Commentary of the key concepts of Spanish Baroque, desengaño, introduces González Echevarría's suggestion that the plot of the Quixote follows a Baroque unfolding from deceit (engaño) to disillusionment (desengaño). The discussion of Don Quixote and Sancho about knight-errants and saints is not only about arms and letters, but about good actions for their own sake and for the sake of glory (or deceit). This discussion echoes the religious debates of the time and shows Don Quixote's broad knowledge of them, anticipating Part II's projection beyond Spain. The episode in El Toboso announces much of the mood of Part II with the darkness and the urban scenario. The lie of the enchanted Dulcinea is important because it will leave a deep imprint in the knight's subconscious and because it is the first episode in which the roles of Don Quixote and Sancho are reversed. The lecture ends with the comment on the episode of the cart carrying actors and all its baroque connotations.
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.