Women of the Prologue: Imitation, Myth, and Magic in Don Quixote I

Women of the Prologue: Imitation, Myth, and Magic in Don Quixote I

Women of the Prologue: Imitation, Myth, and Magic in Don Quixote I

Women of the Prologue: Imitation, Myth, and Magic in Don Quixote I

Synopsis

"Women of the Prologue: Imitation, Myth, and Magic in Don Quixote I examines the significance of the sources cited for female characterization in the prologue and their relationship to Cervantes's writing style. When the anonymous friend suggests that Cervantes include Guevara's Lamia, Laida, and Flora; Ovid's Medea; Homer's Calypso; and Virgil's Circe as models for specific types of women, he not only foregrounds the significance of these classical women for the female characters in the text but also partakes in the controversial debate of the value of imitatio at the historic juncture of Humanist and Modernist perspectives on cultural authority. The book opens with a discussion of literary conventions and imitation strategies of the early modern period and continues with Cervantes's contributions to both. The remaining chapters explore ways in which Cervantes engages (or not) in imitation practices in the text and how elements of these specific classical characters influence the characterization, discourse, and thematic qualities ascribed to women in the main part of the text. The role of magic and how it exemplifies Cervantes's departure from imitative practices to focus both on his own invention and on a more contemporary framework for his readers completes the work. Conclusions point to how Cervantes's stance on imitatio and his stance on female identity share commonalities. He strives to release both writing practices and female identity from a repressive ideology of the self and focuses on their transformative nature. He presents ways for both writer and female character to define oneself by and for oneself and not in terms of an "other." And in both cases, he stresses the importance of absence to distance himself from past tradition and to emphasize greater freedom and responsibilities for writer and reader and for women in seventeenth-century Spain." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved
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