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LUNA, Miguel de.

The History of the Conquest of Spain by the Moors.

Together with the Life of the most Illustrious Monarch Almanzor. And of the Several Revolutions of the Mighting Empire of the Caliphs, and of the African Kingdoms. Composed in Arabick by Abulcacim Tariff Abentariq, one of the Generals in that Spanish Expedition; and Translated into Spanish. Now made English.

London: printed by F. Leach, for S. H. and are to be sold by T. Fox, 1687 Stock Code: 120934
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First edition in English of the first part (all published) of Miguel de Luna's Verdadera historia del rey Don Rodrigo (1592-1600), itself purportedly translated from an Arabic source, but in fact an original composition.

Luna's account of the Arab conquest of Spain to the year 761 was considered genuine by Southey, dismissed by George Ticknor and other scholars as a forgery, and is now appreciated as an important, essentially literary document from the age of Cervantes, who knew the work. The Verdadera historia and Don Quixote (1605-1615) "abound with the same phrases and diction", and Cervantes specifically ridicules a passage in Luna in which Tariff fulfils a prophecy by the presence of a mole on his backQuixote strips to reveal his mole as evidence of his strength in Part I Chapter 30 (see Hodges, "Holey Moley: Don Quixote's significant Señal", in Bulletin of the Cervantes Society of America 29:2, 2009). Luna (c.1545-1615) was a physician and court interpreter of Morisco descent. In attributing authorship to an Arab writer he was following what was already an established tradition in post-Reconquista Spain. His account is also notable for contrasting the cruelty of the Visigoths with the virtue and tolerance of their Arab successors: it was possibly this emphasis which irritated 19th century scholars such as Ticknor, who were preoccupied with defining a concept of Spanish identity based on Gothic origins.

This is the issue with S.H. in the imprint and the dedicatory epistle signed with initials M.T.; a variant imprint the same year had S. H. removed and the epistle signed Matt. Taubman, presumably the City poet and satirist (d.1690?). A second edition appeared in 1693, with fewer prelims. Scarce: nine copies of this imprint traced in UK libraries, nine worldwide (four copies in total traced for the variant).

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Octavo (186 x 110 mm). Recent calf to style, raised bands within blind rules to spine, gilt-lettered red label, decorative panelling to boards in blind, marbled edges, matching endpapers.


Bookplate of Wriothesley Russell (1680-1711), 2nd Duke of Bedford to title verso. Light browning, occasional mild spotting or soiling, original edge-marbling encroaching along foot of title, sigs. [A5-6] slightly loose at top cord, [A5] chipped at upper outer corner, the text unaffacted. Very good.


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