The Immaculate Tirant
August 26, 2009 3:18 PM Subscribe
"God save me!" quoth the priest, with a loud voice, "is Tirante the White there? Give me him here, neighbour; for I make account I have found in him a treasure of delight, and a mine of entertainment. Here we have Don Kyrieleison of Montalvan, a valorous knight, and his brother Thomas of Montalvan, and the knight Fonseca, and the combat in which the valiant Tirante fought with the mastiff, and the smart conceits of the damsel Plazerdemivida, with the amours and artifices of the widow Reposada; and madam the empress in love with her squire Hypolito. Verily, gossip, in its way, it is the best book in the world..."-Don Quixote de la Mancha, Part I, Chapter 6
Tirant Lo Blanc, written in the late fifteenth century by the Valencians Martorell and Joan de Galba, combines a fictionalized history of the two-fisted mercenary general Roger de Flor with elements of The Decameron, The Travels of Sir John Mandeville, and Ramon Llull's Book of the Order of Chivalry.
A sense of life lifts the work above both its influences and the third-hand tropes of its contemporaries; as Cervantes writes, "here the knights eat and sleep, and die in their beds, and make their wills before their deaths; with several things which are wanting in other books of this kind." This realism was a revelation to Cervantes, whose own exploration of the border between high duty and base necessity inaugurated the Western novel. As such, Tirant the White is perhaps the most quietly influential book in all of literature.
Bonus Cervantes Inspiration:
Amadis of Gaul - in blog form!
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