Thursday, 12 March 2009

Amadis of Gaul--Classic Fantasy

Friend and fellow writer Sue Burke has started the epic task of translating the classic fantasy Amadis of Gaul from Medieval Spanish into modern English and she's putting it up chapter by chapter for free on the web.

I hadn't heard of Amadis until I moved to Madrid. Sue describes it best. "Published in Spain in 1508, this novel is a masterpiece of medieval fantasy. It inspired a century of best-selling sequels in seven languages and changed the way we think about knights, chivalry, damsels in distress, and courtly life in castles. These books made Don Quixote go mad and imagine himself a heroic knight-errant like Amadis."

I've been reading along and find it very entertaining. It reminds me a bit of Orlando Furioso, which was probably inspired by Amadis. Lots of quests, knightly battles, and honorable derring-do.

Sue is publishing a new chapter every Tuesday and a commentary every Thursday. Her translation is excellent (she's a tireless student of Spanish) and her commentary brings the world of Late Medieval Spain to light. This book is well worth a read for anyone interested in the origins of fantasy fiction or anyone who simply loves a good read.

As Sue says, "This book drove Don Quixote mad. What will it do to you?"

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Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog, where he focuses on Civil War and Wild West history.

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