It's been said...
[...] La storia dell'interpretazione del Tirant lo Blanch ha visto come centrale la stessa questione: definito di volta in volta, tra l'altro, come "novela moderna" (Dámaso Alonso), come "novela caballeresca" contrapposta alla "novela de caballería" (Riquer), o in ultimo come "novela total" (Vargas Llosa), il romanzo si caratterizza forse proprio per la caoticità e la magmaticità degli elementi che lo compongono, all'interno dei quali solo sulla base di un partito preso è possibile privilegiare alcuni e subordinare altri. Uno studio sistematico, o quanto meno approfondito, di queste componenti dovrebbe evidenziare la loro provenienza, le modalità delle loro combinazioni, i gradi della deformazione parodica e mirare a cogliere appunto in tale caoticità e magmaticità uno degli aspetti dominanti dell'opera, se non proprio il suo aspetto dominante. Ciò non significa affatto che il Tirant sia un bizzarro e sterminato zibaldone di modalità letterarie capricciosamente accostate e mescolate: chiunque abbia avuto il fiato di percorrere con attenzione le sue 927 pagine di piccola stampa (nel formato della sua più recente edizione) può testimoniare che l'autore non perde mai il controllo della sua variata materia, e che lavora con pari abilità su ampie architetture narrative come su piccole cesellature e incastri, a differenza di molti romanzieri del tardo Medioevo, spesso ispirati a criteri di pura accumulazione di materiale narrativo grezzo. [...]
Donatella Siviero, "Tirant lo Blanch" e la tradizione medievale. Echi testuali e modelli generici (Messina, Rubbettino Editore, 1997)
"This is the best book in the world", wrote Cervantes about Tirant lo Blanc, and the statement may sound like a joke - today. Yet it is true that this is one of the most ambitious and, from the point of view of its construction, perhaps the most modern, of all classical novels. Of course, no one knows about this now, as the novel was read by very few, and no one is reading it today any more, except for some university lecturers, whose work on historical analysis, and whose stylistic vivisection and sounding of sources tend to contribute, albeit unintentionally, to highlight the funeral condition of this book devoid of readers, as postmortems and embalmments are to do with the dead. These scholarly essays, often remarkable in their rigour and information, as de Riquer's foreword to his 1947 edition of the Tirant, never show the essential thing: the vitality of this dead body. [...]
Mario Vargas Llosa, Lletra de batalla per Tirant lo Blanc (Barcelona, Edicions 62, 1969)
Tirant lo Blanc
Martí de RiquerTirant lo Blanc, described by Cervantes as "the best book in the world", is the most outstanding Catalan novel of all time, and represents an important step forward in Western narrative. It was begun in 1460 by Joanot Martorell, who left the book well advanced when he died in 1468; then it passed into Martí Joan de Galba's hands, who wrote the final chapters and had it published in Valencia in 1490.
Joanot Martorell, the main author of Tirant lo Blanc, was born in Gandia in 1414 to parents belonging to the middle nobility: by 1433 he had already become a knight ("mossèn"), and would soon become involved in the private armed quarrelling to which his family was very prone. In 1437 he kept up a witty and mordant chivalresque correspondence with his cousin Joan de Monpalau, whom he accused of having given word of marriage and subsequently dishonoured his sister, Damiata Martorell. This was a scandalous affair in which a number of Valencian knights became embroiled, along with the King's son Enric, and which led Joanot Martorell to London, where he convinced King Henry VI to be the judge of the single combat between himself and his cousin that was supposed to be held in England. Martorell spent 1438 and 1439 at the English court, waiting for the arrival of his adversary, who failed to make his rendez-vous to the challenge, and who, years later, would be obliged to pay an indemnity to Damiata. After returning to Valencia, Joanot Martorell participated in a number of other knightly conflicts: he was challenged by Felip Boyl, an authentic knight-errant who had fought in a number of places in Europe, and entered into a serious quarrel with don Gonçalbo d'Híxar, the commander of Muntalbà, due to a disagreement over the payment for certain possessions, that led to an acerbic interchange of chivalresque letters and a challenge to a combat to the death. It is possible that at about that time (1450) he also made another journey to England. It is known that he was in Portugal and at the Neapolitan court of Alfons the Magnanimous, and that he died in 1468. He was a proud and quarrelsome man, whose cartels of defiance to his numerous enemies show us a sharp and sarcastically ill-intentioned individual, an enthusiast of a chivalry that had entered into decadence, and an enemy of merchants and jurists and a proponent of direct action . But those same letters also reveal that he was a great writer. Continue reading...