LIFE OF LAZARILLO DE TORMES AND HIS MISFORTUNES AND ADVERSITIES
 



    0.-  Four editions of Life of Lazarillo de Tormes and His Misfortunes and Adversities were published in 1554.
 
   It consisted of a messenger letter in a jocose tone, like those taught in manuals of the age or practiced by Pietro Aretino, in italian, Francisco López de Villalobos or Antonio de Guevara, in spanish. Its fictional condition let include jokes and facetiae that never went beyond an innocent game.
 
   In our case, someone whom Lazaro calls "Your Mercy", asks news on "the case": the rumours on whether Archpriest of San Salvador in Toledo married proclaimer Lazaro with his lover, in a ménage à trois, often convicted by authorities in that century. Perhaps forced to answer, the author takes his case "from its beginning".

Lazarillo de Tormes, seen
by Goya about 1808

 

Lazarillo de Tormes
(Burgos, 1554)
    1.-  Four editions at 1554 -Burgos, by Juan de Junta; Medina del Campo, by Mateo and Francisco del Campo; Alcalá, by Salcedo and Amberes, by Martín Nucio- seem independent from each other: none of them was copied from the other. They divide its text in a preface and seven treatises:
 
   First treatise: Lazaro deals with his life and whose son he was.
 
   Second treatise: In wich way Lazaro met a clergy man and about the things that happened with him.
 
   Third treatise: In wich way Lazaro met an escudero -a noble- and about what happened with him.

End of Lazarillo de Tormes
Burgos, 1554

 

Cover of Lazarillo de Tormes
(Alcalá, 1554)
   Fourth treatise: In wich way Lazaro met a Mercedary friar and about what happened with him.
 
   Fifth treatise: In wich way Lazaro met a papal bull-seller and about the things that happened with him.
 
   Sixth treatise: In wich way Lazaro met a chaplain and about what happened with him.
 
   Seventh treatise: In wich way Lazaro met a bailiff and about what happened with him.

End of Lazarillo de Tormes
(Alcalá, 1554)

 

 

Lazarillo de Tormes
(Medina del Campo, 1554)
    2.-  Burgos edition would closely follow its source, including its mistakes. Medina del Campo (1/March/1554) looks like it.
 
   Alcalá (26/Febrary/1554) is introduced as an added edition: its interpolations points to a posible continuation.
 
   Amberes shows a corrected and punctuated text: a model for later editions.

End of Lazarillo
de Tormes
printed
in Medina del Campo

Life of Saint Amaro
(Juan de Junta)
   These editions seem to point to a lost Lazarillo printed about 1552-53.
 
   The treatises' titles -even that of the whole work- look far from its author aim because of the unfortunate of its texts. They are titles in a third person, not realizing that the letter is written in a first one. Its austerity is close to that of other titles from Juan de Junta, as third edition of the Life of Saint Amaro (1552).

Lazarillo de Tormes
Amberes, 1554
    3.-  After a preface that takes this letter as an answer to another from "Your Mercy", Lazaro put up the price of honour as a necessity for social gratitude and the value of those who, fighting against Fortune, could reach a good port.
 
   First treatise deals with Lazaro's birth by river Tormes, as Lazaro Gonzalez Perez -son of Tome, who died in Gelves-, sustained by the black Zaide, lover of his mother, Antona.

Lazarillo de Tormes
Amberes, 1554
   He is compelled to work helping a blind man, who takes him like a son and teachs his first lessons: some of them look like folk-tales, as the way of drinking the blind's wine or steal his grapes. Lazaro gives these lessons back crashing the blind against a pillar, near Torrijos.
 
   At the second treatise Lazaro serves a clergy man in Maqueda. Hunger makes him get a key for the chest where the clergy man keeps his pieces of bread, but the key whistles inside Lazaro's mouth while he sleeps. Mistaking the whistle for a snake, the clergy man crashes the boy and dismisses him.

Folk image of
a blind's Lazarillo

 

Third treatise
(Medina del Campo)
   A ruined hidalgo will be Lazaro's master in the third treatise. In order to hide his poverty the noble suffers hunger and deserts his servant.
   The very short forth treatise shows Lazaro helping a Mercy Friar. We read about confusing suggestive sexual experiences.
 
   A fifth treatise deals with a deed in the four months that Lazaro serves a false papal bull-seller. Alcala edition adds some other episode taken from Massuccio's Il Novellino.

Engraving from fifth treatise
(Alcalá de Henares)

 

Papal bull for Crusade (1581)
   Lazaro serves a master in painting tambourines in a short sixth treatise, until he becames water-seller, thanks to a chaplain.
 
   Seventh and last treatise introduces Lazaro's brief experience helping a bailiff. Then he begins to work as a proclaimer of an Archpriest's wines. The Archpriest lover, married to Lazaro, originates rumours that her husband denies in this book.

Proclaim of
the wine (1503)

 

Milan edition for Lazarillo
    4.-  The date for composing our work is confused. We read an allusion to one of the two Cortes from Carlos V in Toledo -1525 and 1538-9-.
 
   Allusion to Gelves' battle -again two: in 1510 and 1520- also misleads. Indeed the year for the hypothetic lost printing (1552 ó 1553) does not prevent the existence of a prior manuscript -about 1530?-.

Engraving from sixth
treatise (Alcalá)

 

Engraving from seventh
treatise (Alcalá)
    5.-  About Lazaro's author there are many possibilities.
 
   An epistle by Lazaro should be written by Lazaro himself and would not need any other author's reference. Nevertheless including our book in the inquisitional Index for forbidden books (1559) and its reedition as a "corrected" one from 1573 would show that his writter did hide deliberately his own name and identity.
 
   Scholars suggested different authors:

French edition of Lazarillo

 

Diego Hurtado de Mendoza
   The most well received has been Juan de Ortega (†1557), protector of Moors and protected by the Emperor, to whom he prepared his retirement in Yuste.
 
   According to F. José de Sigüenza in his History of the Order of Saint Jerome (1605) a first dratf of our work "written with his own hand" appeared in the cell of this man of a "courteous wit". It is difficult to say whether this was the original Lazarillo or just a copy.
 
   From the edition of Catalogus clarorum Hispaniae scriptorum (1607) by flemish Valerio Andres Taxandro, Diego Hurtado de Mendoza's (1503-1575) authority was suggested. We keep a burlesque Letter from Bachellor of Arcadia to Captain Salazar by this poet.
 
   From 19th century, J.Mª Asensio and Julio Cejador pointed to the similarities between Lazarillo and some of Sebastian de Orozco's plays. Other scholars point to Hernan Nuñez, Pedro de Rhua or Bartolome Torres Naharro.

 
   At the end of 19th century, Morel-Fatio talked about Valdes brothers. Rosa Navarro Durán concrets this idea in the character of Alfonso de Valdes (†1532), Secretary for Latin Letters to the Emperor:
 
   Alfonso would have set Lazarillo's action in Charles V prosperity (1525); he would have expressed his own erasmian thoughts avoiding direct names. Alfonso mastered epistolary and dialogic arts in the mood of Lazarillo style, omitting his own author name as he always did in his works.
 
   This brilliant hypothesis should have paid attention to other names for our work as that of Gonzalo Perez, secretary in the Chancellery governed by Alfonso, and many others.
 
   We do not consider seriously the atribution in 1657 to a company of six picaros that wrote it in two days.

Signature of Alfonso de Valdés

 

Dialogs by Lucian
(Lyon, 1550)
    6.-  Searchin the sources for the composition of The Life of Lazarillo de Tormes we should pay attention -besides the fashion of messenger letters- to classic tales following the milesian fable, like the spanish translations of Lucian of Samosata works.
 
   Very well-known along this century was Diego de Cortegana version of Asinus aureus (1513 ó 1525) by Apuleius (125-180). The character of ruin Milon, the use of first person and the several masters for Ass Lucius, would have deserved our author's interest.
 
   Also Saint Agustin's Confessions published in 1554...

Golden Ass
(Amberes, 1551)
   Fourth Book of Mighty Cavalier Reinaldos of Montalvan (Sevilla, 1542), kept in its Baldus -a life of the later and of his companion Cíngar, son of a landlady, servant of a blind man and a thief, son of thiefs... Other companion of him would become a dog-.
 
   In its style Lazarillo follows Quintiliano with binarian rythms in a single tone, far from artificial medieval rhetorics.

Reinaldos de Montalbán

 

Lazarillo 
(Amberes, 1554)
    7.-  Scholars have often written about the meaning of this work: is Lazaro a looser, victim of a ruthless society? is he rather a homo novus, a winner in his special point of view? We realize his big desire of ostentation and his cynical, disillusioned jocular mood.
 
   Lazaro attacks social hypocrisy: the blind man, who takes him as a son, will be his teacher of wickedness. The cruel clergy man is an allegory for avarice who isolates him from the world and dismisses him after beating his head. The hidalgo, ridiculous proprietor of a block of destroyed houses and a fallen dove-house, lives on nothing and teachs Lazaro the true value of honour, before leaving him -who sustained his master- in the cruel hands of Justice.

 
   The other short and brief treatises show the ruthless of clergy men without a clear touch of erasmism.
 
   Maybe characters as Archpriest point to real persons in this age. We are suggested that Your Mercy could really be a lady who distrusts his confessor, as would be found written in an hypothetical italian edition whose preface would be already lost before 1554.
 
   Titles in old editions show his interest for the subject of defenceless childhood and its survival in really hard conditions for the first time in spanish literature.
 
   Mendicity was a social problem as it is seen in Deliberation about the cause of poor men (1545) by Domingo de Soto and got authorities upset.

Lazarillo 
(Burgos, 1554)

 

Second part of
Lazarillo de Tormes
Amberes, 1555
    8.-  There are lots of works inspired on Lazarillo de Tormes:
 
   Two editions of a Second Part of the Life of Lazarillo de Tormes (1555) were published in Antwerpen. It was anonymous and followed the original Lazarillo. It was presented as an imitation of the later in spite of its lucianesque features. Its first chapter was included in editions of original Lazarillo.
 
   Lazaro, becomes a tuna, and takes part in submarine conspiracies. Catched, he recovers his human shape before a scaffold in Seville. Liberated by Rodrigo de Yepes, Archpriest of San Salvador, Lazaro overcomes the Rector of Salamanca University in a jocular dispute.

Second part of
Lazarillo de Tormes
(Antwerpen, 1555)

 

Second part of
Lazarillo de Tormes
París, 1620
   Another Second part... by the almost unknown aragones Juan de Luna, appeared in Paris, 1620: embarking in order to fight in Argel, Lazaro sinks. His savers show him as a fish-man. In Toledo he is rescued by Archpriest of Saint Salvador and his own wife, but Lazaro begins a lawsuit against them. In Madrid he works for a procuressse; in Valladolid for seven women. The four women of a hermit rob Lazaro of the fortune that the hermit gave him.
 
   Lazarillo de Manzanares (1620) published with other five short tales by Juan Cortes de Tolosa, born in Madrid, was not successful. Lazaro, abandoned by his natural parents, works for a baker in Alcala, for a sacristy priest in Guadalajara, for a saint culter close to Madrid. He educates the nephews of a clergy man and creates a school. Lazaro avoids being married and run away to American Indias.
 

Segunda parte de
Lazarillo de Tormes
(Amberes, 1555)

 

Lazarillo de Tormes
penalized 
(Madrid, 1573)
    A Lazarillo de Badalona, a Lazarillo de Duero and other Lazaros will be published after these ones.   After appearing in inquisitional Index (1559) our book was reissued in several "penalized" -censured by humanist Juan Lopez de Velasco- editions (Madrid, 1573 and 1599) or complet ones (Milán, 1587 and 1595).
 
   At 1599, the Life of picaro Guzmán de Alfarache by Mateo Alemán introduced the word picaro: Lazarillo will remain as forerunner of a literary gener as is said by Gines de Pasamonte in Don Quixote (1605). Life of Lazarillo de Tormes opens what he called -maybe thoughtlessly- picaresque novel.

Second part of
Lazarillo de Tormes
(Antwerpen, 1555)

D.Miguel Pérez Rosado.
Ph.D.in Philology