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Publisher Description

WITHIN THE ESSENTIAL CONTINUITY of the first Part of Don Quixote with the second, the two parts exhibit different characteristics, notably, the more polemical and robust nature of the comedy of the former, and the introverted, metafictional character of the latter. In this paper I wish to characterize the comic ethos of the first Part; (1) and for this purpose, propose to examine in some detail one of the hero's famous adventures: his liberation of the galley-slaves in 'Don Quixote I, 22. The comedy of Part I is generated by the recurrent conflicts between the hero and the world around him, designed to ridicule the popular genre of chivalric romances, which have driven him mad to the point of resolving to imitate them. A continuation of the Medieval Lancelot, the genre paints a legendary age of chivalry set typically in misty Breton or Celtic regions not long after the death of Christ a phantasmagorical world somewhat similar to that of the Lord of the Rings, replete with monsters, bloodthirsty giants, beautiful princesses, damsels-in-distress, enchanters good and evil, castles, tourneys, battles, and in the foreground, heroic knights-errant, who ride through fields and forests in quest of adventure to prove their mettle and win fame. (2) The action of "Don Quixote turns on the opposition of two juxtaposed perspectives: that of the hero, for whom all that befalls him is in principle a glorious epic like that unfolded by Amadis de Gaula and its progeny, and that of Cervantes, the reader, and the sane fictional characters, for whom it is just a series of ordinary events, ruled by natural causality, which cast ridicule on the hero's delusions and the literary genre which inspires them. (3)

Professional & Technical
March 22
Cervantes Society of America

More Books by Cervantes: Bulletin of the Cervantes Society of America