Generation Of 1914: Characteristics, Authors And Works

The Generation of 1914 was a literary movement composed of a group of Spanish writers who related to each other by their thoughts and ideas. It lasted from 1898 to 1927, with most of its members born around the year 1880.

The writers began the publication of their works and the literary activities themselves at the beginning of the 20th century. It is known that it was the Spanish pedagogue Lorenzo Luzuriaga who named it Generation of 1914 in 1947, after the publication of an article on the works of José Ortega y Gasset.

The Generation of 1914 is also known as Noucentismo. It was related to the French trend of avant-garde, and at the same time moved away from the lines of Modernism. They sought perfection and formality, and the group was loaded with characteristics that made it conspicuously distinctive.

This generation stood out fundamentally for wanting to make Spain a nation with a solid and distinguished “personality” at the same time. The authors sought to achieve this task through the power and perfection of each of their works and having intelligence and knowledge as the main pillars.

Historic context

The Generation of 1914 was immersed in the outbreak and development of the First World War , whose consequences affected Spain despite having remained neutral. The country paid a high political, economic and social cost that it unleashed in the so-called crisis of 1917.

During the crisis disputes arose between groups that defended the German, French and English models. In this context, the writers of the generation made themselves felt, especially the writers Miguel de Unamuno and José Ortega y Gasset, who argued with the ideas of returning to Europe as Spain and vice versa.

The Generation of 1914 prepared themselves intellectually enough to face their ideas and thoughts with solid arguments.

It was a divided and dejected Spain; therefore, it was necessary to rescue the essence and prestige of the nation. So the authors decided to make history through their objectives and the peculiarities of their works.


Unified ideas and concepts

All members of this generation were born at a close date; therefore, they belonged to the same era.

In addition to that, they had a consistent and concrete academic and intellectual training. As a result, their proposals were organized and complex at the same time.

Power to transform

They sought the transformation and innovation of the country through continuous action and the establishment of power.

They did this not only from the intellectual level, but also by participating in the activities and debates that took place in all areas in a Spain that sought to resurface.

Identity for Spain

There was a debate between the Generation of 1914 and those who made political life in the country to find the identity and essence of the nation.

Captivated by the European, the authors drew on their knowledge to raise the need to make Spain a more modern nation.

Intellectualism as a maxim

The Generation of 1914 held firm to its stance on the capacity for thought and understanding. This meant that they contradicted the sentimentality of earlier literary movements, as well as individualism. Therefore, they devoted themselves to objectively analyzing poetry and art in general.

The great classics as influence

This generation was influenced by the great classics and, at the same time, by the models. This implied that the artistic and cultural concepts related to the Greeks, Latins and Romans were of great importance to dazzle with a new art in the aesthetic field.

The perfection of form

It was a generation that was concerned with perfecting the way of writing and expressing their ideas. The Generation of 1914 aesthetics cared enough to maintain a well-crafted aesthetic.

All this led to elitism, because they developed a language only for a small group.

Avant-garde and less human art

Attached to the avant-garde movement, the generation maintained that the changes occurred from the least to the most.

This is reflected in the language they used, which was more elaborate and not understandable by everyone. At the same time, Gasset strengthened works away from the emotional and sentimental.

Authors and representative works

José Ortega y Gasset

He was a Spanish writer, essayist and philosopher. He was born in Madrid on May 9, 1883 and was one of the most important exponents of the Generation of 1914. In addition, he postulated the theory of perspectivism, which held that points of view were particular.

Between 1897 and 1898 Gasset studied at the University of Deusto in Bilbao. Later he moved to Madrid to study letters and philosophy at the Central University.

He served as director of the magazine Spain  and also founded the School of Madrid together with other writers in 1915.

The philosophy of José Ortega y Gasset was based on achieving the fundamentalism of man; that is, its essence. He referred to circumstance as the companion of individuality; just as he claimed, to save himself he had to save the event. He died on October 18, 1955.

Among his main works are the following: Meditations on Don Quixote (1914), The Spectator (1916-1934), Invertebrate Spain (1921), The Atlantis (1924), The Rebellion of the Masses (1929), Long Live the Republic (1933 ), Theory of Andalusia and other essays (1942) and  Origin and epilogue of philosophy (1960).

The rebellion of the masses (1929)

This was the most outstanding work of Ortega y Gasset. At first it was published in a newspaper and later came out as a book.

The main theme is the meaning between man and the mass (the crowd) from the development and advances of society.

Eugenio d’Ors Rovira

He was a Spanish philosopher, writer, essayist, journalist and critic who was born in the city of Barcelona on September 28, 1881. He studied law at the main university in his city, studies that he combined with literature and philosophy. He graduated with honors and then began doctorates and specializations in Madrid.

D´Ors was a supporter of Modernism due to the intellectual and artistic places he frequented. However, he felt that it was necessary to renew and that was when he proposed the educational project that he called Noucentisme, also known as Noucentisme .

The first work that the writer published was entitled The Philosophy of the Man Who Works and Who Plays , in 1914. His most important works were  Three Hours in the Prado Museum (1922), Guillermo Tell (1926) and  The Life of Goya (1928).

It is important to note that Eugenio’s performance earned him membership in the Royal Spanish Academy and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, in addition to being a member of the Science Section of the Institute of Catalan Studies and the Ibero-American Union. He died on September 25, 1954.

The following books are part of the philosopher’s varied work: The Death of Isidro Nonell (1905), Flos Sophorum (1914), A First Lesson in Philosophy (1917), When I’m Quiet (1930), The Baroque (1944) and New glossary (1944-1945).

Americo Castro

Américo Castro was a prominent historian of Spanish culture and philologist, as well as a connoisseur of the work of Miguel de Cervantes.

He was born in Brazil on May 4, 1885. His parents were Spanish, so when the boy was five years old they returned to their homeland.

Castro studied law and letters at the University of Granada. After completing a doctorate in Madrid, he moved to Paris to continue studies at the Sorbonne University. He was a pioneer in the creation of the Center for Historical Studies in the Spanish capital.

The writer also made a political life. He was ambassador to Berlin in 1931 and after the Civil War he had to go into exile in the United States. On American soil, he had the opportunity to teach literature classes at the universities of Wisconsin, Texas and Princeton. He passed away on July 25, 1972.

Much of his work was devoted to commenting on the works of important writers in Spain. As an essayist, he managed to leave a wide range of writings : The strange element in language (1921), The teaching of Spanish in Spain (1922), Don Juan in Spanish literature (1924), The thought of Cervantes (1925) and De the Spain I did not know (1971).

Salvador de Madariaga

Salvador de Madariaga y Rojo was a Spanish writer and diplomat. He was born in La Coruña on July 23, 1886.

He was the son of Colonel Darío José de Madariaga and María Ascensión Rojo. His father made the decision to send him to France to study engineering, but his passion was literature.

After having studied engineering, he worked for the Northern Railroad Company. In 1914 he joined the League of Political Education, which included writers of the stature of José Ortega y Gasset. He was one of the many exiles product of the Civil War.

Madariaga’s thinking was oriented to give the greatest importance to the human, and economics and politics were in the background. Furthermore, he pioneered the idea of ​​making Europe an organized and federal model. Death surprised him at the age of 33, on December 14, 1978.

The writer stood out for writing books related to characters in Spanish literature, as well as Hispanic American history, and also dedicated himself to writing a series of essays on the history of Spain. Some of his most important works are mentioned below:

– Literary profiles (1924).

– English, French, Spanish (1929).

– Anarchy (1935).

– The enemy of God (1936).

– Biography of Christopher Columbus (1940).

– The heart of Piedra Verde (1942).

– Sketch of Europe (1951).

– Spanish women (1972).

The Green Stone Heart (1942)

This work by Salvador de Madariaga belongs to the genre of novels and deals with the conquest of the New World after the discovery of Christopher Columbus. In this work he developed the biography of some conquerors such as Hernán Cortés, Moctezuma, Cuauhtémoc and others.

The author located the story in Mexico City. He made a description about the Aztec tribe and, at the same time, about the customs and traditions that the Conquest brought with it. This work is number one of five books, which spanned the 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.

Federico de Onís Sánchez

He was an outstanding writer, literary critic, philologist and teacher of Spanish origin. He was born in Salamanca on December 20, 1885. He studied at the University of Salamanca and obtained a degree in letters and philosophy. In 1906 he moved to Madrid to study the specialization.

The work that his father performed as a librarian at the University of Salamanca allowed him to establish a friendship with the writer from Unamuno, who was his teacher since he was a child. He participated in the creation of the Center for Historical Studies in 1910 and was appointed director of studies at the Student Residence.

At the age of 30, Onís served as professor of the Spanish Literature department at Columbia University (New York). Years later he was director of the Department of Hispanic Studies.

His death by suicide stunned the literary world on October 14, 1966, in Puerto Rico. Although his work was not extensive, the following texts stood out: The life of Diego Torres Villarroel (1912), On the transmission of the literary work of Fray Luis de León (1915), Jacinto Benavente, literary study (1923), and El Martín Iron and traditional poetry (1924).

Lorenzo Luzuriaga

Lorenzo Luzuriaga Medina was a prominent Spanish pedagogue. He was born in Valdepeñas on October 29, 1889. He came from a family of teachers, so he studied teaching in Madrid. During his training he was a student of José Ortega y Gasset.

He was awarded a scholarship and studied in Germany. When he returned to Spain he was part of the League of Political Education and was an inspector of the Pedagogical Museum.

In 1922 Luzuriaga founded the renowned Pedagogy Magazine . The Civil War made him go into exile in Argentina and he died in Buenos Aires in 1959.

Many of the pedagogue’s works were written in exile. The most relevant were: The preparation of teachers (1918), Illiteracy in Spain (1919), The unified school (1922), Education reform (1945) and  Dictionary of pedagogy (1950).


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