« AnteriorContinuar »
All her life long Pardo Bazán was a lover of truth, not merely of truth as presented in the homely and seamy sides of earthly existence, in its sorrows and in its sufferings, in its drab and dreary monotony, in its hardships, trials, and disappointments, in its disillusions and defeats, even in its ugliest features; but she strove with consistency and steadfastness to portray with equal verity all the loveliness and beauty that we see and that we dream, the glories of the physical and of the spiritual world as well, of the actual and of the ideal. The beautiful world of our imagination and of spiritual and religious aspirations is faithfully revealed by her, and so she gives us both insides of the picture of life, and satisfies the longing in our soul for something more than pessimistic delineations of the crudest facts about us, found sometimes in her books.
One of the best things about her work is the just appreciation that she shows of the part played by religion in man's life, of its power to elevate, even to reform, to comfort and console the suffering and the dying, to keep us from the pitfalls and temptations everyar where, to soften and subdue the most rebellious and the fiercest souls. Pardo Bazán was all her life long a communicant of the Roman Catholic church. She was faithful in her adherence to enlightened religion; she was as frank in her acceptance of religious truth as she was open to the facts of science and of history. A more sincere seeker after all that is true and good, a more unprejudiced and honest E observer, one freer from all bias and inclination to distort, or one more genuinely sympathetic in dealing with man's frailty, is hard to est find. Truly Catholic in her feeling and in her training, in the whole Ba acceptance of the word, she understood and hence she pardoned the frailty of man. Her sympathy was broad and just and was extended to all, or nearly all mankind.
Silvio Lago's conversion is not merely one from crude naturalism to the ethereal and celestial ideals of Pre-Raphaelitism, with all its schivalry and romanticism; but it is also one that takes him finally out of skepticism and indifference, out of material longing for glory and for fame, and compels him in the end, when consumption has Z wrought its frightful havoc with his body and with his aspirations, ot to seek the only hope and comfort that remains to such as he, the consolation that religion alone can give in the terrible hours of a lingering and painful death.
This book reveals in no uncertain terms the author's aesthetic and religious creeds, and so it has a value that is great; for it is not
merely a comprehensive view of a large and interesting section of society; it points a way for noble aspirations, in the realm of art as well as in the realm of faith. In La quimera Emilia Pardo Bazán draws the sum of her experience in art, religion, and in life. It should have been her swan-song; it is fraught with meaning from the first word to the last.
UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS
C. C. GLASCOCK
BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE1
We gather here today for our ninth annual meeting with pleasure, as always, in the renewing of old and tried friendships and with the firm intention, as always, of dedicating ourselves anew to the task of improving and making more effective the teaching of Spanish in the United States. We have reason for much quiet satisfaction in the position of Spanish throughout the country. In the colleges and universities we find that more and more our students are going on to advanced courses and to graduate studies in Spanish. A comparison of the courses in Spanish offered by any representative group of higher institutions fifteen or twenty years ago with those offered by the same group today will demonstrate this fact. In the secondary schools the enrolment in Spanish, in spite of the prognostications of some of our dearest enemies, has stood up most wholesomely, though in some places the number of Spanish students has been reduced somewhat-too often, I fear, as a result of arbitrary administrative restrictions. In general we may face the future with confidence; the value and place of Spanish in American education is firmly established, and its condition today is gratifyingly sound in nearly every particular.
With little to fear from without--if present indications are reliable-it behooves us to continue our efforts to improve conditions within. Such efforts have been characteristic of the history of this association ever since its foundation and I hope will always constitute its chief function and its primary purpose. Let me offer some concrete suggestions as to definite channels which those efforts may follow.
One of the greatest drawbacks of American teachers of modern foreign languages-and this applies to teachers of all the languages commonly taught--is their comparative lack of foreign travel and study. I think that most of us realize this, despite the great improvement that has undoubtedly taken place in this respect in recent years. The time has now come, I am convinced, when we should undertake a definite and steady campaign for extension of opportunities in this regard. All of us must have realized how much more difficult it is
1 An address delivered before the American Association of Teachers of Spanish at Columbus, Ohio, December 28, 1925.
for an American teacher of Spanish to obtain this invaluable foreign experience than for, say, a German teacher of French, or a French teacher of Spanish, because of the time and expense involved-not to mention the unsympathetic attitude of administrators. The situation is capable of marked improvement, and I would venture to suggest the concentration of our efforts, by some means to be worked out after proper study, in these three directions:
1. Adequate provision by municipalities and other public educational units of subsidies for teachers of foreign languages who are ambitious enough to wish to travel and study abroad. These may take the form of leaves of absence with full, or even half, pay; or of a loan fund available under proper restrictions to defray living expenses during such absence, repayment to be made out of subsequent salary during a term of three to five years; or of a definite system of salary increases and promotions based upon such travel and study; or of all of these combined. I am aware of course that some of these provisions are already in effect in some places. I believe that we should try to secure their general adoption.
2. Provision, where not already existent, of a definite system of sabbatical years, likewise with full or half pay, for college teachers of foreign languages who wish to travel and study abroad. Action might well be taken to this end by appropriate resolution of this association, freely published and sent to all university administrators, as well as through the Modern Language Association of America, the American Council on Education, the various accrediting agencies, and last, but not least, the American Association of University Professors.
3. Establishment by this association of a revolving loan fund under the management of semi-permanent trustees, whereby superior teachers of Spanish in schools or colleges might be enabled to obtain the benefits of foreign travel, repayments to be made over a term of three to five years and payment to be secured by properly executed notes. I believe that such a fund would appeal to persons of means as well as to those in ordinary circumstances as a wise means of doing a genuine service to education, and I am confident that it could be raised without much difficulty. Certainly its benefits would be increasingly felt.
None of these suggestions, of course, is possible of fulfillment by isolated personal efforts. All would require a concentration of activities possible only through such an organization as this.
I can not leave the discussion of foreign travel without reference to one aspect of this question about which I feel in duty bound to speak. I refer to the conduct of summer trips for students or teachers of Spanish by persons who are not fitted by experience, or temperament, or financial responsibility to undertake their direction. We have had some distressing experiences of this sort, in which teachers of Spanish have been the victims of non-fulfillment of promises if not of misrepresentation or worse, and have suffered not only financial loss but also keen disappointment and disillusionment. In one case that has come to my attention there appears to have been actual embezzlement of funds.
Drastic action should be taken by this association, possibly in conjunction with other agencies, to prevent such occurrences. I would suggest the publication at proper intervals of a "white list" of recommended tours and conductors, so that all our members, as well as other persons concerned, may be informed. By this means teachers and students who undertake such trips would have some assurance that promises made were likely to be carried out. The association, I believe, has a duty to its members and to the orderly development of Spanish teaching in this regard which it cannot longer shirk.
RELATIONS WITH FOREIGN TEACHERS
I approach my next topic with great hesitation. It concerns our attitude toward the "native" teachers of Spanish. No one has a greater respect for our friends the native teachers than I, and I value my long friendship with many of our Spanish and Spanish-American friends as one of the finest privileges of life. We all must recognize, however, that in some cases unfortunately-and this is true of teachers of French and German as well as of Spanish-the native teacher of foreign languages has had little to commend him except the mere accident of birth in a foreign country. Such cases are not frequent enough to be a menace, but still they do occur. Sometimes the person is neither a natural nor a trained teacher; sometimes he is temperamentally unfit; occasionally he is a most unfortunate representative of his race and country in the eyes of American students. In still rarer cases he is guilty of the unpardonable fault of constantly criticizing or even ridiculing American institutions, American ways, American intelligence, American civilization. The foreign-born teacher would best leave such comments to others.