An Account, Much Abbreviated, of the Destruction of the Indies With Related Texts

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9780872206250: An Account, Much Abbreviated, of the Destruction of the Indies With Related Texts

Fifty years after the arrival of Columbus, at the height of Spain's conquest of the West Indies, Spanish bishop and colonist Bartolomé de Las Casas dedicated his Brevísima Relación de la Destruición de las Indias to Philip II of Spain. An impassioned plea on behalf of the native peoples of the West Indies, the Brevísima Relación catalogues in horrific detail atrocities it attributes to the king’s colonists in the New World. The result is a withering indictment of the conquerors that has cast a 500-year shadow over the subsequent history of that world and the European colonization of it.

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About the Author:

Franklin Knight is Leonard and Helen R. Stulman Professor of History, Johns Hopkins University, and the author of The Caribbean: The Genesis of a Fragmented Nationalism (Oxford) and Slave Societies of the Caribbean (Macmillan).

Andrew Hurley is Professor of English, University of Puerto Rico, and the award-winning translator of numerous works of fiction and non-fiction including the Collected Fictions of Jorge Luis Borges (Viking) and several novels by Reinaldo Arenas.

Review:

Andrew Hurley's daring new translation dramatically foreshortens that five hundred years by reversing the usual priority of a translation; rather than bring the Brevísima Relación to the reader, it brings the reader to the Brevísima Relación--not as it is, but as it might have been, had it been originally written in English. The translator thus allows himself no words or devices unavailable in English by 1560, and in so doing reveals the prophetic voice, urgency and clarity of the work, qualities often obscured in modern translations. An Introduction by Franklin Knight, notes, a map, and a judicious set of Related Readings offer further aids to a fresh appreciation of this foundational historical and literary work of the New World and European engagement with it. This is a splendid new translation of Brevísima Relación, the famous denunciation of the Spanish conquest of the Americas, written by Dominican friar Bartolomé de Las Casas (1483-1566). . . . The Hackett edition of Brevísima Relación . . . has a lot to offer to undergraduates. . . . Knight's introduction to the text makes in fact for a compelling read. . . . Together with Knight’s ample annotations, which refer students to the most up-to-date secondary literature, it makes for a wonderful introduction to the history of Europe’s expansion into the Western Hemisphere." --Martine van Ittersum, Journal of Early Modern History



Las Casas comes alive in this version. The translator turns Las Casas' rough and rambling style, which has thwarted previous translators, into the Biblical tirade that Las Casas intended; the rambling becomes rumbling with these sonorous word choices. This will doubtless become the standard translation of the Brevísima Relación. --David Frye, University of Michigan



This is by far the best modern edition of the classic account of Las Casas. An excellent Introduction provides the background of the friar and the debates he engendered. Of equal value are the appendices with the royal legislation for protection of the conquered Amerindians, that are the true legacy of his polemical treatises. Excerpts from eyewitnesses of the conquest of Mexico provide students with food for thought and discussion. This is an excellent classroom edition that should be widely used." --Noble David Cook, author of Born to Die: Disease and New World Conquest, 1492-1650

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