Author: Arzans de Orsua y Vela, Bartolome (1676-1736)
Tales of Potosí
Publisher: Brown University Press
xxxvi+209 pages with bibliographical references. Royal octavo (9 1/4" x 6") issued in two tone color with red boards and black spine with gilt lettering. Edited with an introduction by R C Padden. Translated from Translated selections from Historia de la villa imperial de Potosi by Frances M Lopez-Morillas. 1st American edition.
Spanish colonial life is shown in a new light in these robust tales, available in English for the first time, of the legendary era of the great South American silver center of Potosi, a seventeenth-century boom town "raised," according to one of its governors, "in pandemonium by greed at the foot of riches discovered by accident." In the seventeenth century, when the English settlement of North America was only beginning, Potosi had reached the peak of its amazing development, becoming one of the richest cities in the world and-although high above the Andean timberline-the most populous city in the Western Hemisphere. Along with the inevitable decline that ensued came tales of what had become a legendary past. In the eighteenth century Arzans retold many of these tales with gusto in this monumental Historia de la Villa Imperial de Potosi, which, except for a few fragments, remained unpublished until 1965. Then appear in three volumes in the original Spanish, it was said to be "like the great silver mountain of Potosi itself but full of riches of a quite different kind". Now these riches are available in a selection of tales translated from the original. Among them are accounts of the elaborate public ceremonies that took place on such occasions as the death of Philip II and the accession to the throne of Philip III. Most of the tales, however, are about the private lives of the Potosinos.
Small sticker stain on front end paper. Jacket with slightly darkened spine else a near fine copy in like jacket.