Baltasar Gracián y Morales, SJ
SPAIN, 2001, 4th centenary of Gracián's birth, Scott 3109, and its FDI cancels
Baltasar Jerónimo Gracián y Morales, author of numerous works, was born in Calatayud, Aragon in 1601, entered the Jesuits at the age of 18, was sent to Zaragoza and later to Valencia to study theology, and was ordained in 1627. He taught philosophy and theology at several Jesuit schools in Aragon, was rector of the Jesuit college at Tarragona, and gained fame as a preacher in the court city of Madrid. He wrote under pseudonyms to avoid censorship, desirous perhaps that lesser talent not corrupt his exquisite style with their censorship and corrections. He was a witty man, constantly in trouble with his Jesuit superiors, though respected as a stylist and influential on other Spanish authors.
While professor of religion at Zaragoza, he published without his superior's permission a philosophical novel, El criticón. He was reprimanded by the superior general of the Jesuits, Fr. Goswin Nickel, since the book's tone was cynical and pessimistic, and certain personalities in this roman à clé were recognizable under their frequently thin disguises. When the second part of El criticón appeared in 1653, and the third 1657, it was a deliberate challenge and an act of open defiance. The provincial, Fr. Jacinto Piquer, SJ, among other things, exiled him to the Jesuit college in Graus. Gracian wrote to the superior general, and asked permission to leave the order, a request that was denied. He eventually moved on to Tarazona where he died in 1658.
His recently republished work, The Art of Worldly Wisdom, has been a best seller.
SPAIN, 1958, show cancel for the tercentenary of his death
2001, show cancel for the 4th centenary of his birth,
which shows the Jesuit church and residence where he lived in Graus