Gracián y Morales, Baltasar

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Gracián y Morales, Baltasar


Born Jan. 8, 1601, at Belmonte; died Dec. 6, 1658, in Tarazona. Spanish writer; philosopher and moralist.

Gracián’s treatises The Hero (1637; Russian translation, Hero, 1792), The Prudent Man (1646), and others propound aristocratic ideas of government and moral upbringing. His book The Everyday Oracle, or the Art of Being Prudent (1647; Russian translation, The Courtier, 1739 and 1760) is a collection of 300 maxims. Gracián introduced the term “taste.” A somber vision of contemporary reality, to which Gracián contrasts the harmony of nature, is set forth in the allegorical novel El criticón (vols. 1–3, 1651–57). In his artistic method, Gracián was a representative of conceptism, which he expounds in the treatise Wit and the Art of the Refined Mind (1642; revised edition, 1648).


Obras completas. Madrid, 1960.


Coster, A. Baltasar Gracián, 1601–1658. Zaragoza, 1947.
Correa Calderón, E.Baltasar Gracián, su vida y su obra. Madrid, 1961.
Hafter Monroe, Z. Gracián and Perfection: Spanish Moralists of the Seventeenth Century. Cambridge, 1966.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.