Juan Donoso Cortes - Encyclopedia

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JUAN DONOSO CORTES, Marquis de Valdegamas (1809-1853), Spanish author and diplomatist, was born at Valle de la Serena (Extremadura) on the 6th of May 1809, studied law at Seville, and entered politics as an advanced liberal under the influence of Quintana (q.v.). His views began to modify after the rising at La Granja, and this tendency towards conservatism, which became more marked on his appointment as private secretary to the Queen Regent, finds expression in his Lecciones de derecho politico (1837). Alarmed by the proceedings of the French revolutionary party in 1848-1849, Donoso Cortes issued his Ensayo sobre el catolicismo, el liberalismo, y el socialismo considerados en sus principios fundamentales (1851), denouncing reason as the enemy of truth and liberalism as leading to social ruin. He became ambassador at Paris, and died there on the 3rd of May 1853. The Ensayo has failed to arrest the movement against which it was directed, and is weakened by its extravagant paradoxes; but, with all its rhetorical excesses, it remains the finest specimen of impassioned prose published in Spain during the 9th century.

Donoso Cortes' works were collected in five volumes at Madrid (1854-1855) under the editorship of Gavino Tejado.

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