- Invento del “quinto cuarto”: La conciencia dividida, la fragmentación textual y la paradoja de la lectura en “La ilustre fregona”
- Cervantes: Bulletin of the Cervantes Society of America
- Cervantes Society of America
- Volume 36, Number 2, Fall 2016
- pp. 145-168
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- Additional Information
This article examines the metaliterary implications of the card game in “La ilustre fregona” in which the protagonist places a bet on a donkey’s tail as its “fifth quarter.” Through a consideration of the card game, the loss and recovery of the donkey by quarters, and Carriazo’s inventive paradox, it is suggested that Cervantes proposes a self-contradictory narrative act as emblematic of a divided self. This “fifth quarter” is further examined in relation to the manuscript that reveals Costanza’s identity and to the novela itself to conclude that the text acquires meaning only through paradox and the narrative act implicit in the reader’s interpretation.