8vo, ff. [viii], 207, ; woodcut device to title, initials; lightly toned, paper flaw to centre of f. 181 touching some words, small losses to blank lower margins of last 6 leaves, a few small holes in blank margins of final leaf, otherwise very good; contemporary limp vellum, yapp edges, ink lettered spine; short tear to spine, upper part of yapp edge to rear cover slightly burnt, a little worn and marked; name inked to title, a few early neat marginal annotations.
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Rare early edition of the prototype of the picaresque novel, Guzman de Alfarache. The novel prepared the way for the acceptance of Cervantes’ Don Quixote by the literary public of Europe; and, like Don Quixote, it quickly inspired a sequel. The original part I first appeared in 1599; Lujan de Sayavedra’s fraudulent sequel in 1602; and Aleman’s own retaliatory sequel in 1604.
Aleman is said to have gone through adventures similar to those described in his novel. While in jail for embezzlement, allegedly committed when an accountant of the Royal treasury, he is said to have met Cervantes who had been imprisoned for debt. In spite of the tremendous popularity of his book he was always a poor man. He emigrated to Mexico where he published a Spanish orthography in 1609.
Palau 6691. COPAC locates only the Cambridge copy; Worldcat records only two copies in the US (New York Public Library, University of Illinois).
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