THE ROMANCE OF CHIVALRY IN THE SPANISH PENINSULA BEFORE THE YEAR 1500
T AST year l being the tercentenary of the death of L Cervantes, many who had hitherto known Don Quixote only from pictorial illustrations were no doubt tempted to make acquaintance with the text of that immortal masterpiece. They cannot have read very far without realising the existence of a body of literature almost certainly unknown to them before. If they were methodical enough to read the preface, they would gather that Don Quixote was, "from beginning to end, an attack upon the books of chivalry," and if they were persevering enough to read to the last chapter 'they would see Cid Hamet Benengeli hang up his pen, satisfied and proud at having accomplished his desire of "delivering over to the detestation of mankind the false and foolish tales of the books of chivalry." In the course of their reading, they would acquire some vague idea as to what is meant by these books of chivalry, more especially from "the diverting and important scrutiny which the curate and the barber made in the library of the Ingenious Gentleman2," and they would form a very precise
translation is used for all quotations from Don Quixote; his rendering of cura-really a parish priest-is therefore retained outside these quotations for the sake of uniformity.