Together these sets of articles comprise an encyclopedic array of human knowledge as capsulized by Feijóo.
“An Essay on Woman” is Essay 16 of Volume 1 in the Teatro Crítico Universal.
Until then the king had relied on the Church’s advice for almost every matter.
But now, the king, rather than the Pope, started appointing ecclesiastical dignitaries, and he furthermore reduced the number of religious institutions and decreased his regime’s pecuniary contribution to the clergy.
The Enlightenment’s commitment to education, in particular to the sciences, resulted in the creation of a series of cultural institutions: the Royal Academies of the Spanish Language (1713), of Medicine (1735), of History (1738), and of Fine Arts (1752); the National Library of Madrid (1712); and the Astronomic Observatory of Cádiz (1753).
In the realm of the arts, the Baroque—characterized by a complexity of design, a profusion of ornaments, and an emphasis on grandeur and mystery—dominated the first part of the eighteenth century, but soon shared the aesthetic domain with the rococo—characterized by excessive refinement, asymmetrical designs, curves and countercurves, gold and pastel colors.
by Benito Jerónimo Feijóo y Montenegro THE LITERARY WORK An essay set in the early eighteenth century for a Spanish audience; published in Spanish (as “Defensa de las mujeres”) in 1726 and revised in 1740; published in English in 1765.
SYNOPSIS Taking a radically unique stand for its day, the essay defends the intellectual faculties of women and their right to be educated in the same subjects as men.
The king did not implement these policies without resistance from the Church.
The Inquisition, the tribunal to suppress deviation from the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, took some time to collect itself as a counterforce, distracted by the setback it suffered as the object of the Enlightenment’s attacks, but it soon recovered its authority and became the mouthpiece of the Catholic Church, confronting the absolute power of the king.