9780393918151 198

Chronicle of the Narváez Expedition

First Edition


Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca (Author), Ilan Stavans (Editor), David Frye (Translator)


This new Norton Critical Edition recounts the 1527–36 expedition of Cabeza de Vaca, the first Spanish explorer to cross North America.

Published in 1542 to an astonished and captivated public, Chronicle of the Narváez Expedition tells the unforgettable story of a sixteenth-century soldier turned explorer who, along with three other survivors of a shipwreck, makes his way across an unknown geographic and cultural landscape. This Norton Critical Edition is based on David Frye’s new translation. It is accompanied by Ilan Stavan’s introduction, the translator’s preface, the editor’s detailed explanatory annotations, and a map tracing Cabeza de Vaca’s journey from Florida to California.

“Alternative Narratives and Sequels” enriches the reader’s understanding of and appreciation for Cabeza de Vaca’s chronicle, which can be read both as historical record and as fiction (Cabeza de Vaca having written his account years after the events took place). Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdéz’s General and Natural History of the Indies (1535) provides a different account of the same journey, while sequels can be found in a 1539 letter from the Viceroy of New Spain to the Emperor and in Fray Marcos de Niza’s Relación on the Discovery of the Kingdom of Cibola (1539).

The Spanish explorers, soldiers, and missionaries of the period saw the New World as a place of enchantment, riches, and opportunity. This spirit is captured in “Contexts” with documents including a 1493 letter from Christopher Columbus to a potential benefactor of his future travels; Hernán Cortés’s 1520 letter from Mexico; and an excerpt from Fray Bartolomé’s Brief Account of the Destruction of the Indies (1542). A selection from Miguel León Portilla’s Broken Spears provides readers with the viewpoint of the vanquished.

“Criticism” includes five major assessments of Chronicle of the Narváez Expedition spanning eighty years. Contributors include Morris Bishop, Rolena Adorno and Patrick Charles Pautz, Paul Schneider, Andrés Reséndez, and Beatriz Rivera-Barnes.

A Chronology, Selected Bibliography, and Index are also included.

Also By: Ilan Stavans View all by author...

  • 9780393353426 72

    Quixote: The Novel and the World

    Ilan Stavans

    Paperback, 2017

    An innovative cultural history of the most influential, most frequently translated and most imitated novel in the world.
  • 9780393938050 72

    Lazarillo de Tormes

    Anonymous, Ilan Stavans, Ilan Stavans

    First Edition, Paperback, 2016

    Anonymously published in 1554, Lazarillo de Tormes remains a centrepiece of Renaissance literature and is arguably the most popular example of the picaresque novel.
  • 9780393083026 72

    Quixote: The Novel and the World

    Ilan Stavans

    Hardcover, 2015

    An innovative cultural history of the most influential, most frequently translated and most imitated novel in the world.
  • 9780811218160 72

    Selected Poems/Poemas Selectos

    Jimmy Santiago Baca, Tomás H. Lucero, Liz Fania Werner, Ilan Stavans

    Paperback, 2009

    “Baca writes with unconcealed passion . . . and manifests both an intense lyricism and that transformative vision which perceives the mythical and archetypal significance of life events.”—Denise...