Miguel de Unamuno y Jugo Additional Biography


(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Miguel de Unamuno y Jugo, the third of six children, was reared as a strict Catholic in Bilbao. His father died when he was six. Deeply religious as a child and adolescent, he began in 1880 his studies at the University of Madrid. There, under the influence of the skepticism in vogue at the time, he lost faith in some of his most cherished religious beliefs. The bulk of his vast literary production during the rest of his life stems from his anguished efforts to recapture the comfort and strength of his earlier faith through his own powers of reason rather than through humble acceptance of the Church’s dogma. Fiercely rejecting all positivistic modes of thinking that denied transcendental meaning in life, he nevertheless maintained open conflict with the Catholic Church until his death.

In 1883, Unamuno received his licentiate degree from the University of Madrid; in 1884, his doctorate. In 1891, he married and assumed the chair of Greek at the University of Salamanca, becoming rector of the University nine years later, a post in which he remained until 1914. In 1924, the Primo de Rivera dictatorship exiled him to the Canary Islands. From there, he fled to France, where he remained until 1930, when he returned to Spain. In 1931, he was reappointed rector of Salamanca, being granted lifelong tenure as rector when he retired from the faculty in 1934. Yet, his lifelong tenure was short-lived: He was dismissed because of his criticism of Francisco Franco. Unamuno died in his home on December 31, 1936.


(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Miguel de Unamuno y Jugo was born on September 29, 1864, the third of six children. He attended a private school where he was educated in the strict Catholic traditions of the day. As an adolescent, Unamuno experienced a spiritual crisis that led him into readings of such Catholic philosophers as Jaime Balmes and Juan Donoso. In 1880, he entered the University of Madrid, where he studied under progressive dons and read philosophers like Immanuel Kant, René Descartes, and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. He took a licentiate degree in 1883 and a doctorate in 1884 with a thesis on the origins of the Basque people.

Unamuno assumed the chair of Greek language at the University of Salamanca in 1891. That same year, he married his childhood sweetheart, Concepción Lizárraga, with whom he would father nine children. From the mid-1880’s onward, Unamuno published articles for local newspapers. His first novel, Paz en la guerra (Peace in War, 1983), appeared in 1897, and in 1900, he was named rector of the university. Unamuno’s literary output grew as the decades passed, as did his reputation as a heretical thinker.

In early 1924, Unamuno left Spain for exile in the Canary Islands, moving on to Paris later that year. He remained in France for six years, awaiting the establishment of the Spanish Republic. He returned to Spain in 1930 and was reappointed to his post in Salamanca the following year. Unamuno died on December 31, 1936, months after the breakout of the Spanish Civil War.


(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

Miguel de Unamuno y Jugo was born in Bilbao, Spain, an important industrial center of the Basque province, on September 29, 1864, the third of six children. His father died when he was six years old. Womanhood exerted a great influence on his work. His early religious training shaped his mind toward a career as a priest, but other influences won out, not the least of which was his childhood sweetheart, Concepción Lizárraga (Concha), who seems never to have had a rival, before or after matrimony, for Unamuno’s loyalty.

In Recuerdos de niñez y de mocedad (1908; memories of childhood and adolescence), Unamuno recalls highlights of his early years, especially the bombardment of Bilbao in 1874 during the...

(The entire section is 639 words.)


(Poets and Poetry, Complete Critical Edition)

Other Literary Forms

Miguel de Unamuno y Jugo wrote prolifically throughout his life and produced numerous novels, short stories, dramas, and essays, as well as volumes of poetry. A mediocre dramatist who, under the influence of Henrik Ibsen, created talky stage works with uninspired characters, Unamuno achieved his greatest success with fiction, poetry, and the essay. His outstanding works of fiction include Niebla (1914; Mist: A Tragicomic Novel, 1928); Abel Sánchez: Una historia de pasión (1917; English translation, 1947); and San Manuel Bueno, mártir (1931; Saint Manuel Bueno, Martyr, 1956). A philosophical author, Unamuno explored rich and complex ideas in all...

(The entire section is 3290 words.)


(Critical Survey of Ethics and Literature)

Author Profile

Subjectivity, individualism, an acknowledgment of the role of irrationality, and a sense of life’s anguish and tragedy were among the existential values that Miguel de Unamuno y Jugo shared with Søren Kierkegaard, Martin Heidegger, and Friedrich Nietzsche. Although he gave his own distinctive accent to their concept of the tragic sense of life, Unamuno rejected their idea that life was nothingness. He found meaning in his own passionate desire to escape annihilation by questing for the immortality of body and soul, and he concluded that this quest was common to all people. This perception was not derived from the principal philosophical systems of the day. Those systems were too abstract for...

(The entire section is 794 words.)


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Miguel de Unamuno y Jugo (ew-nah-MEW-noh ee HEW-goh) is one of the most significant and controversial figures in the history of modern thought. He was known primarily as an essayist at the beginning of his career, but later criticism has focused on his renovation of the novel and on his poetry. Although he has become inseparably associated with the area of Castile, especially Salamanca, Unamuno was a Basque, born in Bilbao on September 29, 1864. His father, a baker, who died when Unamuno was only six years old, had settled in that city upon his return from Mexico, where he had hoped to win fame and fortune. In his first novel, Peace in War, Unamuno admittedly describes himself in his portrayal of the young orphan, Pachico,...

(The entire section is 1217 words.)