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The proximity of Oviedo to the seaport of Gijón exposed Feijóo to intellectual currents of the day, allowing him to obtain recently published foreign books and treatises and newly invented instruments.In 1734, due to poor health, he retired from teaching and devoted the rest of his life to his writing.
Until then the king had relied on the Church’s advice for almost every matter.
But now, the king, rather than the Pope, started appointing ecclesiastical dignitaries, and he furthermore reduced the number of religious institutions and decreased his regime’s pecuniary contribution to the clergy.
He was educated in the era’s scholastic system, which he subsequently campaigned to change.
Beginning his doctoral work at the Monastery of San Vicente, Oviedo, in 1709, Feijóo spent the rest of his life in this town, writing all his works here and teaching theology at the University of Oviedo.
Together these sets of articles comprise an encyclopedic array of human knowledge as capsulized by Feijóo.
“An Essay on Woman” is Essay 16 of Volume 1 in the Teatro Crítico Universal.
At the close of the seventeenth century, Spain’s Habsburg king, Carlos II, remained without direct descendants.
This situation set the stage for the Bourbons’ ascension to the Spanish throne, beginning with French king Louis XIV’s grandson, Felipe V, and Spain entered an era of “Frenchification,” during which it fell under the influence of French ideas and customs.
This division led to a confrontation between major sectors of the population (especially the uneducated groups) and the nobles and intellectuals who defended the new doctrines.
More exactly, the king pitted himself against the Catholic Church.