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Joanot Martorell


Joanot Martorell (Valencia, 1413? – 1465) was a knight and novelist from La Safor. He is the author of one of the key novels of his century, Tirant lo Blanc (Tirant lo Blanc [translated into English by David Rosenthal], NY, Schocken, 1983), which has been praised by critics, readers and writers alike ever since it first appeared.

Martorell's life was divided between chivalric battles and his travels around Europe, not to mention lawsuits over family and inheritance disputes. He also wrote other texts that have only been partially preserved, for example the novel Flor de cavalleria (The Flower of Chivalry) and the uncompleted story Guillem de Varoic (Guillem of Varoic).

Miguel de Cervantes refers to it in Don Quixote, saying, "As far as style is concerned, this is the best book in the world", while the Peruvian writer, Mario Vargas Llosa, used the novel as the basis for elaborating a considerable number of the literary theories that transformed world literature at the time of the Latin-American boom in the 1960s. The critic Martí de Riquer has written that, "Where Tirant lo Blanc becomes unforgettable and pleasing to the modern reader is when Joanor Martorell puts all rhetoric aside to make his characters speak in succinct, barbed and colloquial dialogue".

With constant reprints and translations, Tirant lo Blanc is considered one of the greatests examples of chivalresque literature ever.

Documentation: X. R. Trigo and Josep Miàs for AELC.
Translation: Julie Wark.