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Guzmán, Fernando Pérez de

Senor de Batres, Spanish historian and poet (1376-1458)

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Guzmin, FERNANDO PEREZ DE, Senor de Batres, Spanish historian and poet (1376-1458). He belonged to a family distinguished both for its patrician standing and its literary connections, for his uncle was Lopez de Ayala, Grand Chancellor of Castile, historian and poet, and his nephew was the Marquis of Santillana, one of the most important authors of the time of Juan II. Part of his verse, such as the “Proverbios” and the “Diversas virtudes”, is purely moral and didactic. The more important part is represented by the panegyrical “Loores de los claros varones de Espana”, which in 409 octaves gives a rather full account of the leading figures in Spanish history from Roman times down to that of Benedict XIII. The most notable of his prose historical compositions is the “Generaciones e Semblanzas”, a collection of biographies which constitutes the third part of a large compilation, “La mar de historias”. The first two parts of this work, suggested doubtless by the “Mare historicum” (or Mare historiarum) of Johannes de Columna, are devoted to a perfunctory and uninteresting account of the reigns of the sovereigns of pre-Arabic times. The third part, the “Generaciones”, contains thirty-six portraits of contemporary person-ages, especially of members of the courts of Enrique III and Juan II, and furnishes one of the best examples of character painting in Spanish literature. No detail, even the most trivial physical trait, escapes the observation of Perez de Guzman. On grounds still regarded as uncertain there has been attributed to him the “Cronica de Juan II”. His prose works may be found in the “Biblioteca de autores espanoles”, LXVIII; a separate edition of the “Generaciones” appeared at Madrid in 1775. His verse is given in the “Cancionero de Baena”, and in the “Cancionero general”.

J. D. M. FORD


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