'Brief history of Spain' made him not only one of our most celebrated national History awards, but also one of the great references of our time
A love story. The story of an unwavering passion for history. That of Spain, that of the Basque Country, that of the Church. For the incontestable facts, but also for the luminous landscapes. For heritage, art, literature. And for people and their ideals, their faith, their greatness. For all that high and lit the human being can have in space and time... That is what the tireless life of Fernando García de Cortázar has meant: love full of meaning and sensitivity.
Sense to dismantle, with an iron hand, some of the many false myths shamelessly constructed by nationalist fevers since the 19th century. To return to the great course of the history of Spain with a "penetrating gaze", rescuing it from interested interpretations as well as from "reductions", as it was pointed out, so rightly, when it was awarded the 2020 Bravo Prize. To spread and spread history among all audiences, sharing and spreading their devotion. From his texts for high school to his television series. Or even that 'Brief history of Spain', which is surely the greatest historiographic editorial success of recent times. A task that has made Artola's most outstanding disciple not only one of our most celebrated national History awards, but also one of the great references of our time.
And sensitivity, of course, to extract from history not only the teachings, but also, and above all, the emotions. A sensitivity that leads us to relate García de Cortázar, a century later, with the men of the Generation of '98. With that love and that pain of Spain of writers like Machado and Unamuno, like Baroja and Azorín. Those exciting moments in the history of Spain that he left printed, in 2014, in one of the most inspired and inspiring books of his. The ability to integrate the landscapes and peasants of the Basque Country or of Spain in the course of events. And to talk about the facts and situations of our common future from the vibration of art or the pulse of literature. Not in vain in his meetings, conferences and conferences, García de Cortázar always pointed to art and literature, especially poetry, as fundamental "historiographical sources", capable of transmitting to the reader the true relevance of the facts, their transcendence. A help to which he always resorted as a fundamental part of his speech, also leading by example. In his books, in addition to the precision and conciseness of the data, typical of both the historian and the popularizer through journalistic articles, he always shone a personal literary style, careful words and well-polished language. Emotions that were also transmitted in his innumerable public appearances, where so many times the exaltation of the verses of Quevedo, Machado, Garcilaso or Unamuno corroborated, close to tears, the shock that the evocation can produce. historical.
Sense and sensitivity that also led him, for years, to promote an intellectual adventure such as the Culture Classrooms, first of El Correo and later of the Vocento Foundation, of which he was director. Classrooms through which tens of thousands of people continue to pass each year in person and now also millions of Internet surfers. With his newspapers, El Correo and ABC, always in the lead, but also with a deep involvement in the local cultural reality of each of the Vocento group's newspapers. That absolute incardination of local history in national history that was part of one of his landmark works, the monumental La historia en su lugar, in which two hundred Spanish and foreign historians collaborated. And a way of being, of feeling and of interpreting history that also led him, in the lead years, to risk his own life in defense of civil rights in a Basque Country and a Spain threatened by intransigence and terror of ETA. The national as the sum of the local, in a model of citizenship, harmony and culture, with a background view permanently illuminated by history.
Professor and Jesuit
A sensible and sensitive portrait that must inevitably close with his other great delivery, if not the main one, which was his work as a teacher and as a priest of the Society of Jesus. The projection of him towards others. The imprint that he knew how to impress on his students, among others, from the University of Deusto. And the proximity, the company and the consolation, the "joy" with which he shared some relevant moments of his life, but also the strict daily existence of the people and families he dealt with through the priestly work of the.
Also from one place to another in the national geography, although especially in Castile and the Basque Country. If he did his novitiate in Orduña, he was a junior of the Jesuits in Villagarcía de Campos, and a student of Philosophy and Letters in Salamanca. If he did his teaching stage in Pamplona, he also studied theology in Madrid. People and places that contributed to his great exercise of integrating history into the very essence of men. That little story, that intra-history that Unamuno spoke of, which in the end always turns the life of each one into the shared future of all the others.