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Invertebrate Spain

Invertebrate Spain
By José Ortega Y Gasset
212 pp, Norton, 1937
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This book by the author of "The Revolt of the Masses" is most timely in spite of the fact that it is composed of fragments from works published in Spanish over a period of years. The three opening essays, taken from Ortega's "Espãna Invertebrada," develop the theme that in Spain exaggerated individualism has become anarchy, as manifested not only singly by persons but collectively by social groups. "Each group lives hermetically sealed within itself . . . Spain is today not so much a nation as a series of water-tight compartments." The enduring value of this book lies in its broad historical perspective. Perhaps precisely because it was not written in order to explain the present crisis in Spanish history, it is the most satisfactory explanation of that crisis.