Lecture 2 - Don Quixote, Part I: Front Matter and Chapters I-X

author: Roberto González Echevarría, Yale University
recorded by: Yale University
published: Sept. 28, 2012,   recorded: September 2009,   views: 2527
released under terms of: Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)
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Why does the Quixote have such common currency today? González Echevarría believes that the Quixote is about the effect that literature has on its readers and about the creation of literature. Its story does not belong to any previous tradition but it is a new story, and this act of invention by a fifty-year old man, Cervantes, is in itself part of modern literature. González Echevarría comments on why the creation of this work was possible in the Spain of the seventeenth century and, after making some important distinctions between the concepts novel and romance, chivalric romances and courtly romance, explains that the Quixote is the first novel because it portrays the clash between the protagonist and his setting for the first time. He then talks about the Quixote's precursors in the picaresque novel and the beginnings of realism. The lecture ends with a thorough commentary on the prologue, its intentions and meanings, along with the concepts of authorship, the legitimation of literature, and ultimately, self invention.

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