The modern novel that develops from the Quixote is essentially a political novel and an urban genre dealing with cities. In Part II there is a sense of the text being written and performed in the present because it incorporates current events, such as the expulsion of the moriscos, a critic of the arbitristas and a satire of the aristocracy. In part two of the Quixote Part I plays the role that the romances of chivalry played in Part I: the characters have read the first part and so a new larger mirror has been added to the play of mirrors that was already present. Characters evolve within a social context, which is consonant with the political character of the novel and has much to do with the development and evolution of realism in literature in the representation of everyday life and of common people. An explanation of the Baroque aspects that appear in the second part of the novel helps to understand the Quixote as a whole and its relation with the first part.
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.
Course Structure: This Yale College course, taught on campus twice per week for 75 minutes, was recorded for Open Yale Courses in Fall 2009.