People - Maria Zambrano

Philosopher (1904 - 1991)

María Zambrano was born on the 25th of April, 1904 in Vélez-Málaga (Málaga province), the daughter of Blas José Zambrano, a teacher. She only stayed in Vélez for three years as her family moved to Jaén and subsequently to Segovia, where she attended high school. María continued her studies at the university in Madrid where she studied philosophy under such well-known and respected professors as Zubiri and Ortega. During her university years she also participated in student protests and wrote for various newspapers.

She went on to work as a teacher at Madrid University and in 1936 married Alfonso Rodríguez Aldave, the secretary of the Spanish Embassy in Santiago, Chile. After the Spanish Civil War she moved to Mexico and worked as a professor at the University of Morelea. María subsequently travelled to La Habana (Cuba), where she taught at the University.

María lived in Italy and Switzerland before returning to Spain. Her work reflects Ortega's influence. For example, she always believed that philosophical problems were not merely technical difficulties but more mysterious and symbolic.

One of her fundamental themes has been the analysis of what she terms as "poetic reasoning", as it appears in "Claros del Bosque" (1977). María affirms the importance of what she refers to as "the knowledge of the soul", which is matched by her reflections on hope and the importance of the divine in human life. Examples of this can be seen in such works as "Hacía un Saber Sobre el Alma" (1950) and "El Hombre y lo Divino" (1955). Her most important works are considered to be: "Filosofía y Poesía" (1939), "La Agonía de Europa" (1945) and "El Sueño Creador" (1965). 1981 she was awarded the Premio Príncipe de Asturias, followed, in 1988 by the Cervantes literature prize. María Zambrano died on February 6th 1991. Her anthology, "La Razón de la Sombra" was published posthumously, in 1993.

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