Ramón Otero Pedrayo

Category: Writer
Birth Date: 5th March 1888 (†10th April 1976)
Birth Place: Ourense

He studied on a Secondary School in Ourense during the period 1896 to 1904. He made a course to become an independent candidate as a student of Law and Arts. As he passed this course he decided to go to Madrid and study both careers at the same time. When he finished his studies at University he took an exam to become a teacher for Secondary School and got it in 1919. After staying in Burgos for a year and in Santander for another one he returned to Ourense in 1921. In 1923, he went back to Cantabria to marry Josefina Bustamante Muñoz. When the Republic was proclaimed in 1931, he became a candidate to the Government through the Republic Nationalist Party in Ourense. In 1935 he replaced Luis Iglesias for the presidency of the Galician Studies Seminary. He had already directed Geography and History Sections. On 31st March 1950 he got a chair to teach Geography at Santiago University. This same year he was nominated as president of the board of directors of the publishing house Galaxia.

 Work & Activities

As a guide for Secondary Education, he wrote a textbook for each of the subjects he taught: Treinta y tres Lecciones de Geografía General and Lecciones Elementales de Historia Universal (Thirty-three lessons of general Geography and Lessons of Universal History). Both of them were published in A Coruña in 1929. His lessons of Geography are reflected in the book Geografía de España. Presencia y Potencia del Suelo y Pueblo Español SUPPORTER OF GALICIAN AUTONOMY Just as his partners in the group Nós, he was one of those intellectual young men, who would be called 'inadaptados' (outsiders) by Vicente Risco. He took part in two brief notes in the magazine La Centuria, which was founded and directed by Risco in Ourense in 1917. During the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera his activity as supporter of Galician Autonomy is inclined to Literature but as soon as the Republic was proclaimed he founded the Republic Nationalist Party together with Vicente Risco and others. NARRATOR His first three books are short stories: Pantelas, home libre (1925), which represents the beginning of his narrative activity, O purgatorio de don Ramiro (1926) and Escrito na néboa (1927), which is an outline of the book Arredor de si. After these short stories, Otero Pedrayo started bigger projects like the novels Os Camiños da Vida (1928) and Arredor de Si (1930). The first novel is divided into three parts titled Os Señores da Terra, A Maorazga and O estudante and shows us the Galician rural society and its transformation during the 19th century. In this novel Otero Pedrayo uses his favourite themes: the ruin of the small Galician aristocracy and the promotion of the middle class. In the novel Arredor de si, Otero Pedrayo makes a portrait of his generation and mainly of himself, who is represented by the character of the novel Adrián Solovio. Two years later he published two collections of seven stories about nobility titled Contos do camiño e da rúa. His book Fra Vernero dates from the year 1934. It is the only novel which does not refer to Galicia. It is an essay rather than a novel and it is full of allusions to important writers such as Goethe, Voltaire, Mozart, Rousseau, Hegel... The novel A Romaría de Xelmírez was also published in 1934. It is a historical novel about the Middle Ages and the journey of archbishop Xelmírez to Rome. In 1935, he published in Santiago the novel Devalar about Galicia before the war. O Mesón dos Ermos (1936) is a short novel, which shows the reality of the country life and the description of a landscape by means of a rich and expressive language. After the Civil War, Otero Pedrayo would publish the book O señorito da Reboraina (1960) apart from other narrative works that were published in magazines and newspapers. This book is a parody about nobility novels, which he himself had written. ESSAY Pelerinaxes (1929) is based on a trtip that Vicente Risco made to San Andrés de Teixido describing Galician landscape full of historical evocations and cultural interpretations. Guía de Galicia (1926) is a cultural and historical interpretation about Galicia. The book Ensaio Histórico sobre a cultura galega (Historical essay about Galician culture) was published in 1939 in Castilian language although it was thought to be published in Galician language. It is a synthesis about the historical and cultural development of Galicia. As a complement to this work he also published Síntese Xeográfica de Galicia (Geographical synthesis of Galicia) in 1926 and Síntese histórica do século XVIII in Galicia (Historical synthesis of the 18th century in Galicia in 1969. As a result of his journey to America in 1947 after being invited by the Galician Centre in Buenos Aires to commemorate the Day of Galicia, he published the chronicle titled Polos vieiros da saudade (1952). O espello no serán (1966) is a collection of proses about Compostela and his experiences in the city. There are also some other important essays such as O libro dos amigos (1953), Romanticismo, saudade, sentimento de raza e da terra en Pastor Díaz, Rosalía de Castro e Eduardo Pondal (1931), which was a speech to enter the Galician Academy and two other smaller books such as Morte e resurrección (1932) or Lembranza de Goethe (1932). THEATRE The tragedy A lagarada (1929) is his first theatre play and perhaps the most interesting one. O desengano do prioro (1952) is a humoristic play about the creation of industries in O Ribeiro. Noite compostelana (1973) is his last theatre play, a dialogue full of lyrical feeling and symbols which might have been thought to be performed. We should also bear in mind sixteen pieces under the title Teatro de máscaras. Castelao encouraged him to write them and they remained unpublished until 1975. POETRY The poetry by Otero Pedrayo can be considered as something of lesser importance. In the work Escolma da poesía galega we can find some poems such as O pan de centeo and the famous Himno ao xamón. When he was about seventy years old he made a few lyrical poems for a poetry collection for young people. These poems were picked up in a book titled Bocarribeira. Poemas para ler e queimar, which was published in 1958.

 Other Interesting Aspects

The Galician Academy dedicated him ?O Día das Letras Galegas? (The Day of the Galcian Letters) in 1988.