Books: The Duty of Acting Grandly

CONCORD AND LIBERTY (182 pp.)—Jose Ortega y Gasset (translated by Helene Weyl)—Norton ($2.75).

When Alfonso XIII, last of Spain's Bourbon monarchs, espied Madrid's most brilliant and influential philosopher at a court levee, he asked lackadaisically: "And thou, what is thy profession?" Jose Ortega y Gasset retorted icily: "I am a professor of geography." A few years later, ignorant Alfonso was tossed off his throne, and Delegate Ortega—who had helped toss him—rose to address the new Spanish Cortes. "The magnificent and momentous hour has come," he cried, "when fate imposes upon Spaniards the duty of acting grandly!"

Philosopher Ortega has spent most...

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