Don Quixote and the subversive tradition of Golden Age Spain /
R. K. Britton.
Brighton ; Chicago ; Toronto : Sussex Academic Press, 2019.
xv, 225 pages.
9781845198619, 9781845198626
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Brighton ; Chicago ; Toronto : Sussex Academic Press, 2019.
contents note
Don Quixote: its author, its readers and its critics -- Cervantes' laboratory of literary ideas -- Don Quixote: a book of two halves -- Truth and lies in real life and fiction: Don Quixote as a defence -- Of imaginative literature -- Justice, law and politics: the novel as a vehicle for debate in Don Quixote -- Humour, irony and satire in Don Quixote: public merriment and private laughter -- The novel as a mirror to society: women, social class and social conflict in Don Quixote -- Authority and subversion in Don Quixote: the novel as moral dialectic -- Afterword. Don Quixote and the 20th century reader.
"This study offers a reading of Don Quixote, with comparative material from Golden Age history and Cervantes' life, to argue that his greatest work was not just the hilariously comic entertainment that most of his contemporaries took it to be. Rather, it belongs to a 'subversive tradition' of writing that grew up in sixteenth-century Spain and which constantly questioned the aims and standards of the imperial nation state that Counter-reformation Spain had become from the point of view of Renaissance humanism. Prime consideration needs to be given to the system of Spanish censorship at the time, run largely by the Inquisition albeit officially an institution of the crown, and its effect on the cultural life of the country. In response, writers of poetry and prose fiction - strenuously attacked on moral grounds by sections of the clergy and the laity - became adept at camouflaging heterodox ideas through rhetoric and imaginative invention. Ironically, Cervantes' success in avoiding the attention of the censor by concealing his criticisms beneath irony and humour was so effective that even some twentieth-century scholars have maintained Don Quixote is a brilliantly funny book but no more. Bob Britton draws on recent critical and historical scholarship - including ideas on cultural authority and studies on the way Cervantes addresses history, truth, writing, law and gender in Don Quixote - and engages with the intellectual and moral issues that this much-loved writer engaged with"--
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Includes bibliographical references and index.

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