SPAN 300 - Lecture 4 - Don Quixote, Part I: Chapters XI-XX
Lecture 4 - Don Quixote, Part I: Chapters XI-XX
González Echevarría starts out by commenting on what he calls the two overarching plots of the Quixote: the story about the writing of the novel, and the story about the mad hidalgo. The first is based upon several levels of narratives that distance Cervantes from his own creation. He does so as the painter Diego Velázquez in Las Meninas which shows multiple incomplete perspectives of the same work, portrays the work behind the scenes of creation, it includes the viewer in the painting as well as the author, as another character, not in a central position, but in an oblique one. With their techniques, both Cervantes and Velázquez present the limitations of human knowledge. The madness of Don Quijote is present in the two episodes that González Echevarría comments upon afterward. The episode with the goatherds connects the ideal world (inside the hidalgo's mind) and the real world of the goatherds. Their human kindness becomes a human quality in the novel displayed by many regardless of social origin. The story of Marcela and Grisóstomo follows. Here Cervantes portrays their socio-economic world while at the same time he defends their free will above everything else.
González Echevarría, Cervantes' Don Quixote: A Casebook, pp. 63-124
De Cervantes, Don Quixote de la Mancha, introduction by Roberto González Echevarría and Part I: Chapters XI-XX
Elliott, Imperial Spain, 1469-1716, chapter 2