Cronica del senor Juan, segundo de este nombre en Castilla y en Leon. Valencia, Benito Montfort,
CRONICA DE JUAN II (1779.)
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Engraved vignette on title-page, larger vignette head-piece at beginning of text with portrait of Henry III, after Rafael Ximeno.Folio. f. XX, 636pp. Contemporary vellum, morocco label.
The second but best edition of this chronicle of the life and times of Juan II de Castilla y Leon (1405-1454). Although the name of Fernan Perez de Guzman appears on the title-page, it is probably the work of the celebrated converso Alavar Garcia de Santa Maria, who drew on many earlier chronicles for his compilation. "Accurate and lively, the chronicle is better written than those in the Alphonsine tradition. The picture given of the great Alvaro de Luna is generally adverse, in contrast to the favourable reports in the Chronica de Don Alvaro de Luna, written probably by Gonzalo Chacon (d. 1517)." (Oxford Companion to Spanish Literature, p. 305).The first edition, edited by Galindez de Carvajal, was printed in Logroño in 1517, but was considered unsatisfactory, while this edition is much improved. This beautifully printed volume is from the finest Spanish press of the 18th century after Ibarra, and one the greatest successes of Benito Montfort (see: Updike, Printing Types, II, p. 58). The edition was financed by around 250 subscribers whose names appear on 6 pages at the beginning of the volume. Found on pp. 580-608 appears the Generaciones y semblanzas, a celebrated series of biographical sketches which are by Perez de Guzman and which first appeared in 1512. This work, a relatively rare example of the genre of Plutarch's Vitae Parallelae but stylistically closer to Tacitus, was remarkably successful in creating thumbnail portraits of leading figures of the age. Perez de Guzman (?1378-?1460) was a noted poet and an important prose writer, ambassador in Aragon and friend of Bishop Alonso de Cartagena, but at the age of 56 he fell into disgrace with King Juan II (the subject of this biography) and retired from politics and campaigning to his property at Batres where he spent the rest of his life in study and writing. This volume seems to have been designed as the first of a series of chronicles on the Reyes Catolicos. The second installment on Ferdinand and Isabella was published in 1780.Palau 64969. Salva 3121. Fitzmaurice-Kelley, A new history of Spanish Literature, 1926, pp. 100-104.
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