Jorge de Montemayor
Jorge de Montemayor (1520? – February 26, 1561) was a Portuguese
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 novelist and poet
A poet is a person who writes poetry. A poet's work can be literal, meaning that his work is derived from a specific event, or metaphorical, meaning that his work can take on many meanings and forms. Poets have existed since antiquity, in nearly all languages, and have produced works that vary...

, who wrote almost exclusively in Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...



He was born at Montemor-o-Velho
Montemor-o-Velho is a town and municipality of the Coimbra District, in Portugal. It has roughly 30,000 inhabitants.-Demographics:-Parishes:* Abrunheira* Arazede* Carapinheira* Ereira* Gatões* Liceia* Meãs do Campo* Montemor-o-Velho* Pereira...

 (near Coimbra
Coimbra is a city in the municipality of Coimbra in Portugal. Although it served as the nation's capital during the High Middle Ages, it is better-known for its university, the University of Coimbra, which is one of the oldest in Europe and the oldest academic institution in the...

), whence he derived his name, the Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

 form of which is Montemayor.

He seems to have studied music in his youth, and to have gone to Spain in 1543 as chorister in the suite of the Portuguese Infanta Maria
Maria Manuela of Portugal
Maria Manuela of Portugal was a daughter of King John III of Portugal and his wife Catherine of Austria.She was Princess of Asturias as spouse of Philip, Prince of Asturias, and between 1527 and 1535 Princess of Portugal in her own right....

, first wife of Philip II
Philip II of Spain
Philip II was King of Spain, Portugal, Naples, Sicily, and, while married to Mary I, King of England and Ireland. He was lord of the Seventeen Provinces from 1556 until 1581, holding various titles for the individual territories such as duke or count....

. In 1552 he went back to Portugal in the suite of the Infanta Juana, wife of D. João
John III of Portugal
John III , nicknamed o Piedoso , was the fifteenth King of Portugal and the Algarves. He was the son of King Manuel I and Maria of Aragon, the third daughter of King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile...

, and on the death of this prince in 1554 returned to Spain. He is said to have served in the army, to have accompanied Philip II to England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 in 1555, and to have travelled in Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 and the Low Countries
Low Countries
The Low Countries are the historical lands around the low-lying delta of the Rhine, Scheldt, and Meuse rivers, including the modern countries of Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and parts of northern France and western Germany....

; but it is certain that his poetical works were published at Antwerp in 1554, and again in 1558.

His reputation is based on a prose work, the Diana, a pastoral romance published about 1559. Shortly afterwards Montemayor was killed in Piedmont, apparently in a love affair; a late edition of the Diana gives the exact date of his death. The Diana is generally stated to have been printed at Valencia
Valencia (city in Spain)
Valencia or València is the capital and most populous city of the autonomous community of Valencia and the third largest city in Spain, with a population of 809,267 in 2010. It is the 15th-most populous municipality in the European Union...

 in 1542; but, as the Canto de Orfeo refers to the widowhood of the Infanta Juana in 1554, the book must be of later date.

It is important as the first pastoral novel
The adjective pastoral refers to the lifestyle of pastoralists, such as shepherds herding livestock around open areas of land according to seasons and the changing availability of water and pasturage. It also refers to a genre in literature, art or music that depicts such shepherd life in an...

 published in Spain; as the starting-point of a widespread literary fashion; and as the indirect source, through the translation
Translation is the communication of the meaning of a source-language text by means of an equivalent target-language text. Whereas interpreting undoubtedly antedates writing, translation began only after the appearance of written literature; there exist partial translations of the Sumerian Epic of...

 included in Googe
Barnabe Googe
Barnabe Googe or Gooche was a poet and translator, one of the earliest English pastoral poets.-Early life:...

's Eglogs, epytaphes and sonnets (1563), of an episode in The Two Gentlemen of Verona
The Two Gentlemen of Verona
The Two Gentlemen of Verona is a comedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written in 1590 or 1591. It is considered by some to be Shakespeare's first play, and is often seen as his first tentative steps in laying out some of the themes and tropes with which he would later deal in more...

. Though Portuguese was Montemayor's native language, he only used it for two songs and a short prose
Prose is the most typical form of written language, applying ordinary grammatical structure and natural flow of speech rather than rhythmic structure...

 passage in the sixth book of the Diana. His mastery of Spanish is amazing, and even Cervantes, who judges the verses in the Diana with unaccustomed severity, recognizes the remarkable merit of Montemayor's prose style. That he pleased his own generation is proved by the seventeen editions and two continuations of the Diana published in the 16th century, by parodies
A parody , in current usage, is an imitative work created to mock, comment on, or trivialise an original work, its subject, author, style, or some other target, by means of humorous, satiric or ironic imitation...

, imitations and renderings in French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 and English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

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