After pointing out the prosaic world depicted in the Quixote with subtle but sharp irony, González Echevarría analyzes the episode at Juan Palomeque's inn, which may well be seen as a representation of the whole first part of the novel. The episodes at the inn are an instance of the social being subverted by erotic desire and they show the subconscious of literature. Then follows a commentary on the characters that appear in the episode, all drawn from the picaresque and the juridical documents of the period, and many of whom are marked by a physical defect that makes them unique and yet attractive, even if ugly. Don Quixote's and Sancho's bodily evacuations dramatize the violent forces behind their basic drives to live; the ramshackle improvised architecture of the inn symbolizes the apparently improvised design of the novel, yet, like the inn, it has cosmic connections.
- González Echevarría, Cervantes' Don Quixote: A Casebook, pp. 63-124
- De Cervantes, Don Quixote de la Mancja, introduction by Roberto González Echevarría
- Elliott, Imperial Spain, 1469-1716, chapter 2
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.