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La Biblia en España by George Henry Borrow
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La Biblia en España (original 1843; edition 2021)

by George Henry Borrow, Manuel Azaña (Editor Literario)

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George Borrow (1803-1881) was a British author, adventurer, and agent of the Bible Society whose journeys in the mid-nineteenth century took him to both Russia and Spain. His experiences are reflected in books including The Zincali (1841) and his best-known publication, The Bible in Spain (1843). Described by Borrow as 'the journey, adventures, and imprisonment of an Englishman in an attempt to circulate the scriptures in the peninsula', it is mostly a compilation of his voluminous correspondence with the Bible Society. In this first volume, Borrow describes his arrival at Lisbon, his impressions of cities including Madrid and Cordoba and his interactions with the local population, including Gypsies, whose culture he found particularly fascinating. The book, at once an exotic travelogue and a document revealing the religious tensions of the period, was enthusiastically received by early Victorian readers.… (more)
Member:Natt90
Title:La Biblia en España
Authors:George Henry Borrow
Other authors:Manuel Azaña (Editor Literario)
Info:Madrid Alianza Editorial, [2021]
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The Bible in Spain by George Borrow (1843)

  1. 00
    Two Middle-aged Ladies in Andalusia by Penelope Chetwode (thorold)
    thorold: A rabid Evangelical and a crazed Catholic, both British, pottering about Spain on horseback in the 1830s and the 1960s, respectively.
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English (2)  Spanish (2)  All languages (4)
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Borrow is always entertaining to read: he was one of the great English eccentrics of the early 19th century, and his writings are a wonderfully inconsistent mixture of the genuine pleasure he takes in the world around him, the rather immodest fun he has showing off his own remarkable talents, and his gloriously prejudiced views on religion, politics and the superiority of the English.

In this book he's travelling around Spain and Portugal on behalf of the British and Foreign Bible Society, trying to give poor benighted Roman Catholics the opportunity to read the Bible in their own language. This gives him the excuse to travel around part of Portugal and most of Spain. Spain is in the middle of the Carlist uprising of 1835-39, so things are in rather a mess and travel is often dangerous and uncomfortable. Nonetheless, Borrow finds a lot to interest him in scenery, architecture, the local history, industries and food, and above all the great variety of people and horses he meets. As a linguist, he's fascinated by the many languages and dialects he comes across (even though he does have a tendency to criticise people for not speaking their own languages as well as they might); as a student of Gypsy culture he delights in the opportunity to make contact with Spanish Gypsies.

From time to time, particularly in the later parts of the book, he remembers that he's here to work, and has a go at selling some Spanish New Testaments. He goes to some trouble to persuade the reader that the ordinary Spanish, and even some clergymen, are happy to get the chance to read the Scriptures. Obviously, we can't tell from the book alone how much of this is propaganda and how much is true, but we can imagine that in the middle of a civil war and an economic depression, people might be glad to get cheap books of any description. The Catholic church does, however, make trouble with the Spanish authorities, so he and his colleagues are arrested a few times (but unfortunately, never kept in jail for long enough to make really good publicity).

Eventually, the government effectively makes it impossible for him to carry on selling Bibles in Spain, so he moves on to Gibraltar and Tangier to dispose of his remaining stock before coming home, so we get nice descriptions of those places as well, as a bonus before the book comes to a rather abrupt end in a Tangerine courtyard. ( )
2 vote thorold | Oct 12, 2009 |
Borrow travels all over Spain in the early 19th century with the aim of selling and setting up the printing of bibles to give the Spanish the holy word without any Catholic inter mediation. He viewed his book as something of a guidebook noting to bring some food if you stop at an inn. They'll cook it for you but they won't give you any. Also make sure that you are armed as you will certainly be shot at and if the number of flies round your horses becomes impossible then put bags over their heads. ( )
1 vote Miro | Oct 11, 2005 |
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George Borrowprimary authorall editionscalculated
Borrow, Georgemain authorall editionsconfirmed
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George Borrow (1803-1881) was a British author, adventurer, and agent of the Bible Society whose journeys in the mid-nineteenth century took him to both Russia and Spain. His experiences are reflected in books including The Zincali (1841) and his best-known publication, The Bible in Spain (1843). Described by Borrow as 'the journey, adventures, and imprisonment of an Englishman in an attempt to circulate the scriptures in the peninsula', it is mostly a compilation of his voluminous correspondence with the Bible Society. In this first volume, Borrow describes his arrival at Lisbon, his impressions of cities including Madrid and Cordoba and his interactions with the local population, including Gypsies, whose culture he found particularly fascinating. The book, at once an exotic travelogue and a document revealing the religious tensions of the period, was enthusiastically received by early Victorian readers.

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