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Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos

Jovellanos, Gaspar Melchor de (gäspärˈ mĕlchôrˈ dā hōvĕlyäˈnōs) [key], 1744–1811, Spanish statesman and writer. Very influential as an advocate of economic and social reform during the enlightened reign of Charles III (his reports both on agrarian and prison reform are still considered classics), Jovellanos's personal integrity put him at odds with church and state once the fear produced in Spanish governmental circles by the French Revolution led to politics of repression. He was imprisoned for seven years (1801–8). At the time of the French invasion in 1808, he became one of the leaders of the Central Junta, which organized the war against Napoleon. A firsthand view of Jovellanos's life and times is afforded by his diary, covering the years from 1790 to 1801. Jovellanos's poetry is philosophical and reflective; his best-known poem is Epístola de Fabio a Anfriso [epistle from Fabio to Anfriso].

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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