"Los cuatro libros del invencible caballero Amadís de Gaula en que se tratan sus muy altos hechos de armas y apacibles caballerías. Libro primero." Edited by Jesús Botello and Cristina Guardiola-Griffiths.
It would be difficult to exaggerate the popularity and diffusion that books of chivalry had in Spain in the 16th and 17th centuries. Authentic Golden Age ‘best-sellers’, these works were read (or listened to) by all social classes, from aristocrats and kings down to peasants without any formal education at all, a fact that is evidenced by the numerous preserved testimonies that speak of their enormous popularity. With regard to Amadís de Gaula, although it was not the first chivalric book published in Spain, it was the one with the most number of editions (at least 19 in Spanish, including the Zaragoza edition of 1508 and the Seville edition of 1586) and as such it established the literary paradigm upon which the genre was built in Spain and throughout Europe. Its subject soon inspired the creation of ballads, romances, and plays (Eisenberg 31), and it was translated into French, English, Italian, German, Dutch, and Hebrew (Cacho Blecua 199), which demonstrates an unprecedented editorial success in the panorama of European literature.
The Amadís de Gaula is a reworking of tales of the chivalric exploits of a legendary knight. Like many of the heroes of tradition, Amadís is an unknown quantity before his parentage is exposed. In the stories that Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo brings together in this first volume, Amadís is first known as the Doncel del Mar (Child of the Sea). He is a prodigious child in strength and beauty, who demonstrates his exemplarity before he is knighted, named, and recognized for the paragon that he is. Like the character, the stories that tell of Amadís are told and circulated and become famous before Montalvo packages them in the volumes that he edits and are posthumously published. (from the Introduction)
ISBN 978-1-58977-115-4 (PB) $30