Critical Images

Critical Images: The Canonization of Don Quixote through Illustrated Editions of the Eighteenth Century

Copyright Date: 1999
Pages: 271
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Critical Images
    Book Description:

    How did the tall, lanky Don Quixote and the short, stout Sancho Panza become staple figures of Western iconography, so well known that their silhouettes are easily recognizable in Picasso's famous work? How did the novel Don Quixote, a parody of the romances of knight errantry, become a paean to the long-suffering, impotent nobility of its deluded protagonist? According to Rachel Schmidt, the answers to both questions are to be found in the way in which the novel's characters and episodes were depicted in early illustrated editions. In Critical Images Schmidt argues that these visual images presented critical interpretations that both formed and represented the novel's historical reception.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6734-4
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vi-viii)
  3. List of Figures
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xiii-xviii)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xix-xx)
  6. A Note on Citations
    (pp. xxi-2)
  7. 1 Book Illustration as Critical Interpretation of the Text
    (pp. 3-26)

    In the course of the second book (2:59) of Cervantes’Don Quixote(1615), Don Quixote meets a reader of an apocryphal continuation of his own story, issued anonymously in 1614 under the pseudonym Avellaneda. The misappropriation of his person understandably disturbs the “original” Don Quixote, who goes so far as to change his itinerary in order to avoid Zaragoza, site of some of his illegitimate double’s adventures. Even in Cervantes’ continuation, however, Don Quixote already rides in the shadow of his literary incarnation in the legitimate Part 1, and, alongside Sancho Panza, suffers adventures created for him by the readers...

  8. 2 The Book Errant: Seventeenth-Century Readings and Depictions of Don Quixote
    (pp. 27-46)

    Having returned home ignominously in a cage at the end of the first book, Don Quixote takes heart to hear from the Bachelor Samson Carrasco that his adventures have already enjoyed the attention of young and old (2:3). The young man dutifully reports that, of course, people’s tastes differ, for some prefer the fight with the windmills, others the liberation of the galley slaves, the description of the sheep herds as armies, the encounter with the fulling mills, the fight with the Basque, or the adventure of the dead body. What all these opinions shared, however, is a universal taste...

  9. 3 Cervantes as Hercules Musagetes: The First Neoclassical Edition
    (pp. 47-88)

    The publication in Spanish in London in 1738 of the first de luxe edition ofDon Quixoteby J.R. Tonson, at the behest of Lord Carteret, marks a turning-point in the reception and interpretation of the text unnoticed by literary historians more concerned by the “revolutionary” Romantic reading.¹ Whereas the German Romantics offered a new approach to the text already perceived as a literary masterpiece, the producers of this earlier edition actually conferred classical status on the popular work. Thus, the 1738 Lord Carteret edition signals a hermeneutic shift that elevates the work from the lowly genre of popular literature...

  10. 4 Don Quixote Every Man: Eighteenth-Century English Illustrators
    (pp. 89-125)

    Peter Motteux, in the preface to his 1700 translation ofDon Quixote,voices a universalizing interpretation of Cervantes’ satirical objective that dominated the novel’s reception outside Spain in the eighteenth century. As he exclaims,

    Every Man has something ofDon Quixotein his Humour, some darlingDulcineaof his Thoughts, that sets him very often upon mad Adventures. WhatQuixotesdoes not every Age produce in Politicks and Religion, who fancying themselves to be in the right of something, which all the world tells ’em is wrong, make very good sport to the Publick, and shew them that they themselves...

  11. 5 “El Quixote ilustrado”: Illustration and Enlightenment in the Real Academia Edition
    (pp. 126-169)

    At the end of the eighteenth century in Spain, the fortune of the errantDon Quixotetook a turn for the better as the novel was finally acclaimed a classic in its own land. This new appreciation of the novel and its characters grew from the assumption that the work did, indeed, contain deeper meanings, satirical or otherwise. The young writer José Cadalso, known now for his proto-Romantic interest in the lugubrious and the sentimental, discerned new depths in the old work. “In this nation there is a book highly applauded by all the rest. I have read it, and...

  12. 6 Conclusion: Goya and the Romantic Reading of Don Quixote
    (pp. 170-184)

    The 1780 Real Academia edition appeared on the cusp of an interpretive change in the history of the reception ofDon Quixotecommonly called “Romantic,” attributed to the literary movement from which it derived its name. Literary historians have viewed this moment as one of rupture, and either implied that the subsequent change in reading constituted a critical advance or more openly derided it as anachronistic.¹ According to studies done up to the present, the transformation of Don Quixote from a madman to a hero, the reinterpretation of the text as novelistic (involved with psychological development and philosophical issues) rather...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 185-226)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 227-240)
  15. Index
    (pp. 241-248)