Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Book Against God and Unamuno

The discussion in class regarding how the religion of the narrator’s priestly father is more about being the glue that holds the village community together than about hard belief versus unbelief reminded me of a novella by the Spanish writer and philosopher Miguel de Unamuno called San Manuel Bueno, mártir. That story deals with a village priest who can’t believe in God or an afterlife (if I remember correctly) but hides his lack of faith from the majority of the villagers in order, well, not to make them miserable and who also acts as the glue that holds a village community together. Here is an English translation of the novella; it’s not too long.


I suppose Unamuno can be considered another modernist who came up with his own particular version of spirituality or faith, built around the idea that everyone longs for immortality. He goes into it in his Tragic Sense of Life. This long bit deals with Unamuno's take on things.


As far as I know, he’s kind of considered a Spanish existentialist and has an interesting relationship to Kierkegaard. Plus, he generally seems to have been a better person than your average postmodernist.


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