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Antonio de Guevara Edit Profile

bishop , historian , chronicler , moralist

Antonio de Guevara y de Noroña is a Spanish chronicler and moralist, who early became a well-known writer. Of great interest are his "Epístolas familiares", that are considered to be among the first European essays. For all his relative artificiality, Guevara was long popular throughout Europe and exerted a widespread influence.


Antonio de Guevara was born in the province of Asturias, probably in the town of Treceño,Treceno, of a noble family.


He became a page at the royal court.

After intervening on the side of Charles V in the comunidades rebellion of the towns and local nobility (1519-1521), Guevara was given the apparently nominal post of chronicler to the Emperor in 1523. He later accompanied Charles on the expedition to Tunis (1535) and obtained various bishoprics.

Guevara early gained renown as a writer, and his four best-known works were translated into other languages. Perhaps more interesting are his "Epístolas familiares" (1539 and 1542). Since these letters were used to present moral points and were never intended to be sent, they might be better classified as being among the first European essays. The letters are not of outstanding value as essays, however. Upon reading them it becomes increasingly apparent that, unlike Montaigne, who seriously investigated the problems of his own existence, Guevara is merely interested in creating for himself a kind of literary pseudopersonality. Similarly his elaborate and overblown style and his frequent use of alliteration, antithesis, and sonorous verbal comparisons throughout his work, seem more an expression of fashionable artifice than of original thought. Nevertheless, for all his relative artificiality, it must be acknowledged that Guevara was long popular throughout Europe and exerted a widespread influence.


  • Other Work

    • "El Relox de principes" (1521)

    • "Menosprecio de la corte y alabanza de la aldea" (1539)

    • "Aviso de privados y doctrina de cortesanos" (1539)

    • "Epístolas familiares" (1539 and 1542)


In 1504 he became a Franciscan.


Guevara criticized the Spanish conquest of America.