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Post World Bibliography Series on Spain
Created by Ronald Hilton on 06/06/98 9:28 AM

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World Bibliography Series on Spain (Ronald Hilton, USA, 06/06/98 9:28 am)


In Saint Paul's Cathedral, London, there is a plaque with an inscription by the architect, Christopher Wren: "If you want to see a monument to me, look around you." In like manner, Eric Boehm could say: "If etc.....look at ABC CLIO." We have often had occasion to say nice things about Eric, and now we have another to applaud him: The World Bibliographical Series. A refugee from Nazi Germany, Eric settled in Santa Barbara and established ABC CLIO as a center for publishing books and journals about history and especially historical bibliography. It now has two outposts, in Oxford and Denver, Colorado.

The World Bibliographical Series, published in Oxford, is the fruit of Anglo-American collaboration between librarians and faculty representing many disciplines. There are already over 200 volumes in the series, devoted to nations, regions, and cities. The word "bibliographical" should be preceded by the word "annotated." Each volume has up to 1,500 entries, each with. a fascinating comment. The publications discussed are almost entirely in English; otherwise their use would have been very restricted. It is amazing how many sources there are, tucked away in little-known publications. Each volume has a good introduction. The series is aimed not just at scholars but at people involved in diplomacy, business, journalism and tourism. The handsome, uniform volumes are 5 1/2 by 8 1/2 inches, making them convenient to carry.

I chose for special attention the volumes on Spain (pp.455), Madrid (pp. 255) and Lisbon (pp.257). It was pleasing to see how many CIIS Fellows are among the authors discussed. Especially touching was the long entry about Burnett Bolloten and his "monumental study" of the Spanish Civil War. Although not technically an academic, he was one of the founders of CIIS and an individual for whom I had extraordinary respect. He made great personal sacrifices to complete his work, and I remember him with deep affection. My old masters Salvador de Madariaga, William J. Entwistle and Americo Castro are also represented. Other Spanish scholars I knew are discussed, provided their works were translated into English. Reading this volume filled me with nostalgia.

The same may be said of the volume on Madrid, where I lived during the 1931-36 republic in the Residencia de Estudiantes, which attempted to introduce into Spain the tolerant lifestyle of the old English universities. I discussed its latest avatar in a recent memo about the ceremony there presided over by Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar. Spanish TV took me back to my days there over fifty years ago. Now. in a remarkable case of serendipity, I opened the Madrid volume and came across a book I did not know: John Crispin, Oxford y Cambridge en Madrid: La Residencia de Estudiantes.

The volume on Lisbon took me back to a lovely city in a beautiful landscape with a remarkable history. I have never liked Lord Byron, who, in Childe Harold's Pilgrimage gave an unkind and unfair picture of it as a place "where every prospect pleases and only man is vile." There are two entries about the poem. One, by a Portuguese, attributes Byron's aspersions to his egotism, which he certainly had. More to the point is that Lisbon was famous for its Inquisition, which appalled foreigners, especially liberals. Moreover in 1809, Portugal was going through one of its most difficult periods.

I assume every one of you is interested in at least one country. Be sure to consult the appropriate volume. If you plan to visit it, don't leave home without it. {I apologize for the influence of advertising on the English language).


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