The Travels and Controversies of Friar Domingo Navarrete, 1618-1686 - Vol. 1

The Travels and Controversies of Friar Domingo Navarrete, 1618-1686 - Vol. 1

The Travels and Controversies of Friar Domingo Navarrete, 1618-1686 - Vol. 1

The Travels and Controversies of Friar Domingo Navarrete, 1618-1686 - Vol. 1

Excerpt

The story of the so-called Jesuit-mandarins in China was once as celebrated as the story of Troy, and even in modern times it has engaged the attention not only of historians and biographers but of poets too (as in Robert Browning The Ring and the Book and Ezra Pound Cantos). This spiritual and intellectual adventure is also a very human drama, for, to adapt Cervantes's phrase, even Jesuits are made of men, and they naturally made mistakes and provoked opposition. The case for their critics, however, is much less widely known, and at first sight their attitude seems incomprehensible. Accordingly, in preparing this edition of the writings of friar Domingo Fernández de Navarrete I have tried to put forward the less popular side of the story and to explain the motives of the Jesuits' opponents.

I am grateful to Mr J.-A. Muñoz-Rojas and Professor E. M. Wilson who first suggested that Navarrete might repay study; and the former drew my attention to Juan Valera's comment on him (Obras completas (Madrid, 1947), III, 153).

Among Dominicans to whom I am indebted for help are the historian, Dr Benno Biermann, of the Dominikanerkloster St Albertus Magnus, Walberberg; Fathers José María González and Pablo Fernández of the Philippine Province; Fathers Kaeppeli and Forte of the Dominican Generalate in Rome. I am grateful for the assistance, advice and criticisms of a number of Jesuits, including Father Henri Bernard-Maitre in Paris, and, in Rome, Fathers Battlori, Burrus and Schurhammer, besides the Archivist of the Jesuit Curia, Father Joseph Teschitel; and finally in Mexico I was greatly assisted by Father Daniel Olmedo.

Others to whom I am indebted are Monsignor Dr Monticoni, the Archivist of the Congregation of Propaganda Fide; Monsignor Lemaire, Superior-General of the Society of Foreign Missions of Paris, who gave me permission to work in the Society's Paris archives where I received help from Father Monjean; Father Anderson, Archivist of Blairs College . . .

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