The Composition, Circulation, and Reception of the Notícias Recônditas in Eighteenth-Century England


UID/HIS/04666/2019 SFRH/BPD/109606/2015The so-called Notícias Recônditas, an anonymous account written in the context of the negotiations that led to the suspension of Inquisition-related actions in Portugal between 1674 and 1681, has been approached by historiography principally from the points of view of its controversial authorship, its compositional framework, and even the accuracy of its contents. This article proposes a different perspective, focusing on its circulation and reception in the eighteenth-century England. Comparing different handwritten and printed versions of this text reveals numerous additions, transformations, and adaptations of its contents and structure, from its moment of composition until its publication and even afterwards. Eighteenth-century London, where anti-Catholic polemical literature was flourishing, is the place of publication of the first editions. There, Notícias was also appropriated by Anglican polemists with one main purpose in mind: attacking the Catholic Church. This, however, did not suit the text’s original goals of making contributions to reforms to the Inquisition in Portugal and raising awareness for the New Christian cause. Therefore, identifying and analyzing the discrepancies among the different versions of the text give way to new questions concerning the intervention of copyists, translators, compilers, and publishers in order to achieve specific objectives and to reach target audiences.authorsversionpublishe

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