Galician cultural identity in the works of Ramón Otero Pedrayo (1888-1976)
In the 1920's, the grouping of Galician intellectuals known as the Xeración Nós began, through their wide-ranging literary output and more specifically political activities, to articulate and reinterpret essential notions of Galician cultural identity after several centuries of cultural repression and centralisation. This thesis examines both the nexus of inherited positions informing this cultural recovery, and its original reformulation, through the works of the most prominent intellectual of the Xeración Nós, Ramón Otero Pedrayo (1888 1976). Otero was an important figure in Galician intellectual and cultural life over the larger part of the twentieth century, especially when expression of Galician distinctiveness, whether political or cultural, was severely limited and largely discouraged by the Franco regime. He is particularly deserving of an in-depth study, especially since this theme so intrinsically associated with him has not yet been written upon from a perspective of cultural history. In order to provide as accurate an analysis as possible of Otero's conception of Galician reality and the developmental nature of his ideas, I have consulted a large number of texts, ranging from brief journalistic sketches to dense biographical tomes. In particular, I focus on the large body of essays written by Otero such as the Ensaio histórico sobre a cultura galega (1932) and the more imaginative configuration of Galician identity contained in the trilogy of novels Os camiños da vida (1928), Arredor de si (1930) and Devalar (1935). This allows for an analysis of the writer's perspective on the essential bases of Galician culture via the recuperation through literature (most notably the influence of the broad cultural revival initiated in the 1860's, or Rexurdimento, and the influence of historical and cultural co-ordinates ultimately derived from Romantic thought). Crucial in shaping Otero's definitive vision is an eclectic array of references from cultural history both ancient and modern, ideological import through the Celtic ideal, and contemporary social issues (such as the political climate of the Second Republic). To be seen firmly within the parameters of an intellectual history, this thesis has as its objective an explanation how these intrinsic and extrinsic sources of influence condition Otero's evaluation of Galician distinctiveness, and what that quality actually embodies, within the context of the cultural activity prevalent in Galicia from 1918 to 1936 and beyond.