Researches and archives
In order to cast some light on the various obscure aspects, I began an in-depth investigation which involved collecting all existing manuscript and printed documents, returning to original sources, retracing research previously carried out and discovering new clues and new materials.
The manuscripts by Desideri, preserved in the historical archive of the Society of Jesus (A.R.S.I.) in Rome, and related documents have formed the basis of this research, as well as the letters and documents contained in the historical archive of the former de Propaganda Fide Congregation and the first draft of Desideri’s “Relazione” (unsigned manuscript) kept in the Florence Central National Central Library (Fondo Rossi Cassigoli).
The events surrounding the late and laborious surfacing of the missionary’s work have been reconstructed through material that has never left the archives: manuscripts from the Florence National Central Library (Fondo Rossi Cassigoli, Archivio De Gubernatis, Archivio Gherardo Nerucci), manuscripts and documents kept in the historical and administrative archive of the Italian Geographical Society in Rome and the Military Geographical Institute in Florence. On completion of the research a new archive was discovered, the correspondence of Filippo De Filippi, privately kept by the explorer’s heirs who kindly allowed it to be reproduced.
Research into all possible sources was followed by in-depth philological and historical study including the acquisition and study of a range of material pertaining to local history and the international events of the last four hundred years, with particular reference to the history of missionary work, exploration and mountaineering, colonialism, the development of oriental studies and their various connections and intersections.
What emerged from all this research was that Desideri’s work not only maintains historical interest but also an unchanging scientific value and potential which is still to be expressed both in terms of knowledge and dialogue between different cultures and traditions. In particular, a serious encounter between Christianity and Buddhism cannot be excluded from his work. Knowing this led me to dedicate all my energy, in the same spirit that inspired the missionary, to a project specifically dedicated to Desideri but for the good of everyone.
DESIDERI Project: D.PROJ.01Foreword, D.PROJ.02Researches, D.PROJ.03Beginning, D.PROJ.04Rel.History, D.PROJ.05Lect.2004-6, D.PROJ.06Art.2004-6, D.PROJ.07D.Biography2006, D.PROJ.08D.Bibl., D.PROJ.09Ev.2007, D.PROJ.10Ev.2008, D.PROJ.11Atlanta2008, D.PROJ.98Development, D.PROJ.99Bibl.App.