Front Cover

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Half title, Series Page, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

Mary Gaylord and James Iffland guided me in turning an earlier version of this project into a doctoral dissertation presented at Harvard University, heroically enduring drafts that resembled what Henry James would call "a loose and baggy monster." ...

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Introduction: Paradoxical Problems

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pp. 1-8

More than twenty years ago, Francisco Marquez Villanueva wrote: "The study of Don Quixote as a masterwork in the genre of paradox has yet to be carried out and remains one of the sizeable gaps in Cervantes scholarship" (El estudio del Quijote en cuanto obra maestra del genero parad6jico no se ha realizado aun y constituye uno de los grandes huecos en la bibliograffa cervantina) ...

Part I: Western Paradox and the Spanish Golden Age

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1. Paradoxical Discourse from Antiquity to the Renaissance: Plato, Nicolaus, Cusanus, and Erasmus

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pp. 11-36

In her groundbreaking study Paradoxia Epidemica (1966), Rosalie Colie provides a topical and historical overview of literary paradoxy from Classical Antiquity to the Renaissance. Neither her overview nor her studies of such Renaissance practitioners of literary paradoxy as Rabelais, Petrarch, Sidney, Donne, Shakespeare, and Burton need to be summarized or repeated here. ...

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2. Paradoxy and the Spanish Renaissance: Fernando de Rojas, Antonio de Guevara, and Pero Mexia

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pp. 37-72

In this chapter and those that follow, I shall base my analysis of paradox in Spanish writers, especially Cervantes, on three acceptations of the term. First, in agreement with its etymology, paradox denotes any assertion that runs contrary to (para) conventional understanding or received opinion (doxa). ...

Part II: Inventing a Tale, Inventing a Self

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3. "This Is Not a Prologue": Paradoxy and the Prologue to Don Quixote Part I

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pp. 75-162

As suggested at the beginning of the previous chapter, despite the important precedents documented there, a true epidemic of paradoxical discourse occurs later in Spain than in the rest of Europe. Yet, when it does break out, near the beginning of the seventeenth century, that epidemic is no less extreme than elsewhere. ...

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4. Paradoxes of Imitation: The Quest for Origins and Originality

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pp. 163-192

One unsettling consequence of identifying the coincidence between art and life, and identifying all human discourse as insubstantial artifice, is that we come to perceive much of "life" (specifically, knowledge, history, and therefore historiography) as an infinite series of imitations imitating imitations. ...

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5. "I Know Who I Am": Don Quixote de la Mancha, Don Diego de Miranda, and the Paradox of Self-Knowledge

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pp. 193-230

In Cervantes' Don Quixote, the question of self-knowledge is far from an incidental issue. Indeed, it is hardly surprising that a work that repeatedly takes the measure of its own identity, artifice, and ontological status should include a cast of characters who are wrestling, or failing to wrestle, with the challenge expressed in the delphic and Socratic maxim Know thyself ...

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Concluding Remarks

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pp. 231-236

It is now a commonplace of literary studies to cite Don Quixote as the forerunner of the modern and contemporary novel. And in my view, among the most perceptive observations on that subject is the following assertion by Robert Alter: "The novel begins out of an erosion of belief in the authority of the written word and it begins with Cervantes" (1975, 3).1 ...

Works Cited

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pp. 237-246

Index

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pp. 247-250

Back Cover

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