Cervantes, a Biography by William Byron - review by Robert Brian Tate

Robert Brian Tate


Cervantes, a Biography


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One of the striking facts of literary history is that Spanish became a language of international importance at the same time as the extended fictional narrative developed its modern forms. The romance of chivalry, the sentimental romance, the pastoral and the picaresque novel all received near definitive shape through the medium of the Spanish vernacular and in half a century fertilised the literatures of Western Europe.

No-one was more fascinated by the juxtaposition of life and literature in these genres than Cervantes. Indeed, it is the very stuff of the Quixote, for the work absorbs, transmutes, heightens, parodies and burlesques elements from all these quarters and hands to posterity a new and essentially hybrid genre whose

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