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The true Authorship of Amadis de Gaula

Santiago Sevilla
sevillagloor@yahoo.com

This great book of chivalry was written in the second half of the 13th. century by Henry of Castile, Senator of Rome, son of King Ferdinand III of Castile, and brother of Queen Eleanor, consort of Eduard I Longshanks.
One proof of it, is the presence of his ALTER EGO Brian of Monjaste in the novel, who lives through his own battles of Benevento and Tagliacozzo, with total similarity both in the famous novel, and in historic reality.

Until today, most encyclopedias still carry errors, regarding the origins of the novel. But it is easy to clarify how these wrong informations came to be: Antonio Rodriguez Monino, professor at California University Berkeley, discovered some folios of the original "Amadis" written in Castilian Spanish dated 1420, but containing a much more ancient and archaic language characteristic of the end of of the 13th. century. This late discovery changed the nature of the origins of "Amadis". It became undoubtable that he novel had been written in Spanish from the very beginning. Before, there was another theory of its origin. Due to a statement made by the famous Portuguese chronist Gomez Eanes de Zurara, saying that the first author was Vasco de Lobeira, a knight, who died in 1404 and had battled in Alubarrota in 1385.This book was kept in the palace of the Dukes of Aveiro, in Lisbon, until 1755 when the manuscript was destroyed under an earthquake. But, judging by the date, it had to be a translation from Spanish into Portuguese, because "Amadis" had been read long before, by Chancelor Pero Lopez de Ayala, and by his friend, the poet Pero Ferrus, when in their jouth, possibly before the Battle of Najera in 1369.

Furthermore, there was another Portuguese, Joao Lobeira, who lived from 1233 to 1280, was a trouvadour and reproduced part of one song of Oriana in "Amadis". Henry of Castile lived also over the same period. This was found by Carolina Michaelis de Vasconcelos in her work about the songs of Portuguese trouvadours: Cancionero da Ajuda, pp.523, 524 Cancionero da Biblioteca Nacional. Confusion arouse due to the omonymy Lobeira of both writers.
The mention of part of a song in "Amadis" induced Lady de Vasconcelos to conclude that Joao Lobeira would be the author of "Amadis", with little other proof. In the end, once the authorship by Henry of Castile became richly proven, although not yet willingly accepted by the Spanish literary establishment, entrenched still in the cult of the plagiarist Garci Rodriguez de Montalvo, the Portuguese authorship became untenable, and the Castilian-Spanish origin unreputedly settled. The attriution of he authorship to Henry of Castile is well grounded, and there are no reasonable alternatives, due to the wealth of evidences in favour, presented in Liceus El Portal de las Humanidades, that kindly published my rsearchs. This circumstance has some very important implications; it means that Amadis de Gaula is the very first novel in the history of Spanish literature, at the same time it is a witness of the chivalric culture in all Europe in the 13th.century, and a tale, not only fantastic, but also a veiled account of real wars and battles, as well of the love stories of that most romantic time in the Middle Ages.

Unfortunately, to change the wording of encyclopedias towards these new discoveries will demand much pacient waiting. But dedicated students and researchers will soon ease their minds and read again "Amadis de Gaula" and "Don Quijote de la Mancha", with new perspective, and deeper understanding.



 

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