Vives in England (1523–1528)

  • Carlos G. Noreña
Part of the Archives Internationales D’Histoire des Idees/International Archives of the History of Ideas book series (ARCH, volume 34)


On November 11, 1523, six months after his departure from Bruges, Vives wrote Cranevelt an enthusiastic letter about his promotion to one of the readerships at Oxford University.1 The long document does not contain a single reference to Vives’ projected trip to Valencia, nor any expression of concern about his father’s destiny in the hands of the Spanish Inquisitors. The sharp contrast between the spirited animation of this letter and the bitter pessimism of Vives’ correspondence before his arrival in England clearly indicates that in those six months the life of Vives had taken entirely new perspectives. What had happened was that Vives’ most cherished aspiration had finally been fulfilled: now he was able to live and work in the kingdom of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. Overwhelmed by the joy of this event Vives found it easy to drop his planned visit to Spain, a visit he terribly feared. Probably a well-intentioned but vague promise of mediation with the Spanish authorities by Catherine or Wolsey helped Vives to get rid of any scruples. Besides, the traditionally long trials of the Spanish Tribunal — Luis Vives’ case took more than two years! — allowed Vives a few months of uncertain hope which he probably tried to keep alive to excuse himself from squarely facing the cruel reality. There was no doubt some weakness in the final decision, a weakness, however, which is difficult to condemn.


Fifteenth Century Henry VIII Christmas Holiday Charles Versus Spanish Authority 
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© Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, Netherlands 1970

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  • Carlos G. Noreña

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