Antonio de Guevara. Menosprecio de Corte y Alabanca de Aldea. Pamplona: Thomas Porralis, 1579.

The Franciscan Guevara was man of letters, preacher and an officially appointed royal chronicler. He held the highest positions in his religious order and it is said that he personally baptized 27,000 moors of Southern Spain. Among his most popular works are El reloj de principes (Valladolid, 1529) and the Menosprecio de Corte y alabanza de Aldea. The former is a sort of didactic novel based on the life and character of Marcus Aurelius, one of the most influential books of the 16th century. It was frequently reprinted and translated, and considered a standard manual for rulers and courtiers. The latter, which is on display here, ("Against the life of a courtier and in praise of the working man") is written in beautiful Spanish prose and exerted great influence on Spanish literature in the second half of the century.

The edition on display is bound together with two of Guevara's other books: Aviso de privados, a treatise of recommendations for royal favourites and courtiers; and the Libro de los inventores del arte de marear ("Book of inventors of the art of navigation"), a compilation of ancient navigation techniques and histories combined with the author's own experience on galleys in the Mediterranean.

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