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(A)Wry Views

Anamorphosis, Cervantes, and the Early Picaresque

by David R. Castillo

Publication Year: 2001

The term anamorphosis, from the greek ana (again) and morphe (shape), designates a variety of perspective experiments that can be traced back to the artistic developments of the 1500's and 1600's. Anamorphic devices challenge viewers to experience different forms of perceptual oscillation and uncertainty. Images shift in front of the eyes of puzzled spectators as they move from the center of the representation to the margins, or from one side to the other. (A) Wry Views demonstrates that much of the literature of the Spanish Golden Age is susceptible, and indeed requires, oblique readings (as in anamorphosis).

Published by: Purdue University Press

Series: Purdue Studies in Romance Literatures


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p. 1

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pp. 2-5

The Psyche of Feminism began to take shape while I was a graduate student of Comparative Literature at the State University of New York at Binghamton. I thank the professors there who patiently guided and challenged the...

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pp. 6-23

In this study, I connect the perspectivistic drive of several Golden Age texts with the aesthetics of anamorphosis, also known as the curious, magic, or secret perspective. The term...

Part 1 The Picaresque

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pp. 24-25

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Chapter One Putting Things in Anamorphic Perspective

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pp. 26-39

In his studies on geometrical perspective, Leon Battista Alberti contradicts the Scholastic notion according to which figures must be organized hierarchically in reference to their place in the theological cosmos, more than a century before the publishing...

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Chapter Two The Gaze of another in Guzm

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pp. 40-58

In his introduction to the recent volume The Picaresque: Tradition and Displacement (1996), Giancarlo Maiorino theorizes the picaresque as a countergenre that is rooted in a “centerperiphery dialogics.” According to...

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Chapter Three Look Who’s Talking!Justina and Cultural Authority

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pp. 59-75

The first edition of Francisco López de Úbeda’s El libro de entretenimiento de la pícara Justina (1605) included an emblematic depiction of the picaresque life as a ship approaching the port of “Desengaño,” where Death awaits, mirror in hand, the arrival of Lazarillo,...

Part 2 Cervantes

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pp. 76-77

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Chapter Four Don Quixote A Case of Anamorphic Literature

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pp. 78-98

Américo Castro was one of the first critics to focus on Don Quixote’s perspectivism, which he attributed to Cervantes’s understanding of reality as intrinsically problematic (see his 1925...

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Chapter Five Persiles, or The Cervantine Art of Looking Down and Awry

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pp. 99-117

The narrator of Persiles (3.2) notes, somewhat ironically, that the value of poetry depends solely on our estimation of it: “[La poesía] es habilidad que tanto vale cuanto se estima” (442).1 Assuming that we may apply this statement to all forms of literature, it looks as though Cervantes...

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Chapter Six A “Symptomatic” View of the Honor System in Cervantes’s Theater

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pp. 118-135

Spain’s obsession with honor and “purity of blood” (limpieza de sangre) reaches its peak in the early stages of the seventeenth century coinciding with the deepening of its ongoing social crisis...

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pp. 136-143

Molho has suggested that one of the defining characteristics of the Cervantine text is the presence of “tangential clairvoyants” (“clarividentes tangenciales”) who reveal the fragility of conventional wisdom from nonintegrated...


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pp. 144-151


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pp. 152-159


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pp. 160-175

Works Cited

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pp. 176-189


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pp. 190-195

E-ISBN-13: 9781612491172
E-ISBN-10: 1612491170
Print-ISBN-13: 9781557532275
Print-ISBN-10: 1557532273

Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2001

Series Title: Purdue Studies in Romance Literatures
Series Editor Byline: Patricia Hart See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 794701192
MUSE Marc Record: Download for (A)Wry Views

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Perspective in literature.
  • Anamorphosis (Visual perception).
  • Picaresque literature, Spanish -- History and criticism.
  • Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel de, -- 1547-1616 -- Criticism and interpretation.
  • Spanish fiction -- Classical period, 1500-1700 -- History and criticism.
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