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Monday, November 30, 2009

First International Best Seller: A Fantasy

This book sold only about 20,000 copies in its original language, Spanish, and about 10,000 more in translation. Not exactly spectacular sales? Well, it was published just after the printing press was invented, so in that context, it was spectacular. According to Internet Review of Science Fiction's article by Sue Burke, it is Europe's first best seller, Amadís de Gaula (Amadis of Gaul), a Spanish novel of medieval chivalry, written by Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo.

'The book is full of sorcery, enchanted weapons, giants, monsters, magical locales, and other "amazing things found outside the natural order," as Rodríguez de Montalvo described it. The story-telling style is medieval, clearly meant to be read aloud.'

One of the more interesting tidbits about the novel is that Cervantes referred to Amadis in Don Quixote de La Mancha, which some claim to be the first and best modern novel. In Don Quixote, travelers at inns listen to readings of Amadis as an evening entertainment.

Go to the IROSF article on Amadis of Gaul for the nine reasons why Amadis was a best seller, and many more interesting tidbits about the novel. Bonus: Sue Burke, a US writer who lives in Madrid, Spain, is doing a serial translation of Amadis on her blog. The link to the serial translation is for the 23rd chapter, the latest chapter at the time of posting. Chapter 0 is here.

Note: the author of the article cited here, Sue Burke, is also the author of a flash fiction story in Flash Fiction Online, Normalized Death.

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Blogger Sue Burke said...

Thank you! ¡Gracias!

December 6, 2009 6:50 AM  
Blogger William Highsmith said...

¡De nada!

December 15, 2009 1:06 PM  

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