Academic journal article Cervantes: Bulletin of the Cervantes Society of America

Sancho Panza's "Por Negros Que Sean, Los He De Volver Blancos O Amarillos" (DQ 1.29) and Juan De Mariana's De Moneta of 1605

Academic journal article Cervantes: Bulletin of the Cervantes Society of America

Sancho Panza's "Por Negros Que Sean, Los He De Volver Blancos O Amarillos" (DQ 1.29) and Juan De Mariana's De Moneta of 1605

Article excerpt

Este ensayo contribuye a la interpretacion del tema del cuerpo economico que se encuentra en tantos textos de Cervantes. Mi interpretacion se centra en la alusion a la raza y al comercio de los esclavos africanos que articula Sancho en el capitulo veintinueve de la primera parte de Don Quijote. Si conectamos la enigmatica frase de Sancho con las referencias al llamado "dinero negro" que hace Juan de Mariana en sus ensayos sobre la politica monetaria de Felipe II y Felipe III hacia principios del siglo XVI, logramos anadir otros niveles de significacion a la ya compleja narrativa cervantina. En el contexto de las criticas de Mariana, la frase de Sancho sugiere que Cervantes estaba al tanto de los debates sobre la alteracion de la moneda emprendida por los reyes Habsburgo a fin de financiar sus enormes deficits. Bajo esta luz, el materialismo de Cervantes indica bastante mas que una predileccion por la complejidad barroca o una atraccion realista a la subversion carnavalesca de las normas clasicas. De hecho, el caracter mundano de la obra cervantina deriva de una actitud teoricamente sustentada y politicamente critica, lo cual tambien puede decimos algo sobre nuestras propias circunstancias economicas.

**********

There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.

JOHN MAYNARD KEYNES, The Economic Consequences of the Peace

OVER THE PAST FEW decades, materialistic interpretations of Don Quijote have risen to prominence. (1) The novel is now routinely viewed as the culmination of a host of carnal and monetary themes that can be traced back to decidedly down-to-earth texts like La Celestina (1499) and Lazarillo de Tormes (1554). Regardless of the ideological drift of emphasizing the novel's worldly aspects, ah approach "from below," as it were, has the advantage of attending to meanings that others overlook. Not only does it clarify some subtle details, it points up themes that have yet to be fully appreciated; it even suggests that Don Quijote plays a more vital role in the evolution of modern thought than is generally recognized. A very mild sampling of this range: Donald McGrady has noted that the "sospiros" emitted by Sancho Panza's donkey at the beginning of part two, chapter eight are in fact a euphemism for farts, which were interpreted as good omens by ancient authors like Aesop; Carroll Johnson has demonstrated that passages like the labor dispute between Andres and Juan Haldudo in part one, chapter fourteen or Sancho Panza's request for a salary in part two, chapter seven reflect the deeper problem of economic survival in a rural landscape devastated by poverty; and I myself have argued that the annihilation of phantoms in part one, chapter nineteen laid important metaphorical groundwork for the materialistic philosophy of Thomas Hobbes and by extension Karl Marx (Cervantes and Modernity 131-73). Indeed, a striking aspect of many Cervantine texts is the degree to which bodily and economic issues occur in proximity. Combining the interests of McGrady and Johnson above, we see that the promising gas of Sancho's donkey comes hard on the heels of an attempt by the squire to get his knight to commit to a salario conocido (2.7:680). Similarly, after dispensing with ghosts in part one, chapter nineteen, which turn out to be clerics escorting a dead body on a bier, knight and squire spend the night by some fulling mills in chapter twenty. The mechanical noise is so frightening that Sancho cannot leave Don Quijote's side even when forced to relieve his bowels. At this turn from eschatology to scatology, Sancho inquires about compensation for his service: "querria yo saber, por si acaso no llegase el tiempo de las mercedes y fuese necesario acudir al de los salarios, cuanto ganaba un escudero de un caballero andante en aquellos tiempos" (1. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.