Translated by Robert Rudder. Copyright 1995 by Robert S. Rudder.
Lazarillo reflects Spanish society, it mirrors only one segment of that society. Its writer ignored uncorrupted men of generosity and high moral principles who surely existed alongside the others. So just as the chivalresque novels distorted reality upward, this novel distorts reality downward and almost invariably gives us only the negative traits of society.
An important point is the unity, or nonunity, of the book. Earliest critics of Lazarillo of Tormes saw it as a loosely formed novel of unconnected episodes whose only point of unity happened to be the little rogue who told his life story, in which he is seen as serving one master after another. Later criticism has changed that point of view, however, by pointing to such unifying factors as wine, which is used as a recurring theme throughout (Lazarillo steals it; it is used for washing his wounds; he sells it). Then there is the "initiation" in which Lazarillo's head is slammed against a stone statue of a bull. Later the blind man smashes