8vo (165 x 105 mm), pp. [viii], 247, [1, blank]; slightly browned; contemporary sheep; extremities rubbed; some worming to front cover; remnants of label on spine; from the library of the earls of Macclesfield.
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First edition in English. A free and abridged translation of Voyage d’Espagne curieux, historique et politique, first published anonymously in 1665. Setting out from the Netherlands in 1651 in the company of François van Aerssen, Brunel toured France, Germany and Italy before travelling to Spain in March 1655. The party made its way to Madrid via San Sebastián, Vitoria and Burgos, returning to France at the end of June via Zaragoza, Tudela and Pamplona. Aranjuez and Alcalá de Henares are also described. Brunel compiled this account of his travels around 1657 using his own notes and those of Van Aerssen (who drowned on his return to the Netherlands and to whom the work is sometimes attributed).
A Journey into Spain, in its portrayal of the country as religiously, politically and socially backward, demonstrates a conscious awareness in Europe of Spain’s decline as a world power during the mid-seventeenth century. Brunel’s account of his experiences in Spain confirm John Lynch’s statement that the ‘syndrome of rural poverty, depopulation, financial chaos, and recession of American trade produced Spain’s first great crisis in the modern period. The crisis can be dated between 1598 and 1620, and it was a crisis of change, denoting a reversal of the economic trends of the sixteenth century. The worst was still to come. From 1640 political disintegration and military collapse compounded the economic disorder and reduced Spain to absolute depression. And by this time there was no hope of relief from America’ (Lynch, Spain under the Habsburgs II pp. 10–11).
Palau 372954; Wing B5230.
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