In its original Spanish language version, this tour de force was awarded the famed Espejo de Espana prize. Rubert deVentos examines the ambiguous yet highly charged relationships between Spain and the American nations of the Western hemisphere. Writing with the grace and charm that characterizes the best of the pensador tradition, the author has produced a fundamental treatise on social development.
With his deep appreciation for the indigenous populations of South and Central America, Rubert deVentos offers a comparative perspective on the two major forms of colonization in the Americas--that of Spain and of the United States, leading to the provocative conclusion that each should have learned from the traditional rather than the modern lives of the other. He emphasizes with great precision distinctions in relative stages of industrialization in the West, differences between Catholic and Protestant faiths, the variety of legal codes imposed on Latin America, and above all the fine but critical differences between civilization and evangelization.
Rubert deVentos's effort is exemplary for its immersion into the actual patterns of culture found in the encounter of civilizations. He engages in no harshness, no condemnation, no trivial pursuit of post-mortem name-calling. Rather he has a keen sense of the historical, the theological, and the inevitable. Written for the general reader and specialist in area studies alike, providing a deep sense of anthropology as well as history, The Hispanic Labyrinth has an ambitious aim: to give all concerned in this relationship a sense of common cause in building democracy in the process of global interaction.
Xavier Rubert deVentos holds the chair in Esthetics at the University of Barcelona. He is a Santayana Fellow at Harvard University and a founding member of the New York Institute for the Humanities. He has held visiting professorships at the University of Cincinnati, and the University of California at Berkeley. He is the author of works in Spanish and Catalan, including On Modernity; The Theory of Sensibility and other books on philosophical themes. He is also a deputy to the European Parliament. The Hispanic Labyrinth is translated from Spanish by Mary Ann Newman, teacher of Spanish-American literature in New York City.