24 Feb 2017
Charles of Habsburg, February, 24th, and the number 5
When one looks into history, there are details and coincidences which defy belief, but which we know you are fond of ! And so are we !
Today, we are especially addressing those of you who have a taste for astrology, numerology, arithmancy... or for the history of the Spanish Golden Age!
This 24th of February, 55th day of the year, marks the anniversary of Charles of Habsburg, better known as Charles V, born in 1500.
Most interestingly, the latter was crowned Emperor Charles, 5th of the name, in the year 1530... on February, 24th ! And what do you say about the fact that the monarch withdrew in favour of his younger brother Ferdinand on... Take a guess... February, 24th, 1558 !
In honour of this extraordinary man, and in order to help you solve the mysteries of these fascinating coincidences, we are pleased to present to you De Statu Religionis et Reipublicae, Carolo Quinto Cesare, Commentarij , a biography of Charles V in the context of the Reform by the historian and diplomat Johannes Sleidanus.

Friends of letters, friends of numbers, please share with us other synchronies and concordances of the sort !

posted by  Benjamin at  17:51 | permalink | comments [2]

27 Jan 2017
"Next Stop: Lesseps !"
Let us evoke this week one of our most illustrious compatriots who lived here in Barcelona, the diplomat and entrepreneur Ferdinand de Lesseps (1805-1894). While many inhabitants of Barcelona may only have a vague idea of the personality of the founder of the Suez Canal enterprise, the Lesseps name is known here to everyone: many have passed through the Plaça Lesseps, served by a metro stop of the same name, and the most Francophiles of course know the prestigious Ecole Française Ferdinand de Lesseps, founded by the former Consul-General of France who had won the hearts of the Barcelonese during the popular uprising of 1842.

In 1849, at the height of his diplomatic career, the emissary had been entrusted with a mission of conciliation between the Republicans in power in Rome and the Vatican. Finally disavowed by Napoleon III, in the tumultuous context of Italy's Wars of Unification, he was accused of collusion with the enemy and called to appear before the Assembly and the Council of State. Ferdinand de Lesseps published several writings in response to these accusations. The last of them was this rare memoir, of which we are pleased to present this remarkable copy, bound at the time in ornamented calf. The book constitutes, to some extent, the diplomatic will of the man who, deeply wounded by the injustice he considered himself a victim of, would put an end to a diplomatic career for which his name is now known to all the Barcelonese.

posted by  Benjamin at  16:31 | permalink | comments [0]

13 Jan 2017
Zola's Campaigns
« J’accuse ! »… Everybody knows about Zola’s famous open letter, which was published in the French daily L’Aurore on January 13th, in 1898...and which is 119 old today.
As we celebrate its anniversary, let us quote the journalist turned novelist, who was always eager to reconcile literature and journalism: « One returns to [the press] as to old loves. It is life, it is action, exhilarating and triumphant. Whenever one leaves it, one can never swear that it will be forever... ».
A reputed writer, Zola would continue to give great importance to the press, by means of which he led his numerous public campaigns.
« Une Campagne » is precisely the title he gave to one of the collections of press articles he published. Dealing wih the current political and literary issues of his time, the articles were originally published in the French daily Le Figaro between 1880 and 1881. The « polemical articles » were published in a single volume in 1882, and we are pleased to present to you an exceptional copy of its first edition, one of the ten copies printed on China paper.

posted by  Benjamin at  16:20 | permalink | comments [0]

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