The Life of Lazarillo de Tormes and of His Fortunes and Adversities (Spanish: La vida de Lazarillo de Tormes y de sus fortunas y adversidades) is a Spanish novella, published anonymously, because ofits heretical content. It was published simultaneously in two cities, in 1554 in Alcalá de Henares, Spain (7 years after Cervantes was born there), and, in 1555, in Antwerp, Flanders, then underSpanish rule, and where the book Till Eulenspiegel had been published in 1529 and become popular. The book was published during the period known as the Spanish Inquisition, and the first Spanish trialsagainst Lutherans were about to take place.
Besides its importance in the Spanish literature of the Golden Age, Lazarillo de Tormes is credited with founding a literary genre, the picaresque novel, socalled from Spanish pícaro meaning "rogue" or "rascal". In these novels, the adventures of the pícaro expose injustice while amusing the reader. This extensive genre includes Don Quixote, byCervantes, Tom Jones by Henry Fielding and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, and shows its influence in twentieth century novels, dramas, and films featuring the "anti-hero".
Lazarillo deTormes was banned by the Spanish Crown and included in the Index of Forbidden Books of the Spanish Inquisition; this was at least in part for the book's anti-clerical flavour. In 1573, the Crown allowedcirculation of a version which omitted Chapters 4 and 5 and assorted paragraphs from other parts of the book. (A complete version did not appear in Spain until the Nineteenth century.) It was theAntwerp version that circulated throughout Europe, in French translation (1560), in English translation (1576), in Dutch translation (1579) after Flanders went under Dutch rule (1578), in German translation(1617), and in Italian translation (1622).
A boy of humble origins from Salamanca, Lázaro is apprenticed by his mother to a wily blind beggar after his father, a thief, dies. The blind man is...
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