Science in the Spanish and Portuguese Empires, 1500-1800

By Daniela Bleichmar; Paula De Vos et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER EIGHT
“Read All About It”
Science, Translation, Adaptation, and
Confrontation in the Gazeta de Literatura
de México, 1788–1795

FIONA CLARK

The study of the formation of the periodical press has long played a significant role in our understanding of the dissemination and reception of ideas in the early modern world, as the rich tradition of histories written on European journals demonstrates. The Gazeta de Literatura de México, which is the focus of this study, is one of the first and most valuable literary-scientific periodical publications to come to light in the Spanish Americas. While there has been increased interest by historians of science over the past two to three decades in the work of its editor, José Antonio Alzate y Ramírez (1737–1799)—one thinks here of Roberto Moreno, Juan José Saldaña, and Patricia Aceves Pastrana, to name but a few—these studies have focused primarily on the scientific and technological aspects of Alzate’s work. As such, his ideas have been examined within the national context and the relevant sociopolitical questions pertaining to late colonial New Spain, but as yet little attention has been paid to the actual practical formation of the periodicals to which Alzate devoted so much of his life or to their function in the wider Republic of Letters, never to mention the use of foreign material within their pages.

I would like to thank the Bakken Library and Museum, Minneapolis, and its staff for the
generous funding and unfailing help that first gave me the opportunity to study the French
periodicals involved in this article.

-147-

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