Bernal Díaz del Castillo Further Reading - Essay

Further Reading

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

Biography and History

Cerwin, Herbert. Bernal Díaz: Historian of the Conquest. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1963, 239 p.

The major biography of Díaz in English.

Grauer, Ben. "How Bernal Díaz's 'True History' Was Reborn." In Bouillabaisse for Bibliophiles, edited by William Targ, pp. 229-48. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Reprint Corporation, 1968.

Relates Grauer's ultimately successful efforts to rescue Díaz's Guatemala manuscript from decay.

Wagner, Henry. "Three Studies on the Same Subject: The Family of Bernal Díaz del Castillo" and "Notes on Writings By and About Bernal Díaz del Castillo." Hispanic American Historical Review 25, No. 1 (February 1945): 191-211.

The first essay carefully traces the history of the family Díaz raised in Guatemala; the second annotates lesser known documents by and about Díaz.


Arocena, Luis A. "Bernal Díaz del Castillo." In Latin American Writers, Vol. I, edited by Carlos A. Solé and Maria Isabel Abreu, pp. 17-21. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1989.

Praises the True History for its documentation of the conquest and its portrait of a typical conquistador's social perspective.

Boruchoff, David A. "Beyond Utopia and Paradise: Cortés, Bernal Díaz and the Rhetoric of Consecration." MLN 106, No. 2 (March 1991): 330-69.

Asserts that Díaz both drew on and undermined literary convention, thus creating an innovative text to describe an unknown world.

Brody, Robert. "Bernal's Strategies." Hispanic Review 55, No. 3 (Summer 1987): 323-36.

Argues with earlier suggestions that Díaz's history embodies an argument for growing political democracy; asserts, instead, that Díaz pled only for his own deserts.

Iglesia, Ramón. "Introduction to the Study of Bernal Díaz del Castillo and his True History." In his Columbus, Cortés, and Other Essays, pp. 64-77. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1969.

Iglesia's most critical discussion of Díaz, in which he calls the historian "discontented and litigious" and "peevish and resentful."

Johnson, Julie Greer. "Bernal Díaz and the Women of the Conquest." Hispanofila 28, No. 82 (September 1984): 67-77.

Focuses analysis on Díaz's portrayal of women, concluding that he depicts doña Marina—the Indian woman who acted as an interpreter for Cortés—as a conventional literary heroine.