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Science and Spanish tradition fused

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Science and Spanish tradition fused
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SCIENCE AND SPANISH TRADITION FUSED:
CENTRIPETAL DISCOURSE IN RAMON Y CAJAL'S
REGLAS Y CONSEJOS SOBRE INVESTIGATION CIENTIFICA


By

LINCOLN CLARKE LAMBETH


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2000
















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Special thanks are due to my wife and family for

their support in the completion of this project.

Special thanks are also due to Mrs. T. H. Fay

and Dr. Thomas Fay for their friendship and support. In

the peaceful atmoshpere of the house on Northwest

Third Street many of the ideas herein were conceived and

developed.

Many thanks also to my professors, past and

present, whose patience and guidance have been

indispensable.














TABLE OF CONTENTS

Page

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................................................................................. i. i

A B S T RA C T ................................................................................................................... ...... V

CHAPTERS

1 INTRODUCTION AND BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF CAJAL ...... 1

In t ro d u c t io n ......................................................................................................... 1
Cajal's Early Years and Education .......................................... 4
The Valencia Years: Cajal's Early Literary
Pr od u c t ion s ...................................................................................................... 1 9
Career Progress, Honors, and the Creation of
Reglas y consejos ................................................................................... 26
C o n c lu s i o n .............................................................................................................. 3 0

2 INTELLECTUAL CULTURE OF RESTORATION SPAIN ................ 32

In t r od u c t ion ........................................................................................................ 32
The Revolution of 1868 and its Aftermath ................... 34
The Polemic of Spanish Science and its
B a c kg ro un d ........................................................................................................ 4 6
Influence of German Thought in Spain ............................... 58
Consequences of the Spanish-American War ................... 63
C o n c l u s i o n .............................................................................................................. 7 1

3 TEXTUAL ANALYSIS OF REGLAS Y CONSEJOS................................ 74

In t r od u c t ion ........................................................................................................ 7 4
Description of the Text ....................................................................... 77
Aims of the Text ........................................................................................... 82
Themes and Leitmotifs of the Text ......................................... 87
Discursive Strategy of the Text ............................................... 96
Genre of the Text .......................................................................................... 120
Cajal's Postscript to the 1899 Edition of
t h e T e x t ............................................................................................................... 1 2 9
C o n c l u s i o n ............................................................................................................... 1 3 3









4 ANALYSIS OF OTHER TEXTS OF CAJAL ............................................. 136

In tr od u c t io n ......................................................................................................... 1 3 6
Recuerdos de mi vida ................................................................................. 140
El mundo visto a los ochenta afios .......................................... 150
Charlas de caf ................................................................................................ 153
"El hombre natural y el hombre artificial" .............. 158
Prologue to Evoluci6n superorganica ................................... 164
"A patria chica, alma grande" ...................................................... 166
The Echegaray Medal .................................................................................... 169
"Sobre la guerra de Cuba" .................................................................. 171
C o n c l u s i o n ............................................................................................................... 1 7 2

5 CON C L U S ION ............................................................................................................... 17 3

W O R K S C IT E D .................................................................................................................. 1 8 2

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .......................................................................................... 189















Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate
School of the University of Florida in Partial
Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of
Doctor of Philosophy

SCIENCE AND SPANISH TRADITION FUSED:
CENTRIPETAL DISCOURSE IN RAMON Y CAJAL'S
REGLAS Y CONSEJOS SOBRE INVESTIGATION CIENTIFICA

By

LINCOLN CLARKE LAMBETH

May 2000

Chair: Dr. Geraldine Nichols
Major Department: Romance Languages and Literatures

Santiago Ram6n y Cajal (1852-1934), who won the

Nobel prize in 1906 for his biological work, was one of

many fin de siglo writers concerned with the regeneration

of Spain, and produced several texts that addressed social

and cultural issues. Cajal's traditional-sounding stances

on some issues were used during the Franco years to support

traditionalist cultural constructions. A close look at

Cajal's texts, however, reveals contradictions of a

conservative coloration of his image.

In Reglas y consejos sobre investigaci6n

cientifica, Cajal sought to inscribe modern science within

a quasi-traditionalist construction of Spanish identity.









To this end he employed metaphor, simile and other means to

establish identifications between science and traditional

cultural leitmotifs such as religious commitment, chivalry,

conquest of the new world, patriotism, Quixotism and even

an idea of the perfect casada. As he appropriates these

leitmotifs to explain science and encourage its

cultivation, Cajal transforms them, infusing them with new

and more secular meanings. He thus constructs a potentially

subversive symbiosis, in which science receives prestige

from its association with traditional ideas even as these

ideas receive new and more secular definitions.

Throughout Reglas y consejos a new social space, the

laboratory, is depicted, always in exalted tones and often

in discreet opposition to the social spaces of church and

printed page traditionally revered in Spanish culture. The

text is a Spanish example of a genre that may be termed

books of "self-culture," a secularization of orthodox

religious devotion in which a quest for self-improvement

replaced the metaphysical concept of divinely-aided growth

in Christ-likeness. Cajal was inspired by the work of the

French educator Jules Payot, The Education of the Will:

Theory and Practice of Self-Culture, an emphatically

secular guide to self-improvement.
















CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION AND BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF CAJAL



Introduction

"Es un verdadero Evangelio en la santa busca de la

verdad," wrote Gregorio Marafi6n in 1934 of Spanish scientist

Santiago Ram6n y Cajal's essay, Reglas y consejos sobre

investigaci6n cientifica. Los t6nicos de la voluntad

("Recuerdo a Cajal" 316). This text, originally Cajal's

discurso de ingreso given before the Spanish Royal Academy of

Sciences in 1897, seeks to encourage and instruct the

beginning researcher. Hyperbole aside, Marafi6n's assessment of

the text alludes to many of its qualities: concern for the

production and legitimation of knowledge, and a combination of

practical admonitions, passionate exposition of high ideals

and personal tone that could indeed remind one of the letters

of St. Paul. Maraf6n was not the first to note the parallel.

In 1907, in one of the many acts of homage to Cajal after he

won the Nobel Prize, Dr. Romero Landa recounted his days as a

student in Madrid, explaining how he found Reglas y consejos







2


in one of Madrid's few "librerias series y cultas," and read

it straight through:

Terminada la lectura del libro, se respira nueva
vida, se llena el espiritu de grandes anhelos, se
fortifica la voluntad, se siente uno mejor, en una
palabra. [. .] este libro [. .] es El Evangelic
de la investigaci6n cientifica (31).

Landa's experience of encouragement may be better

comprehended in light of the fact that Reglas y consejos sobre

investigaci6n cientifica is a Spanish example of what may be

termed "books of self-culture," essentially a genre of secular

"devotional literature" in which traditional religious

devotion is displaced by dedication to self-development and to

causes such as the nation or progress. Author and literary

critic Jos6 Martinez Ruiz, "Azorin", called it "un directorio

spiritual a la modern" (76). In Azorin's 1913 review of the

third edition of Reglas y consejos, he asserted that it was

not a book that had obtained a clamorous but fleeting success.

Rather, he affirmed, its influence had gradually made itself

felt in many sectors, growing and spreading in a clandestine,

almost subterranean manner, to the point that: [. .] tal

volume que no obtuvo 6xito ruidoso [. .] ha sido

fundamental en la ideologia [de Espafa] [. .] y ha

constituido uno de los factors de su evoluci6n social

[. .]"(75).1 Not only Cajal's writings, but also his example


The full text of this citation is as follows: "Hay libros










and influence were in fact fundamental to the creation of a

modest but noteworthy scientific community in Spain.

Institutions such as the Instituto Cajal and the Junta para

Ampliaci6n de Estudios, and publications such as Cajal's

Revista trimestral microgrdfica constituted new social spaces

within which a supportive scientific culture could grow.

Cajal's prose style also won Azorin's praise: "un estilo

verdaderamente literario, un estilo claro, preciso, limpio,

ameno, insinuante" (77). Not a mere laboratory manual, as the

title may seem to suggest, Reglas y consejos, rich in literary

language and replete with intertextual allusions to works of

literature and philosophy, constitutes a program of cultural

orientation and self-cultivation for the beginning researcher.

A brief look at relevant aspects of the life and career of its

author, and later at the intellectual culture of Restoration

Spain, will establish a base for textual analysis of this


que tienen un clamoroso, pero fugacisimo 6xito. Hay otros
cuyo 6xito parece como clandestine, como subterrineo; ni la
prensa ni el gran pdblico hablan apasionadamente de ellos; mas
poco a poco se van vendiendo; un circulo reducido de
estudiosos los comenta; en trabajos de revista y en
conferencias y en explicaciones de cdtedras se va viendo
lentamente un reflejo, una influencia de esos libros; otros
libros, en fin, nacen engendrados por ellos; y en definitive,
tal volume que no obtuvo 6xito ruidoso, que no entusiasm6 a
la gente que se halla en los aledafianos de la intelectualidad,
ni lleg6 a la noticia de los parlamentarios; tal volume,
repetimos, ha sido fundamental en la ideologia de un pais-en
determinado momento-y ha constituido uno de los factors de su
evoluci6n social o literaria. De esta clase de libros es el
citado del doctor Cajal." (75-6)










unique and little-studied work. It will be seen that Cajal's

production of Reglas y consejos, although occasioned by his

nomination to the Royal Academy of Sciences, was not

anomalous; the text represented Cajal's longstanding desire to

promote scientific research, a desire which had already led

him to try his hand at similar texts. Thus it is that Reglas y

consejos exhibits not the tentative, awkward language of a

literary novice, but rather the more graceful prose of a

mature writer.



Cajal's Early Years and Education2

Cajal3 was born in 1852 in Petilla de Arag6n, a tiny village

in northern Spain out of which his father, Don Justo Ram6n,

worked as a traveling rural medical practitioner. Ram6n, the

third son of a peasant family, had left home early,

2 The material for this summary, unless otherwise noted, is
taken from the first volume of Cajal's autobiography,
Recuerdos de mi vida. This first volume is subtitled Mi
infancia y juventud, but it is nearly always referred to by
scholars of Cajal as Recuerdos de mi vida. The second part of
his autobiography was first included as a second volume of
Recuerdos with the subtitle Historia de mi labor cientifica
and later published as a separate volume that used the
original subtitle as a title. Nearly all references to it in
this study come from this later publication and will
appear using the title Historia de mi labor cientifica.

3 During his adult years Cajal used either his matronym or
both patronym and matronym, a not infrequent practice. Reasons
for this choice of Cajal's are unclear. His brother Pedro,
also a university professor and scientist, followed the more
typical preference for his paternal last name, and was known
as Pedro Ram6n.










apprenticed to a rural doctor, and by extreme sacrifices

managed to earn a basic medical degree.4 Don Justo eventually

earned a full medical degree5 and later became a professor of

dissection in Zaragoza. In his autobiography, Recuerdos de mi

vida, first published in 1901, Cajal writes that his father's

example and influence constituted the greatest element in his

development. Not only did he inculcate in Santiago a

particular quasi-religious devotion to work, he also imparted

to the boy his strong ambition for self-improvement and

achievement:

[. .] me leg6 prendas de cardcter, a que debo
todo lo que soy: la religion de la voluntad
soberana; la fe en el trabajo [. .]. De 6l
adquiri tambi6n la hermosa ambici6n de ser algo y
la decision de no reparar en sacrificios para el
logro de mis ambiciones [. ].(3-4)

Noteworthy also here is Cajal's reference to his father's

"religion of the sovereign will" and his "faith in work."

Cajal's later exposure to fin-de-siecle psychological and

philosophical ideas about the primacy of the will among human

faculties reinforced and refined what he acquired from his

father. Cajal's earliest schooling also came from his father,




4 "Cirujano de segunda clase" (Recuerdos 1)

SCajal writes that his father at the cost of much effort
managed to replace "[. .] el humilde titulo de Cirujano de
segunda case con el flamante diploma de MWdico-cirujano"
(Recuerdos 1).










from whom he learned the basics of geometry, arithmetic,

geography and French.

When Cajal was between seven and eight years of age

there occurred "tres sucesos que tuvieron decisive influencia

en mis ideas y sentimientos ulteriores" (25). The first of

these was a local celebration of the Spanish capture of Tetuan

in February of 1860. Spaniards long dismayed by their

country's relative weakness and decline from its former

glories lost no time in celebrating the Spanish military

triumph in Morocco, however small and insignificant it may

have been. Spanish general O'Donnell claimed that the

victory had succeeded in "raising Spain from her prostration"

(Carr 261). Historian Raymond Carr has written that the

Moroccan war was "a unifying political emotion" essentially

unrelated to Spain's economic interests, and a step towards

the jingoism that would later characterize the ill-fated war

with the United States in 1898 (261). Cajal wrote that he and

the other boys gladly joined in his town's celebration and ate

and drank, even if they didn't completely understand the

reason for the occasion, "alborotados con esta especie de

comuni6n patri6tica" (26). Cajal linked the celebration with

his first experience of patriotic feeling:

Fue 6sta la primera vez que surgieron en mi mente
[. ] la idea y el sentimiento de la patria
[. .]. Pobres e incompletas eran las nociones







7

hist6ricas aprendidas en la escuela o de labios de
mi padre; pero bastAronme para former alta idea de
mi naci6n como entidad guerrera, descubridora y
artistic, y para que me considerase orgulloso de
haber nacido en Espafia. (27)

A patriotic devotion to Spain's well-being would later be

cited by Cajal as the motivation for much of his scientific

work; as a university student, Cajal was deeply offended by

the scorn of foreigners toward Spanish intellectual efforts.

Pained at the essential truth behind their ridicule, the young

man resolved to do his best to vindicate his country by

producing original scientific knowledge.6

Another decisive event in Cajal's boyhood was the

dramatic death of his town's priest. On a Saturday afternoon,

unusually strong thunder drowned out the children' recited

prayers, and the old church's ceiling seemed to give way.

Running outside, young Santiago saw the priest's body hanging

out of the bell tower; attempting to ring the bell to ward

away the storm, he had been struck dead by lightning. The





6 In the prologue to the second edition of Reglas y consejos,
Cajal wrote that during his years in Zaragoza he was pained at
the lack of citations of Spanish scientists in the texts he
was studying. For Cajal, "[. .] cada descubrimiento debido
al extranjero era algo asi como un ultraje a nuestra bandera
vergonzosamente tolerado. Y mAs de una vez, durante mis
paseos solitarios [. .] exclamaba, 'No, Espafia debe tener
anat6micos, y si las fuerzas y la voluntad no me faltan, yo
procurar6 ser uno de ellos'" (1899, 12-13).










lightning also destroyed a picture of Christ. Cajal wrote

that the event provoked in him doubts about Church teachings:

Por primera vez cruz6 por mi espiritu,
profundamente conmovido, la idea del desorden y de
la inarmonia [. .]. Si realmente [Dios] lo puede
todo y es infinitamente bueno, segun aseguran
formalmente el cura y el maestro, Zc6mo esta vez no
ha interpuesto una mano piadosa [. .] evitando la
muerte de un santo var6n [. .] ? (31-32)

Essentially agnostic as an adult, Cajal nevertheless treated

the religious beliefs of others with great respect; he was

careful to avoid religious controversy. Criticism of Church

and religion in his writings is infrequent and usually

indirect or merely implied. The death of the town priest left

doubts about the power of the Divinity, but young Santiago was

impressed with the power of nature, and later he would marvel

at the ability of science to predict with some accuracy and

harness natural phenomena.

This wonder at science is first formulated in Cajal's

mind during the third decisive boyhood event, the solar

eclipse of 1860. Predictions of the eclipse, announced in the

newspapers, were fulfilled as young Santiago stood watching,

listening to his father's explanations. The boy was amazed

that such an event could be understood and predicted; Cajal

wrote that the eclipse:

[. .] [fue] para mi tierna inteligencia luminosa
revelaci6n. Cai en la cuenta, al fin, de que el
hombre, desvalido y desarmado enfrente del
incontrastable poder de las fuerzas c6smicas, tiene







9

en la ciencia redentor heroico y poderoso y
universal instrument de previsi6n y de domino.
(34)

If God were not the protector or redeemer of mankind, perhaps

science was. Cajal grew up in an era when for a growing

number of people the authority of religion was being displaced

by that of modern science.

Despite his early initiation into basic math and

grammar, the future Nobel Prize winner was far from a model

student. Cajal in his Recuerdos de mi vida recounts at great

length his many mischievous adventures with young friends. He

even credited his father's early instruction, which he

believed had developed in him strong habits of thought and

imagination, for "los rApidos progress que yo hice en la vida

airada de pedreas y asaltos, de ataques a la propiedad pdblica

y privada" and other juvenile misdeeds (43). Among his

cohort, young Santiago was the fabricator of sling shots, the

one who judged trajectories for rocks hurled at windows, and

so forth. Telling of his disgust at having to give up his

free time and go to school, Cajal wrote that his mischievous,

independent attitude and passion for drawing did not change

but only found new modes of expression:

Todo se reducia a variar el teatro de nuestras
diabluras: los disefnos del paisaje se convertian
en caricaturas del maestro; las pedreas al aire
libre se transformaban en escaramuzas de banco a
banco, en las cuales servian de proyectiles
papelitos, tronchos, acerolas, garbanzos y judias
[ .]. (61)










Even at the highly regimented school of the Escolapian Fathers

in Jaca to which his father sent him, the boy's independent

attitude was not broken. Cajal in part intended his

autobiography to constitute a critique of the rote learning and

memoristic pedagogy prevalent in Spain at the time (iii). He

blamed such practices for much of his trouble in school,

noting how poorly they served the many students whose learning

styles were incompatible with the method. Creative thought

and application of knowledge, in which young Santiago had

already distinguished himself, were discouraged in favor of

recitation of facts, in which even the slightest error

resulted in some corporal punishment. Referring to the adage,

"La letra con sangre entra," Cajal ruefully remarks of the

school in Jaca that "[. .] lo singular del caso era que la

sangre corria, pero la letra no entraba por ninguna parte"

(74).

Exasperation at his son's failures in school led Don

Justo to place the boy as an apprentice first to a barber and

later to a cobbler; he hoped his son would reform or at least

learn to make a living. After a successful year's

apprenticeship to the cobbler, Cajal's father let him return

to school. Don Justo's disillusionment with the school in

Jaca motivated a change of venue: Santiago was enrolled at the










Institute de Huesca, where at least some of the professors

managed to inspire interest instead of hatred in the boy, who

had promised to apply himself sincerely. From this point on

he found greater success in school, aided by the active

participation of his father.

Don Justo was convinced that his son should become a

doctor and that surgical success depended more on the

exploration of cadavers than on the study of books: "Sabia

harto que la naturaleza s6lo se deja comprender por la

contemplaci6n direct [. .] y que los libros no son por lo

general otra cosa que indices de nombres y clasificaciones de

hechos" (189). Don Justo took it upon himself to initiate the

boy in dissection and osteology; he and Santiago had to rob a

few graves to procure the necessary material for study. Of the

impact of his father's lessons Cajal wrote:

Tengo para mi que el future director de Zaragoza,
el catedratico de Anatomia de Valencia y el
investigator modesto, pero tenaz y activo que vine
a ser andando el tiempo, fueron el fruto de
aquellas primeras lecciones de osteologia
explicadas en un granero. (189)

This preference for direct study of natural phenomena,

inculcated by his father, would continue as a fundamental

attitude in Cajal. Here also in the formative experience of

learning from his father's example7 can be seen the genesis of

7 For Cajal the concept of exemplarity included both the
imitation of the exemplary lives of the distant or
deceased,and the learning inspired by the living example of










a pedagogical leitmotif Cajal would later develop quite

extensively--the question of exemplarity. In Reglas y

consejos Cajal wrote that the young scientific researchers so

needed in Spain would learn their craft "Del mismo modo que el

hijo aprende el oficio del padre, mirando y ensaydndose"

(152), working alongside an accomplished researcher.

Don Justo did not approve of young Santiago's passion

for art and works of literature, which he saw as a waste of

time, at least for those in their formative years. Ironically

Don Justo's insistence on summer study for his son led to

young Santiago's access to a neighbor's large collection of

works of literature:

Alli se mostraban, tentando mi ardiente curiosidad,
el tan celebrado Conde de Montecristo y Los tres
Mosqueteros, de Dumas (padre); Maria o la hija de
un jornalero, de E. Su6; Men Rodriguez de Sanabria
de Fernandez y Gonzalez; Los mdrtires, Atala y
Chactas y el Rene de Chateaubriand; Graziella, de
Lamartine; Nuestra Seftora de Paris y Noventa y
tres, de Victor Hugo; Gil Blas de Santillana de Le
Sage; Historia de Espafia, por Mariana; las comedies
de Calder6n, various libros y poesias de Quevedo,
Los viajes del CapitAn Cook, el Robinson Crusoe, el
Quijote e infinidad de libros de menor cuantia de
que no guard recuerdo puntual. (132)

Santiago surreptitiously borrowed and read the volumes. In

Recuerdos Cajal noted that many of the works were of the

Romantic school, with legendary heroes and marvellous

adventures, and that the reading of the works "tuvo decisive


the parent or teacher present at the learner's side.










influencia en la orientaci6n de mis futures gustos literarios

y artisticos" (130), an observation that will be borne out

upon examination of the text of Reglas y consejos.

His curiosity and interest stimulated by his father's

lessons, Cajal applied himself more diligently to the later

courses of his secondary schooling. These courses-physics,

chemistry and natural history--also squared rather more with

his interests than did the earlier courses. Cajal notes in

Recuerdos de mi vida that he had to go back and re-study

mathematics and other subjects that he had neglected in

earlier years (204). After receiving his bachillerato, Cajal

between 1869 and 1873 studied medicine at the Escuela de

Medicine de Zaragoza. He had never been enthusiastic about

practicing medicine, but lacking a clear preference, he

studied the field practiced and earnestly recommended by his

father.

Cajal's lack of career direction may be seen as a gauge

of the low level of scientific culture in Spain at the time.

There were paths or models such as "lawyer," "doctor,"

"clergyman," "government official," "military officer" and so

forth, but no there was clear vocational model of a scientific

researcher. Indeed, scientific research was not a paid

profession in Spain; even in the late nineteenth and early










twentieth centuries, those engaged in such work pursued it on

their own time, typically in addition to full-time university

teaching. A further mark of the modest value placed on the

production of scientific knowledge by the Spanish state was

that even after Cajal had distinguished himself

internationally as a scientist, receiving the Nobel Prize and

many other honors in the first decade of the new century, he

was still not relieved of his university teaching duties. He

continued teaching even basic courses until his official

retirement in 1922.

In 1873 Cajal enlisted in the Spanish army, obtaining

the position of m6dico military, with a view to serving in one

of the ongoing colonial conflicts. He was still not

especially attracted to medical practice, which seemed too

routine and boring. Young and strong, he hoped to satisfy his

innate longing for adventure, which had only been strengthened

by his clandestine reading of romantic novels. Among the most

influential of these had been Robinson Crusoe; Cajal noted in

his autobiography that the work revealed to him "el soberano

poder del hombre enfrente de la naturaleza" (135). He had

been deeply impressed by the strong-willed effort of the

protagonist, who by "los milagros de la voluntad y del trabajo

inteligente," (135) worked to transform a desert island, full










of dangers, into a pleasant home: "iQu6 soberano triunfo debe

ser--pensaba--explorar una tierra virgen, contemplar paisajes

ineditos adornados de fauna y flora originales, que parecen

creados expresamente para el descubridor como preciado

galard6n de su heroismo!" (135). Noteworthy here is Cajal's

metaphorical use of religious language, and also of an

imperialist language ("soberano poder," "soberano triunfo").

Cajal's period of service in Cuba did not produce the

romantic encounter with virgin jungles that he had hoped for;

rather it nearly killed him. Malaria and related illnesses,

which in Cuba cost Spain far more soldiers than did battle

casualties, gave occasion for the seriously-ill Cajal to be

discharged as medically unfit for service. He returned to

Spain in 1875 and spent several months in recuperation.

Cajal's experience in Cuba gave him occasion to rail in

patriotic fervor against the widespread abuses and corruption

in the Spanish army. Food rations for the sick soldiers

seemed strangely sparse; Cajal soon discovered that supplies

were being diverted and sold or traded away, a practice he

tried to end. Only on one occasion did he have to bring his

rifle into action, to help repel an attack on his hospital

outpost. By many accounts the experience in Cuba marked Cajal

for life. Joaquin de Entrambasaguas relates that as a much










older man Cajal harshly criticized novelist Pio Baroja-who

like himself had studied medicine-for his avoidance of

military service:

Usted no es espafiol. Con un cinismo repugnante
trat6 usted de eludir el servicio military, mientras
los demds [. .] fuimos a Cuba, enfermamos en la
manigua, caimos en la caquexia paludica y fuimos
repatriados [. .] y luego, enfermos, tratamos de
estudiar y enaltecer a la Patria, no con noveluchas
burdas, locales, encomiadoras de [. .]
conspiradores vascos, sino luchando con la ciencia
extranjera a brazo partido. (Entrambasaguas, LIII)

Cajal continued, saying that such "bad Spaniards" should be

whipped and sent to exile in Africa. In his extreme

condemnation of Baroja, one can see the badge of pride that

military service had provided for Cajal, and also the

suggestion of a continuity between his military stint and his

lifelong effort to create Spanish science.

Agustin Albarracin has suggested that Cajal's romantic

passion for exploration and adventure, frustrated in Cuba,

sought fulfillment in the exploration of other "virgin lands,"

those of the human brain and nervous system (24). Cajal in

his autobiography includes the text of a newspaper article

written about him by an old classmate from the Institute at

Huesca, Rafael Salillas, titled, "La isla de Cajal." In it

Salillas recounts how as a grade-school student Cajal would

read to him and others portions of a sort of "Robinsonian"

novel he (Cajal) had been writing about the adventures of a










man shipwrecked on a deserted island.8 The group of boys even

acted out parts of the novel, seeking to imitate the

adventures therein. For Salillas, his old schoolmate Cajal's

scientific achievements represented not a departure from the

adventurous play of their boyhood, but rather its continuation

and fulfillment:

[. .] entire aquella novela de corte robinsoniano
y la realidad de los descubrimientos cientificos,
no habia ni siquiera variaci6n de asunto. [. .]
[Cajal] sigui6 creyendo en su isla. Naveg6, se
orient, y lleg6 victoriosamente. iLa isla existia!
En los centros nerviosos, en la m6dula y en el
cerebro se encuentra efectivamente la Isla de
Cajal. (212)

In 1877 Cajal served as an interim adjunct professor of

anatomy in Zaragoza, confirming in the process his feeling

that teaching and study suited him better than medical

practice.9 Then as now, a doctoral degree was necessary for

those who aspired to advance to better positions in university

teaching. Cajal's father insisted that his son take the

coursework required for the doctorate in medicine--a year's

study of three subjects--by correspondence with the Central

University in Madrid, rather than have his son leave Zaragoza.



8 This work, if indeed it was ever finished, is not known to
exist today.

9 Cajal' experience in medical practice was not extensive. He
did serve as a military doctor in Cuba, and during his years
in Zaragoza he occasionally attended patients under the
direction of his father.










Apparently Don Justo still wanted to watch over his son's

behavior, and perhaps was also concerned about the state of

his health, which had not yet completely recovered from the

time spent in Cuba. Cajal referred to his father as "temeroso

sin duda de que lejos de su vigilancia, reincidiese en mis

devaneos artisticos, y quizas tenia raz6n" (L6pez Pifiero 63).

Cajal was obliged to go to Madrid to take examinations

at the end of the academic year; his brief time there would

prove decisive for his future direction as a researcher. In

Madrid, in the laboratory of Professor Aurelio Maestre de San

Juan, Cajal first used a microscope10 to examine slides of

human and animal tissues, an event which left him spellbound:

there within each human being lay a whole world to explore.

Cajal returned to Zaragoza determined to set up a small

micrographic laboratory of his own; he used his savings to buy

a microscope and related materials.

Cajal was still at odds with his father over choice of

employment. Don Justo still insisted that his son practice

medicine, but Cajal refused to accept such a position.

Disinclined to clinical practice, he had discerned his true

passions--research and teaching. In March of 1879, Cajal won

10 In his four years of medical studies in Zaragoza (1869-
1873), Cajal had never seen a microscope demonstrated. Such
was the low level of scientific instruction in Spanish
universities of that time.










a position as director of the Museum of Anatomy of the School

of Medicine of Zaragoza. However, this provided only a modest

income, which Cajal supplemented giving private lessons in

histology and anatomy. Cajal married in July of 1879, in

spite of the counsel of friends and of his father, who saw no

sense in his marrying before he was established in a career

and with a stable income. His bride was Silveria Fafianas

Garcia, the daughter of a minor local government employee who

had died a few years earlier. Only Cajal's brother Pedro

attended the ceremony. Cajal's wife dedicated herself to his

support: "mi compafiera, con su abnegaci6n y modestia, su amor

al esposo y a sus hijos y su espiritu de heroica economic,

hizo possible la obstinada y obscura labor del que describe

estas lines" (Recuerdos II: xv). Cajal would later use his

marriage as an exemplum for future scientists. He wrote in

Reglas y consejos that a scientist must marry a woman who

would support her husband's work rather than detract from it.



The Valencia Years: Cajal's Early Literary Productions

Cajal's attempts to win a professorship succeeded in

1883, when he won the chair of anatomy in Valencia. While in

Valencia, heavily occupied in teaching and research, Cajal

wrote a series of articles titled, "Las maravillas de la










histologia" for the medical journal La Clinica. They can be

seen as an early indication of his desire to encourage the

pursuit of laboratory science.1" Signed with the pseudonym,

"Dr. Bacteria," the articles playfully describe the behavior

of cells and microorganisms:

La contracci6n amiboidea o protoplAsmica, que
permit al leucocito errante abrir brecha en la
pared vascular desertando de la sangre a las
comarcas conjuntivas, a la manera del preso que
lima las rejas de su carcel; los campos traqueales
y laringeos, sembrados de pestafas vibratiles que,
por virtud de secrets impulses, ondean, cual campo
de espigas al soplo de brisa internal [. .] la
c6lula nerviosa, la mAs noble casta de elements
organicos, extendiendo sus brazos de gigante, a
modo de los tentaculos de un pulpo [. .].
(Historia de mi labor 44-45)

Noteworthy here also is the frequent use of simile to explain

that which is unknown in terms of what is familiar, a tactic

that Cajal would also employ in Reglas y consejos.

Among others, an influence on Cajal was his professor

of chemistry at Zaragoza, Don Bruno Solano, whom he describes

in Recuerdos as remarkably apt at illuminating difficult

concepts, "mediante comparaciones luminosas" (219):

[. .] su catedra era tempo donde oiamos
embelesados la pintoresca e interesante narraci6n
de los amores y odios de los cuerpos; las aventuras


'Cajal wrote in Historia de mi labor cientifica that he
intended the articles to encourage medical practitioners to
develop also a taste for research: "[. .] alentaba en dichos
trabajitos el buen prop6sito de llamar la atenci6n de los
m6dicos curiosos sobre el encanto inefable del mundo, casi
ignoto, de c6lulas y microbios, y de la importancia
excepcional de su studio objetivo y director" (44).







21

del oxigeno, especie de Don Juan rijoso e
irresistible conquistador de la virginidad de los
simples; las venganzas del hidr6geno, amante celoso
[. .] y las intrigas y tercerias del calor y
electricidad, duefias quintofanas capaces de
perturbar y de divorciar hasta los matrimonios
moleculares mds unidos y estables [. .]. (219)

Here can be seen something of the tactics which Cajal would

also later employ in Reglas y consejos, a text in which

metaphor, simile and other types of comparisons are used to

great effect. Noteworthy also is that Professor Solano's

metaphoric references all derive from a distinctly masculine

and sexist mentality imposed upon scientific phenomena.

Historian of science Londa Schiebinger in The Mind Has No Sex?

Women in the Origins of Modern Science discusses the

systematic exclusion of women from science throughout history,

noting that essentialist thought about gender roles, from the

time of Aristotle on, typically constructed science as a

thoroughly "manly" enterprise (273). As this study proceeds

it will be seen that Cajal, in spite of his modernity in many

aspects, furthered this construction of science as a masculine

endeavor.

Also during his years in Valencia Cajal wrote a

collection of twelve stories, but withheld them from

publication. In 1905 he published five of the stories under

the title, Cuentos de vacaciones: narraciones

seudoscientificas, again under the pseudonym, "Dr. Bacteria."










If not exactly "science fiction" by present standards, they do

deal with scientific themes. In each the protagonist is a man

of science who perseveres against troubles, prevailing by

strength of will and hard work. It is not hard to see

autobiographical reflections in them, notwithstanding their

fictional character. It should be noted that although the

stories were indeed published in 1905, Cajal limited

distribution of the edition to a few friends and other close

associates, claiming they were of poor quality. In Recuerdos

he wrote that: "Conocedor de los defects de la citada

obrita, no os6 ponerla a la venta. Me limits a regular

algunos ejemplares a los amigos de cuya bondadosa indulgencia

estaba bien seguro" (572). The stories were not widely

available until some time after his death.12

D. J. O'Connor has argued that an even deeper reason

for Cajal's reluctance to widely distribute the stories was a

well-founded fear that "[. .] the anti-religious, anti-

establishment content of some of his narratives would prove

deeply offensive to an unsympathetic and ill-prepared public"

(100). Cajal was dependent throughout his career on the

Spanish State and the good will of its ministers for support,


12 In 1941, seven years after Cajal's death, the Cuentos de
vacaciones were published, not in Spain but in Argentina, in
the Colecci6n Austral of Espasa Calpe Argentina.










and felt certain that alienating the public would derail his

work. O'Connor argues that this concern about public opinion

had motivated Cajal's original withholding of the stories in

the 1880s, when they had been written, and that Cajal's

decision twenty years later to limit their distribution

reflected his conviction that Spain was still not ready for

their content. In a letter to Pio Baroja, who had expressed

to Cajal that his 1897 discurso de ingreso should have been

more stridently anti-religious, Cajal made clear his general

strategy of avoiding public religious controversy:

ZEs que se enfada porque no revel6 yo alli ideas
disolventes? ;Pero hombre de Dios! ZCudndo ha
visto usted que eso se puede hacer en un discurso
academico y ante compaheros, todos o casi todos
fervientemente cat6licos? De proceder como usted
desea, el discurso no se hubiera escrito, o me lo
habrian devuelto, y la causa del nacionalismo nada
habria ganado. (O'Connor 111)

Noteworthy here also is Cajal's identification of his

scientific career and the cause of Spanish nationalism.

Cajal's nationalism, as will be seen in later chapters,

blended a strong patriotic feeling with a distinctly secular

vision of Spain's past and future. Despite an abiding desire

to freely promote his ideas, whether through academic

discourses or popular literature, Cajal, ever pragmatic and

realistic in spite of his romantic and quixotic tendencies,

felt constrained to a more measured self-expression.










No less a poet than Ruben Dario wrote an ode to Cajal,

on the occasion of Cajal's winning of the Nobel Prize in 1906:

Va cavando con paciencia
El minero cerebral
Llena esta de fe y de ciencia
La conciencia de Cajal

De la mina en lo profundo
Nos atrae pero nos
Da una inmensa hambre de mundo
Y una inmensa sed de Dios

Este sabio es un poeta;
Va con Psiquis, la fatal
No le rompa su piqueta
Las dos alas de cristal

Gran cuidado, buen obrero,
Gran cuidado en la labor
Si hallas luces, igloria!
Pero, no dar sombras es mejor

Cada cual lleva en si mismo
La honda mina de Cajal
Mas al lado estA el abismo
El abismo de Pascal

Canto al sabio si me inspira
Que mis suenios verdad son
Que en el mundo de la lira
;La verdad es la ilusi6n!(42-43)

Here Cajal is seen metaphorically as a miner, his mine the

human brain. His pick is the microscope, the two wings of

glass ("alas de cristal") being the upper and lower lenses.

By implication he is Eros ("va con Psiquis"), who seeks to

enamour his readers with the scientific endeavor. Also

noteworthy is Dario's recognition of the religious issues

raised by scientific work, and of the care Cajal had to

exercise so as not to anger the religious ("Gran cuidado..7).










Other literary or "extra-scientific" publications,

written not in Valencia but during Cajal's later years, were

Charlas de Cafe6: Pensamientos, anecdotas y confidencias,

published in 1921, and El mundo visto a los 80 afos:

Impresiones de un arterioscler6tico, published in 1932.

Charlas de caf6 is a collection of witticisms, stories and

brief observations, written, as the title suggests, in a

casual, conversational style. The content is diverse, but

one notes in many places Cajal's favorite leitmotifs such as

the need to work for Spain's well-being, the importance of

scientific endeavors, and the foolishness of typical Spanish

vices such as laziness, an encyclopedic mentality, and so

forth.13 El mundo visto a los 80 afos is another miscellany;

several chapters dedicated to a popular-level discussion of

the medical problems of old age are followed by a chapter

discussing the state of Spanish patriotism, and others

addressing social and technological changes Cajal had seen

over his lifetime.

In 1901 Cajal published the first part of an

autobiography, Recuerdos de mi vida: mi infancia y juventud in

which his juvenile misadventures and troubles in school are

related in a wry but graceful style. In reading it one can

13 The fourth chapter of this study discusses in some detail
the content and style of these texts.










note a parallel to Spanish picaresque literature of earlier

centuries; indeed at one point Cajal compares himself to

Pablos, the central character of Quevedo's El busc6n (43). A

second part to the autobiography, subtitled Historia de mi

labor cientifica, was first published in 1917. Cajal also

authored a number of science textbooks, some of which are

still consulted for reference. Spanish doctor and author

Gregorio Marat6n wrote in Cajal: su tiempo y el nuestro of his

delight in Cajal's Manual de histologia (1889), which had been

the required text in his histology class. Maraf6n recalled

previous classes, in which the textbooks were typically "una

pesadilla torturante" (334), and the contrast he found in

Cajal's text: "Aquellas paginas, limpidas de forma y de

pensamiento, eran un verdadero deleite" (334).



Career Progress, Honors and the Creation of Reglas y Consejos

After four years in Valencia, Cajal won the chair of

histology in Barcelona, where he would experience in 1888 what

he called his "afo cumbre." This was due to his discovery

that the relationship among nerve cells is not one of

continuity--"reticular theory"--but rather of contiguity. This

is Cajal's "theory of the neuron," still the base for modern

neurology more than one hundred years later. In 1892, Cajal










won the chair of Normal Histology and Pathological Anatomy at

the University of Madrid, left vacant by the death of his

former teacher, Maestre de San Juan. It pained him to leave

close colleagues and a certain atmosphere of support in

Barcelona, but Cajal was convinced he would find in Madrid

greater opportunities for financing both his research and his

growing family:

Porque para mi, ser catedrAtico de la Central
constituia entonces la 6nica esperanza de
satisfacer con cierta holgura mis aficiones hacia
la investigaci6n y de aumentar mis recursos, harto
mermados con los incesantes gastos de laboratorio y
de suscripciones a revistas, amen del sost6n de
numerosa familiar. [. .] en la decorosa industrial
del libro de texto, tan fructuosa para los
catedrAticos de la Corte cuanto precaria para los
de provincias [. .] entreveia yo el aurea
mediocritas capaz de garantizarme [ .] el bien
supremo de la independencia de espiritu. (Historia
de mi labor 129)

It is another measure of the Spanish state's low regard for

science that Cajal, a university science professor, had to

purchase out of his personal funds subscriptions to scientific

journals, laboratory materials, and so forth. It was only

after his move to Madrid that the state finally assumed those

costs. Cajal described the modern facilities constructed at

his demand in Madrid, and added:

La creaci6n de este centro de studios era
apremiante, porque a mi llegada a la Corte encontr6
por todo Laboratorio [sic] cierto pasillo angosto,
pobrisimo de material e instrumental, sin libros ni
biblioteca de revistas. Quimerico resultaba dar,
en tan deficiente local, median ensefanza prActica







28

a mAs de doscientos alumnos oficiales, amen de los
libros (Historia de mi labor 133).

That such a state of affairs was normal rather than

exceptional can be seen in the report of Jos6 Rodriguez

Carracido, as related by Diego Ninez, in his study La

mentalidad positive en Espafna: desarrollo y crisis. Upon

taking possession in 1899 of the chair of organic chemistry in

Madrid, Rodriguez found only a lecture room, and wrote that

the university "[. .][carecia] de todo element de trabajo,

no s6lo para la labor prdctica de los alumnos, sino tambien

para la comprobaci6n del fen6meno mas sencillo indicado en el

curso [. .]" (18). Nfnez also relates the findings of Jos&

de la Revilla, who in the 1840s surveyed Spanish universities

to ascertain the state of the study of natural sciences in

Spain. One reported possessing only a barometer; another only

a wooden model of an electrical machine, built by a professor

to give the students an idea of what such a machine might be

like (17).

Another decisive moment in Cajal's career, his election

in 1897 to the Spanish Royal Academy of Sciences, came about

as a result of a visit to Berlin by one of the Academy's more

distinguished members. The visitor is unnamed in Cajal's

autobiography, perhaps out of courtesy; the great German

biologist Rudolf Virchow had asked him what Cajal was

presently doing, and if Cajal was continuing his interesting










discoveries. The Spaniard was embarrassed that he knew nothing

of the fellow countryman whose work inspired respect in

Berlin, and upon his return undertook to find out. Cajal soon

found himself nominated for membership in the Academy, and

obliged to prepare a discourse to give before the body of

members on the formal occasion of his reception.

In the opening remarks of the text, titled, "Fundamentos

racionales y condiciones tecnicas de la investigaci6n

biol6gica," Cajal noted that the essay reflected one of his

longstanding desires:

Afnos hA ya que tuvimos la idea de redactar un
opusculo en donde se expusieran algunas de las
reglas que, en nuestro sentir, guian a los bi6logos
en sus trabajos [. .] mas las imperativas
exigencias de nuestro cargo nos hicieron aplazar la
redacci6n. [. .] Vuestra decision me ha obligado
a precipitar la ordenaci6n y publicaci6n de mis
apuntes. (1897, 11)

Often, the discourses read on such occasions were relegated to

the Academy's library shelves; Cajal's would take a rather

different course. Cajal wrote in Historia de mi labor

cientifica that:

La redacci6n del discurso de ingreso, ocurrida en
1897, diome ocasi6n de exponer, ex abundantia
cordis, algunas reglas y consejos destinados a
despertar en nuestra distraida juventud docente el
gusto y la pasi6n hacia la investigaci6n
cientifica. Puse especial empefno en hacer amables
y atractivas las tareas del laboratorio, y para
lograrlo emple6 un lenguaje llano, sincere, y
rebosante de entusiasmo comunicativo y de ferviente
patriotism. Y el 6xito super a mis esperanzas.
(192)










Cyril B. Courville, in the prologue to an English translation

of Reglas y consejos, reports that Cajal was asked to read at

the solemn session of his reception the entire text of his

manuscript, over and against the common custom of reading only

some excerpts:

After reading for three long hours he attempted to
excuse himself from completing it, assuming his
esteemed auditors had long since lost interest in
the subject. Instead, an appointment was made for a
second full session, so that the rest of the essay
might be read. (xi)

The official printing of the discourse quickly sold out; a

second edition was soon prepared, sponsored by Cajal's friend

and colleague Dr. Enrique Lluria. The text reached six

editions in Cajal's lifetime, each with some changes and

amplifications, and has been reprinted many times since his

death in 1934.



Conclusion

To conclude, in considering Cajal's upbringing and early

experiences one may substantially agree with Cajal's own

judgment that reckoned his father foremost among the various

formative influences on his life. His trouble deciding upon a

career can at least in part be understood as an indication of

the absence at the time of any clear model of a research

scientist that young people could emulate. In Cajal's early










experience of patriotic sentiment in the 1860 celebration of

the Spanish victory in Morocco, and in his military service,

can be observed the genesis and development of the passionate

patriotism that would mark his adult life. From Cajal's

youthful experience reading forbidden novels borrowed from his

neighbor's attic can be traced a lifelong appreciation for

literature, which on many occasions led Cajal to produce

literary texts of reasonable quality. The graceful style and

occasionally romantic tone of Reglas y consejos can be

understood as the mature work of an author who, deeply

impressed by his readings as a youth, had already tried his

hand at a number of literary productions.

To establish a broader context for textual analysis of

Reglas y consejos, the following chapter will look closely at

relevant aspects of the intellectual culture of Restoration

Spain, in which Cajal grew to maturity and began his life's

work.
















CHAPTER 2
INTELLECTUAL CULTURE OF RESTORATION SPAIN

Introduction

Reglas y consejos sobre investigaci6n cientifica is,

among other things, a text concerned with the question of

knowledge. It seeks to further the production of scientific

knowledge by Spaniards, and to promote Cajal's conviction that

such pursuits were quite compatible with what he regarded as

traditional elements of national identity. Such a synthetic

perspective was rather unique in nineteenth-century Spain,

where nearly all those concerned with such matters were

generally in ideological and political alignment either with

the oligarchic order of Church, monarchy and landed power

elites, on the one hand, or with proponents of classical

liberal and republican ideas on the other. The balance of

power was in the conservatives' favor.

For conservatives such as Men6ndez y Pelayo, Pidal y

Mon and others, Catholic orthodoxy was the essential

criterion for "Spanishness;" error and heresy were almost by

definition of foreign origin. Criticizing the Castilian

prose of a "heretic," Men6ndez y Pelayo wrote in Historia de










los hetereodoxos espafioles that, "[. .] la lengua castellana

esta mal adaptada para decir herejias" (I: 53). Conservatives,

satisfied with the status quo, had nearly always opposed

modern scientific ideas as incompatible with Catholic doctrine

and potentially disruptive of the social order. Liberals and

progressives tended to be less concerned with creating or

preserving a special Spanish identity, seeking more to

identify with European culture and science. Although many of

them were patriotic, their patriotism did not, to them, seem

incompatible with strong criticism of Spain. Literary and

social critic Manuel de la Revilla, in an 1876 article in the

Revista contemporAnea, wrote that:

[. .] el verdadero patriotism no consiste en
adular a la patria, sino en decirle verdades
provechosas, por amargas que sean, y la ciencia
seria, la ciencia s6lida y maciza, esta obligada a
decir toda la verdad y no a halagar el orgullo
national ("La filosofia espafola." 238).

Conservatives were generally intolerant of any criticism of

Spain; polarization between conservative and progressive

elements of Spanish society had led to coups and even civil

war earlier in the century. In the late 1860s dissatisfaction

with the government of Queen Isabel II led to a revolution

that would have a profound impact on Spain's intellectual

culture.










The Revolution of 1868 and its Aftermath

The deaths in 1867 and 1868 of generals O'Donnell and

NarvAez, who had supported Isabel II, allowed officers of

progressive leanings (generals Prim and Serrano, and Admiral

Topete) to stage a successful pronunciamiento against her in

September of 1868, with the result that she fled to France.

Attempts to create a democratic monarchy, and then a republic,

failed, and a coup returned Isabel's son, don Alfonso, to the

throne in December of 1874. In An Historical Essay on Modern

Spain, Richard Herr writes that the forces of modernization

failed because they were divided and unstable, while

"entrenched groups had become fairly stable. [. .] The

unforeseen appearance of radical extremists and workers'

groups preaching doctrines that threatened property frightened

off many middle-class moderates" (107-10).

Although the six-year revolutionary period and the

First Republic were not politically successful for the

liberals, they achieved an important opening of Spain's

intellectual culture to new ideas. It was in this climate

of increased openness to scientific ideas that Ram6n y Cajal

would begin his work and within which Reglas y consejos

would seek to further promote the production of scientific

knowledge. The constitution of 1869 guaranteed rights of










freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of

religion, among others, all fundamental to the untrammeled

production and transmission of ideas. Jos6 Luis Abelldn

quotes the observation of Jos6 Rodriguez Carracido, a

student at the time:

La revoluci6n de 1868 fue un poderoso excitador de
la mentalidad espafiola. La violencia del golpe
politico rompi6 suibitamente muchas trabas, y los
anhelos antes contenidos, se lanzaron al examen y
discusi6n de lo human y de lo divino, pasando por
encima de todos los respetos tradicionales. En
peri6dicos, folletos y libros se publicaban
diariamente las mayores audacias de pensamiento [.
.]1. (5: 93)

In 1869 the infamous "Sesi6n de las blasfemias" of the Cortes

of the First Republic took place, in which Francisco Sufner y

Capdevila made a public proclamation of atheism: "Ni el

Gobierno ni la comisi6n han comprendido lo que es la idea

nueva, y yo voy a decirselo. La idea caduca es la fe, el

cielo, Dios. La idea nueva es la ciencia, la tierra, el

hombre" (qtd. in Glick,"Idea nueva" 59).

The outcry this declaration provoked was a measure of

the fact that the Spanish people were not, as a whole, ready

to accept such a perspective, and Suffer was thoroughly

demonized in public opinion. Emilia Pardo BazAn used the

event as novelistic material for a conversation involving a

young priest in Los pazos de Ulloa, published seventeen years

later (1886). Asked in jest if he agrees with Suffer, the










priest replies: ";Vaya unas cosas que tiene el senior don

Maximo! ZC6mo he de estar de acuerdo con Sufner? ZNo es 6se

que dijo en el Congreso blasfemias horrorosas? iDios le

ilumine!" (157). It is a mark of the political sensitivity of

Cajal that although he shared many of Sufier's opinions, he

seldom spoke openly against religion; creating needless

antagonism could easily have frustrated his plans for a state-

funded school of Spanish histologists. Perhaps Cajal,

seventeen years old at the time of Sufier's pronouncement, had

the incident in mind when in 1912 in the third edition of

Reglas y consejos he wrote:

Aunque no forman todavia mayoria, abundan entire
nosotros los politicos, periodistas, magistrados y
catedrAticos librepensadores. Contra lo que
suponen los extranjeros, cierta tolerancia practice
reina entire nuestra sociedad ilustrada. [. .] en
la actualidad, quien positivamente vale, llega en
Espafia a los primeros puestos, cualquiera que sea
su credo filos6fico, a condici6n de que no lo
proclame harto ruidosa y estridentemente,
lastimando los sentimientos de la mayoria. (146)

Cajal's insight here shows both the degree to which

freethinkerss" had made progress in attaining positions of

relative power in early twentieth-century Spain, and also that

such persons still had to voice their opinions with care.

Progressive Spaniards quickly availed themselves of the

new freedoms of the press and of public assembly. In 1869

Concepci6n Arenal published a text written several years

earlier, La mujer del porvenir, a seminal text for Spanish










feminists. The six-year period also marked the beginning of

the organization of the Spanish working class; Abellan notes

that in 1870 the Spanish section of the First International

held its inaugural congress in Barcelona, attended by 90

delegates representing some 40,000 workers (5: 56-7). It was

also during the sexenio1 that Darwinism, scarcely mentioned in

Spain before the revolution, began to be openly expounded. In

1872 Augusto Gonzalez Linares made the first official

presentation of Darwinism in a lecture at the Universidad de

Santiago de Compostela, stirring up great controversy (Abellan

5: 93-4). Carracido, a student in Santiago at the time, noted

that:

Con el mismo calor con que se venian discutiendo la
soberania national y la separaci6n de la Iglesia y
el Estado, empez6 a discutirse en los circulos
intelectuales la mutabilidad de las species y el
origen simio del hombre, no siendo raro oir a
grupos de estudiantes, en sus paseos [. .]
disputar acerca de la lucha por la existencia, de
la selecci6n natural y de la adaptaci6n al medio,
invocando los testimonios de Darwin y de Haeckel.
(qtd. in Abellan 5: 94)

Such freedoms were short-lived; Darwinists, Krausists and

other free-thinkers were expelled from their university posts

shortly after the Restoration in 1875. The Constitution of

1876, although retaining some rights of freedom of assembly




SThe approximately six-year revolutionary period is
commonly referred to as the sexenio.










and expression, restored the Catholic church to its privileged

position of influence over education.

Nevertheless, the nearly six years of freedom of

expression had opened a door that never entirely closed. State

tolerance of alternative institutions such as the Instituci6n

Libre de Ensefanza, founded in 1876 by a number of the

Krausist intellectuals who had been expelled from university

posts, provided tangible evidence that advocates of newer

ideas were gaining ground. Ortega and others of his

generation, anxious to break with the past, saw the

Restoration political system of the turno canovista as

farcical and completely unrepresentative of the vital forces

of Spain. In his 1914 discourse entitled, "Vieja y nueva

political Ortega contends:

La Restauraci6n significa la detenci6n de la vida
national [. .]. "Orden," "orden publico," "paz,"
es la (nica voz que se escucha de un cabo a otro de
la Restauraci6n. Y para que no se altere el orden
publico se renuncia a atacar ninguno de los
problems vitales de Espafa [. .]. (96-97)

In spite of its many faults, the system of the partidos

turnantes did at least represent an attempt to make Spain

somewhat rhetorically inclusive of the liberals, even though

fundamental change to the old system was not conceded. It can

perhaps be seen (along with some of Canovas' efforts to allow

open debate such as in the sessions of the Ateneo) as an early










trace of what Thomas Glick has called an environment of "civil

discourse" that emerged in Spain in the last few years of the

century (Einstein 8-11).

Intellectuals excluded from official positions found a

forum for their ideas in the Ateneo. The themes of its

sessions give a glimpse of the influence of a new mode of

thought that had made inroads into Spain during the sexenio,

and which would exercise a considerable influence over many

Spanish intellectuals in the years to come: positivism.

AbellAn quotes Francisco Maria Tubino: "Desde el primer dia,

en el afto academico que vive el Ateneo [1875-1876], not6se

algo nuevo muy desusado. En todos lados no se hablaba mAs que

de positivismo" (5: 76). Antonio Ruiz Salvador notes that in

the 1875-1876 session, the Ateneo Section of Political and

Moral Sciences debated the topic, "si es cierto que las

tendencies positivas de las ciencias fisicas y exactas deben

arruinar las grandes verdades sociales, religiosas y morales

sobre que la sociedad descansa" (133). The possibly corrosive

effect of positivist ideas on morality and the social order

was perhaps the biggest concern of Spanish progressives and

moderate conservatives who were provisionally attracted to the

new ideas.










Many felt the need of intellectual renewal, and in the

aftermath of the liberals' revolt against the old system and

their subsequent failure to maintain power, both liberals and

conservatives subjected to severe questioning the

philosophical underpinnings of their beliefs. To many, the

older, metaphysically-based, absolute ideas and principles no

longer seemed to fit the changing political and economic

reality of Spain. The years that followed saw many liberals

move away from or at least modify the Krausist ideas that had

inspired their failed revolution. Some of those in the

conservative camp also tried to assimilate something from this

new, concrete-and-scientific-sounding philosophy that might

support their positions.

Diego NWiez, in La mentalidad positive en Espana:

desarrollo y crisis reports that in 1877, in the Ateneo of

Barcelona, lawyer and economist Pedro Estas6n argued that

positivism did not, as many had claimed, negate the great

principles of morality and social order, but rather was guided

by an "espiritu antirrevolucionario y esencialmente

conservador" (14). Social critic Manuel de la Revilla insisted

that positivism was at the same time liberal and conservative:

[Es] liberal, porque reconoce la imperfecci6n de
muchas instituciones juridicas y aspira a
reformarlas y ponerlas en armonia con las
necesidades de la naturaleza humana y de la
justicia; conservador, porque sabe muy bien [. .]







41

que las reforms han de ser suaves transformaciones
y no revoluciones violentas. ("Revista critical"
208)

Even many conservatives saw the need of a philosophy that

related to the scientific and technological advances of the

late nineteenth century. Nufiez relates that in the political

language of the early years of the Restoration period there

was a marked withdrawal from vague generalities and toward

"situational vocabulary;" terms such as "orden," "realismo,"

"pragmatismo," "pacto," and "evoluci6n," were widely used in

the Cortes and in the press (34). Nuftez notes that even

conservative and moderate newspapers tried to present their

political perspectives as supported by "hechos y

demostraciones fundadas" and "pruebas concluyentes," in accord

with the new positive style of thought and language, and

concludes: "Posibilismo, practicismo y pactismo constituiran,

sin duda, el triangulo de notas definitorias del talante

realista y positive de la vida political de la Restauraci6n"

(34-35). This new attitude and language was part of the

"climate of civil discourse," as observed by Thomas Glick,

that grew in Spanish political culture in the last quarter of

the nineteenth century.

The voices of progressives were heard with much greater

respect than before, but a positivist viewpoint was still not

broadly accepted in Spanish culture. Nufiez notes that










politicians taking office in Paris could swear themselves

"free and disinterested servants of positivism," at a time

when Spanish intellectuals were still debating whether

positivism, if embraced, would undermine morality (18). If in

late nineteenth-century France the bourgeois social order of

the Third Republic and the wide acceptance and pursuit of

scientific ideas constituted the social bases for a broad

acceptance of positivism, it must be recognized that in Spain

the bourgeoisie was not nearly as well established nor as

conscious of itself as a class, and that scientific ideas were

far from being widely appreciated. Nduez remarks that in such

circumstances, positivist thought would only flourish among

"una minoria ilustrada con afanes de modernizaci6n y puesta al

dia intellectual" (19). Even many Spanish progressives,

typically those of Krausist persuasion, could not accept a

thoroughly agnostic or atheistic worldview.

The concrete and scientific attitude of positivism did

bring a change in discursive style to a political and

intellectual culture long dominated by rhetorical discourses

and abstract, metaphysical tendencies. Nuiez discusses the

appearance, along with the new ideas, of a more sober "new

intellectual style." He quotes the abolitionist and










institucionista Rafael Maria de Labra, who in an 1878 article

in the Revista contemporAnea observed that:

El p6blico no se content ya con bellos periods y
frases delicadas. Pide sobre todo pensamientos y
perspectives [. .]. Hasta los oradores mAs
propicios a las formas brillantes y al lenguaje
pintoresco hace diez afios muy en boga, tienen que
refrenarse (Ndfiez 50).

This new style had been the style required for scientific

articles. Cajal, in a chapter of Reglas y consejos titled

"Redacci6n del trabajo cientifico," explained this new mode of

discourse in terms of its intended audience: "Al tomar la

pluma para redactar el articulo cientifico, consideremos que

podrA leernos algun sabio ilustre, cuyas ocupaciones no le

consienten perder el tiempo en releer cosas sabidas o meras

disertaciones ret6ricas" (184). Cajal further explains:

Finalmente, el estilo de nuestro trabajo sera [.
.] sobrio, sencillo, sin afectaci6n, y sin acusar
otras preocupaciones que el orden y la claridad.
El 6nfasis, la declamaci6n y la hip6rbole no deben
figurar jams en los escritos meramente
cientificos, si no queremos perder la confianza de
los sabios, que acabarAn por tomarnos por sofiadores
o poetas, incapaces de estudiar y razonar friamente
una cuesti6n. (194-195)

Cajal conceded a certain useful role for hyperbole and other

rhetorical devices in works intended popularize science among

the broader public, but not in articles destined for

scientific journals. Reaching as always for a genuine Spanish

example to support his point, Cajal concludes exhorting the

young writer to be brief: "Esta maxima de Gracidn [. .] 'lo










bueno, si breve, dos veces bueno,' debe ser nuestra norma.

Suyo es tambi6n este consejo: 'hase de hablar como en

testamento; que a menos palabras menos pleitos'" (196).

As will be seen, Cajal worked to show the filiation of

new ways of writing, thinking and working with analogous

traditions in Spanish culture. An example of this was the

issue of intellectual property, long neglected in Spain, where

the rigorous development and protection of one's own new ideas

was itself still a fairly novel endeavor. The careful

documentation of others' ideas, as distinct from one's own,

was part of the model of knowledge that Cajal sought to

advance:

El respeto a la propiedad de las ideas s6lo se
practice bien cuando uno llega a ser propietario de
pensamientos que corren de libro en libro, unas
veces con nombre del autor, otras sin 61, y algunas
con paternidad equivocada. [. .] cada idea es una
criatura cientifica, cuyo autor, que la dio el ser
a costa de grandes fatigas, exhala, al ver
desconocida su paternidad, los mismos ayes
doloridos que exhalaria una madre a quien le
arrebataran el fruto de sus entraias. (186)

Here Cajal draws on an emotionally charged and respected

motif, motherhood, not only to communicate new ideas but also

to transmit something of the passions associated with them.

The salutary influence of positivism on written and

spoken discourse reflected its more basic influence upon modes

of thought in general. Indeed, Abellan observes that the

spread of positivist thought, with its inherent exaltation of










science, had as one of its most important consequences the

development or encouragement of a generalized scientific

mentality in other intellectual circles, "hasta tal punto que

implantaci6n del positivismo y arraigo de la actitud

cientifica vienen a ser una misma cosa" (5: 89). N6tez

writes:

Basta asomarse a las diversas manifestaciones de la
vida cultural de los primeros afos de la
Restauraci6n para apreciar en seguida un acusado
tono cientista. Las revistas de mas prestigio
intellectual del moment siguen muy de cerca y con
una intensidad ins6lita hasta entonces los trabajos
de los cientificos extranjeros de mayor relieve
[. .] (202).

The works of foreign scientists were featured due to the

paucity of important science being done in Spain. In the

prologue to the 1899 edition of Reglas y consejos, Cajal

remembered his reaction when, as a medical student, he read

scientific books and articles in which no Spanish scientists

were named:

Semejante preterici6n causdbame profundo dolor,
pareci6ndome que los manes de la patria habian de
pedirnos estrecha cuenta de nuestra dejadez e
incultura, y que cada descubrimiento debido al
extranjero era algo asi como un ultraje a nuestra
bandera vergonzosamente tolerado. Y mas de una vez,
durante mis paseos solitarios [. .] exclamaba,
"No, Espafa debe tener anat6micos, y si las fuerzas
y la voluntad no me faltan, yo procurar6 ser uno de
ellos." (1899, 13)










The Polemic of Spanish Science and its Background

Cajal responded to the state of Spanish science by

resolving to promote its establishment through action; many

others, in those same years, simply argued about the issue. In

1876 the Krauso-positivist Manuel de la Revilla wrote in the

Revista contemporAnea a critical review of NWitez de Arce's

discurso de ingreso given before the Royal Academy of the

Spanish Language, which had dealt with themes of Spanish

literary decadence. Revilla took the opportunity to protest

the decadent state of Spanish science and philosophy, laying

no small part of the blame on Spanish religious intolerance

("Revista critical) Responding to Revilla in the Revista

europea, a young Marcelino Men6ndez y Pelayo evoked the memory

of an earlier controversy, titling his essay, "Mr. Masson,

redivivo," implying that Revilla was not a good Spaniard,

rather a new afrancesado, calling Revilla's essay, "aquel

sangriento ataque a nuestra cultural" (211). Menendez y Pelayo

attempted to refute Revilla by citing a vast number of names

of minor scientists, naturalists, navigators and others from

Spain's past, offering them as proof that there was indeed a

Spanish scientific tradition, even if there were not any

towering figures of world renown. This debate with Revilla










would eventually form the basis of Men6ndez y Pelayo's book,

La ciencia espafola (1876).

Revilla responded to Men6ndez y Pelayo with another

essay in the Revista contempordnea, entitled, "La filosofia

espaftola," in which he defended his views and the practices of

said journal, which Men6ndez y Pelayo had criticized:

"[Tenemos] por principal objeto dar a conocer en Espafia los

mejores trabajos de las revistas extranjeras, lo cual es tan

patri6tico, cuando menos, como cantar grandezas pasadas, por

cuanto contribute a difundir entire nosotros el espiritu

cientifico [. .]" (232). Indeed, the Revista contemporanea

was a principal platform for the expression of positivist

ideas in Spain (NWtez, 43-4). Revilla concludes that "[. .]

el verdadero patriotism no consiste en adular a la patria,

sino en decirle verdades provechosas, por amargas que sean"

(238).

Men6ndez y Pelayo, in an article entitled, "Mr. Masson,

redimuerto," in the Revista europea, responded with alacrity:

Soy cat6lico [. .] como mis padres y abuelos, y
como toda la Espafa hist6rica. [. .] hasta
bendigo la Inquisici6n como formula de pensamiento
que rige y gobierna la vida national. [. .] como
hija del espiritu genuine del pueblo espanol [.
.]. Niego esas supuestas persecuciones de la
ciencia [. .] creo que la verdadera civilizaci6n
estA dentro del catolicismo, y que no es enemigo de
la patria el que sale mejor o peor a su defense. [.
Y consider semejante Revista como empresa
anti-cat6lica, anti-nacional y anti-literaria [.
.]1. (241-243)










Men6ndez y Pelayo and other proponents of espafnolista

nationalism looked resolutely back to a particular

interpretation of the Iberian past that completely identified

the peninsula and its culture with Roman Catholic

Christianity. Where some reformers such as regenerationist

Macias Picavea saw the intolerance exemplified by the

Inquisition as a foreign vice infused into the Spanish people

during centuries of government by the Hapsburg kings, Menendez

y Pelayo saw the Inquisition as a genuine expression of the

spirit of Spain. For Men6ndez y Pelayo the Revista

contemporanea undermined the Spanish nation because it

appeared to attack the doctrines of Roman Catholicism; where

it spoke critically of Spain, it was by implication

criticizing the cause of Catholicism, which could not be

tolerated. Such intolerance for criticism is perhaps a

logical corollary of a model of nationality that completely

identifies Spain with the Catholic cause; if Roman Catholicism

is God's cause, and Spain His instrument, to criticize the

country would be to set oneself against God. Perhaps

inevitable as well in such a model was the nearly total

exclusion from it of modern scientific perspectives, which

seemed to threaten the knowledge-claims of the religious

viewpoint at the center of said model. There had indeed been










a long and close relationship between Spain and Catholicism;

at issue in the cultural struggle of Spain's nineteenth

century were a number of divergent interpretations of this

relationship, and questions of whether it should continue and

if so in what form.

Noteworthy in all the essays of Men6ndez y Pelayo and

also in those of his opponents was the lack of true discussion

of science; none of the debaters were scientists, but rather

men of letters. The debate took place in a vacuum in which

science was not a productive enterprise but rather an

ideological issue; changing this state of affairs would be

Cajal's aim. Hence it should not be surprising that the

debate took place among ideologues of various types. Fifty

years later Gregorio Maraf6n pointed out the underlying

cultural struggle of which the polemic was but one skirmish:

"la demostraci6n de la superioridad de nuestra cienica queda

en segundo plano, tras el objetivo verdadero, que no era otro

que guerrear contra los pensadores europeizantes" (Vida 48).

Menendez y Pelayo, intent on defending a conservative

construction of Spanish nationality, seemed to have not

understood the watershed that separated modern, experimental

science from all the essentially speculative enterprises that

had preceded it. Incredibly, Menendez y Pelayo confessed his










ignorance of the doctrines he was opposing: "ZNo se reiria de

mi el senior Revilla, si magistralmente comenzase yo a hablar

del darwinismo del positivismo y de otras doctrinas, hoy a la

moda, que apenas de nombre y por referencias conozco?" ("Mr.

Masson redivivo" 220)[italics Menendez y Pelayo's].2

The mutual incomprehension of the polemicists may be

better understood in the light of the concepts of paradigm

shift and conflict that T. S. Kuhn elucidated in The Structure

of Scientific Revolutions. For Kuhn, the popular image of

science as a long, linear accumulation of facts and

discoveries, and the perception of a fundamental continuity of

perspective between present and past, are essentially

incorrect. Modern science, writes Kuhn, has come to us more

through a long, almost Darwinian struggle for the survival of

the theories best-adapted for a particular time. In this

conflict, earlier referential models--Kuhn calls them

paradigms--are surpassed by others more capable of explaining

and ordering the phenomena in question; in other words, a

series of "scientific revolutions." The new theory is not one

more element to add to the already known, but rather a

perspective that causes one to reevaluate, readjust and put in


SThis venturing by non-scientists into scientific territory
was not new; Cajal relates in the first part of Recuerdos
that the first refutation of Darwinism he had read was
written by Antonio Cdnovas del Castillo! (209)










a different focus the previously known. As examples Kuhn

offers astronomy after Copernicus, dynamics after Newton and

modern physics after Einstein.

A scientific revolution, argues Kuhn, does not happen

"overnight," but rather begins with a few adherents to the new

paradigm, whose perspective competes with the previous one and

rapidly or slowly replaces it, usually leaving, marginalized,

a few adherents to the older paradigm. Of especial relevance

to the Spanish case is Kuhn's assertion of the difficulty of

true communication between adherents to opposing paradigms:

When paradigms enter, as they must, into a debate
about paradigm choice, their role is necessarily
circular. Each group uses its own paradigm to
argue in that paradigm's defense. [. .] the
status of the circular argument is only persuasion.
It cannot be made logically or even
probabilistically compelling for those who refuse
to step into the circle. (94)

Although Kuhn is concerned strictly with clashes of scientific

paradigms, the clash of ideologies represented by the polemic

of Spanish science can be better understood in the light of

Kuhn's argument about circularity. Indeed, in reading the

literature of the polemic of Spanish science it is easy to

feel that the debaters are talking past one another, with no

true common ground. Men6ndez y Pelayo might have had to strike

most of the names cited in his famous barrage had he perceived

the rupture that had separated the outdated, "natural










philosophy" paradigm from the rigorously empirical and

experimental disciplines that had come to constitute modern

science, especially in its most advanced form, laboratory

science, an activity that scarcely existed in the Spain of

Men6ndez Pelayo's youth.

For Cajal the scientific quest did mean a break with

older, fundamentally non-productive, metaphysical models of

knowledge in which truth was seen as transcendent, its

discovery mostly a task already accomplished, its impartation

a routine function of church or state, in favor of a more

empirical (and secular), dynamic, process-oriented model of

knowledge in which more adequate empirical generalizations

would continually succeed each other. This represents the

working out in the intellectual sphere of the social and

political transition from absolutism to modernity. Long before

Kuhn and others wrote of scientific revolutions, Cajal himself

in Reglas y consejos had made an essentially similar

observation:

El hecho nuevo [. .] suele causar una revoluci6n
en el ambiente cientifico: convierte en
sospechosas doctrinas antes estimadas como verdades
firmes [. .] y plantea una series de nuevas
cuestiones que el iniciador, falto de tiempo, no
pudo resolver por si mismo. (109--110)

Cajal's "theory of the neuron" eventually caused just such a

revolution in the field of neurology. He can also be seen as










a proponent of a more general intellectual revolution of

sorts, albeit a revolution achieved through education and

gradual persuasion, not by violent political change. Cajal,

although a convinced secularist and socialist, knew that Spain

was not yet ready for strident public proclamations of such

doctrines, and that change, through education, would take

time.

Criticizing the knowledge imparted by earlier

generations of professors, Cajal wrote in Reglas y consejos

that: "[. .] nuestros maestros profesaron una ciencia

muerta, esencialmente formal, la ciencia de los libros, donde

todo parece definitive (cuando nuestro saber se halla en

perpetuo devenir), e ignoraron la ciencia viva, dindmica [.

.]"(152)[italics Cajal's]. Against the time-honored space of

the printed page, with its ciencia muerta, Cajal advocated a

social space new to Spain, the laboratory, where la ciencia

viva was to be produced. Reglas y consejos consistently

presents this new space in exalted tones:

El laboratorio del sabio es un sanatorio
incomparable para los extravios de la atenci6n y
los desmayos de la voluntad. En 61 se desvanecen
viejos prejuicios y se contraen sublimes contagios.
Alli, al lado de un sabio laborioso y genial
recibira nuestro abulico el bautismo de sangre de
la investigaci6n; alli contemplara, con noble
envidia, ardorosa emulaci6n por arrancar secrets a
lo desconocido. (81)










The laboratory, then, for Cajal, is a privileged place where

old prejudices are shaken off and secrets are pulled from the

unknown, a place for the production of a new kind of

knowledge. In El pensamiento de Cajal, Carlos Lorenzo writes:

Cajal piensa que en Espafa se ha vivido
insuficientemente esa ruptura de la nuova scienza,
y que hay que incorporar aun aqui a la vida
national ese indudable factor de la producci6n que
ha hecho avanzar a las naciones europeas [. .].
(11)

Long before the time of Cajal, attempts had been made

to incorporate modern perspectives on science and other

matters into Spain, albeit with mixed success. The second half

of the seventeenth century saw a number of Spanish

intellectuals break with scholastic and Aristotelian tradition

in matters of science; these were the novatores, who sought to

base their studies on empirical observation instead of

philosophical speculation. In an article on Spanish science in

the Enciclopedia de historic de Espafa, Jos6 Maria L6pez

Pihero notes the work of Valencian doctor Juan de Cabriada,

who in 1687 published a text entitled Carta filos6fica,

m6dico-chymica. L6pez Pinero describes the text and cites

Cabriada:

[Fue un] aut6ntico manifiesto de la renovaci6n
cientifica espafola. En 61 expuso, por una parte,
sus ideas acerca de la fundamentaci6n radicalmente
modern de la ciencia, con una informaci6n exigente
y al dia de las nuevas corrientes europeas. Por
otra, denunci6 licidamente el atraso cientifico
espaftol: "Que es lastimosa y aun vergonzosa cosa







55

que, como si fu6ramos indios, hayamos de ser los
iltimos en recibir las noticias y luces piblicas
que ya estAn esparcidas por Europa. [. .]. iOh, y
qu6 cierto es que el intentar apartar el dictamen
de una opinion anticuada es de lo mas dificil que
se pretend en los hombres." (300)

In 1700 the War of Spanish Succession saw the ascension

to the Spanish throne of the French Bourbon dynasty, which

brought to the Spanish court an increased openness to French

cultural and intellectual influences. Richard Herr has noted

that French Enlightenment ideas were unevenly received in

Spain:

The philosophes were skeptical in matters of
religion, but this aspect of the Enlightenment did
not make noticeable inroads in Spain, in part
because of the censorship exercised by the royal
government and the Inquisition, but mostly because
few Spaniards were prepared to doubt their
religious doctrines. Spanish partisans of foreign
ideas showed instead a fascination for ways to
improve industrial and agricultural techniques, to
make education more useful and up-to-date, and [. .
.] to spread the spirit of reform to the educated
public. (53)

Especially noteworthy among the Spanish reformers of the early

eighteenth century was a Benedictine monk from the region of

Asturias, Benito Jer6nimo Feij6o (1676-1764). While remaining

loyal to essential Church teachings on matters of religion,

Feij6o, in his widely-read Teatro critic universal (1740) and

his Cartas eruditas (1760), sought to attack popular

superstitions and infuse his fellow Spaniards with a critical

intellectual attitude. Feij6o called unthinking, lazy-minded

Spaniards of all social classes, "el vulgo"; in a section of










his Teatro critic entitled, "Voz del pueblo," Feij6o

criticizes the old maxim that "Dios se explica en la voz del

pueblo":

Es 6ste un error, de donde nacen infinitos; porque
asentada la conclusion de que la multitud sea la
regla de la verdad, todos los desaciertos del vulgo
se veneran como inspiraciones del Cielo. (105)

Feij6o continued his diatribe against the vulgo, offering a

simile from nature: "El vulgo de los hombres, como la infima y

mas humilde porci6n del orbe racional, se parece al element

de la tierra, en cuyos senos se produce poco oro, pero

muchisimo hierro" (107-108). In a further section, entitled

"El gran magisterio de la experiencia," Feij6o argues for the

value of empirical observation:

Lo primero que a la consideraci6n se ofrece, es el
poco o ningin progress que en el examen de las
cosas naturales hizo la raz6n desasistida de la
experiencia por el largo espacio de tantos siglos.
Tan ignorada es hoy la naturaleza en las aulas de
las escuelas como lo fue en la Academia de Plat6n y
en el Liceo de Arist6teles. ZQu6 secret se ha
averiguado? [. .]. HAblase much de causes,
efectos, producciones [. .] sin que esto hasta
ahora haya producido maxima alguna en orden al
beneficio con que se debe disponer la tierra para
la feliz producci6n de esta o aquella plant [.
.]. Tratan los escolasticos latamente de las
cualidades [. .] sin que por este camino se haya
descubierto cualidad alguna [. .]. (337)

Feij6o here appeals to history, pointing out the non-

productivity of methods of inquiry that discount careful


examination of natural phenomena.










Critics such as Cabriada, Feij6o, and numerous others,

although their work was not accepted by a majority of their

fellow Spaniards, did begin to wedge open, in Spanish culture,

a door for critical thought that would later open further as

future generations of Spanish thinkers worked for intellectual

freedom.

In 1782 an article written by Frenchman Nicholas

Maisson de Morvilliers for the Encyclopedie methodique

provoked great controversy in Spain. Maisson attacked the

Spanish intellectual and scientific tradition, rhetorically

asking what if anything Spain had done in such matters (Herr,

Eighteenth-Century, 223). Spanish statesman Juan Pablo Forner

wrote an official response to the article, but many other

Spaniards, conservative and progressive alike, debated Spain's

alleged scientific backwardness in the periodical press (Herr,

224-226). Richard Herr pointed to the underlying conflict in

his study, The Eighteenth-Century Revolution in Spain:

The dispute was essentially the same as that which
had torn the Spanish universities since 1770 and
which had distinguished the more advanced religious
orders, like the Augustinians, from those who still
defended scholastic philosophy. It was the
struggle between enlightenment and conservatism.
The Maisson affair only provided a pretext for
airing the controversy widely in the public press.
(228)

The polemic of Spanish science of the late nineteenth century,

part of the background of Cajal's early adult years, was not,










then, an isolated event, but rather one more manifestation of

a much deeper conflict between models of knowledge and centers

of power that can be traced back to Spain's seventeenth-

century novatores, and to the infiltration into Spain of

enlightenment ideas in the eighteenth century.



Influence of German Thought in Spain

In the decades before the Revolution of 1868, the

polemic of Spanish science and the arrival of positivist

thought in Spain, a notable minority of Spaniards had

cultivated German thought, a trend which Ortega y Gasset would

later continue in the twentieth century. Julian Sanz del Rio,

sent abroad by the Spanish government to study the most recent

currents of European philosophy, returned to Spain from a

season in Germany convinced that the idealist philosophy of

Karl Krause represented a viable alternative to the stale

Catholic orthodoxy then prevalent. In 1854 he was awarded a

professorship in the University of Madrid, which afforded him

a base from which to spread the new philosophy.

Although doctrinally imprecise, the philosophy imparted

by Sanz to a generation of young Spanish intellectuals found a

strong following. Spanish Krausists focused less on Krause's

metaphysical ideas but much more on his ethics and on related










themes such as intellectual freedom, religious tolerance,

human perfection and progress, religion as a subjective,

personal experience and the need for an education based on

individual reason and experience, not on rote memorization of

texts.3 Among these men were Nicolds Salmer6n, Emilio

Castelar, Manuel Cossio, Franscisco Giner de los Rios and

Gumersindo de Azcdrate. After professors of Krausist leanings

were expelled from the University of Madrid in 1875, Giner de

los Rios and others founded in Madrid an experimental school,

the Instituci6n Libre de Ensefianza. The new school, avowedly

neutral in matters of religion and politics, offered to youth

an education on the basis of reason and experience, seeking to

break with centuries of Spanish pedagogical tradition. Many of

Spain's outstanding intellectuals, such as the brothers

Antonio and Manuel Machado, were formed in the Instituci6n

Libre de Ensefianza.

Although Cajal, who rejected metaphysical philosophies,

was not a Krausist, he shared many of their ideals. The work

of Krausist intellectuals and educators in the generation

previous to Cajal can at least in part be seen as preparing

the climate of increased openness to scientific ideas from

which Cajal and others would benefit in the late nineteenth

century. Enrique Montero has written that although the

3 See the work of Juan L6pez Morillas, El krausismo espafiol.










metaphysical aspects of Krausism did not prosper in Spain,

Krausism:

[. .] made a long-lasting contribution to Spanish
culture by providing the modern scientific method
of research that Spain badly needed. It offered
above all a comprehensive and ample vision of
modern science in which the various sciences
emanated from philosophy and were interrelated.
This vision provided the intellectual foundations
which facilitated the assimilation of subsequent
European schools of thought such as positivism.
(125)

Indeed it was positivism that provided Cajal with the

conceptual framework within which his research would take

shape and eventually earn him the Nobel prize.

German philosophers Arthur Schopenhauer and Friedrich

Nietzsche were also read in Spain. Gonzalo Sobejano writes in

Nietzsche en Espafia that Catalan intellectuals Joan Margall

and Pompeyo Gener, in Barcelona, read and discussed the works

of Nietzsche as early as 1893 (36-37). Sobejano writes that

broader diffusion in Spain of the works of these and other

thinkers began several years later and adds:

El 6rgano en que la mayoria de estos latidos
renovadores encuentran fondo y vibraci6n expansive
es la revista La Espana Moderna (de 1899 a 1914),
dirigida por Jos6 Ldzaro, en la que se adnan las
firmas espafiolas mds prestigiosas de varias
generaciones con un cdmulo de colaboraciones y
traducciones del extranjero verdaderamente
impresionante. Emerson, Carlyle, Ruskin,
Schopenhauer, Tolstoy, Taine, Spencer, Zola y otros
muchos penetran por este conduct. Y Nietzsche.
(47)










It is possible that Cajal, who had moved to Madrid from

Barcelona in 1892, received his first acquaintance with

Schopenhauer and Nietzsche through La Espafa Moderna; in a

footnote to the 1899 edition of Reglas y consejos, cited

below, Cajal mentions that he had not yet read Schopenhauer in

1897 when he wrote the first edition of the text (1899, 18-

19).

Cajal, whose emphasis on the importance of the will

does reflect a mentality of his time, did not, however,

directly derive his ideas from either Nietzsche or

Schopenhauer; his fundamental texts predate his acquaintance

with their thought. At times he did find in their works ideas

with which he agreed. In the second edition of Reglas y

consejos, that of 1899, Cajal, discussing the scant usefulness

for the scientist of reading treatises of formal logic, added

a footnote to the text, which was retained in future editions:

Es singular la coincidencia de esta doctrine con la
desarrollada por Schopenhauer (desconocida de
nosotros al redactar la primera edici6n de este
discurso) [...]. Al tratar de la l6gica, dice "que
el l6gico mas versado en su ciencia abandon las
reglas de la l6gica en cuanto discurre realmente."
Y mas adelante: "querer hacer uso practice de la
l6gica es como si para andar se quisiera tomar
antes consejosde la mecdnica." (1899, 18-19)

In Charlas de caf6 Cajal reacts to another of Schopenhauer's

ideas:

Extremadamente severe y esquemdtico mostr6se
Schopenhauer al comparar nuestro mundo con un







62

infierno poblado de atormentadores y atormentados.
Sin negar algin fundamento al aserto, lo cierto es
que nuestro vetusto planet sugiere antes la idea
del limbo que la del infierno. Moramos en un lugar
de hastio, donde los mAs se aburren, mientras los
menos se dedican a aburrir. cuando no se
atreven a mortificar. (145)

It can be seen that Cajal, with regard to the texts of

Schopenhauer, exemplified the attitude that he had recommended

in Reglas y consejos when he suggested: "el libro no tiene en

nosotros un devoto, sino un juez" (36); although recognizing

some threads of truth in Schopenhauer, he at the same time

felt very free to disagree with the German thinker. Carlos

Lorenzo, in El pensamiento de Cajal, writes that Cajal

differed with the Schopenhauer's conception of will as an

irrational, blind force, and adds: "Este es uno de los temas

clave cajalianos, que dirige en un sentido precisamente

opuesto al de Schopenhauer" (22). Lorenzo continues:

En Cajal la voluntad, la voluntad humana, es una
fuerza liberadora con la que la propia conciencia
puede modelar en cierta forma el cerebro que
constitute su asiento, y asi, superar en alguna
medida-a trav6s de una educaci6n adecuada-los
condicionamientos mundanos y su inercia. Por ello,
la filosofia cajaliana es optimista, frente al
pesismismo schopenhaueriano. (22)

Lorenzo further notes that Cajal "tampoco comulga con

la 'voluntad' nietzscheana, heredera direct de la de

Schopenhauer" (22). This opinion is shared by Gonzalo

Sobejano; in Nietzsche en Espafa Sobejano writes that Cajal










"parece haber menospreciado siempre las ideas de Nietzsche"

(476), and cites a declaration by Cajal in Charlas de caf6:

Nietzsche, tan encomiado por muchos de nuestros
literatos, fue un Atila te6rico, que escribia con
el refinamiento y sutileza de un ateniense.
--ZNo le asusta a usted pensar-me decia un
admirador suyo-lo que habria sido de Europa si este
genio ultraaristocrdtcio y ultraindividualista
hubiera dispuesto de los soldados de C6sar, de
Anibal o de Napole6n?
--Dispenseme usted-le contest6-. En mi sentir,
no habria ocurrido nada. Su primera salida
quijotesca le habria conducido a una casa de
salud. Porque los verdaderos heroes de la
voluntad dispusieron de un cerebro muy firme,
poco emocionable y limpio de mesianismos y de
odios filos6ficos y raciales. (Charlas 203)

Elsewhere in Charlas Cajal refers to Nietzsche as "[. .] el

sombrio y antipdtico apologista del amoralismo y la voluntad

desenfrenada" (128). Whether or not his interpretation of

Nietzsche was entirely correct, Nietzsche apparently seemed to

Cajal to advocate an undisicplined and dissipating attitude,

which Cajal could not accept.



Consequences of the Spanish-American War

Conditions in Spain were beginning to become more

favorable to the incorporation of new ideas and technologies.

In Einstein in Spain, Thomas Glick describes the intellectual

climate of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Spain,

finding evidence of a decision by leaders of right and left to

put aside differences and work for the common good of the










country. He cites the example of the Junta para Ampliaci6n de

Estudios, founded in 1906 and directed by a group of Spaniards

of widely divergent political, ideological and academic

leanings. Cajal presided over the Junta's division for

sciences, and Ram6n Men6ndez Pidal headed the division

sponsoring research in the humanities. Glick writes that:

[. .] political depolarization of higher
education at the official level merged with other
currents newly present in the broader culture-such
as the widespread feeling that Spain's defeat in
the war of 1898 was due to its scientific and
technological backwardness-to create a climate that
was propitious for the development of science and
favorable to an open discussion of scientific
ideas, without their automatically being
appropriated as weapons in the ideological struggle
between Left and Right (8).

Indeed, the "cultural shock" occasioned by Spain's

defeat in 1898 created a climate in which the voices of many

would-be reformers were heard more seriously than before. In

the decade following the war, many texts were published

claiming to have a diagnosis of Spain's ills. Among these were

Luis Morote's La moral de la derrota (1900), Ramiro de

Maeztu's Hacia otra Espafa (1899), Damidn Isern's Del desastre

national y sus causes (1899), Ricardo Macias Picavea's El

problema national: Hechos, causes y remedies (1899), and

Joaquin Costa's essay, "Oligarquia y caciquismo como la forma

actual de gobierno en Espafa" (xxxx).4 Krausist and positivist

4 Another text commonly cited with these but which was
actually published several years before the desastre is










language that described society as a living organism had

become common currency among the general educated public,

which led naturally to the use of medical terms for social and

political analysis. "Regeneration" was the key word and theme

of the moment as writers of diverse perspectives diagnosed

Spain's "ills" and prescribed various "therapies."

Most of these texts also show a more general influence

of positivist and scientific thought; irrespective of the

ideology of the author, at least a quasi-scientific approach

is taken to the study of Spain's ills. Statistics, tables of

information and claims of objectivity are used to advance a

wide variety of proposed reforms. Although of diverse

opinions, regenerationist writers were almost unanimous in

their condemnation of Canovas' Restoration political system,

in which the Conservative and Liberal parties took turns in

power, the elections being rigged through a network of

political bosses.

Among the most eloquent and influential critics of

Spain's political and economic structure was Joaquin Costa,

the son of an Aragonese peasant family who in spite of great

poverty had put himself through school working as a mason. At

one time a professor at the Instituci6n Libre de Ensefianza,


Lucas Mallada's Los males de la patria (1890).










Costa had studied Spain's legal, political and economic

structures deeply. He believed that political reform would be

impossible without a prior restructuring of rural property and

agriculture. Fundamental for agricultural growth would be a

policy of extensive irrigation, necessary because of the

extreme dryness of much of the arable land. In 1900 Costa

united two formerly separate groups of agricultural interests

into the National Union. In the apolitical attitude

characteristic of regenerationist reformers, it did not

constitute itself as a political party but rather presented to

the government a program of reforms to be instituted by the

existing parties. Rafael Perez de la Dehesa has written that

this avoidance of deep political involvement set the National

Union up for its eventual failure to implement the proposed

reforms (9).

Cajal's avoidance of political involvement had a

somewhat different motivation, underlining the uniqueness of

his particular contribution to Spain's regeneration: the

desire to focus deeply and exclusively on his scientific

research. Convinced that he was not gifted for political

work, Cajal at every step avoided distractions from his

research.5 In general agreement with regenerationist concerns

5 To the surprise of many who did not know him well, Cajal
in 1906 twice refused a cabinet minister's post, the
portfolio of Public Instruction, offered by then-Prime










that Spain needed technological and industrial development,

Cajal dedicated himself in a deeply focused way to the

formation of a scientific culture that would constitute a

necessary precursor to such advances. To this end Cajal, with

the encouragement and funding of his friend Dr. Enrique

Lluria, published in 1899 a retouched version of his 1897

discurso de ingreso in the Royal Spanish Academy of Sciences

under the title Reglas y consejos sobre investigaci6n

biol6gica.

Although it is part of the current of regenerationist

thought, many reasons exist to distinguish Reglas y consejos

from the flurry of books and pamphlets produced after the

desastre. As mentioned previously, the bulk of the text is

formed by Cajal's 1897 discurso de ingreso, fundamentally

unaltered although edited and slightly reworked. Its ideas

represent Cajal's contribution to and transformation of a

long-running current of Spanish social criticism that can be

traced back to (and beyond) figures such as Giner de los Rios

and others convinced that Spain's greatest need was not

immediate political change but rather the long-term work of

educating a new type of Spaniard. In fact, the only part of

Reglas y consejos written in reaction to Spain's loss in the

War of 1898 was a fiery Post Scriptum that appeared only in

Minister Segismundo Moret. (Lewy Rodriguez 109-12)










the 1899 edition of the text. Essentially an exhortation to

all sectors of Spanish society to work towards the creation of

original scientific and industrial enterprises, its language

waxes passionate and even xenophobic:

Consider todo descubrimiento important traido de
fuera como una recriminaci6n a tu negligencia y a tu
poquedad de Animo. [. .] cuando el 6xito te
sonria, podrds contestar al extranjero: "T6 has
creado una verdad, pero yo he sabido hallar otras
verdades que se ocultaron a tu penetraci6n; yo he
logrado transformar el hecho nuevo y est6ril en
hecho 6til y fecundo". (1899, 120-121)

Fifteen years after Spain lost its last colonies in the

war of 1898, when regenerationist concerns were finding newer

and more eloquent voices such as that of Jos6 Ortega y Gasset,

Cajal finally did include in Reglas y consejos a chapter that

addressed the causes of Spain's scientific backwardness and

its possible solutions. In later editions of the text it was

divided into two chapters, titled respectively "Deberes del

Estado en relaci6n con la producci6n cientifica" (the original

chapter's title) and "6rganos sociales encargados de nuestra

reconstrucci6n." Cajal approaches the question with the

confidence of one who believes he has an answer in hand:

[. .] importa resolver una cuesti6n previa sobre
la cual, desde hace cincuenta afos, y sobre todo a
partir del desastre colonial, se han ejercitado con
varia fortune casi todos nuestros grandes
escritores [. .]. ZPor qu6, encerrando Espafa una
poblaci6n igual a la suma de los habitantes de
Suiza, Suecia y Holanda, han surgido en ella menos
verdades filos6ficas, morales y, sobre todo,
cientificas, que en cualquiera de estas naciones?
(131-133)










Cajal notes with general agreement the observations of the

many who located Spain's trouble in its hot and dry climate

and proposed as a remedy massive public works of irrigation,

but argues that one must still question why nations poorer and

drier than Spain have reached a far higher level of scientific

production. Cajal then considers arguments that Spain's

failure to produce science has been due to its wars and

political turmoil. He then asks, "ZC6mo no pereci6 Italia

saqueada, vejada, desgarrada y afrentada por casi todos los

ej6rcitos y aventureros de Europa?" (141). The wars and strife

of countries such as France and Germany were similarly unable

to deter scientific production.

Cajal dispenses in like manner with arguments locating

Spain's failure in religious fanaticism, aristocratic pride,

and other defects of national character, and finally offers

his explanation: the longstanding isolation of Spain, its

centuries-long failure to maintain an intellectual interaction

with the rest of Europe. He writes:

A causa de esta incomplete conjugaci6n con Europa,
nuestros maestros profesaron una ciencia muerta [. .
.] la ciencia de los libros [. .] e ignoraron la
ciencia viva [. .] que s6lo se aprende conviviendo
con los grandes investigadores, respirando esa
atm6sfera t6nica de sano escepticismo, de sugesti6n
direct, de imitaci6n y de impulsi6n, sin las cuales
las mejores aptitudes se petrifican en la rutinaria
labor del repetidor o del comentarista. (151-152)










Cajal continues, developing the idea of Spain's need for a

sort of cultural cross-pollination, and the idea of

exemplarity: "Del mismo modo que el hijo aprende el oficio

del padre, mirando y ensayandose, asi el sabio en perspective

aprende a investigar mirando al investigator y trabajando bajo

su vigilancia" (152)[italics Cajal's]. This explanation of

Spain's failure to produce science leads very neatly to the

cure Cajal suggests: a manifold emphasis on study abroad for

those who can benefit from it, replacement of professors

hostile to modern ideas, importation of foreign professors

where possible, and full interaction with international

intellectual developments.

Reglas y consejos, then, although part of the current of

regenerationist thought, is more focused than other texts of

Spain's fin de siglo on the question of scientific production,

and represents a longstanding current of Spanish progressives'

concern with educational reform that far predates the war of

1898. Also, Cajal's analysis displays more balance and depth

of insight than many regenerationist texts; in considering the

claims about Spain's troubles he acknowledges partial truths

where he finds them, but presses his own view that the true

cause of Spanish failure to pursue science lies in Spain's

intellectual isolation. The uniqueness of Reglas y consejos










also stems from the fact that unlike many other texts that

could in modern terms be labeled, "armchair criticism," its

author wrote as one who had effectively acted and was acting

toward the establishment of its recommendations; hence much of

the text's force of authority. Cajal recognized such a

distinction when he wrote, regarding the aspiring researcher:

Sin el culto de la acci6n, sin la prueba de que el
novel investigator es capaz de trabajar con fruto,
correriamos el albur de cultivar un florido
regenerador mAs, tan habil en sefialar el rumbo como
incapaz de cruzar el golfo. (125)

Implicit is Cajal's verdict on much of regenerationist

literature: its writers needed to stop lamenting and act on

their many proposals and programs. Noteworthy also here is

Cajal's imperialist language: "cruzar el golfo." More such

language will be seen as this analysis proceeds.



Conclusion

It can be seen, then, that although Cajal was in some

senses a "voice in the wilderness," one of a very small group

seriously acting toward the establishment of laboratory

science in Spain, he was working at a time of increased

openness to new ideas in some sectors of Spanish society.

During the six-year revolutionary period and in its aftermath-

-which corresponded to the years of Cajal's higher education

and early career--the country had been opened to new ideas.










Advocates of these ideas, at times excluded from university

posts, found other forums in publications such as the Revista

contempordnea and in intellectual societies such as the

Ateneo. As can be seen in the polemic of Spanish science,

adherents to the older model of knowledge fought the new way

of thinking, but their attacks were seldom thoughtful or

informed by a true grasp of the questions at hand. A

political environment of "civil discourse" that began to grow

in the late nineteenth century gave some progressives access

to political and economic power. Their voices were heard even

more after the loss of Spain's last colonies in 1898

precipitated a deep sense of national crisis and of the need

for reform or "regeneration." In the most general sense Reglas

y consejos could be classified as a regenerationist text, but

such a broad label would not do justice to its unique focus

and force of authority.

Cajal's "cultural project" in Reglas y consejos was

radical, in the strictest sense of the word: he sought to

promote a new, dynamic, "positive" model of knowledge, holding

it up as an alternative to the stagnant "book learning" then

so prevalent in Spain. The pursuit of this knowledge would

be fueled by redirecting nationalistic passion toward it and

away from fruitless endeavors. The following chapter will







73


make a careful examination of the text, with a view to

understanding its central ideas and the discursive strategy

used by Cajal to promote scientific research in a culture

that, although showing signs of openness, was still largely

ignorant and suspicious of scientists and their work.















CHAPTER 3
TEXTUAL ANALYSIS OF REGLAS Y CONSEJOS


Introduction

The text now entitled Reglas y consejos sobre

investigaci6n cientifica. Los t6nicos de la voluntad is, among

many other things, a manual on how to do scientific research,

including suggestions on what materials to acquire for various

fields of study, and exactly how the investigation should

proceed. But the text goes well beyond the level of technical

advice; much of its material is aimed at encouraging and

orienting the young researcher. Cajal considered this a very

necessary task in light of the marginalized status of science

in traditional Spanish culture. In spatial terms, Cajal

sought to portray science as potentially central to, and

compatible with, Spain's culture--to move it center-ward from

Spain's cultural margins. Cajal's other great task in Reglas y

consejos, intimately related to his attempt to define science

in such a way as to place it in Spain's cultural center, is to

demythify or deromanticize the scientist and his work, to show

the youth of Spain that scientific research is a matter of

persevering, focused labor, not requiring exceptional genius.










After a brief description of the text and a further discussion

of Cajal's aims, this chapter will then consider the

underlying themes and leitmotifs of Reglas y consejos. Chief

among these is the above-mentioned idea of science as a

concrete, practical activity that nearly any self-disciplined

individual can carry out. Cajal also enumerates and explains

the traits of the successful researcher: independence of

judgment, avoidance of metaphysical speculation, refusal to

accept the false dichotomy often proposed between the

theoretical and the practical, and a strong preference for the

direct study of nature rather than the perusal of books.

The latter quality is tied to another leitmotif in Reglas y

consejos, that of general disdain towards codified knowledge,

which Cajal derisively calls "la ciencia de los libros," and

which he counterposes to an empirical model of ever-evolving

knowledge(152).

The formation and sustenance of researchers who

possessed these traits depended, for Cajal, on several key

elements, which are referred to throughout the text. Foremost

for Cajal is the idea of exemplarity, which is related to his

demythification of the scientist; Spain's youth will learn

science by studying and imitating the concrete, flesh-and-

blood example of a mature researcher. Also concerned with










the issue of creating and sustaining motivation for scientific

work, Cajal returns repeatedly to the idea of the will and

emotions as motors of the intellect. A third element of

special interest for Cajal is the passion of nationalism or

patriotism; he hoped that a fervent devotion to Spain's

well-being would serve as a fundamental motive for

scientific production.

In evidence throughout Reglas y consejos is the

dynamic of secularization. The impact on Spain of this basic

trend of nineteenth and twentieth century Western culture may

have been somewhat delayed or modified in contrast to other

countries in Europe, but Cajal's writings clearly form part of

a genuinely Spanish current of secularizing thought. As

Cajal appropriates the language and imagery of religion to

describe and make attractive the pursuit of science, he

portrays the laboratory as a new "sacred space." Devotion to

scientific research can appear, in Cajal's pages, as an

alternative to traditional religious devotion. Cajal, as has

been seen, was an agnostic who seldom directly criticized

religious beliefs. In this chapter it will become evident that

he discreetly held up science as an alternative to religion.

After discussing these fundamental ideas of the text,

this chapter will then investigate the discursive strategy and










tactics by which the text operates. Central in Cajal's

discursive strategy is the tactic of metaphor, in its

etymological sense of "transfer of a meaning."1 It proves

quite useful to Cajal's task of inscribing science as close to

Spain's cultural center as possible, a task in which Cajal

sought to establish associations between science and

traditional Spanish culture. Cajal also employs simile

frequently as he compares the new to the already known. The

language of the text often turns poetic, as Cajal seeks to

celebrate the scientific endeavor and invest it with meaning.

Cajal also makes an apt use of traditional Spanish forms such

as the cuadro de costumbres, providing the reader with

humorous character sketches of errant intellectuals. This

chapter will also consider the question of the text's genre,

and the fundamental influences shaping its composition.



Description of the Text

Reglas y consejos sobre investigaci6n cientifica was

initially Cajal's discurso de ingreso, given before the





This use of the "etymological sense" definition is
preferred here merely because it appears to best describe
the type of metaphors found in the text, not because of any
mistaken adherence to an essentialist perspective about
"inherent etymological meanings" being preferable.










Spanish Royal Academy of Sciences in 1897. The original

title, Fundamentos racionales y condiciones t6cnicas de la

investigaci6n biol6gica, reflected the academic tone of the

occasion. Following established custom, 2 the discourse opens

with expressions of modesty and gratitude for the honor of

membership in the Academy, and then briefly traces and lauds

the career of Manuel Maria Jos6 de Galdo, who had held the

seat before Cajal. Cajal then remarks that his election to

the Academy gave him the impetus to collect and organize the

notes that he had for some time been making on the subject of

biological research, with the aim of encouraging beginners in

the subject:

[. .] acaso pueda prestar algin servicio a
cuantos intentan ensayar sus fuerzas en las
investigaciones [. .] pues con frecuencia hemos
visto estudiantes [. .] abandonar el laboratorio,
desalentados por la falta de un guia que les
seftalara los errors y obstaculos que deben evitar,
la educaci6n t6cnica que necesitan recibir, y
hasta la discipline moral indispensable [.
.]1. (1897, 12)


2 Cajal initiated this discourse with the words, "La
costumbre establece que, en los primeros parrafos del
discurso acad6mico, consagrado a sancionar la recepci6n del
candidate, 6ste atribuya su elecci6n, no a los dictados de
la fria raz6n, sino a los generosos impulses de la
benevolencia. Yo acepto gustoso esta formula" [. .] (7).
In 1907 Cajal, in the discourse given on the occasion of
his reception into the Spanish Royal Academy of Medicine,
remarked: "Representan las vacantes acad6micas bajas de
sangre, y quien desee honrarse ocupando una de ellas, debe
pagar, por ley de compaferismo y solidaridad societaria, su
future elogio funebre con el panegirico de su antecesor"
(8).










Following this general idea, Cajal's discourse was

divided into the following chapters:

I. M6todos generals

II. Preocupaciones del principiante

III. Cualidades de orden moral que debe poseer el
investigator

IV. Lo que debe saber el aficionado a la
investigaci6n biol6gica

V. Marcha de la investigaci6n misma

VI. Redacci6n del trabajo cientifico

These chapters of the original discourse passed almost

unchanged into later editions. Cajal remarked in the preface

to the second edition, that of 1899, that the discourse might

have been forgotten, relegated to the Academy's bookshelves,

but for the action of a friend, Dr. Enrique Lluria. Lluria,

highly impressed with the material, insisted that Cajal edit

the pages for general publication, and offered to pay for the

costs of printing, so that the little book might be

distributed to university students and others who would profit

from it. Cajal only deleted references to his academic

audience, retaining and in a few places slightly amplifying

the six chapters that had comprised the original speech.

Completely new for the second edition, however, was a post-

script chapter, evidently requested by Dr. Lluria, motivated

by Spain's loss in the Spanish-American War. Essentially a










fiery call to all sectors of Spanish society to support

scientific and industrial endeavors, it was not reprinted in

any later edition of the text.

The third edition of Reglas y consejos, that of 1913,

included several new chapters. After the original fourth

chapter came now a fifth entitled "Enfermedades de la

voluntad," comprised of humorous sketches of six different

types of weak-willed professors and researchers who had failed

to focus consistently and study deeply. Another new chapter

was the sixth, entitled, "Condiciones sociales favorables a la

obra cientifica." Included were suggestions on dealing with

the lack of general support in Spain for scientific research,

setting up a modest but useful laboratory even at home,

balancing the demands of family and work, and even choosing a

wife. This chapter reflects Cajal's continued thought on

conditions necessary for success in research; he had seen too

many promising researchers give up for lack of support, and

for having married inappropriately.

There then follow the original fifth and six chapters,

and then another new one, entitled, "El investigator como

maestro." It advises teachers of science on how best to

discern scientific vocations and guide beginners. A final

new chapter was entitled, "Deberes del Estado en relaci6n con










la producci6n cientifica." It reviews reasons adduced for

Spain's historical scientific deficit, offers Cajal's analysis

of the problem and his proposed solution, and discusses the

work of the Junta para Ampliaci6n de Estudios, founded in

1906. Demand for the book and desire to refine the text led

Cajal to produce three more editions during his lifetime--a

fourth, in 1916, a fifth, in 1920, and a sixth, in 1923. For

these the title was slightly different: the word, "cientifica"

was substituted for "biol6gica," in recognition of the broader

application of most of the book's content. Also added to

these editions was a subtitle, "Los t6nicos de la voluntad,"

to give a final title, Reglas y consejos sobre investigaci6n

cientifica. Los t6nicos de la voluntad. Although the concept

of the will was present in the text from the very first

edition, Cajal's appreciation of the importance of the will

appears to have grown, perhaps with further reading of

thinkers such as Schopenhauer. After Cajal's death, editions

in the Colecci6n Austral bore the original title and subtitle

in reversed order: Los t6nicos de la voluntad. Reglas y

consejos sobre investigaci6n cientifica. This appears to have

been an editorial decision, however, not a change initiated by

Cajal.










Aims of the Text

To most effectively encourage the beginning researcher,

Cajal had to deal with the problem of the marginality of

science in Spanish culture, and its corollary, the "bigger-

than-life," almost mythological image of science and the

scientist that prevailed in the mind of most Spaniards. Cajal

rejects the idea that "[. .] las conquistas cientificas son

dones del cielo, gracias generosamente otorgadas por la

Providencia a unos cuantos privilegiados" (10). In the

prologue to the second edition of the text Cajal refers to "Mi

empefto en poner en su punto las aserciones de los

providencialistas y genialistas en lo concerniente al origen

de los descubrimientos [. .]" (1899, 13). Cajal was in part

battling the legacy of Romantic natural philosophers, for whom

various conceptions of "genius" were central to the process of

scientific discovery. The term often carried the connotation

of a special connection to or inspiration from the realm of

the supernatural (Schaffer, 82-85). The Judeo-Christian

tradition was, of course, the main source for the

providentialist viewpoint. The writers of the Bible, most

notably the Hebrew chroniclers, interpreted many historical

events as direct dispositions of the will of God. In the late

nineteenth century, Marcelino Menendez y Pelayo, debating the










place of science in Spanish culture, asserted quite seriously

that "No naci6 en Espafia Cop6rnico porque no quiso Dios

concedernos la gloria de que aqui naciese [. .]" (Ciencia

espafiola 1:156). The practical effect of such providentialist

beliefs on nascent scientists could be a strong, fatalistic

discouragement about one's abilities, potential, or, perhaps,

"chosen-ness." It is precisely this discouraging,

deterministic outlook that Cajal sought to combat. Cajal

directed Reglas y consejos to "la juventud estudiosa," and to

others of an open mind. His task, then, presented a greater

challenge than that of mere critics: the portrayal, the

elaboration, with great realism, of how modern science was to

be done, of what it would take to be a successful scientific

researcher, along with strong and continual doses of

encouragement: "this can be done."

A partial parallel can be drawn between Cajal's

demythifying of the scientific endeavor in Reglas y consejos

and the desacralization practiced by other authors of his

time, such as Clarin, whose La Regenta portrays sacred places

and personages in a very earthy light. In each case something

sacred, transcendent, "mythical," is brought down to earth and

shown as much more ordinary and immanent, part of daily life.

Such an approach is also very typical of the inherently anti-










metaphysical perspective of positivist thought, which as

discussed in the previous chapter had a significant impact on

the intellectual culture of Spain in the late nineteenth

century. Numerous other evidences of the positivist attitude

of Cajal will be seen as this analysis of Reglas y consejos

proceeds.

For Jos6 Ortega y Gasset, the aura of myth surrounding

intellectuals in Spain and their marginalization in

traditional Spanish culture were intimately related phenomena.

In his often-cited 1927 essay entitled, "El poder social,"

Ortega explored at some length the phenomenon of the scant

social influence in Spain of men of science and letters. He

acknowledged that Cajal was an exception, but in his opinion

the case of Cajal only confirmed the general rule:

Esa excepci6n, en cierto modo dnica, que se hace
con Ram6n y Cajal, trayendole y llevAndole como el
cuerpo de San Isidro, en forma de magico fetiche,
para aplacar las iras del demonio Inteligencia,
acaso ofendido, es una cosa que no se hace mAs que
en los paises donde no se quiere trato normal y sin
magia con los intelectuales. Se escoge uno a fin
de libertarse, con el homenaje excesivo e
ininteligente a su persona, de toda obligaci6n con
los demAs. (498-499)

Ortega here asserts that Spaniards, who did not want "trato

normal y sin magia con los intelectuales" but rather were more

comfortable with their marginalization, preferred to maintain

a mythical treatment of those who could not be ignored,

offering them excessive, unthinking homage. This maintaining










of a mythical, greater-than-life status was actually a form of

marginalization that served to excuse one from following the

intellectual's ideas or example; mythical figures, as such,

are generally inimitable. For Ortega this excessive homage to

Cajal was ironic, because almost no one understood exactly

what it was that Cajal had discovered (499).

In the atmosphere of defeat and pessimism following

Spain's loss in the war of 1898, the fact that Cajal had won

in 1900 the Moscow Prize, in 1905 the Helmholtz Medal, and in

1906 the Nobel Prize, all for aspects of his scientific work,

had turned him into a sort of national hero. Here at last was

a Spaniard whose name inspired the world's respect. In Spain,

streets, public plazas and even a brand of chocolates bore his

name. Cajal, well aware of the discouraging effect upon would-

be followers of a greater-than-life image, seems to have

fought continuously to keep his public image as realistic as

possible. To this end, he began the text of Reglas y consejos

with a strongly personal, autobiographical element. In the

prologue he confessed:

Por mi parte dir6 solamente que, acaso por no
haberlos recibido [consejos] de ninguno de mis
deudos o profesores cuando concebi el temerario
empefto de consagrarme a la religion del
laboratorio, perdi, en tentativas initiles, lo
mejor de mi tiempo, y desesper6 mas de una vez de
mis aptitudes para la investigaci6n cientifica.
iEn cuAntas ocasiones me sucedi6, por [. .] no
encontrar un guia orientador, descubrir hechos
anat6micos ya por entonces divulgados [. ]. iY









cuantas veces me ocurri6 tambi6n, por [. .] vivir
alejado de ese ambiente intellectual del cual recibe
el investigator novel estimulos y energies,
abandonar la labor en el moment en que [. I
comenzaba a columbrar los primeros tenues albores
de la idea nueva!(9)

This confessional, intimate tone engages the reader, and is

part of Cajal's demythifying of the scientific endeavor; his

beginnings are presented realistically.

Many years later, in Franco's Spain, the aura

surrounding Cajal still persisted. Novelist Luis Martin

Santos, in Tiempo de silencio, published in 1961,

counterposed Cajal's successful image to the existential

malaise of protagonist don Pedro, a struggling young

scientist, for whom the portrait of Cajal serves as a reminder

of his own failure:

iSe acabaron los ratones! El retrato del hombre de
la barba, frente a mi,que lo vio todo y que libr6
al pueblo ibero de su inferioridad native ante la
ciencia, escrutador e inm6vil, presidiendo la falta
de cobayas. Su sonrisa comprensiva y liberadora
de la inferioridad explica-comprende-la falta de
cr6ditos. Pueblo pobre, pueblo pobre. ZQui6n podra
nunca aspirar otra vez al galard6n n6rdico, a la
sonrisa del rey alto, a la dignificaci6n, al buen
pasar del sabio que en la peninsula seca, espera
que fructifiquen los cerebros y los rios? (7)

After discussing the failure of a particular experiment, don

Pedro further laments:

De otro modo, no hubiera aqui nunca investigaci6n
ya que se carece de lo mas elemental. Y las
posibilidades de repetir el gesto torpe del sefnor
de la barba ante el rey alto serian ya no
totalmente inexistentes, como ahora, sino ademas
brutalmente ridiculas, no s6lo insospechadas, sino
ademas grotescas. Ya no como gigantes en vez de







87

molinos, sino como fantasmas en vez de deseos.
(10)



Themes and Leitmotifs of the Text

Cajal argues in Reglas y consejos that scientific

discoveries are not the fruit of special talent or election,

but rather the product of common sense improved and

strengthened by training and the will-driven habit of

prolonged, focused attention. Anyone with some strength of

will could be the "escultor de su propio cerebro" (10). For

Cajal, most of the qualities of a successful researcher could

be acquired or developed in such a process of "self-

sculpting." Most of the individuals with apparently superior

talent are not essentially superior in quality to others,

Cajal argues, but only in rapidity of apprehension. These

types do well, Cajal contends, if brilliance and quick

thinking are necessary, as is the case for orators and

journalists. But for the long, painstaking work of scientific

research, those of slow apprehension are actually preferable;

quick studies tend to tire of slow work and let their

attention wander. Summarizing his argument, Cajal

encouragingly concludes: "Asi, pues, quien disponga de

regular criterio para guiarse en la vida, lo tendrA tambien

para marchar desembarazado por el camino de la investigaci6n"

(32).










Chief among the qualities of the successful researcher,

for Cajal, is an independence of judgment, a healthy

critical sense, one that is not afraid to challenge

entrenched dogmas:

Rasgo dominant en los investigadores eminentes es
la altiva independencia de criterio. [. .]
Cop6rnico, Keplero, Newton y Huyghens, que echaron
abajo la astronomia de los antiguos .
poseyeron individualidad mental ambiciosa y
descontentadiza y osadia critical extraordinaria. De
los d6ciles y humildes pueden salir los santos,
pocas veces los sabios. [. .] iDesgraciado del
que, en presencia de un libro, queda mudo y
absorto! [. .] La veneraci6n excesiva, como todos
los estados pasionales, excluye el sentido critic.
[. .] El libro no tiene en nosotros un devoto,
sino un juez. (36)

Here Cajal reminds the reader that the "great names" of

science were not tame, docile men, but rather daring skeptics

willing to break with tradition. Ever practical, Cajal then

suggests that the reader, overly awed by a book, put it down

for a few days and then keep re-reading it until the

inevitable flaws appear (36). Considered carefully, this

critical attitude toward texts can be seen as an aspect of the

dynamic of secularization present in Reglas y consejos. The

excessive veneration and dogmatism in matters academic that

Cajal repeatedly criticized were, even when not actually

concerned with matters of religion, a sort of cultural by-

product of essentially religious attitudes toward sacred texts

and doctrines. In the above fragment one can also see a mild










criticism of traditional religious devotion, in which

docility, humility and unquestioning acceptance of sacred

texts figure prominently. Cajal condemned as "servidumbre

mental al extranjero" the attitude of his professors in

Zaragoza:

[. .] al solo anuncio de que yo, humilde medico
reci6n salido de las aulas, sin etiqueta official
prestigiosa, me proponia publicar cierto trabajo
sobre la inflamaci6n [. .] alguno de los
profesores de mi querida Universidad de Zaragoza
[. .] exclam6 estupefacto: < Cajal para atreverse a juzgar los trabajos de los
sabios!>> (10).

Cajal also leans on the authority of the writers of

classical antiquity, quoting Cicero: "[. .] 'Dubitando

ad veritatem pervenimus'" (55). In the fragments above one

can also see Cajal's leitmotif of opposition to, or at least

critical suspicion of, codified knowledge.

Another vital quality for the researcher, according to

Cajal, is a stubborn empiricism that resists metaphysical

speculation; he begins the first chapter of Reglas y consejos

with a rejection of philosophical idealism:

Aquella singular manera de discurrir de pitag6ricos
y platonianos (m6todo seguido en modernos tiempos
por Descartes, Fichte, Krause, Hegel .), que
consiste en explorer nuestro propio espiritu para
descubrir en 61 las leyes del Universo y la
soluci6n de los grandes arcanos de la vida, ya s6lo
inspira sentimientos de conmiseraci6n y de
disgusto. Conmiseraci6n, por el talent consumido
persiguiendo quimeras; disgusto, por el tiempo y
trabajo lastimosamente perdidos. (13)










Cajal, seeking to orient and encourage the beginning

researcher, did not want him3 to get lost in the clouds of

metaphysical speculation. Cajal also counseled the beginner

against the study of treatises on logic which relate how the

mind operates, knowledge that is not necessary in order to

reason. Already within the beginner, Cajal contends, is "esa

16gica viva que el hombre posee en su espiritu" (16). The

demythifying thrust of Cajal's argument is seen in the

following passage:

[. .] si, abandonando la vaga region de los
principios filos6ficos y de los m6todos abstractos,
descendemos al dominio de las ciencias particulares
y al terreno de la tecnica moral e instrumental
indispensable al process inquisitive, serA facil
hallar unas normas positivamente tiles al novel
investigator. (17)

The researcher must leave the "vague region" of abstract

speculation and "descend to clearer terrain."

The young researcher must also avoid the trap of a

false and counterproductive division of science into

"practical" and "theoretical" studies. Cajal laments the

blindness of those who fail to see "[. .]esos hilos


3 Here and throughout this chapter the masculine pronoun is
used to refer to the scientist, not because of insensitivity
to gender issues but in order to accurately represent
Cajal's attitude toward the question. It would misrepresent
Cajal's attitude to say of "the scientist" that "Cajal
wanted her to..." or "Cajal preferred that he or she..." Cajal
conceived of "scientist" as an almost exclusively male role,
and a scholarly study must attempt to accurately represent
his view, however mistaken it may now seem.










misteriosos que enlazan la fAbrica con el laboratorio, como el

arroyo a su manantial" (28). Cajal appeals to the history of

science, explaining that applications for new discoveries will

come in due time, rhetorically asking where the science of

electricity would be if Galvani, Volta, Faraday, Hertz and

others had rejected their findings just because a practical

use was not immediately obvious (31). Also to be rejected is

the discouraging notion that all the discoveries of value have

already been made. Availing himself of a humorous example

from ancient history Cajal writes: "La Naturaleza nos brinda a

todos con una riqueza inagotable, y no tenemos motivo para

[. .] exclamar como Alejandro ante las victorias de Filipo:

'Mi padre no me va a dejar nada que conquistar'" (14).

Another sine qua non for the researcher, Cajal advises,

is that one should study natural phenomena or other subjects

directly, eschewing textbooks, manuals, poor translations and

recompilations and other such materials, which were legion in

Spain at the time:

Mucho aprenderemos en los libros, pero mAs
aprenderemos en la contemplaci6n de la Naturaleza,
causa y ocasi6n de todos los libros. [. .] al
intentar la comprobaci6n de un hecho descrito [. .
.] 6ste se present siempre con faz distinta de la
presumida, y sugiere ideas y planes de acci6n no
suscitados por la mera lectura. Ello depend, a
nuestro juicio, de la incapacidad de la palabra
humana para la pintura fiel de la realidad
exterior. [. .] 6sta refleja siempre un haz de
sensaciones variadisimas y complejas, de las cuales
la expresi6n simb6lica [. .] refleja s6lo una







92

minima parte. Toda descripci6n, por objetiva e
ingenua que parezca, constitute interpretaci6n
personal, punto de vista propio del autor. (63)

Here can be seen a deep concern about the limitations of human

language and of what Cajal elsewhere referred to as "la

ciencia de los libros" (152). However, Cajal does not end up

with a discouraging skepticism; Cajal, in Reglas y consejos,

is concerned, it may be said, in contemporary terms, with the

socialization of the young researcher into a discursive

community, and he basically advises a careful choice of

reading:

Someteremos a studio detenido las monografias
debidas a los autores mas geniales y que mayor
impulse han dado a la cuesti6n. [. .] Es
propiedad de todo buen libro que el lector recoja
en 61, no s6lo las ideas expuestas deliberadamente
por el autor, sino otras totalmente nuevas, y hasta
diferentes para cada hombre, y que brotan del
conflict entire nuestro fondo de representaciones y
los concepts del texto. Por donde se ve que la
monografia genial, con ser buena fuente de
informaci6n cientifica, result ademas eficaz
reactivo de nuestras propias energies cerebrales.
(61)

Cajal, one of a number of Spanish intellectuals of the fin de

siglo who sought to infuse into the youth of Spain a modern

critical intellectual orientation, wanted to encourage nascent

scientists to read not reverentially, but rather in search of

effective stimulants for the production of their own ideas.

Another recurring idea in the text is that of

exemplarity; Spain's youth would learn scientific research at

the side of a mature researcher. Cajal was very conscious of










his status in Spain as a model, even the model, of what a

modern scientist was to be. He was concerned that the model be

a realistic one:

iQu6 gran t6nico seria para el novel observador el
que su maestro, en vez de asombrarlo y desalentarlo
con la sublimidad de las grandes empresas acabadas,
le expusiera la genesis de cada invenci6n
cientifica, la series de errors y titubeos que la
precedieron [. .].Tan habil tactica pedag6gica
nos traeria la convicci6n de que el descubridor,
con ser un ingenio esclarecido y una poderosa
voluntad, fue, al fin y al cabo, un hombre como
todos. (20-21)

Cajal is urging upon young Spaniards not some untried

scheme, but a well-proved vocational path that he and others

have taken. That path, however, was not well known in the

Spain of that time.

Another recurring element in Reglas y consejos,

unexpected in a manual on "how to do science," are Cajal's

frequent appeals to the reader's emotions and will. Born of

his ardent espafolismo, Reglas y consejos is infectiously

encouraging as well as informative, aimed at arousing the

emotions and invigorating the will. The importance of will and

emotion as the motors of the intellect is a constant current

in Cajal's thought, as it was for many of his generation. In

discussing the value of first-hand observation of natural

phenomena, Cajal added that one not only gains facts but in

the process also benefits from: '"[. .] la sorpresa, el

entusiasmo, la emoci6n agradable, que son fuerzas propulsoras










de la imaginaci6n constructive. La emoci6n enciende la

maquina cerebral [. .]"(64). For Cajal these ideas were not

merely a theoretical perspective on how the brain operated,

but rather a practical and fruitful answer to the problem of

exactly how to sustain motivation for intellectual work.

Cajal was certainly not a devoto, in the traditional

sense, yet his pages are infused with his passionate devotion

to Spain and to the cause of Spanish science, to what Cajal

himself called "la religion del laboratorio" (9). At the

same time as he brought the scientific endeavor down to earth,

Cajal also reinvested it with an almost religious,

"transcendent" significance in terms of a passionate "ultimate

concern" 4 for his country and its well-being; in his own

words, "la religion de la patria" (35). He found in the human

passion of nationalism, and in the desire for personal glory,

great resources of motivating power, tonics, to use his own

word, for the Spanish will in the pursuit of modern scientific

investigation, which would benefit and bring prestige to





4 Theologian Paul Tillich coined the phrase, "ultimate
concern." It signifies that which is considered all-
important, the concern or aim in life to which all other
concerns and desires are subordinated (Armbruster 24-5).
Armbruster writes that "Extreme nationalism is one of
Tillich's favorite examples of an ultimate concern [. .]"
(25).




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SCIENCE AND SPANISH TRADITION FUSED:
CENTRIPETAL DISCOURSE IN RAMÓN Y CAJAL'S
REGLAS Y CONSEJOS SOBRE INVESTIGACIÓN CIENTÍFICA
By
LINCOLN CLARKE LAMBETH
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
2000

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Special thanks are due to my wife and family for
their support in the completion of this project.
Special thanks are also due to Mrs. T. H. Fay
and Dr. Thomas Fay for their friendship and support. In
the peaceful atmoshpere of the house on Northwest
Third Street many of the ideas herein were conceived and
developed.
Many thanks also to my professors, past and
present, whose patience and guidance have been
indispensable.
11

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ü
ABSTRACT V
CHAPTERS
1 INTRODUCTION AND BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF CAJAL 1
Introduction 1
Cajal's Early Years and Education 4
The Valencia Years: Cajal's Early Literary
Productions 19
Career Progress, Honors, and the Creation of
Reglas y consejos 26
Conclusion 30
2 INTELLECTUAL CULTURE OF RESTORATION SPAIN 32
Introduction 32
The Revolution of 1868 and its Aftermath 34
The Polemic of Spanish Science and its
Background 4 6
Influence of German Thought in Spain 58
Consequences of the Spanish-American War 63
Conclusion 71
3 TEXTUAL ANALYSIS OF REGLAS Y CONSEJOS 7 4
Introduction 74
Description of the Text 77
Aims of the Text 82
Themes and Leitmotifs of the Text 87
Discursive Strategy of the Text 96
Genre of the Text 120
Cajal's Postscript to the 1899 Edition of
the Text 129
Conclusion 133
iii

4 ANALYSIS OF OTHER TEXTS OF CAJAL
136
Introduction 136
Recuerdos de mi vida 140
El mundo visto a los ochenta años 150
Charlas de café 153
"El hombre natural y el hombre artificial" 158
Prologue to Evolución superorqánica 164
"A patria chica, alma grande" 166
The Echegaray Medal 169
"Sobre la guerra de Cuba" 171
Conclusion 172
5 CONCLUSION 173
WORKS CITED 182
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 189
IV

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate
School of the University of Florida in Partial
Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
SCIENCE AND SPANISH TRADITION FUSED:
CENTRIPETAL DISCOURSE IN RAMÓN Y CAJAL'S
REGLAS Y CONSEJOS SOBRE INVESTIGACIÓN CIENTÍFICA
By
LINCOLN CLARKE LAMBETH
May 2000
Chair: Dr. Geraldine Nichols
Major Department: Romance Languages and Literatures
Santiago Ramón y Cajal (1852-1934), who won the
Nobel prize in 1906 for his biological work, was one of
many fin de siglo writers concerned with the regeneration
of Spain, and produced several texts that addressed social
and cultural issues. Cajal's traditional-sounding stances
on some issues were used during the Franco years to support
traditionalist cultural constructions. A close look at
Cajal's texts, however, reveals contradictions of a
conservative coloration of his image.
In Reglas y consejos sobre investigación
científica, Cajal sought to inscribe modern science within
a quasi-traditionalist construction of Spanish identity.
v

To this end he employed metaphor, simile and other means to
establish identifications between science and traditional
cultural leitmotifs such as religious commitment, chivalry,
conquest of the new world, patriotism, Quixotism and even
an idea of the perfecta casada. As he appropriates these
leitmotifs to explain science and encourage its
cultivation, Cajal transforms them, infusing them with new
and more secular meanings. He thus constructs a potentially
subversive symbiosis, in which science receives prestige
from its association with traditional ideas even as these
ideas receive new and more secular definitions.
Throughout Reglas y consejos a new social space, the
laboratory, is depicted, always in exalted tones and often
in discreet opposition to the social spaces of church and
printed page traditionally revered in Spanish culture. The
text is a Spanish example of a genre that may be termed
books of "self-culture," a secularization of orthodox
religious devotion in which a quest for self-improvement
replaced the metaphysical concept of divinely-aided growth
in Christ-likeness. Cajal was inspired by the work of the
French educator Jules Payot, The Education of the Will:
Theory and Practice of Self-Culture, an emphatically
secular guide to self-improvement.
vi

CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION AND BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF CAJAL
Introduction
"Es un verdadero Evangelio en la santa busca de la
verdad," wrote Gregorio Marañón in 1934 of Spanish scientist
Santiago Ramón y Cajal's essay, Reglas y consejos sobre
investigación científica. Los tónicos de la voluntad
("Recuerdo a Cajal" 316). This text, originally Cajal's
discurso de ingreso given before the Spanish Royal Academy of
Sciences in 1897, seeks to encourage and instruct the
beginning researcher. Hyperbole aside, Marañón's assessment of
the text alludes to many of its qualities: concern for the
production and legitimation of knowledge, and a combination of
practical admonitions, passionate exposition of high ideals
and personal tone that could indeed remind one of the letters
of St. Paul. Marañón was not the first to note the parallel.
In 1907, in one of the many acts of homage to Cajal after he
won the Nobel Prize, Dr. Romero Landa recounted his days as a
student in Madrid, explaining how he found Reglas y consejos
1

2
in one of Madrid's few "librerías serias y cultas," and read
it straight through:
Terminada la lectura del libro, se respira nueva
vida, se llena el espíritu de grandes anhelos, se
fortifica la voluntad, se siente uno mejor, en una
palabra. [. . .] este libro [. . .] es El Evangelio
de la investigación cientifica (31).
Landa's experience of encouragement may be better
comprehended in light of the fact that Reglas y consejos sobre
investigación cientifica is a Spanish example of what may be
termed "books of self-culture," essentially a genre of secular
"devotional literature" in which traditional religious
devotion is displaced by dedication to self-development and to
causes such as the nation or progress. Author and literary
critic José Martinez Ruiz, "Azorin", called it "un directorio
espiritual a la moderna" (76). In Azorin's 1913 review of the
third edition of Reglas y consejos, he asserted that it was
not a book that had obtained a clamorous but fleeting success.
Rather, he affirmed, its influence had gradually made itself
felt in many sectors, growing and spreading in a clandestine,
almost subterranean manner, to the point that: " [. . .] tal
volumen que no obtuvo éxito ruidoso [. . .] ha sido
fundamental en la ideología [de España] [. . .] y ha
constituido uno de los factores de su evolución social
[. . •]"(75).1 Not only Cajal's writings, but also his example
The full text of this citation is as follows: "Hay libros
i

3
and influence were in fact fundamental to the creation of a
modest but noteworthy scientific community in Spain.
Institutions such as the Instituto Cajal and the Junta para
Ampliación de Estudios, and publications such as Cajal's
Revista trimestral microqráfica constituted new social spaces
within which a supportive scientific culture could grow.
Cajal's prose style also won Azorin's praise: "un estilo
verdaderamente literario, un estilo claro, preciso, limpio,
ameno, insinuante" (77). Not a mere laboratory manual, as the
title may seem to suggest, Reglas y consejos, rich in literary
language and replete with intertextual allusions to works of
literature and philosophy, constitutes a program of cultural
orientation and self-cultivation for the beginning researcher.
A brief look at relevant aspects of the life and career of its
author, and later at the intellectual culture of Restoration
Spain, will establish a base for textual analysis of this
que tienen un clamoroso, pero fugacísimo éxito. Hay otros
cuyo éxito parece como clandestino, como subterráneo; ni la
prensa ni el gran público hablan apasionadamente de ellos; más
poco a poco se van vendiendo; un circulo reducido de
estudiosos los comenta; en trabajos de revista y en
conferencias y en explicaciones de cátedras se va viendo
lentamente un reflejo, una influencia de esos libros; otros
libros, en fin, nacen engendrados por ellos; y en definitiva,
tal volumen que no obtuvo éxito ruidoso, que no entusiasmó a
la gente que se halla en los aledañanos de la intelectualidad,
ni llegó a la noticia de los parlamentarios; tal volumen,
repetimos, ha sido fundamental en la ideología de un pais—en
determinado momento—y ha constituido uno de los factores de su
evolución social o literaria. De esta clase de libros es el
citado del doctor Cajal." (75-6)

4
unique and little-studied work. It will be seen that Cajal's
production of Reglas y consejos, although occasioned by his
nomination to the Royal Academy of Sciences, was not
anomalous; the text represented Cajal's longstanding desire to
promote scientific research, a desire which had already led
him to try his hand at similar texts. Thus it is that Reglas y
consejos exhibits not the tentative, awkward language of a
literary novice, but rather the more graceful prose of a
mature writer.
Cajal's Early Years and Education2
Cajal3 was born in 1852 in Petilla de Aragón, a tiny village
in northern Spain out of which his father, Don Justo Ramón,
worked as a traveling rural medical practitioner. Ramón, the
third son of a peasant family, had left home early,
2 The material for this summary, unless otherwise noted, is
taken from the first volume of Cajal's autobiography,
Recuerdos de mi vida. This first volume is subtitled Mi
infancia y juventud, but it is nearly always referred to by
scholars of Cajal as Recuerdos de mi vida. The second part of
his autobiography was first included as a second volume of
Recuerdos with the subtitle Historia de mi labor científica
and later published as a separate volume that used the
original subtitle as a title. Nearly all references to it in
this study come from this later publication and will
appear using the title Historia de mi labor científica.
3 During his adult years Cajal used either his matronym or
both patronym and matronym, a not infrequent practice. Reasons
for this choice of Cajal's are unclear. His brother Pedro,
also a university professor and scientist, followed the more
typical preference for his paternal last name, and was known
as Pedro Ramón.

5
apprenticed to a rural doctor, and by extreme sacrifices
managed to earn a basic medical degree.4 Don Justo eventually
earned a full medical degree5 and later became a professor of
dissection in Zaragoza. In his autobiography, Recuerdos de mi
vida, first published in 1901, Cajal writes that his father's
example and influence constituted the greatest element in his
development. Not only did he inculcate in Santiago a
particular quasi-religious devotion to work, he also imparted
to the boy his strong ambition for self-improvement and
achievement:
[. . .] me legó prendas de carácter, a que debo
todo lo que soy: la religión de la voluntad
soberana; la fe en el trabajo [. . .]. De él
adquirí también la hermosa ambición de ser algo y
la decisión de no reparar en sacrificios para el
logro de mis ambiciones [. . .]. (3—4)
Noteworthy also here is Cajal's reference to his father's
"religion of the sovereign will" and his "faith in work."
Cajal's later exposure to fin-de-siécle psychological and
philosphical ideas about the primacy of the will among human
faculties reinforced and refined what he acquired from his
father. Cajal's earliest schooling also came from his father,
"Cirujano de segunda clase" (Recuerdos 1)
5 Cajal writes that his father at the cost of much effort
managed to replace "[. . .] el humilde titulo de Cirujano de
segunda clase con el flamante diploma de Médico-cirujand'
(Recuerdos 1).

6
from whom he learned the basics of geometry, arithmetic,
geography and French.
When Cajal was between seven and eight years of age
there occurred "tres sucesos que tuvieron decisiva influencia
en mis ideas y sentimientos ulteriores" (25). The first of
these was a local celebration of the Spanish capture of Tetuan
in February of 1860. Spaniards long dismayed by their
country's relative weakness and decline from its former
glories lost no time in celebrating the Spanish military
triumph in Morocco, however small and insignificant it may
have been. Spanish general O'Donnell claimed that the
victory had succeeded in "raising Spain from her prostration"
(Carr 261). Historian Raymond Carr has written that the
Moroccan war was "a unifying political emotion" essentially
unrelated to Spain's economic interests, and a step towards
the jingoism that would later characterize the ill-fated war
with the United States in 1898 (261). Cajal wrote that he and
the other boys gladly joined in his town's celebration and ate
and drank, even if they didn't completely understand the
reason for the occasion, "alborotados con esta especie de
comunión patriótica" (26). Cajal linked the celebration with
his first experience of patriotic feeling:
Fue ésta la primera vez que surgieron en mi mente
[. . .] la idea y el sentimiento de la patria
[. . .]. Pobres e incompletas eran las nociones

7
históricas aprendidas en la escuela o de labios de
mi padre; pero bastáronme para formar alta idea de
mi nación como entidad guerrera, descubridora y
artistica, y para que me considerase orgulloso de
haber nacido en España. (27)
A patriotic devotion to Spain's well-being would later be
cited by Cajal as the motivation for much of his scientific
work; as a university student, Cajal was deeply offended by
the scorn of foreigners toward Spanish intellectual efforts.
Pained at the essential truth behind their ridicule, the young
man resolved to do his best to vindicate his country by
producing original scientific knowledge.6
Another decisive event in Cajal's boyhood was the
dramatic death of his town's priest. On a Saturday afternoon,
unusually strong thunder drowned out the childrens' recited
prayers, and the old church's ceiling seemed to give way.
Running outside, young Santiago saw the priest's body hanging
out of the bell tower; attempting to ring the bell to ward
away the storm, he had been struck dead by lightning. The
In the prologue to the second edition of Reglas y consejos,
Cajal wrote that during his years in Zaragoza he was pained at
the lack of citations of Spanish scientists in the texts he
was studying. For Cajal, "[. . .] cada descubrimiento debido
al extranjero era algo asi como un ultraje a nuestra bandera
vergonzosamente tolerado. Y más de una vez, durante mis
paseos solitarios [. . .] exclamaba, 'No, España debe tener
anatómicos, y si las fuerzas y la voluntad no me faltan, yo
procuraré ser uno de ellos'" (1899, 12-13) .

8
lightning also destroyed a picture of Christ. Cajal wrote
that the event provoked in him doubts about Church teachings:
Por primera vez cruzó por mi espiritu,
profundamente conmovido, la idea del desorden y de
la inarmonia [. . .]. Si realmente [Dios] lo puede
todo y es infinitamente bueno, según aseguran
formalmente el cura y el maestro, ¿cómo esta vez no
ha interpuesto una mano piadosa [. . .] evitando la
muerte de un santo varón [. . .] ? (31-32)
Essentially agnostic as an adult, Cajal nevertheless treated
the religious beliefs of others with great respect; he was
careful to avoid religious controversy. Criticism of Church
and religion in his writings is infrequent and usually
indirect or merely implied. The death of the town priest left
doubts about the power of the Divinity, but young Santiago was
impressed with the power of nature, and later he would marvel
at the ability of science to predict with some accuracy and
harness natural phenomena.
This wonder at science is first formulated in Cajal's
mind during the third decisive boyhood event, the solar
eclipse of 1860. Predictions of the eclipse, announced in the
newspapers, were fulfilled as young Santiago stood watching,
listening to his father's explanations. The boy was amazed
that such an event could be understood and predicted; Cajal
wrote that the eclipse:
[. . .][fue] para mi tierna inteligencia luminosa
revelación. Cai en la cuenta, al fin, de que el
hombre, desvalido y desarmado enfrente del
incontrastable poder de las fuerzas cósmicas, tiene

9
en la ciencia redentor heroico y poderoso y
universal instrumento de previsión y de dominio.
(34)
If God were not the protector or redeemer of mankind, perhaps
science was. Cajal grew up in an era when for a growing
number of people the authority of religion was being displaced
by that of modern science.
Despite his early initiation into basic math and
grammar, the future Nobel Prize winner was far from a model
student. Cajal in his Recuerdos de mi vida recounts at great
length his many mischievous adventures with young friends. He
even credited his father's early instruction, which he
believed had developed in him strong habits of thought and
imagination, for "los rápidos progresos que yo hice en la vida
airada de pedreas y asaltos, de ataques a la propiedad pública
y privada" and other juvenile misdeeds (43). Among his
cohort, young Santiago was the fabricator of sling shots, the
one who judged trajectories for rocks hurled at windows, and
so forth. Telling of his disgust at having to give up his
free time and go to school, Cajal wrote that his mischievous,
independent attitude and passion for drawing did not change
but only found new modes of expression:
Todo se reducia a variar el teatro de nuestras
diabluras: los diseños del paisaje se convertían
en caricaturas del maestro; las pedreas al aire
libre se transformaban en escaramuzas de banco a
banco, en las cuales servían de proyectiles
papelitos, tronchos, acerolas, garbanzos y judias
[. . .]. (61)

10
Even at the highly regimented school of the Escolapian Fathers
in Jaca to which his father sent him, the boy's independent
attitude was not broken. Cajal in part intended his
autobigraphy to constitute a critique of the rote learning and
memoristic pedagogy prevalent in Spain at the time (iii). He
blamed such practices for much of his trouble in school,
noting how poorly they served the many students whose learning
styles were incompatible with the method. Creative thought
and application of knowledge, in which young Santiago had
already distinguished himself, were discouraged in favor of
recitation of facts, in which even the slightest error
resulted in some corporal punishment. Referring to the adage,
"La letra con sangre entra," Cajal ruefully remarks of the
school in Jaca that "[. . .] lo singular del caso era que la
sangre corria, pero la letra no entraba por ninguna parte"
(74) .
Exasperation at his son's failures in school led Don
Justo to place the boy as an apprentice first to a barber and
later to a cobbler; he hoped his son would reform or at least
learn to make a living. After a successful year's
apprenticeship to the cobbler, Cajal's father let him return
to school. Don Justo's disillusionment with the school in
Jaca motivated a change of venue: Santiago was enrolled at the

11
Instituto de Huesca, where at least some of the professors
managed to inspire interest instead of hatred in the boy, who
had promised to apply himself sincerely. From this point on
he found greater success in school, aided by the active
participation of his father.
Don Justo was convinced that his son should become a
doctor and that surgical success depended more on the
exploration of cadavers than on the study of books: "Sabia
harto que la naturaleza sólo se deja comprender por la
contemplación directa [. . .] y que los libros no son por lo
general otra cosa que indices de nombres y clasificaciones de
hechos" (189). Don Justo took it upon himself to initiate the
boy in dissection and osteology; he and Santiago had to rob a
few graves to procure the necessary material for study. Of the
impact of his father's lessons Cajal wrote:
Tengo para mi que el futuro disector de Zaragoza,
el catedrático de Anatomia de Valencia y el
investigador modesto, pero tenaz y activo que vine
a ser andando el tiempo, fueron el fruto de
aquellas primeras lecciones de osteologia
explicadas en un granero. (189)
This preference for direct study of natural phenomena,
inculcated by his father, would continue as a fundamental
attitude in Cajal. Here also in the formative experience of
learning from his father's example7 can be seen the genesis of
7 For Cajal the concept of exemplarity included both the
imitation of the exemplary lives of the distant or
deceased,and the learning inspired by the living example of

12
a pedagogical leitmotif Cajal would later develop quite
extensively—the question of exemplarity. In Reglas y
consejos Cajal wrote that the young scientific researchers so
needed in Spain would learn their craft "Del mismo modo que el
hijo aprende el oficio del padre, mirando y ensayándose"
(152), working alongside an accomplished researcher.
Don Justo did not approve of young Santiago's passion
for art and works of literature, which he saw as a waste of
time, at least for those in their formative years. Ironically
Don Justo's insistence on summer study for his son led to
young Santiago's access to a neighbor's large collection of
works of literature:
Alii se mostraban, tentando mi ardiente curiosidad,
el tan celebrado Conde de Montecristo y Los tres
Mosqueteros, de Dumas (padre); Maria o la hija de
un jornalero, de E. Sué; Men Rodriquez de Sanabria
de Fernández y González; Los mártires, Atala y
Chactas y el Rene de Chateaubriand; Graziella, de
Lamartine; Nuestra Señora de Paris y Noventa y
tres, de Victor Hugo; Gil Blas de Santillana de Le
Sage; Historia de España, por Mariana; las comedias
de Calderón, varios libros y poesias de Quevedo,
Los viajes del Capitán Cook, el Robinson Crusoe, el
Quijote e infinidad de libros de menor cuantia de
que no guardo recuerdo puntual. (132)
Santiago surreptitiously borrowed and read the volumes. In
Recuerdos Cajal noted that many of the works were of the
Romantic school, with legendary heroes and marvellous
adventures, and that the reading of the works "tuvo decisiva
the parent or teacher present at the learner's side.

13
influencia en la orientación de mis futuros gustos literarios
y artísticos" (130), an observation that will be borne out
upon examination of the text of Reglas y consejos.
His curiosity and interest stimulated by his father's
lessons, Cajal applied himself more diligently to the later
courses of his secondary schooling. These courses—physics,
chemistry and natural history—also squared rather more with
his interests than did the earlier courses. Cajal notes in
Recuerdos de mi vida that he had to go back and re-study
mathematics and other subjects that he had neglected in
earlier years (204). After receiving his bachillerato, Cajal
between 1869 and 1873 studied medicine at the Escuela de
Medicina de Zaragoza. He had never been enthusiastic about
practicing medicine, but lacking a clear preference, he
studied the field practiced and earnestly recommended by his
father.
Cajal's lack of career direction may be seen as a gauge
of the low level of scientific culture in Spain at the time.
There were paths or models such as "lawyer," "doctor,"
"clergyman," "government official," "military officer" and so
forth, but no there was clear vocational model of a scientific
researcher. Indeed, scientific research was not a paid
profession in Spain; even in the late nineteenth and early

14
twentieth centuries, those engaged in such work pursued it on
their own time, typically in addition to full-time university
teaching. A further mark of the modest value placed on the
production of scientific knowledge by the Spanish state was
that even after Cajal had distinguished himself
internationally as a scientist, receiving the Nobel Prize and
many other honors in the first decade of the new century, he
was still not relieved of his university teaching duties. He
continued teaching even basic courses until his official
retirement in 1922.
In 1873 Cajal enlisted in the Spanish army, obtaining
the position of médico militar, with a view to serving in one
of the ongoing colonial conflicts. He was still not
especially attracted to medical practice, which seemed too
routine and boring. Young and strong, he hoped to satisfy his
innate longing for adventure, which had only been strengthened
by his clandestine reading of romantic novels. Among the most
influential of these had been Robinson Crusoe; Cajal noted in
his autobiography that the work revealed to him "el soberano
poder del hombre enfrente de la naturaleza" (135). He had
been deeply impressed by the strong-willed effort of the
protagonist, who by "los milagros de la voluntad y del trabajo
inteligente," (135) worked to transform a desert island, full

15
of dangers, into a pleasant home: "¡Qué soberano triunfo debe
ser—pensaba—explorar una tierra virgen, contemplar paisajes
inéditos adornados de fauna y flora originales, que parecen
creados expresamente para el descubridor como preciado
galardón de su heroísmo!" (135). Noteworthy here is Cajal's
metaphorical use of religious language, and also of an
imperialist language ("soberano poder," "soberano triunfo").
Cajal's period of service in Cuba did not produce the
romantic encounter with virgin jungles that he had hoped for;
rather it nearly killed him. Malaria and related illnesses,
which in Cuba cost Spain far more soldiers than did battle
casualties, gave occasion for the seriously-ill Cajal to be
discharged as medically unfit for service. He returned to
Spain in 1875 and spent several months in recuperation.
Cajal's experience in Cuba gave him occasion to rail in
patriotic fervor against the widespread abuses and corruption
in the Spanish army. Food rations for the sick soldiers
seemed strangely sparse; Cajal soon discovered that supplies
were being diverted and sold or traded away, a practice he
tried to end. Only on one occasion did he have to bring his
rifle into action, to help repel an attack on his hospital
outpost. By many accounts the experience in Cuba marked Cajal
for life. Joaquin de Entrambasaguas relates that as a much

16
older man Cajal harshly criticized novelist Pio Baroja-who
like himself had studied medicine—for his avoidance of
military service:
Usted no es español. Con un cinismo repugnante
trató usted de eludir el servicio militar, mientras
los demás [. . .] fuimos a Cuba, enfermamos en la
manigua, caimos en la caquexia palúdica y fuimos
repatriados [. . .] y luego, enfermos, tratamos de
estudiar y enaltecer a la Patria, no con noveluchas
burdas, locales, encomiadoras de [. . .]
conspiradores vascos, sino luchando con la ciencia
extranjera a brazo partido. (Entrambasaguas, LUI)
Cajal continued, saying that such "bad Spaniards" should be
whipped and sent to exile in Africa. In his extreme
condemnation of Baroja, one can see the badge of pride that
military service had provided for Cajal, and also the
suggestion of a continuity between his military stint and his
lifelong effort to create Spanish science.
Agustin Albarracin has suggested that Cajal's romantic
passion for exploration and adventure, frustrated in Cuba,
sought fulfillment in the exploration of other "virgin lands,"
those of the human brain and nervous system (24). Cajal in
his autobiography includes the text of a newspaper article
written about him by an old classmate from the Institute at
Huesca, Rafael Salillas, titled, "La isla de Cajal." In it
Salillas recounts how as a grade-school student Cajal would
read to him and others portions of a sort of "Robinsonian"
novel he (Cajal) had been writing about the adventures of a

17
man shipwrecked on a deserted island.8 The group of boys even
acted out parts of the novel, seeking to imitate the
adventures therein. For Salillas, his old schoolmate Cajal's
scientific achievements represented not a departure from the
adventurous play of their boyhood, but rather its continuation
and fulfillment:
[. . .] entre aquella novela de corte robinsoniano
y la realidad de los descubrimientos cientificos,
no habia ni siquiera variación de asunto. [. . .]
[Cajal] siguió creyendo en su isla. Navegó, se
orientó, y llegó victoriosamente. ¡La isla existia!
En los centros nerviosos, en la médula y en el
cerebro se encuentra efectivamente la Isla de
Cajal. (212)
In 1877 Cajal served as an interim adjunct professor of
anatomy in Zaragoza, confirming in the process his feeling
that teaching and study suited him better than medical
practice.9 Then as now, a doctoral degree was necessary for
those who aspired to advance to better positions in university
teaching. Cajal's father insisted that his son take the
coursework required for the doctorate in medicine—a year's
study of three subjects—by correspondence with the Central
University in Madrid, rather than have his son leave Zaragoza.
This work, if indeed it was ever finished, is not known to
exist today.
9 Cajal' experience in medical practice was not extensive. He
did serve as a military doctor in Cuba, and during his years
in Zaragoza he occasionally attended patients under the
direction of his father.

18
Apparently Don Justo still wanted to watch over his son's
behavior, and perhaps was also concerned about the state of
his health, which had not yet completely recovered from the
time spent in Cuba. Cajal referred to his father as "temeroso
sin duda de que lejos de su vigilancia, reincidiese en mis
devaneos artísticos, y quizás tenia razón" (López Piñero 63).
Cajal was obliged to go to Madrid to take examinations
at the end of the academic year; his brief time there would
prove decisive for his future direction as a researcher. In
Madrid, in the laboratory of Professor Aurelio Maestre de San
Juan, Cajal first used a microscope10 to examine slides of
human and animal tissues, an event which left him spellbound:
there within each human being lay a whole world to explore.
Cajal returned to Zaragoza determined to set up a small
micrographic laboratory of his own; he used his savings to buy
a microscope and related materials.
Cajal was still at odds with his father over choice of
employment. Don Justo still insisted that his son practice
medicine, but Cajal refused to accept such a position.
Disinclined to clinical practice, he had discerned his true
passions—research and teaching. In March of 1879, Cajal won
10 In his four years of medical studies in Zaragoza (1869-
1873), Cajal had never seen a microscope demonstrated. Such
was the low level of scientific instruction in Spanish
universities of that time.

19
a position as director of the Museum of Anatomy of the School
of Medicine of Zaragoza. However, this provided only a modest
income, which Cajal supplemented giving private lessons in
histology and anatomy. Cajal married in July of 1879, in
spite of the counsel of friends and of his father, who saw no
sense in his marrying before he was established in a career
and with a stable income. His bride was Silveria Fañanás
Garcia, the daughter of a minor local government employee who
had died a few years earlier. Only Cajal's brother Pedro
attended the ceremony. Cajal's wife dedicated herself to his
support: "mi compañera, con su abnegación y modestia, su amor
al esposo y a sus hijos y su espíritu de heroica economía,
hizo posible la obstinada y obscura labor del que escribe
estas lineas" (Recuerdos II: xv). Cajal would later use his
marriage as an exemplum for future scientists. He wrote in
Reglas y consejos that a scientist must marry a woman who
would support her husband's work rather than detract from it.
The Valencia Years: Cajal's Early Literary Productions
Cajal's attempts to win a professorship succeeded in
1883, when he won the chair of anatomy in Valencia. While in
Valencia, heavily occupied in teaching and research, Cajal
wrote a series of articles titled, "Las maravillas de la

20
histología" for the medical journal La Clínica. They can be
seen as an early indication of his desire to encourage the
pursuit of laboratory science.11 Signed with the pseudonym,
"Dr. Bacteria," the articles playfully describe the behavior
of cells and microorganisms:
La contracción amiboidea o protoplásmica, gue
permite al leucocito errante abrir brecha en la
pared vascular desertando de la sangre a las
comarcas conjuntivas, a la manera del preso que
lima las rejas de su cárcel; los campos traqueales
y laríngeos, sembrados de pestañas vibrátiles que,
por virtud de secretos impulsos, ondean, cual campo
de espigas al soplo de brisa invernal [. . .] la
célula nerviosa, la más noble casta de elementos
orgánicos, extendiendo sus brazos de gigante, a
modo de los tentáculos de un pulpo [. . .].
(Historia de mi labor 44-45)
Noteworthy here also is the frequent use of simile to explain
that which is unknown in terms of what is familiar, a tactic
that Cajal would also employ in Reglas y consejos.
Among others, an influence on Cajal was his professor
of chemistry at Zaragoza, Don Bruno Solano, whom he describes
in Recuerdos as remarkably apt at illuminating difficult
concepts, "mediante comparaciones luminosas" (219):
[. . .] su cátedra era templo donde oíamos
embelesados la pintoresca e interesante narración
de los amores y odios de los cuerpos; las aventuras
Cajal wrote in Historia de mi labor científica that he
intended the articles to encourage medical practitioners to
develop also a taste for research: "[. . .] alentaba en dichos
trabajitos el buen propósito de llamar la atención de los
médicos curiosos sobre el encanto inefable del mundo, casi
ignoto, de células y microbios, y de la importancia
excepcional de su estudio objetivo y directo" (44).

21
del oxigeno, especie de Don Juan rijoso e
irresistible conquistador de la virginidad de los
simples; las venganzas del hidrógeno, amante celoso
[. . .] y las intrigas y tercerías del calor y
electricidad, dueñas quintoñanas capaces de
perturbar y de divorciar hasta los matrimonios
moleculares más unidos y estables [. . .]. (219)
Here can be seen something of the tactics which Cajal would
also later employ in Reglas y consejos, a text in which
metaphor, simile and other types of comparisons are used to
great effect. Noteworthy also is that Professor Solano's
metaphoric references all derive from a distinctly masculine
and sexist mentality imposed upon scientific phenomena.
Historian of science Londa Schiebinger in The Mind Has No Sex?
Women in the Origins of Modern Science discusses the
systematic exclusion of women from science throughout history,
noting that essentialist thought about gender roles, from the
time of Aristotle on, typically constructed science as a
thoroughly "manly" enterprise (273). As this study proceeds
it will be seen that Cajal, in spite of his modernity in many
aspects, furthered this construction of science as a masculine
endeavor.
Also during his years in Valencia Cajal wrote a
collection of twelve stories, but withheld them from
publication. In 1905 he published five of the stories under
the title, Cuentos de vacaciones: narraciones
seudoscientificas, again under the pseudonym, "Dr. Bacteria.

22
If not exactly "science fiction" by present standards, they do
deal with scientific themes. In each the protagonist is a man
of science who perseveres against troubles, prevailing by
strength of will and hard work. It is not hard to see
autobiographical reflections in them, notwithstanding their
fictional character. It should be noted that although the
stories were indeed published in 1905, Cajal limited
distribution of the edition to a few friends and other close
associates, claiming they were of poor quality. In Recuerdos
he wrote that: "Conocedor de los defectos de la citada
obrita, no osé ponerla a la venta. Me limité a regalar
algunos ejemplares a los amigos de cuya bondadosa indulgencia
estaba bien seguro" (572). The stories were not widely
available until some time after his death.12
D. J. O'Connor has argued that an even deeper reason
for Cajal's reluctance to widely distribute the stories was a
well-founded fear that ”[. . .] the anti-religious, anti¬
establishment content of some of his narratives would prove
deeply offensive to an unsympathetic and ill-prepared public"
(100). Cajal was dependent throughout his career on the
Spanish State and the good will of its ministers for support,
12 In 1941, seven years after Cajal's death, the Cuentos de
vacaciones were published, not in Spain but in Argentina, in
the Colección Austral of Espasa Calpe Argentina.

23
and felt certain that alienating the public would derail his
work. O'Connor argues that this concern about public opinion
had motivated Cajal's original withholding of the stories in
the 1880s, when they had been written, and that Cajal's
decision twenty years later to limit their distribution
reflected his conviction that Spain was still not ready for
their content. In a letter to Pio Baroja, who had expressed
to Cajal that his 1897 discurso de ingreso should have been
more stridently anti-religious, Cajal made clear his general
strategy of avoiding public religious controversy:
¿Es que se enfada porque no revelé yo alli ideas
disolventes? ¡Pero hombre de Dios! ¿Cuándo ha
visto usted que eso se puede hacer en un discurso
académico y ante compañeros, todos o casi todos
fervientemente católicos? De proceder como usted
desea, el discurso no se hubiera escrito, o me lo
habrían devuelto, y la causa del nacionalismo nada
habría ganado. (O'Connor 111)
Noteworthy here also is Cajal's identification of his
scientific career and the cause of Spanish nationalism.
Cajal's nationalism, as will be seen in later chapters,
blended a strong patriotic feeling with a distinctly secular
vision of Spain's past and future. Despite an abiding desire
to freely promote his ideas, whether through academic
discourses or popular literature, Cajal, ever pragmatic and
realistic in spite of his romantic and quixotic tendencies,
felt constrained to a more measured self-expression.

24
No less a poet than Rubén Darío wrote an ode to Cajal,
on the occasion of Cajal's winning of the Nobel Prize in 1906
Va cavando con paciencia
El minero cerebral
Llena está de fe y de ciencia
La conciencia de Cajal
De la mina en lo profundo
Nos atrae pero nos
Da una inmensa hambre de mundo
Y una inmensa sed de Dios
Este sabio es un poeta;
Va con Psiquis, la fatal
No le rompa su piqueta
Las dos alas de cristal
Gran cuidado, buen obrero,
Gran cuidado en la labor
Si hallas luces, ¡gloria!
Pero, no dar sombras es mejor
Cada cual lleva en sí mismo
La honda mina de Cajal
Más al lado está el abismo
El abismo de Pascal
Canto al sabio si me inspira
Que mis sueños verdad son
Que en el mundo de la lira
¡La verdad es la ilusión!(42-43)
Here Cajal is seen metaphorically as a miner, his mine the
human brain. His pick is the microscope, the two wings of
glass ("alas de cristal") being the upper and lower lenses.
By implication he is Eros ("va con Psiquis"), who seeks to
enamour his readers with the scientific endeavor. Also
noteworthy is Dario's recognition of the religious issues
raised by scientific work, and of the care Cajal had to
exercise so as not to anger the religious ("Gran cuidado../').

25
Other literary or "extra-scientific" publications,
written not in Valencia but during Cajal's later years, were
Charlas de Café: Pensamientos, anécdotas y confidencias,
published in 1921, and El mundo visto a los 80 años;
Impresiones de un arteriosclerótico, published in 1932.
Charlas de café is a collection of witticisms, stories and
brief observations, written, as the title suggests, in a
casual, conversational style. The content is diverse, but
one notes in many places Cajal's favorite leitmotifs such as
the need to work for Spain's well-being, the importance of
scientific endeavors, and the foolishness of typical Spanish
vices such as laziness, an encyclopedic mentality, and so
forth.13 El mundo visto a los 80 años is another miscellany;
several chapters dedicated to a popular-level discussion of
the medical problems of old age are followed by a chapter
discussing the state of Spanish patriotism, and others
addressing social and technological changes Cajal had seen
over his lifetime.
In 1901 Cajal published the first part of an
autobiography, Recuerdos de mi vida: mi infancia y juventud in
which his juvenile misadventures and troubles in school are
related in a wry but graceful style. In reading it one can
The fourth chapter of this study discusses in some detail
the content and style of these texts.

26
note a parallel to Spanish picaresque literature of earlier
centuries; indeed at one point Cajal compares himself to
Pablos, the central character of Quevedo's El buscón (43). A
second part to the autobiography, subtitled Historia de mi
labor cientifica, was first published in 1917. Cajal also
authored a number of science textbooks, some of which are
still consulted for reference. Spanish doctor and author
Gregorio Marañón wrote in Cajal; su tiempo y el nuestro of his
delight in Cajal's Manual de histología (1889), which had been
the required text in his histology class. Marañón recalled
previous classes, in which the textbooks were typically "una
pesadilla torturante" (334), and the contrast he found in
Cajal's text: "Aquellas páginas, límpidas de forma y de
pensamiento, eran un verdadero deleite" (334).
Career Progress, Honors and the Creation of Reglas y Consejos
After four years in Valencia, Cajal won the chair of
histology in Barcelona, where he would experience in 1888 what
he called his "año cumbre." This was due to his discovery
that the relationship among nerve cells is not one of
continuity—"reticular theory"—but rather of contiguity. This
is Cajal's "theory of the neuron," still the base for modern
neurology more than one hundred years later. In 1892, Cajal

27
won the chair of Normal Histology and Pathological Anatomy at
the University of Madrid, left vacant by the death of his
former teacher, Maestre de San Juan. It pained him to leave
close colleagues and a certain atmosphere of support in
Barcelona, but Cajal was convinced he would find in Madrid
greater opportunities for financing both his research and his
growing family:
Porque para mi, ser catedrático de la Central
constituía entonces la única esperanza de
satisfacer con cierta holgura mis aficiones hacia
la investigación y de aumentar mis recursos, harto
mermados con los incesantes gastos de laboratorio y
de suscripciones a revistas, amén del sostén de
numerosa familia. [. . .] en la decorosa industria
del libro de texto, tan fructuosa para los
catedráticos de la Corte cuanto precaria para los
de provincias [. . .] entreveía yo el aurea
mediocritas capaz de garantizarme [. . .] el bien
supremo de la independencia de espíritu. (Historia
de mi labor 129)
It is another measure of the Spanish state's low regard for
science that Cajal, a university science professor, had to
purchase out of his personal funds subscriptions to scientific
journals, laboratory materials, and so forth. It was only
after his move to Madrid that the state finally assumed those
costs. Cajal described the modern facilities constructed at
his demand in Madrid, and added:
La creación de este centro de estudios era
apremiante, porque a mi llegada a la Corte encontré
por todo Laboratorio [sic] cierto pasillo angosto,
pobrisimo de material e instrumental, sin libros ni
biblioteca de revistas. Quimérico resultaba dar,
en tan deficiente local, mediana enseñanza práctica

28
a más de doscientos alumnos oficiales, amén de los
libros (Historia de mi labor 133).
That such a state of affairs was normal rather than
exceptional can be seen in the report of José Rodriguez
Carracido, as related by Diego Núñez, in his study La
mentalidad positiva en España: desarrollo y crisis. Upon
taking possession in 1899 of the chair of organic chemistry in
Madrid, Rodriguez found only a lecture room, and wrote that
the university "[. . .][carecia] de todo elemento de trabajo,
no sólo para la labor práctica de los alumnos, sino también
para la comprobación del fenómeno más sencillo indicado en el
curso [. . .]" (18). Núñez also relates the findings of José
de la Revilla, who in the 1840s surveyed Spanish universities
to ascertain the state of the study of natural sciences in
Spain. One reported possessing only a barometer; another only
a wooden model of an electrical machine, built by a professor
to give the students an idea of what such a machine might be
like (17).
Another decisive moment in Cajal's career, his election
in 1897 to the Spanish Royal Academy of Sciences, came about
as a result of a visit to Berlin by one of the Academy's more
distinguished members. The visitor is unnamed in Cajal's
autobiography, perhaps out of courtesy; the great German
biologist Rudolf Virchow had asked him what Cajal was
presently doing, and if Cajal was continuing his interesting

29
discoveries. The Spaniard was embarrassed that he knew nothing
of the fellow countryman whose work inspired respect in
Berlin, and upon his return undertook to find out. Cajal soon
found himself nominated for membership in the Academy, and
obliged to prepare a discourse to give before the body of
members on the formal occasion of his reception.
In the opening remarks of the text, titled, "Fundamentos
racionales y condiciones técnicas de la investigación
biológica," Cajal noted that the essay reflected one of his
longstanding desires:
Años há ya que tuvimos la idea de redactar un
opúsculo en donde se expusieran algunas de las
reglas que, en nuestro sentir, guian a los biólogos
en sus trabajos [. . .] mas las imperativas
exigencias de nuestro cargo nos hicieron aplazar la
redacción. [. . .] Vuestra decisión me ha obligado
a precipitar la ordenación y publicación de mis
apuntes. (1897, 11)
Often, the discourses read on such occasions were relegated to
the Academy's library shelves; Cajal's would take a rather
different course. Cajal wrote in Historia de mi labor
cientifica that:
La redacción del discurso de ingreso, ocurrida en
1897, diome ocasión de exponer, ex abundantia
cordis, algunas reglas y consejos destinados a
despertar en nuestra distraída juventud docente el
gusto y la pasión hacia la investigación
científica. Puse especial empeño en hacer amables
y atractivas las tareas del laboratorio, y para
lograrlo empleé un lenguaje llano, sincero, y
rebosante de entusiasmo comunicativo y de ferviente
patriotismo. Y el éxito superó a mis esperanzas.
(192)

30
Cyril B. Courville, in the prologue to an English translation
of Reglas y consejos, reports that Cajal was asked to read at
the solemn session of his reception the entire text of his
manuscript, over and against the common custom of reading only
some excerpts:
After reading for three long hours he attempted to
excuse himself from completing it, assuming his
esteemed auditors had long since lost interest in
the subject. Instead, an appointment was made for a
second full session, so that the rest of the essay
might be read, (xi)
The official printing of the discourse quickly sold out; a
second edition was soon prepared, sponsored by Cajal's friend
and colleague Dr. Enrique Lluria. The text reached six
editions in Cajal's lifetime, each with some changes and
amplifications, and has been reprinted many times since his
death in 1934.
Conclusion
To conclude, in considering Cajal's upbringing and early
experiences one may substantially agree with Cajal's own
judgment that reckoned his father foremost among the various
formative influences on his life. His trouble deciding upon a
career can at least in part be understood as an indication of
the absence at the time of any clear model of a research
scientist that young people could emulate. In Cajal's early

31
experience of patriotic sentiment in the 1860 celebration of
the Spanish victory in Morocco, and in his military service,
can be observed the genesis and development of the passionate
patriotism that would mark his adult life. From Cajal's
youthful experience reading forbidden novels borrowed from his
neighbor's attic can be traced a lifelong appreciation for
literature, which on many occasions led Cajal to produce
literary texts of reasonable quality. The graceful style and
occasionally romantic tone of Reglas y consejos can be
understood as the mature work of an author who, deeply
impressed by his readings as a youth, had already tried his
hand at a number of literary productions.
To establish a broader context for textual analysis of
Reglas y consejos, the following chapter will look closely at
relevant aspects of the intellectual culture of Restoration
Spain, in which Cajal grew to maturity and began his life's
work.

CHAPTER 2
INTELLECTUAL CULTURE OF RESTORATION SPAIN
Introduction
Reglas y consejos sobre investigación científica is,
among other things, a text concerned with the question of
knowledge. It seeks to further the production of scientific
knowledge by Spaniards, and to promote Cajal's conviction that
such pursuits were quite compatible with what he regarded as
traditional elements of national identity. Such a synthetic
perspective was rather unique in nineteenth-century Spain,
where nearly all those concerned with such matters were
generally in ideological and political alignment either with
the oligarchic order of Church, monarchy and landed power
elites, on the one hand, or with proponents of classical
liberal and republican ideas on the other. The balance of
power was in the conservatives' favor.
For conservatives such as Menéndez y Pelayo, Pidal y
Mon and others, Catholic orthodoxy was the essential
criterion for "Spanishnesserror and heresy were almost by
definition of foreign origin. Criticizing the Castilian
prose of a "heretic," Menéndez y Pelayo wrote in Historia de
32

33
los hetereodoxos españoles that, "[■ • •] Ia lengua castellana
está mal adaptada para decir herejías" (I: 53). Conservatives,
satisfied with the status quo, had nearly always opposed
modern scientific ideas as incompatible with Catholic doctrine
and potentially disruptive of the social order. Liberals and
progressives tended to be less concerned with creating or
preserving a special Spanish identity, seeking more to
identify with European culture and science. Although many of
them were patriotic, their patriotism did not, to them, seem
incompatible with strong criticism of Spain. Literary and
social critic Manuel de la Revilla, in an 1876 article in the
Revista contemporánea, wrote that:
[. . .] el verdadero patriotismo no consiste en
adular a la patria, sino en decirle verdades
provechosas, por amargas que sean, y la ciencia
seria, la ciencia sólida y maciza, está obligada a
decir toda la verdad y no a halagar el orgullo
nacional ("La filosofía española." 238).
Conservatives were generally intolerant of any criticism of
Spain; polarization between conservative and progressive
elements of Spanish society had led to coups and even civil
war earlier in the century. In the late 1860s dissatisfaction
with the government of Queen Isabel II led to a revolution
that would have a profound impact on Spain's intellectual
culture.

34
The Revolution of 1868 and its Aftermath
The deaths in 1867 and 1868 of generals O'Donnell and
Narváez, who had supported Isabel II, allowed officers of
progressive leanings (generals Prim and Serrano, and Admiral
Topete) to stage a successful pronunciamiento against her in
September of 1868, with the result that she fled to France.
Attempts to create a democratic monarchy, and then a republic,
failed, and a coup returned Isabel's son, don Alfonso, to the
throne in December of 1874. In An Historical Essay on Modern
Spain, Richard Herr writes that the forces of modernization
failed because they were divided and unstable, while
"entrenched groups had become fairly stable. [. . .] The
unforeseen appearance of radical extremists and workers'
groups preaching doctrines that threatened property frightened
off many middle-class moderates" (107-10).
Although the six-year revolutionary period and the
First Republic were not politically successful for the
liberals, they achieved an important opening of Spain's
intellectual culture to new ideas. It was in this climate
of increased openness to scientific ideas that Ramón y Cajal
would begin his work and within which Reglas y consejos
would seek to further promote the production of scientific
knowledge. The constitution of 1869 guaranteed rights of

35
freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of
religion, among others, all fundamental to the untrammeled
production and transmission of ideas. José Luis Abellán
quotes the observation of José Rodriguez Carracido, a
student at the time:
La revolución de 1868 fue un poderoso excitador de
la mentalidad española. La violencia del golpe
politico rompió súbitamente muchas trabas, y los
anhelos antes contenidos, se lanzaron al examen y
discusión de lo humano y de lo divino, pasando por
encima de todos los respetos tradicionales. En
periódicos, folletos y libros se publicaban
diariamente las mayores audacias de pensamiento [.
. . ] . (5: 93)
In 1869 the infamous "Sesión de las blasfemias" of the Cortes
of the First Republic took place, in which Francisco Suñer y
Capdevila made a public proclamation of atheism: "Ni el
Gobierno ni la comisión han comprendido lo que es la idea
nueva, y yo voy a decirselo. La idea caduca es la fe, el
cielo, Dios. La idea nueva es la ciencia, la tierra, el
hombre" (qtd. in Glick,"Idea nueva" 59).
The outcry this declaration provoked was a measure of
the fact that the Spanish people were not, as a whole, ready
to accept such a perspective, and Suñer was thoroughly
demonized in public opinion. Emilia Pardo Bazán used the
event as novelistic material for a conversation involving a
young priest in Los pazos de Ulloa, published seventeen years
later (1886) . Asked in jest if he agrees with Suñer, the

36
priest replies: "¡Vaya unas cosas que tiene el señor don
Máximo! ¿Cómo he de estar de acuerdo con Suñer? ¿No es ése
que dijo en el Congreso blasfemias horrorosas? ¡Dios le
ilumine!" (157). It is a mark of the political sensitivity of
Cajal that although he shared many of Suñer's opinions, he
seldom spoke openly against religion; creating needless
antagonism could easily have frustrated his plans for a state-
funded school of Spanish histologists. Perhaps Cajal,
seventeen years old at the time of Suñer's pronouncement, had
the incident in mind when in 1912 in the third edition of
Reglas y consejos he wrote:
Aunque no forman todavía mayoría, abundan entre
nosotros los politicos, periodistas, magistrados y
catedráticos librepensadores. Contra lo que
suponen los extranjeros, cierta tolerancia práctica
reina entre nuestra sociedad ilustrada. [. . .] en
la actualidad, quien positivamente vale, llega en
España a los primeros puestos, cualquiera que sea
su credo filosófico, a condición de que no lo
proclame harto ruidosa y estridentemente,
lastimando los sentimientos de la mayoría. (146)
Cajal's insight here shows both the degree to which
"freethinkers" had made progress in attaining positions of
relative power in early twentieth-century Spain, and also that
such persons still had to voice their opinions with care.
Progressive Spaniards quickly availed themselves of the
new freedoms of the press and of public assembly. In 1869
Concepción Arenal published a text written several years
earlier, La mujer del porvenir, a seminal text for Spanish

37
feminists. The six-year period also marked the beginning of
the organization of the Spanish working class; Abellán notes
that in 1870 the Spanish section of the First International
held its inaugural congress in Barcelona, attended by 90
delegates representing some 40,000 workers (5: 56-7). It was
also during the sexenio1 that Darwinism, scarcely mentioned in
Spain before the revolution, began to be openly expounded. In
1872 Augusto González Linares made the first official
presentation of Darwinism in a lecture at the Universidad de
Santiago de Compostela, stirring up great controversy (Abellán
5: 93-4). Carracido, a student in Santiago at the time, noted
that:
Con el mismo calor con que se venían discutiendo la
soberanía nacional y la separación de la Iglesia y
el Estado, empezó a discutirse en los circuios
intelectuales la mutabilidad de las especies y el
origen simio del hombre, no siendo raro oir a
grupos de estudiantes, en sus paseos [. . .]
disputar acerca de la lucha por la existencia, de
la selección natural y de la adaptación al medio,
invocando los testimonios de Darwin y de Haeckel,
(qtd. in Abellán 5: 94)
Such freedoms were short-lived; Darwinists, Krausists and
other free-thinkers were expelled from their university posts
shortly after the Restoration in 1875. The Constitution of
1876, although retaining some rights of freedom of assembly
1 The approximately six-year revolutionary period is
commonly referred to as the sexenio.

38
and expression, restored the Catholic church to its privileged
position of influence over education.
Nevertheless, the nearly six years of freedom of
expression had opened a door that never entirely closed. State
tolerance of alternative institutions such as the Institución
Libre de Enseñanza, founded in 1876 by a number of the
Krausist intellectuals who had been expelled from university
posts, provided tangible evidence that advocates of newer
ideas were gaining ground. Ortega and others of his
generation, anxious to break with the past, saw the
Restoration political system of the turno canovista as
farcical and completely unrepresentative of the vital forces
of Spain. In his 1914 discourse entitled, "Vieja y nueva
política," Ortega contends:
La Restauración significa la detención de la vida
nacional [. . .]. "Orden," "orden público," "paz,"
es la única voz que se escucha de un cabo a otro de
la Restauración. Y para que no se altere el orden
público se renuncia a atacar ninguno de los
problemas vitales de España [. . .]. (96-97)
In spite of its many faults, the system of the partidos
turnantes did at least represent an attempt to make Spain
somewhat rhetorically inclusive of the liberals, even though
fundamental change to the old system was not conceded. It can
perhaps be seen (along with some of Canovas' efforts to allow
open debate such as in the sessions of the Ateneo) as an early

39
trace of what Thomas Glick has called an environment of "civil
discourse" that emerged in Spain in the last few years of the
century (Einstein 8-11).
Intellectuals excluded from official positions found a
forum for their ideas in the Ateneo. The themes of its
sessions give a glimpse of the influence of a new mode of
thought that had made inroads into Spain during the sexenio,
and which would exercise a considerable influence over many
Spanish intellectuals in the years to come: positivism.
Abellán quotes Francisco Maria Tubino: "Desde el primer dia,
en el año académico que vive el Ateneo [1875-1876], notóse
algo nuevo muy desusado. En todos lados no se hablaba más que
de positivismo" (5: 76). Antonio Ruiz Salvador notes that in
the 1875-1876 session, the Ateneo Section of Political and
Moral Sciences debated the topic, "si es cierto que las
tendencias positivas de las ciencias fisicas y exactas deben
arruinar las grandes verdades sociales, religiosas y morales
sobre que la sociedad descansa" (133). The possibly corrosive
effect of positivist ideas on morality and the social order
was perhaps the biggest concern of Spanish progressives and
moderate conservatives who were provisionally attracted to the
new ideas.

40
Many felt the need of intellectual renewal, and in the
aftermath of the liberals' revolt against the old system and
their subsequent failure to maintain power, both liberals and
conservatives subjected to severe questioning the
philosophical underpinnings of their beliefs. To many, the
older, metaphysically-based, absolute ideas and principles no
longer seemed to fit the changing political and economic
reality of Spain. The years that followed saw many liberals
move away from or at least modify the Krausist ideas that had
inspired their failed revolution. Some of those in the
conservative camp also tried to assimilate something from this
new, concrete-and-scientific-sounding philosophy that might
support their positions.
Diego Núñez, in La mentalidad positiva en España:
desarrollo y crisis reports that in 1877, in the Ateneo of
Barcelona, lawyer and economist Pedro Estasén argued that
positivism did not, as many had claimed, negate the great
principles of morality and social order, but rather was guided
by an "espiritu antirrevolucionario y esencialmente
conservador" (14). Social critic Manuel de la Revilla insisted
that positivism was at the same time liberal and conservative:
[Es] liberal, porque reconoce la imperfección de
muchas instituciones juridicas y aspira a
reformarlas y ponerlas en armonía con las
necesidades de la naturaleza humana y de la
justicia; conservador, porque sabe muy bien [. . .]

41
que las reformas han de ser suaves transformaciones
y no revoluciones violentas. ("Revista critica"
208)
Even many conservatives saw the need of a philosophy that
related to the scientific and technological advances of the
late nineteenth century. Núñez relates that in the political
language of the early years of the Restoration period there
was a marked withdrawal from vague generalities and toward
"situational vocabulary;" terms such as "orden," "realismo,"
"pragmatismo," "pacto," and "evolución," were widely used in
the Cortes and in the press (34). Núñez notes that even
conservative and moderate newspapers tried to present their
political perspectives as supported by "hechos y
demostraciones fundadas" and "pruebas concluyentes," in accord
with the new positive style of thought and language, and
concludes: "Posibilismo, practicismo y pactismo constituirán,
sin duda, el triángulo de notas definitorias del talante
realista y positivo de la vida política de la Restauración"
(34-35). This new attitude and language was part of the
"climate of civil discourse," as observed by Thomas Glick,
that grew in Spanish political culture in the last quarter of
the nineteenth century.
The voices of progressives were heard with much greater
respect than before, but a positivist viewpoint was still not
broadly accepted in Spanish culture. Núñez notes that

42
politicians taking office in Paris could swear themselves
"free and disinterested servants of positivism," at a time
when Spanish intellectuals were still debating whether
positivism, if embraced, would undermine morality (18) . If in
late nineteenth-century France the bourgeois social order of
the Third Republic and the wide acceptance and pursuit of
scientific ideas constituted the social bases for a broad
acceptance of positivism, it must be recognized that in Spain
the bourgeoisie was not nearly as well established nor as
conscious of itself as a class, and that scientific ideas were
far from being widely appreciated. Núñez remarks that in such
circumstances, positivist thought would only flourish among
"una minoria ilustrada con afanes de modernización y puesta al
dia intelectual" (19). Even many Spanish progressives,
typically those of Krausist persuasion, could not accept a
thoroughly agnostic or atheistic worldview.
The concrete and scientific attitude of positivism did
bring a change in discursive style to a political and
intellectual culture long dominated by rhetorical discourses
and abstract, metaphysical tendencies. Núñez discusses the
appearance, along with the new ideas, of a more sober "new
intellectual style." He quotes the abolitionist and

43
institucionista Rafael Maria de Labra, who in an 1878 article
in the Revista contemporánea observed that:
El público no se contenta ya con bellos periodos y
frases delicadas. Pide sobre todo pensamientos y
perspectivas [. . .]. Hasta los oradores más
propicios a las formas brillantes y al lenguaje
pintoresco hace diez años muy en boga, tienen que
refrenarse (Núñez 50).
This new style had been the style required for scientific
articles. Cajal, in a chapter of Reglas y consejos titled
"Redacción del trabajo científico," explained this new mode of
discourse in terms of its intended audience: "Al tomar la
pluma para redactar el articulo científico, consideremos que
podrá leernos algún sabio ilustre, cuyas ocupaciones no le
consienten perder el tiempo en releer cosas sabidas o meras
disertaciones retóricas" (184). Cajal further explains:
Finalmente, el estilo de nuestro trabajo será [. .
.] sobrio, sencillo, sin afectación, y sin acusar
otras preocupaciones que el orden y la claridad.
El énfasis, la declamación y la hipérbole no deben
figurar jamás en los escritos meramente
científicos, si no queremos perder la confianza de
los sabios, que acabarán por tomarnos por soñadores
o poetas, incapaces de estudiar y razonar fríamente
una cuestión. (194-195)
Cajal conceded a certain useful role for hyperbole and other
rhetorical devices in works intended popularize science among
the broader public, but not in articles destined for
scientific journals. Reaching as always for a genuine Spanish
example to support his point, Cajal concludes exhorting the
young writer to be brief: "Esta máxima de Gracián [. . .] 'lo

44
bueno, si breve, dos veces bueno,' debe ser nuestra norma.
Suyo es también este consejo: 'hase de hablar como en
testamento; que a menos palabras menos pleitos'" (196).
As will be seen, Cajal worked to show the filiation of
new ways of writing, thinking and working with analogous
traditions in Spanish culture. An example of this was the
issue of intellectual property, long neglected in Spain, where
the rigorous development and protection of one's own new ideas
was itself still a fairly novel endeavor. The careful
documentation of others' ideas, as distinct from one's own,
was part of the model of knowledge that Cajal sought to
advance:
El respeto a la propiedad de las ideas sólo se
practica bien cuando uno llega a ser propietario de
pensamientos que corren de libro en libro, unas
veces con nombre del autor, otras sin él, y algunas
con paternidad equivocada. [. . .] cada idea es una
criatura científica, cuyo autor, que la dio el ser
a costa de grandes fatigas, exhala, al ver
desconocida su paternidad, los mismos ayes
doloridos que exhalarla una madre a quien le
arrebataran el fruto de sus entrañas. (186)
Here Cajal draws on an emotionally charged and respected
motif, motherhood, not only to communicate new ideas but also
to transmit something of the passions associated with them.
The salutary influence of positivism on written and
spoken discourse reflected its more basic influence upon modes
of thought in general. Indeed, Abellán observes that the
spread of positivist thought, with its inherent exaltation of

45
science, had as one of its most important consequences the
development or encouragement of a generalized scientific
mentality in other intellectual circles, "hasta tal punto que
implantación del positivismo y arraigo de la actitud
cientifica vienen a ser una misma cosa" (5: 89). Núñez
writes:
Basta asomarse a las diversas manifestaciones de la
vida cultural de los primeros años de la
Restauración para apreciar en seguida un acusado
tono dentista. Las revistas de más prestigio
intelectual del momento siguen muy de cerca y con
una intensidad insólita hasta entonces los trabajos
de los científicos extranjeros de mayor relieve
[. . .] (202).
The works of foreign scientists were featured due to the
paucity of important science being done in Spain. In the
prologue to the 1899 edition of Reglas y consejos, Cajal
remembered his reaction when, as a medical student, he read
scientific books and articles in which no Spanish scientists
were named:
Semejante preterición causábame profundo dolor,
pareciéndome que los manes de la patria hablan de
pedirnos estrecha cuenta de nuestra dejadez e
incultura, y que cada descubrimiento debido al
extranjero era algo asi como un ultraje a nuestra
bandera vergonzosamente tolerado. Y más de una vez,
durante mis paseos solitarios [. . .] exclamaba,
"No, España debe tener anatómicos, y si las fuerzas
y la voluntad no me faltan, yo procuraré ser uno de
ellos." (1899, 13)

46
The Polemic of Spanish Science and its Background
Cajal responded to the state of Spanish science by
resolving to promote its establishment through action; many
others, in those same years, simply argued about the issue. In
1876 the Krauso-positivist Manuel de la Revilla wrote in the
Revista contemporánea a critical review of Núñez de Arce's
discurso de ingreso given before the Royal Academy of the
Spanish Language, which had dealt with themes of Spanish
literary decadence. Revilla took the opportunity to protest
the decadent state of Spanish science and philosophy, laying
no small part of the blame on Spanish religious intolerance
("Revista critica"). Responding to Revilla in the Revista
europea, a young Marcelino Menéndez y Pelayo evoked the memory
of an earlier controversy, titling his essay, "Mr. Masson,
redivivo," implying that Revilla was not a good Spaniard,
rather a new afrancesado, calling Revilla's essay, "aquel
sangriento ataque a nuestra cultura" (211) . Menéndez y Pelayo
attempted to refute Revilla by citing a vast number of names
of minor scientists, naturalists, navigators and others from
Spain's past, offering them as proof that there was indeed a
Spanish scientific tradition, even if there were not any
towering figures of world renown. This debate with Revilla

47
would eventually form the basis of Menéndez y Pelayo's book,
La ciencia española (1876).
Revilla responded to Menéndez y Pelayo with another
essay in the Revista contemporánea, entitled, "La filosofía
española," in which he defended his views and the practices of
said journal, which Menéndez y Pelayo had criticized:
"[Tenemos] por principal objeto dar a conocer en España los
mejores trabajos de las revistas extranjeras, lo cual es tan
patriótico, cuando menos, como cantar grandezas pasadas, por
cuanto contribuye a difundir entre nosotros el espíritu
científico [. . .]" (232). Indeed, the Revista contemporánea
was a principal platform for the expression of positivist
ideas in Spain (Núñez, 43-4). Revilla concludes that "[. . .]
el verdadero patriotismo no consiste en adular a la patria,
sino en decirle verdades provechosas, por amargas que sean"
(238).
Menéndez y Pelayo, in an article entitled, "Mr. Masson,
redimuerto," in the Revista europea, responded with alacrity:
Soy católico [. . .] como mis padres y abuelos, y
como toda la España histórica. [. . .] hasta
bendigo la Inquisición como fórmula de pensamiento
que rige y gobierna la vida nacional. [. . .] como
hija del espíritu genuino del pueblo español [. .
.]. Niego esas supuestas persecuciones de la
ciencia [. . .] creo que la verdadera civilización
está dentro del catolicismo, y que no es enemigo de
la patria el que sale mejor o peor a su defensa. [.
. . Y considero semejante Revista como empresa
anti-católica, anti-nacional y anti-literaria [. .
.]. (241-243)

48
Menéndez y Pelayo and other proponents of españolista
nationalism looked resolutely back to a particular
interpretation of the Iberian past that completely identified
the peninsula and its culture with Roman Catholic
Christianity. Where some reformers such as regenerationist
Macias Picavea saw the intolerance exemplified by the
Inquisition as a foreign vice infused into the Spanish people
during centuries of government by the Hapsburg kings, Menéndez
y Pelayo saw the Inquisition as a genuine expression of the
spirit of Spain. For Menéndez y Pelayo the Revista
contemporánea undermined the Spanish nation because it
appeared to attack the doctrines of Roman Catholicism; where
it spoke critically of Spain, it was by implication
criticizing the cause of Catholicism, which could not be
tolerated. Such intolerance for criticism is perhaps a
logical corollary of a model of nationality that completely
identifies Spain with the Catholic cause; if Roman Catholicism
is God's cause, and Spain His instrument, to criticize the
country would be to set oneself against God. Perhaps
inevitable as well in such a model was the nearly total
exclusion from it of modern scientific perspectives, which
seemed to threaten the knowledge-claims of the religious
viewpoint at the center of said model. There had indeed been

49
a long and close relationship between Spain and Catholicism;
at issue in the cultural struggle of Spain's nineteenth
century were a number of divergent interpretations of this
relationship, and questions of whether it should continue and
if so in what form.
Noteworthy in all the essays of Menéndez y Pelayo and
also in those of his opponents was the lack of true discussion
of science; none of the debaters were scientists, but rather
men of letters. The debate took place in a vacuum in which
science was not a productive enterprise but rather an
ideological issue; changing this state of affairs would be
Cajal's aim. Hence it should not be surprising that the
debate took place among ideologues of various types. Fifty
years later Gregorio Marañón pointed out the underlying
cultural struggle of which the polemic was but one skirmish:
"la demostración de la superioridad de nuestra cienica queda
en segundo plano, tras el objetivo verdadero, que no era otro
que guerrear contra los pensadores europeizantes" (Vida 48).
Menéndez y Pelayo, intent on defending a conservative
construction of Spanish nationality, seemed to have not
understood the watershed that separated modern, experimental
science from all the essentially speculative enterprises that
had preceded it. Incredibly, Menéndez y Pelayo confessed his

50
ignorance of the doctrines he was opposing: "¿No se reiria de
mi el señor Revilla, si magistralmente comenzase yo a hablar
del darwinismo del positivismo y de otras doctrinas, hoy a la
moda, que apenas de nombre y por referencias conozco?" ("Mr.
Masson redivivo" 220)[italics Menéndez y Pelayo's].2
The mutual incomprehension of the polemicists may be
better understood in the light of the concepts of paradigm
shift and conflict that T. S. Kuhn elucidated in The Structure
of Scientific Revolutions. For Kuhn, the popular image of
science as a long, linear accumulation of facts and
discoveries, and the perception of a fundamental continuity of
perspective between present and past, are essentially
incorrect. Modern science, writes Kuhn, has come to us more
through a long, almost Darwinian struggle for the survival of
the theories best-adapted for a particular time. In this
conflict, earlier referential models—Kuhn calls them
paradigms—are surpassed by others more capable of explaining
and ordering the phenomena in question; in other words, a
series of "scientific revolutions." The new theory is not one
more element to add to the already known, but rather a
perspective that causes one to reevaluate, readjust and put in
2 •
This venturing by non-scientists into scientific territory
was not new; Cajal relates in the first part of Recuerdos
that the first refutation of Darwinism he had read was
written by Antonio Cánovas del Castillo! (209)

51
a different focus the previously known. As examples Kuhn
offers astronomy after Copernicus, dynamics after Newton and
modern physics after Einstein.
A scientific revolution, argues Kuhn, does not happen
"overnight," but rather begins with a few adherents to the new
paradigm, whose perspective competes with the previous one and
rapidly or slowly replaces it, usually leaving, marginalized,
a few adherents to the older paradigm. Of especial relevance
to the Spanish case is Kuhn's assertion of the difficulty of
true communication between adherents to opposing paradigms:
When paradigms enter, as they must, into a debate
about paradigm choice, their role is necessarily
circular. Each group uses its own paradigm to
argue in that paradigm's defense. [. . .] the
status of the circular argument is only persuasion.
It cannot be made logically or even
probabilistically compelling for those who refuse
to step into the circle. (94)
Although Kuhn is concerned strictly with clashes of scientific
paradigms, the clash of ideologies represented by the polemic
of Spanish science can be better understood in the light of
Kuhn's argument about circularity. Indeed, in reading the
literature of the polemic of Spanish science it is easy to
feel that the debaters are talking past one another, with no
true common ground. Menéndez y Pelayo might have had to strike
most of the names cited in his famous barrage had he perceived
the rupture that had separated the outdated, "natural

52
philosophy" paradigm from the rigorously empirical and
experimental disciplines that had come to constitute modern
science, especially in its most advanced form, laboratory
science, an activity that scarcely existed in the Spain of
Menéndez Pelayo's youth.
For Cajal the scientific quest did mean a break with
older, fundamentally non-productive, metaphysical models of
knowledge in which truth was seen as transcendant, its
discovery mostly a task already accomplished, its impartation
a routine function of church or state, in favor of a more
empirical (and secular), dynamic, process-oriented model of
knowledge in which more adequate empirical generalizations
would continually succeed each other. This represents the
working out in the intellectual sphere of the social and
political transition from absolutism to modernity. Long before
Kuhn and others wrote of scientific revolutions, Cajal himself
in Reglas y consejos had made an essentially similar
observation:
El hecho nuevo [. . .] suele causar una revolución
en el ambiente cientifico: convierte en
sospechosas doctrinas antes estimadas como verdades
firmes [. . .] y plantea una serie de nuevas
cuestiones que el iniciador, falto de tiempo, no
pudo resolver por si mismo. (109—110)
Cajal's "theory of the neuron" eventually caused just such a
revolution in the field of neurology. He can also be seen as

53
a proponent of a more general intellectual revolution of
sorts, albeit a revolution achieved through education and
gradual persuasion, not by violent political change. Cajal,
although a convinced secularist and socialist, knew that Spain
was not yet ready for strident public proclamations of such
doctrines, and that change, through education, would take
time.
Criticizing the knowledge imparted by earlier
generations of professors, Cajal wrote in Reglas y consejos
that: "[. . .] nuestros maestros profesaron una ciencia
muerta, esencialmente formal, la ciencia de los libros, donde
todo parece definitivo (cuando nuestro saber se halla en
perpetuo devenir), e ignoraron la ciencia viva, dinámica [. .
.]" (152) [italics Cajal's]. Against the time-honored space of
the printed page, with its ciencia muerta, Cajal advocated a
social space new to Spain, the laboratory, where la ciencia
viva was to be produced. Reglas y consejos consistently
presents this new space in exalted tones:
El laboratorio del sabio es un sanatorio
incomparable para los extravíos de la atención y
los desmayos de la voluntad. En él se desvanecen
viejos prejuicios y se contraen sublimes contagios.
Alli, al lado de un sabio laborioso y genial
recibirá nuestro abúlico el bautismo de sangre de
la investigación; alli contemplará, con noble
envidia, ardorosa emulación por arrancar secretos a
lo desconocido. (81)

54
The laboratory, then, for Cajal, is a privileged place where
old prejudices are shaken off and secrets are pulled from the
unknown, a place for the production of a new kind of
knowledge. In El pensamiento de Cajal, Carlos Lorenzo writes:
Cajal piensa que en España se ha vivido
insuficientemente esa ruptura de la nuova scienza,
y que hay que incorporar aún aqui a la vida
nacional ese indudable factor de la producción que
ha hecho avanzar a las naciones europeas [. . .].
(11)
Long before the time of Cajal, attempts had been made
to incorporate modern perspectives on science and other
matters into Spain, albeit with mixed success. The second half
of the seventeenth century saw a number of Spanish
intellectuals break with scholastic and Aristotelian tradition
in matters of science; these were the novatores, who sought to
base their studies on empirical observation instead of
philosphical speculation. In an article on Spanish science in
the Enciclopedia de historia de España, José Maria López
Piñero notes the work of Valencian doctor Juan de Cabriada,
who in 1687 published a text entitled Carta filosófica,
médico-chymica. López Piñero describes the text and cites
Cabriada:
[Fue un] auténtico manifiesto de la renovación
científica española. En él expuso, por una parte,
sus ideas acerca de la fundamentación radicalmente
moderna de la ciencia, con una información exigente
y al dia de las nuevas corrientes europeas. Por
otra, denunció lúcidamente el atraso científico
español: "Que es lastimosa y aun vergonzosa cosa

55
que, como si fuéramos indios, hayamos de ser los
últimos en recibir las noticias y luces públicas
que ya están esparcidas por Europa. [. . .]. ¡Oh, y
qué cierto es que el intentar apartar el dictamen
de una opinión anticuada es de lo más difícil que
se pretende en los hombres." (300)
In 1700 the War of Spanish Succession saw the ascension
to the Spanish throne of the French Bourbon dynasty, which
brought to the Spanish court an increased openness to French
cultural and intellectual influences. Richard Herr has noted
that French Enlightenment ideas were unevenly received in
Spain:
The philosophes were skeptical in matters of
religion, but this aspect of the Enlightenment did
not make noticeable inroads in Spain, in part
because of the censorship exercised by the royal
government and the Inquisition, but mostly because
few Spaniards were prepared to doubt their
religious doctrines. Spanish partisans of foreign
ideas showed instead a fascination for ways to
improve industrial and agricultural techniques, to
make education more useful and up-to-date, and [. .
.] to spread the spirit of reform to the educated
public. (53)
Especially noteworthy among the Spanish reformers of the early
eighteenth century was a Benedictine monk from the region of
Asturias, Benito Jerónimo Feijóo (1676-1764). While remaining
loyal to essential Church teachings on matters of religion,
Feijóo, in his widely-read Teatro critico universal (1740) and
his Cartas eruditas (1760), sought to attack popular
superstitions and infuse his fellow Spaniards with a critical
intellectual attitude. Feijóo called unthinking, lazy-minded
Spaniards of all social classes, "el vulgo"; in a section of

56
his Teatro critico entitled, "Voz del pueblo," Feijóo
criticizes the old maxim that "Dios se explica en la voz del
pueblo":
Es éste un error, de donde nacen infinitos; porque
asentada la conclusión de que la multitud sea la
regla de la verdad, todos los desaciertos del vulgo
se veneran como inspiraciones del Cielo. (105)
Feijóo continued his diatribe against the vulgo, offering a
simile from nature: "El vulgo de los hombres, como la Ínfima y
más humilde porción del orbe racional, se parece al elemento
de la tierra, en cuyos senos se produce poco oro, pero
muchísimo hierro" (107-108). In a further section, entitled
"El gran magisterio de la experiencia," Feijóo argues for the
value of empirical observation:
Lo primero que a la consideración se ofrece, es el
poco o ningún progreso que en el examen de las
cosas naturales hizo la razón desasistida de la
experiencia por el largo espacio de tantos siglos.
Tan ignorada es hoy la naturaleza en las aulas de
las escuelas como lo fue en la Academia de Platón y
en el Liceo de Aristóteles. ¿Qué secreto se ha
averiguado? [. . .]. Háblase mucho de causas,
efectos, producciones [. . .] sin que esto hasta
ahora haya producido máxima alguna en orden al
beneficio con que se debe disponer la tierra para
la feliz producción de esta o aquella planta [. .
.]. Tratan los escolásticos latamente de las
cualidades [. . .] sin que por este camino se haya
descubierto cualidad alguna [. . .]. (337)
Feijóo here appeals to history, pointing out the non¬
productivity of methods of inquiry that discount careful
examination of natural phenomena.

57
Critics such as Cabriada, Feijóo, and numerous others,
although their work was not accepted by a majority of their
fellow Spaniards, did begin to wedge open, in Spanish culture,
a door for critical thought that would later open further as
future generations of Spanish thinkers worked for intellectual
freedom.
In 1782 an article written by Frenchman Nicholas
Maisson de Morvilliers for the Encyclopedie methodique
provoked great controversy in Spain. Maisson attacked the
Spanish intellectual and scientific tradition, rhetorically
asking what if anything Spain had done in such matters (Herr,
Eighteenth-Century, 223). Spanish statesman Juan Pablo Forner
wrote an official response to the article, but many other
Spaniards, conservative and progressive alike, debated Spain's
alleged scientific backwardness in the periodical press (Herr,
224-226). Richard Herr pointed to the underlying conflict in
his study, The Eighteenth-Century Revolution in Spain;
The dispute was essentially the same as that which
had torn the Spanish universities since 1770 and
which had distinguished the more advanced religious
orders, like the Augustinians, from those who still
defended scholastic philosophy. It was the
struggle between enlightenment and conservatism.
The Maisson affair only provided a pretext for
airing the controversy widely in the public press.
(228)
The polemic of Spanish science of the late nineteenth century,
part of the background of Cajal's early adult years, was not,

58
then, an isolated event, but rather one more manifestation of
a much deeper conflict between models of knowledge and centers
of power that can be traced back to Spain's seventeenth-
century novatores, and to the infiltration into Spain of
enlightenment ideas in the eighteenth century.
Influence of German Thought in Spain
In the decades before the Revolution of 1868, the
polemic of Spanish science and the arrival of positivist
thought in Spain, a notable minority of Spaniards had
cultivated German thought, a trend which Ortega y Gasset would
later continue in the twentieth century. Julián Sanz del Rio,
sent abroad by the Spanish government to study the most recent
currents of European philosophy, returned to Spain from a
season in Germany convinced that the idealist philosophy of
Karl Krause represented a viable alternative to the stale
Catholic orthodoxy then prevalent. In 1854 he was awarded a
professorship in the University of Madrid, which afforded him
a base from which to spread the new philosophy.
Although doctrinally imprecise, the philosophy imparted
by Sanz to a generation of young Spanish intellectuals found a
strong following. Spanish Krausists focused less on Krause's
metaphysical ideas but much more on his ethics and on related

59
themes such as intellectual freedom, religious tolerance,
human perfection and progress, religion as a subjective,
personal experience and the need for an education based on
individual reason and experience, not on rote memorization of
texts.3 Among these men were Nicolás Salmerón, Emilio
Castelar, Manuel Cossio, Franscisco Giner de los Rios and
Gumersindo de Azcárate. After professors of Krausist leanings
were expelled from the University of Madrid in 1875, Giner de
los Rios and others founded in Madrid an experimental school,
the Institución Libre de Enseñanza. The new school, avowedly
neutral in matters of religion and politics, offered to youth
an education on the basis of reason and experience, seeking to
break with centuries of Spanish pedagogical tradition. Many of
Spain's outstanding intellectuals, such as the brothers
Antonio and Manuel Machado, were formed in the Institución
Libre de Enseñanza.
Although Cajal, who rejected metaphysical philosophies,
was not a Krausist, he shared many of their ideals. The work
of Krausist intellectuals and educators in the generation
previous to Cajal can at least in part be seen as preparing
the climate of increased openness to scientific ideas from
which Cajal and others would benefit in the late nineteenth
century. Enrique Montero has written that although the
See the work of Juan López Morillas, El krausismo español.
3

60
metaphysical aspects of Krausism did not prosper in Spain,
Krausism:
[. . .] made a long-lasting contribution to Spanish
culture by providing the modern scientific method
of research that Spain badly needed. It offered
above all a comprehensive and ample vision of
modern science in which the various sciences
emanated from philosophy and were interrelated.
This vision provided the intellectual foundations
which facilitated the assimilation of subsequent
European schools of thought such as positivism.
(125)
Indeed it was positivism that provided Cajal with the
conceptual framework within which his research would take
shape and eventually earn him the Nobel prize.
German philosophers Arthur Schopenhauer and Friedrich
Nietzsche were also read in Spain. Gonzalo Sobejano writes in
Nietzsche en España that Catalan intellectuals Joan Margall
and Pompeyo Gener, in Barcelona, read and discussed the works
of Nietzsche as early as 1893 (36-37). Sobejano writes that
broader diffusion in Spain of the works of these and other
thinkers began several years later and adds:
El órgano en que la mayoría de estos latidos
renovadores encuentran fondo y vibración expansiva
es la revista La España Moderna (de 1899 a 1914),
dirigida por José Lázaro, en la que se aúnan las
firmas españolas más prestigiosas de varias
generaciones con un cúmulo de colaboraciones y
traducciones del extranjero verdaderamente
impresionante. Emerson, Carlyle, Ruskin,
Schopenhauer, Tolstoy, Taine, Spencer, Zola y otros
muchos penetran por este conducto. Y Nietzsche.
(47)

61
It is possible that Cajal, who had moved to Madrid from
Barcelona in 1892, received his first acquaintance with
Schopenhauer and Nietzsche through La España Moderna; in a
footnote to the 1899 edition of Reglas y consejos, cited
below, Cajal mentions that he had not yet read Schopenhauer in
1897 when he wrote the first edition of the text (1899, 18-
19) .
Cajal, whose emphasis on the importance of the will
does reflect a mentality of his time, did not, however,
directly derive his ideas from either Nietzsche or
Schopenhauer; his fundamental texts predate his acquaintance
with their thought. At times he did find in their works ideas
with which he agreed. In the second edition of Reglas y
consejos, that of 1899, Cajal, discussing the scant usefulness
for the scientist of reading treatises of formal logic, added
a footnote to the text, which was retained in future editions:
Es singular la coincidencia de esta doctrina con la
desarrollada por Schopenhauer (desconocida de
nosotros al redactar la primera edición de este
discurso)[...]. Al tratar de la lógica, dice "que
el lógico más versado en su ciencia abandona las
reglas de la lógica en cuanto discurre realmente."
Y más adelante: "querer hacer uso práctico de la
lógica es como si para andar se quisiera tomar
antes consejosde la mecánica." (1899, 18-19)
In Charlas de café Cajal reacts to another of Schopenhauer's
ideas:
Extremadamente severo y esquemático mostróse
Schopenhauer al comparar nuestro mundo con un

62
infierno poblado de atormentadores y atormentados.
Sin negar algún fundamento al aserto, lo cierto es
que nuestro vetusto planeta sugiere antes la idea
del limbo que la del infierno. Moramos en un lugar
de hastio, donde los más se aburren, mientras los
menos se dedican a aburrir. . . cuando no se
atreven a mortificar. (145)
It can be seen that Cajal, with regard to the texts of
Schopenhauer, exemplified the attitude that he had recommended
in Reglas y consejos when he suggested: "el libro no tiene en
nosotros un devoto, sino un juez" (36); although recognizing
some threads of truth in Schopenhauer, he at the same time
felt very free to disagree with the German thinker. Carlos
Lorenzo, in El pensamiento de Cajal, writes that Cajal
differed with the Schopenhauer's conception of will as an
irrational, blind force, and adds: "Este es uno de los temas
clave cajalianos, que dirige en un sentido precisamente
opuesto al de Schopenhauer" (22). Lorenzo continues:
En Cajal la voluntad, la voluntad humana, es una
fuerza liberadora con la que la propia conciencia
puede modelar en cierta forma el cerebro que
constituye su asiento, y asi, superar en alguna
medida—a través de una educación adecuada—los
condicionamientos mundanos y su inercia. Por ello,
la filosofía cajaliana es optimista, frente al
pesismismo schopenhaueriano. (22)
Lorenzo further notes that Cajal "tampoco comulga con
la 'voluntad' nietzscheana, heredera directa de la de
Schopenhauer" (22). This opinion is shared by Gonzalo
Sobejano; in Nietzsche en España Sobejano writes that Cajal

63
"parece haber menospreciado siempre las ideas de Nietzsche"
(476), and cites a declaration by Cajal in Charlas de café:
Nietzsche, tan encomiado por muchos de nuestros
literatos, fue un Atila teórico, que escribia con
el refinamiento y sutileza de un ateniense.
—¿No le asusta a usted pensar—me decia un
admirador suyo—lo que habria sido de Europa si este
genio ultraaristocrátcio y ultraindividualista
hubiera dispuesto de los soldados de César, de
Anibal o de Napoleón?
—Dispénseme usted—le contesté—. En mi sentir,
no habria ocurrido nada. Su primera salida
quijotesca le habria conducido a una casa de
salud. Porque los verdaderos héroes de la
voluntad dispusieron de un cerebro muy firme,
poco emocionable y limpio de mesianismos y de
odios filosóficos y raciales. (Charlas 203)
Elsewhere in Charlas Cajal refers to Nietzsche as "[. . .] el
sombrío y antipático apologista del amoralismo y la voluntad
desenfrenada" (128) . Whether or not his interpretation of
Nietzsche was entirely correct, Nietzsche apparently seemed to
Cajal to advocate an undisicplined and dissipating attitude,
which Cajal could not accept.
Consequences of the Spanish-American War
Conditions in Spain were beginning to become more
favorable to the incorporation of new ideas and technologies.
In Einstein in Spain, Thomas Glick describes the intellectual
climate of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Spain,
finding evidence of a decision by leaders of right and left to
put aside differences and work for the common good of the

64
country. He cites the example of the Junta para Ampliación de
Estudios, founded in 1906 and directed by a group of Spaniards
of widely divergent political, ideological and academic
leanings. Cajal presided over the Junta's division for
sciences, and Ramón Menéndez Pidal headed the division
sponsoring research in the humanities. Glick writes that:
[. . .] political depolarization of higher
education at the official level merged with other
currents newly present in the broader culture—such
as the widespread feeling that Spain's defeat in
the war of 1898 was due to its scientific and
technological backwardness—to create a climate that
was propitious for the development of science and
favorable to an open discussion of scientific
ideas, without their automatically being
appropriated as weapons in the ideological struggle
between Left and Right (8) .
Indeed, the "cultural shock" occasioned by Spain's
defeat in 1898 created a climate in which the voices of many
would-be reformers were heard more seriously than before. In
the decade following the war, many texts were published
claiming to have a diagnosis of Spain's ills. Among these were
Luis Morote's La moral de la derrota (1900), Ramiro de
Maeztu's Hacia otra España (1899), Damián Isern's Del desastre
nacional y sus causas (1899), Ricardo Macias Picavea's El
problema nacional: Hechos, causas y remedios (1899), and
Joaquin Costa's essay, "Oligarquía y caciquismo como la forma
actual de gobierno en España" (xxxx).4 Krausist and positivist
4 Another text commonly cited with these but which was
actually published several years before the desastre is

65
language that described society as a living organism had
become common currency among the general educated public,
which led naturally to the use of medical terms for social and
political analysis. "Regeneration" was the key word and theme
of the moment as writers of diverse perspectives diagnosed
Spain's "ills" and prescribed various "therapies."
Most of these texts also show a more general influence
of positivist and scientific thought; irrespective of the
ideology of the author, at least a quasi-scientific approach
is taken to the study of Spain's ills. Statistics, tables of
information and claims of objectivity are used to advance a
wide variety of proposed reforms. Although of diverse
opinions, regenerationist writers were almost unanimous in
their condemnation of Canovas' Restoration political system,
in which the Conservative and Liberal parties took turns in
power, the elections being rigged through a network of
political bosses.
Among the most eloquent and influential critics of
Spain's political and economic structure was Joaquin Costa,
the son of an Aragonese peasant family who in spite of great
poverty had put himself through school working as a mason. At
one time a professor at the Institución Libre de Enseñanza,
Lucas Mallada's Los males de la patria (1890).

66
Costa had studied Spain's legal, political and economic
structures deeply. He believed that political reform would be
impossible without a prior restructuring of rural property and
agriculture. Fundamental for agricultural growth would be a
policy of extensive irrigation, necessary because of the
extreme dryness of much of the arable land. In 1900 Costa
united two formerly separate groups of agricultural interests
into the National Union. In the apolitical attitude
characteristic of regenerationist reformers, it did not
constitute itself as a political party but rather presented to
the government a program of reforms to be instituted by the
existing parties. Rafael Pérez de la Dehesa has written that
this avoidance of deep political involvement set the National
Union up for its eventual failure to implement the proposed
reforms (9).
Cajal's avoidance of political involvement had a
somewhat different motivation, underlining the uniqueness of
his particular contribution to Spain's regeneration: the
desire to focus deeply and exclusively on his scientific
research. Convinced that he was not gifted for political
work, Cajal at every step avoided distractions from his
research.5 In general agreement with regenerationist concerns
5 To the surprise of many who did not know him well, Cajal
in 1906 twice refused a cabinet minister's post, the
portfolio of Public Instruction, offered by then-Prime

67
that Spain needed technological and industrial development,
Cajal dedicated himself in a deeply focused way to the
formation of a scientific culture that would constitute a
necessary precursor to such advances. To this end Cajal, with
the encouragement and funding of his friend Dr. Enrique
Lluria, published in 1899 a retouched version of his 1897
discurso de ingreso in the Royal Spanish Academy of Sciences
under the title Reglas y consejos sobre investigación
biológica.
Although it is part of the current of regenerationist
thought, many reasons exist to distinguish Reglas y consejos
from the flurry of books and pamphlets produced after the
desastre. As mentioned previously, the bulk of the text is
formed by Cajal's 1897 discurso de ingreso, fundamentally
unaltered although edited and slightly reworked. Its ideas
represent Cajal's contribution to and transformation of a
long-running current of Spanish social criticism that can be
traced back to (and beyond) figures such as Giner de los Rios
and others convinced that Spain's greatest need was not
immediate political change but rather the long-term work of
educating a new type of Spaniard. In fact, the only part of
Reglas y consejos written in reaction to Spain's loss in the
War of 1898 was a fiery Post Scriptum that appeared only in
Minister Segismundo Moret. (Lewy Rodriguez 109-12)

68
the 1899 edition of the text. Essentially an exhortation to
all sectors of Spanish society to work towards the creation of
original scientific and industrial enterprises, its language
waxes passionate and even xenophobic:
Considera todo descubrimiento importante traido de
fuera como una recriminación a tu negligencia y a tu
poquedad de ánimo. [. . .] cuando el éxito te
sonria, podrás contestar al extranjero: "Tú has
creado una verdad, pero yo he sabido hallar otras
verdades que se ocultaron a tu penetración; yo he
logrado transformar el hecho nuevo y estéril en
hecho útil y fecundo". (1899, 120-121)
Fifteen years after Spain lost its last colonies in the
war of 1898, when regenerationist concerns were finding newer
and more eloquent voices such as that of José Ortega y Gasset,
Cajal finally did include in Reglas y consejos a chapter that
addressed the causes of Spain's scientific backwardness and
its possible solutions. In later editions of the text it was
divided into two chapters, titled respectively "Deberes del
Estado en relación con la producción cientifica" (the original
chapter's title) and "Órganos sociales encargados de nuestra
reconstrucción." Cajal approaches the question with the
confidence of one who believes he has an answer in hand:
[. . .] importa resolver una cuestión previa sobre
la cual, desde hace cincuenta años, y sobre todo a
partir del desastre colonial, se han ejercitado con
varia fortuna casi todos nuestros grandes
escritores [. . .]. ¿Por qué, encerrando España una
población igual a la suma de los habitantes de
Suiza, Suecia y Holanda, han surgido en ella menos
verdades filosóficas, morales y, sobre todo,
científicas, que en cualquiera de estas naciones?
(131-133)

69
Cajal notes with general agreement the observations of the
many who located Spain's trouble in its hot and dry climate
and proposed as a remedy massive public works of irrigation,
but argues that one must still question why nations poorer and
drier than Spain have reached a far higher level of scientific
production. Cajal then considers arguments that Spain's
failure to produce science has been due to its wars and
political turmoil. He then asks, "¿Cómo no pereció Italia
saqueada, vejada, desgarrada y afrentada por casi todos los
ejércitos y aventureros de Europa?" (141). The wars and strife
of countries such as France and Germany were similarly unable
to deter scientific production.
Cajal dispenses in like manner with arguments locating
Spain's failure in religious fanaticism, aristocratic pride,
and other defects of national character, and finally offers
his explanation: the longstanding isolation of Spain, its
centuries-long failure to maintain an intellectual interaction
with the rest of Europe. He writes:
A causa de esta incompleta conjugación con Europa,
nuestros maestros profesaron una ciencia muerta [. .
.] la ciencia de los libros [. . .] e ignoraron la
ciencia viva [. . .] que sólo se aprende conviviendo
con los grandes investigadores, respirando esa
atmósfera tónica de sano escepticismo, de sugestión
directa, de imitación y de impulsión, sin las cuales
las mejores aptitudes se petrifican en la rutinaria
labor del repetidor o del comentarista. (151-152)

70
Cajal continues, developing the idea of Spain's need for a
sort of cultural cross-pollination, and the idea of
exemplarity: "Del mismo modo que el hijo aprende el oficio
del padre, mirando y ensayándose, asi el sabio en perspectiva
aprende a investigar mirando al investigador y trabajando bajo
su vigilancia" (152)[italics Cajal's]. This explanation of
Spain's failure to produce science leads very neatly to the
cure Cajal suggests: a manifold emphasis on study abroad for
those who can benefit from it, replacement of professors
hostile to modern ideas, importation of foreign professors
where possible, and full interaction with international
intellectual developments.
Reglas y consejos, then, although part of the current of
regenerationist thought, is more focused than other texts of
Spain's fin de siglo on the question of scientific production,
and represents a longstanding current of Spanish progressives'
concern with educational reform that far predates the war of
1898. Also, Cajal's analysis displays more balance and depth
of insight than many regenerationist texts; in considering the
claims about Spain's troubles he acknowledges partial truths
where he finds them, but presses his own view that the true
cause of Spanish failure to pursue science lies in Spain's
intellectual isolation. The uniqueness of Reglas y consejos

71
also stems from the fact that unlike many other texts that
could in modern terms be labeled, "armchair criticism," its
author wrote as one who had effectively acted and was acting
toward the establishment of its recommendations; hence much of
the text's force of authority. Cajal recognized such a
distinction when he wrote, regarding the aspiring researcher:
Sin el culto de la acción, sin la prueba de que el
novel investigador es capaz de trabajar con fruto,
correriamos el albur de cultivar un florido
regenerador más, tan hábil en señalar el rumbo como
incapaz de cruzar el golfo. (125)
Implicit is Cajal's verdict on much of regenerationist
literature: its writers needed to stop lamenting and act on
their many proposals and programs. Noteworthy also here is
Cajal's imperialist language: "cruzar el golfo." More such
language will be seen as this analysis proceeds.
Conclusion
It can be seen, then, that although Cajal was in some
senses a "voice in the wilderness," one of a very small group
seriously acting toward the establishment of laboratory
science in Spain, he was working at a time of increased
openness to new ideas in some sectors of Spanish society.
During the six-year revolutionary period and in its aftermath-
-which corresponded to the years of Cajal's higher education
and early career—the country had been opened to new ideas.

72
Advocates of these ideas, at times excluded from university
posts, found other forums in publications such as the Revista
contemporánea and in intellectual societies such as the
Ateneo. As can be seen in the polemic of Spanish science,
adherents to the older model of knowledge fought the new way
of thinking, but their attacks were seldom thoughtful or
informed by a true grasp of the questions at hand. A
political environment of "civil discourse" that began to grow
in the late nineteenth century gave some progressives access
to political and economic power. Their voices were heard even
more after the loss of Spain's last colonies in 1898
precipitated a deep sense of national crisis and of the need
for reform or "regeneration." In the most general sense Reglas
y consejos could be classified as a regenerationist text, but
such a broad label would not do justice to its unique focus
and force of authority.
Cajal's "cultural project" in Reglas y consejos was
radical, in the strictest sense of the word: he sought to
promote a new, dynamic, "positive" model of knowledge, holding
it up as an alternative to the stagnant "book learning" then
so prevalent in Spain. The pursuit of this knowledge would
be fueled by redirecting nationalistic passion toward it and
away from fruitless endeavors. The following chapter will

73
make a careful examination of the text, with a view to
understanding its central ideas and the discursive strategy
used by Cajal to promote scientific research in a culture
that, although showing signs of openness, was still largely
ignorant and suspicious of scientists and their work.

CHAPTER 3
TEXTUAL ANALYSIS OF REGLAS Y CONSEJOS
Introduction
The text now entitled Reglas y consejos sobre
investigación científica. Los tónicos de la voluntad is, among
many other things, a manual on how to do scientific research,
including suggestions on what materials to acquire for various
fields of study, and exactly how the investigation should
proceed. But the text goes well beyond the level of technical
advice; much of its material is aimed at encouraging and
orienting the young researcher. Cajal considered this a very
necessary task in light of the marginalized status of science
in traditional Spanish culture. In spatial terms, Cajal
sought to portray science as potentially central to, and
compatible with, Spain's culture—to move it center-ward from
Spain's cultural margins. Cajal's other great task in Reglas y
consejos, intimately related to his attempt to define science
in such a way as to place it in Spain's cultural center, is to
demythify or deromanticize the scientist and his work, to show
the youth of Spain that scientific research is a matter of
persevering, focused labor, not requiring exceptional genius.
74

75
After a brief description of the text and a further discussion
of Cajal's aims, this chapter will then consider the
underlying themes and leitmotifs of Reglas y consejos. Chief
among these is the above-mentioned idea of science as a
concrete, practical activity that nearly any self-disciplined
individual can carry out. Cajal also enumerates and explains
the traits of the successful researcher: independence of
judgment, avoidance of metaphysical speculation, refusal to
accept the false dichotomy often proposed between the
theoretical and the practical, and a strong preference for the
direct study of nature rather than the perusal of books.
The latter quality is tied to another leitmotif in Reglas y
consejos, that of general disdain towards codified knowledge,
which Cajal derisively calls "la ciencia de los libros," and
which he counterposes to an empirical model of ever-evolving
knowledge (152) .
The formation and sustenance of researchers who
possessed these traits depended, for Cajal, on several key
elements, which are referred to throughout the text. Foremost
for Cajal is the idea of exemplarity, which is related to his
demythification of the scientist; Spain's youth will learn
science by studying and imitating the concrete, flesh-and-
blood example of a mature researcher. Also concerned with

76
the issue of creating and sustaining motivation for scientific
work, Cajal returns repeatedly to the idea of the will and
emotions as motors of the intellect. A third element of
special interest for Cajal is the passion of nationalism or
patriotism; he hoped that a fervent devotion to Spain's
well-being would serve as a fundamental motive for
scientific production.
In evidence throughout Reglas y consejos is the
dynamic of secularization. The impact on Spain of this basic
trend of nineteenth and twentieth century Western culture may
have been somewhat delayed or modified in contrast to other
countries in Europe, but Cajal's writings clearly form part of
a genuinely Spanish current of secularizing thought. As
Cajal appropriates the language and imagery of religion to
describe and make attractive the pursuit of science, he
portrays the laboratory as a new "sacred space." Devotion to
scientific research can appear, in Cajal's pages, as an
alternative to traditional religious devotion. Cajal, as has
been seen, was an agnostic who seldom directly criticized
religious beliefs. In this chapter it will become evident that
he discreetly held up science as an alternative to religion.
After discussing these fundamental ideas of the text,
this chapter will then investigate the discursive strategy and

77
tactics by which the text operates. Central in Cajal's
discursive strategy is the tactic of metaphor, in its
etymological sense of "transfer of a meaning."1 It proves
quite useful to Cajal's task of inscribing science as close to
Spain's cultural center as possible, a task in which Cajal
sought to establish associations between science and
traditional Spanish culture. Cajal also employs simile
frequently as he compares the new to the already known. The
language of the text often turns poetic, as Cajal seeks to
celebrate the scientific endeavor and invest it with meaning.
Cajal also makes an apt use of traditional Spanish forms such
as the cuadro de costumbres, providing the reader with
humorous character sketches of errant intellectuals. This
chapter will also consider the question of the text's genre,
and the fundamental influences shaping its composition.
Description of the Text
Reglas y consejos sobre investigación cientifica was
initially Cajal's discurso de ingreso, given before the
1 This use of the "etymological sense" definition is
preferred here merely because it appears to best describe
the type of metaphors found in the text, not because of any
mistaken adherence to an essentialist perspective about
"inherent etymological meanings" being preferable.

78
Spanish Royal Academy of Sciences in 1897. The original
title, Fundamentos racionales y condiciones técnicas de la
investigación biológica, reflected the academic tone of the
occasion. Following established custom, 2 the discourse opens
with expressions of modesty and gratitude for the honor of
membership in the Academy, and then briefly traces and lauds
the career of Manuel Maria José de Galdo, who had held the
seat before Cajal. Cajal then remarks that his election to
the Academy gave him the impetus to collect and organize the
notes that he had for some time been making on the subject of
biological research, with the aim of encouraging beginners in
the subject:
[. . .] acaso pueda prestar algún servicio a
cuántos intentan ensayar sus fuerzas en las
investigaciones [. . .] pues con frecuencia hemos
visto estudiantes [. . .] abandonar el laboratorio,
desalentados por la falta de un guia que les
señalara los errores y obstáculos que deben evitar,
la educación técnica que necesitan recibir, y
hasta la disciplina moral indispensable [. .
.]. (1897, 12)
Cajal initiated this discourse with the words, "La
costumbre establece que, en los primeros párrafos del
discurso académico, consagrado a sancionar la recepción del
candidato, éste atribuya su elección, no a los dictados de
la fria razón, sino a los generosos impulsos de la
benevolencia. Yo acepto gustoso esta fórmula" [. . .] (7).
In 1907 Cajal, in the discourse given on the occasion of
his reception into the Spanish Royal Academy of Medicine,
remarked: "Representan las vacantes académicas bajas de
sangre, y quien desee honrarse ocupando una de ellas, debe
pagar, por ley de compañerismo y solidaridad societaria, su
futuro elogio fúnebre con el panegírico de su antecesor"
(8) .

79
Following this general idea, Cajal's discourse was
divided into the following chapters:
I.Métodos generales
II.Preocupaciones del principiante
III.Cualidades de orden moral que debe poseer el
investigador
IV.Lo que debe saber el aficionado a la
investigación biológica
V. Marcha de la investigación misma
VI. Redacción del trabajo científico
These chapters of the original discourse passed almost
unchanged into later editions. Cajal remarked in the preface
to the second edition, that of 1899, that the discourse might
have been forgotten, relegated to the Academy's bookshelves,
but for the action of a friend, Dr. Enrique Lluria. Lluria,
highly impressed with the material, insisted that Cajal edit
the pages for general publication, and offered to pay for the
costs of printing, so that the little book might be
distributed to university students and others who would profit
from it. Cajal only deleted references to his academic
audience, retaining and in a few places slightly amplifying
the six chapters that had comprised the original speech.
Completely new for the second edition, however, was a post¬
script chapter, evidently requested by Dr. Lluria, motivated
by Spain's loss in the Spanish-American War. Essentially a

80
fiery call to all sectors of Spanish society to support
scientific and industrial endeavors, it was not reprinted in
any later edition of the text.
The third edition of Reglas y consejos, that of 1913,
included several new chapters. After the original fourth
chapter came now a fifth entitled "Enfermedades de la
voluntad," comprised of humorous sketches of six different
types of weak-willed professors and researchers who had failed
to focus consistently and study deeply. Another new chapter
was the sixth, entitled, "Condiciones sociales favorables a la
obra científica." Included were suggestions on dealing with
the lack of general support in Spain for scientific research,
setting up a modest but useful laboratory even at home,
balancing the demands of family and work, and even choosing a
wife. This chapter reflects Cajal's continued thought on
conditions necessary for success in research; he had seen too
many promising researchers give up for lack of support, and
for having married inappropriately.
There then follow the original fifth and six chapters,
and then another new one, entitled, "El investigador como
maestro." It advises teachers of science on how best to
discern scientific vocations and guide beginners. A final
new chapter was entitled, "Deberes del Estado en relación con

81
la producción científica." It reviews reasons adduced for
Spain's historical scientific deficit, offers Cajal's analysis
of the problem and his proposed solution, and discusses the
work of the Junta para Ampliación de Estudios, founded in
1906. Demand for the book and desire to refine the text led
Cajal to produce three more editions during his lifetime—a
fourth, in 1916, a fifth, in 1920, and a sixth, in 1923. For
these the title was slightly different: the word, "científica"
was substituted for "biológica," in recognition of the broader
application of most of the book's content. Also added to
these editions was a subtitle, "Los tónicos de la voluntad,"
to give a final title, Reglas y consejos sobre investigación
científica. Los tónicos de la voluntad. Although the concept
of the will was present in the text from the very first
edition, Cajal's appreciation of the importance of the will
appears to have grown, perhaps with further reading of
thinkers such as Schopenhauer. After Cajal's death, editions
in the Colección Austral bore the original title and subtitle
in reversed order: Los tónicos de la voluntad. Reglas y
consejos sobre investigación científica. This appears to have
been an editorial decision, however, not a change initiated by
Caj al.

82
Aims of the Text
To most effectively encourage the beginning researcher,
Cajal had to deal with the problem of the marginality of
science in Spanish culture, and its corollary, the "bigger-
than-life," almost mythological image of science and the
scientist that prevailed in the mind of most Spaniards. Cajal
rejects the idea that "[• . .] las conquistas científicas son
dones del cielo, gracias generosamente otorgadas por la
Providencia a unos cuantos privilegiados" (10). In the
prologue to the second edition of the text Cajal refers to "Mi
empeño en poner en su punto las aserciones de los
providencialistas y genialistas en lo concerniente al origen
de los descubrimientos [. . .]" (1899, 13). Cajal was in part
battling the legacy of Romantic natural philosophers, for whom
various conceptions of "genius" were central to the process of
scientific discovery. The term often carried the connotation
of a special connection to or inspiration from the realm of
the supernatural (Schaffer, 82-85). The Judeo-Christian
tradition was, of course, the main source for the
providentialist viewpoint. The writers of the Bible, most
notably the Hebrew chroniclers, interpreted many historical
events as direct dispositions of the will of God. In the late
nineteenth century, Marcelino Menéndez y Pelayo, debating the

83
place of science in Spanish culture, asserted quite seriously
that "No nació en España Copérnico porque no quiso Dios
concedernos la gloria de que aqui naciese [. . . ]" (Ciencia
española 1:156). The practical effect of such providentialist
beliefs on nascent scientists could be a strong, fatalistic
discouragement about one's abilities, potential, or, perhaps,
"chosen-nessIt is precisely this discouraging,
deterministic outlook that Cajal sought to combat. Cajal
directed Reglas y consejos to "la juventud estudiosa," and to
others of an open mind. His task, then, presented a greater
challenge than that of mere critics: the portrayal, the
elaboration, with great realism, of how modern science was to
be done, of what it would take to be a successful scientific
researcher, along with strong and continual doses of
encouragement: "this can be done."
A partial parallel can be drawn between Cajal's
demythifying of the scientific endeavor in Reglas y consejos
and the desacralization practiced by other authors of his
time, such as Clarin, whose La Regenta portrays sacred places
and personages in a very earthy light. In each case something
sacred, transcendent, "mythical," is brought down to earth and
shown as much more ordinary and immanent, part of daily life.
Such an approach is also very typical of the inherently anti-

84
metaphysical perspective of positivist thought, which as
discussed in the previous chapter had a significant impact on
the intellectual culture of Spain in the late nineteenth
century. Numerous other evidences of the positivist attitude
of Cajal will be seen as this analysis of Reglas y consejos
proceeds.
For José Ortega y Gasset, the aura of myth surrounding
intellectuals in Spain and their marginalization in
traditional Spanish culture were intimately related phenomena.
In his often-cited 1927 essay entitled, "El poder social,"
Ortega explored at some length the phenomenon of the scant
social influence in Spain of men of science and letters. He
acknowledged that Cajal was an exception, but in his opinion
the case of Cajal only confirmed the general rule:
Esa excepción, en cierto modo única, que se hace
con Ramón y Cajal, trayéndole y llevándole como el
cuerpo de San Isidro, en forma de mágico fetiche,
para aplacar las iras del demonio Inteligencia,
acaso ofendido, es una cosa que no se hace más que
en los paises donde no se quiere trato normal y sin
magia con los intelectuales. Se escoge uno a fin
de libertarse, con el homenaje excesivo e
ininteligente a su persona, de toda obligación con
los demás. (498-499)
Ortega here asserts that Spaniards, who did not want "trato
normal y sin magia con los intelectuales" but rather were more
comfortable with their marginalization, preferred to maintain
a mythical treatment of those who could not be ignored,
offering them excessive, unthinking homage. This maintaining

85
of a mythical, greater-than-life status was actually a form of
marginalization that served to excuse one from following the
intellectual's ideas or example; mythical figures, as such,
are generally inimitable. For Ortega this excessive homage to
Cajal was ironic, because almost no one understood exactly
what it was that Cajal had discovered (499).
In the atmosphere of defeat and pessimism following
Spain's loss in the war of 1898, the fact that Cajal had won
in 1900 the Moscow Prize, in 1905 the Helmholtz Medal, and in
1906 the Nobel Prize, all for aspects of his scientific work,
had turned him into a sort of national hero. Here at last was
a Spaniard whose name inspired the world's respect. In Spain,
streets, public plazas and even a brand of chocolates bore his
name. Cajal, well aware of the discouraging effect upon would-
be followers of a greater-than-life image, seems to have
fought continuously to keep his public image as realistic as
possible. To this end, he began the text of Reglas y consejos
with a strongly personal, autobiographical element. In the
prologue he confessed:
Por mi parte diré solamente que, acaso por no
haberlos recibido [consejos] de ninguno de mis
deudos o profesores cuando concebi el temerario
empeño de consagrarme a la religión del
laboratorio, perdi, en tentativas inútiles, lo
mejor de mi tiempo, y desesperé más de una vez de
mis aptitudes para la investigación cientifica.
¡En cuántas ocasiones me sucedió, por [. . .] no
encontrar un guia orientador, descubrir hechos
anatómicos ya por entonces divulgados [. . .]. ¡Y

86
cuántas veces me ocurrió también, por [. . .] vivir
alejado de ese ambiente intelectual del cual recibe
el investigador novel estímulos y energías,
abandonar la labor en el momento en gue [. . .]
comenzaba a columbrar los primeros tenues albores
de la idea nueva!(9)
This confessional, intimate tone engages the reader, and is
part of Cajal's demythifying of the scientific endeavor; his
beginnings are presented realistically.
Many years later, in Franco's Spain, the aura
surrounding Cajal still persisted. Novelist Luis Martin
Santos, in Tiempo de silencio, published in 1961,
counterposed Cajal's successful image to the existential
malaise of protagonist don Pedro, a struggling young
scientist, for whom the portrait of Cajal serves as a reminder
of his own failure:
¡Se acabaron los ratones! El retrato del hombre de
la barba, frente a mi,que lo vio todo y que libró
al pueblo ibero de su inferioridad nativa ante la
ciencia, escrutador e inmóvil, presidiendo la falta
de cobayas. Su sonrisa comprensiva y liberadora
de la inferioridad explica—comprende—la falta de
créditos. Pueblo pobre, pueblo pobre. ¿Quién podrá
nunca aspirar otra vez al galardón nórdico, a la
sonrisa del rey alto, a la dignificación, al buen
pasar del sabio que en la peninsula seca, espera
que fructifiquen los cerebros y los rios? (7)
After discussing the failure of a particular experiment, don
Pedro further laments:
De otro modo, no hubiera aqui nunca investigación
ya que se carece de lo más elemental. Y las
posibilidades de repetir el gesto torpe del señor
de la barba ante el rey alto serian ya no
totalmente inexistentes, como ahora, sino además
brutalmente ridiculas, no sólo insospechadas, sino
además grotescas. Ya no como gigantes en vez de

87
molinos, sino como fantasmas en vez de deseos.
(10)
Themes and Leitmotifs of the Text
Cajal argues in Reglas y consejos that scientific
discoveries are not the fruit of special talent or election,
but rather the product of common sense improved and
strengthened by training and the will-driven habit of
prolonged, focused attention. Anyone with some strength of
will could be the "escultor de su propio cerebro" (10). For
Cajal, most of the qualitites of a successful researcher could
be acquired or developed in such a process of "self-
sculpting." Most of the individuals with apparently superior
talent are not essentially superior in quality to others,
Cajal argues, but only in rapidity of apprehension. These
types do well, Cajal contends, if brilliance and quick
thinking are necessary, as is the case for orators and
journalists. But for the long, painstaking work of scientific
research, those of slow apprehension are actually preferable;
quick studies tend to tire of slow work and let their
attention wander. Summarizing his argument, Cajal
encouragingly concludes: "Asi, pues, quien disponga de
regular criterio para guiarse en la vida, lo tendrá también
para marchar desembarazado por el camino de la investigación"
(32) .

88
Chief among the qualities of the successful researcher,
for Cajal, is an independence of judgment, a healthy
critical sense, one that is not afraid to challenge
entrenched dogmas:
Rasgo dominante en los investigadores eminentes es
la altiva independencia de criterio. [. . .]
Copérnico, Keplero, Newton y Huyghens, que echaron
abajo la astronomía de los antiguos . . .
poseyeron individualidad mental ambiciosa y
descontentadiza y osadía critica extraordinaria. De
los dóciles y humildes pueden salir los santos,
pocas veces los sabios. [. . .] ¡Desgraciado del
que, en presencia de un libro, queda mudo y
absorto! [. . .] La veneración excesiva, como todos
los estados pasionales, excluye el sentido critico.
[. . .] El libro no tiene en nosotros un devoto,
sino un juez. (36)
Here Cajal reminds the reader that the "great names" of
science were not tame, docile men, but rather daring skeptics
willing to break with tradition. Ever practical, Cajal then
suggests that the reader, overly awed by a book, put it down
for a few days and then keep re-reading it until the
inevitable flaws appear (36). Considered carefully, this
critical attitude toward texts can be seen as an aspect of the
dynamic of secularization present in Reglas y consejos. The
excessive veneration and dogmatism in matters academic that
Cajal repeatedly criticized were, even when not actually
concerned with matters of religion, a sort of cultural by¬
product of essentially religious attitudes toward sacred texts
and doctrines. In the above fragment one can also see a mild

89
criticism of traditional religious devotion, in which
docility, humility and unquestioning acceptance of sacred
texts figure prominently. Cajal condemned as "servidumbre
mental al extranjero" the attitude of his professors in
Zaragoza:
[. . .] al solo anuncio de que yo, humilde médico
recién salido de las aulas, sin etiqueta oficial
prestigiosa, me proponia publicar cierto trabajo
sobre la inflamación [. . .] alguno de los
profesores de mi querida Universidad de Zaragoza
[. . .] exclamó estupefacto: <<¡Pero quién es
Cajal para atreverse a juzgar los trabajos de los
sabios!>> (10).
Cajal also leans on the authority of the writers of
classical antiquity, quoting Cicero: "[. . .] 'Dubitando
ad veritatem pervenimus'" (55) . In the fragments above one
can also see Cajal's leitmotif of opposition to, or at least
critical suspicion of, codified knowledge.
Another vital quality for the researcher, according to
Cajal, is a stubborn empiricism that resists metaphysical
speculation; he begins the first chapter of Reglas y consejos
with a rejection of philosophical idealism:
Aquella singular manera de discurrir de pitagóricos
y platonianos (método seguido en modernos tiempos
por Descartes, Fichte, Krause, Hegel . . .), que
consiste en explorar nuestro propio espiritu para
descubrir en él las leyes del Universo y la
solución de los grandes arcanos de la vida, ya sólo
inspira sentimientos de conmiseración y de
disgusto. Conmiseración, por el talento consumido
persiguiendo quimeras; disgusto, por el tiempo y
trabajo lastimosamente perdidos. (13)

90
Cajal, seeking to orient and encourage the beginning
researcher, did not want him3 to get lost in the clouds of
metaphysical speculation. Cajal also counseled the beginner
against the study of treatises on logic which relate how the
mind operates, knowledge that is not necessary in order to
reason. Already within the beginner, Cajal contends, is "esa
lógica viva que el hombre posee en su espíritu" (16). The
demythifying thrust of Cajal's argument is seen in the
following passage:
[. . .] si, abandonando la vaga región de los
principios filosóficos y de los métodos abstractos,
descendemos al dominio de las ciencias particulares
y al terreno de la técnica moral e instrumental
indispensable al proceso inquisitivo, será fácil
hallar unas normas positivamente útiles al novel
investigador. (17)
The researcher must leave the "vague region" of abstract
speculation and "descend to clearer terrain."
The young researcher must also avoid the trap of a
false and counterproductive division of science into
"practical" and "theoretical" studies. Cajal laments the
blindness of those who fail to see "[. . .]esos hilos
Here and throughout this chapter the masculine pronoun is
used to refer to the scientist, not because of insensitivity
to gender issues but in order to accurately represent
Cajal's attitude toward the question. It would misrepresent
Cajal's attitude to say of "the scientist" that "Cajal
wanted her to..." or "Cajal preferred that he or she..." Cajal
conceived of "scientist" as an almost exclusively male role,
and a scholarly study must attempt to accurately represent
his view, however mistaken it may now seem.

91
misteriosos que enlazan la fábrica con el laboratorio, como el
arroyo a su manantial" (28). Cajal appeals to the history of
science, explaining that applications for new discoveries will
come in due time, rhetorically asking where the science of
electricity would be if Galvani, Volta, Faraday, Hertz and
others had rejected their findings just because a practical
use was not immediately obvious (31). Also to be rejected is
the discouraging notion that all the discoveries of value have
already been made. Availing himself of a humorous example
from ancient history Cajal writes: "La Naturaleza nos brinda a
todos con una riqueza inagotable, y no tenemos motivo para
[. . .] exclamar como Alejandro ante las victorias de Filipo:
'Mi padre no me va a dejar nada que conquistar'" (14).
Another sine qua non for the researcher, Cajal advises,
is that one should study natural phenomena or other subjects
directly, eschewing textbooks, manuals, poor translations and
recompilations and other such materials, which were legion in
Spain at the time:
Mucho aprenderemos en los libros, pero más
aprenderemos en la contemplación de la Naturaleza,
causa y ocasión de todos los libros. (. . .] al
intentar la comprobación de un hecho descrito [. .
.] éste se presenta siempre con faz distinta de la
presumida, y sugiere ideas y planes de acción no
suscitados por la mera lectura. Ello depende, a
nuestro juicio, de la incapacidad de la palabra
humana para la pintura fiel de la realidad
exterior. [. . .] ésta refleja siempre un haz de
sensaciones variadísimas y complejas, de las cuales
la expresión simbólica [. . .] refleja sólo una

92
minima parte. Toda descripción, por objetiva e
ingenua que parezca, constituye interpretación
personal, punto de vista propio del autor. (63)
Here can be seen a deep concern about the limitations of human
language and of what Cajal elsewhere referred to as "la
ciencia de los libros" (152) . However, Cajal does not end up
with a discouraging skepticism; Cajal, in Reglas y consejos,
is concerned, it may be said, in contemporary terms, with the
socialization of the young researcher into a discursive
community, and he basically advises a careful choice of
reading:
Someteremos a estudio detenido las monografías
debidas a los autores más geniales y que mayor
impulso han dado a la cuestión. [. . .] Es
propiedad de todo buen libro que el lector recoja
en él, no sólo las ideas expuestas deliberadamente
por el autor, sino otras totalmente nuevas, y hasta
diferentes para cada hombre, y que brotan del
conflicto entre nuestro fondo de representaciones y
los conceptos del texto. Por donde se ve que la
monografía genial, con ser buena fuente de
información científica, resulta además eficaz
reactivo de nuestras propias energías cerebrales.
(61)
Cajal, one of a number of Spanish intellectuals of the fin de
siglo who sought to infuse into the youth of Spain a modern
critical intellectual orientation, wanted to encourage nascent
scientists to read not reverentially, but rather in search of
effective stimulants for the production of their own ideas.
Another recurring idea in the text is that of
exemplarity; Spain's youth would learn scientific research at
the side of a mature researcher. Cajal was very conscious of

93
his status in Spain as a model, even the model, of what a
modern scientist was to be. He was concerned that the model be
a realistic one:
¡Qué gran tónico seria para el novel observador el
que su maestro, en vez de asombrarlo y desalentarlo
con la sublimidad de las grandes empresas acabadas,
le expusiera la génesis de cada invención
científica, la serie de errores y titubeos que la
precedieron [. . .].Tan hábil táctica pedagógica
nos traerla la convicción de que el descubridor,
con ser un ingenio esclarecido y una poderosa
voluntad, fue, al fin y al cabo, un hombre como
todos. (20-21)
Cajal is urging upon young Spaniards not some untried
scheme, but a well-proved vocational path that he and others
have taken. That path, however, was not well known in the
Spain of that time.
Another recurring element in Reglas y consejos,
unexpected in a manual on "how to do science," are Cajal's
frequent appeals to the reader's emotions and will. Born of
his ardent españolismo, Reglas y consejos is infectiously
encouraging as well as informative, aimed at arousing the
emotions and invigorating the will. The importance of will and
emotion as the motors of the intellect is a constant current
in Cajal's thought, as it was for many of his generation. In
discussing the value of first-hand observation of natural
phenomena, Cajal added that one not only gains facts but in
the process also benefits from: "[. . .] la sorpresa, el
entusiasmo, la emoción agradable, que son fuerzas propulsoras

94
de la imaginación constructiva. La emoción enciende la
máquina cerebral [. . . ]"(64). For Cajal these ideas were not
merely a theoretical perspective on how the brain operated,
but rather a practical and fruitful answer to the problem of
exactly how to sustain motivation for intellectual work.
Cajal was certainly not a devoto, in the traditional
sense, yet his pages are infused with his passionate devotion
to Spain and to the cause of Spanish science, to what Cajal
himself called "la religión del laboratorio" (9). At the
same time as he brought the scientific endeavor down to earth,
Cajal also reinvested it with an almost religious,
"transcendent" significance in terms of a passionate "ultimate
concern" 4 for his country and its well-being; in his own
words, "la religión de la patria" (35). He found in the human
passion of nationalism, and in the desire for personal glory,
great resources of motivating power, tonics, to use his own
word, for the Spanish will in the pursuit of modern scientific
investigation, which would benefit and bring prestige to
4 Theologian Paul Tillich coined the phrase, "ultimate
concern." It signifies that which is considered all-
important, the concern or aim in life to which all other
concerns and desires are subordinated (Armbruster 24-5).
Armbruster writes that "Extreme nationalism is one of
Tillich's favorite examples of an ultimate concern [. . .]"
(25) .

95
Spain. To those who criticized or moralized about such
passions, he countered:
De todos modos, cualesquiera que sean los progresos
del cosmopolitismo, el sentimiento de patria [. .
.] continuará siendo el gran excitador de las
competencias cientificas e industriales. Emerge de
raiz psicológica harto profunda para [. . .]
extinguirlo. Pasiones de este género no se
discuten, se aprovechan. [. . .] Poco importa saber
si tales sentimientos son justos o injustos, si
reproducen o no la fase primitiva bárbara de la
humanidad. Son tónicos morales que deben juzgarse
solamente por sus efectos, pragmáticamente, como
ahora se dice. (50-51)
For Cajal, moralizing about passions as fundamental as the
patriotic sentiment seemed futile; of far greater importance
was that such a strong and basic feeling be focused toward
enterprises beneficial to Spain, and not dissipated on wars
or other fruitless endeavors.
Cajal also links science and nationalism in terms of
a secular ethic of patriotism; the dissipation of weak-
willed, lazy, over-theorizing, bibliophilic science
professors and pseudo-intellectuals is roundly condemned as
"unpatriotic." Cajal perceived that the old paradigm of
science as theoretical speculation not involving laboratory
work, a model which at that time still had many adherents in
Spain, served all too often as a cover for laziness and
incompetence: "En el fondo, el teorizante es un perezoso
disfrazado de diligente. [. . .] Porque es más fácil forjar
una teoria que descubrir un fenómeno" (79). In the

96
postscript to the 1899 edition of the text, condemning the
bourgeoisie's waste of money and time on passing pleasures,
Cajal referred to "la afición antipatriótica al sport
extranjero" (1899, 117) [italics Cajal's]. Concluding his
series of satirical sketches of weak-willed teachers and
researchers, Cajal recommends study abroad for any who feel
"el deseo malsano y antipatriótico de imitar a nuestros
engreídos infecundos" (129). Later referring to the State's
duty to sponsor scientific research, Cajal refers to the
"error antipatriótico de negar protección y subsidios a las
eminencias de la cátedra [. . .]" (134) . In these and other
such cases Cajal judged individual and governmental
decisions not by any standard of religious doctrine but
rather by their perceived effect on the well-being of the
nation as a whole.
Discursive Strategy of the Text
Reglas y consejos strategically appropriates and
assimilates themes and motifs typical of traditional Spanish
culture, deriving prestige from them at the same time as it
transforms and infuses them with new and often more secular
meanings in a potentially subversive symbiosis. The goal of
Cajal's discursive strategy in Reglas y consejos was a sort of

97
centripetal ideological movement in which science, so long at
the margins of Spanish culture, would be pushed toward Spain's
cultural center. To this end Cajal sought to reinscribe
modern science and its practitioners within a quasi-
traditional construction of Spanish national identity. Cajal
relates the scientific endeavor to the traditions of chivalry,
conquest of the new world, Quixotism, patriotism, religious
commitment, and even to an idea of the "perfect married
woman." These elements of Spanish culture appear in Cajal's
text, but in a refocused and secularized form. As Cajal
appropriates the language of religion, there appears in the
text not traditional Catholic devotion, but a practice of
devotion to one's country, to science and to human progress.
The glories of past Spanish exploration and conquest are
evoked, but this adventurous drive is refocused as Cajal
suggests that in scientific exploration Spaniards will find
even deeper fulfillment and greater glory. This maneuver
counterposes Cajal's text to the writings of many of his
progressive contemporaries, in which elements of what can be
called a "traditionalist construction of Spanish cultural
identity" were criticized and downplayed; well known is
Joaquin Costa's fervent "Doble llave al sepulcro del Cid, para
que no vuelva a cabalgar" (170). Costa was concerned that a

98
misguided reverence for Spain's past grandeur, a fixation on
what José Ingenieros later called, "la sistemática mentira
heroico-caballeresca," would blind Spaniards to their
country's present ills (Ingenieros 126).
Cajal intended that Reglas y consejos be a "moral
tonic" for those blinded to Spain's ills, their faculties
dulled by lifelong exposure to rhetorical discourses and poor
textbooks. In composing the text, Cajal followed his own
advice given therein to writers of manuscripts: that they be
brief, simple, unaffected, and concerned above all with order
and clarity. At the same time as he avoided gilded rhetoric,
Cajal managed to achieve a prose style that while simple and
clear is often poetic, at times humorous, and in which
frequent metaphors and similes play a central role. Seeking
at one point to persuade his readers of the relative ease of
innovating in science, in contrast to the difficulty of
bringing true novelty to literature, Cajal asserts that the
writers of classical antiquity have already elaborated and
demonstrated most of what modern writers often take for new:
[. . .] ningún orador moderno ha podido inventar un
resorte absolutamente nuevo para persuadir al
entendimiento o mover al corazón humano. El papel
del orador actual es aplicar a casos determinados,
y más o menos nuevos, los innumerables tópicos de
forma y argumentación imaginados por los autores
clásicos. (46)

99
This observation, given primarily in support of his argument
about the relative ease of achieving something new in science,
provides also some tentative guidance for analysis of the text
of Reglas y consejos; one is more likely to find apt uses of
existing models and tropes than attempts at fundamental
literary innovation. Indeed, central to Cajal's discursive
strategy is the time-honored tactic of metaphor, in its
traditional sense of "transfer" of a meaning or name. As
previously observed, in spatial terms, the scientific endeavor
had long been on the margins, the periphery, of Spanish
culture. The relationship of nearly all Spaniards to science,
where any such "relationship" even existed, had been one
characterized by feelings of "difference" rather than of
"identity;" very few Spaniards identified with the figure of
the scientist, who even in the late-nineteenth century was
typically seen as a chiflado or worse (Reglas, 3rd ed.,
viii). Cajal seeks to inscribe science within the Spanish
tradition, as close to its center as possible, to establish
associations between science and lo castizo; to forge as many
ties, "transfers of meaning," "semantic shifts," as possible.
A principal way in which this is done throughout Reglas
y consejos is Cajal's metaphorical use of religious language,
infused with new, secular meanings. This use is essentially

100
subversive of the words' original meaning; Cajal refers to
"los milagros de la voluntad," (32) but he does not mean any
kind of divine intervention into human affairs. Cajal refers
to Spain's "redención," (1899, 112) but he is not referring to
any kind of metaphysical redemption from sin, rather a
recovery from its material and psychological poverty.
Something of the prestige and force of the religious meaning
does linger, as Cajal attempts to locate science within,
instead of outside, the "Spanish tradition." For Cajal, the
cause of Spanish science was an almost religious, "ultimate
concern;" religion provided an appropriate vocabulary to
describe a passion of such proportions. Prescribing methods
of cure for the weak of will, Cajal wrote:
Si, a pesar de todos los consejos, la reacción
mental se retarda, hagan examen de conciencia y
vean si no están en el caso de sufrir una cura
espiritual en el extranjero. El laboratorio del
sabio es un sanatorio incomparable para los
extravíos de la atención y los desmayos de la
voluntad. En él se desvanecen viejos prejuicios y
se contraen sublimes contagios. Alli, al lado de
un sabio laborioso y genial recibirá nuestro
abúlico el bautismo de sangre de la investigación;
alli contemplará, con noble envidia, ardorosa
emulación por arrancar secretos a lo desconocido;
alli respirará el desdén sistemático hacia las
vanas teorías y los discursos retóricos; alli, en
fin—en extrañas tierras-sentirá renacer el santo
patriotismo. [. . .] mirará con desdén, casi con
lástima, a sus antiguos Idolos. (81)
Cajal here draws a metaphorical parallel to the
experience of religious conversion, even to the idea of

101
pilgrimage. The exemplary figure of the sabio is the
"confessor," his laboratory the "sacred" space within which
this "secular conversion" occurs. Also evoked is the medical
image of travel to a place of recuperation; the laboratory is
a "sanitarium" where the pilgrim will "breathe healthier air";
the pilgrim's status as an enfermo is reconfirmed by the
authority the medical metaphor lends. The metaphorical mix of
religious and medical language manages to work well. Cajal is
exalting a social space new to Spain, the laboratory, a place
for the production of a new kind of knowledge. Here as
elsewhere Cajal does not openly criticize religion although
his discourse is at least potentially subversive of religious
language and knowledge, offering the laboratory as an
alternative to the social space of the Church. This relative
silence can be seen as strategic; direct, open criticism of
the Church would only have aroused needless hostility against
his efforts to promote scientific endeavors.
Re-directed religious language occurs throughout the
text of Reglas y consejos. In its prologue, Cajal describes
his devotion to science as "la religión del laboratorio" (9).
Those benefitting from the work of the sabio are referred to
as "los redimidos de la ignorancia" (46). Doubters are "los
escépticos en los milagros de la voluntad" (32). The scientist

102
is "ministro del progreso, sacerdote de la verdad" (52).
Researchers are "los devotos del laboratorio," (91) their work
"las redentoras veladas del laboratorio," (96) and "el fuego
sagrado de la investiagción" (155) ; their teaching, the "noble
proselitismo de la ciencia" (18). Supporting scientific
research is the "obligación sagrada del estado" (90). In all
these cases, the religious language is used with a new and
generally more secular meaning, and the things so described
partake of the prestige generally associated with the
religious experience or practice referred to. Cajal, in such
uses of religious terminology, was participating in a cultural
phenomenon notable in other writers roughly contemporaneous to
him; Richard Ellman notes that in authors such as Samuel
Butler, W. B. Yeats, James Joyce and D. H. Lawrence, religious
terminology is often transferred to everyday existence, which
then acquires an aura of "sacredness" (121) .5 This tactic of
Cajal's can also be seen as part of the task of elaborating
what Helen Graham and Jo Labanyi, discussing the "crisis of
modernity," refer to as "alternative structures of meaning and
belonging," in the face of the breakdown of older ideals (15).
Criticizing Spain's centuries of intellectual
reclusion, Cajal at one point employs metaphorically a mix
5 Further study is needed to determine which other Spanish
writers contemporaneous to Cajal also used such language.

103
of two images familiar to Spaniards: "Hemos vivido, pues,
durante siglos, recluidos en nuestra concha, dando vueltas a
la noria del aristotelismo y del escolasticismo" (152).
Spain's reclusion and intellectual separation from the rest of
Europe was, for Cajal, among the greatest reasons for its
scientific backwardness. To the metaphor of the conch-shell,
Cajal added that of the "noria," a mule-driven water pump in
which the animal, usually wearing blinders, walked around in
continual circles. Spain is like the "¡pobre muía vieja!" of
Antonio Machado's poem, "La noria" (51). On the inculcation
of the new critical attitude that Cajal opposed to this
mentality, he wrote that such a perspective:
[. . .] sólo se aprende conviviendo con los grandes
investigadores, respirando esa atmósfera tónica de
sano escepticismo, de sugestión directa, de
imitación y de impulsión, sin las cuales las
mejores aptitudes se petrifican en la rutinaria
labor del repetidor o del comentarista. (152)
Noteworthy here is the medical and scientific language
("respirando esa atmósfera tónica;" "se petrifican"), which
lends authority to Cajal's diagnosis. Here as well is the
theme of the need for a living example to follow ("conviviendo
con los grandes investigadores.") Implicit also is a somewhat
veiled criticism of the Church, the bastion of Aristotelian
and scholastic ideas.

104
A medical and scientific cast of language lends
authority to the fifth chapter of Reglas y consejos, entitled,
"Enfermedades de la voluntad"; Cajal offers a series of
satirical character sketches of weak-willed, "counter-
exemplary" professors. The chapter opens with an appeal to
the reader's experience:
Todos hemos visto profesores superiormente dotados
[. . .] que, sin embargo, no realizan obra personal
ni escriben casi nunca. [. . .] dichos maestros son
enfermos de la voluntad. Estos ilustres fracasados
se agrupan en las principales clases siguientes. [.
. .] Contempladores—Variedad morbosa muy frecuente
[. . .] reconócese en los sintomas siguientes: amor
a la contemplación de la Naturaleza, pero sólo en
sus manifestaciones estéticas: los espectáculos
sublimes, las bellas formas, los colores
espléndidos [. . .]. Si el dilettante es botánico,
quedará para siempre anclado en la admiración de
las algas [. . .] pero sin [. . .] contribuir en lo
más minimo al conocimiento de la estructura [. . . ]
de los citados microorganismos. [. . .] Todos
nuestros lectores recordarán tipos y variedades
interesantes de esta especie [. . .] estériles para
la ciencia. Bibliófilos y poliglotas—Los sintomas
de esta dolencia son: tendencias enciclopedistas;
dominio de muchos idiomas, algunos totalmente
inútiles; abono excesivo a revistas poco conocidas;
acaparamiento de cuantos libros novísimos aparecen
en el escaparate de los libreros; [. . .] pereza
invencible para escribir y desvio del seminario y
del laboratorio. (73-75)
Concluding his description of this last case, Cajal again
appeals to common experience: "Nadie ignora que vale quien
sabe y actúa, no quien sabe y se duerme. Rendimos tributo de
veneración a quien añade una obra original a una biblioteca y
se lo negamos a quien lleva una biblioteca en la cabeza" (75).
Several other types of enfermos de la voluntad are described

105
in similar fashion. It must be noted that Cajal is here
inscribing science within a very traditional Spanish genre,
the cuadro de costumbres, renovating the genre with language
of a medical and scientific cast, as he reinforces the idea
that these eruditos are not only curious types, but clinically
abnormal ones.
Cajal again approaches the cuadro de costumbres when
he surprises the reader with advice on what type of woman the
(male) researcher should marry. Various tipos femeninos are
mentioned rather than elaborately described. Cajal himself
was aware that this sort of advice might seem out of place: "Y
a los que sonrían al vernos descender a estos menesteres, les
diremos que no es cosa frivola aquello que, como el amor,
decide de la vida" (95). In a footnote to the text Cajal adds
that he has seen a great many promising young researchers
whose work, barely under way, came to an end after they
married and faced the pressures of dealing with a spouse and
children. Cajal notes:
[. . .] el caso del ilustre fisico inglés Davy,
quien por haberse enlazado con hembra linajuda,
suspendió casi del todo su brillante carrera de
investigador, consumiendo lo mejor de su vida en
fiestas y recepciones del gran mundo. [. . .] En
nuestro pais no hemos conocido un profesor
aficionado al laboratorio para cuya obra no haya
sido fatal la riqueza de la esposa. Si la
discreción no sellara nuestros labios, podriamos
demostrar aqui con ejemplos vivos cómo los gustos
frivolamente ostentosos de la cónyuge han
interrumpido carreras brillantes, obligando al

106
novel hombre de ciencia a trocar [. . .] las
redentoras veladas del laboratorio por las ociosas
horas de la tertulia o del teatro. (96)
Cajal, in "descending" to this level of discourse, as he
phrases it, stops just one step short of the gossip fence in
his effort to guide young researchers. At the same time, he
furthers the desacralization, the de-romanticizing of the
scientific endeavour, which being brought down to such a
practical level (as is done in diverse ways throughout the
text) loses something of its mystique.
Cajal affirms both the desirability of the mujer
intelectual, and her unavailability in the Spain of his time.
He notes that such women are far more common in other
countries, approvingly cites the example of Madame Curie, and
continues:
Pero, repetimos, esta ave fénix, la doctora seria y
discreta, colaboradora asidua del esposo, no se ha
dignado todavía aparecer en nuestro horizonte
social, donde, por caso extraño, los más grandes
talentos femeninos son autodidácticos y ajenos por
completo a los estudios universitarios regulares.
(96)
It is difficult to comprehend the wonderment that Cajal,
generally a very perceptive analyst of his country's ills,
expressed at this situation; evidently he did not perceive or
understand the vast web of social and economic strictures that
denied women access to knowledge and power in Spain. The
doctora seria y discreta had not yet appeared because she had
been systematically held back. Given the absence of such

107
women, Cajal concludes that the young researcher should marry
the señorita hacendosa y económica;
Por fortuna, este tipo delicioso de mujer no es
raro en nuestra clase media. [. . .] El toque
está en conquistarla para la obra común, en
constituirse en su director espiritual [. . .] en
hacer, en suma, de ella [. . .] un órgano mental
complementario, absorbido en lo pequeño [. . .]
para que el esposo, libre de inquietudes, pueda
ocuparse en lo grande [. . .]. (97-98)
Cajal expected that the scientist's wife would subordinate
herself fully to her husband's desire and goals.6 In many ways
a man ahead of his time, with respect to womens' issues Cajal
was mostly representative of traditional ideas of his time.
His tacit approval of the mujer intelectual may constitute a
note of modernity, but it is perhaps the only one he displays
with respect to womens' issues.
It has been argued thus far that Cajal seeks, among
other things, to inscribe science within the "Spanish
tradition," establishing ties between it and well-known
elements of said tradition such as religion and patriotism.
Seldom cited by traditionalists but ever present as an element
of that tradition is, of course, the relegation of women to
certain social and cultural spheres and roles. The model of
Indeed, Cajal's own wife, Silveria Fañanás Garcia, devoted
herself to the support of her husband's work. She assumed
full care of their children, spent very little money on the
household, and even helped in menial tasks related to her
husband's laboratory (López Piñero 75).

108
the scientific enterprise constructed by Cajal essentially
continues, supports, and even purports to offer renewed
patriotic and "scientific" reasons for the practice. Indeed,
Geraldine Scanlon, in her study, La polémica feminista en la
España contemporánea, 1868-1974, notes that the writings of
Cajal, Marañón and others lent scientific authority to post-
civil-war traditionalist ideological constructions of
femininity (161-182). For Cajal the scientist's wife would be
a type of perfecta casada, but a secularized one; she would
be motivated primarily by a patriotic devotion to her
husband's work and her country's well-being. Perhaps Cajal's
very practical point, that the researcher must deal with the
issue of how to balance family needs and the demands of work,
can be appreciated, even if his idea of the issue's resolution
cannot.
Cajal draws heavily on a traditional model of male
identity and sexuality in his use of sexual language and
imagery both to illustrate and motivate aspects of the
scientific quest and to censure those who stray from it in
various ways. Quite possibly Cajal wanted to counter any
image of the scientist as effete or ineffectual. Ever seeking
to motivate the young researcher, Cajal poetically describes
the pleasure of scientific discovery in terms almost patently

109
sexual: "[• • •] el goce supremo de la inteligencia al
contemplar las inefables armonías del mundo y tomar posesión
de la verdad, hermosa y virginal cual flor que abre su cáliz a
las caricias del sol matinal" (54). The poetic language can
also be seen as one more way of celebrating and investing
significance in the everyday task of scientific work.
Returning to the idea of the need for an hogar feliz, Cajal
asserts that:
En varón robusto y normal, el celibato suele ser
invitación permanente a la vida irregular, cuando
no a los abandonos del libertinaje. Y las ideas
son flores de virtud que no abren sus corolas, o se
marchitan rápidamente en el vaho de la orgia. [. .
.] el soltero vive en plena preocupación sexual.
En él la intriga galante interrumpe demasiado la
marcha de la intriga especulativa. (93)
Cajal saw the mental and emotional restlessness of unsatisfied
sexual desire as a potentially ennervating force for the young
researcher, and so advocated marriage. Perhaps novelist Luis
Martin Santos had this point of Cajal's in mind when in Tiempo
de silencio he portrayed the protagonist, don Pedro, a
troubled young scientist, dissipating his energies in sexual
adventures.
Cajal continues the suggestion of a parallel between
amorous and scientific quests, advising that the scientist
should contemplate affectionately the object of study "al modo
del amante que descubre diariamente en su adorada nuevas

110
perfecciones [. . .]" (99). He writes: "[• • .] impregnemos
de emoción y simpatias las cosas observadas; hagámoslas
nuestras, tanto por el corazón como por la inteligencia. Sólo
asi nos entregarán su secreto" (99). Cajal continues
employing language with sexual overtones as he describes
scientists breaking new ground in their studies: they are
referred to as "los desfloradores de asuntos" (1897, 23).
Referring to how little many ancient peoples had discovered of
science, Cajal writes of "la Ciencia, apenas desflorada por
los antiguos" (1897, 43). Countering post-1898 pessimism in a
postcript to the 1899 text, Cajal sought "virile joy:"
"Troquemos los desfallecimientos enervadores en viril alegría,
en ansia de robustez [. . .]" (1899, 111). Stressing again
the need for passion in the scientist, Cajal elsewhere in the
text combines a biblical allusion with sexual language:
[. . .] quien, al aproximarse el solemne momento
del fiat lux impacientemente esperado, no tenga el
alma inundada por la emoción precursora del placer,
debe abandonar las empresas científicas, porque la
Naturaleza no otorga sus favores a los frios de
condición, y la frialdad es a menudo inequivoco
signo de impotencia. (72)
Noteworthy here also is the use of medical-sexual language
("impotencia") to censure an apathetic attitude, a usage
constant throughout Reglas y consejos. According to Cajal,
those who mistakenly seek glory through literary pursuits, as
well as encyclopedic scholars who fail to focus narrowly, "
se

Ill
esterilizan" (4 6, 37). In the opening chapter Cajal refers to
"la esterilidad de la metafísica" (13); in his costumbrista
account of the types of enfermos de la voluntad, Cajal
describes the contemplador as "estéril para el progreso de la
ciencia" (73) and at the end of the account refers to all the
types as "nuestros engreídos infecundos" (81). The professor
who even as an older man cares only for his own research and
fails to form disciples condemns himself to "la esterilidad
docente" (119).
Also present throughout Reglas y consejos is a tactic
of appeal to a sort of "ethic of traditional masculinity" that
condemns cowardice and exalts decisive action. Cajal writes
that arrogance, although a defect of character, at least
has the virtue of leading to action: "[. . .]la osadía mide
sus fuerzas y vence o es vencida; pero la modestia excesiva
huye de la batalla y se condena a vergonzosa inacción" (19).
The researcher who is not diligent to seek income from
opportunities at hand condemns himself to "cobardes
abstenciones" (92). Upon finding that he has been mistaken in
some belief or idea, the researcher is exhorted to 'get up and
keep going': "[. . .] caer y levantarse solo revela pujanza;
mientras que caer y esperar una mano compasiva que nos
levante, acusa debilidad" (107). This "ethic of action" is

112
given a biological justification by Cajal as he argues against
metaphysical speculation:
Órgano de acción encaminado a fines prácticos,
nuestro cerebro parece haber sido construido, no
para hallar las últimas razones de las cosas, sino
para fijar sus causas próximas y determinar sus
relaciones [. . .] habiéndosenos concedido el
supremo poder de actuar sobre el mundo [. . .]
podemos pasarnos muy bien sin el conocimiento de la
esencia de las cosas. (15)
The very nature of the brain, Cajal argues, should lead one to
embrace action and reject passivity. Cajal employs this ethic
in discussing how the researcher-teacher can discern
scientific vocation in his students: "Sin el culto de la
acción, sin la prueba de que el novel investigador es capaz de
trabajar con fruto, correriamos el albur de cultivar un
florido regenerador más, tan hábil en señalar el rumbo como
incapaz de cruzar el golfo" (125) . Cajal, although he can in
some sense be considered a regenerationist himself,
criticized those who only preached without putting their ideas
into practice.
A further tactic employed by Cajal is his comparison of
the scientific endeavor to another pillar of the Spanish
tradition: the hombria of the exploration and conquest of the
new world. Seeking to motivate the young Spanish researcher,
who would have grown up hearing stories of the discovery and
conquest of the new world, Cajal describes the joy of

113
scientific discovery and compares the researcher to Columbus:
"Todo investigador, por modesto que sea, habrá sentido alguna
vez algo de aquella sobrehumana satisfacción que debió
experimentar Colón al oir el grito de ¡Tierra! ¡Tierra!
lanzado por Rodrigo de Triana" (53). In the third chapter of
Reglas y consejos Cajal makes a direct comparison between the
scientific quest and the Spanish tradition of exploration,
exhorting his countrymen to prove to foreigners that:
[. . .] quienes siglos atrás supieron inmortalizar
sus nombres, rivalizando con las naciones proceres
tanto en las hazañas de la guerra y en [. . .]
exploraciones y descubrimientos geográficos, como
en las pacificas empresas del Arte, de la
Literatura y de la Historia, sabrán también
contender con igual tesón y energía en la
investigación de la Naturaleza [. . .]. (49)
The basic analogy was not lost on Spaniards; Monteros
Valdivieso, one of Cajal's many biographers, observes that on
a wall in the village of Petilla de Aragón, someone had
inscribed the words: "A Castilla y Aragón, nuevo mundo dio
Colón; a Castilla y Aragón, mundo interno dio Ramón" (394) .
In a reference that was deleted after the third edition
of Reglas y consejos, Cajal compares the researcher to that
most Spanish of adventurers, Don Quijote:
En la puerta de cada laboratorio, en ese templo
sagrado donde la Naturaleza se digna revelar a sus
devotos algunos de sus augustos misterios, debieran
escribirse estas palabras: ¡Adelante los que
sienten ansia de ideal, los que desean subordinar
su vida a una idea grande! ¡Atrás los Sancho
Panzas científicos, los que buscan la verdad para

114
explotarla, los que desean convertir la purísima
doncella de la Ciencia en meretriz envilecida; los
que, según la frase enérgica de Schiller,
consideran a la Ciencia como una vaca de leche,
buena para obtener manteca! (1913, 71)
The scientist was, for Cajal, a new Quijote, albeit a sane
one; in this allusion to Cervantes' famous character, Cajal
has appropriated and assimilated one of the cultural icons
dearest to traditional Spanish culture, reinvesting it with
new meaning. Noteworthy also here is the exaltation of the
social space of the laboratory; metaphorically speaking, it is
"a sacred temple" where Nature "deigns to reveal itself to its
devotees." The further use of sexual language and literary
allusion ("Science is Dulcinea") serves to invest meaning in
the pursuit of pure (not just applied) science. Not content
to speak only of temples, devotion and famed literary figures,
Cajal in his passion to illustrate his point "descends" to the
barnyard, adding an unexpected but apt comparison of science
to a milk cow, sought only for its immediate by-products.
This exaltation of science, the laboratory and the
scientist, seen throughout the text, could appear to
contradict the idea that Cajal is demythologizing scientific
work. A look at how Cajal may have seen these two apparently
contradictory aims to be compatible is afforded by one of his
comments in a 1905 article, "Psicología de Don Quijote y el

115
quijotismo," prepared for the celebration of third centennial
of the Quijote;
Admiremos el libro de Cervantes, pero no derivemos
su moraleja hacia dominios a que no tendió el ánimo
del autor. El realismo en el arte ni deja de
admitir cierta discreta dosis de levadura
romántica, a fin de excitar el interés y elevar los
corazones, ni contradice el supremo y patriótico
fin de imprimir a la filosofía, a la ciencia y a la
industria rumbos resueltamente idealistas. (1308-
09)
A dose of romantic idealism and exaltation, in the midst of a
basically realistic presentation, did not seem out of place to
Cajal.
Cajal appears to employ his most profound and extended
metaphors and similes for expressing some of the more obscure
or difficult-to-perceive points about a modern critical
intellectual mentality. It should be made clear at this point
that metaphor (and simile, analogy, etc.) was for Cajal not
merely a rhetorical ornament but an integral part of the
process of perception and expression, as can be seen in the
following passage:
Convendrá, durante la susodicha incubación
intelectual, que el investigador, al modo del
sonámbulo, atento solo a la voz del hipnotizador,
no vea ni considere otra cosa que lo relacionado
con el objeto de estudio: en la cátedra, en el
paseo, en el teatro, en la conversación [. . .]
buscará ocasión de intuiciones, de comparaciones y
de hipótesis, que le permitan llevar alguna
claridad a la cuestión. [. . .] los primeros
groseros errores [. . .] son necesarios, pues
acaban por conducirnos al verdadero camino, y
entran, por tanto, en el éxito final, como entran

116
en el acabado cuadro del artista los primeros
informes bocetos. (39)
During the metaphorically-described "intellectual incubation,"
the researcher should focus narrowly on the object of study,
seeking to clarify the question by means of such comparisons
to everyday life as may suggest themselves. Describing the
discouragement of some beginning researchers at finding no
"easy pickings" left in most fields of research, Cajal
employs an extended metaphor:
[. . .] el novel observador quisiera encontrar un
filón nuevo y a flor de tierra [. . .] mas, por
desgracia, apenas emprendidas las primeras
exploraciones bibliográficas, reconoce con dolor
que el metal yace a gran profundidad y que el
yacimiento superficial ha sido casi agotado por
observadores afortunados llegados antes que él, y
que ejercitaron el cómodo derecho de primeros
ocupantes. (20)
The comparison to mining served Cajal again as he described
the duty of the older researcher who through some debility has
lost his edge in the forging of new discoveries: "Cuando sus
manos débiles no pueden sostener el pico del minero, ocúpese
en refinar el mineral arrancado por otros" (20). Such a
person could still pursue what Thomas Kuhn would call "normal
science," refining and working out the implications of others'
discoveries.
Explaining the role of analytical thinking, and seeking
to encourage the beginner over-awed by apparently flawless

117
scientific constructions, Cajal employed a metaphor within a
simile:
Al modo de muchas bellezas naturales, las obras
humanas necesitan, para no perder sus encantos, ser
contempladas a distancia. El análisis es el
microscopio que nos aproxima al objeto y nos
muestra la grosera urdimbre del tapiz; disipase la
ilusión cuando salta a los ojos lo artificioso del
bordado y los defectos del dibujo. (1923, 46)
An extended simile serves Cajal as a vehicle for a satirical
critique of the dispersive, encyclopedic tendency, one of his
favorite targets for ridicule:
El entendimiento inquisitivo es como un arma de
combate. Si en ella se labra un solo filo,
tendremos una espada tajante. [. . .] pero si le
sacamos tres o cuatro, la acuidad de los filos irá
disminuyendo hasta convertirse en inofensivo
cuadradillo. [. . .] Como el acero informe, nuestro
intelecto representa una espada en potencia.
Merced a la forja y lima del estudio, transfórmase
en el templado y agudo escalpelo de la ciencia.
Labremos el filo por sólo un lado, o por dos a lo
más, si queremos conservar su eficacia analitica y
herir a fondo el corazón de las cuestiones; y
dejemos a los bobalicones del enciclopedismo que
transformen su entendimiento en inofensivo
cuadrillo. (58)
Owen Thomas has advocated, as a criterion for judging
metaphor and simile, that what matters is that there be a high
degree of surprise or novelty in the comparison drawn (61);
here little novelty exists in the basic comparison, but much
effect does come from its extension and elaboration. Here as
elsewhere in Reglas y consejos, the virile imagery of the
military and chivalrous elements of Spanish tradition
(swordsmanship) lends prestige to the construction of modern

118
intellectuality advocated by Cajal. Cajal desired that the
young scientist, hearing the ridicule heaped by foreigners on
things Spanish, respond "[• • •] afilando sus armas y haciendo
resolución de emplear sus brios en el combate universal contra
la Naturaleza" (125). Seeking to encourage the beginner who
sees himself as insignificant Cajal writes that science, like
armies, needs a few generals but many faithful foot soldiers,
who will do the real work: "[. . .] aquellos conciben el plan,
pero éstos son los que positivamente vencen" (1923, 35).
Elsewhere making a related point Cajal includes himself in the
latter group: "Los que nos batimos en la brecha como simples
soldados [. . .]" (1923, 46). Commenting on his manner of
discourse, Cajal defends his military imagery and language,
and offers what is perhaps his most graphic image of his
desired union of science and ardent españolismo:
Trabajad [. . .] junto a la retorta, la balanza o
el microscopio, poned la bandera nacional que os
recuerde constantemente vuestra condición de
guerreros (que función de guerra, y hermosisima y
patriótica, es arrancar secretos a la Naturaleza
con la mira de defender y honrar a la patria) [. .
.]. (673)
In various places in the the text one almost hears
echoes of the libros de adoctrinamiento de principes of
medieval times. These tended to be written as the advice of
father to son, teacher to disciple or a king to his heir. As
a member of a superior class, the nobleman was to be well-

119
trained in the arts of governance, war and courtly protocol,
typical subjects of said texts. Some famous ones include the
De reqimine principum by Thomas Aquinas, the Libro de los doze
sabios prepared by order of Fernando III and the many works by
Don Juan Manuel such as Libro de la caza and El conde Lucanor.
Carlos Alvar has noted that these works constitute a genre
more on the basis of their common purpose and character than
by any homogeneity of form or content (103).
The eighth chapter of Reglas y consejos, entitled
"Redacción del trabajo científico," focuses especially on the
aforementioned "socialization of the researcher into a
discursive community" in a manner that invites comparison to
the project of socialization implicit in the books of guidance
for princes. Insisting on the need for a certain courtesy and
decorum in scientific debates, Cajal writes: "Cuando,
injustamente atacados, nos veamos compelidos a defendernos,
hagámoslo hidalgamente, esgrimiendo la espada, pero con la
punta embotada y adornada, según la imagen vulgar, con
ramillete de flores" (113). Further advising the gallant
young scientist how to behave in the "scientific courts,"
Cajal writes of the need to be brief and direct in
communicating ideas, because "[. . .] el público es un senado
escogido y culto; y ofenderíamos de seguro su ilustración y

120
buen gusto [. . .] perdiéndonos en amplificaciones
declamatorias y detalles ociosos" (117) . Referring elsewhere
to the scientist's audience, emphasizing that one should not
expect appreciation from the masses of people, Cajal writes
that "[. . .] el sabio tiene también su público. Está formado
por la aristocracia del talento y habita en todos los paises
[. . .]" (66). Cajal sought to educate young men for a new
type of aristocracy, not of inherited privilege but of
scientific merit. The scientist should feel in himself
" [. . .] una nobleza superior a todas las caprichosamente
otorgadas por la ciega fortuna o el buen humor de los
principes" (52).
Genre of the Text
Although Reglas y consejos can be properly assigned to
that elastic and elusive genre termed the "essay," it is more
exactly classified as a "work of self-culture," a form or sub¬
genre of the essay that has not always been clearly recognized
by scholars. To properly understand this genre will require
seeing Reglas y consejos in the broader context of the
generally-recognized trend of secularization or de-
Christianization of Western culture during the eighteenth and
nineteenth centuries, and in its intertextual relationship to

121
other works of self-culture. One may profitably consider this
observation of Rockwell Gray about the secularizing of
religious devotional experience:
In post-Christian terms, self-transformation stood
in for the workings of divine grace or blessing of
Christ upon one's life. Far from simply waning,
the central belief-system of Western history left
in its path a multitude of cultural and
psychological responses that must be understood as
direct reflections of the shock men experienced at
the "death" of God. [. . .] Throughout Western
culture one could recognize the need to invest
significance in a world apparently divested of its
authorizing Creator [. . .]. (9)
Christian ideas, language and practices did not simply
disappear from the souls of those who parted with Church
doctrines to a greater or lesser degree, but rather were
transformed, with former dynamics and practices finding new
secular channels of expression. Often, as in Cajal's case,
traditional religious devotion was displaced by dedication to
self-improvement, which quest was itself motivated by a
fervent, nationalistic devotion to Spain. It is not surprising
that such passion and purpose would find expression in the
creation of texts, even literary texts, intended to spur
others on to patriotic self-development.
Reglas y consejos, although unique in many ways, was
partly inspired by the work of French educator Jules Payot,
The Education of the Will. Theory and Practise of Self-
Culture . Cajal directly cites Payot twice in Reglas y

122
consejos, and a great many of its themes echo those of the
French educator. Payot's Education first appeared in 1893.
Its first edition sold out in only a few weeks; over thirty
editions in French and many more in other languages appeared
during the author's lifetime. Payot's work was aimed, like
Reglas y consejos, at his country's youth. It opens by noting
the cultural vacuum left by the waning influence of the
Catholic Church, "that incomparable mistress of character"
(vii) , and goes on to offer Payot's thoughts on a secular
method of self-mastery, establishing thus an implicit
relationship of contrast and replacement between his way and
that of the Church. Payot based his method on a very
practical, emphatically non-metaphysical analysis of the
relationship among the intellect, the emotions and the will.
Belonging as he did to the irrationalist trend in late
nineteenth and early twentieth century thought, Payot gave
priority to the role of the will and emotions: "The will is a
sentimental power, and every idea, in order to influence it,
has to be colored with passion" (ix).
Cajal, in Reglas y consejos, echoed this thought and
referred to Payot:
A la voluntad, más que a la inteligencia, se
enderezan nuestros consejos [. . .] aquélla, como
afirma cuerdamente Payot, es tan educable como ésta
[. . .] toda obra grande, en arte como en ciencia,

123
es el resultado de una gran pasión puesta al
servicio de una gran idea. (18)
This was not merely a theoretical concern; Cajal was faced
with the very practical problem of how to create and sustain
motivation for the production of a kind of knowledge fairly
new to Spain but, in Cajal's view, essential for its future
well-being. The urgent focus of Payot and Cajal on youth in
their respective countries had psychological and physiological
(for Payot and also for Cajal the psychological was,
ultimately, physiological) reasons; Payot believed that past a
certain age the brain's ability to learn slowed down: "During
the early years of life the mind is capable of very active
exercises, but soon the number of new combinations [. . .]
diminish" (6-7). Cajal in Reglas y consejos is more specific:
"El cerebro juvenil posee plasticidad exquisita, en cuya
virtud puede, a impulsos de un enérgico querer, mejorar
extraordinariamente su organización, creando asociaciones
interideales nuevas, depurando y afinando el juicio" (32). So
for Payot and especially for Cajal, this self-development or
self-culture had a strongly biological base; Cajal it may be
noted, always wrote of the brain. There is not, in Cajal's
writings, a concept of "mind" as distinct from the brain's
functions. In the prologue to Reglas y consejos Cajal wrote,
"[. • .] todo hombre puede ser, si se lo propone, escultor de
su propio cerebro" (10). Elsewhere he wrote of the need to

124
"Forjarnos un cerebro fuerte" (137). Speaking at the
Residencia de Estudiantes in Madrid in 1931, near the end of
his life, Cajal referred to "el hombre nuevo, formado por
autorreflexión," using redirected religious language
("Pensamientos," 29) .
For both men this development of an ability to think
and form new ideas was critically important in the education
of youths; both railed against prevalent encyclopedic, rote¬
learning attitudes that prized only the amount of information
a student could regurgitate upon demand. Upon closer
examination this pedagogical conflict relates closely to two
widely divergent models of knowledge that competed for
primacy; if knowledge primarily consists of unchanging,
absolute practices and truths, then what matters is to
accumulate and retain as large a quantity as possible.
Creative, original thinking would be of little value. If, on
the other hand, knowledge is a dynamic, ever-changing,
empirically-based construction, the ability to think
creatively and independently is, logically, far more to be
valued than the mere retention of information. This conflict
of models of knowledge parallels the basic conflict between
cultural forces upholding a religious viewpoint, which valued
"revealed truths," and the forces of secularization, which

125
advocated the primacy of an empirically-based, dynamic model
of knowledge.
The "dilettante" or encyclopedic mentality, typical of
many adherents to a static model of knowledge, seemed to both
Cajal and Payot to be a result of weakness of will; what was
really necessary was to focus all one's power of attention on
one object of study, not to dissipate oneself reading many
diverse things superficially. Payot wrote that "[. . .] the
energy of the will expresses itself less by multiple efforts
than by the direction of all the forces of the mind down to
hard work [. . .]"(10). Cajal wrote approvingly of a sort of
polarization of the brain: "[. . .] la orientación permanente,
durante meses y aun años, de todas nuestras facultades hacia
un objeto de estudio" (37). Cajal, who spent hours at a time
gazing into his microscope,7 dedicated several pages to
developing this idea of focus. To those whose obligations
would seem to keep them from spending long hours in thought,
Cajal wrote: "Como dice juiciosamente Payot, «poco basta
cada dia, si cada dia logramos ese poco»" (42) . With such
explanations of how what he considered valid knowledge was
produced, Cajal was continuing to combat the idea that genius
is some mysterious gift only for a select few—he quotes
7 Cajal noted in the second part of his autobiography,
Historia de mi labor cientifica, that on one occasion he
spent twenty straight hours gazing into his microscope (30).

126
Buff on as saying that "«el genio no es sino la paciencia
extremada»" (43) .
Payot, in his desire to enable his country's youth to
pursue focused intellectual work, also develops a leitmotif
dear to Cajal, that of exemplarity. The most important part
of higher education for Payot was direct interaction with
other students and especially with the teacher, because "[. .
.] he is the living, concrete and respected example of what
can be done by working" (410) . Cajal wrote that the conduct
of scientific research was in great part a learned behavior
like so many of the manual skills: "Del mismo modo que el hijo
aprende el oficio del padre, mirando y ensayándose, asi el
sabio en perspectiva aprende a investigar mirando al
investigador y trabajando bajo su vigilancia" (152). In
addition to the living example provided by the researcher,
Payot also noted the value of the exemplary lives of those he
called, "the departed great," and recommended that students
imitate them: "When one has no opportunity of meeting living,
speaking, examples, nothing is worth more for the cultivation
of one's moral enthusiasm than the contemplation of simple,
pure, heroic lives" (412). Directly borrowing language from
two different books of the New Testament, Payot continues:
"This 'great cloud of witnesses' helps us to fight the good

127
fight"8 (412) . Payot makes another explicit reference to
religious practice:
It is unfortunate that we cannot use, as the
Catholic Church does, the lives of the lay saints
for the instruction of our young people. Does not
the life of a philosopher like Spinoza stir up
an extraordinary feeling of admiration [. . . ] ?
(414)
Cajal, however, made extensive use of such "exemplary
lives": Reglas y consejos abounds with references to the lives
and deeds of great scientists and other scholars, both
deceased and contemporary. Cajal recounts the perseverance of
Madame Curie, who having discovered the radioactivity of the
element thorium received the disagreeable news that a German
scientist had only slightly earlier made the same discovery.
Undaunted, she kept up her research. Cajal writes that she
undertook "[. . .] una serie de ingeniosos, pacientes y
heroicos trabajos, cuyo galardón fue el hallazgo de un nuevo
cuerpo, el estupendo radio" [. . .] (42). If some cases,
such as that of Madame Curie, receive an exalted treatment,
many others are presented in a matter-of-fact tone. Cajal
describes his own humble beginnings:
"Therefore since we have so great a cloud of witnesses
surrounding us, let us also cast aside every encumbrance,
and the sin which so easily entangles us, and run with
endurance the race that is set before us [. . .]."
Hebrews 12:1
"This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, [. . .]
that [. . .] you may fight the good fight [. . .]."
1 Timothy 1:18

128
Con las exiguas economías del haber de un
catedrático de provincias [. . .] hubimos nosotros
de crear y mantener, durante quince años, un
laboratorio micrográfico y suficiente biblioteca de
revistas. Nuestro primer microscopio—un Verick
estimable—fue adquirido a plazos. (85)
Worth noting is that Cajal funded his own laboratory in the
1880s and 1890s because he had no other choice. At a time
when universities in England, Germany, France and the United
States routinely provided such materials, the Spanish state
did not consider scientific research worth funding. Neither
did the few Spanish corporations that could have afforded to
sponsor science; valuing "practical applications" over "pure
science," they typically imported technological innovations
when they felt need of them. Cajal continues, explaining
that the "great names" of science worked enthusiastically
despite adverse circumstances:
Notorio es que la mayoría de los descubrimientos
fisiológicos, histológicos, bacteriológicos, etc.,
fueron obra de jóvenes entusiastas, sin nombre y
sin fortuna, que trabajaron en buhardillas o
graneros. [. . .] Faraday, aprendiz de
encuadernador, llevado de su entusiasmo científico,
asentó de mozo en el laboratorio de Davy, alejado
del cual, y sin haber seguido carrera alguna, montó
un centro de investigaciones, del que brotaron
admirables conquistas, renovadoras de la ciencia de
la electricidad. (85-86)
Cajal's desire to write a work encouraging his countrymen to
pursue science predated his acquaintance with Payot's
Education, and Cajal himself credited his father's influence
for much of his persevering, focused character. It cannot be

129
said that Payot had a formative influence on Cajal, but the
French educator's text did influence the composition of Reglas
y consejos.
Cajal's Postscript to the 1899 Edition of the Text
Although the text's development was briefly described early
in this chapter, one aspect of it, Cajal's decision to drop
his 1899 postscript from future editions, requires a more
detailed consideration. Cajal in the preface to the third
edition, that of 1913, wrote that the climate of crisis
occasioned by Spain's defeat in the War of 1898 was past, and
that the postscript would sound "strangely strident" out of
that context: "Fue un grito de dolor, y sabido es que el
corazón angustiado no acompasa sus latidos. Articulo de
circunstancias, no seria oportuno ni discreto reproducirlo
ahora" (1913, xiv). The postscript certainly does reflect
Cajal's pain and passion for his country. In it Cajal wrote
that Spain's defeat and the United States' victory could be
explained in terms of the two countries' respective attitudes
towards science and work: "Una nación rica y poderosa, gracias
a su ciencia y laboriosidad, nos ha rendido casi sin combatir.
[. . .] Una vez más la ciencia, creadora de riqueza y de

130
fuerza, se ha vengado de los que la desconocen y menosprecian"
(1899, 109) .
Cajal's solution for Spain's defeat and prostration was
to "take courage and work!" To the general pessimism of the
time, Cajal opposed an optimistic tone: "Miremos hacia
adelante, alcemos nuestros corazones a la esperanza y
consagrémonos a desenvolver nuestra energías, alentados por la
fe robusta en la virtud redentora del trabajo y en el porvenir
reservado a nuestra raza" (1899, 110-111). Here again can be
seen the redirected religious language so typical of the main
text: encouraged by a (secular) faith in the redeeming value
of work and in the possibilities of their race, Spaniards are
urged to consecrate themselves to the task at hand.
Noteworthy here also is the use of unifying terms like
"nuestra raza," which for rhetorical purposes construct all
the racially diverse Spaniards and Latin Americans as one (for
Cajal, the use of "la raza" virtually always included the
peoples of the former colonies, which he hoped would maintain
an even closer relationship with Spain in the new, "fully-
post-colonial" era).
Cajal continues to promote his solution for Spain's
ills, envisioning the common pursuit of scientific and
industrial progress as a new basis for national unity:

131
¡Que este objetivo sea ardientemente deseado y
claramente sentido por nuestros politicos,
cientificos, agricultores, capitalistas,
industriales, ingenieros, y hasta por los obreros
más humildes, y nuestra redención será una
realidad, y el sol de la gloria acariciará todavia
nuestra mustia bandera [. . . ]. (1899, 112)
Noteworthy here is Cajal's further use of religious language
("redención") with an essentially secular meaning. Where
early modern monarchs had hoped to unify and "redeem" Spain
based on a common adhesion to Roman Catholicism, Cajal
proposes a unity and redemption to be achieved by a common
committment to scientific and material enterprises. In a
manner that could perhaps evoke comparison to the letters to
the seven churches that begin the Revelation to St. John,
Cajal addresses each of the above-mentioned groups with a
special exhortation to rise up and do its part. Politicians
are urged to look beyond selfish and narrow partisan politics.
The scorn of foreigners is held up as a motivation for Spain's
professors to produce Spanish science:
Trabajad hoy más que nunca por la creación de
ciencia original y castizamente española. Si para
la magna y redentora empresa os falta valor [. .
.] tened a la vista [. . .] esas amargas frases de
desprecio [. . .] con que escritores extranjeros
nos han echado mil veces en cara nuestra [. . . ]
incapacidad para la labor científica. (1899, 113)
A certain xenophobic or combative tone continues; certainly
this was part of what Cajal was referring to in the prologue
of his 1913 edition as "extrañas estridencias":

132
Considerad que cada idea nueva, no contrapesada por
otra nacida entre nosotros, es un eslabón más de
nuestra servidumbre mental, es una contribución que
debemos pagar en oro, y que será perpetuamente
cobrada en Berlin, Paris o Londrés. (1899, 115)
This tone also dominates Cajal's exhortation to the
engineers, whom Cajal reminds that every machine not invented
by them but rather imported, drains precious capital from
Spain (1899, 115). The scorn of foreigners is again evoked as
Cajal addresses the working classes: "Si en vuestro pecho late
un corazón patriota, ¿no os avergonzáis al oir cómo los
extranjeros os motejan de inhábiles, de toscos y aun de
holgazanes?" (1899, 115). The aristocratic and wealthy
classes are exhorted not to spend their wealth on selfish
pleasure, nor on "la afición antipatriótica al sport
extranjero," but rather on enterprises beneficial to the
country (1899, 117).
The clergy are also exhorted to work toward the
country's material and scientific well-being, and not to
support useless wars which would only bleed Spain dry of men
and capital. A note of humor helps Cajal illustrate the
ironic result of such conflicts: "Con el triunfo lograrlas
acaso poblar de españoles el cielo; pero de fijo, y con gran
contentamiento de los herejes, quedarían muy pocos españoles
en la tierra" (1899, 119). A final exhortation is made to the
youth of Spain to consider every foreign book in which Spanish

133
names are not cited as a goad to act toward their country's
renovation, and to see imported technology as a recrimination
against Spanish negligence and smallness of mind (1899, 120-
121). Cajal closes expressing the hope that Spaniards would
strive until "[. . .] la ciencia se enriquezca con nuevas
verdades y la bandera patria se ilustre con nuevos blasones"
(1899, 122). This optimistic and forward-looking attitude was
exceptional amidst the general mood of pessimism in turn-of-
the-century Spain. Cajal's xenophobic and combative tone,
which could seem to merely reflect general attitudes of his
countrymen, is not, however, vague and spiteful, but rather
employed in a focused way to motivate productive work. This
is in keeping with Cajal's conviction that the will, being a
sentimental power, is activated in part by stirring up
motivating passions.
Conclusion
It can be seen that throughout Reglas y consejos Cajal
uses a "centripetal" discursive strategy, in which metaphor
and simile are central, to associate the scientific quest with
themes central to traditional Spanish culture. Explaining the
pursuit of a new and different type of knowledge in terms of
what is familiar, Cajal seeks to transfer to science much of

134
the motivating passion and meaning traditionally accorded to
religion, adventure and exploration, patriotism, and even the
romantic quest, in Spanish culture. The patriotic, quasi¬
religious pursuit of science for the betterment of Spain is
discreetly held up as an alternative to the traditional
españolista nationalism of Menéndez y Pelayo and others, which
had kept science marginalized, and too often was content with
looking backward to Spain's past glories.
In this alternative, "positive" nationalism, an ideal
of a materially prosperous Spain replaces the more
spiritualized "Christian empire" vision of Spanish
traditionalists. Indeed, in the post-1898, fully-post-
colonial era of Spain's history, Cajal's hope was for a new
unity between the mother country and her former colonies,
based on mutual, cooperative efforts in science. Here again in
Cajal's vision the pursuit of science displaces the unifying
role traditionally given to religion. Using in many places
the language of religion, Cajal's Reglas y consejos is a sort
of secular devotional guide, in which patriotic self-culture
displaces traditional Catholic religious devotion.
The following chapter will examine several other texts
of Cajal in order to determine whether this usage of
metaphorical language as part of a strategy of transfer of

135
meaning and emotion is unique to Reglas y consejos or whether
such language and tactics appear throughout Cajal's writings.

CHAPTER 4
ANALYSIS OF OTHER TEXTS OF CAJAL
Introduction
In Reglas y consejos Cajal strategically employs
metaphorical religious language, allusions to traditional
Spanish literary figures and cultural leitmotifs, and
appeals to patriotic passion, in order to explain
scientific research and to make it seem attractive. This
chapter will consider whether other texts of Cajal also
employ such a multi-faceted and comprehensive strategy, or
whether Reglas y consejos can be judged unique among
Cajal's texts. Specifically, analysis will be made of
Cajal's autobiography, Recuerdos de mi vida; of El mundo
visto a los ochenta años: impresiones de un
arteriosclerótico, published in 1932; of Charlas de café:
pensamientos, anécdotas y confidencias, published in 1921;
of the story, "El hombre natural y el hombre artificial,"
from Cajal's Cuentos de vacaciones: narraciones
pseudocientificas, written in the 1880s and published for
limited distribution in 1905, and of several other texts.
The latter texts include two speeches given by Cajal at
136

137
ceremonies in his honor, a prologue he wrote in 1905 for
Enrique Lluria's Evolución superorqánica, and an article
written in 1898 for the Madrid newspaper El Liberal on the
occasion of Spain's defeat in the Spanish-American War.
In considering these other texts, it should be
remembered that Cajal was an avid reader throughout his
life. At his death, his personal library—his "botica
espiritual," as he had called it (Charlas 66)—contained
some ten thousand volumes. Not merely a library of
science, it included a great many works of philosophy,
history, psychology, fiction, and numerous other subjects
(Rodriguez Puértolas 100). Although Cajal lived and wrote
during the fin de siécle period with its diverse
innovations in literature and the arts, he appears to have
preferred an essentially "realistic" perspective in such
matters. In the thirteenth chapter of his miscellany, El
mundo visto a los ochenta años. Impresiones de un
arteriosclerótico, entitled, "La degeneración de las
artes," Cajal roundly criticized departures from realism:
Durante mi fase de madurez—hace veinticinco
o treinta años—los buenos pintores, fieles
al concepto clásico de la exacta
representación objetiva, no incompatible
con un sano idealismo, copiaban fielmente
la Naturaleza.[. . .] Pero, ¡oh desilusión!
Durante estos últimos veinticinco años,
nos han invadido los bárbaros, nacidos casi
todos en Francia, Alemania, Holanda y

138
Escandinavia. Menospreciando las enseñanzas
acumuladas por dos mil años de tanteos y
progresos, han tratado de envilecer
nuestros museos y exposiciones con los
engendros más disparatados e insinceros.
(110)
Also noteworthy here is Cajal's identification of the new
trends (evidently the currents of modernismo, as in the
work of painter Salvador Dali) as something essentially
foreign, as though no genuinely Spanish manifestations of
such works existed; one almost hears an echo of Menéndez
Pelayo's identification of heterodoxy and foreignness, on
the one hand, and orthodoxy and Spanishness, on the other.
Julio Rodriguez Puértolas interprets Cajal's point
of view as a product of his nineteenth-century formation:
"Parece claro que Cajal identificaba en buena medida arte
y literatura con realismo, al modo típico del siglo XIX"
(101). Curiously, however, Rodriguez also identifies Cajal
as part of the so-called "Generation of 1898" writers,
about whom it is hard to generalize but who typically
sought to part with established nineteenth-century
literary traditions: "[. . .] Cajal se integra por razones
históricas e ideológicas dentro de lo que suele llamarse
generación del 98, y ello pese a haber nacido antes que
Unamuno, Azorín, Machado, etc. [. . .]"(99). In a chapter
of Baroja y otras figuras del 98 entitled "Cajal y la

139
generación del noventa y ocho," Luís Sánchez Granjel notes
that Gregorio Marañón considered Cajal a part of that
group, and cites Marañón: "Cajal, por su edad, por sus
inquietudes políticas y sociales, por los matices de su
españolismo, por su literatura y por los modos de su obra
científica es quizás el más puro representante de la
generación del 98" (Sánchez Granjel 229). Sánchez,
however, excludes Cajal from the Generation of 1898
writers mainly on the point of age, asserting that because
Cajal was twelve years older than Unamuno, the oldest
writer typically grouped with the noventayochistas, Cajal
should not be included (229).
However, the most outstanding reason for not
identifying Cajal as a member of the Generation of 1898
seems to be his fundamental rejection of novelty in
matters literary and artistic; in other words, his
continued preference for literary and artistic realism.
Sánchez does find many grounds on which to postulate at
least some affinity or relationship between Cajal and the
Generation of 1898 writers. Among these are Cajal's
reinvigoration of scientific prose, his love of the
Castilian countryside and his desire for national
regeneration, a desire also expressed by many of the
noventayochistas (231-239). Indeed, Cajal read much of

140
what was written by his contemporaries and at times agreed
with them; in a letter to Miguel de Unamuno dated March
26, 1913, he wrote:
Puede que en algunos puntos secundarios
haya divergencias entre las ideas de V. y
las mias sobre el plan de elevación
intelectual de España; pero creo que en lo
esencial coincidimos. Trabajamos en campos
diferentes y por eso nos impresiona más
aquella parte o sector de decadencia y
atraso situado cerca de nosotros, o en la
corriente de nuestros gustos. Somos, en
fin, diversos pero complementarios. Lo
mucho y exquisito que dice V. en su libro
Mi religión etc. (que por desgracia lei
después de redactada mi libro)1 lo suscribo
yo casi por entero. (Garcia Blanco 10)
These words from Cajal's own pen perhaps offer the best
definition of his relationship to his more literary
contemporaries: "Somos, en fin, diversos pero
complementarios." The following examination of Cajal's
other texts will confirm his preference for realism; as
with Reglas y consejos, Cajal made apt uses of established
literary models and techniques, disdaining fundamental
innovations of form.
Recuerdos de mi vida
In the prologue to Recuerdos de mi vida, Cajal
noted that the genre of autobiography had come into vogue

141
in Spain in the last few years of the nineteenth century.
He explained: "Yo fui entonces un caso de contagio de la
general epidemia [. . adding that he had discerned a
desire on the part of some friends to learn about his
formative years (iii).Francisco Sánchez Blanco relates
this growth in popularity of autobiography in Spain during
the nineteenth century to the post-Napoleonic social
instability, the growth of a mass culture of popular
political opinion, and the consequent need on the part of
public figures to strive for a favorable public image. In
the environment of social and political instability that
followed the Napoleonic invasion, Sánchez writes that the
Spaniards of the nineteenth century "se ven precisados a
justificar sus actuaciones ante una instancia anónima como
es el público. El horizonte no está reducido ya a la
sentencia del Rey o a la reputación que se tiene en la
Corte o en su estamento social" (634). A relatively
contemporaneous example of this could be the Minuta de un
testamento of Gumersindo de Azcárate, written in 1876 as a
sort of autobiograpical defense of Krausism after the
Restoration education minister Orovio had expelled
Azcárate and other Krausists from their university posts.
'Cajal was probably referring to the third edition of
Reglas y consejos, which had just been finished.

142
This concept of autobiography squares at least partly with
one of Cajal's evident purposes in writing, that is, to
give an account of his life and work that demythified,
"brought down to earth," his "greater-than-life" public
image in early twentieth-century Spain.
In keeping with this purpose, a generally modest
tone marks the text; Cajal states: "Resolví escribir la
historia de una vida vulgar, tan pobre de peripecias
atrayentes como fértil en desilusiones y contrariedades"
(iii). At the same time, Cajal wrote, he wanted to
present "un caso de psicología individual" and "cierta
critica razonada de nuestro regimen docente" (iii).
Indeed, in many places the narration is interrupted by
digressions which treat developmental psychology,
pedagogy, or similar social issues.
In Recuerdos Cajal narrates at great length his
juvenile rebellion against authority figures and the
punishments he incurred, with a dry humor and detailed
descriptions that could invite comparison with Spain's
picaresque literature of earlier centuries. Cajal
explicitly compares himself with Pablos, the central
character of Quevedo's El buscón (43).2 Pedro Lain
2
The full text is as follows:

143
Entralgo, in his essay, "Cajal, estudiante," has remarked
that "[. . .] el niño Cajal dio unitaria y casi armónica
realidad a los dos arquetipos literarios que el siglo XIX
puso sobre la cabeza del adolescente: el «Tom Sawyer» de
Mark Twain y el «Gianneto» o «Juanito» de Parravicini"
(281) .
Carlos Castilla del Pino theorizes about Cajal's
motive for this extensive narration of his juvenile
rebellion. He relates it to the "mythification" of Cajal's
person that took place after he had won an international
reputation, and wrote that Cajal sought to ''demythify" his
public image. Certainly a greater-than-life public image
would have been counter-productive to his desire to
encourage young people to follow the same path. Castilla
comments: "[Cajal] escribió los Recuerdos de mi vida para
decirnos que era un hombre como cualquier otro [. . .] se
autodesmitificó para hacer la más ejemplar pedagogía,
porque es obvio que un mito es un mito, y, en
Decia a Pablos su tio el verdugo de Segovia: 'Mira,
con lo que sabes de latin y retórica, serás singular en
el arte del verdugo.' Esta frase graciosa de Quevedo,
que parece una chuscada, encierra un fondo de verdad.
Los rápidos progresos que yo hice en la vida airada de
pedreas y asaltos, de ataques a la propiedad pública y
privada, prueban, sin duda, que la geografía, la
gramática, la cosmografía y los rudimentos de física con
que mi padre habla espabilado mis entendederas, entraron
por algo en mis hazañas de mozalbete. (43)

144
consecuencia, inalcanzable e inimitable" (13). If
Castilla is correct, Recuerdos has similarities with
Reglas y consejos, which although not an autobiography,
refers to its author's experiences and aims at a general
demythification of science and scientists. Cajal does not
mention this larger purpose of Recuerdos in its prologue,
but other scholars of Cajal have concurred with the
opinion of Castilla,3 and an examination of the text
supports the claim.
A further similarity with Reglas y consejos is that
in several places throughout the text of Recuerdos, one
finds the redirected religious language typical of Reglas.
In the prologue to Recuerdos, Cajal refers to obstacles
that the young may face as they seek to "[. . .] colaborar
en la magna y redentora empresa de la cultura patria"
(iv). Here as in his other uses of the word, Cajal does
not mean "redemption" in the biblical sense of restoration
from a sinful condition, but rather a material and
psychological renewal. Describing his father's legacy to
him, Cajal mentions "la religión de la voluntad soberana,"
and "la fe en el trabajo" (3). He does not, however, mean
3 See, for example, Pedro Lain Entralgo's introduction to
Agustin Albarracin's Santiago Ramón y Cajal o la pasión
de España. Barcelona: Editorial Labor, 1982. 9-30.

145
an orthodox Catholic religion or faith, rather a strong-
willed devotion to and faith in human work.
Recounting his early exposure to patriotic
sentiment and heroic tales of Spain's past, Cajal mentions
how such tales inspire the young to "[. . .] emular a las
grandes figuras de la historia y de sacrificarse, si
preciso fuera, en el altar sagrado de la patria" (27).
Here and throughout Cajal's texts the object of
sacrificial devotion is not God or the Church, but rather
the nation. The 1860 local celebration of the Spanish
capture of Tetuan in Morocco was a secular "comunión
patriótica" (26). After marvelling at the exact
prediction of the eclipse of 1860, Cajal wrote that he
became aware that humankind had in science a "redentor
heroico y poderoso" (34). Describing his reaction to
reading Robinson Crusoe, Cajal referred to the
protagonist's labors as "los milagros de la voluntad y del
trabajo inteligente" (135). Here as elsewhere, when Cajal
uses the word, "milagros," he means not any kind of divine
intervention into human affairs but only the possibly
surprising good results of focused and persistent work.
In the second part of Recuerdos, subtitled Historia
de mi labor científica, Cajal explained that he had chosen
histology in part because it was a less expensive field

146
than others, and remarked: "Tal fue la consideración,
harto prosaica y terrena, que me obligó a guardar
fidelidad a la religión de la célula [. . .]" (42). Here
as elsewhere in Cajal's texts this use of "religión"
indicates a disciplined but distinctly secular devotion.
This secular devotion is seen again as Cajal explains his
desire to live and work in a large city: "Para el hombre
votado a una idea y resuelto a ofrendarle toda su
actividad, las ciudades grandes son preferibles a las
pequeñas" (63). Regarding the inculcation of such an
attitude in Spain's youth it would be necessary to "[. .
.] inocular con el ejemplo el fuego sagrado de la
indagación personal" (343) .
The use of metaphors and similes drawn from
subjects other than religion has been pointed out in
Reglas y consejos; it can also be observed in Recuerdos,
although less frequently. Sometimes Cajal draws on
stereotypical images; referring to his attitude and that
of his boyhood friends, he writes that "la ciencia se nos
aparecia como espléndida antorcha capaz de disipar todos
los enigmas del Cosmos" (vii). Referring to the
lightning that had struck his village's church, killing
its priest and sowing in Cajal seeds of doubt about the
Creator's existence and benevolence, he wrote that: "La

147
riente paleta del sublime Artista se entenebrece;
inopinadamente, el idilio se trueca en tragedia" (31).
Cajal's own passion for art and drawing provided an
original touch on the commonplace idea of the "Creator-as-
artist." Referring to the sad consequences of human
ignorance of nature, Cajal offered a comparison drawn from
ancient mythology: "[• • •] la naturaleza procede muchas
veces como aquella famosa esfinge de Tebas, tan citada por
literatos y filósofos, la cual decia al caminante:
'Adiviname o te devoro'" (34).
Describing teachers of the reform school in Jaca to
which his father had sent him, Cajal noted that some
instructors in the higher levels were pleasant and
friendly, but the teacher of the beginning classes was
brutal and almost inhuman. Here again a comparison, to
sharpening stones, illustrated his point:
Obedeciendo, sin duda, a la regia del
perfecto amolador, que consiste en hacer
la primera afiladura del cuchillo con la
piedra de asperón más basta, para acabar
de repasarlo con las más finas y suaves,
el claustro de Jaca encargó muy sabiamente
el desbaste de los alumnos de primer año al
más áspero desbravador de inteligencias.
(74-75)
Following this mildly humorous comparison Cajal added
dryly that the new students "[. . .] comprendimos que las

148
tiernas y suaves reconvenciones maternas no iban a tener
en el padre Jacinto un continuador" (75).
Cajal metaphorically referred to Father Jacinto
as an executioner, and added another point of humor:
"¡Cuántas veces, caido a los pies de mi verdugo, que
blandia amenazadora su potente correa, maldije de los
bárbaros del Norte, que no supieron acabar con el latin,
como acabaron con los latinos!" (76). Describing the
incorrigible attitude of the boys at another school he
later attended, Cajal employed a somewhat racist
comparison to savages as he recalled the teacher's useless
reprimands: "[. . .] oiamos sus severas reprimendas con
la misma edificación con que debe oir una tribu de
salvajes al heroico misionero a quien esperan merendarse"
(106). Regarding his intensive but superficial cramming
for an examination, Cajal used an extended metaphorical
comparison to fireworks:
Logré [. . .] tener prontas y a punto de ser
quemadas, unas cuantas carretillas de fuegos
artificiales, es decir, de castillos de
palabras enlazadas como los cohetes de traca
valenciana. Todo consistió en que el
examinador pusiese el dedo en el principio
del artificio pirotécnico, y en que la
emoción no me mojase la pólvora.
Desgraciadamente, la pólvora se mojó. (177)
The language of Recuerdos, like that of Reglas y
consejos, occasionally turns poetic; Cajal, in reference

149
to the plainness of his native village, describes it as
"[. . .] la decoración austera con que la Naturaleza hirió
mi retina virgen y desentumeció mi cerebro"(8). Here one
can see a type of defamiliarization in which the act of
sight is poeticized with a combination of medical and
sexual language. Cajal employs similar imagery in
describing his departure from the village after a return
visit as an adult, mentioning his sadness at the fact that
"[. . .] aquella decoración romántica que acarició mis
ojos y mi cerebro al abrirse por primera vez al
espectáculo del mundo no impresionarla nuevamente mi
retina [. . .]" (14). Describing elsewhere the primitive
state of surgery in the days of his youth, Cajal noted
that surgical success depended on the surgeon keeping a
clear mind in the ''solemne momento de desflorar la
virginidad de los órganos" (187). Here as elsewhere the
sexual language seeks to give meaning to the experiences
described, and reinforces Cajal's conception of science
and related professions as essentially masculine
endeavors.
Recuerdos de mi vida was written with a purpose
partially parallel to that of Reglas y consejos, and some
of the same discursive tactics, such as the metaphorical
use of religious language, are employed. However,

150
Recuerdos does not employ the strategy of meaning-transfer
aiming at "centripetal" ideological movement for science
in Spanish culture that is seen in Reglas y consejos.
Some re-directed religious language occurs in Recuerdos,
but far less frequently than in Reglas y consejos. Also,
the re-directed religious language that does occur does
not appear to have the same sort of relationship to an
overall discursive strategy. However, the basic metaphoric
dynamic of a secularizing transfer of meaning is still
present in the language.
El mundo visto a los ochenta años
El mundo visto a los ochenta años: impresiones de
un arteriosclerótico was published shortly before Cajal's
death in 1934. In its prologue Cajal wrote that he
intended to "Cotejar dos estados sociales separados por un
intervalo de sesenta años" (18). Truly a miscellany, the
work opens with several chapters that discuss, in Cajal's
words, "las tribulaciones del anciano" (21). Maladies
affecting vision, hearing, sleep, memory and other bodily
functions are explained and lamented, often in a rather
technical medical language. Cajal's style in this portion
is straightforward and expository, with little poetic tone
or metaphoric language. Discussing the old man's loss of

151
memory, Cajal does refer metaphorically to "the film of
the past:" "A despecho de la atención exploradora, la
cinta cinematográfica del pasado sufre sorprendentes
mutilaciones, que disminuyen nuestra capacidad mental [. .
.]" (43). However, such language is rare in the first
section of the text.
The second section turns away from the medical
musings of the earlier chapters and offers a survey of
Spain's moral and cultural climate of the early 1930s in
comparison with that of Cajal's youth. Cajal notes rapid
urban growth and laments the disappearance of familiar
older buildings. Lamented also are numerous changes in
the Spanish language, neologisms which Cajal labels
"barbarismos y galicismos" (55). Even in questions of
language Cajal displays the "ethic of patriotism"
discussed in the previous chapter of this study, writing
that "Hay que suscitar en nuestros noveles licenciados la
emoción patriótica de la pureza y limpidez del lenguaje
nacional" (60).
In a section entitled "Las costumbres," Cajal
laments the modern dedication to spectator sports and the
resultant newspaper coverage with photographs of athletes
jumping in extreme poses. An avid amateur photographer
from the age of eighteen, Cajal's language turned

152
somewhat poetic as he recorded his reaction: "¡Oh sublime
descubrimiento de Daguerre y admirable proceder del
fotograbado en media tinta de Meisenbach, en qué triviales
y vulgares menesteres has caldo!" (68). Regarding the
invention of the airplane, Cajal, concerned with its
dangers, remarked metaphorically that: "Huelga decir que
al nuevo Moloch de la ciencia aplicada se sacrifican
anualmente centenares de victimas" (79). In the same vein
he noted dryly that vehicles powered by the internal
combustion engine, with their resultant deaths in
accidents, amounted to a means of population control (79).
In other chapters devoted to cultural issues, Cajal
returns, albeit with fairly plain language, to his
favorite leitmotifs, such as Spain's need to have its own
industries, inventing and producing goods for Spaniards.
In the twelfth chapter, entitled "La atonia del
patriotismo integral," Cajal protested against trends
toward regional independence. His centralist attitude and
sympathy for Castile inspired a poetic lament: "¡Y pobre
Castilla, la eterna abandonada por Reyes y Gobiernos! [. .
.] Vedla prosternada y sumisa una vez más, a los pies de
sus ambiciosos explotadores, para quienes representa
simple colonia industrial"(99). In one of the few uses of
redirected religious language in the text of El mundo

153
visto a los ochenta años, Cajal conceded that he could
agree with the concession of certain regional privileges,
but only "[. . .] a condición de que no rocen en lo más
mínimo el sagrado principio de la unidad nacional" (104) .
In further chapters Cajal turns back to medical and
scientific matters, discussing theories about aging and
death in a straightforward, unanimated prose. The final
chapters deal with "palliatives and consolations for the
elderly." After mentioning that one would do well to live
near a well-stocked pharmacy, Cajal added, "Sin olvidar
una variada y copiosa biblioteca—esa botica moral
inestimable [. . .]" (162).
Such occasional uses of metaphor are typical of the
work, in which metaphor, simile and other types of
comparison do not stand out as a primary discursive
resource, in contrast to other texts of Cajal. In
addition, since the work is a miscellany whose twenty-one
chapters are unified mainly by having a common author and
a nostalgic, melancholy tone, one neither expects nor
finds an overall discursive strategy.
Charlas de Café
Charlas de café: pensamientos, anécdotas y
confidencias was first published in 1921; it went through

154
four editions during Cajal's lifetime. Like El mundo visto
a los ochenta años, it is a miscellany, in this case one
which may be assigned to the well-known genre of
collections of witticisms and aphorisms. In the prologue
to the third edition Cajal asserts that the work is a
collection of ideas and opinions expressed in heated
coffee-house discussions, compiled during his many years
of attendance at such social gatherings. Cajal, in the
face of criticism of the work, claimed that "[. . .] la
mayoría de las ideas contenidas en este librito son
verdaderas humoradas [. . .]. No tiro, pues, a adoctrinar,
sino a entretener y, cuando más, a sugerir" (11). However,
this sounds rather like the concept of "teaching while
entertaining" the reader, and one can read between the
lines something of Cajal's desire for what Ortega might
call "social pedagogy," a desire to inculcate certain
ideas among the general reading public. Among the many
disparate observations and reflections in Charlas, one can
also see several of Cajal's leitmotifs, such as Spain's
need for educational reform, the importance of the pursuit
of science, ridicule of an encyclopedic mentality, and the
need for self-cultivation.
The partially jocular character alleged by Cajal
may be seen in many of the observations made in the

155
second chapter, titled, "Sobre el amor y las mujeres."
Cajal affirmed that a woman's obesity was a guarantee of
fidelity and added that: "Dejando a un lado el impudor
artistico que supondria la exhibición de formas larvares,
harto tiene el corazón de las orondas matronas con irrigar
varias arrobas de paniculo adiposo" (53). Despite such
attempts at humor, most of the second chapter simply
perpetuates traditional stereotypes of gender roles and
traits.
In the fifth chapter, titled, "Sobre el genio, el
talento y la necedad," one begins to see more of Cajal's
leitmotifs. An image of the practically-minded Sancho
Panza serves Cajal as he criticizes Spanish rejection of
science:
El gran defecto de los españoles de antaño
fue siempre el desdén hacia el idealismo filosófico
y cientifico. Diriase que las robustas posaderas de
Sancho cabalgaron sobre los hombros del genio
patrio, obligándole a inclinar cabeza y ojos hacia
la tierra. (94-5)
Here the criticism is softened by the mildly humorous
imagery. In the same chapter Cajal employs a masculinist
and imperialist language similar to that of Reglas y
consejos as he praises the capacity for work of the
"grandes talentos": "Además, no hay placer comparable al

156
de sentir el alcance de la propia fuerza y de su señorio
sobre las cosas y los hombres" (102).
Cajal throughout his life was concerned with issues
of education, and the eighth chapter of Charlas, titled
"Pensamientos de tendencia pedagógica y educativa,"
develops many of his favorite ideas. Worth noting is that
in 1931 Cajal was among a number of Spanish writers and
intellectuals who took part in a voice-recording project
at the Residencia de Estudiantes in Madrid.4 Seventy-nine
years old at the time, Cajal would have understood that
this would likely be the only recording of his voice for
posterity; his choice of what to read into the microphone
can reasonably be assumed to have been a careful one.
Nearly everything Cajal read came from the eighth chapter
of Charlas de café; he titled the brief speech,
"Pensamientos de tendencia educativa."
In this material of the eighth chapter one observes
the pattern seen throughout Cajal's texts: when expounding
upon his favorite ideas, his prose becomes highly
metaphorical and sometimes poetic, and often draws upon
redirected religious language. Regarding the duty of
4 These recordings, along with a transcript of them, were
published in 1989 as a set of LP records by Spain's
Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, under
the title Archivo de la palabra.

157
self-cultivation, he wrote, "Si hay algo en nosotros
verdaderamente divino, es la voluntad. Por ella afirmamos
la personalidad, templamos el carácter, desafiamos la
adversidad, y nos superamos diariamente" (154). Cajal
employs an imperialist language when he refers to the
potential of the human brain: " [el] cerebro, soberano
instrumento de acción consciente" (155). Warning against
the possibly corrupting influence of the social milieu, he
employed an extended simile:
El tumulto de la vida social suele obrar sobre
las cabezas humanas débiles como el rio sobre un
cristal de cuarzo: arrastrado y golpeado por la
corriente, conviértese, al fin, en vulgar canto
rodado. Quien desee conservar incólumes las
brillantes facetas de su espíritu, recójase
pronto en el remanso de la soledad, tan propicio
a la actividad creadora. (157)
Later in the chapter, employing religious language, Cajal
writes, "¡Santa fatiga del trabajo, Tú nos traes el sueño
reparador, único consuelo del pobre, del perseguido y del
postergado" (157).
Writing that one should not become too enamored of
one's own work, Cajal metaphorically remarks, "¡Nada de
embriagarse con el propio vino, bueno o malo!" (158)
Regarding one of his favorite targets for ridicule--a
speculative, anti-empirical mentality—Cajal employed a
note of humor: "Quien se entrega exclusivamente a la

158
especulación recuerda al cazador que, fiado en su dominio
teórico de la escopeta, en vez de cobrar un ciervo mata al
perro" (158). Returning to the idea of self-cultivation,
Cajal refers to the self-sculpted "new man": "Existen dos
variedades humanas, de valor harto desigual: el hombre
rebañiego, modelado por la tradición y la rutina, y el
hombre nuevo, formado por la autorreflexión" (159).
To the degree that Charlas de café exhibits a
general discursive strategy, it is simply the time-honored
technique of "teaching while entertaining" the reader, in
which didactic content is intermingled with notes of
humor. Within that general approach, one sees throughout
Charlas Cajal's typical uses of metaphorical language.
"El hombre natural y el hombre artificial"
Cajal wrote "El hombre natural y el hombre
artificial" in the mid-1880s but did not publish it until
1905, when it appeared with four other stories under the
title Cuentos de vacaciones: narraciones
pseudocientificas; even then Cajal limited the
collection's distribution to a small number of friends.
The story consists of a dialogue between two old friends
who after many years apart meet by chance at a Paris
sidewalk café. Successful inventor and businessman Jaime

159
Miralta, the "hombre natural," comforts and counsels his
depressed friend, Esperaindeo Carcabuey, the "hombre
artificial," who has thus far failed at life. Esperaindeo
relates to Jaime his loss of confidence in his former
religious beliefs:
En mi conciencia comienzan a deshacerse
muchas cosas que crei axiomáticas e
inconmovibles. . . Y tú vas a ayudarme. . .,
si. . ., porque sólo un hombre como tú,
modelado por el propio esfuerzo y dotado de
poderosa individualidad y de invencible
energía, puede asistirme. . . (162)
At the dialogue's end Esperaindeo comes around to Jaime's
secular viewpoint and accepts the offer of a job with
Jaime's company.
Esperaindeo makes an exposition of Jaime's virtues:
he is a practical, self-made man who has prevailed through
strength of will and hard work. From this, one who is
familiar with Cajal's leitmotifs begins to see that Cajal
is employing his characters as mouthpieces for the ideas
he seeks to promote. Also quickly apparent is the
allegorical nature of the two characters; Jaime Miralta
represents the man given to the study of natural phenomena
and scientific and industrial progress, strong and
decisive. His last name, "Miralta," suggests looking to
high ideals. The first part of Esperaindeo's ridiculous-
sounding name comes out as "hope in God"; his patronym

160
means "reactionary ox." Weak-willed, docile and timid, he
has pursued religion, scholastic philosophy and the art of
rhetoric, and has failed at his life's endeavours. The
term "hombre artificial" of the story's title implies a
criticism of Esperaindeo and of religious perspectives in
general. Its more concrete application to Esperaindeo
derives from his confession to Jaime that he was the
product of the artificial insemination of his mother: "Soy
hijo, pues, de mi madre y de una jeringuilla" (163).
Although Cajal's sexual imagery generally carries a
positive tone, here it is used satirically.
Also artificial was Esperaindeo's education; in a
confession to Jaime that illustrates the tendentious tone
of the story, Esperaindeo declares:
[. . .] los que me rodeaban, en vez de
despertar el dormido entendimiento con
algunas noticias claras y elementales de las
realidades de aqui abajo, poblaron mi
fantasia de conceptos abstractos y de
imágenes de seres invisibles habitadores de
lo alto. (164)
A religious, "other-worldly" mentality is held up to
further ridicule when Esperaindeo later relates that his
parents, in a time of financial trouble, were swindled out
of what remained of their estate precisely when they were
absent on a pilgrimage to Lourdes to beg protection and
help from the Virgin (175) .

161
Having finished the exposition of his life's woes,
Esperaindeo cries out: "Asisteme en la obra de demoler [.
. .] las construcciones fantásticas levantadas en mi alma
por la tradición [. . .]. Haz de mi un trabajador, un
hombre útil y moderno" (181). Jaime, who up to this point
has mostly listened to his old friend, proceeds to tell
his own life's story. Here one begins to see some of the
re-directed religious and imperialist language
("soberano") that Cajal would later employ in Reglas y
consejos; Jaime describes the joy resulting from full
development of one's faculties:
[. . .] cuando todas las células cerebrales,
entumecidas por el desuso, incorporen sus
vibrantes expansiones y entonen himno
clamoroso al trabajo redentor, entonces
comprenderás todo el sublime orgullo y
soberano deliquio que hay en esta frase
profundamente religiosa: "Libre soy, vivo de
mis obras y, gracias a mi labor, la
humanidad tendrá un poco más de placer y
algo menos de dolor[. . .](182)
A hymn is sung, not to God, but to "redeeming work;" the
religious attitude referred to is not a dedication to the
Divine but to the betterment of humanity. Freedom is not
freedom from sin, but a freedom to work and exercise one's
capacities to the fullest.
Later in the dialogue, after stating his admiration
for the moral principles of Christianity, Jaime relates

162
that at one time he had tried and failed to find
scientific support for Christian doctrines. He concludes:
" [. . .] surgió en mi alma la convicción desoladora de que
el hecho fundamental sobre que se basa todo el rutilante
alcázar del cristianismo, es decir, la inspiración divina
de las Santas Escrituras, constituye una formidable
equivocación [. . .]" (194). After Jaime has finished
speaking, Esperaindeo experiences a type of secular
conversion: "Tus sanas y vivificantes exhortaciones acaban
de transformarme en otro hombre" (220-221). Cajal then has
him exclaim: "¡Cuán pocos y, sin embargo, cuán necesarios
son en la pobre España caracteres de tal temple, politicos
viriles y patrióticos como Jaime!" (222) . Here again in
Cajal's use of the term, "viriles," may be seen his
frequent application of sexual language in praise of
qualities that he valued.
In consideration of statements such as Jaime's
denial of the Bible's divine inspiration one can better
understand Cajal's original reluctance to publish the
stories and his decision in 1905, nearly twenty years
later, to limit distribution of the Cuentos de vacaciones
to a few sympathetic friends. In the Spain of the late-
nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, the reaction of

163
the general public would undoubtedly have been strongly
negative, and perhaps detrimental to his career.
Although it displays many of the leitmotifs found
in Reglas y consejos, and a modest amount of the re¬
directed religious and imperialist language of Reglas y
consejos, "El hombre natural y el hombre artificial"
operates with a different discursive tactic. Essentially
an allegorical colloquium, it derives its rhetorical force
from the dialogue between the two principal characters,
who in a rather simplistic fashion serve as mouthpieces
for Cajal's opinions. Cajal's claim regarding his 1905
withdrawal of the collection of stories from distribution,
that the stories were of scant literary merit, can be seen
as at least partly correct. Both characters are
stereotypical, and the tendentious narrative lacks the
subtlety that characterizes Cajal's later work.
The strident anti-religious tone of "El hombre
natural. . and the redirection of religious language in
many of Cajal's texts is seen in other Spanish writings of
the late nineteenth century; in an anonymous 1889 article
in La bandera roja, a communist writer declares,
Para nosotros, Dios es el hombre, el templo
la Universidad, la religión la ciencia, los
sacerdotes los profesores, el confesionario
la cátedra, la fe la investigación, el
fanatismo un incondicionado amor al

164
progreso y la esperanza de otro mundo mejor
el constante anhelo de que llegue el
ansiado momento de la evolución. (Litvak
301)
Lily Litvak affirms, as noted in a previous chapter of
this study, that, "Para los libertarios del siglo XIX y
principios del XX, la ciencia se convirtió en una nueva
religión. Siguiendo los pasos del positivismo
decimonónico, trasladaron su esperanza de la fe a la
ciencia" (301).
Prologue to Evolución superorgánica
A rare look at Cajal's ideas on matters social and
political is afforded by his statements in a prologue he
wrote for his friend Dr. Enrique Lluria's book Evolución
superorgánica (1905). As the title may suggest, Lluria's
text dealt with an adaptation of the theory of biological
evolution to human society at large. Cajal in the
prologue writes approvingly of the socialist ideas
expressed by Lluria: "Tiene su autor razón que le sobra al
declarar que la Humanidad actual [. . .] se ha apartado
desdeñosamente de la Naturaleza, habiendo ocasionado esta
sistemática y perpetua violación de las leyes evolutivas,
irritantes desigualdades y torturantes dolores y miserias"
(39). Cajal continues: "Urge, pues, según el Dr. Lluria

165
declara, reintegrar el hombre en las leyes de la
evolución, devolver el capital, secuestrado en beneficio
de unos pocos, al acervo común de la colectividad [. . .]"
(40). Cajal, who usually refrained from publicly
expressing controversial ideas, perhaps felt that such a
prologue would be a place of sufficiently "low profile"
that little controversy would be generated.
Cajal saw the pursuit of science as the driving
force of a type of progress that would reintegrate
humankind into evolutionary laws, and waxed elocuent in
describing a possible future. Here Cajal employs the re¬
directed religious language so typical of his style of
discourse. He refers at one point to "[. . .] la
abnegación sublime de los héroes y el genio portentoso de
los redentores científicos" (41). Cajal again refers to
this secular redemption as he postulates a future
condition of human unity and equality:
[. . .] cuando, en fin, redimidos por la
solidaridad y el amor, todos nos sintamos
ondas de una misma corriente vital, células
hermanas de un mismo cuerpo. . .¿qué
significado tendrán las palabras rico y
pobre, señor y esclavo, feliz y desdichado?
(42)
Cajal continues to elaborate this secular vision of an
earthly paradise, referring to "(. . .] los luminosos
horizontes que su autor nos descorre al evocar, con visión

166
profética, la sociedad futura menospreciadora del capital
individual y atenida al culto de la Naturaleza [. .
(42). Expounding his "faith" in a sort of secular
fulfillment of the biblical idea of human dominion over
the planet, Cajal writes: "Esclava [sic] primero de las
fuerzas cósmicas que esculpieron, con dolorosas
mordeduras, el dédalo de sus vias asociativas, el cerebro
humano está destinado a convertirse un dia en tirano de
✓ 5
esa misma energia natural a que debe su aparición" (43).
Although this prologue is a brief document that by its
nature does not employ an extensive discursive strategy,
Cajal did use the redirected religious language typical of
Reglas y consejos as he approvingly discussed Lluria's
analysis of social problems and future trends.
"A patria chica, alma grande"
In November of 1900 Cajal was honored at a ceremony in the
Faculty of Medicine of the Central University of Madrid.
5 This confident assertion about the characteristics of a
distant future seems rather contradictory to Cajal's
avowed anti-metaphysical, anti-speculative bent.
However, contradiction did not always perturb Cajal. In
the prologue to the fourth edition of Charlas, he wrote:
"¡Mis contradicciones! ¡Ojalá fueran mayores! Ello seria
indicio de juventud, flexibilidad y pujanza.Cambiamos
con los años y las lecturas. [. . .] Parodiando a
Descartes diria yo, 'Vario, luego existo'" (13)

167
Students as well as professors were in attendance, and the
brief discourse given by Cajal on the occasion sought to
encourage them to pursue fruitful scientific studies. Not
officially titled, the discourse has come to be known by
the words of one of its principal exhortations.6 It was
very well received in the press (Durán Muñoz 137). Though
brief, it exhibits the reliance on metaphors and
redirected religious language characteristic of other
texts of Cajal.
Cajal opened the speech with the customary
expressions of modesty and gratitude for the honor
bestowed. Apologizing for his emotional reaction to the
honor, which he claimed occasioned his need to read the
speech instead of speaking extemporaneously, Cajal offered
a simile: "El cerebro turbado por la emoción es como el
lago agitado por la tormenta; éste no refleja bien las
estrellas del cielo [. . .]; aquél no acierta a traducir
las ideas y los sentimientos que surgen en la mente"
(139). Returning to one of his favorite leitmotifs, that
of exemplarity, Cajal affirmed that "Con patriótica
previsión os proponéis sin duda lo que podríamos llamar la
ejemplaridad del aplauso" (140) (italics Cajal's). He
6 See the work of Garcia Durán Muñoz and Julián Sánchez
Duarte, Recopilaciones y estudios cajalianos, page 137.

168
hoped that the example of the honor received by him would
prod others to win similar or even greater glories.
Continuing to speak modestly of himself, Cajal
contended that:
No soy en realidad un sabio sino un
patriota; tengo más de obrero infatigable
que de arquitecto calculador; más de soldado
que de capitán; [. . .]. La historia de mis
méritos es muy sencilla: es la vulgarísima
historia de una voluntad indomable resuelta
a triunfar a toda costa. (140)
Cajal recounted how in his youth he had been troubled at
the lack of Spanish scientists, and resolved to abandon
his earlier desires to pursue art, deciding instead to
"lanzarme osadamente al palenque internacional de la
investigación biológica, teniendo por única fuerza el
patriotismo, por norte el ilustre honor de la toga
universitaria, por ideal aumentar el caudal de ideas
españolas circulante por el mundo [. . .]" (141). His
achievements, Cajal insisted, constituted an "ofrenda de
amor a mi pais" (141) . Asserting again the modest nature
of his achievements, Cajal employed a religious simile,
stating that he offered them to the university "como
ofrenda del discípulo reverente al alma mater y con ese
noble orgullo con que el soldado consagra a la Virgen que
le amparó en trances difíciles, el humilde trofeo ganado
en playas remotas" (141) .

169
Praising the value of his university education,
Cajal remarked that during those years he had formed "la
inquebrantable resolución de consagrar mi vida a las
tareas redentoras del laboratorio" (141). Again employing
religious language he later referred to scientific study
as "esta tarea salvadora" (142) . Cajal closed the
discourse with the exhortation that has come to be its de
facto title:
En estos últimos luctuosos tiempos, la
patria se ha achicado; pero vosotros debéis
decir, "A patria chica, alma grande." El
territorio de España ha menguado; juremos
todos dilatar su geografía moral e
intelectual. Combatamos al extranjero con
ideas, con hechos nuevos, con invenciones
originales y útiles. (142)
Although brief, this discourse provides a further example
of Cajal's consistent employment of metaphorical and
religious language whenever he discussed certain ideas
important to him.
The Echegaray Medal
In 1922 Cajal was awarded the José Echegaray medal
for his scientific work. Upon the occasion of the
corresponding ceremony in his honor, which was attended
by King Alfonso XIII, Cajal made, as was customary, a
brief speech. Like so many other texts of Cajal, it

170
evinces a coincidence of metaphorical and religious
language with themes dear to him. After the expected
expressions of modesty and gratitude, Cajal praised
Echegaray; he noted how the multi-faceted engineer and
mathematician had managed to retain full use of his
faculties even at an advanced age, so that he could still
exercise "[. . . ] la soberana función de escrutar los
enigmas de la naturaleza" (30). Here one can again see the
imperialist language used by Cajal in many of his texts.
It may also be noted that this "voyeurism," the function
of looking, was typically constructed as a male privilege.
Cajal then turned to two of his favorite
leitmotifs: the primacy of the will, and love of country:
Mas la fuerza de voluntad en el hombre de
laboratorio, como en el guerrero intrépido,
necesita del concurso de otra gran pasión
[. . .]. Fué el amor quien templó y
enardeció mi voluntad y adiestró mis manos;
pero un amor puro, fervoroso y santo, que
todos los españoles debiéramos sentir, como
sentimos el amor sagrado de la madre. Aludo
—harto lo adivináis--al rendimiento y
adoración fanáticos a la patria y a la raza
[■ • .]. (34)
Noteworthy here are Cajal's use of his "scientist as
warrior" motif, and his characteristic use of religious
language ("puro," "santo," "adoración") as he describes
the love of one's country. Cajal continues, urging that
Spanish educators at all levels work to form "[. . .] el

I
171
español que nos hace mucha falta, es decir, un tipo humano
tan impersonal por abnegado, tan firme y entero de
carácter, tan tolerante y abierto a todas las ideas [. .
.]" (34). Behind Cajal's call for tolerance and openness
to all ideas can be seen a modest criticism of Spain's
rigid religious dogmatism. Concluding his address, Cajal
urged his audience to imagine a better Spain, referring to
the country as "la Dulcinea de nuestros ensueños" (35).
By implication those referred to with the first-person
plural possessive are a type of Quijote.
"Sobre la guerra de Cuba"
Shortly after Spain's loss of her last colonies in
1898, Cajal wrote an article entitled "Sobre la guerra de
Cuba" for the Madrid newspaper El Liberal.7 In it he
enumerated the errors on Spain's part that had led to its
loss of territory. Nearly all of the article is written in
a straightforward, unadorned expository prose, but
predictably, as Cajal touches on his favorite leitmotifs,
one sees some mildly religious language. Toward the end
of the article he writes: "Es preciso, pues, regenerarse
7 The article appeared on October 26, 1898. In the months
following Spain's defeat, a great many Spanish
intellectuals and military and political leaders wrote
opinion pieces for the press.

172
por el trabajo y por el estudio. Hoy sólo son toleradas
las naciones débiles, a condición de que en ellas se rinda
culto a la ciencia" (122). Spain, he concluded, would
only earn the world's respect to the degree that Spaniards
practiced devotion to science.
Conclusion
Some of the above-discussed texts, being brief,
cannot in all aspects be directly compared to texts of
much greater extension. But generally, in comparing other
texts of Cajal to Reglas y consejos, one notes the
consistency with which Cajal employs metaphorical
religious language when he discusses the quest for self-
improvement, devotion to one's country and to science,and
other ideas dear to him. It also may be fairly said,
however, that although Cajal's other texts share some of
the language and ideas of Reglas y consejos, none show
anything like the comprehensive, multifaceted strategy of
"centripetal discourse" that is seen in Reglas y consejos.

CHAPTER 5
CONCLUSION
Much work remains to be done in Cajal studies.
Almost completely unexamined has been the issue of the
uses made of Cajal's name and image in mid-twentieth-
century Spanish culture. Cajal's strong ethical
sensiblities, nationalistic passion and conservative¬
sounding stances on some issues allowed traditionalists of
the Franco years to draw on the prestige of his name in
support of conservative constructions of Spanish culture.
They typically portrayed Cajal as a model of dedication to
traditional Spanish values. Cajal was and still is a
cultural icon in Spain, but for Spanish traditionalists he
was a problematic one; a close look at his texts would
have revealed contradictions of a conservative "spin" on
his image.
This apparently did not stop Spanish doctor and
panegyrist Juan Nasio from portraying Cajal as an
exemplary Christian fighting for God and country. In his
173

174
biography Ramón y Cajal, maestro de generaciones,
approvingly prologued by Pedro Lain Entralgo, Nasio wrote
that: "Cajal, que heredó las esencias de la España
inmortal, enfrentó a su siglo con las mejores armas: las
de su cristianismo acendrado, sin dejarse nunca
subordinar" (36). Later Nasio added that "Su sabiduría
nunca le permitió dudar de lo extrahumano, ya que
consideraba que en ello residía la esencia del hombre"
(48). Perhaps Nasio overlooked the opening pages of
Reglas y consejos, where Cajal had written that "Preciso
es confesar que los grandes enigmas del Universo [. . .]
son actualmente inabordables. Debemos resignarnos al
ignoramus y aun al inexorable ignorabimus [. . .]" (15).
Certainly he had not read the thirteenth chapter of
Historia de mi labor científica, in which Cajal recalled
meeting Spanish orator and statesman Emilio Castelar at a
Madrid tertulia. A mutual friend had introduced Cajal as
a devoted student of human cells, to which Castelar had
replied, "Hace usted muy bien [. . .] la célula merece
tanto más nuestra atención, cuanto que la llevamos dentro
e influye a menudo en nuestras acciones" (177). Cajal
remarked that:
"No—hubiera yo respuesto al incomparable orador,
si el respeto y la veneración no me cerraran los
labios-; esas diminutas células [. . .] son todo

175
el hombre [. . .] nos dan la ilusión del libre
albedrio, y ejecutan, en fin, la totalidad de
nuestros actos."(177)
Commenting on Cajal's El mundo visto a los ochenta años,
Nasio wrote that "Pero Ramón y Cajal, en plena vejez,
parecería decir, con la suavidad candorosa de Santa
Teresa: 'Los años no cuentan ante el Todopoderoso'" (71).
Perhaps Nasio passed over the final pages of said text, in
which Cajal had reaffirmed his fundamental agnosticism,
writing that at his advanced age, "[. . .] las
conversiones son imposibles; el cerebro ha cristalizado
definitivamente en una estructura y una ideología
invariables" (175-6) .
Pedro Lain Entralgo, in his significantly-titled
Nuestro Cajal, a biography aimed at Spain's youth, also
sought to portray Cajal as a Christian:
En nuestro gran histólogo, la creencia se atuvo
siempre, según palabras solemnes y textuales [.
. .] a estos dos soberanos principios: 'La
existencia del alma inmortal y de un ser
supremo, rector del mundo y de la vida.' Quien
pretenda conocer la verdad integra de Cajal,
tenga siempre en cuenta esa elocuente confesión
de sus Recuerdos. (202)
Lain took these words, however, from a section of
Recuerdos in which Cajal was actually describing his lack
of faith. Shortly after his return from military service
in Cuba, Cajal fell ill with tuberculosis. Of that

176
occasion, in which he felt near to death, Cajal had
written:
Sólo la religión me hubiera consolado. Por
desgracia, mi fe habia sufrido honda crisis
con la lectura de los libros de filosofia.
Ciertamente, del naufragio se habian salvado
dos altos principios: la existencia del alma
inmortal y la de un ser supremo rector del
mundo y de la vida. Pero [. . .] no
transcendia del mundo del pensamiento a la
esfera de la voluntad. El instinto vital,
esencialmente egoísta, se rebelaba contra
las consecuencias prácticas de una
concepción filosófica que pone la dicha en
la serena resignación al destino y en la
ciega obedencia a las leyes naturales.
(Olmet 169)
When the words cited by Lain are considered in their
original context and in the context of Cajal's various
professions of agnosticism and disbelief found throughout
his writings, Lain's interpretation of them seems strained
at best. The first person plural possessive adjective of
the title, Nuestro Cajal, reflects Lain's attempt to
portray the scientist as "ours," truly belonging to
traditional Spanish culture. Ironically, the
nationalistic passion and partially-conservative views
that allowed Cajal to put forth the synthesis of
traditional elements and secular thought in Reglas y
conseios were also (along with such statements as the one
cited above) what gave conservative Spaniards of the
Franco years the opportunity to ignore the secularizing

177
force of Cajal's texts and play up only those elements
which at least superficially seemed to square with
traditionalist constructions of Spanish culture.
Related to the above phenomenon and also yet to be
fully examined in Cajal studies is the proliferation of
biographies of Cajal, all the more noteworthy in Spain,
where the genre of biography was not as strongly
established as in other European countries, and in light
of the fact that Cajal had already written a lengthy
autobiography. At least one biography of Cajal was
written while he was still living, and many more came
forth after his death in 1934.1 One work is actually a
novelized version of Cajal's life in which the scientist,
his wife and others appear as characters.2 In many cases,
such as those previously discussed, the biographies have
been hagiographic and ideologically motivated, although
others represent sincere attempts by those who knew Cajal
to offer a realistic image of him. Only very recently has
1 See the work of Olmet and Bernal, Cajal, published in
1918. Immediately after Cajal's death, in 1935 two
noteworthy biographies were those of Juarros and Tello
(see list of works cited.)
2
See the work of Santiago Lorén, Cajal. Historia de un
nombre (in works cited).
â– g
Juarros' 1935 work, entitled Ramón y Cajal; vida y
milagros de un sabio exemplifies the hagiographic
tendency; on the other hand, the 1977 work by Cajal's
former secretary Enriqueta Rodriguez, Asi era Cajal, is

178
a biography been published in Spain that could be called
4
openly critical of some aspects of Cajal's life and work.
In contrast to the typical conservative "spin" on
Cajal's image, Cajal must be seen not as a pillar of
traditional religious ideals, but rather as one who
favored the secularization of Spain. Strongly influenced
as a child by experiences that sowed in him doubts about
an orthodox Christian view of the world, Cajal came to
intellectual maturity at a time when secular modes of
thought were enjoying an unprecedented degree of freedom
of expression in Spain. An especially formative influence
on Cajal was the pragmatic, seemingly scientific, anti¬
metaphysical current of positivism, first openly discussed
in Spain in the late 1860s. Cajal's studies in medicine
and histology, especially in the period after he began to
use a microscope, only confirmed for him the validity of a
positivist perspective. Not only was Cajal decisively
influenced by positivist thought, he also made substantial
contributions to its furtherance in Spain, most notably
through Reglas y consejos sobre investigación científica.
a straightforward recollection of Cajal, written in a
tone that while appreciative was not hagiographic.
See the work of Antonio Calvo, Cajal, triunfar a toda
costa (1999).

179
As has been seen in the preceding chapters, Cajal in
Reglas y consejos created a potentially subversive,
secularizing synthesis. In it he described science and the
scientist using secularized religious language and
imagery, and employed a tactic of identifying the
scientist with cultural leitmotifs such as the Spanish
tradition of exploration and conquest, traditional
concepts of masculinity and femininity, and the revered
character of don Quijote. Cajal's goal was a centripetal
ideological movement in which science and the scientist
could be defined in such a way as to move them center-
ward, and out of their mythical, "bigger-than-life" status
on Spain's cultural margins. Cajal sought to inscribe a
more realistic image of them within a quasi-traditionalist
construction of Spanish identitity.
The resultant construction of Spanish identity must
be termed "quasi-traditionalist," because in Cajal's
vision the interaction between science and traditional
elements of Spanish culture is symbiotic: scientific
activity receives prestige from its association with
traditional elements, but it also exerts a secularizing
influence upon them. In Cajal's vision, orthodox
Christian devotion is transformed into a dedication to
self-cultivation, with the nation's well-being displacing

180
the Divine as the object of ultimate concern. The Spanish
tradition of exploration and conquest is redirected upon
the "world within" each human being, and toward other
areas of scientific inquiry. The scientist's wife is to be
a sort of perfecta casada, except that unlike the model
elaborated by Fray Luis de León, Cajal's ideal wife is
motivated by patriotism, not religious devotion. Cajal's
ideal scientist is quijotesque, but he is not charging
towards imaginary enemies; rather he lives for the high
ideal of improving the well-being of his country. To that
end he wields the weapons of the microscope and the pen as
he scrutinizes, comprehends and, perhaps, harnesses some
aspect of "the world of the infinitely small". The
microscope and pen were for Cajal as for nearly all of his
contemporaries items for use by males only; the privileges
of looking and of constructing new knowledge remained a
male domain.
Spanish scientist Severo Ochoa, at one time a
student of Cajal's and himself a winner of the Nobel
Prize, recalling the Spanish tradition of religious
mysticism, has written that Cajal was a type of modern
mystic, one whose gaze was turned not inward nor to heaven
but to the world of the microscopic:

181
Tal vez puede pensarse que en España, pais
en que florecieron grandes místicos como
Santa Teresa de Jesús y San Juan de la Cruz,
surgió Cajal como otro tipo de místico, pero
místico al fin y al cabo, un místico de la
ciencia; casi puede decirse un asceta de la
ciencia.[. . .]. Entonces la ciencia
requería profunda vocación y su ejercico,
bien claro se ve en Cajal, era una especie
de sacerdocio. (12)
As a final example of the patriotic devotion that led
Cajal to spend hours at a time gazing into his microscope,
one may consider the condition that he required of Clark
University when in 1899 he was invited to give a series of
lectures on his scientific work: that during the whole
time of his stay on the American campus, the Spanish flag
be flown over it; Clark accepted (Monteros 237).

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
Lincoln Clarke Lambeth completed his first two years
of undergraduate coursework at St. Olaf College in
Northfield, Minnesota. In the summer of 1982, he
transferred to Indiana University—Bloomington, where he
received his bachelor's degree in Spanish and journalism in
1985. Two years later Lambeth returned to Indiana
University and graduated with a Master's degree in Spanish
linguistics in the summer of 1989. In the fall of 1989,
Lambeth entered the University of Florida to pursue a
doctorate degree in Spanish literature. Lambeth is
presently (2000) Assistant Professor of Spanish at the
College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri.
189

I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and
quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Germine Nichols, Chair
Professor of Romance Languages &
Literatures
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and
quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Andrés Avellaneda '
Professor of Romance Languages &
Literatures
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and
quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
' SÍiifra Armón
Assistant Professor of Romance
Languages & Literatures
I certify that I have read this study and that in my opinion it conforms to
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope and
quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
\óW] {1-K
Hatch
Associate Professor of History
This thesis was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the Department of Romance
Languages and Literatures in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and to the
Graduate School and was accepted as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the
degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
May, 2000
Dean, Graduate School

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1120
2000
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UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
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