The Gallant Spaniard
There are surprising omissions in the translated body of Spanish Golden Age literature, including in the body of work by Miguel de Cervantes. We have many highly competent translations of Don Quixote, but until now not a single English version of his play The Gallant Spaniard. Although Cervantes’s dramatic works have always attracted less attention than his narrative fiction, there has been significant critical interest in this play in recent years, due in no small part to its unique portrayal of Christian-Muslim relations. Critics have argued persuasively of the value of The Gallant Spaniard in the service of a more general understanding of Cervantes in his last years, specifically on his views of this dichotomy.
This edition, translated by Philip Eugene Krummrich, consists of a critical introduction and a full verse translation of the play with notes.
Cervantes and The Gallant Spaniard
Cervantes in English
Critical Statements on the Play
Cervantes could have drawn on several written sources for the background regarding the siege of Oran. He also had the opportunity to hear from eyewitnesses who had participated in the defense of the town of Oran when he was sent there on behalf of the king in 1581. There is some uncertainty as to when he actually wrote The Gallant Spaniard, but by the time he tried to peddle it and the rest of his Eight Comedies and Eight Interludes, near the end of his life, North African themes no longer appealed to the playgoing public. Fascinating though The Gallant Spaniard has proven to scholars as part of Cervantes’s body of work, it never made it to the stage during his lifetime, and it remains a work far better suited to reading than to performance. The visual effects that Cervantes calls for, such as Alimuzel riding in on a horse, are easy enough to imagine, but impractical to stage.