthusiasm, initiative, energy, and intellectual ability to take on the task of studying Otero Pedrayo’s works, and he has produced what I believe will be regarded as the definitive work on this writer ... an extraordinary work of scholarship ...” – Dr. John Rutherford, The Queen’s College

“ ... In the Galician context, the ‘Xeración Nós’ had an unquestionable protagonism, and the polymath Ramón Otero Pedrayo was one of the grouping’s outstanding intellectual figures. Dr. Patterson demonstrates, in this work, a complete familiarity with the constellation of writings of different characteristics (articles, novels, essays, monographs, and academic papers) which emerged from the pen of this prolific writer ... a solid, valuable and original study on an undeniably important facet of an author who is key to contemporary Galician culture ...” – Dr. Henrique Monteagudo, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela

Table of Contents

Author’s Note
1. Introduction: Otero Pedrayo in Context
2. Nature and Landscape
3. Language
4. Religion
5. Nationhood
Appendix of Translations

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