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Don Quixote Among the Saracens

Don Quixote Among the Saracens: A Clash of Genres and Civilizations

Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 256
  • Book Info
    Don Quixote Among the Saracens
    Book Description:

    Don Quixote among the Saracensconsiders how Cervantes?s work reflects the clash of civilizations and anxieties towards cultural pluralism that permeated Golden Age Spain.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-9610-5
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. ix-xvi)
  5. 1 Pillars of Genre / Ghosts of Empire: An Introduction
    (pp. 1-24)

    At the very ends of the world, where the sun sets, lie the paradisiacal gardens of the Hesperides, where three maidens, daughters of Atlas, tended to the tree with the golden apples. One of them was called Erythea. She gave her name to a little island situated just south of Hispania very near to what is today Cádiz, then Gades.¹ The island, some said, was home to Geryon and it was there, according to Seneca, that Hercules was sent to steal his cattle.² To be able to reach this remote place, Hercules had to break a mountain chain that stood...

  6. 2 A Pythagorean Parody of Chivalry
    (pp. 25-41)

    The pillars of genre support and enclose the many narratives ofDon Quixote. By this I mean that Cervantes chooses a series of genres which he would develop and transform in the course of a particular section of the narrative. Within each segment, the genres provide both the stability of the known and the temptation of testing their boundaries. But even while the narrative is transformed, it cannot go on indefinitely. The rules that support it also keep it enclosed within certain boundaries. A point is reached where this particular path finds an ending, where thenon plus ultralooms...

  7. 3 Questioning Quaternities
    (pp. 42-58)

    If Don Quixote is to become emperor of Trebizond or, more likely, a ghostly recollection of Charles V, he must find a way to connect with the heroes of the past even though he has no ancestry. Thus he seeks the mantle of Hercules, whose twelve labours were emblematic of valour, fortitude, and the ability to conquer the most terrifying of foes. Hercules’ twelve labours were associated with the twelve signs of the zodiac, the twelve constellations that the chariot of the sun crosses through the year. Hercules is then akin to the sun, and the twelve constellations represent the...

  8. 4 An Arab’s Audacious Pastoral
    (pp. 59-77)

    The well-wrought urn with the crazed knight as its only crack had to be circumvented, made more brittle and more resistant at the same time.¹ It had to change even though it was buttressed by Pythagorean doctrine. After all, Pythagoras also announced that everything is in a state of flux, as time flows like a river, never reversing course. Ovid revelled in recounting Pythagoras’s many examples of the rise and fall of rivers, cities, and empires.² And perhaps it is these examples that led Cervantes to envision the constant transformation of reality through quixotic visions and the many mutations of...

  9. 5 Magics of the Defeated
    (pp. 78-95)

    The third part of the text returns us to the beginning. Once again we have eight chapters (chapters 15 through 22), the Pythagorean number for justice; and again we encounter chivalric adventures that are parodied. But the perfectly wrought chapters of the first segment give way to an episodic structure where adventures take place one after the other, each trying to surpass the one before with new twists and surprises. The adventures, seven in all (if we count the haunting at the inn), are told by a rival to the knight’s ideals, one that delights in his unreliability. This third...

  10. 6 Clues to a Narrative
    (pp. 96-111)

    The 1605Don Quixoteis divided into four parts, reflecting the Pythagorean quaternities foregrounded in the creation of the narrative world. With the first three parts I have continued the division found in the Cervantine text. But when it comes to part 4, I will deviate and create an additional part, establishing the four of creation and a five of quintessence. In Cervantes’ novel, the last part begins with chapter 28. This makes very little sense since chapter 27 ends the tale of Cardenio and chapter 28 takes up the tale of Dorotea, both part of the labyrinthine plot structure...

  11. 7 Greek Interlace / Italian Interweaving
    (pp. 112-126)

    The fourth section of the novel, then, begins with a mystery. As it progresses, the initial mystery turns into a mystery of clustered tales that become labyrinthine in their telling, while a second mystery, that of the knight’s anxieties, emerges in the knight’s penance. What slowly dawns on both knight and squire is that they have entered a kind of labyrinth, one so complex that the word thread is used over and over again as a way to sort out the labyrinthine confusions.¹ Indeed, Don Quixote advises his squire to use a method akin to Ariadne’s thread, which allowed Theseus...

  12. 8 Palinurus and the Pleiades
    (pp. 127-145)

    Emerging from the mountains, Don Quixote, yellowed with melancholy, dry, and lacking protagonism, hopes to regain some health and authority at the inn. This chapter will show how he begins to do so in ways that are somewhat heterodox. As he slowly regains voice, other stories are told which impinge on his plight. His troubled spirit had tried to stop proliferation as he stopped the telling of the tale of thecurioso impertinente, fighting giants in his sleep. But this only irks the innkeeper and confounds the guests. In the meantime, Dorotea/Micomicona continues to attract the knight with tales of...

  13. 9 Don Quixote among the Saracens
    (pp. 146-161)

    More than a quarter of a century has passed since Carroll B. Johnson published his controversial book,Madness and Lust: A Psychoanalytical Approach to Don Quixote. One of its basic tenets was clearly summarized by Daniel Eisenberg: ‘A bachelor, with only women sharing his house, he is disturbed by the maturation of his niece, and takes refuge first in literature, then in a radical change of life and the deflection of this unacceptable desire to a new object, Dulcinea’ (1983, 155). Eisenberg follows this summary with two basic objections to the book, mainly that Johnson is psychoanalysing a character from...

  14. 10 Thymos and the Chariot
    (pp. 162-180)

    Having passed through the last pillars, the narrative takes us back to its beginnings, but not quite so, even though we enter into the linearity of the denouement in this fifth and last segment of the novel. Don Quixote, having regained a central place in the narrative, does so by seemingly losing agency. Although he has regained authority through the helmet of Mambrino, this seems to be a mere ruse on the part of his companions. He soon discovers that he has once again lost his power to move the action. Those at the inn, including his friends, the priest...

  15. Notes
    (pp. 181-208)
  16. Works Cited
    (pp. 209-228)
  17. Index
    (pp. 229-237)