In this Book

summary

Cervantes’s Don Quixote confronts us with a series of enigmas that, over the centuries, have divided even its most expert readers: Does the text pursue a serious or comic purpose? Does it promote the truth of history and the untruth of fiction, or the truth of poetry and the fictiveness of truth itself? In a book that will revise the way we read and debate Don Quixote, Charles D. Presberg discusses the trope of paradox as a governing rhetorical strategy in this most canonical of Spanish literary texts.

To situate Cervantes’s masterpiece within the centuries-long praxis of paradoxical discourse in the West, Presberg surveys its tradition in Classical Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the European Renaissance. He outlines the development of paradoxy in the Spanish Renaissance, centering on works by Fernando de Rojas, Pero Mexía, and Antonio de Guevara. In his detailed reading of portions of Don Quixote, Presberg shows how Cervantes’s work enlarges the tradition of paradoxical discourse by imitating as well as transforming fictional and nonfictional models. He concludes that Cervantes’s seriocomic "system" of paradoxy jointly parodies, celebrates, and urges us to ponder the agency of discourse in the continued refashioning of knowledge, history, culture, and personal identity.

This engaging book will be welcomed by literary scholars, Hispanisists, historians, and students of the history of rhetoric and poetics.

Table of Contents

  1. Front Cover
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  1. Half title, Series Page, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Introduction: Paradoxical Problems
  2. pp. 1-8
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  1. Part I: Western Paradox and the Spanish Golden Age
  1. 1. Paradoxical Discourse from Antiquity to the Renaissance: Plato, Nicolaus, Cusanus, and Erasmus
  2. pp. 11-36
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  1. 2. Paradoxy and the Spanish Renaissance: Fernando de Rojas, Antonio de Guevara, and Pero Mexia
  2. pp. 37-72
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  1. Part II: Inventing a Tale, Inventing a Self
  1. 3. "This Is Not a Prologue": Paradoxy and the Prologue to Don Quixote Part I
  2. pp. 75-162
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  1. 4. Paradoxes of Imitation: The Quest for Origins and Originality
  2. pp. 163-192
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  1. 5. "I Know Who I Am": Don Quixote de la Mancha, Don Diego de Miranda, and the Paradox of Self-Knowledge
  2. pp. 193-230
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  1. Concluding Remarks
  2. pp. 231-236
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  1. Works Cited
  2. pp. 237-246
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 247-250
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  1. Back Cover
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Additional Information

ISBN
9780271072234
Related ISBN
9780271020396
MARC Record
OCLC
966819480
Pages
264
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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