Thursday, November 12, 2009

"From Best-Seller to Oblivion"

An essay in which I argue that we can't blame it all on Cervantes.

The November 2009 issue of the Internet Review of Science Fiction includes my essay "From Best-Seller to Oblivion: A Renaissance Literary Phenomenon." In it, I tell how the novel Amadis of Gaul became Europe's first publishing mega-hit in the 1500s, and how and why it was forgotten.

I suggest that Don Quixote de La Mancha did not cause its fall from grace — because fans of novels of chivalry enjoyed Cervantes' contribution to the genre, and they remained loyal readers. Instead, political attacks and bans on the books eventually eliminated Amadis from respectable bookshelves.

Read the essay at:


  1. Thanks so much for this blog!
    In Holland, where I come from, there is hardly any material on the Amadis-books. And since my Spanish isn't that good, I'm very glad you wrote everything down in English.

    Are you going to continue with the rest of the books?

  2. Thanks! This project is great fun.

    As far as I can tell, Amadis of Gaul was never very popular in Holland. In fact, there may have been more tapestries made there about the series than books published.

    I plan to finish Book I for sure, which at this rate should take another year, and then I'll decide what to do next.

    Thanks again, and thanks for asking.