Thursday, February 26, 2009

The general structure of Amadis de Gaula

[First page of Chapter 5 from the 1526 Cromberger edition, printed in Seville.]


For ye who do not have the book in hand, here's what ye would be looking at if ye did:

Amadis of Gaul is a long text broken more or less arbitrarily into four books that were often bound as one volume; the action flows from one book to another without a pause. The story starts with an unnumbered chapter, which I have labeled "Chapter 0." Each chapter, at least in Book One, is usually a bit more than 2,000 words.

There are 43 chapters in Book One; the last chapter in Book Four is number 133. The books include an index with summary of the activity in each chapter. The index contains spoilers, so I've only posted the index to Book One so far. If you want to know the whole story arc, there's a brief synopsis at Wikipedia.

I'm posting one chapter a week, though if a chapter is too long, or if I get crunched for time, I reserve the right to post a partial chapter. I would rather post something short than something badly translated. Most of the text isn't too taxing, but when Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo inserts some of his lofty moralizing (you can spot those parts easily), the syntax gets loopy, and I get slowed down. Occasionally he gets lax in his correction of originals, which were "corrupt and badly composed in an antique style," and it takes me some research to puzzle out the truly antique Spanish grammar and vocabulary.

I have tried to retain a few of the graphic elements of early manuscripts, such as the red chapter headings. However, there were no paragraph breaks and not much punctuation in the original, and I am adding those as it seems fit.

If you had bought a copy of the book 500 years ago, it would have come as loose pages from the printer, and you would have had them bound and covered on your own.

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