The loose format of the Quixote allows for the incorporation of different stories and texts, such as the Camacho's wedding, which was going to be a play. The episode, a form of epithalamium based on the myth of Pyramus and Thisbe, states one of the main themes of part two, that art corrects nature. As a way of turning deceit, which would normally lead to disillusionment, into a happy ending, in Camacho's wedding episode art helps nature to attain good ending. González Echevarría claims that in this episode there is a subtext in which marriage is not only a legal institution but also a transcendental metamorphosis of matter, or transubstantiation. The literal blending of bloods that makes marriage indivisible is echoed here through what González Echevarría calls 'the itinerary of blood.' In the interpretation of the myth Cervantes resembles Velázquez in that they both show the inner recesses of representation: they show creation as a layered process that ultimately involves the real.
- De Cervantes, Exemplary Stories, "The Glass Graduate"
- González Echevarría, Cervantes' Don Quixote: A Casebook, pp. 35-61 and 163-215
- Elliott, Imperial Spain, 1469-1716, chapter 8
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.