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Reviews Amadis of Gaul. Books I and II. Trans. Edwin Place and Herbert Behm. Studies in Romance Languages, 11. Lexington: University Press ofKentucky, 2003 (1974). 685 pp. ISBN 0-8131-9034-7 The book my Spanish majors and graduate students like best is Amadis de Gaula. Although they complain at the beginning of the semester -because it is long; because it is hard to read until one gets used to its style and idiom; because it has numerous characters, places and incidents to keep track ofmany come to enjoy it in a way somewhat analogous, I think, to the way its original readership appreciated it. One undergraduate remarked toward the end of the semester: "Hey, this is like a combination of Gone With the Wind and Star Wars". Her classmates agreed. The students of another course, in another semester, became so enthralled that they did a special T-shirt emblazoned with the frontispiece of the 1508 edition. What made the original and its sequels international bestsellers in the early age of printing is bound to appeal to many modern readers. Amadis combines the sentimental and the chivalric, while adding bountiful measures of pure adventure and fantasy. It has heroes and damsels, witches and wizards, villains and monsters, kings and counselors, giants and dwarves, wars and sieges. Its allure, in other words, is analogous to that of Tolkien's narratives, whose popularity is now both confirmed and amplified by the box office success of the recent Lord ofthe Rings movies. Up to now, one has had to rely on paperback editions published in Spain. These are somewhat expensive and not always readily available. The affordable and available Porrúa edition is an abridgement that leaves out many of the choicest episodes. It is useful in some contexts, but not when study of the whole work is required. And Amadis in English, except relatively rare copies of the Southey translation or of the Place and Behm translation typically found in libraries, has been virtually inaccessible for students and general readers who do not have time to learn late-medieval Spanish, but who might be interested in reading the work that vexed Don Quijote to madness, thereby helping to originate modern fiction and, one could argue , modern popular culture. La corónica 32.1 (Fall, 2003): 369-70 370ReviewsLa. corónica. 32.1, 2003 It is therefore good news forali teachers, students, and readers of medieval and Golden Age Spanish literature, ofthe romance genre, and ofchivalric literature, that the University Press of Kentucky is reprinting the readable and accurate translation by Edwin Place and Herbert Behm, first published in hard cover in 1974 and long out of print. This handsome new paperback edition, printed on acid-free paper, will be of great interest as an aid in reading the original Spanish; as a supplement to courses, in Spanish and in English, on Don Qidjote and other works by Cenantes; as a work that may now be readily taught in a variety of literature-in-translation courses in Spanish departments; and as a book, finally, that may now edify and amuse students in a broad range of programs in English and Comparative Literature , World Literature, Great Books, Humanities, and Medieval and Renaissance Studies. Michael Harney Llniversity of Texas, Austin ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1947-4261
Print ISSN
0193-3892
Pages
pp. 369-370
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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