Juan Manuel, Duke of Penafiel (Escalona, 5 May 1282 - Penafiel, 13 June 1348) is one of the most important Spanish medieval writers, nephew of Alfonso X of Castile, son of Juan Manuel, Lord of Villena and Beatrice of Savoy.
Juan Manuel's work is marked by a great preoccupation both with the practical and the spiritual life, and is directed not only to the nobility, but also to lower estates, since much of his work speaks not only of the duties of lords, but of their vassals as well. While his work is often classified under the general Medieval rubric of "the education of princes" it also begins to approach the Machiavellianism which is more characteristic of the Renaissance, by virtue of its dedication to the astute art of governing.
The structure of stories in El Conde Lucanor reflects the ordinances and hierarchical structuring of the medieval world. In the first parts a young nobleman, Lucanor, proposes an abstract problem to Patronio; later, he gives an apologue which extracts the solution from Patronio's tale, applying it to himself. Juan Manuel concludes the story with a short verse, condensing the moral of the story into short, concrete statements.