1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Hita, Ginés Perez de

HITA, GINÉS PEREZ DE (1544?–1605?), Spanish novelist and poet, was born at Mula (Murcia) about the middle of the 16th century. He served in the campaign of 1569–1571 against the Moriscos, and in 1572 wrote a rhymed history of the city of Lorca which remained unpublished till 1889. He owes his wide celebrity to the Historia de los bandos de Zegríes y Abencerrajes (1595–1604), better known as the Guerras civiles de Granada, which purports to be a chronicle based on an Arabic original ascribed to a certain Aben-Hamin. Aben-Hamin is a fictitious personage, and the Guerras de Granada is in reality a historical novel, perhaps the earliest example of its kind, and certainly the first historical novel that attained popularity. In the first part the events which led to the downfall of Granada are related with uncommon brilliancy, and Hita’s sympathetic transcription of life at the Emir’s court has clearly suggested the conventional presentation of the picturesque, chivalrous Moor in the pages of Mlle de Scudéry, Mme de Lafayette, Châteaubriand and Washington Irving. The second part is concerned with the author’s personal experiences, and the treatment is effective; yet, though Calderón’s play, Amar después de la muerte, is derived from it, the second part has never enjoyed the vogue or influence of the first. The exact date of Hita’s death is unknown. His blank verse rendering of the Crónica Troyana, written in 1596, exists in manuscript.