©2008 NewFoundations

Unamuno On "Woman"

edited 8/19/11

Unamuno’s work is characterized by an ever-present threat of nothingness and a longing for immortality in a world where its existence finds no rational confirmation. Faith and reason, although diametrically opposed, require one another, and the entire history of human thought can be viewed as a futile quest for harmony. Out of this realization emanates Unamuno’s well- known “tragic sense of life” which informs all of his works.

For Unamuno, the greatest hero, the most revered saint, is necessarily a fool, but a divine fool whose dream is the essence of life. Rejecting both fascism and communism, Unamuno tried to preserve the Spanish tradition in an age of metaphysical unrest and cataclysmic upheavals which changed the course of history.

Unamuno married his childhood sweetheart, Concha, and she was the one and only woman in his life. His son, Rafael, once commented, “whatever theme of love and extreme tenderness appears in his writings it is largely the inspiration of my blessed mother.” She brought him out of his depressions, mothered him through his frequent bouts of hypochondria, raised their children, and supported him in his struggles with his political foes. To Unamuno she was the incarnation of the eternal feminine. His positive view of women reflected his love for her.



Miguel de Unamuno y Jugo (l864-l936) -- one of the most distinguished of Spanish literary figures who won additional fame for his face to face public denunciation of a fascist general at the risk of his own life.

 Through women you will see the entire universe.
-- New Our Lord Don Quixote

Even in the purest realm of the spirit, without the shadow of any vice, man seeks support in woman.
-- New Our Lord Don Quixote

The most pregnant and noble ideas have sprung from the love of a woman.
-- New Our Lord Don Quixote

Woman’s love is always, if it is true and heartfelt, a mother’s love. Woman adopts the man she loves as a son.
-- New Our Lord Don Quixote

A woman yields herself to her lover because she feels he is suffering with desire. . . . Woman seems to say: “Come, don’t suffer for my sake!” And thus her love is more loving and purer than man’s, more valiant and longer lasting as well.
-- New The Tragic Sense of Life in Men and Nations

All the charity of a woman, all the good she can do, the alms she gives, comes from her feeling herself a mother. . . [and] all women, when they feel themselves mothers, are turned into maidens.
-- New Our Lord Don Quixote

Only what is loved is admired, and in women there is only one way of admiring the man.
-- New Our Lord Don Quixote