lunes, 9 de agosto de 2010

Don Quijote de la Mancha #1


Aunque el readalong de Don Quijote patrocinado por Stu de la bitácora Winstonsdad's Blog ya comienza en su tercera semana hoy, desgraciadamente estoy tardísimo a la fiesta.  En todo caso, aquí se pueden encontrar mis impresiones sobre la lectura de los capítulos I a V./Although the Don Quixote readalong hosted by Stu of Winstonsdad's Blog is already entering its third week today, unfortunately I'm super late to the party.  In any event, here are my impressions from the reading of chapters 1 through 5.

Al releer Don Quijote por primera vez en cinco años, la primera cosa que me impresionó no fue su sentido de humor --aunque eso me llamó la atencion, por supuesto-- sino sus calidades como una obra de metaficción por excelencia.  En en el primer capítulo, por ejemplo, nuestro protagonista supuestamente pierde su juicio a causa de sus libros de caballerías.  En el segundo, don Quijote hace su primera salida como un caballero andante e inmediatemente empieza a imaginar como sus "famosos hechos" van a ser tratados por parte de historiadores futuros.  En el tercero y quarto capítulos, malentendidos cómicos ocurren como resultado de la influencia de la dieta literaria de nuestro caballero, y en el quinto, el cura y el barbero (estos dos "grandes amigos de don Quijote") hablan de quemar la biblioteca de su amigo por salvarlo del peligro de sus libros.  ¡El horror!  Dos preguntas preliminarias.  ¿Es posible que Cervantes está burlando de nosotros, sus propios lectores, a través del personaje de don Quijote?  ¿Y por qué Cervantes se refiere a sí mismo en el prólogo como el "padastro" y no el "padre" de su "hijo" don Quijote?  Dejando estos asuntos por el momento, desocupado lector, te dejo a ti este disparate temprano desde ese loco lector, nuestro colega don Quijote:

--¿Quién duda sino que en los venideros tiempos, cuando salga a luz la verdadera historia de mis famosos hechos, que el sabio que los escribiere no ponga, cuando llegue a contar esta mi primera salida tan de mañana, desta manera?: "Apenas había el rubicundo Apolo tendido por la faz de la ancha y espaciosa tierra las doradas hebras de sus hermosos cabellos, y apenas los pequeños y pintados pajarillos con sus harpadas lenguas habían saludado con dulce y meliflua armonía la venida de la rosada aurora, que, dejando la blanda cama del celoso marido, por las puertas y balcones del manchego horizonte a los mortales se mostraba, cuando el famoso caballero don Quijote de la Mancha, dejando las ociosas plumas, subió sobre su famoso caballo Rocinante, y comenzó a caminar por el antiguo y conocido campo de Montiel."
Y era la verdad que por él caminaba....
(Don Quijote I, 2, 42)
*
On rereading Don Quixote for the first time in five years, the first thing that struck me wasn't its sense of humor (although, naturally, that was also there) but its qualities as a metafictional work par excellence.  In the first chapter, for example, our protagonist supposedly loses his mind on account of his books of chivalry.  In the second, Don Quixote makes his first sally as a knight errant and immediately begins to imagine how his "famous deeds" will be recounted by historians in times to come.  In the third and fourth chapters, comic misunderstandings arise as a direct result of our knight's literary diet, and in the fifth, the priest and the barber (those two "great friends of Don Quixote's") talk about burning their friend's library to save him from the dangers of his books.  The horror!  Two preliminary questions.  Is it possible that Cervantes is making fun of us, his own readers, through the character of Don Quixote?  And why does Cervantes refer to himself as the "stepfather" and not the "father" of his "son" Don Quixote in the prologue?  Setting these matters aside for the moment, idle reader, I'll leave you with this early nugget of nonsense from another crazed reader, our colleague Don Quixote:

"Who can doubt that in times to come, when the true history of my famous deeds comes to light, the wise man who compiles them, when he begins to recount my first sally so early in the day, will write in this manner: 'No sooner had rubicund Apollo spread over the face of the wide and spacious earth the golden strands of his beauteous hair, no sooner had diminuitive and bright-hued birds with dulcet tongues greeted in sweet, mellifluous harmony the advent of rosy dawn, who, forsaking the soft couch of her zealous consort, revealed herself to mortals through the doors and balconies of the Manchegan horizon, than the famous knight Don Quixote of La Mancha, abandoning the downy bed of idleness, mounted his famous steed, Rocinante, and commenced to ride through the ancient and illustrious countryside of Montiel.' "
And it was true that this was where he was riding...
(Don Quixote, I, 2, 25 [translated by Edith Wharton])

N.B. Estoy usando la edición de Martín de Riquer (Barcelona: Editorial Juventud, 2003) para leer el Quijote.  Estoy consultando la traducción de Edith Grossman (New York: Ecco, 2005) para ayudarme con las citas largas./I'm using Martín de Riquer's edition of the Quixote (Barcelona: Editorial Juventud, 2003) for reading purposes during the readalong.  I'll be consulting Edith Grossman's translation (New York: Ecco, 2005) for help with the longer quotes.

6 comentarios:

  1. Could it be that the narrator elected to be stepdad to his son in order to distance himself from culpability (er, guilt) of the errant ways of his son? It is possible the narrator is making fun of the story he’s telling, and thereby only mocking the reader indirectly. Sometimes the narrator is so manipulative that he discontinues the story at will, but thankfully continuing it at the next chapter. A real tease.

    Glad you’re catching up with the windmills, Richard.

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  2. wonderful to have you on board ,and any thoughts on differences caused by translation be great ,all the best stu

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  3. *Rise: Thanks--and ha, I like what you say about Cervantes maybe wanting to distance himself from his literary child's "errant ways"! I also agree that Cervantes' indirect mocking is probably aimed at the story more than the reader (well, that's my suspicion in any event).

    *Stu: Thanks! I hope to look at Grossman's translation here and there once I catch up with the rest of you, so I'll keep you posted when if and I get to that point.

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  4. Thank you for the useful thoughts about meta-fiction. I made the same comment - I made a similar comment

    "I love the way that when telling of Don Quixote’s fight with the Basque, de Cervantes interrupts the story to tell his readers that the account of the fight he was reading ended part way through. He digresses for a few pages to tell his readers how he tracked down another book which contained the rest of the story and arranged for its translation. This concept of the author suddenly breaking into his own story to talk to the reader directly is a feature of many books of the last century"

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  5. I'm beginning to think that I was entirely too young in my literary adventures the first time I began Don Quijote. The concept of metafiction was completely unknown to me at the time, and I think I appreciated the novel solely for its humor. And perhaps its length! More than ever, I am convinced that I shall have to return to this book; there are obviously many sides to look at.

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  6. *Tom: I'll have to go back and reread your full post because I love those two chapters! Just posted on them tonight myself, in fact. Having read Cervantes before, though, it's still always a bit of a surprise to be reminded of just how far ahead of his times he was.

    *Amanda: I think DQ tends to divide people into opposing camps, but I love how it can be enjoyed for its humor, its metafictional elements, or both. It's for sure both tough and not tough to write about, though, 'cause there's always so much going on at any one point in time. I love Cervantes' characters, too, which makes the rest a bonus. Anyway, thanks for dropping by!

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