I’m trying to get caught up on my email and am finally getting to some news that I should have shared months ago… My apologies to those who alerted me to these.

First, a little-known but interesting side story to the history of the United States.  During the time that the fledgling country was developing its constitution, John Adams, later the second President of the US, was sent to Europe. During his trip, he made it to the Basque Country, and was suitably impressed, stating that “In a research like this, after those people in Europe who have had the skill, courage, and fortune, to preserve a voice in the government, Biscay, in Spain, ought by no means to be omitted. While their neighbours have long since resigned all their pretensions into the hands of kings and priests, this extraordinary people have preserved their ancient language, genius, laws, government, and manners, without innovation, longer than any other nation of Europe. Of Celtic extraction, they once inhabited some of the finest parts of the ancient Boetica; but their love of liberty, and unconquerable aversion to a foreign servitude, made them retire, when invaded and overpowered in their ancient feats, into these mountainous countries, called by the ancients Cantabria…” In recognition of this connection, Bilbao recently (recently being March…) installed a bust of John Adams. If you read Spanish, you can read about it here.

Basque literature doesn’t have a long history, with Basque being a written language only recently, and only standardized (in the form of Batua) in the last 50 or so years.  However, given that delayed start, Basque literature has really matured. And thus the website basqueliterature.com, which is a portal in which “you will find information about different aspects of Basque literature: a brief history of Basque literature, catalogues about Basque writers, works and their translations, interesting links (institutional, academic, literary…) or news about Basque literature.”

2 thoughts on “Miscellany”

  1. I have been in Bilbao many times, most recently the biginning of December. I saw this bust of John Adams and assumed I had just not noticed it before. I really loved the connection he placed to the area and its people for maintaing their own culture. Thanks for the back story.

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