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The Life of Lazarillo de Tormes by Anonymous

The Life of Lazarillo de Tormes (1554)

by Anonymous [Spanish literature]

Other authors: Olaug Berdal (Editor)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,079287,736 (3.55)62
  1. 10
    The Golden Ass by Apuleius (caflores)
  2. 10
    El Buscón by Francisco de Quevedo (Sergio88, caflores)
    Sergio88: Tercera gran novela picaresca de la literatura española. Esta vez nos encontramos con la visión irónica del pícaro Don Pablos.
  3. 10
    Guzmán de Alfarache, Part 1/2 by Mateo Alemán (Sergio88)
    Sergio88: La segunda gran novela picaresca de la literatura española (1599 Primera Parte, 1604 Segunda Parte). A diferencia del Lazarillo, el Guzmán se desprende de gran parte de la crítica erasmista para convertirse en casi un manual doctrinario de la Contrarreforma.… (more)
  4. 00
    The Satyricon by Petronius (henkl)

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English (13)  Spanish (11)  French (3)  Dutch (1)  All languages (28)
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
I found this classic work of Spanish literature mildly entertaining, definitely satiric, and undoubtedly much more shocking when it was written (hence, the anonymous authorship) than it is today. Narrated by Lazaro himself, it tells the tale of his work as a servant for various, mostly harsh and, indeed, abusive, masters, starting with a blind man when he was but a boy, and progressing through working for a penniless squire who nonetheless acts as if he has money but doesn't deign to work, various, largely corrupt, representatives of the church, and a constable, eventually achieving a position of his own in government. This allows the anonymous author much opportunity for satire, as well as the opportunity to show the hardships prevalent in 16th century Spain. I found the chapter in which Lazaro works for a seller of indulgences especially funny, but overall I didn't enjoy this book as much as the introduction by Juan Goytisolo led me to believe I would. As an added note, this is said to be the first picaresque novel.
1 vote rebeccanyc | Apr 5, 2015 |
Een van de eerste echte romans, bij momenten best boeiend, maar de thematiek is eerder voorbijgestreefd. ( )
  WorldInColour | Oct 12, 2013 |
It was a really short reading. The author, anonymus, was really able to let me visualize Lázaro's life and sufferings. Also the footnotes of this edition really helped me to grasp the deeper meaning many of the passages have. ( )
  Kirmuriel | Sep 19, 2013 |
In this short picaresque novel, the oldest known of its kind, Lázaro de Tormes narrates his life as a child and young man. Each of the seven chapters recounts his experiences as servant to a different master. The purpose of the story, stated somewhat tongue in cheek, is to get "people who are proud of being high born to realize how little this really means, as Fortune has smiled on them, and how much more worthy are those who have endured misfortune but have triumphed by dint of hard work and determination." I say "tongue in cheek" because to the extent Lázaro has triumphed it is largely because of guile and cleverness, not hard work.

Illegitimate and impoverished, Lázaro first leaves his mother to become a blind man's servant boy. The blind man is cruel and stingy, but Lázaro finds various ways to cheat him out of money and food in order to survive. Next he takes up with a priest who seems determined to starve the boy to death, so Lázaro must refine his talent for thievery into an art in order to survive.

With his third master Lázaro thinks at first he has had a stroke of fortune, as this man is a well-dressed and mannered gentleman. It turns out, however, that the gentleman is penniless but too proud to work, so he expects Lázaro to beg and steal for him.

In vignettes like these the anonymous author satirizes the pretense and hypocrisy of the time, with the sharpest barbs being directed at the clergy. As a novel Lazarillo de Tormes pales in comparison with Don Quixote, but it's worth reading to see how the picaresque form began and evolved. ( )
  StevenTX | Jun 25, 2013 |
The past few months have been craptastacular in the life department, a yo-yo of highs and lows that sort of swung out of control and clocked me in the head at concussive force. Duck? Too late. Then at the beginning of the holiday vacation week, I started to get sick and sicker. I watched Forrest Gump through sneezing and mucous and ended up bawling out even more mucous. I tried to watch the Matrix movies but those made me cry, too! Every scene where two people met eyes meaningfully would set me off. And let me tell you, there were so many of those scenes in those movies, it could probably be a drinking game.

In my weakened and pitiful state, I read this very short novella. It did not lead to crying.

At my advanced age, the brain has gotten pretty inflexible. Learning takes noticeable effort. But thanks to exposure to a very wide range of books on gr and the analytical brilliance & knowledgable depth of fellow readers, I think I may be developing an appreciation for books beyond the immediate payoff. Maybe. Because this reads like a story I wrote in middle school, one that I had a lot of fun writing and I remember imagining how my teacher would read it and be stunned by how amazing I write. Hah. I cringe to recall that. A little clumsy, a little stilted, the humor a little slapstick-y, the main character a little bit of a dunce. Unlike my attempt, however, this book reaches across cultures and hundreds of years and manages to expose the hypocrisies of quite a few classes and still be humorous. I can appreciate how this blazed new ground where my middle school efforts did not. This is a breakthrough! I can relate to this but there is recognition that there are different measuring sticks. I pat myself on the back.

If you are reduced to shedding tears at Matrix, snap out of it and give this book a try. It may be able to tickle you back to normal. ( )
  EhEh | Apr 3, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (313 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anonymous [Spanish literature]primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Berdal, OlaugEditorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Appelbaum, StanleyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Castelli, HoraceIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cejador y Frauca, JulioEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dam, C.F.A. vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Foulché-Delbosc, R.Restitutionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Greco, GilbertoEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Merwin, W.S.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oosten, Jan vanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rico, FranciscoEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Robert, AdrienEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rossi, RosaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vazquez Montalban, ManuelIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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It is only right, to my mind, that things so remarkable, which happen to have remained unheard and unseen until now, should be brought to the attention of many and not lie buried in the sepulcher of oblivion.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0486414310, Paperback)

The first picaresque novel, and one of the gems of Spanish literature. A brief, simply told tale of a rogue's adventures and misadventures — full of laconic cynicism and spiced with puns and wordplay. Introduction, Notes, and new English translation by Stanley Appelbaum.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:48 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Durante los ltimos aos del emperador Carlos I, el Lazarillo es un pcaro. Lejos de amargarse por la triste circunstancia que le toca vivir, observa la realidad con agudo espritu crtico y sentido de humor. Este libro de texto y su disco compacto son diseados para el desarrollo de las cuatro destrezas: leer, escribir, escuchar y hablar.Provides instruction in Spanish by using texts from literature as a textbook, with the story recorded in a Castilian Spanish accent on the accompanying disc. Each chapter has activities especially designed to develop the four skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking. Also included is information about the history, geography, art, science, etc. of the time and place in which the work is set.… (more)

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