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The Catalan Nation and Identity Throughout History

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Edited By Àngels Casals Martinez and Giovanni C. Cattini

The present book is a complex approach to the elements that built the Catalan national identity, which can only be analyzed through its complexity and longue durée historical times.
Regarding medieval and early modern centuries, the territorial construction, law and state are presented, along with the complexity added by the appearance of composite monarchies in the 16th century, and taking into account the significance of constructing a literary and historiographic tradition to define national character.
Regarding modern centuries, the authors do not ignore the importance of socioeconomic dimensions in a very complex diversity which flows both in the intellectual and political world and in the dissemination of identity through the mass media in an international level as well.
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The Shaping of Catalan Identity in the Contemporary World, by Tom Harrington

The Shaping of Catalan Identity in the Contemporary World

Extract

Tom HARRINGTON

Trinity College

I spent the first weeks of last summer — taking many hours longer than I’d originally intended — reading the new biography of Ortega y Gasset written by Jordi Gracia.1 As has always been the case in my intense contacts over the years with the life and work of Ortega, I felt a schizophrenic mix of irritation and surprised admiration for the subject in question; irritation at his insufferable and apparently infinite egocentricity, for his coquettish and yet hardly ever rounded or entirely coherent arguments, and for his as ever stale and extremely inconsistent pro-Spanish stance; surprised admiration for his prophetic gift, for his power of metaphor and for his ability, on given occasions, to crystallise in a few easily understood pages concepts and ideas of great depth.

For me there is no better example of the latter tendency than his essay “Corazón y cabeza” [Heart and Head], published in La Nación of Buenos Aires in July, 1927, in which Ortega invites us to reflect upon the always problematic nature of the process of observing the world which surrounds us:

En cualquier paisaje, en cualquier recinto donde abramos los ojos, el número de cosas visibles es prácticamente infinito, mas nosotros solo podemos ver en cada instante un número muy reducido de ellas. El rayo visual tiene que fijarse sobre un pequeño grupo de ellas y desviarse de las restantes, abandonarlas. Dicho de otra manera:...

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