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Fernando Bouza

Diego Saavedra Fajardo (1584-1648). Letters, crisis and European experience URL:

From his native Murcia to the curial Rome and, later, to the M,fcnster  of the Westfalia negotiations, the actions of Saavedra Fajardo are one of the most complete and outstanding of the Baroque Spain, and even the Baroque Europe. Server of the Austria Monarchy as ambassador and plenipotentiary, he was also in charge of government responsibilities in the royal court, where he acted for a short time as a member of the Consejo de Indias. Erudite and insightful by nature, he travelled the turbulent Europe of the Thirty Years' War, infiltrating the labyrinthine life of its courts and transmitting their echoes through an extraordinary collection of letters. His long European voyage allowed him to know, like few Spaniards of the time, the changes that were taking place in the fight for international hegemony. As time passed, his condition of being a practical man for negotiation -and although he ended up disappointed by it- allowed him to lucidly reflect about the preeminent spot that the ideal reputation requested from the Spanish Monarchy. Saavedra Fajardo also learned in a more stark way what was really reserved for that Monarchy within the new continental scenario, all of it included in his work Locuras de Europa.

Among the works he authored, it is worth highlighting together with Corona gótica, his Idea de un príncipe político cristiano representada en cien empresas published in Milan on 1640 with a prologue aimed at Baltasar Carlos de Austria, at the time heir of the huge monarchy of Felipe IV. A mirror for princes in times of crisis, this book is probably one of the European pinnacles of the Baroque discourse based on the combined hammering action of texts and images. With the great knowledge he possessed about the networks of debaters and polemicists at the service of power, he registered with superb mastery the particular sociability of the men of letters in his República literaria. In summary, Saavedra Fajardo held a relevant position in the international Republic of Letters of the 17th century, to the point that he was included in the European Parnassus being drafted at the time.

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