The commemorative celebration of figures graceful with longevity can cause the anniversaries of their birth and death to come very close, even to almost overlap. This is what has happened with Don Ramón Menéndez Pidal, who lived until the age of 99 (1869-1968). Thus, the years 2018-2019 have been a celebration of what the foundation that bears his name has called Bienio Pidalino, as it celebrates the sesquicentennial of the great sage’s coming to the world and the fiftieth anniversary of his death.

The celebration has favored, fortunately, a few publications. Perhaps the most important is the book by Yakov Malkiel Menéndez Pidal and linguistics, which appeared under the seal of the Center for the Edition of the Spanish Classics directed by Francisco Rico. Malkiel (1914-1998) was one of the great Romanists of the North American university world and without a doubt the most outstanding of those who focused on the investigation of the Hispanic. Curiously, although it produces astonishment the odd, overwhelming, highly original Autobibliography that he himself collected in 1988, it should be said that the book genre was not the favorite of his work. Instead it was the article, sometimes the monograph of considerable length, the type of contributions that in the mentioned repertoire are labeled as “Book-Length Monographs”. He also made splendid and brainy portraits – not mere obituaries of circumstances – in his Romance Philology magazine, of deceased colleagues.

Yakov Malkiel’s work is a review, organized by decades, of the linguistic works of Ménendez Pidal

The book we are commenting on has the great value of offering the interested reader all the writings of Malkiel that dealt with Menéndez Pidal, to which is added the oxoniense paper from 1966 Spanish Philology and General Linguistics.

The fact is that, as Francisco Rico explains in the preliminary note, Malkiel transmitted to him, as early as 1977, his intention to prepare a book that would bear exactly the same title as the one that has now finally appeared. The Berkeley professor did not send Rico, the following year, more than the initial two chapters of the work, which in this publication are rescued by facsimile reproducing the mechanoscript, including manual apostilles. Those two installments are labeled “Introduction. The character of the problem ”and“ Inventory of the linguistic work of Menéndez Pidal ”, and its reading in such a peculiar presentation becomes an exciting tribute to both the author and the figure of Don Ramón. It is a review, organized by decades, of Pidal’s linguistic works, works that he alternated or concurrently, herculean, with those devoted to general history, literary history and what Malkiel calls, for lack of a better label to refer to. to the study of legends and ballads, folklore. When he declares that in order to compose the complete profile of the linguistic Menéndez Pidal, not only his works clearly oriented in that direction, but also the rest of his works must be carefully explored, he warns that such effort can only be completed when the works published by him are published. The author left unpublished, in particular the History of the Spanish language, in which he worked over many years. Today, fortunately, we have this work, given to the press by Diego Catalán in 2005.

The rest of Malkiel’s volume will allow scholars to store yellowed photocopies, several of them from the admirable Romance Philology that he founded, since it reproduces all the academic works that the Berkeley professor dedicated, between 1969 and 1987-1988, to the wise man. from Chamartín. All, of course, after his death, as they open with the extensive obituary “Era omne essential”. But there had been an epistolary relationship between them, of which we are given a small sample here, the facsimile of the last letter of a 97-year-old Pidal. The complete carteggio would not be difficult to gather between The Bancroft Library and the Ramón Menéndez Pidal Foundation, and it would surely have increased interest.

We must celebrate that the Biennial Pidalino has also provided us with a complete biography of the sage, the one due to José Ignacio Pérez Pascual, which expands and renews the one that he himself sought 20 years ago and leaves behind that of Pérez Villanueva (1991), so appreciable , however, for its human warmth. And there they continue, essential as a very valuable arsenal of biographical data, the two imposing volumes of El Archivo del Romancero (2001), by Diego Catalán.

Two exhibitions have focused on the philologist’s travels and his works around the figure of the Cid

There have recently been two magnificent exhibitions dedicated to Don Ramón. One of them, the one installed at the Instituto Cervantes, has given rise to a beautiful book, Spanish scales. The trips of Ramón Menéndez Pidal (in which an unpublished biographical profile is recovered due to his grandson Diego). The other, Two Spaniards in history: El Cid and Menéndez Pidal, in which there was the opportunity to see for just a few days – for reasons of conservation so advised – the codex of the Song, did not give rise, and it is a pity, to a book-catalog, but yes, at least, to a careful pamphlet with text signed by Enrique Jerez and accompanied by graphic material (the 1961 photograph in which Don Ramón, up on a stool before his library, did not reach stature to Charlton Heston!).

Anyway, two small books close our tour. One, belonging to the beautiful collection Renuevos del Olivar de Chamartín, is that of Álvaro Piquero Ramón Menéndez Pidal in the Sierra de Guadarrama, which accounts for the mountain hiking hobbies – so in the spirit of the ILE – of Don Ramón and his family, and of the summer installation in the house of San Rafael, and identifies the routes and places of the Archpriest. The other is an exempt edition of the important prologue that, with the title The dictionary that we wish, Menéndez Pidal wrote in 1945 for the dictionary Vox taken care of by his disciple Gili Gaya; Don Ramón’s lexicographical desideratum was one of the total dictionary that the Spanish language still lacks, almost three quarters of a century later.

Pedro Álvarez de Miranda He is a member of the Royal Spanish Academy.

Menéndez Pidal and linguistics. Yakov Malkiel. Preliminary note by Francisco Rico. Forewords by Charles B. Faulhaber and Steven N. Dworkin. Center for the Edition of the Spanish Classics, 2018. 254 pages. 26 euros.

Ramón Menéndez Pidal. José Ignacio Pérez Pascual. Editors Point of View, 2019. 635 pages. 26 euros.

Spanish scales. The trips of Ramón Menéndez Pidal. Edition of Mario Pedrazuela Fuentes and Sara Catalán. Cervantes Institute and Ramón Menéndez Pidal Foundation, 2019. 144 pages.

Two Spaniards in history: El Cid and Ramón Menéndez Pidal. Enrique Jerez Cabrera. National Library of Spain, 2019. 32 pages.

Ramón Menéndez Pidal in the Sierra de Guadarrama. Álvaro Piquero. Menéndez Pidal Foundation and El Espinar City Council, 2018. 125 pages. 14.42 euros.

The dictionary we want. Ramón Menéndez Pidal. Edition of Pedro Álvarez de Miranda. Association of Academies of the Spanish Language, 2018. 81 pages.