González Echevarría talks about the transition that we, as present-day readers undergo, between Part I, published in 1605, and Part II of the Quixote, published in 1615. He first reviews the grand themes of part one: 1) ambiguity and perspectivism, 2) the idea that the self can impose its will but only to a certain point and the ontological doubt, 3) reading, 4) characters that are relational and not static, and 5) improvisation. He then moves on to Part II of the book: Cervantes' moment as a writer, the cultural context, the titles of both parts and the spurious Avellaneda's Quixote are commented upon. The second half of the lecture talks about the writing of the second part of the novel and its main characteristics in relation to Part I.
Elliott, Imperial Spain, 1469-1716, chapter 6
The course facilitates a close reading of Don Quixote in the artistic and historical context of renaissance and baroque Spain. Students are also expected to read four of Cervantes' Exemplary Stories, Cervantes' Don Quixote: A Casebook, and J.H. Elliott's Imperial Spain. Cervantes' work will be discussed in relation to paintings by Velázquez. The question of why Don Quixote is read today will be addressed throughout the course. Students are expected to know the book, the background readings and the materials covered in the lectures and class discussions.
This Yale College course, taught on campus twice per week for 75 minutes, was recorded for Open Yale Courses in Fall 2009.