This Spanish author, philosopher, and educator was a predecessor of existential philosophy whose life works proved very influential in the early 20th century Spain. The main themes in his works contrasted between reason and Christian faith, and the tragedy of death in a man's life, in which reason offers no consolation. "He combines the imperious, warrior-like vitality of a Nietzsche with the intellectual paralysis of a Pirandello, the stirring pride of an Ibsen with the frustration of a Kafka, oscillating between his frenzied exaltation of the "man of flesh and blood" and the diaphanous concepts of dreams and shadows."(Batchelor).
In his early years Unamuno was deeply religious, however he began to visit the Ateneo, known as the blasphemy center of the city, while studying at the University of Madrid. After completing his doctorate he returned to his hometown of Bilbao, where he co-founded the socialist journal La Lucha de Clases. Not long after, he accepted the job of Greek at the University of Salamanca where he married Concepcion Lizarraga Ecennarro in 1891. .
Around the end of the 19th century his life was transformed when he began questioning the meaning of life and a rational explanation of God. He now turned his attention to the individual person and inner struggles. Unamuno once stated, "Wisdom is to science what death is to life or, if you will, wisdom is to death what science is to life." He concluded that one must abandon all pretence of rationalism and embrace faith. .
Unamuno became one of the leading intellectuals in the movement Generation "98. This movement started when Spain lost the last of its colonies and ended with the beginning of the Spanish civil war. These intellectuals questioned this regeneration of their nation and searched for reasons why and how to rebuild Spain to splendor. The movement extended to the fields of literature, science, medicine, history and the essay.