Pascual de Gayangos: A Nineteenth-Century Spanish Arabist

Pascual de Gayangos: A Nineteenth-Century Spanish Arabist

Pascual de Gayangos: A Nineteenth-Century Spanish Arabist

Pascual de Gayangos: A Nineteenth-Century Spanish Arabist

Synopsis

Pascual de Gayangos (1809-97) celebrated Spanish Orientalist and polymath, is recognised as the father of the modern school of Arabic studies in Spain. He gave Islamic Spain its own voice, for the first time representing Spain's 'other' from 'within' not from without. This collection, the first major study of Gayangos, celebrates the 200th anniversary of his birth.Covering a wide range of subjects, it reflects the multiple fields in which Gayangos was involved: scholarship on the cultureof Islamic and Christian Spain; history, literature, art; conservation and preservation of national heritage; formation of archives and collections; education; tourism; diplomacy and politics. Amalgamating and understanding Gayangos's multiple identities, it reinstates his importance for cultural life in nineteenth-century Spain, Britain and North America.It is also argued that Gayangos's scholarly achievements and his influence have a political dimension. His work must be seen in relationto the quest for a national identity which marked the nineteenth century: what was the significance of Spain's Islamic past, and the Imperial Golden Age to the culture of modern Spain? The chapters, informed by post-colonial theory, reception theory and theories of national identity, uncover some of the complexities of the process that shaped Spain's national identity. In the course of this book, Gayangos is shown to be a figure with many facets and several intellectual lives: Arabist, historian, liberal, researcher, editor, numismatist, traveller, translator, diplomat, perhaps a spy, a generous collaborator and one of Spain's greatest bibliophiles.

Excerpt

This collection of essays commemorates the 200th anniversary of the birth of the celebrated Arabist Pascual de Gayangos (1809–97), mostly known today as one of Spain’s greatest bibliophiles and as the father of modern Arabism in Spain. This volume reveals that he is a much more complex figure, with more facets and lives than hitherto recognised. a truly international scholar and a polymath, he worked on many scholarly projects connected with the culture of both Christian and Islamic Spain from the Middle Ages to the late seventeenth century. He was involved in multiple fields embracing the history, literature and art of Spain; the preservation of national heritage; formation of archives and collections; education; tourism; diplomacy and politics. An exceptionally versatile figure even by the standards of the nineteenth century, Gayangos is an ideal subject through which to examine and understand nineteenth-century Hispanism and Arabism. Not surpris ingly, Gayangos has caught the attention of many. However, articles are scattered throughout academic periodicals in Spain, North America and Britain. What is now called for is a broad account of Gayangos’s intellectual trajectory, which re-evaluates previous scholarship on Gayangos and incor porates new data deriving from the archives in Spain, Britain and the United States. This is what the present volume provides.

This volume, then, is the study of one man. However, it is not a com prehensive biography or account of his life, narrated in a chronological order by one author. Gayangos’s multiple lives and versatility invite a multidisciplinary and thematic approach. Ten essays shed light on the figure of Gayangos from various perspectives and distances. Microscopic viewpoints, scrutinising Gayangos’s achievements and intellectual relationships, are counter-balanced by essays adopting a bird’s eye view, carefully scanning the nineteenth-century context and the milieu in which Gayangos moved.

Section I focuses on Gayangos’s biography. Álvarez Millán draws an updated overview of Gayangos’s life, personality and achievements, while revising at the same time some well-rooted ideas which recent research has shown to be biased misinterpretations. What follows is a consideration of Gayangos’s position within the complex political panorama of his time.

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