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The Idea of Europe

 | 
Catriona Seth
, 
Rotraud von Kulessa

60. Europe’s Future in the Slow Lane?

Texte intégral

1Jean-Charles-Léonard Simonde de Sismondi (1773–1842)i evokes cultural transmissions. He salutes the role of Arab Spain in the propagation of texts and ideas throughout Europe. If Athens has lost its glory, and Rome too, does it not follow that an unknown civilisation could one day shine with a greater light?

  • ii Former name of Australia.

2Who may say that Europe itself, whither the empire of letters and of science has been transported; which sheds so brilliant a light; which forms so correct a judgment of the past, and which compares so well the successive reigns of the literature and manners of antiquity, shall not, in a few ages, become as wild and deserted as the hills of Mauritania, the sands of Egypt, and the valleys of Anatolia? Who may say, that in some new land, perhaps in those lofty regions, whence the Orinoco and the river of the Amazons have their source, or, perhaps, in the impregnable mountain-fastness of New Holland,ii nations with other manners, other languages, other thoughts, and other religions, shall not arise, once more to renew the human race, and to study the past as we have studied it; nations who, hearing with astonishment of our existence, that our knowledge was as extensive as their own, and that we, like themselves, placed our trust in the stability of fame, shall pity our impotent efforts, and recall the names of Newton, of Racine, and of Tasso, as examples of the vain struggles of man to match that immortality of glory, which fate has refused to bestow?

3Jean-Charles-Léonard Simonde de Sismondi,
Historical View of the Literature of the South of Europe (1813).

Read the free English text online (1871 edition):
https://books.google.co.uk/​books?id=KrJIAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA62
Read the free text in the original language (1837 edition):
https://books.google.fr/​books?id=LLnJzFIoWcoC&&printsec=frontcover

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