AE Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - May - 2006 Issue

New Acquisitions from Argentine Bookseller Libreria de Antano

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Recent acquisitions at Libreria de Antano.


By Michael Stillman

We recently received a new catalogue from Libreria de Antano entitled A Short Title List of Recent Acquisitions. It is perhaps not the newest of new, since it is dated February 2006. However, you have to understand that we are located in the United States, and Libreria de Antano is situated in Argentina. Sometimes the mail can be slow.

Naturally, there is a focus on Latin American works in the Libreria's catalogues. However, some titles in here are European, a few with no discernable connection to the Americas. Therefore, those who collect outside of the confines of Latin America may wish to check out the material they are offering. Some items may be a surprise. Here is some of what we found in this catalogue.

Item 21 is a rare first edition of Antonio de Solis' Historia de la conquista de Mexico...published in 1684. De Solis was a Spanish playwright, who abandoned this somewhat disreputable field (by 17th century standards) to embark on a career as a historian and government official. His history of the conquest of Mexico is considered an outstanding work of prose, but perhaps not the most even-handed of histories. De Solis saw conquistador Hernan Cortes as something of a reincarnation of Alexander the Great. Those who were brutally conquered by him probably saw him in a different light. Nonetheless, de Solis has provided us with an important work on the era when Mexico was conquered by Spain. Priced at $8,000.

The Spanish would rule Mexico for almost two centuries, but in time, the locals became tired of their control. One of the earliest attempts to throw off Spanish rule was led by Padre Miguel Hidalgo in 1810. As unrest began to build, a committee was formed which convinced Father Hidalgo to lead their movement. The Padre responded affirmatively, and on September 16, 1810, rang his church bells to announce his call for Mexican independence. This day is still celebrated as the anniversary of the country's Declaration of Independence. The local bishop excommunicated Father Hidalgo for his actions, but that did not stop him from leading his recruits, mainly poor Indians and villagers, to some early victories. At one point they came close to reaching Mexico City. However, the Spanish and their allies were able to beat back the rebels, and by the following year, the retreating Hidalgo had been captured and executed. It bought the Spanish a little time, but in another decade, Mexico would succeed in gaining its independence. Those who fought in Hidalgo's insurrection are memorialized in item 23, Oracion funebre que en las solemnes honras de los militaries que han muerto en la insurreccionde Hidalgo... published in 1811. $400.

For those who speak English, and are looking for a contemporary description of the Mexican revolution that would take place a decade later, item 27 is Notes on Mexico made in the autumn of 1822 accompanied by an historical sketch of the revolution and translations of official reports on the present state of that country. This work, edited by Carey and Lea, was published in Philadelphia in 1824, as the results of that revolution were still evolving. $900.

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