Introduction: How Not to Write the History of the Spanish American Enlightenment

  • Adam SharmanEmail author


The chapter discusses the general contours of the Spanish American Enlightenment. It outlines local alternatives to the dominant Enlightenment proposed by recent criticism. It challenges the adequacy of the view that Spain’s and Spanish America’s Enlightenments were reform-based, “moderate” Enlightenments cut off from radical, philosophical alternatives. Sharman’s view is that the Spanish American Ilustración bears the trace elements of other, more radical Enlightenments that show up explicitly in certain texts or implicitly in denials of their presence. He lays out the five key questions of the book and the four key assumptions of contemporary scholarship on the Enlightenment. His proposal is that the anxiety of influence can be overcome once it is understood that all Enlightenments have their constitutive tensions, compromises, and contradictions.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Modern Languages and CulturesUniversity of NottinghamNottinghamUK

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