Biography of Julián Marías Aguilera (1914-2005)

Philosopher, essayist, sociologist and Spanish writer, born in Valladolid on June 17, 1914 and died in Madrid on December 15, 2005, that stands out as the main diffuser and continuation of the work of his teacher José Ortega y Gasset. He/She also developed a wide intellectual work of analysis and dissemination in different fields such as history, politics, society and culture Spanish. In 1996 Julian Marias won the Prince of Asturias Award for communication and Humanities "by their clear and extensive intellectual trajectory, extended over more than half a century and with a wide cultural and academic screening in many countries".


After having shown, since his early youth, a strong humanist vocation that led him to be strongly interested in literature and the Spanish thought, he/she enrolled in the Faculty of philosophy and letters of the Complutense University of Madrid, where he/she studied higher philosophy under the guidance of professors as featured in the Spanish intellectual scene in the first half of the 20th century such as José Ortega y GassetManuel García Morente and Xavier Zubiri. All them - and, especially, Ortega y Gasset, to whose thought would devote then much of his work - influenced powerfully the print production of Julián Marías, who, since his firm Christian convictions, developed a huge intellectual work reflected not only in its deep philosophical works, but also in numerous books and articles of literary and sociological nature, written with great elegance and sobriety stylistic, and focused on the most diverse aspects of the history, literature and 20th-century Spanish News.

After having obtained the degree of doctor at the mentioned alma mater, the young Julian Marias began collaborating regularly in some of the periodicals most representative of Spanish thinking of the epoch, as magazines notebooks of the Faculty of philosophy and letters, Escorial, Revista de Occidente (founded by the quoted Ortega y Gasset) and Cruz and stripe (directed by José BergamínMadrid writer). The ideology of this last publication (which, since its indisputable catolico-progresista bias, greatly influenced the literary and intellectual circles of Spain and Latin America), allowed to discern from these early collaborations of Julián Marías routes that would have to move your thinking; at the same time, in those years the young humanist Valladolid began already to be designated as one of the main disciples of Ortega y Gasset, distinction, although the own Marias took with pleasure over all its long intellectual history (with numerous books and articles devoted specifically to clarify and disseminate the philosophical contributions of his master), to the dessert ended up relegating you in quite a few manuals to the condition of "eternal disciple", by which in many occasions his original contribution to contemporary Spanish thought did not deserve the consideration given to other intellectuals of the same size.

In the wake of this fruitful collaboration between teacher and disciple, in 1948 Ortega y Gasset and Julián Marías founded the Institute of Humanities, a body aimed at promoting and disseminating (through conferences and publications) of the main ideas and schools that formed the various philosophical trends of the Spain of the time. Already by this time Valladolid thinker had been awarded various honors and awards that came to emphasize the value of its early - but already abundant - printed production, among them the prize "Fastenrath" of the Royal Spanish Academy, which was awarded in 1947. Named, in 1960, director of the Seminary of Madrid Humanities studies, in the course of that same year was also elected member of the Hispanic Society of America and the Society for the History of Ideas, both based in New York. Four years later, Julián Marías was elected member of the Institut International de Philosophie, and already in his native country, honored with a Chair in the Royal Spanish Academy.

That same year of 1964 received the "Kennedy" prize, awarded by the Institute-Americans Barcelona, award that came to join an already dense roster of awards to recognize the intellectual merits and Julián María public tasks, and that still would give way to other many recognitions as marked as Essay Prize "Gulbenkian"that it was granted by the Latin Academy in 1972; "Ramón Godó" journalism, which distinguished his dedication to press Spanish during the period of 1975-1976; "Mariano de Cavia" journalism, with which the Madrid newspaper ABC - where Marías published many writings - awarded an article published in 1985; and, among many others, the prestigious prize "Prince of Asturias in communication and Humanities", which went to Valladolid humanist in 1996. In 2002 he/she received the XVI Premio Internacional Menéndez Pelayo.

Also, elected member of the Royal Academy of Arts of San Fernando, Julián Marías - who was appointed Doctor honoris cause by several universities international gave classes, courses and lectures at major universities in United States and Latin America, and was invited to disseminate their ideas in classrooms and higher institutions of some European countries like France, Germany and Portugal. In recognition of his efforts to find the Spanish identity keys from a clear will to conciliatory, in 1977 it was elevated to the rank of Senator by Royal appointment, position where he/she remained until 1979.

One of his five sons, the Spaniard Javier Marías, is one of the most original voices in contemporary Spanish narrative.



Author of a vast print production which, in its ambitious expansion, ranges from the specifically philosophical questions approach to the essay and literary criticism (passing through the analysis of many aspects of Spanish history and current political, social and cultural events of the country), Julián Marías is known for have continued, within strictly philosophical thought, that Ortega line in which la "razón vital" constitutes the Foundation of all theories.

Considered, then, first as a diffuser and then as a continuation of the work of his master - which develops and expands with numerous personal contributions, not always supported by the orteguianos more orthodox-Marias understand the work of the philosopher as a "make human" in the light of the "razón vital", i.e., as a reality which shares with human life (which derives and which is based) its radical charactersystematic and circumstantial. The thematic backbone of his thought - as happens in the used system - is life itself, appearing composed of elements which are, at the same time, in the eyes of Marias permanent and variable. Since all life develops in a few specific circumstances, these elements that comprise it may not constitute in any way an a priori; but they do give place to a number of concerns inherent in the work of the philosopher, which clings that thematic expansion of used thinking proposed by Marias. In line with these considerations, and taking into account that man is to Marias and his teacher a reality in life, metaphysics is referred to by the Valladolid thinker as the science of reality, an instrument of la "razón vital" able to eliminate the uncertainty of consciousness and find a radical truth. Warns, therefore, that all the philosophical steps undertaken by Julián Marías guide les the interest to disseminate the thought of Ortega, although on many occasions the thematic expansion proposed by Marias on the original work of his master dangerously overflowing the Central contents of the used system.

The extent and diversity of the printed work of Julián Marías prevents reduced to the narrow limits of this brief bio-bibliographical sketch all the titles that make up his impressive essay, journalistic, philosophical and literary legacy. Among his works of strictly philosophical content, we should remember its extraordinary synthesis, published under the title of history of philosophy (1941), it provided, before having reached thirty years of age, a notable celebrity in intellectual circles and college Spanish, where this work was received as one of the most valuable instruments for the approach to the main ideas and major systems that comprise the history of universal philosophical thought.

Subsequently, Marias gave to the San Anselmo printing and the foolish (1944), work that followed another philosophical delivery which, considered as the volume of content most dense within the whole of their production, served the general title of introduction to philosophy (1947) to expose own Valladolid humanist thought. Within this section of strictly philosophical works, include also the titles of the philosophy in his writings (1950), biography of philosophy (1954), Idea of metaphysics (1954), new essays in philosophy (1968), metaphysical Anthropology (1970).

Without abandoning the still frame of the dedication of Marias to philosophical studies, it should be recalled here your special attention to the analysis and dissemination of Spanish thought. Naturally, this aspect of production is marked indelibly by their approaches to the work of his master, he/she dedicated countless articles and some much-needed books to the knowledge of the work of Ortega as the graduates Ortega, circumstance and vocation; Ortega before Goethe; Ortega and the idea of the vital reason; and about Ortega (1991). But in addition to these titles devoted to the thought of the madrilenian philosopher Julián Marías published other much-needed books to good knowledge of Spanish philosophy as Miguel de Unamuno (1943), which earned him the aforementioned Award "Fastenrath" de la Real Academia Española; Current Spanish philosophy (Unamuno, Ortega, Morente, Zubiri) (1948); Current philosophy and Existentialism in Spain (1955); The school of Madrid (1960); and the Spanish philosophy (1931-1936) (1978).

Finally, in his role as editor and analyst of the great works of universal philosophy, Julián Marías published annotated editions of Phaedrus of Plato; About happiness, of Seneca; Speeches of metaphysics, Leibniz; and theory of the conceptions of the world, Dilthey.


In General, Julián Marías essays production is governed by two major thematic areas: reflection on works and figures of the Spanish literary history, and - in the wake of the great authors of the generation of the 98, the problem of Spain (the Spanish current reality and national identity of the Spaniards). In his numerous essays focused on this second theme - the Spaniards (1962); Meditations on the Spanish society (1968); The real Spain (1977); The return of Spain (1978); Spain in our hands (1978); Five years of Spain (1982); Spain intelligible. Historical reason of the Spains (1985); Cervantes, Spanish key (1991); and Spain before history and itself (1898-1936) (1996)-, Julián Marías defended, against other great thinkers such as Américo Castro, that the Arab and the Jew does not have left traces essential in the character and culture of the Spanish, since the authentic Spanish national identity is shown in the other two essential dimensions: Western European and the Spanish-American.

The rest of its abundant trials, include also graduates of the historical generations (1949) method, here and now (1952), trials of theory (1954), the social structure: theory and method (1955), trials of life (1956), the United States in foreshortening (1956), the intellectual and his world (1957), the craft of thought (1958), La Spain possible in times of Carlos III (1963)Consideration of Catalonia (1966), analysis of the United States (1968), Israel, a resurrection (1968), image of human life (1972), social justice and other injustices (1974), literature and generations (1975), a present life (1988), the sentimental education (1992), map of the personal world (1994), person (1996) and be Spanish (2000). His complete works were published in 10 volumes.

In the month of December 2000 presented 25 years of reign of Juan Carlos I, a work coordinated by him and which collaborated twenty-four authors, analyzing, from different angles, the quarter century of the monarchy of the King of Spain.

Tireless intellectual work by Julián Marías allowed him also excelling in many plots of humanistic knowledge. Thus, he/she translated into Spanish some fundamental works of European culture, such as La crise de conscience européenne 1680-1715, the French Paul Hazard, poured into the mother tongue of the Valladolid philosopher under the title of the crisis of the European conscience 1680-1715 (1935-1940). In addition, for several years it developed an interesting work of film critic in the pages of black and white, Sunday supplement of the ABC Rotary. Newspaper articles in diverse subjects met in 2002 in volume level between two centuries.


CASTRO, M. R. The vision of Spain's Julian Marias (New York, 1991).

Tribute to Julian Marias (Madrid: Espasa-Calpe, 1984).

LLISO GENOVÉS, Francisco. The wrong don Julián Marías? (Nation, nationalism, nationalist) (The author ed., 1996).

RALEY, Harold. Julián Marías, a philosophy from within (Madrid: Alianza Editorial, 1997). [Translation of César Armando Gomez].

SOLER PLANAS, Juan. The thought of Julian Marias (Madrid: Revista de Occidente, 1973).

J. R. Fernández Cano.