Washington Irving (1783-1859), the first author from the United States of America to attain international fame, wrote the work originally known simply as Alhambraafter publishing several other works including Sketch Book (1819-20), which established his literary reputation, and Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus (1829). The Romantic attachment to Spain that he had felt since childhood culminated in his residence, during 1829, in the Alhambra palace of Granada, and the first edition of the present work was published (in London and Philadelphia) in 1832.
Mervyn Samuel nació en Bristol (Inglaterra) y estudió en su ciudad natal y en la Universidad de Oxford. Vivió y trabajó en Argentina y Perú antes de establecer su residencia en Sevilla y luego Madrid. Ha traducido varios libros sobre los palacios reales y museos de España y escrito dos de tema peruano. Ha colaborado con entidades culturales y de defensa del patrimonio natural y edificado en el Reino Unido y España, y viajado extensamente en Europa, el Mediterráneo y las Américas. Actualmente divide su tiempo entre España e Inglaterra.
Since boyhood Washington Irving had felt a particular fascination for Granada, and in 1829 he was able to live his dream to the full not merely by visiting the city but also by taking up residence in the Alhambra. There he heard traditional stories told by the inhabitants of the citadel that had been largely abandoned during the later 18th century but now exercised an irresistable appeal to the Romantic imagination.
He also made use of libraries and archives, and the result is a literary work written with elegance and wit, combining history in the more academic sense with folk tales that acquired their own reality in the minds of those who repeated them from generation to generation. Tales of the Alhambra quickly attained international fame and was influential in persuading the Spanish authorities that the palace complex was worthy of respect and care.
The first edition of this work appeared in 1832, but in 1851 Irving published a revised and expanded version that is the basis for the present complete edition, which also includes one extra chapter that first appeared in the posthumous publication of 1863. The Prologue places the work in the context of Irving’s life as a whole.
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