The insertion of the Novel of the Curious Impertinent at the end of part one of the Quixote may be explained by Cervantes' intention of meshing both the forms of the chivalric romance and of the collection of Italian novelle. The result, though awkward, leads to the creation of the modern novel. This short novel seems to have been included by Cervantes as a way to publishing it in the same way. Reading the novel out loud, with all the characters gathered connects with the old tradition of reading literature out loud. The irony, however, is that this perverse love story is heard in the voice of the priest. González Echevarría interprets the novel trough René Girard's theory of love always mediated by a third person who also works as a motivator. The story gives a contrasting mirror of literature to the young people at the inn who are involved in love stories about to culminate in marriage. Don Quixote's interruption of the reading allows the court-like scene of reconciliations among the various couples and all restitutions which were made, as a reaffirmation of new social forms. Cervantes' point is that mental life is made up of levels that mirror and distort each other.
- González Echevarría, Cervantes' Don Quixote: A Casebook, pp. 217-239
- Elliott, Imperial Spain, 1469-1716, chapter 4
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.