Miguel de Cervantes • Spanish novelist, dramatist, and poet • 1547-1616
Don Quixote Term “quixotic”—a person who is quixotic is in the grip of misguided idealism. Conflict between idealism and realism. Illusion vs. Reality
Don Quixote as Parody Began as a parody of romance stories popular in Cervantes’ time. Books of chivalry.—Star crossed lovers—a knight and his fair lady. Parody—a magnification of the characteristics of a particular style to the point at which its absurdity becomes unmistakable. Satire may be more appropriate term. Aims to expose an object or a person to ridicule and censure with implicit reference to a higher standard of conduct
Satire • “Genre of comedy directed at ridiculing human foibles and vices, such as vanity, hypocrisy, stupidity, and greed.” • Differs from pure comedy in that its aim is not simply to evoke laughter, but to expose and censure such faults, often with the aim of correcting them.” (Hamilton, Sharon. Essential Literary Terms)
Types of satire • Horatian satire—tolerant and urbane, indulgently mocking faults with the aim of evoking wry amusement rather than repulsion or indignation in the audience. (“Rape of the Lock,” “Don Juan,” “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”) (Hamilton, Sharon. Essential Literary Terms)
Types of satire • Juvenalian satire—harsh and censorious, bitterly condemning vices and foibles and inciting the audience to feelings of indignation and even disgust. (Pudd’nhead Wilson, “A Modest Proposal” (Hamilton, Sharon. Essential Literary Terms)
Don Quixote • First novel. • First to create fully developed characters. • Lively dialogue. • Hero who sets out to reinvent his own identity. • Buddy genre—Don Quixote and Sancho
Popularity of Don Quixote • Novel becomes quite popular. Read and enjoyed by all ages. • No royalty for works. • Pirated copies distributed • Other writers begin using DQ as a character. • Cervantes writes second part of DQ, kills off main character. • Even though Cervantes became popular and famous, he died in poverty in April 1616.
Magical Realism • “Reality is above all else a variable, and nobody is qualified to say that he or she knows exactly what it is. As a matter of fact, with a firm enough commitment, you can sometimes create a reality which did not exist before” Margaret Halsey, U.S. novelist
Renaissance in Spain • Cervantes was born at a time when Spain was richest, most powerful nation in Europe. • Time of exploration. • Charles I, king of Spain, was most powerful man in Europe. An inspiring king—known for his bravery in battle
Life of Cervantes • Son of a poor apothecary (barber). • Part of hidalguia, noble class, yet dogged by poverty and bad luck. Father was thrown into prison for unpaid debts. • Spent childhood in Spain—spotty education. • Fought with the Spanish-Venetian-Papal fleet • Gulf of Lepanto, Cervantes is wounded in battle. Left hand is left useless for life (1571)
Life of Cervantes • On his way home from war, he is captured by Turkish pirates and held in Algiers by pirates. (1575) • Tried to escape, recaptured, and held in chains. Daring escapes. • Finally ransomed by family in 1580. Family’s wealth completely depleted.
Life of Cervantes • Returns home, expecting hero’s welcome. • Discovers Spanish people have forgotten about the war and its heroes. • Cervantes had been writing poetry throughout most of his life. • “Two roads lead to wealth and glory, that of letters and that of arms.”
Life of Cervantes • Settles down to a literary career in order to support his family. Deeply in debt. • Verse was uninspired; his plays unsuccessful; his pastoral romance mundane. • Burdened by debt, he takes job as commissary for Spanish Armada—collecting grain to feed the army.
Life of Cervantes • Worked as a tax collector. • Banker to whom he had entrusted gov’t. funds went bankrupt and deficits were found in Cervantes’ accounts. • He is jailed • Writing Don Quixote at this time. • First part appeared in 1605.