Lecture 6 - Don Quixote, Part I: Chapters XXI-XXVI

author: Roberto González Echevarría, Yale University
recorded by: Yale University
published: Sept. 28, 2012,   recorded: September 2009,   views: 2001
released under terms of: Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)
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Important meditations about the nature of literature and the real take place in the chapters commented on in this lecture. Reality appears strange enough even to Don Quixote in the episode of the corpse, where death becomes a presence. Don Quixote appears aware that his adventures are being written as we read them. His relationship with his squire is further developed in the episode of the fulling hammers. Mambrino's helmet exemplifies the modern radical doubt about the power of the senses to grasp reality, while the episode of the galley slaves represents a satire of autobiographical writing. Cervantes portrays a society that the sixteenth-century reader recognized as his own, in which Ginés de Pasamonte, a low-class slippery criminal and author, represents the new generation of writers who break with the strictures of Renaissance mimesis. The descent in social status of the author, Ginés, appears to be accompanied by an increase in inventiveness and a rise in the importance of the author. This episode is a meditation on the creation of new genres, such as the picturesque, not derived from the classics but from experience, as well as on the topic of perspectivism.

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