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SPAN4118 - Works of Cervantes

Value: 0.5 course units
Dr Rhiannon McGlade
Teaching structure:
1 essay and a 2-hour examination.

Module Description:

This module is about Cervantes’s continuing allure and the roots of his genius. We will look at the representation of Don Quixote across the four centuries since its publication in film and works of fine art. There will be time to compare the original text to these modern renderings. But while Don Quixote is at the core of this module, two iconical short stories are also looked at in detail: Rinconete y Cortadillo (the story of two friends who give up their university studies in favor of travel and adventure) and El coloquio de los perros (in which a man who is feverish with syphilis overhears two dogs comment on the degeneracy of humanity).

The roots of Cervantes’s genius are his own experience (he led an accident-ridden but exciting life during which he was decorated for bravery in battle and imprisoned while working as a taxman) and his own reading and interest in the theatre (for he was a playwright before he invented the novel). His first known work of fiction is an official account of his own captivity in Algiers, where he was imprisoned by a series of North African pirates allied to the Ottoman Empire. The module will also touch on the chivalric literature parodied in Don Quixote.

Preparatory Reading and Set Texts:

La información de Argel
Don Quijote de la Mancha
Novelas Ejemplares: Rinconete y Cortadillo
Novelas Ejemplares: El casamiento engañoso y el coloquio de los perros

Jorge de Montemayor, La Diana
Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo, Amadís de Gaula

Likely Film Material:

Don Quijote de la Mancha ( El Quijote de Miguel de Cervantes) Starring Fernando Rey, Alfredo Landa, Francisco Merino, et al. (DVD - 2006) Lost in la Mancha, Keith Fulton’s documentary about Terry Gilliam’s “quixotic” film

Likely Fine Art Images:

Pablo Picasso, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza
David Smith, Don Quixote, 1952
Honoré Daumier Don Quixote and Sancho Panza , 1855, National Gallery London.
John Vanderbank, Quixote Arriving at the Inn, 1730, Manchester, City Art Gallery.
Francis Hayman, Don Quixote Dubbed by the Innkeeper, c.1755, Exeter, Royal Albert Memorial Museum.
Frederick Yeates Hurlstone, Sancho Panza Attended by his State Physician, 1868, Tate Collection.
Richard Parkes Bonington, Don Quixote at his Books/in his Study, 1831, Nottingham, Castle Museum.
William Nicholson, Don Quixote (poster for play), 1895

Further Reading/Listening:

BBC Radio 4 “In Our Time”:

Introduction to Francisco Rico’s edition of Don Quixote
B. W. Ife, “Cervantes and the Credibility Crisis in Spanish Golden-Age Fiction”, in Renaissance and Modern Studies, 26, 52-74
A. Cascardi (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Cervantes (Cambridge: CUP, 2002).
Alban K. Forcione, Cervantes and the Mystery of Lawlessness: a Study of el Casamiento engañoso y el coloquio de los perros (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1984)
R. T. C. Goodwin, “Origins of the Novel in Cervantes’s Información de Argel,” Bulletin of Hispanic Studies 83:4 (2006), pp.317-336.
Otis H. Green, Spain and the Western Tradition: The Castilian Mind in Literature from “El Cid” to Calderón, vol 4, Madison, Milwaukee, London, University of Wisconsin Press.
B. W. Wardropper, "Don Quixote": Story or History?” 63, No. 1 (Aug., 1965), pp. 1-11 Published.
E. C. Riley, Cervantes’s Theory of the Novel (1962).