What did Europe owe Spain in the eighteenth century? This infamous question, posed by Nicolas Masson de Morvilliers in the Encyclopédie méthodique, caused an international uproar at the height of the Enlightenment. His polemical article ‘Espagne’, with its tabloid-like prose, resonated with a French-reading public that blamed the Spanish Empire for France’s eroding economy. Spain was outraged, and responded by publishing its own translation-rebuttal, the article ‘España’ penned by Julián de Velasco for the Spanish Encyclopedia metódica.
In this volume, the original French and Spanish articles are presented in facing-page English translations, allowing readers to examine the content and rhetorical maneuvers of Masson’s challenge and Velasco’s riposte. This comparative format, along with the editors’ critical introduction, extensive annotations, and an accompanying bibliographical essay, reveals how knowledge was translated and transferred across Europe and the transatlantic world. The two encyclopedia articles bring to life a crucial period of Spanish history, culture and commerce, while offering an alternative framework for understanding the intellectual underpinnings of a Spanish Enlightenment that differed radically from French philosophie. Ultimately, this book uncovers a Spain determined to claim its place in the European Enlightenment and on the geopolitical stage.
‘[…] it offers both scholars and students emblematic sources of a crucial period of Spanish history, culture and commerce, as well as a more profound understanding of cultural and knowledge transfer in Enlightened Europe.’
Modern Language Review
‘Pour la première fois […] grâce à cette compilation minutieuse de dix ans de travail, une vision réelle des écrits dans une relation triangulaire de la langue, des disciplines et des divisions entre l’Europe du Nord, l’Europe du Sud et la peninsula ibérique.’
Recherches sur Diderot et sur l’Encyclopédie
‘Thanks to [the editors’] efforts and their excellent translations, we now have access, in the same volume, to one of eighteenth-century Spain’s most fervent polemics. This work is a most welcome addition to eighteenth-century scholarship.’
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