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A Companion to Cervantes's Novelas Ejemplares

A Companion to Cervantes's Novelas Ejemplares

Edited by Stephen Boyd
Series: Monografías A
Copyright Date: 2005
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 334
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  • Book Info
    A Companion to Cervantes's Novelas Ejemplares
    Book Description:

    This edited volume of fourteen specially commissioned essays written from a variety of critical perspectives by leading cervantine scholars seeks to provide an overview of Cervantes's Novelas ejemplares which will be of interest to a broad academic readership. An extensive general Introduction places the Novelas in the context of Cervantes's life and work; provides basic information about their content, composition, internal ordering, publication, and critical reception, gives detailed consideration to the contemporary literary-theoretical issues implicit in the title, and outlines and contributes to the key critical debates on their variety, unity, exemplarity, and supposed 'hidden mystery'. After a series of chapters on the individual stories, the volume concludes with two survey essays devoted, respectively, to the understanding of eutrapelia implicit in the Novelas, and to the dynamics of the character pairing that is one of their salient features. Detailed plot summaries of each of the stories, and a Guide to Further Reading are supplied as appendices. Stephen Boyd is a lecturer in the Department of Hispanic Studies of University College Cork.

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-385-3
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-vii)
    (pp. viii-viii)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-46)

    Cervantes’s most famous work is undoubtedlyDon Quijote, which was published in two parts in 1605 and 1615. Next to theQuijote his Novelas ejemplares(Exemplary Tales), which appeared in 1613, have attracted most critical attention, but, except in the case of professional academic scholars and their students, they have always remained relatively little known outside the Spanish-speaking world.¹ It is the aim of this Companion volume to introduce them to a wider English-speaking audience. This Introduction will attempt to give a general overview of theNovelas ejemplares– their dating, sources and generic affiliations – as well as of...

  6. 1 Cervantes’s Exemplary Prologue
    (pp. 47-68)
    Stephen Boyd

    This essay will try to show that the ‘Prólogo al lector’ (Prologue to the Reader) that prefaces theNovelas ejemplaresis exemplary in its appropriateness to the stories it introduces. As one would expect from the introduction to any book, it serves the purely functional purpose of providing readers with general information about what they are about to read, but beyond that, and more unusually, for those who do not refuse its challenges, it also offers an induction into the reading skills, or habits of mind, that they will require if they are to properly understand and enjoy thenovelas....

  7. 2 Enchantment and Irony: Reading La gitanilla
    (pp. 69-84)
    William Clamurro

    The second longest of the group (after theCasamiento/Coloquio[Marriage/Colloquy]) and the most deceptively complex of all theNovelas ejemplaresis the text that Cervantes chose to open the entire collection.¹La gitanilla(The Little Gypsy Girl) is also one of the most studied and popular. Re-read in the imagination, recomposed in memory,La gitanillaeasily devolves into the genre of the formulaic, fortunate tale of loss and recovery: the beautiful baby daughter of a noble family is kidnapped at birth by gypsies; she is raised in a marginal world, but later she meets a handsome young aristocrat who has...

  8. 3 The Play of Desire: El amante liberal and El casamiento engañoso y El coloquio de los perros
    (pp. 85-103)
    Peter N. Dunn

    My argument about the play of desire in thesenovelasis twofold: I shall consider, first, how desire plays, how it plays out in a narrative; how the plot plays with desire, and the role of desire in driving the actions of characters. Second, I hope to show how we readers, in our negotiation with the text, are enticed to endure the vicissitudes of the characters and to pursue our own quest for the satisfying ending. There is, however, another sense for the ‘playof desire’, and that is the playfulness of the author in the representation of the desires...

  9. 4 Language as Object of Representation in Rinconete y Cortadillo
    (pp. 104-114)
    Alan K. G. Paterson

    Cervantes’sRinconete y Cortadillo(Rinconete and Cortadillo) is an object-lesson in how the reader’s heavy investment in understanding the text has not generally been paid back in critical kind. I mean by this that few critical readings work at the linguistic density that characterizes the text. Aden W. Hayes proves one of the exceptions when he identifies the linguistic behaviour of characters with the meaning of the story.¹ Language is an artefact wrought by the character with the intention of constituting a distinctive persona. This focus safeguards my experience as the reader of a text that has a high level...

  10. 5 Now You See it, Now You … See it Again? The Dynamics of Doubling in La española inglesa
    (pp. 115-133)
    Isabel Torres

    La española inglesa(The English Spanish Girl) is, on the surface, an engaging tale of loss and recuperation, separation and reconciliation, and ultimately the triumph of the human spirit over adversity. The surface text, however, is but a beguiling pretext carefully constructed by Cervantes to draw his readers into an often ambiguous and paradoxical interpretative space. Cervantes’s more receptive contemporary readers, caught up in the complexities of an ever-changing plot, see their reality distorted and filtered through a utopian imaginary which challenges their relationship with their world and the value systems which inform it. We shall see, in this glimpse...

  11. 6 Soldiers and Satire in El licenciado Vidriera
    (pp. 134-147)
    Stephen Rupp

    The narrative ofEl licenciado Vidriera(The Glass Graduate) traces the progress of its titular character from his apprenticeship of study and travel through an episode of madness to his final efforts to establish a court career in Valladolid and a life of military service in Flanders. To record this fictional life Cervantes engages a series of literary genres. The particular affliction that the text describes – the delusion that one’s body is made of glass – has explicit associations with the transparency and keenness of satirical discourse, and during his madness the licentiate speaks with the traditional voice of...

  12. 7 Exemplary Rape: The Central Problem of La fuerza de la sangre
    (pp. 148-171)
    Anthony Lappin

    La fuerza de la sangreis a tale difficult to stomach or understand, and even the title of this article will be deemed unacceptable by some readers – but then, the article’s title but mirrors the dilemma provoked by the story itself. Can one talk of exemplarity and unpunished rape in the same breath? At the end of the essay, I shall consider the concept of exemplarity as Cervantes expresses it in his prologue to the collection, but my primary focus will be the exemplary tale itself.La fuerza de la sangreis usually translated as ‘The Power of Blood’,...

  13. 8 Remorse, Retribution and Redemption in La fuerza de la sangre: Spanish and English Perspectives
    (pp. 172-190)
    B. W. Ife and Trudi L. Darby

    In the Prologue to theNovelas ejemplares, Cervantes famously offered an astonishing guarantee of the high moral tone of the collection: he would rather cut off the one remaining hand with which he wrote them than publish stories which could drive a reader to evil thoughts or desires.¹ Despite these protestations, Cervantes makes frequent use of plots which have their origin in acts of rape or abduction, and theNovelas ejemplaresare notable for the amount of sexual violence they contain. Even so,La fuerza de la sangre(The Power of Blood) is exceptional in several ways: the opening rape...

  14. 9 Free-Thinking in EL celoso extremeño
    (pp. 191-206)
    Paul Lewis-Smith

    In this essay I am resuming an enquiry into the theological reach of Cervantes’sNovelaswhich I began in 1996 in a study ofLa fuerza de la sangre(The Power of Blood).² This novella, as I understand it, is a kind of Christian mystery tale which unfolds a warning against prejudiced and pessimistic perceptions of a world in which the innocent suffer and evil can seem to prevail. Its essential theme for a shrewd and not too squeamish reader is the hidden immanence of God. Behind it there lies a medieval Scholastic doctrine on the nature of divine sovereignty...

  15. 10 Performances of Pastoral in La ilustre fregona: Games within the Game
    (pp. 207-220)
    D. Gareth Walters

    It is no surprise that pastoral has proved to be one of the more important areas of study for Cervantes scholars. Although it is not a dominant issue inDon Quijotethe fact that his first book was a pastoral romance has tempted commentators to explore aspects of his later works by reference to the pastoral ethos, first incorporated inLa Galatea. Such a consideration extends to those works, likeLa ilustre fregona(The Illustrious Kitchen Maid), that at first sight appear removed from sixteenth-century Spanish pastoral fiction. Two factors perhaps have been responsible for this probing for evidence of...

  16. 11 Cervantine Traits in Las dos doncellas and La señora Cornelia
    (pp. 221-234)
    Idoya Puig

    These twonovelas, La señora Cornelia(Lady Cornelia) andLas dos doncellas(The Two Damsels), have often been relegated to a secondary place, and considered to be of less interest than the other stories in the collection of theNovelas ejemplares(Exemplary Novels).¹ However, when they are looked at closely, a number of interesting features can be identified which highlight Cervantes’s personal and original traits in matters of content and style.

    The two stories appear one after the other in the Cervantine collection and they share some general characteristics. They are included among the idealizingnovelas. They are concerned with...

  17. 12 The Peculiar Arrangement of El casamiento engañoso and El coloquio de los perros
    (pp. 235-260)
    Edward Aylward

    This essay will focus on the narrative strategies employed by Cervantes when he decided to fuse two completely independent stories into a single artistic unit that would close his collection ofNovelas ejemplares. After providing a brief overview of the literary predecessors of theCasamiento engañoso(The Deceitful Marriage) and theColoquio de los perros(The Dialogue of the Dogs), we will present a structural analysis of the two works in question, first as separate entities, then as complementary parts of a single hybrid text. The study closes by suggesting the artistic goal behind Cervantes’s decision to meld what appear...

  18. 13 Eutrapelia and Exemplarity in the Novelas ejemplares
    (pp. 261-282)
    Colin Thompson

    In one of the fouraprobacionesto theNovelas ejemplares, Fray Juan Bautista wrote:¹

    […] supuesto que es sentencia llana del angélico doctor Santo Tomás, que la eutropelia es virtud, la que consiste en un entretenimiento honesto, juzgo que la verdadera eutropelia está en estasNovelas, porque entretienen con su novedad, enseñan con sus ejemplos a huir vicios y seguir virtudes, y el autor cumple con su intento, con que da honra a nuestra lengua castellana, y avisa a las repúblicas de los daños que de algunos vicios se siguen.

    (Since it is the clear opinion of the angelic Doctor...

  19. 14 ‘Entre parejas anda el juego’ / ‘All a Matter of Pairs’: Reflections on some Characters in the Novelas ejemplares In Memoriam E. C. Riley
    (pp. 283-302)
    José Montero Reguera

    It has not gone unnoticed by students of Cervantes’s literary production that a great many of his characters appear in pairs, something that is frequently the case not only in theNovelas ejemplaresbut also in other Cervantine texts.² I am referring to characters who either appear together from the very start, or who, in the course of events, become an inseparable pair, difficult to disassociate from each other. The following are some examples of such characters: Don Quijote and Sancho, the priest and the barber, the housekeeper and niece, Marcela and Grisóstomo, the two Benedictine monks who appear in...

  20. Appendix I: Synopses
    (pp. 303-315)
  21. Appendix II: Further Reading
    (pp. 316-318)
  22. Index
    (pp. 319-325)
  23. Back Matter
    (pp. 326-326)