Alegre, Francisco Javier (1729–1788)

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Alegre, Francisco Javier (1729–1788)

Francisco Javier Alegre (b. 12 November 1729; d. 16 August 1788), historian of the Jesuits in New Spain, Latinist, and literary critic. A Jesuit priest and teacher born in Veracruz of Spanish parents, Alegre is best known for his Historia de la Provincia de la Compañía de Jesús de Nueva España. In this four-volume work, Alegre chronicles the history of Jesuit missionary activity in New Spain from their arrival in 1572 to shortly before the suppression of the order in 1767. Alegre was known to be a brilliant teacher and writer with broad interests. He wrote several poetic works as well as a prodigious multivolume treatise on theology, Institutionum theologicarum, published posthumously in 1789. After the Jesuits of New Spain were banished to the Papal States in 1767, Alegre, along with several of his colleagues, lived the rest of his life in Italy and made a living as a tutor and librarian. One of the more original works of this period is his Arte poético del Mon. Boileau, a translation and extensive commentary on Nicolas Boileau's L'art poétique, published posthumously by Joaquín García Icazbalceta in 1889. This is an early instance of literary criticism from a decidedly Latin American perspective.

See alsoJesuits .


See Ernest J. Burrus and Feliz Zubillaga's critical edition of Alegre's Historia de la Provincia de la Compañía de Jesús (1956), esp. pp. 1-32 for a bio-bibliography. Allan Figueroa Deck studies Alegre as a precocious literary critic in Francisco Javier Alegre: A Study in Mexican Literary Criticism (1976).

Additional Bibliography

Abad, Diego de. Francisco Javier Alegre y Diego José Abad: humanistas gemelos. Edited by Julio Pimentel Alvarez. Mexico City: Universidad Nacional de México, 1990.

                                   Allan Figueroa Deck

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Alegre, Francisco Javier (1729–1788)

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