1902 Encyclopedia > Antonio de Guevara

Antonio de Guevara

GUEVARA, ANTONIO DE (c. 1490-1545), Spanish chronicler and moralist, was a native of the province of Alava, and passed some of his earlier years at the court of Queen Isabella. In 1528 he entered the Franciscan order, and he afterwards accompanied Charles V. during his journeys and residencies in Italy and in other parts of Europe. After having held successively the offices of court preacher, court historiographer, bishop of Guadix, and bishop of M on doliedo, he died in 1545. Ilis earliest work, entitled Relox de principes, o Marco Anrelio, published in 1529, and, according to its author, the fruit of eleven years' labour, is a kind of romance designed, after the manner of Xenophon's Cyroiaedia, to delineate in a somewhat ideal way for the benefit of modern sovereigns the life and character of an ancient prince distinguished for wisdom and virtue. It was very often reprinted in Flemish ; and before the close of the century had also been translated into Latin, Italian, French, and English. It is difficult now to account for its extraordinary popularity, - its thought being neither just nor profound, while its style is stiff and affected. It gave rise to a literary controversy, however, of great bitterness and violence, the author having ventured without warrant to claim for it an historical character, appealing to an imaginary "manuscript in Florence." Other works of Guevara are the Decada de los Cesares, or " Lives of the Ten Roman Emperors," in imitation of the manner of Plutarch and Suetonius ; and the _Epistolas familiares, sometimes called " The Golden Epistles," often printed in Spain, and translated into all the principal languages of Europe. They are in reality a collection of stiff and formal essays which have long ago fallen into merited oblivion (see Ticknor, Mist. of Spam. Lit., vol. ii.).

In Spanish literature occurs also the name of LUIS VELEZ DE GUEVARA (1570-1644), who is said to have written nearly 400 comedies, of which however only a few, and these of little value, have been preserved. This Guevara is chiefly noteworthy as leaving been the author of a prose romance entitled El Diablo Cojuelo, which suggested to Le Sage the ideas and materials of his Diable Boiteux.

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