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Love and the Law in Cervantes

Love and the Law in Cervantes

Copyright Date: 2005
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 320
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  • Book Info
    Love and the Law in Cervantes
    Book Description:

    The consolidation of law and the development of legal writing during Spain's Golden Age not only helped that country become a modern state but also affected its great literature. In this fascinating book, Roberto González Echevarría explores the works of Cervantes, showing how his representations of love were inspired by examples of human deviance and desire culled from legal discourse. González Echevarría describes Spain's new legal policies, legislation, and institutions and explains how, at the same time, its literature became filled with love stories derived from classical and medieval sources. Examining the ways that these legal and literary developments interacted in Cervantes's work, he sheds new light onDon Quixoteand other writings.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-13204-5
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. A Note on Translation
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. xiii-xx)

    TheYale College Cataloguestates that the DeVane Lectures are a special series “open to the general public as well as to students and to members of the Yale community. They were established in 1969 as part of the DeVane Professorship, a position created in honor of William Clyde DeVane, Dean of Yale College from 1939 to 1963. The DeVane Professorship was intended to provide an opportunity for a scholar to work beyond the boundaries of a particular specialty or department and to transmit the excitement of that study to colleagues and students in other fields.” Faced with the task...

  6. 1 The Prisoner of Sex (Quijote, I, 22)
    (pp. 1-16)

    More than chivalry or any other subject, theQuijoteis about love.¹ Chivalry falls within the theme of love, not the other way around. Both parts of the novel are like love laboratories, with samples of nearly every kind of relationship conceivable, and specimens of almost every kind of lover. The permutations seem infinite, and the burgeoning accumulation of stories makes the book sometimes seem like a baroqueDecameron, held together by Don Quijote’s peculiar madness and bizarre adventures. The gallery of lovers spans the entire spectrum: from damsels in distress to prostitutes, from would-be courtly lovers to seducers and...

  7. 2 Spanish Law and the Origins of the Novel
    (pp. 17-34)

    A measure of the uniqueness of Spanish law, of its kinship to literature, and eventually its role in the emergence of the novel, is how the epic hero, Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, “El Cid Campeador,” reacts to an outrage perpetrated against his daughters, Doña Elvira and Doña Sol. This is the episode known as “The Affront at Corpes” in the twelfth-centuryPoema de mío Cid, considered in conventional literary history as the Spanish national epic. In the Corpes oak grove, the Cid’s daughters are flogged and stomped upon by their husbands (wearing boots with spurs), the infamous infantes de Carrión,...

  8. 3 Engendering Dulcinea
    (pp. 35-53)

    Dulcinea is Cervantes’ boldest and most baffling creation. She is a complicated reply to the courtly love tradition, a radical take on the evolution of love in the early modern period, and a profound statement on desire and the imagination. Unlike Dante’s Beatrice, who is associated to the religious substratum of courtly love, Dulcinea is a secular conception, which is precisely why she is so original and closer to us. Beatrice dissolves in the sublime vision at the end ofParadiso. Dulcinea, without really having a part within the novel, is both imagined and corporeal. We recall her pungent body...

  9. 4 The Knight as Fugitive from Justice: The Quijote, Part I
    (pp. 54-74)

    No sooner does Don Quijote set out from his village in search of chivalric adventures than he runs into a picaresque world at the first inn. The second inn, Juan Palomeque’s, is the one most readers remember, and rightly so, because of the crucial episodes that take place within it. It is the building that defines Part I, in contrast to the duke’s palatial home in Part II. But this first inn is also important because it is first and because it sets the tone or better, the dissonance, of the novel—the din of competing discourses of which it...

  10. 5 The Amorous Pestilence: Interpolated Stories in the Quijote, Part I
    (pp. 75-91)

    As soon as theQuijotewas published in 1605 Cervantes came under attack for the way in which he had inserted so many extraneous stories in the book. There is no denying that at least the one called “The Impertinent Curiosity” is totally independent from the plot and characters in the novel, who are (with the exception of Don Quijote, who is asleep while it is read, and the priest, who reads it out loud) mere listeners. It is also true that there seems to be no end to the stories, from that of Marcela and Grisóstomo to the un-finished...

  11. 6 Broken Tales: Love Stories in the Quijote, Part I
    (pp. 92-111)

    The interpolated stories that come after the Marcela-Grisóstomo episode and Rocinante’s disastrous flirtation make up the core of Part I of theQuijote. They peak and are resolved, for the most part, together with the main plot, which involves the persecution, capture, and return home of the knight. This is a set of narrative strands tightly woven around the two principal drives in the book: Don Quijote’s love quest for Dulcinea and the series of crimes and misdemeanors perpetrated by the hidalgo that lead to his pursuit and apprehension. The interpolated stories have in common with the central plot, with...

  12. 7 The Politics of Love and Law: The Quijote, Part II
    (pp. 112-133)

    Everything in Part II of theQuijoteis more complex than in Part I because Part I is like the wax tablet upon which Part II is written—or, better, like a palimpsest on which there are many writings and rewritings. Part I is to Part II what theAmadís de Gaulaand other chivalric romances were to Part I: it provides the basic narrative structure and situations on which new ones are based. The adventures of Part I are present in Don Quijote’s and Sancho’s memories and in those of the characters who have read the novel and in...

  13. 8 A Marriage Made in Heaven: Camacho’s Wedding (Quijote, II, 19–21)
    (pp. 134-155)

    Of all the love stories in theQuijote, Part II, none is more entertaining and comedy-like than the episode of Camacho’s wedding. In fact, some critics believe that the episode was to be the basis for a play Cervantes never got around to writing.¹ The episode is in some respects a rewriting of the love stories in Part I, especially those of Cardenio, Luscinda, Dorotea, and Don Fernando, but with reminiscences also of the Marcela-Grisóstomo tragic conflict. It is one of the few stories in Part II that is not contrived by characters within the fiction, though the way in...

  14. 9 Love and National Unity: Ricote’s Daughter’s Byzantine Romance
    (pp. 156-174)

    This chapter being the last on theQuijote, and hence a transition to those on theExemplary StoriesandThe Trials of Persiles and Sigismunda, I will begin with a summary of the previous two, a kind of preliminary or provisional conclusion to the book.

    In chapter 7 I argued that in Part II questions pertaining to love and the law are elevated to a higher level in which they merge or constitute the political. The emphasis, with regard to the law, is not so much on its application to individual cases as on the foundations of the law in...

  15. 10 The Exemplariness of the Exemplary Stories: “The Call of the Blood”
    (pp. 175-193)

    I suppose that the question everyone asks when readingExemplary Storiesis whether, had Cervantes not written theQuijote, this collection would have won him a prominent place in Western literary history. But, since he did write theQuijote, a more pertinent question is how this collection is related to the masterpiece, not only in terms of quality, but also of themes and narrative structures.Exemplary Stories, a work of which Cervantes was proud because it made him the first to have “novelado en lengua castellana” (to have written novellas in the Spanish language), is a superb group of stories,...

  16. 11 The Bride Who Never Was and Her Brood: “The Deceitful Marriage”
    (pp. 194-212)

    While Cervantes’ works are inconceivable without the picaresque, he never wrote a proper picaresque novel and had a guarded attitude toward the new genre. The episode of the galley slaves in Part I of theQuijote(chapter 22) has embodied for criticism the gist of his reservations. The prisoners, common criminals of the sort who often appear in the picaresque, are portrayed sympathetically, and several are allowed to expound on their miseries and misdeeds. These first-person confessions are like miniature picaresque novels, including the one by the character I called “the prisoner of sex” in chapter one. The star of...

  17. 12 Cervantes’ Literary Will: The Trials of Persiles and Sigismunda
    (pp. 213-230)

    It is likely thatThe Trials of Persiles and Sigismundawould not have been the enigma that it has been for criticism had Cervantes not made it a point to praise this work in such vehement terms and dramatic circumstances—almost literally as he lay dying. Nearing the end he seemed to pin his hopes for immortality on this very strange novel that we know he had no chance to revise and polish. The diminishing number of chapters in the last two books shows that Cervantes rushed to finish at whatever cost to balance and symmetry. His statements on the...

  18. 13 The Novel after Cervantes: Borges and Carpentier
    (pp. 231-250)

    Historians, critics, and theoreticians of literature are all after the origin and nature of the literary imagination, no matter what terminology or method they use, and I am no different. What I have been pursuing in my study of the intertwined and interdependent forces of love and the law in Cervantes is the spark, the pith of his creativity, at the intersection of discourses issuing from those drives, a crossroads at which stories take shape in language. My point has been that with the advent of the modern state, aided by the printing press, a new kind of narrative emerges...

  19. Notes
    (pp. 251-274)
  20. Bibliography
    (pp. 275-286)
  21. Index
    (pp. 287-292)