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In this article, the Spanish philosopher, José Ortega y Gasset, expresses his concern about the “belligerent” attitude he encounters in today’s Spanish and Argentine young adults. With respect to Argentina, this observation is based on his reading of the magazines Inicial. Revista de la nueva generación. [Initial, Magazine of the New Generation] (Buenos Aires) and Valoraciones [Assessments](La Plata). He states that when young intellectuals go on “the offensive,” this should stem from some “affirmation” and should set forth “the expression of new positive principles.” Thus, “debates” with the positions held by the prior generation are understood to be a natural consequence of dialectics, and not as an end in themselves.


The thoughts of José Ortega y Gasset (1883–1955) were well known throughout Argentina after the Madrid philosopher’s first visit to Argentina in 1916. During the 1920s, his concept of a “nueva generación” [new generation] assumed great relevance. This was in fact how the young writers linked to the aesthetic revival in those years came to be understood. His concept was developed through several essays such as El tema de nuestro tiempo [The Topic of Our Times], “Generación contra generación” [Generation against Generation], and “El deber de la nueva generación argentina” [The Duty of the New Generation in Argentina]. El tema de nuestro tiempo appeared in book form in 1923, but was printed in advance by the journal Nosotros [Us] (Buenos Aires), in two installments (issues No. 165 and 166), just after it was published in El Sol [The Sun] in Madrid. The daily newspaper La Nación [The Nation] published the other two essays on July 28 and April 6, 1924, respectively.

The original title for “El deber de la nueva generación argentina” was actually “Para dos revistas argentinas [For Two Argentine Magazines], which was used by La Nación on April 27, 1924, for part two of the essay. Shortly afterward, the Spanish writer took the opportunity in “La Etnología y la Historia: el sentido histórico” [Ethnology and History: The Historic Meaning] to correct this error. The title he suggested instead was “Un consejo a la nueva generación argentina” [Advice to a New Generation in Argentina]. These essays must be linked to a survey performed by the journal Nosotros (Buenos Aires), entitled “Nuestra encuesta sobre la nueva generación literaria” [Our Survey on the New Literary Generation], which appeared in issue No. 168 (May 1923).

(See doc. no. 743376 and doc. no. 743402.)

Natalia Pineau.
Fundación Espigas, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Biblioteca Nacional, Argentina.