sábado, 21 de agosto de 2010

Don Quijote de la Mancha #4

Un postal sobre el manteamiento de Sancho

Sin querer generalizar demasiado acerca del cambio de énfasis, digamos que los capítulos XVI a XX en Don Quijote se caracterizan más por su atención al arte de narrar y menos por su atención a la importancia de los discursos.  ¿Qué importa?  Para mí, una respuesta tiene que ver con la sumamente interesante manera en cuál el sentido de humor de Cervantes está vinculado con su propios esfuerzos narrativos.  De las muchas desgracias que sufren don Quijote y Sancho Panza en estos capítulos, por ejemplo, se nota que la "aventura de los batanes" en el capítulo XX es original por ser una aventura dónde lo escuchado y no lo visual predomina.  Al descubrir que el ruido infernal que provocaba tanto miedo en él durante la noche era de origen natural, Sancho está movido a burlarse del heroismo de su amo y don Quijote está provocado a enojarse con su escudero.  De hecho, DQ es tan desconcertado que añade: "No niego yo...que lo que nos ha sucedido no sea cosa digna de risa; pero no es digna de contarse; que no son todas las personas tan discretas que sepan poner en su punto las cosas" (I, XX, 189).  Aunque la reacción de los personajes es suficientemente "fidedigna" para mis gustos, me encanta cómo el narrador llama la atención a la ironía del chiste con la descripción al principio del capítulo: "De la jamás vista ni oída aventura que con más poco peligro fue acabada de famoso caballero en el mundo, como la que acabó el valeroso don Quijote de la Mancha" (I, XX, 178).  Al pertenecer a una puñada de capítulos que provocan carcajadas con relatos tan visuales como lo del manteamiento de Sancho (véase el postal arriba), lo de don Quijote como el narrador de una batalla imaginaria sólo vista por él, y--el último pero no el menos importante--lo del episodio del vómito recíproco entre el caballero andante y su escudero, este resumen, anticipando lo que don Quijote dice sobre una aventura que "no es digna de contar", es espectacular, ¿que no?  Próximamente: DQ, capítulos XXI-XXV, con más pensamientos sobre el narrador de la novela.
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Without wanting to generalize too much about the shift in emphasis, let's say that chapters 16-20 in Don Quixote are characterized more by their focus on storytelling and less by the earlier attention to speechmaking.  What does it all matter?  For me, one answer has to do with the extraordinarily interesting way in which Cervantes' humor is intricately connected with his own storytelling efforts here.  Of the many mishaps that Don Quixote and Sancho Panza suffer in these chapters, for example, the "adventure of the fulling hammers" in chapter 20 is unique for its status as an adventure where the aural and not the visual predominates.  Relieved to learn that the hellish noise that sparked such fear in him overnight was only of natural origin, Sancho is moved to make fun of his master's heroism--which causes Don Quixote to be overcome with anger at his squire.  In fact, DQ is so angry that he adds the following: "I do not deny...that what happened to us is deserving of laughter, but it does not deserve to be told, for not all persons are wise enough to put things in their proper place" (I, 20, 151 [trans. by Edith Grossman]).  Although the characters' reactions are sufficiently "lifelike" for my tastes, I love how the narrator foreshadows the irony of the joke with the little description at the beginning of the chapter: "On the never heard nor seen adventure which was ever brought to an end with less danger by any famous knight in the world as that brought to an end by the valiant Don Quixote of La Mancha" [note: this is my admittedly awkward but more or less literal translation containing Cervantes' fine play on words; Grossman's infinitely smoother translation, which to my mind unforgivably omits the pun, reads: "Regarding the most incomparable and singular adventure ever concluded with less danger by a famous knight, and which was concluded by the valiant Don Quixote of La Mancha" (I, 20, 141)].  Smack in the middle of a handful of chapters that provoke laugh out loud moments galore with stories as visual as Sancho being unwillingly tossed up and down on a blanket for sport (see the postcard above), Don Quixote as storyteller of an imaginary battle only he can see, and--last but not least--a reciprocal vomit fest between knight errant and squire, this chapter summary, foreshadowing what DQ will call an adventure that "does not deserve to be told," is just kind of awesome, is it not?  Next: DQ, chapters 21-25, with more thoughts on the narrator of the novel.

4 comentarios:

  1. Ah! Richard, you always pick pretty puns that were unseen and unheard-of. My translator's header failed to see, or hear of it, too: "About the unprecedented and unique adventure undertaken by the valiant Don Quixote de la Mancha, the one that with the least danger was ever brought to a happy conclusion by any famous knight in the world." The hammering irony was indeed not preserved, however much Don Q wouldn't deny that what happened "is worth laughing at," and however he insisted that "it is not worth telling, because not all people are intelligent enough to see things in the right perspective" [trans. Rutherford].

    Well, you know what they say: out of sight, out of mind.

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  2. Your post sounded so fun I was forced to go online and read the chapters in question, and they truly were hilarious. But the best line, to me, was at the end of it all, when Don Quixote says, ""Then this is an inn?"

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  3. Richar, tengo poco espanhol para decir ahora. Poderia hablar em portugues, mas não seria entendida. Me gustó su blog. Estoy aca, a seguirlo.

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  4. *Rise: I'm beginning to suspect that untold numbers of Cervantes' puns must just get lost in translation, which is too bad for all concerned. However, it's been kind of cool seeing how the Rutherford translation of yours differs from Grossman's. I think Burton Raffel did the first English translation of DQ that I ever read, but it was so long ago all I remember is that I liked the story!

    *Jill: That DQ question you mention is hilarious, you're absolutely right! But the problem with "reviewing" the book, even in little five-chapter installments, is that there's so much good stuff, it's hard to know what to focus on. Which I obviously don't. Glad to hear you were moved to read some of DQ online, though--that's awesome, my friend!

    *Eliana Mara: Olá y obrigado por el comentario. No puedo escribir en portugués, pero puedo entenderlo (un poco, al menos). De todos modos, gracias por la visita. Tchau!

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