The Cervantina Room in Library of Catalonia, a repository of knowledge, located in a civil gothic building attached to the foothills of the east nave. This room houses most of the collection of the same name, which is completed with an adjacent one that holds recent acquisitions and a security deposit where the most valuable works are guarded, including the first editions – with the exception of La Galatea, which are missing from the collection – and the first translations of Cervantina’s work, which are essential when evaluating their dissemination.
In 1914 the bibliophile Isidre Bonsoms Sicart (Barcelona 1849-Valldemossa 1922) proposed to the Institut d’Estudis Catalans the donation of his collection, of about 3,400 volumes, to the Library of Catalonia. It would enter in 1915, furniture included, and it would open to the public in 1916, in the Blue Room of the Institut d’Estudis Catalans, in the Palau de la Generalitat, headquarters of the BC since its creation in 1907. Joan Givanel would initiate the printing of the first catalog in the collection.
To the bibliographic richness of the collection – basically works printed with editions of Cervantes, translations, adaptations, inspired works, biographical and critical works…, without excluding some manuscript and numerous non-book material and press archive – it is possible to add the splendid original iconography – albums of Coypel, of Pinelli, woodcut matrices of Joan Jolis, drawings… and a long etcetera. To the good state of conservation of the works, it is necessary to add the artistic bindings with which some units are adorned.
The Cervantina Collection took over the current Cervantina Room in 1936. As a result of its commitment to continue what was considered the best Cervantina collection in the world at that time, and with the collaboration of others with donors and with a purchasing policy, the foundational volumes have tripled. The audiovisual adaptations are kept in the Sound and Audiovisual Unit of the BC.
Cervantes and his work intertwine with the world of books and the Catalan publishing company and collecting. Cervantes, who had been in Barcelona, made the second part of his immortal work pass after an emulator had already published the continuation of the first in a 1614 edition with a printing press of Tarragona. Just to focus on Don Quixote and by way of example, the printing press of Barcelona would publish the first joint edition of the two parties in 1617; the first paperback edition in 4 volumes in 1755; large illustrated Quixote editions and the first facsimile edition in the following century, and, since then, critical editions that will follow one another in time… The collection is consultable work by build in the BC’s online catalogand from the search for collections and collections.
The Cervantina Collection does not end there. It is projected in other collections that contain editions that contain the bibliographic testimony of Cervantes. An example is the Castilian translation of Tirant in the edition of Valladolid of 1511.
The bust is made by Cervantes, the work of the sculptor Josep Reynés (1850-1926), dated 1885. The accompanying painting, by the painter Josep M. Vidal-Quadras (1891-1977), shows the portrait of ‘Isidre Bonsoms.
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (Alcalá de Henares, September 29 of 1547 – Madrid, 22 of April of 1616) was a Spanish writer best known for his novel Don Quixote. He is considered one of the most influential authors in universal literature, and his works have inspired cinematic adaptations and have changed the way the novel is understood, especially in the Spanish and English languages. In homage to the author, his face is depicted on the euro fraction coins (10, 20 and 50 cts.) Minted in Spain.
Miguel de Cervantes cultivated, but in his original way, the usual narrative genres in the second half of the 16th century: the Byzantine novel, the pastoral novel, the picaresque novel, the Moorish novel, the Lucian satire, the miscellany. He renewed a genre, the novel, which was then understood Italian as a short story, devoid of rhetoric and of greater significance.
La Galatea (1585)
The ingenious gentleman Don Quixote de la Mancha (1605)
Exemplary Novels (1613)
The ingenious knight Don Quixote de la Mancha (1615)
The works of Persiles and Sigismunda (1617)
La Galatea was Cervantes’ first novel, in 1585. It is part of the pastoral subgenre (an “eclogue in prose” as the author defines it), triumphant in the Renaissance. His first publication appeared when he was 38 years old with the title of First part of La Galatea. Like other novels of the genre (similar to that of the Diana of Jorge de Montemayor), the characters are idealized shepherds who relate their sorrows and express their feelings in an idyllic nature (locus amoenus).
La Galatea is divided into six books in which a main story is developed and four secondary ones that begin at dawn and end at dusk, as in traditional eclogues, but in the same way that in the bucolic poems of Virgilio each pastor is in actually a mask that represents a true character.
Don Quijote of La Mancha
It is the peak novel of literature in the Spanish language. Its first part appeared in 1605 and received a great public reception. It was soon translated into the main European languages and is one of the most translated works in the world. In 1615 the second part was published.
Initially, Cervantes’ intention was to combat the rise that chivalry books had reached, satirizing them with the story of a La Mancha nobleman who lost his sanity for reading them, believing himself a knight-errant. For Cervantes, the style of the chivalric novels was lousy, and the stories he told were crazy. Despite this, as the initial purpose progressed, it was surpassed, and he managed to build a work that reflected the society of his time and human behavior.
It is probable that Cervantes was inspired by the Entremés de los romances, in which a farmer loses his mind because of his fondness for the heroes of the old Romancero.
Between 1590 and 1612, Cervantes wrote a series of short novels (since the term novel was used at the time in the same sense as his ethic, the Italian novella, that is, what we now call a short novel or long story) that would later end gathering in 1613 in the collection of exemplary novels, given the great reception it received with the first part of Don Quixote. At first they were called Exemplary Novels of Honest Entertainment.
Given that there are two versions of Rinconete and Cortadillo and El celoso extremeño, it is thought that Cervantes introduced some variations in these novels for moral, social and aesthetic purposes (hence the name “exemplary”). The most primitive version is found in the so-called Porras de la Cámara manuscript, a miscellaneous collection of various literary works, among which is a novel usually attributed to Cervantes, La tía fingida. On the other hand, some short novels are also inserted in Don Quixote, such as ” The curious impertinent ” or a ” History of the captive»That has autobiographical elements. In addition, another already composed novel is alluded to, Rinconete and Cortadillo.
The works of Persiles and Sigismunda
It is the last work of Cervantes. It belongs to the subgenre of the Byzantine novel. In it, he wrote the dedication to Pedro Fernández de Castro y Andrade, VII count of Lemos, on April 19, 1616, four days before his death, where he says goodbye to life, quoting these verses:
With my foot in the stirrup already,
longing for death,
great lord, I am writing to you.
The author clearly sees that he has little life left and he says goodbye to his friends, he is under no illusions. However, he wants to live and finish works that he has on magín, whose title he writes: The weeks of the garden, The famous Bernardo and a second part of La Galatea. In the genre of the Byzantine novel, says Cervantes, he dares to compete with the genre’s model, Heliodoro.
The novel, inspired by the chronicle of Saxo Gramático and Olao Magno and the fantasies of Antonio de Torquemada’s Garden of Curious Flowers, tells the pilgrimage carried out by Persiles and Sigismunda, two enamored Nordic princes who pose as brothers, changing their names by Periandro and Auristela. Separated by all kinds of vicissitudes, they undertake a journey from northern Europe to Rome, passing through Spain, with an expiatory purpose before contracting marriage. The work is important because it supposes in the author a certain distancing from the realistic formulas that he has cultivated up to now, since such pilgrim events appear as a woman jump from a bell tower free from crashing thanks to the parachute that forms her skirts or that there are characters let them guess the future. The main characters appear somewhat faded and the work is actually starred by a group, which includes two Spaniards abandoned on a desert island, Antonio and his son, raised on the island as a kind of barbarian archer in contact with nature. The last passages of the book are little filed, since the author died before correcting them. The work was somewhat successful and was reprinted several times, but was forgotten in the following century.
Cervantes labored to be a poet, although he came to doubt his ability, as he himself said before his death in Voyage of Parnassus:
I always work and wake up / because I seem to have a poet / the grace that heaven did not want to give me
Almost all the verses that were not included in his novels or in his plays have been lost or not identified; Although he is often called the inventor of the broken-line verses, it was not actually him. Cervantes claims to have composed a large number of romances, among which he especially esteemed one about jealousy. Indeed, around 1580 he participated with other great contemporary poets such as Lope de Vega, Góngora or Quevedo in the imitation of the old romances that gave rise to the new Romancero, named after the traditional and anonymous old Romancero of the XV century.
He begins his poetic work with the four compositions dedicated to the funeral of Queen Elizabeth of Valois. Other poems were: To Pedro Padilla, To the death of Fernando de Herrera, To the Austriada of Juan Rufo. As a poet, however, he stands out in his comical and satirical tone, and his masterpieces are the sonnets Un valentón de espátula y greguesco and Al tumulo del rey Felipe II, of which the last verses became famous:
He stabbed the veneer, required the sword, / looked sideways, out, and there was nothing.
The Epistle to Mateo Vázquez is a forgery written by nineteenth-century scholar Adolfo de Castro, as is the prose pamphlet El Buscapié, a vindication of Don Quixote also written by this scholar. He established some innovations in metrics, such as the invention of the stanza called ovillejo and the use of the sonnet with estrambote.
Journey of the Parnassus
The only extensive narrative poem by Cervantes is Voyage of the Parnassus (1614) composed in chained triplets. In it he praises and criticizes some Spanish poets. It is actually an adaptation, as the author himself says, of the Viaggio di Parnaso (1578) by Cesare Caporali di Perugia or Perugino. It narrates in eight chapters the journey to Mount Parnassus by the author himself aboard a galley directed by Mercury, in which some praised poets try to defend him against the poetsters or bad poets. Reunited in the bush with Apollo, they emerge gracefully from the battle and the protagonist returns home again. The work is completed with the Deputy to Parnassus, where Pancracio deRoncesvalles gives Cervantes two epistles of Apollo.
Given its economic hardships, the theater was the great vocation of Cervantes, who declared that he had written “twenty or thirty comedies”, of which the titles of seventeen and the texts of eleven are preserved, not counting eight interludes and some others attributed. He writes that when he was a waiter “his eyes went away” behind the comedians’ car and that he attended the austere performances of Lope de Rueda. However, his success, which he had, since his plays were performed “without offering cucumbers”, as he says in the prologue to his Eight comedies and eight appetizers never represented, was ephemeral before the success of Lope’s new dramatic formula of Vega, bolder and more modern than his, which made entrepreneurs dismiss Cervantes’ comedies and prefer those of his rival.
Cervantes’s theater had a moral purpose, included allegorical characters and tried to submit to the three Aristotelian units of action, time and place, while Lope’s broke with those units and was morally more shameless and easy-going, as well as better and more varied versified. Cervantes was never able to bear this failure and was displeased with the new Lopesco theater in the first part of Don Quixote, whose theatrical character appears well established due to the abundance of dialogues and intermesil-type situations that will glimpse the plot. And it is, in effect, the appetizerthe dramatic genre where the dramatic genius of Cervantes shines in all its splendor, so that it can be said that along with Luis Quiñones de Benavente and Francisco de Quevedo Cervantes is one of the best authors of the genre, to which he contributed a greater depth in the characters, an inimitable humor and a greater depth and significance in the subject.
That there was an interconnection between the theatrical world and Cervantes’ narrative is shown by the fact that, for example, the theme of the interlude of El viejo jealous appears in the exemplary novel of El jealous Extremadura. Other times sanchopancesco characters appear, as in the intermission of the Election of the mayors of Daganzo, where the protagonist is as good a wine taster or “cairn” as Sancho. The baroque theme of appearance and reality is shown in The Altarpiece of Wonders, where the medieval tale of Don Juan Manuel (which Cervantes knew and had read in a contemporary edition) of the naked king is adapted and given social content.. The divorce judge also touched Cervantes biographically, and he concludes that “the worst concert is better / the divorce is not better”. Also of interest are the hors d’oeuvre The Widowed Ruffian, The Salamanca Cave, The Pretended Biscayan and The Careful Guard. For his hors d’oeuvres Cervantes adopts both prose and verse, and some others are attributed to him, such as The Speakers.
In its major pieces, the Cervantes theater has been unfairly undervalued and underrepresented, with some not released to date (2015), with the exception of the one that represents the most finished example of imitation of classic tragedies: The Siege of Numancia, also Titled The Destruction of Numantia, where the patriotic theme of collective sacrifice is staged before the siege of General Scipio Africanus and where hunger takes the form of existential suffering, adding allegorical figures that prophesy a glorious future for Spain. It is a work where Providence seems to have the same task that it had for Aeneas escaped from theTroy burned in Virgil. Other comedies have a similar patriotic inspiration, such as The Conquest of Jerusalem, recently discovered. Other comedies of his deal with the subject, which the author suffered so directly and is even alluded to in a passage from his last work, Persiles, from captivity in Algiers, such as The Baths of Algiers, The Treatment of Algiers (also titled Los Treaties of Algiers), La gran sultana and El gallardo español, where they also wanted to find the denunciation of the situation of former soldiers such as Cervantes himself. On a more novel theme are The House of Jealousy and Jungles of Ardenia, The labyrinth of love, The entertaining. They have a picaresque character Pedro de Urdemalas and El rufián bichoso.
Cervantes brought together his unrepresented works in Eight comedies and eight interludes never performed; In addition, other manuscript works are preserved: The Treatment of Algiers, The Gallant Spanish, The Great Sultana and The Baths of Algiers.
Cervantina Collection in Library of Catalonia
The Cervantina Collection of the Library of Catalonia is one of the most important collections in the world preserved in publicly owned libraries about Cervantes and his work.
It originates from the donation of nearly 3400 volumes made by the Barcelona bibliophile Isidre Bonsoms in 1915. It contains the works of Cervantes in the original language, translations, works of a biographical and literary critic nature, as well as works inspired or adapted from his works and Cervantes iconography.
In 1914, Isidre Bonsoms i Sicart (1849-1922), a bibliophile and Catalan scholar, communicated to those responsible for the Library of Catalonia, the inspector Jaume Massó i Torrents and the director Jordi Rubió i Balaguer, his purpose of yielding to the Library from Catalonia the Cervantes collection that he had collected during many years of diligent searches. Many of his books came from the collection of Leopold Rius (1840-1898), considered the father of the modern Cervantes bibliography.
In 1915 the 3367 volumes of the collection entered, which were housed in the blue room of the Institut d’Estudis Catalans in the Palace of the Generalitat of Catalonia, then the headquarters of the Library of Catalonia. They remained there until 1936, when they were transferred to the current Cervantine Room of the Library of Catalonia, located in the building of the former Hospital de la Santa Cruz. The Institut d’Estudis Catalans, the same year 1915, hired Joan Givanel, first curator of the collection, to write the catalog and thus facilitate the consultation of the works.
The collection has continued to develop through purchases, donations, exchanges and the Legal Deposit. It currently consists of about 9000 volumes.
Contents and outstanding copies
Regardless of the bibliographic value of this collection as a whole, the individual value of many first-rate pieces must be considered.
The collection includes copies of the first editions of all Cervantes’ works in the original language and translations, except for La Galatea. Of this work, he keeps a copy of the second edition, very rare, published in Lisbon in 1590.
Among the most outstanding works in the collection are copies of the following editions of Miguel de Cervantes’s best-known work, Don Quixote:
a copy of the six editions of the first part that were printed in 1605. Of the first edition, according to the census of copies prepared by the Research group Prinqeps 1605, led by Víctor Infantes, 28 copies are preserved, one of which is found in the Library of Catalonia.
copies of all editions (65) made during the Golden Age.
a copy of the first joint edition of the two parts, which was published in Barcelona for the first time in 1617.
a copy of the English edition of Edward Blount (1617), in which one of the first graphic representations of Don Quixote and Sancho appears. 5
copies of the first editions of translations into English (1612), French (1614), Italian (1622), German (1648), Dutch (1657) and other languages. The collection currently has translations of Don Quixote in 51 languages.
editions illustrated by leading artists such as Charles Coypel, Juan Antonio Pellicer, Luis de Madrazo, Eusebi Planas, Apel•les Mestres, Gustave Doré, José Moreno Carbonero, Salvador Dalí, Antonio Saura and Josep Segrelles. 6
One of the five copies of the edition printed on parchment by Gabriel de Sancha and annotated by Juan Antonio Pellicer.
Among the original graphic work, it is worth highlighting the collection of 16 watercolors, 15 of which served as illustrations for the edition of Don Quixote by the Royal Spanish Academy in 1780, drawn by Antonio Carnicero, José del Castillo and José Brunete, among others.. There are also originals by artists such as Jaume Juez i Castellà or Eberhard Schlotter.
In addition to Cervantes ‘works, the collection contains biographies, studies and criticism of Cervantes’ work. The ephemeral materials, from stickers and playing cards to film posters of film adaptations (such as Dulcinea), as well as some objects, offer, together with the illustrated editions and the original graphic work, a wide sample of Cervantes iconography. Also has some scores, such as Don Quixote of Richard Strauss, as well as sound and audiovisual recordings, for example the opera D. Q.
The oil portrait of Isidre Bonsoms, by the painter José María Vidal-Quadras and the bronze bust of Cervantes by the sculptor Josep Reynés, preside over the Cervantine Room of the Library of Catalonia.
The Memòria Digital de Catalunya dedicates an entry to the Cervantina Collection that will increase with the most outstanding works in the public domain.
Library of Catalonia
The Biblioteca de Catalunya is a Catalan institution whose main mission is to form the Bibliography Catalana with the acquisition of the bibliographic collections printed in Catalonia.
It was created in 1907 as a library of the Institut d’Estudis Catalans. It was opened to the public in 1914, in the days of the Mancomunitat de Catalunya at its headquarters in the Palau de la Generalitat. Its current director is Eugènia Serra. In 1931 it occupied a large part of the buildings of the old Hospital de la Santa Creu de Barcelona, a whole of the fifteenth century, owned by Barcelona City Council.. The Library currently occupies a total area of 8,820 m², has a fund of approximately three million copies, and apart from the headquarters it has other external premises, in Barcelona itself and in Hospitalet de Llobregat. In 1981, the Library of Catalonia became a national library of Catalonia, in accordance with the Library Law approved by Parliament, and as such assumed the reception, conservation and dissemination of the Legal Deposit of Catalonia. It receives funds from Enric Prat de la Riba, Marià Aguiló, Jacint Verdaguer, Isidre Bonsoms, Joaquim Furnó, Eduard Toda, among others.
It currently has 1,500 linear meters of free-access shelving, with 20,000 volumes, and 49,000 more meters of storage, and about 3 million documents.