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Jose Ortega y Gasset
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Philosopher
    (May 9, 1883-October 18, 1955)
    Born in Madrid, Spain
    Founded the magazine 'Revista de Occidente' ('Review of the West,' 1923)
    Spent the Spanish Civil War and World War II in exile in France, Argentina and Portugal
    Wrote 'Meditations on Quixote' (1914), 'Invertebrate Spain' (1921), 'The Theme of Our Times' (1923), 'Ideas on the Novel' (1924), 'The Dehumanization of Art' (1925), 'What Is Philosophy?' (1929), 'The Revolt of the Masses' (1930), 'History as a System' (1934), 'Man and People' (1939) and 'The Origin of Philosophy' (1943)
    Maxim was 'I am I and my circumstance'
    He described leaving Spain for post-graduate studies in Germany as 'fleeing the vulgarity of my country.'
    He got his first job writing for a newspaper founded by his grandfather.
    He was an elitist who felt the people needed to be guided by an intellectual minority.
    Despite his pessimism that liberal democracy could flourish in Spain, he served in parliament, then quit after a year, disillusioned with politics (1931-32).
    He alienated many of his former colleagues from the Spanish Republic when he returned to Franco's Spain (1945).
    He is considered his country's leading philosopher.
    He was a friend and mentor to Frederico Garcia Lorca and several other writers from the 'Generation of 1927.'
    His writings did not require the reader to be an expert in philosophical jargon.
    He said, 'An unemployed existence is a worse negation of life than death itself.'
    A variety of white wine grape was named in his honor.

Credit: C. Fishel


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