The Itching Parrott - First Mexican Novel

Superlative Lithograph Plates – “Es considerada la mejor edición”

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142. FERNÁNDEZ DE LIZARDI, José Joaquín. El Periquillo Sarniento, por El Pensador Mexicano. Cuarta edición corregida, ilustrada con notas, y adornada con sesenta laminas finas. Mexico: Se Espende en la Librería de Galvan, Portal de Augustinos; [title verso]: Imprenta de V. G. Torres, Calle de V.G. Torres, Calle de Espíritu Santo No. 2) 1842. Vol. I: [i-iii] iv-xxii, [iii-v] vi-xx, [1] 2-189 [1, blank] [2, index] pp., frontispiece (portrait of author), 18 plates (including portrait); Vol. II: [i-iii] iv-viii, [1] 2-206, [2, index] pp., 15 plates; Vol. III: [1-3] 4-196, [2, index] pp., frontispiece, 15 plates; Vol. IV: [1-5] 6-230, [2, index] pp., 14 plates. Total: 62 unattributed black and white lithograph plates (scenes from the novel). 4 vols. in two, 8vo (17.6 x 12.5 cm), late nineteenth-century smooth black calf, gilt-lettered and decorated spines with raised bands, covers gilt ruled, edges sprinkled. A few minor scuffs to binding, scattered foxing and occasional mild waterstaining to text and plates, a few minor tears neatly repaired (no losses), some wormholes in Vol. 4 repaired (affecting a few leaves and plates). Overall, very good to fine. Vol. 4, chapter title 6 cancelled by pasted-on slip.

     Fourth edition and best edition (first edition, Mexico, 1816). The present edition is the most esteemed of the early editions illustrated with lithographs. Gonzalez Obregón, Fernandez de Lizardi, p. 50. Mathes, Mexico on Stone, pp. 21 (discussing the book); 55 (title cited in bibliography); 63 (Galván). Palau 89062: “Es considerada la mejor edición.”

     The author styled himself “El Pensador Mexicano,” and has been called the Mexican Voltaire. The novel was created during a very tumultuous period of political history in Mexico. Efrain Kristal, The Latin American Novel (Cambridge University Press, 2005), pp. 23-24:

As the nineteenth century began, Latin American writers had not yet produced a work that fully qualified as a novel, though many had written lengthy narratives with certain literary features. One reason for the delay was Spain’s ban on novels in its American colonies, though this ruling had proven difficult to enforce.... The first Spanish American text that most critics consider a novel is El Periquillo Sarniento (The Itching Parrot) by José Joaquín Fernández de Lizardi (Mexico, 1776-1827). El Periquillo Sarniento was an outgrowth of Lizardi’s newspaper El Pensador Mexicano (“The Mexican Thinker”).... With this work, he sought to show that novels could serve a worthy purpose, providing readers with moral uplift and sound advice, particularly about molding young people into good citizens. Pedro, the narrator of this four-volume novel, somewhat resembles a picaresque protagonist as, during his early adulthood, he wanders from one unsavory master to another. Yet, unlike the conventional rogue, he is not a hardened miscreant, but a young man weakened by maternal overindulgence and lack of practical skills. Through resolve and Christian faith, he reforms and subsequently makes a positive contribution to society. At the time Pedro narrates his life, he is an elderly man eager to pass on his hard-won wisdom to his offspring.... Lizardi’s celebrated novel appeared partway through Mexico’s struggle to break with Spain, when the author was not yet openly supporting independence. Yet he expresses nationalism in other ways. [Yet] Lizardi hopes to discourage harmful concepts that Mexicans have inherited from Spain, especially the idea of an aristocracy exempt from manual labor.


Sold. Hammer: $1,000.00; Price Realized: $1,225.00.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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