Penned by women

Enjoy reading original excerpts of letters sent to Unamuno by women of his generation

By Unamuno House-Museum, Salamanca University

Maribel R. Fidalgo and Adriana Paíno Ambrosio

Letter from Marianne CouchoudUnamuno House-Museum, Salamanca University

Observations, concerns, confidences, intellectual pursuits … these are just some of the subjects women discuss in their letters to Unamuno. Find out who these women were and why they wrote to him.

Did you know that the Unamuno House-Museum has letters from more than 600 women who wrote to the writer during his lifetime? Emilia Pardo Bazán, Concha Espina, Carmen de Burgos, María de Maeztu and Margarita Xirgu are just some of the names you'll find in this valuable collection of letters from women. Their study provides insights on the role women played in the first third of the twentieth century, the social changes taking place, the cultural and political issues of the time, and a multitude of day-to-day concerns that the women chose to share with the celebrated thinker.

Ángela BarcoUnamuno House-Museum, Salamanca University

Ángela Barco, writer and journalist

April 11, 1907

“Of course, I have absolutely no idea what you might think of a woman who also attempts to write, to say something in what is an almost exclusively masculine domain. But, I can assure you that I am not one of those who you no doubt find as obnoxious as I do.”

Carmen CondeUnamuno House-Museum, Salamanca University

Carmen Conde Abellán, poet

February 23, 1930

“This is just a very small homage, but I can offer you no other: I'm sending you my first book of poems: BROCAL (Parapet). Read it when you have nothing better to do, and you will get a better idea of my spirit, full of love for freedom in its purest form and affection for you.”

Carmen de BurgosUnamuno House-Museum, Salamanca University

Carmen de Burgos, journalist and women's rights activist

July 21, 1903

“Dear Sir, my admiration for you has emboldened me to write to you, to beg of you to honor with one of your precious works the Almanac we are going to publish, the prospectus for which I am attaching."

Enriqueta CarbonellUnamuno House-Museum, Salamanca University

Enriqueta Carbonell, wife of Protestant pastor Atilano Coco

[Undated]

“My husband is accused of being a Mason, which he is, as they made him one in England in 1920 or 1921. He asked me to contact you to see what he should do. My husband, it goes without saying, has not been involved in politics in any way."

Letter from Enriqueta Carbonell to Miguel de Unamuno, Enriqueta Carbonell, October 1936, From the collection of: Unamuno House-Museum, Salamanca University
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Concepcion del Valle Inclán (20th century)Unamuno House-Museum, Salamanca University

Concepción del Valle Inclán, daughter of the writer Ramón del Valle-Inclán

[Undated]

“Given your enormous prestige and influence, can you do anything for us? A single word from you to the Galician authorities would have dramatic results, especially since my husband has never belonged to any political party, association or labor union (...)”

Concha EspinaUnamuno House-Museum, Salamanca University

Concha Espina, writer

January 11, 1929

“I wanted to tell you—though no doubt I expressed myself poorly —that I too knew nothing definitive about your possible situation, but I assumed that your extremely prestigious name would resonate in Stockholm for the reason mentioned and that you would not be lacking awards from the Nobel Committee.”

Emilia Pardo BazanUnamuno House-Museum, Salamanca University

Emilia Pardo Bazán, novelist

[Undated]

“I need to shield myself due to the stain of my original sin as a woman. I've seen in practice that they need only the smallest opening to say that I'm too slippery for even the Devil to grab hold of. They would believe in a meditated revenge against the scholars who voted against me (...)”

Emilia Pardo Bazán postcard, From the collection of: Unamuno House-Museum, Salamanca University
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Enriqueta Garcia InfanzónUnamuno House-Museum, Salamanca University

Enriqueta García Infanzón, journalist

September 14, 1932

“I wish it corresponded to the idea formed by you of your character, but I in no way expect my opinions to be respected: while I am truly liberal, I also am broadminded (...)”

Gabriela MistralUnamuno House-Museum, Salamanca University

Gabriela Mistral, poet, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1945

[Undated]

“My plea to all of you comes down to this: that each of you separately send a personal telegram to President Portes Gil, briefly requesting that he allow the attorney Vasconcelos to leave the country without any danger to his life."

Josefina de la SernaUnamuno House-Museum, Salamanca University

Josefina de la Serna, writer

February 16, 1930

“Two months ago, I married another great admirer of yours who used to converse with you from time to time in Paris: the guitarist Sainz de la Maza. But I want the portrait dedicated to me alone: he doesn't know that I am asking you to do this, and it will be a very happy surprise for him.”

Lola MembrivesUnamuno House-Museum, Salamanca University

Lola Membrives, actress

April 14, 1934

“In this national company that performs in one of the main theaters here, the San Martín, there is a leading actor, Mr. Arata, who is exceptionally well suited for the starring role in The Other. I myself would direct the rehearsals (...)”

Magda DonatoUnamuno House-Museum, Salamanca University

Magda Donato, journalist

March 5, 1923

“And, for this reason, given that your advice hasn't guided me in terms of my interpretation, it would be a big relief for me if you would be so kind to tell me how you see your Fedra, that is, how, more or less, you would dress her."

Margarita FerrerasUnamuno House-Museum, Salamanca University

Margarita Ferreras, writer

March 26, 1934

“I've suffered a great deal, shut away in a hospital for nervous complaints. I should have continued my treatment at home, but I lacked a strong will for my part, and the doctors convinced my mother that I needed to be completely isolated."

Margarita XirguUnamuno House-Museum, Salamanca University

Margarita Xirgu, actress

April 7, 1915

“Don Jacinto passed along to me a copy of the script for your play Fedra at the time, and I would have truly liked to be worthy of the honor that you did me in thinking of me to perform your work (...)"

Portrait of María de Maeztu (December 31, 1908)Unamuno House-Museum, Salamanca University

María de Maeztu, 

Pedagogue, founder of the Lyceum Women's Club

June 5, 1920

“I would like to know the following: first, the number of women who have formally enrolled in this program at the university and how many in each school; second, the number of women who studied independently and will now take exams; and third, the number of women who have graduated from this university in its entire history."

Renée LafontUnamuno House-Museum, Salamanca University

Renée Lafont, journalist

“As a French writer and interpreting the wishes and sentiments of my country's greatest artist and politician, Mr. Maurice Barrès, I should request of Spain's most illustrious intellectuals an opinion regarding the war, a judgement, brief or estensive [extensive] (...)"

Sofia CasanovaUnamuno House-Museum, Salamanca University

Sofía Casanova, journalist

June 4, no year indicated


“On the balcony of this little cage grows a honeysuckle plant that I take care of, and every one of its blossoms enthralls me. All this year, I have worked eleven and fourteen hours a day on my Women's Popular Hygiene Committee. I have not felt fatigue or even barely the fear of losing my eyesight (...)"

Platform imageUnamuno House-Museum, Salamanca University

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