Lazarillo de Tormes
Publisher: Digireads.com Publishing
An important work of Spain's Golden Age of literature as well as the first known picaresque novel, "The Life of Lazarillo de Tormes and of His Fortunes and Adversities" portrays the clever ploys of a young Salamancan boy determined to outsmart his long string of masters. This Spanish novella was first published in 1554, during the Spanish Inquisition, by an author who wished to remain anonymous due to the work's heretical content. Scholars now attribute the authorship to Diego Hurtado de Mendoza. Young Lazarillo is an improbable hero of his time, for he comes from a poor and multiracial family who desperately apprentice him to a blind beggar after committing a crime. Lazarillo soon proves himself to be resourceful and resistant to the corrupt clergymen he must serve. Banned for heresy due to its highly critical portrayal of both the aristocracy and Catholic Church of the 16th century, this work came to provide a model for Cervantes and many future authors, like Twain, who explored the picaresque genre. Though originally published at great risk to the author, "Lazarillo de Tormes" is today an entertaining story of a boy who ingenuously survives his own childhood and makes something of himself despite the corruption that he must continually overcome.