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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Welcome Guest Celia Yeary!

The First Romance Author

By Celia Yeary

Before Georgette Heyer, Jane Austen, and the Bronte sisters, a Spanish man wrote the first romance novel. Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo (or Garci Ordóñez de Montalvo) (died 1504) arranged the modern version of the chivalric romance, Amadis of Gaul, written in three books in the 14th century by an unknown author.

Montalvo added a fourth book of his own, another chivalric romance, Las sergas de Esplandián (The Exploits of Esplandian, or “The Adventures of an Angry Young Man,” oldest known printing, 1510). In this book, in addition to the chivalrous (read “romance”) exploits of a young man, he also describes an island, which he believed was the one European explorers had long-believed existed off the coast of the West Indies.

The island was believed to be populated by Amazons, black women, without a man among them. Their ruler was Queen Califia.

"Know that to the right hand of the Indies was an island called California, very near to the region of the Terrestrial Paradise, which was populated by black women, without there being any men among them, that almost like the Amazons was their style of living. These were of vigorous bodies and The Warrior Queen Calafia.strong and ardent hearts and of great strength; the island itself the strongest in steep rocks and great boulders that is found in the world; their arms were all of gold, and also the harnesses of the wild beasts on which, after having tamed them, they rode; that in all the island there was no other metal whatsoever. They dwelt in caves very well hewn; they had many ships in which they went out to other parts to make their forays, and the men they seized they took with them, giving them their deaths, as you will further hear. And sometimes when they had peace with their adversaries, they intermixed with all security one with another, and there were carnal unions from which many of them came out pregnant, and if they gave birth to a female they kept her, and if they gave birth to a male, then he was killed...

"There ruled on that island of California, a queen great of body, very beautiful for her race, at a flourishing age, desirous in her thoughts of achieving great things, valiant in strength, cunning in her brave heart, more than any other who had ruled that kingdom before her...Queen Calafia."

— Las Sergas de Esplandián, (novela de caballería)

by García Ordóñez de Montalvo.
Published 1510, C.E.

Today, it is believed that Garcia Ordonez actually found Baja California and believed it to be an island. Whether or not he found black Amazon women is dubious, at best. But historians do believe California is named for Queen Califia.

Our romance novels today offer a different format, but centuries ago, “romance” equated with a man escorting and treating a woman with chivalry, whether he courted her or not.

Celia Yeary

TEXAS BLUE (Jan. 29)



Buy Here: http://www.thewildrosepress.com/celia-yeary-m-366.html?zenid=d8bf590a49f197955fc4459e0c268359


Sue Burke said...

Hi, I'm translating Amadis of Gaul at my website, and here's an entry about Esplandian and California, in case you want to learn more. Good luck with your books, Celia!

MarthaE said...

Hey Celia- Coming late to comment on this but what an interesting bit of history! Thanks.