Francisco de Robles, Cervantes, and the Spanish Book Trade

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Mediterranean Studies




Manchester University Press

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That we remember Francisco de Robles is due in large part to the fact that he published most of the works of Cervantes, and thus it is due to the repute of that great author that Robles also enjoys some historical stature. At the beginning of the seventeenth century, however, Cervantes was but one of a number of more or less successful authors, while Robles was the most successful and powerful bookseller in Madrid, and probably in all of Spain. The relationship between Cervantes and the Robles family was a longstanding one that dated back at least to the 1580s, and it was a connection that was of far greater benefit to the writer than to Robles. Though Robles made money publishing Cervantes, especially the first part of Don Quixote, such income was essentially inconsequential when compared to his other sources of revenue. On the other hand, Cervantes, though he may have complained of how little he was paid for his works, could have had no better publisher. Much has been written about Cervantes, and what little has been set down about Robles has centered on his being the former's publisher. Here, I intend first to concentrate on Robles' place in the book trade and then to consider his relationship with Cervantes from that larger perspective.


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