1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Masdeu, Juan Francisco
Masdeu, Juan Francisco (1744–1817), Spanish historian, was born at Palermo on the 4th of October 1744. He joined the Company of Jesus on the 19th of December 1759, and became professor in the Jesuit seminaries at Ferrara and Ascoli. He visited Spain in 1799, was exiled, and returned in 1815, dying at Valencia on the 11th of April 1817. His Storia critica di Spagna e della cultura spagnuola in ogni genere (2 vols., 1781–1784) was finally expanded into the Historia critica de España y de la cultura española (1783–1805), which, though it consists of twenty volumes, was left unfinished; had it been continued on the same scale, the work would have consisted of fifty volumes. Masdeu wrote in a critical spirit and with a regard for accuracy rare in his time; but he is more concerned with small details than with the philosophy of history. Still, his narrative is lucid, and later researches have not yet rendered his work obsolete.