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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bible in Spain: Picaresque Tale & Travel Adventure, 15 Sep 2003
Sharon L. Wevill (Frigiliana, Malaga, Spain) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Bible in Spain (Paperback)
Summary: Travel book, autobiography, picaresque tale
Introduced by a friend to the writings of George Borrow many years ago, I’ve been a fan of his for a long time. Having devoured his books, Lavengro and Romany Rye, I wanted to read The Bible in Spain. Based on Borrow’s adventurous travels around the peninsula in the early nineteenth century while distributing and selling copies of The New Testament in Spanish, it is a marvelous evocation of the haunting variety of the Spanish countryside, the Spanish people, the customs and eccentricities from region to region, and a sharp review of Spanish history to that point. In the picaresque tradition of Quixote, and with changing Sanchos for companions, Borrow’s idealistic quest to enlighten the people lead him into extraordinary situations with Gypsies, Galicians and Andalusians, Castilians and Catalans and the odd displaced Italian or Greek. In his mind, the people have been enslaved and kept ignorant by the Catholic clergy and Pope. The idea of the British Bible Society, who hired Borrow to take the New Testament to Spain and arrange for its printing and distribution, was to make directly available to the people a clear translation of Christ’s teachings, minus the lengthy exegeses of clerical scholars and priests, thus freeing people to approach God on their own.
George Borrow is a traveler, keen observer and true eccentric in the best British tradition. His knowledge of and sensitivity to languages, including Romany, and his strong intelligence and powers of imagination and empathy enable him to interact intensely with the people he meets. His intrepid approach lands him in many amazing situations, often hilarious, sometimes dangerous, always interesting. His powers of description are extraordinary: the reader experiences the events as if present, hearing the dialects and accents, smelling the stables and the food and vegetation, participating in the difficult and beautiful excursions into some of the wildest areas of Spain.
The reader also learns a great deal about the political and social situation in Spain at this time: the Carlist wars, the poverty, and the strong, enduring spirit of the common people. As a stylist, Borrows is sharp, clear and direct. He is a rare combination of the romantic and the realist. This book is worth reading for pleasure as well as information, and is wonderful background for anyone interested in Spain.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The 1830's Bestseller Recounting Borrow's Spanish Journeys, 12 Jun 2011
This review is from: THE BIBLE IN SPAIN (Hardcover)
Borrow travels all over Spain in the early 19th century with the aim of selling and setting up the printing of bibles to give the Spanish the holy word without any Catholic inter mediation. He viewed his book as something of a guidebook noting to bring some food if you stop at an inn. They'll cook it for you but they won't give you any. Also make sure that you are armed as you will certainly be shot at and if the number of flies round your horses becomes impossible then put bags over their heads.
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The Bible in Spain
The Bible in Spain by George Henry Borrow (Hardcover - 1 Feb 2002)
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