Tirant lo Blanch

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Tirant lo Blanch
Title page of the first Castilian-language translation of Tirant lo Blanch, printed in Valladolid by Diego de Gumiel
AuthorJoanot Martorell
Martí Joan de Galba
Original titleTirant lo Blanch
CountryKingdom of Valencia
GenreChivalric romance
Set inEurope, North Africa, Middle East, 15th century AD
PublisherMartí Joan de Galba
Publication date
Original text
Tirant lo Blanch at Valencian Wikisource

Tirant lo Blanch (Valencian pronunciation: [tiˈɾand lo ˈblaŋ(k)] ; modern spelling: Tirant lo Blanc[1]), in English Tirant the White[2], is a chivalric romance written by the Valencian knight Joanot Martorell, finished posthumously by his friend Martí Joan de Galba and published in the city of Valencia in 1490 as an incunabulum edition. The title means "Tirant the White" and is the name of the romance's main character who saves the Byzantine Empire.

It is one of the best known medieval works of literature in Valencian language. It is considered a masterpiece in the Valencian literature and in the literature in Catalan language as a whole,[3][4][5][6][7] and it played an important role in the evolution of the Western novel through its influence on the author Miguel de Cervantes. The book has been noted for its use of many Valencian proverbs.[8]


Tirant lo Blanch tells the story of a knight Tirant from Brittany who has a series of adventures across Europe in his quest. He joins in knightly competitions in England and France until the Emperor of the Byzantine Empire asks him to help in the war against the Ottoman Turks, Islamic invaders threatening Constantinople, the capital and seat of the Empire. Tirant accepts and is made Megaduke of the Byzantine Empire and the captain of an army. He defeats the invaders and saves the Empire from destruction. Afterwards, he fights the Turks in many regions of the eastern Mediterranean and North Africa, but he dies just before he can marry the pretty heiress of the Byzantine Empire.


Compared to books of the same time period, it lacks the bucolic, platonic, and contemplative love commonly portrayed in the chivalric heroes. Instead the main character is full of life and sensuous love, sarcasm, and human feelings. The work is filled with down to earth descriptions of daily life, prosaic and even bitter in nature.[citation needed]


Tirant lo Blanch is one of the most important books written in Valencian. Written by Joanot Martorell in the 15th century, the Tirant is an unusual chivalric novel in its naturalistic and satirical character, which also appears to have a strong autobiographic component. It tells the feats and adventures of Knight Tirant lo Blanc from Brittany. At times, it parallels the life and adventures of Roger de Flor, main leader of the mercenary Company of Almogàvers, which fought in Asia Minor and Greece, both for and against the Emperor of Byzantium. This historical resemblance is evident in the description of events occurring around Constantinople and the defeat of Sultan Mehmed II "the conqueror". While Roger de Flor's almogàvers had the upper hand in the region, the Fall of Constantinople in 1453 was a huge shock to Christian Europe, marking an end to the Byzantine Empire that Martorell's contemporaries wished to change. In writing his novel, Martorell perhaps rewrote history to fit what he wanted it to be - which in a way makes it a precursor of the present-day genre of alternate history.

The Spanish text of Don Quixote states, in Chapter 6 of Part I, that because of certain characteristics of Tirant – characters with unlikely or funny names such as Kirieleison de Montalbán, the presence of a merry widow, the fact that in the book knights eat, sleep, and die in their beds having made a will, and the title can be understood as "Tirant the Blank", lacking a major victory to put on his shield – the book is quite different from the typical chivalric romance. These aspects make the book exceptional, and made Cervantes state that "por su estilo", which can be translated "because of its style" but more likely means "in its own way", the book is "a treasure of enjoyment and a gold mine of recreation" ("un tesoro de contento y una mina de pasatiempos"), the "best book in the world." It is an (unintentionally) funny book, and Cervantes liked funny books, believed the world needed more of them, and wrote his own in Don Quixote.[9] Cervantes saw this 100-year-old book as the crown jewel of his library.[10]

Translations and adaptations[edit]


The book has been translated into several languages including French,[11] Italian,[12] Spanish,[13] Polish,[14] Russian,[15] Finnish,[16] German, Dutch, Swedish and Chinese. Modern translations of the book into English include Tirant lo Blanc, translated by David H. Rosenthal[4] (1983, 1996), Tirant lo Blanc: The Complete Translation (Catalan Studies, Vol 1), translated by Ray La Fontaine (1994)[3] and The White Knight: Tirant lo Blanc (Project Gutenberg), translated by Robert S. Rudder (1995). There's also an adaptation in modern Catalan[17]

Film adaptation[edit]

The plot of the 2006 film adaptation is based on the later part of the adventures of Tirant and events leading to his involvement in Constantinople and afterwards.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Its modern spelling, according to both the Valencian and the Catalan standard, is Tirant lo Blanc, but it is also referred to by its original spelling Tirant lo Blanch, where the h is silent.
  2. ^ Taylor, Barry. "A Catalan classic rediscovered". The British Library.
  3. ^ a b Joanot Martorell; Ray la Fontaine (1994). Tirant lo Blanch: the Complete Translation. Peter Lang Gmbh, Internationaler Verlag Der Wissenschaften. ISBN 0820416886.
  4. ^ a b Joanot Martorell; Martí Joan de Galba; David Rosenthal (1996). Tirant lo Blanch. Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0801854210.
  5. ^ de Courcelles, Dominique (April 1996). "Voeu chevaleresque et voeu de croisade dans le roman de Tirant lo Blanc (1460-1490)". Les Cahiers du Centre de Recherches Historiques (in French). 16: 1–14. doi:10.4000/ccrh.2652. Among the Catalan literature of the late Middle Ages, the chivalric romance entitled Tirant lo Blanc is one of the best known works
  6. ^ Manuel Muñoz (30 January 1985). "Rosenthal pudo al fin hablar en Valencia sobre su traducción de 'Tirant lo Blanc'". El País. Spain. Retrieved 13 September 2019. Rosenthal, the first translator into English of the masterpiece of the literature in Catalan language, written by the Valencians Joanot Martorell and Martí Joan de Galba, was boycotted in his first attempt to give a talk in the city [Valencia]
  7. ^ Edward T. Aylward (1985). Martorell's Tirant lo Blanch: A Program for Military and Social Reform in Fifteenth-Century Christendom. University of North Carolina Press, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for its Department of Romance Studies. ISBN 0807892297. Only in the late 1940s did Hispanists begin to awaken to the considerable literary qualities of this unique Catalan work of fiction
  8. ^ Conca, Maria, and Josep Guia. "A Poetic Game of Proverbs. Study and Annotated Edition of Refranys rimats, a 15th-century Catalan Literary Work." Catalan Review 17 (2003) 53-86.
  9. ^ Daniel Eisenberg, "Pero Pérez the Priest and his Comment on Tirant lo Blanch, MLN (Modern Language Notes), volume 88, 1973, pp. 320-330, https://web.archive.org/web/*/http://users.ipfw.edu/jehle/deisenbe/cervantes/peroperezhigh.pdf included in Eisenberg, Romances of Chivalry in the Spanish Golden Age, Newark, Delaware, Juan de la Cuesta, 1982. http://www.cervantesvirtual.com/servlet/SirveObras/01159841877587238327702/index.htm
  10. ^ Daniel Eisenberg, La biblioteca de Cervantes, in Studia in honorem Martín de Riquer, volume 2, Barcelona, Quaderns Crema, 1987, pp. 271-328; online as "La reconstrucción de la biblioteca de Cervantes", pp. 41-52 of La biblioteca de Cervantes: Una reconstrucción, https://web.archive.org/web/*/http://users.ipfw.edu/jehle/deisenbe/cervantes/reconstruction.pdf on p. 51.
  11. ^ Joanot Martorell; Comte de Caylus (1997). Tirant le Blanc. Éditions Gallimard. ISBN 2070751090.
  12. ^ Joanot Martorell; Lelio Manfredi (1556). Della historia del valorosissimo et invittissimo cavallier Tirante il Bianco. Domenico Farri.
  13. ^ Joanot Martorell; Diego de Gumiel; Vicent Escartí (2005). Tirante el Blanco. Traducción castellana, Valladolid, 1511. Editorial Tirant lo Blanch. ISBN 9788484560234.
  14. ^ Joanot Martorell; Rozalya Sasor (2007). Tirant Biały. Ksiegarnia Akademicka.
  15. ^ Joanot Martorell; Marina Abramova; P. A. Skobtsev; E. E. Guixina (2006). Tirant lo Blanch. Ladomir: Nauka.
  16. ^ Joanot Martorell; David H. Rosenthal; Paavo Lehtonen (1987). Tirant Valkoinen. Gummerus. ISBN 9512026678.
  17. ^ Joanot Martorell, translation by Màrius Serra. https://www.llibres.cat/products/482338-tirant-lo-blanc.html

External links[edit]