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Vicente Espinel

Poet and novelist; b. at Ronda (Malaga), Spain, 1544; d. at Madrid, 1634

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* Published by Encyclopedia Press, 1913.


Espinel, VICENTE, poet and novelist; b. at Ronda (Malaga), Spain, 1544; d. at Madrid, 1634. He studied at Salamanca and while still young went as a soldier to Italy and Flanders. Returning to Ronda, he took Holy orders and was made chaplain of the hospital at that place. Later, he went to Madrid, where he lived with Lope de Vega whose friend and teacher he was, and died there in poverty, as we are told by Lope in his "Laurel de Apolo". In 1618 he published at Barcelona a romance descriptive of Spanish manners entitled "Relaciones de la Vida y Hechos del Escudero Marcos de Obregon". The work attracted attention at the time, and afterwards became famous because of several imitations and because of the controversies which it caused. It has been thought that many of the adventures of the hero are to a great extent drawn from those in the life of Espinel himself. The work is admirably written, is filled with wise maxims, and the language is pure and simple. Le Sage, the author of "Gil Blas de Santillana", has been accused of borrowing many incidents and characters from Espinel's work. As a poet, Espinel also enjoyed some reputation. He translated Horace's "Art of Poetry", and published his own "Diversas Rimas" in Madrid in 1591. He was the inventor of the measure known at first as the "espinela" and later as the "decima", because it hasten syllables. He was also noted for his musical taste. He added the fifth string to the national guitar. The "Marcos de Obregon" was translated into English by Algernon Langton (London, 1816), into German by Tieck (Breslau, 1827), with a preface and notes, and into French by Vidal d'Audiguier (1816).

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