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: The Art of Worldly Wisdom by Balthasar Gracian - Translated from the Spanish by Joseph Jacobs - This little book were not worthy of being associated with your name, did it not offer an ideal of life at once refined and practical, cultured yet wisely energetic. Gracian points to noble aims, and proposes, on the whole, no ignoble means of attaining to them. The Spanish Jesuit sees clear, but he looks upward. There is, however, one side of life to which he is entirely blind, as was perhaps natural in an ecclesiastic writing before the Age of Salons. He nowhere makes mention in his pages of the gracious influence of Woman as Inspirer and Consoler in the Battle of Life. Permit me to repair this omission by placing your name in the forefront of this English version of his maxims. To those honoured with your friendship this will by itself suffice to recall all the ennobling associations connected with your sex. Baltasar GraciÃ¡n y Morales, (8 January 1601 â 6 December 1658), formerly Anglicized as Baltazar Gracian, was a Spanish Jesuit and baroque prose writer and philosopher. He was born in Belmonte, near Calatayud (Aragon). His writings were lauded by Nietzsche and Schopenhauer. The son of a doctor, in his childhood GraciÃ¡n lived with his uncle, who was a priest. He studied at a Jesuit school in 1621 and 1623 and theology in Zaragoza. He was ordained in 1627 and took his final vows in 1635. He assumed the vows of the Jesuits in 1633 and dedicated himself to teaching in various Jesuit schools. He spent time in Huesca, where he befriended the local scholar Vincencio Juan de Lastanosa, who helped him achieve an important milestone in his intellectual upbringing. He acquired fame as a preacher, although some of his oratorical displays, such as reading a letter sent from Hell from the pulpit, were frowned upon by his superiors. He was named Rector of the Jesuit college of Tarragona and wrote works proposing models for courtly conduct such as El hÃ©roe (The Hero), El polÃtico (The Politician), and El discreto (The Discreet One). During the Spanish war with Catalonia and France, he was chaplain of the army that liberated Lleida in 1646. In 1651, he published the first part of the CriticÃ³n (Faultfinder) without the permission of his superiors, whom he disobeyed repeatedly. This attracted the Society's displeasure. Ignoring the reprimands, he published the second part of CriticÃ³n in 1657, as a result was sanctioned and exiled to Graus at the beginning of 1658. Soon Gracian wrote to apply for membership in another religious order. His demand was not met, but his sanction was eased off: in April of 1658 he was sent to several minor positions under the College of Tarazona. His physical decline prevented him from attending the provincial congregation of Calatayud and on 6 December 1658 Gracian died in Tarazona, near Zaragoza in the Kingdom of Aragon.