1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Menéndez y Pelayo, Marcelino

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MENÉNDEZ Y PELAYO, MARCELINO (1856–), Spanish scholar and critic, was born at Santander on the 3rd of November 1856. In 1871–1872 he studied under Mila y Fontanals at the university of Barcelona, whence he proceeded to the central university of Madrid. His academic successes had never been surpassed; a special law was passed by the Cortes to enable him to become a professor at the age of twenty-two, and three years later he was elected a member of the Spanish Academy. But before this date (1882) he was well known throughout Spain. His first volume, Estudios críticos sobre escritoires montañeses (1876), had attracted little notice, and his scholarly Horacio en España (1877) appealed only to students. He became famous through his Ciencia española (1878), a collection of polemical essays defending the national tradition against the attacks of political and religious reformers. The unbending orthodoxy of this work is, if possible, still more pronounced in the Historia de los heterodoxos españoles (1880–1886), and the writer was hailed as the champion of the ultramontane party. His lectures (1881) on Calderon established his reputation as a literary critic; and his work as an historian of Spanish literature was continued in his Historia de las ideas estéticas en España (1881–1891), his edition (1890–1903) of Lope de Vega, his Antalogía de poetas líricos castellanos (1890–1906), and his Orígenes de la novela (1905).