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Skip to main content. Log In Sign Up. The lieutenant and four of his 23 oicers waited outside for about podtier hours, until, at three in chxrtreux afternoon, Guerra 24 and Beristain arrived with two unidentified men. The 26 lieutenant arrested Guerra and Beristain on charges of indecent behavior, includ- 27 ing reading an obscene illustrated French book.

The vicar general ordered his lieutenant to 31 take Guerra to the nearby Oratory of San Salvador and put his partner in crime, 32 Beristain, under preventive arrest in the house of an ecclesiastic. I would like to thank participants of the semi- nars for their comments. For most Spanish readers of Le Portier, reading was not a 34 process by which they necessarily deciphered a meaning intended by the author.

The text as read is the only text that exists. Educated individuals had privileged access to books, including in 44 some cases prohibited books. From this perspective, although 46 47 2 Unless otherwise indicated, translations are my own, and all quotes from the Inquisition 48 archives are from the document listed in note 1. Whether the folio is recto or verso is indicated by r.

By contrast, ordinary readers tended to read as part of a com- 3 munity, either because not all in that community knew how to read or because 4 they were used to experiencing reading as a social activity Diz In the case of 5 the two Mexicans, however, readers of diferent backgrounds responded to the 6 contents and obscene illustrations in similar ways, whether laughing at the outra- 7 geous story or denouncing its excesses.

Beristain had been at the Escorial since early October, when 37 Charles III had commissioned the theologian to catalog the manuscripts of its pri- 38 vate library. To be able to chartreyx this position, Beristain had obtained temporary 39 leave from the University of Valladolid, where he was professor of theology.

Le portier des chartreux ( edition) | Open Library

In late 40 November, when the king returned to Madrid, Beristain accompanied the court 41 Toribio Medina, Historia de la imprenta — Beristain would sleep in a bed next to Guerra and the brother on 2 the other side of the curtain. The two religious men 9 normally got up between 9 and 10 a.

On most days between 11 a. Afterward, the two Mexicans would go to the theater. On 4 Januaryonce both 37 Mexicans had pprtier that the two volumes belonged to Beristain, the vicar gen- 38 eral ordered his oicers to transfer the theologian to the Oratory of San Salvador, 39 where he remained for the rest of the trial. The next day, 5 January, the vicar gen- 40 eral denounced the Mexicans to the Inquisition.

Le Senne failed to make a name for himself, 17 whereas Beristain became a famous scholar whose prestige as an intellectual made 18 the notion that he may have been an agent of radical French ideas potentially 19 scandalous. Three years after his arrival, Beristain earned his second 38 undergraduate degree in Valencia, and only a month later he earned his doctor- 39 ate in theology Millares Carlo — Mayans encouraged Beristain to engage in a major intel- 43 lectual enterprise: But, whereas Eguiara wrote his 5 work in Latin, Beristain completed a bibliographic encyclopedia in Spanish so as 6 to reach those readers who did not know Latin.

With this ambitious project in 7 mind, the young theologian sought to obtain a porrtier as bibliographer in the court 8 of Charles III, although for the time being, Beristain had to content himself with 9 the chair of theology at the University of Valladolid, which he won in 10 Toribio Medina, Historia de la imprenta — One month later, the king commissioned Beristain to catalog the 17 manuscripts of the Escorial.

The theologian was thus closer than ever to reaching 18 his intellectual and professional goals when his arrest on 31 December threatened 19 to dash forever his hopes for higher oice. This was the first step in determining 31 whether Beristain was indeed an charterux of dangerous ideas. Although his con- 39 fessions purportedly seek to educate others not to follow his example, the narrator 40 clearly relishes the details of his wrongdoings.


Saturnin will later find out that 44 Annette is not his birth mother and that he lee in fact the son of a monk, but, here, 45 Saturnin educates himself in the secrets of love by watching.

This theme — a voy- 46 eur who learns through imitation — recurs not only in the subplots of Le Portier, 47 but also in many erotic novels of early modern Europe Young 40— Watching and learning by imitating bring 5 Saturnin and Suzon all kinds of misadventures. Saturnin is truly in love with his 6 sister, but their lives take separate paths.

Years later we find eds in a brothel, where 7 she is a prostitute dying of syphilis. Saturnin swears eternal love to Suzon, con- 8 tracts her illness, and only survives by having his genitals amputated. He ends his 9 life as Dom Bougre, the porter guarding the doors of the Res House. Its portraits are so well chartrreux they have an el of truth about 18 them, which is irresistible.

It was this combination of truthfulness 20 and filthiness that chadtreux Le Portier the epitome of obscenity. More- 29 over, the term pornography is also useful because, as censor San Vicente noted in 30 his report, the novel embraced what was sexually explicit, scandalous, and, most of 31 portker, heretical. Thus, the concept of pornography captures the dangerous elements 32 of sexually explicit literature, while also including its obscene, scandalous, impure, 33 and lascivious nature.

Because sensuality dictates the actions of 8 men and women, it also provides the ultimate measure of good and evil. Knowl- 9 edge is not innate but based on experience. Reason is secondary to the pleasure of 10 the senses Bernier 13— Despite the Inquisition, Spanish intellectuals had by the end of the eigh- 24 teenth century access to books that subscribed to the theory of sensualistic mate- 25 charteux, and many reputable Spanish writers incorporated traces of sensualism in 26 their most daring works Gies —25 by composing obscene literature with a 27 sensualistic message.

He was not only a 36 well-known intellectual with a broad network of contacts; he was also a regular 37 participant in literary tertulias, where discussions of new books sometimes devel- 38 oped into full-blown attacks on the monarchy and the Church. Throughout the 39 s and s, religious and civil authorities had targeted members of tertulias, 40 fearing they constituted well-informed networks of forbidden literature. Consequently, on 27 Januaryten days after San Vicente 29 presented his report, La Suprema decreed that Le Portier be prohibited even for 30 those who de license to read prohibited books.

In late November41 while Beristain was at the Escorial cataloging manuscripts, the theologian visited 42 Portler at his home when a shipment of books arrived via French diplomatic cou- 43 rier from a trustworthy Parisian contact. When Belluga inspected the package, he 44 discovered that his French bookseller had sent him Le Portier pprtier Chartreux. The 45 two small volumes had been published in Brussels ineach lined with blue 46 paper containing twenty obscene engraved plates.

In the several declarations in 47 the trial there is disagreement regarding the size of the volumes. However, if we 3 believe Patrick J.

Category:Histoire de Dom Bougre, Portier des Chartreux

Soon after, the statesman left for Seville. First, the priest declared that Beristain was the owner of the book and 35 that the theologian had read it to him at night, and to no one else.

He only allowed the volumes to be 40 41 7 French bibliographer and publisher Jules Gay also mentions the existence of a edition 42 published in Brussels. However, Kearney, a scholar of the history of erotica, believes that this edi- 43 tion was actually published in London and that Brussels was only mentioned as a way to mislead the police.

Kearney bases this assertion on the information provided by James Campbell Reddie in his 44 manuscript Bibliographical Notes on Books, housed at the British Library in London. The inquisitors soon discov- 5 ered that almost everyone in the guesthouse knew about the two volumes of Le 6 Portier.

The boy explained 11 that his brother had been sending him to bed at around 11 or She prob- 3 ably meant that the Mexicans mimicked the postures in the book for the actresses, 4 since the two men, perhaps inspired by the satirical and comic plays the two Mexi- 5 cans regularly attended, seemed to have playacted some of the parts of the novel 6 for each other and the actresses.


Pogtier landlady did not explain how she knew about 7 these activities, which presumably happened behind closed doors. The servant pro- 12 vided a detailed description of the chhartreux of the book: The 25 inquisitors did not interrogate the actresses or the boy, Vicente Beristain. None of 28 the chartrreux mentioned the philosophical or political content of Le Portier.

Instead, 29 they emphasized the obscene nature of the book, which produced a range of 30 responses from laughter to horror.

Moreover, no one hinted that Beristain was 31 using the book as a way to preach or teach radical ideas. Thus, on 13 March32 the inquisitors announced their final sentence. The theologian also had to pay a 38 fine of 50 ducados.

Three days later, Beristain left portiee Valladolid to resume his 39 duties as professor of theology at the university. Even 3 though the loud laughter of the reading party led to his arrest, it may also have 4 convinced the inquisitors that Beristain was not hiding his activities.

His repen- 5 tance after the arrest suggests that the theologian may have been a mischievous 6 young clergyman, but was not committed to spreading a heretical gospel. Reading Lessons 10 11 The case of the reading group at the Madrid guesthouse illustrates how the 12 reading of pornographic literature did not necessarily lead to radical beliefs.

If 13 the philosophical component of a book like Le Portier was, as censor San Vicente 14 saw it, such an important part of the novel, why did the readers of the guesthouse chartrekx seem to focus instead on its obscene and comical aspects?

How, in fact, did indi- 16 viduals read such works in the eighteenth century? Yet Beri- 21 stain chose to disregard that deeper message of the novel for the pleasures of the 22 lascivious adventures of Father Silas. Like San Vicente, Beristain read the novel in French 25 and had the necessary skills to interpret Le Portier as a philosophical work.

In spite of their diferent interpreta- 10 tions, the two men approached the text with skepticism and a sense of inquiry, 11 while their solitary readings shielded them from the responses of others. In fact, the political views of the three Mexicans in the reading group — the 35 priest Guerra, the theologian Beristain, and his young brother Vicente — difered 36 considerably after their days at the guesthouse.

In contrast, Beristain maintained a taste for contro- 40 versy throughout his life, but not as a radical thinker. He became a conservative 41 clergyman and a supporter of the Spanish monarchy, and after the trial, except 42 for a short trip to Mexico inBeristain stayed in Spain untilwhen he 43 returned to Mexico to become the new deacon of the cathedral of Mexico City 44 Millares Carlo Both Beristain brothers 16 read the same banned work but reached diferent, even opposite, conclusions.

Instead, he chose the life of a sea captain, hired by the French 21 navy. On 12 Maythe 23 younger Beristain had his own encounter with the Inquisition, one that revealed 24 that he, rather than his brother, was a reader of dangerous books and a carrier of 25 forbidden ideas to Spanish soil.

They speak French and 42 English, and, if they had a chance, they would sacrifice us tomorrow. The attacks against the Church and the state 3 that San Vicente reported to be at the core of Le Portier did not have a political 4 impact in the Spanish empire, where the church establishment remained strong. This sug- 13 gests in turn that scholars need to rethink our current assumptions regarding the 14 power of books like Le Portier to radicalize public opinion and contribute to revo- 15 lutionary movements.

Proceso inquisitorial a un periodista. Val- 28 ladolid, Spain: Caja de Ahorros Provincial de Valladolid, Estudio documentado de la literatura mexicana durante el primer siglo de indepen- 30 dencia — Real Seminario Palafoxiano, Libertinage et figures du savoir: Texts, Performance, and Audiences from Codex to Computer. U of Pennsylvania P, The Press in France, — Rob- 46 ert Darnton and Daniel Roche. U of California P,