Mendoza, Diego Hurtado De
granada sent partly
MENDOZA, DIEGO HURTADO DE (c. 1503-1575), novelist, poet, diplomatist, and historian, was a younger son of the member of the illustrious Mendoza family to whom the government of Granada was entrusted not long after its surrender, and was born in that city about the year 1503. The marquis of Santillana, so prominent a figure at the court of John II. of Castile, was his great-grandfather. At an early age Mendoza, who had been destined for, the church, was sent to Salamanca, where he studied with success, and also, some time between the years 1520 and 1525, produced his Lazarillo de Tomes, the work upon which his literary celebrity largely rests. Having persuaded his father to allow him to enter the army, he served with the Spanish troops of Charles V. in Italy, and also availed himself of opportunities as they arose to hear the lectures of famous professors at Bologna, Padua, and Rome. In 1538 he was taken into the diplomatic service of the emperor and sent as ambassador to Venice ; there he cultivated friendly relations with the Aldi, and energetically set about collecting a library, not only procuring copies of many old MSS. in the public library of the city, but also sending to Thessaly and Mount Athos for new ones ; it was from his collection that the complete text of Josephus was first printed. For some time he held the post of military governor of Siena ; and, after having been present in an official capacity in Trent at the beginning of the oecumenical council, he was in 1547 sent as special plenipotentiary to Rome, where he continued to act for some years. In 1554, shortly before the abdication of Charles, he was recalled to Spain, and his official career came to an end. Ile was never a favourite with Philip II. ; and in consequence of a quarrel with a courtier, in which he had lost his temper badly, he was finally banished from court in 1568. The remaining years of his life, which were spent at Granada, he devoted partly to the study of Arabic, partly to poetical composition, and partly to the preparation of his history of the Moorish insurrection of 1568-70 (Guerra de Granada). He died at Madrid (which he had obtained leave to visit on some business errand) in April 1575.
-Mendoza's La:arillo de Tormes, though written during his college days, was not published until 1553, when it was printed anonymously at Antwerp. Next year it was reprinted at Burgos, but ultimately it was taken exception to by the Inquisition, and the Spanish editions of 1573 and subsequent years are accordingly considerably abridged. It is a comparatively short fragment, written in vigorous and bright Castilian, and was the first example in modern literature of the " novela picaresca" of which Le Sage's Cil Bias now ranks as the most perfect specimen. The continuations, first by an anonymous author (1555) and afterwards by H. de Luna (1620), are of very inferior interest. Of Mendoza as a poet all that need be said here is that he followed the modern Italian models quite as far as was compatible with a due regard to his Castilian individuality. His history, though of no great bulk, is, like his novel, a work of remarkable literary execution. It relates indeed only to a comparatively brief episode in a chapter of events for which it is almost impossible to claim much general attention, and it is often needlessly erudite and sometimes provokingly obscure. But as a whole it is singularly well-informed, dignified, and picturesque ; ''the style is bold and abrupt, hut true to the idiom of the language, and the current of thought is deep and strong, easily carrying the reader onward with its flood. Nothing in the old chronicling style of the earlier period is to be compared to it, and little in any subsequent period is equal to it for manliness, vigour, and truth " (Ticknor). The first edition of the Guerra de Granada did not appear until 1610, but was even then incomplete ; the first perfect edition was that of 1730. The work has frequently been reprinted since.