More than 125 years have gone by since the last annotated version of The Bible in Spain saw the light. Now, Peter Missler’s new, illustrated Gabicote edition of Borrow’s masterpiece is available for free on the internet, and offers the integral text of Borrow’s travelogue, augmented by many fragments of text missing in the published versions, plus numerous explicatory footnotes containing the accumulated research and scholarship of the last hundred years.
Chapters may be read on-line or downloaded separately in pdf format.
Peter Missler’s book
The Treasure Hunter of Santiago
tells the true story of Benedict Mol, one of the most remarkable characters in Borrow’s
Bible in Spain
. Although Borrow changed many details, Missler’s research proves that the Swiss vagrant did indeed exist, and went to Santiago de Compostela in August 1838, sponsored by the Spanish Minister of Finance, to dig up a ‘Schatz’ hidden in the cesspool of a VD clinic by Napoleon’s French soldiers.
For sample chapters and ways to order see the website of Durrant publishing.
George Borrow went to Spain in 1836 to print and distribute holy scripture in the vernacular language, an audacious enterprise which quickly brought him into conflict with the Catholic Church and the conservative authorities. Peter Missler’s exhaustive study reconstructs the details of production, the sales methods and the sales numbers of Borrow’s Scio New Testament over the years 1837-1839, and includes the first ever integral reproduction of Borrow’s expense accounts with the Bible Society.
For sample chapters and ways to order see the website of Durrant publishing.
What You Will Find On This Website
The present website offers in-depth articles by various authors on George Borrow’s four “Spanish” publications: the Scio New Testament, the “Gypsy Luke” (or Embéo e Majaró Lucas), The Zincali, and The Bible in Spain. Some of these articles have already appeared in hard-print magazines. Others are new and original. The object of collecting them here is to make them available to a wider public and to researchers investigating George Borrow’s life, writings and times, particularly his Spanish years from 1836 to 1840.
The articles posted here are not strictly academic, although we do aim for a reasonable measure of scholarly accuracy. First and foremost, however, we wish to offer a wide variety of subjects treated, where possible, in an elegant and even enjoyable manner.
Copyright & Conditions of Use
Unless otherwise noted at the top of the individual articles, we consider these investigations very much ‘in the Public Domain’, as the modern expression goes. That is to say that anybody interested in the subject is welcome to read, print, download, quote, copy and pillage to his heart’s delight. In case of copy or pillage it would be appreciated if the source and the author got mentioned. But if this is not done, the shameless scoundrel does not need to worry about possible visits from a Borrovian Task-force of literary lawyers and scholarly commandos. He will merely have to fear for the state of his karma, which is worse. (In case of copyrighted articles permission must be sought from the author for any use made of the text, except short quotes provided with proper reference to source.)
Questions and Enquiries
For further questions about George Borrow, his life, his writings and his place in literature, please contact the George Borrow Society
The Makings of this Website
Content for this website is made or gathered by Peter Missler. Design and maintenance is by Ronald Lamars.
List of Articles, by subject
The Spanish Years - General
The Story of the Four Books - by Peter Missler
An introduction to George Borrow’s four ‘Spanish’ publications: The Scio New Testament; Embéo e Majaró Lucas (aka The Gypsy Luke); The Zincali; and The Bible in Spain.
Any Time for Medicine - By Peter Missler
. PDF, 600 KB
Toast to ‘Borrovians The World Over’ during the bi-centennial George Borrow Memorial Dinner, on 5 July 2003 in the King of Hearts Hotel, Norwich.
George Borrow and the Spanish Press - By Antonio Giménez Cruz
. PDF, 8.5 MB
The classic article by Antonio Giménez Cruz on Borrow’s battles with his adversaries in the Spanish newspapers and magazines of the late 1830s.
An Astonishing Correspondent. George Borrow and the Bible Society - by Kathleen Cann
This article describes the sometimes stormy relationship of George Borrow with his employers, the British and Foreign Bible Society, during the 7 years he spent in their service in Russia and Spain.
Borrow’s Spanish Journey - by Ann Ridler.
The text analyses the way in which George Borrow treated his personal experiences in Spain to compose The Zincali and The Bible in Spain.
Writing against Rome. Anti-Catholicism and the Shaping of Borrow’s Work - By David Chandler
George Borrow claimed that he had 'written against Rome with all his heart, with all his mind, with all his soul, and with all his strength', and most of his works contain at least some anti-Catholic material. In this article, David Chandler examines how anti-Catholicism influenced the subject and even the form of Borrow's books.
The Monetary System of Borrow’s Spain (1830-1840) - by Peter Missler
A short, comprehensive exposé of the different Spanish coins and currencies in the 1830s, and of the exchange rates between English and Spanish money.
The Scio New Testament in Spanish (Madrid 1837)
Rey Romero’s Testaments - by Peter Missler
This article is mainly concerned with the confiscation of the copies of George Borrow’s New Testament in the bookshop of Francisco Rey Romero in Santiago de Compostela in June 1838, and with the legal and religious problems that led up to such confiscations.
The Gypsy Luke (Embéo e Majaró Lucas) (Madrid 1837/1838)
Passion of a Gypsy Luke - by Peter Missler
The background history of a rare copy of the Embéo e Majaró Lucas in the University Library of Santiago de Compostela.
The Zincali (London 1841)
The Bookseller of Logroño / by Richard Hitchcock.
Professor Hitchcock’s lecture investigates the origin, possible sources and composition history of Borrow’s dramatic tale about Francisco Alvarez, the bookseller of Logroño, who almost singlehandedly defended the town against a treacherous attack by a gang of Gypsy bandits.
The Bible in Spain (London 1843)
George Borrow in North-west Spain: from mid-May to the 31st of October 1837 - By Ian Robertson
. PDF, 6.3 MB.
The towns and villages of León, Galicia and the north coast of Spain were the target of George Borrow's endeavours to sell Testaments and to establish depots for their future distribution. Twenty years after its initial publication, this solid article by Ian Robertson remains the best treatment of that daring adventure.
George Borrow in Portugal - by Ian Robertson
. PDF, 3 MB.
Ian Robertson, author of several studies of earlier English travellers in Spain and on the Peninsular War, describes George Borrow's lesser-known months in Portugal, prior to the decision to concentrate on selling Bibles in Spain.
The Father of the Novel and the Mother of the Waters - by Peter Missler
. PDF, 3 MB.
The story behind the tomb of Henry Fielding and the Lisbon Aqueduct, which Borrow visited in late 1835 (Bible in Spain, chapter 1).
Antonio da Traba, Hero of Finisterre (part I) - by Peter Missler
. PDF, 12 MB.
The smuggler and fisherman Antonio da Traba, war veteran, braggart and local bigwig from Finisterre on the extreme Western end of the Iberian Peninsula, is one of the most colorful characters in The Bible in Spain. Many of the wild stories Borrow tells about him turn out to be perfectly true, as the investigations of the Galician schoolmaster Alvaro de las Casas prove.
Lost in Lugo - by Peter Missler
. PDF, 13 MB.
Invited to speak at an anthropological congress in the town of Lugo, the author tries to retrace Borrow's steps in that romantic old town, only to discover that 170 years have demanded their toll and that little is left of the splendid sites mentioned in chapter 26 of The Bible in Spain.
Almaraz: La Memoria Del Lobo - por David Fernández de Castro
‘La Memoria del Lobo’ es un capitulo tomado del ultimo libro de viajes que fue inspirado por las hazañas y escrituras de George Borrow: Crónicas Ibéricas del escritor Barcelonés David Fernández de Castro. El capitulo trata del viaje de Fernández de Castro al pueblo de Almaraz en la primavera de 2.006, en pos de noticias sobre los lobos salvajes que siempre fascinaban y atemorizaban a Borrow durante sus años españoles.
Almaraz: The Relics of the Wolf - by David Fernández de Castro
‘The Relics of the Wolf’ is a chapter taken from the most recent travel-book which was inspired by George Borrow’s writings and Spanish adventures: Crónicas Ibéricas by the Barcelona author David Fernández de Castro. The chapter treats of Fernández’s journey to the small Spanish village of Almaraz in the spring of 2006, in search of information on the wild wolves who always fascinated and scared George Borrow during his Spanish years.
Of Truth, Mistrust and Treasure Hunts - by Peter Missler
175 years after the publication of The Bible in Spain, this article finally established the real-life truth about the “easily authenticated history of Benedict Mol, the treasure-digger of St. James”.
‘The most considerable of them all’: Rey Romero, Borrow’s bookseller in Santiago - by Peter Missler.
The biography and business-story of George Borrow’s great friend and collaborator Francisco Rey Romero, the most prominent bookseller of Santiago de Compostela in the first half of the 19th century.
The bandit of Castellana - by Peter Missler
The article offers pictures of the bridge of Castellana (between Lugo and Betanzos in Galicia, Spain) and identifies the executed ‘captain of banditti’ whose severed head Borrow saw in June 1837, as described in The Bible in Spain, chapter 26.
A Most Extra-ordinary Man: The Amazing Long March of the Carlist General Miguel Gomez y Damas - by Peter Missler.
The fascinating story of one of the most remarkable military feats during the Carlist Civil War: General Gomez’s 3,000-mile Long March through the whole of the Peninsula in 1836, mentioned on various occasions in George Borrow’s writings.
A Gallegan Source for The Bible in Spain - by Peter Missler.
The article demonstrates that George Borrow, in spite of his low appreciation of Gallego, studied one of the first texts ever published in that language, and used it as a source for his travelogue The Bible in Spain.
A Partial Judgement - by Antonio Balbin de Unquera, translation and commentaries by Peter Missler.
As far as I can tell at the moment, the first time the Spanish press paid attention to Borrow’s famous 1843 best-seller The Bible in Spain.