The Great Motherland of Humanity

Become one of Unamuno's followers and learn more about the international dimensions of his work

Miguel de Unamuno in Hendaye (1928)Unamuno House-Museum, Salamanca University

An exceptional figure by all accounts. Miguel de Unamuno's stature and work were acclaimed in countries around the world. His works were translated into numerous languages, and his reputation as an orator and thinker crossed borders.

He was a prolific columnist in both the Spanish and foreign press, and he rubbed elbows with some of the world's most renowned intellectuals. His international dimension as a public and political figure was enhanced as a result of e his expulsion and subsequent exile in France. Although he considered himself very home-loving, in reality his existence was clearly marked by a cosmopolitan spirit , and he is today a world-renowned writer.

Unamuno in his office (February 1, 1908)Unamuno House-Museum, Salamanca University

Contributing columnist in international press

At an early age, Unamuno started to work with a variety of international publications. For example, he collaborated with the Argentine magazine Caras y Caretas, with the extra income from the articles complementing his salary as chancellor and professor at the University of Salamanca.

"To express a feeling or a thought that springs from the depths of the soul, we have to express it using the language of the world"

Portrait of Everett Ward Olmsted (1908)Unamuno House-Museum, Salamanca University

Everett Ward Olmsted

Professor at Cornell University (Ithaca NY) Ward Olmsted, the North American linguist, visited Salamanca in 1905 where he met Unamuno. They formed a lasting friendship which resulted in Unamuno's dedication to the linguist in the first of his Psalms.

Miguel de Unamuno and Maurice Legendre (1911-1913)Unamuno House-Museum, Salamanca University

Maurice Legendre

A close friend of Unamuno, the French hispanist Maurice Legendre had close ties to Salamanca, the province where the Peña de Francia is located, the mountain a symbol, in his words, of the "fraternity between the two immortal motherlands." Legendre was the director of the Velázquez House-Museum in Madrid.

Miguel de Unamuno in italian war front (September 1917)Unamuno House-Museum, Salamanca University

Eyewitness

Unamuno's visit to the Italian front in 1917 during the Great War, demonstrates the considerable political influence he exercised both in Spain and abroad. It was an intense trip on which he was accompanied by distinguished intellectuals and political figures of the day.

Album cover with signatures of support from numerous argentinean students (June 1921)Unamuno House-Museum, Salamanca University

Followers around the world

A few years before being banished to Fuerteventura, in 1924, Unamuno was accused of publishing articles critical of the Spanish monarchy in the press of the time. To protest his plight, his followers in various countries sent countless letters of support.

Front page of Le Quotidien newspaper (August 26, 1924)Unamuno House-Museum, Salamanca University

Daily columnist

For several months after being exiled in France, Unamuno wrote a series of articles in the newspaper Le Quotidien, whose director, Henry Dumay, was responsible for planning Unamuno's escape from Fuerteventura to Paris in the summer of 1924.

Editorial advertising (1928)Unamuno House-Museum, Salamanca University

"The Great Spaniard"

With Unamuno's arrival in Paris, several European publishing houses began translating some of his most famous works. Some even printed advertising leaflets bearing his image to entice readers. The one distributed by the Meyer & Jessen publishing house referred to Unamuno as "The Great Spaniard."

Cover of a translated work by Miguel de Unamuno, Miguel de Unamuno, 1927, From the collection of: Unamuno House-Museum, Salamanca University
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Cover of a translated work by Miguel de Unamuno, Miguel de Unamuno, 1921, From the collection of: Unamuno House-Museum, Salamanca University
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Editorial advertising, February 28, 1926, From the collection of: Unamuno House-Museum, Salamanca University
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Banquet of the International Congress of the Pen Club (May 28, 1925)Unamuno House-Museum, Salamanca University

Guest of honor

In 1925 the third PEN International Congress was held in Paris and Unamuno was the guest of honor at the banquet, which was also attended by writers of the caliber of Luigi Pirandello. Jean Cassou, Unamuno's young French translator, was at the event, accompanied by his wife.

Letter addressed to Miguel de Unamuno (April 25, 1928)Unamuno House-Museum, Salamanca University

Mist in New York

The New York publishing house Alfred A. Knopf maintained a fluid relationship with Unamuno, publishing several of his texts. As a result, the writer became friends with his translator for Mist (Niebla), Warner Fite, who would visit Unamuno in Hendaya in 1928.

Press clipping (December 15, 1928)Unamuno House-Museum, Salamanca University

Press clippings

Warner Fite, the translator of Mist and a philosophy professor at Princeton University, sent Unamuno press clippings and articles about Mist, thus demonstrating to him the book's success in the United States.

Miguel de Unamuno at the Hotel Broca (1928)Unamuno House-Museum, Salamanca University

Hotel Broca: command center

When Unamuno moved from Paris to Hendaya to continue his exile closer to Spain, he made Hotel Broca his home. Numerous politicians, artists, and intellectuals travelled there to visit the influential thinker.

Portrait of Unamuno by Caprotti (1929) by Guido CaprottiUnamuno House-Museum, Salamanca University

Portrait by the bay

During his time in Hendaya, prestigious Spanish and international painters painted his portrait there. One of them, the Italian painter Guido Caprotti, depicted Unamuno on the banks of the Bidasoa River holding a book in his right hand.

Herald Tribune newspaper supplement (March 16, 1930)Unamuno House-Museum, Salamanca University

Global celebrity

During his years in exile, Unamuno's work gained tremendous recognition in a large part of the world. This international renown is evident in the interviews he did with prestigious foreign newspapers and magazines.

Diploma of Miguel de Unamuno (May 12, 1934)Unamuno House-Museum, Salamanca University

International recognition

Although Unamuno returned to Spain in 1930, his reputation as a world-renowned intellectual continued to grow. In 1934 he was granted a Doctor Honoris Causa (honorary doctorate) by the University of Grenoble, a degree he was unable to accept in person due to the sudden death of his wife, Concha.

Don Miguel de Unamuno (1934) by Jesús Gallego MarquinaUnamuno House-Museum, Salamanca University

Novelist without a Nobel

Along with renowned authors of the stature of Paul Valéry and Chesterton, Miguel de Unamuno was nominated for the Nobel Prize in 1935. In the end, the Nobel Prize in Literature was not awarded to any of the nominees that year.

Tribute to Miguel de Unamuno in London (February 27, 1936)Unamuno House-Museum, Salamanca University

Last stop: London

Unamuno travelled to England in February of 1936. There awaited him a Doctor Honoris Causa from Oxford University and, after the ceremony, a dinner in his honor in London. This would be the author's last trip abroad due to his death at the end of that same year.

冨嶽三十六景 凱風快晴|South Wind, Clear Sky (Gaifū kaisei), also known as Red Fuji, from the series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji (Fugaku sanjūrokkei) (ca. 1830–32) by Katsushika HokusaiThe Metropolitan Museum of Art

Philosopher of immortality

The breadth of Unamuno's legacy reached countries as far from Spain as Japan, where, in 1937, his work, The Agony of Christianity was first translated. There, in addition to his literary work, he has long been known as the “philosopher of immortality.”

"It is our duty to hope that, one day, after all imposing and authoritarian pressure has been broken, that all the small motherlands will unite in the Great Motherland of Humanity"

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