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Pascual de GayangosA Nineteenth-Century Spanish Arabist$
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Cristina Alvarez Millan and Claudia Heide

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780748635474

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748635474.001.0001

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Gayangos in the English Context

Gayangos in the English Context

(p.89) 5 Gayangos in the English Context
Pascual de Gayangos

Richard Hitchcock

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter discusses Pascual de Gayangos's rise to being an authority in Spanish culture and as an Arabic scholar. Following his Arabic tutelage under Silvestre de Sacy, he focused on attaining a mastery of the English language. In 1835, he requested for a licensia de cuatro mesesin order to go to Paris and London to prepare for his application to be the first holder of professorship in Arabic language in Madrid. In 1837, he was giving Arabic classes in Ateneo in Madrid. Nearing his promotion as the Chair of Arabic at the Universidad Central in Madrid, Gayangos retired and decided to pursue his literary and academic projects. His obsession was with his country's past and his abiding desire was to illuminate the period of history when the Muslims had been in Spain. This obsession of his and desire to illuminate on this particular aspect of Spain' history led to his many articles and contributions on Spanish topics with a central focus on Moorish and Arabic influences. Among his contributions were his: review of Prescott's Ferdinand and Isabella; articles in The Penny Cyclopaedia; and a study on the ‘Language and literature of the Moriscos’. By the time Gayangos returned to Madrid in the spring of 1843, he was widely known in the English-speaking world as an authority in Spain and an Arabic scholar. He composed his magnum opus in English and found his niche in London society. He was confident of his ability, and he remained ambitious in his desire to be recognised in his own country. However, after receiving accolades in Madrid, he returned as a permanent resident to London, where he completed many of projects in English and where he met his death in 1897.

Keywords:   Pascual de Gayangos, Spanish culture, Arabic scholar, Spain' history, The Penny Cyclopaedia, Moriscos

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