Synopses & Reviews
The two short novels in this volume follow the adventures of two unlikely heroes-delinquent pícaros
living by their wits among corrupt priests and prostitutes, beggars and idle gentlemen, thieves, tricksters, and murderers. Lazarillo de Tormes
(1554), published anonymously, provided a literary model for Cervantes' Don Quixote
and describes the ingenious ruses employed by a boy from Salamanca to outwit a succession of disreputable masters. Francisco de Quevedo's The Swindler
(1626) is a comic yet brutal and sordid account of a servant who wants to become a gentleman but ends up a cardsharp and common criminal.
Both Lazarillo de Tormes and Pablos the swindler are determined to attain the trappings of the gentleman, but have little time for the gentlemanly ideals of religion, justice, honour and nobility.
About the Author
Francisco de Quevedo (1580-1645) was a distinguished and prolific writer of prose and poetry but chose a political career. Towards the end of his life he was imprisoned in a monastery as a result of his writing. The Author of Lazarillo de Tormes, who published the novel anonymously, is thought to come from sixteenth-century Erasmian or New Christian circles. Michael Alpert, Professor Emeritus of Modern and Contemporary History of Spain at the University of Westminster, has published several books and articles on Spanish history.