Amadis de Gaula

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Amadis de Gaula (original Castilian Spanish version) (English: Amadis of Gaul, Spanish: Amadís de Gaula) is a landmark work among the knight-errantry tales which were in vogue in 16th century Iberian Peninsula, and formed the earliest reading of many Renaissance and Baroque writers, although it was written at the onset of the 14th century.

The first known printed edition was published in Zaragoza in 1508, by Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo (or Garci Ordóñez de Montalvo). It was published in four books in Castilian, but its origins are unclear: The narrative originates in the late post-Arthurian genre and had certainly been read as early as the 14th century by the chancellor Pero López de Ayala as well as his contemporary Pero Ferrús.

Montalvo himself confesses to have amended (plagiarized?) the first three volumes, and to be the author of the fourth. Additionally, in the Portuguese Chronicle of Gomes Eannes de Azurara (1454), the writing of Amadis is attributed to Vasco de Lobeira, who was dubbed knight after the battle of Aljubarrota (1385). However, it seems that in fact the work was a copy of João de Lobeira, not the troubadour Vasco de Lobeira, and that rather than originating with him it was the translation of an earlier work in Castilian Spanish from the beginning of the 14th century around 1304. The inspiration for the "Amadis de Gaula" appears to be the hindered marriage of Infanta Constanza of Aragon with Henry of Castile in 1260 (See Juan Manuel's Libro de las Armas of 1335). So was the marriage of Oriana with Amadis. Henry of Castile is now supposed to be the author of the novel, due to evidence linking his biography with the events in "Amadis". Henry of Castile died in 1305.

In his introduction to the text, Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo explains that he has edited the first three books of a text in circulation since the 14th century. Montalvo also admits to adding a fourth as yet unpublished book as well as adding a continuation (Las sergas de Esplandián), which he claims was found in a buried chest in Constantinople and transported to Spain by a Hungarian merchant (the famous motif of the found manuscript).


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