HISTORIA VERDADERA DE LA CONQUISTA DE LA NUEVA-ESPANA
by Diaz del Castillo, Bernal
Madrid: en la Imprenta del Reyno, 1632. ,254, leaves. Small folio. Contemporary limp vellum, spine title in manuscript, two vellum ties at fore-edge. Sizable marginal tear to E7, lower corner of F3 torn away, neither affecting text. Very light staining along fore- edge and in upper corner of initial leaves, occasional stray ink marks in lower corner, but generally clean internally. Very good plus. The classic account of the Spanish conquest of Mexico by, as the titlepage identifies the author, "uno de sus Conquistadores." Written in response to Lopez de Gomara's laudatory biography of Cortés, in which "El Marques" sometimes seems to have conquered the Aztec empire single-handedly, the HISTORIA VERDADERA... remained in manuscript for some fifty years until Alonso Remon, the Chronicler General of the Mercederian Order, edited the text for publication. It is the classic eyewitness account of the conquest of Mexico, and will always be one of the primary sources for that extraordinary saga. "Díaz wrote from the point of view of the man in the ranks; he had served as a junior officer throughout the campaign, from the landing at Vera Cruz to Cortés's march against Olid in Honduras. He had fought the Tlaxcalans, he had battled his way across the causeway on Noche Triste, he had been all through the siege of Mexico. In all he tells us that he had taken part in one hundred and nineteen battles, and his body was covered with wounds. For this service his only rewards were an Aztec princess and a magistracy in Guatemala, but had the satisfaction that comes alone from distinguished service, and his heroic robustness shows itself in every line of his book. There is nothing urbane or polished about Díaz's HISTORIA. It is the unadorned, day-to-day account of one of Cortés's soldiers; its very simplicity and frankness give it a genuine flavour, which together with the great events it depicts, makes it one of the most powerful and stirring soldier's narratives ever written" - Penrose. A foundation work for any collection of Americana, offered in a very good copy in a contemporary binding. This edition, which has a 1632 title on the date, is evidently a pirated edition, possibly published somewhat later than 1632. the first edition contains an engraved titlepage and one additional chapter at the end of the text. MEDINA (BHA) 898. SABIN 19978 ("First edition, of much rarity"). STREETER SALE 192. PALAU 72354. MAGGS BIBLIOTHECA AMERICANA I:195. EUROPEAN AMERICANA 632/27. SALVA II:3308,3309. ARENTS 177. PENROSE, p.296.
(Inventory #: WRCAM52084)
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