Lecture 22 - Don Quixote, Part II: Chapters LIV-LXX (cont.)

author: Roberto González Echevarría, Yale University
recorded by: Yale University
published: Sept. 28, 2012,   recorded: December 2009,   views: 2064
released under terms of: Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)
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As we approach the end of the novel, Cervantes compresses and combines elements from different types of romances (morisco, Greek, pastoral) in what seems to be an attempt to create a new literary genre; the modern novel. In the episodes in Barcelona, the prank with the talking head makes literal the figure of prosopopeia; Don Quixote's visit to the printing shop explores the very origin of the book; the sign the boys hang on Don Quixote's back also reduces him to language. Avellaneda's misreading of the Quixote coincides with that of the dueñas who punish Sancho, and is also ironically represented in Altisidora's dream. By taking literature to its limits, by incorporating Avellaneda's book into the Quixote, by rejecting bookish knowledge in favor of experience, Cervantes seems to point to the idea that there is no position from which to stand outside of the world of fiction. The only way out would be through a voluntary act of the will, equivalent to the one Don Quixote makes after being defeated by the Knight of the White Moon.

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