In the midst of all this work, when I can spare five minutes I try to check out a few blogs that I know will refresh and divert my mind, and yes, something catches my eye. Wood s Lot had links this week to Miguel de Unamuno! Oh my god. The horror and hatred of my first year as a university student. Who ever put this man on the curriculum for 18-year-old foreign students of Spanish literature has a lot to answer for. His pessimistic, difficult, anguished, existentialist philosophy, novels and poetry… how I hated them. Of course he was interesting and brilliant. Of course his deep, post-end-of-Spanish-colonialism questioning got to me. I was so lost in life and had so little idea of what I was doing, in this new intellectual environment so out of my social class and so far from all my previous experience - it wasn’t what I needed! And to cap it all, once he’d got me all upset and depressed... oh no, this stuff was all about the male psyche, he said. Women were warm, simple, creatures, earth-mothers, not subject to any of this anguish. How I hated him.
Well, I find I like his poem, and I suspect I’d have quite a lot of time for him these days (though not for his views on women). The Tragic Sense of Life – which 18-year-old wants or needs to hear about that? Now, of course, it’s always with me. His face in the photo, the quizzical expression, the very Spanish beard, makes me smile, and yes his desk looks just like mine! How things do come full circle.