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

Don Quijote and the "Entremes De Los Romances": A Retrospective

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

Don Quijote and the "Entremes De Los Romances": A Retrospective

Article excerpt

In 1874 Adolfo de Castro drew attention for the first time to parallels existing between an anonymous interlude, the "Entremés de los romances," and the first chapters of Don Quijote. No common source for the two texts has ever been found, and the parallels between them are so close and so numerous that no one has denied that one text must imitate the other. But which imitates which? The debate over this point has continued down to the present day, and even today there is no consensus. (1) A guide through the maze of evidence and counterevidence, of argument and counter-argument, may therefore be welcome, as may the chronological bibliography provided. (2)

Editions of the "Entremés de los romances."

The first modern edition of the entremés was published by Adolfo de Castro in 1874. His text (143-74) was based on the somewhat defective one contained in an unidentified edition of the Tercera parte de las comedias de Lope de Vega y otros autores con sus loas y entremeses (Valencia, 1611; Barcelona, 1612; Madrid, 1613), with additions made from the fuller text of a suelto belonging to Fernández Guerra (n.p., n.d.), of which Castro wrote (143): "se asemeja, en el papel y tipos, a las publicaciones de surtido que salían de las imprentas de Madrid a principios del siglo XVII." (3) Cotarelo y Mori's 1911 edition (I, 157-61) used the text of the 1612 edition of the Tercera parte, the scholar making no reference to Castro's work, which, however, he had apparently used for the text of other interludes in his collection, and Dámaso Alonso's 1936 edition (123-44) was based on a collation of the 1613 Parte text, Castro's text, and published versions of ballads included in the entremés.

In the debate, reference has usually been made to the Cotarelo edition; in any case, textual variants are not significant and have not given rise to any discussion. For the sake of bibliographical completeness, we here record the existence of a seventeenth-century edition that has so far escaped notice. Comparison suggests that it was based on the 1612 Parte text; its publication in Lisbon in 1647 testifies to the enduring popularity of the interlude. (4)

Performances of the "Entremés."

No notice of any specific performance has come down to us. Castro (1874: 133) claimed that it was performed before the publication of Don Quijote, more specifically (132) in 1604 with Lope de Vega's La noche toledana (in which the birth of Philip IV in 1605 [!] is mentioned). This claim was rejected by Cotarelo y Mori in 1920 (54) as "una de aquellas falsedades que [Adolfo de Castro] sin gran empacho cometía," a rejection accepted implicitly or explicitly by all later scholars.

Authorship of the "Entremés."

The interlude has always been published as anonymous, but various conjectures as to its author have been advanced. Castro (131) believed that it was Cervantes himself: "trazó una especie de bosquejo de [su libro]." The grounds for his belief: so inventive a writer could not possibly have borrowed the idea of Don Quijote from a known interlude, and would have been accused of literary theft if he had (133-34). Menéndez Pidal was later to comment (1924: 92) that to think that Cervantes' contemporaries would accuse him of literary theft was "desconocer en qué estriba la originalidad del artista y es, además, desconocer el siglo XVII." Only one other scholar has even entertained the possibility of Cervantine authorship: Northup (in his 1922 review of Menéndez Pidal's 1920 Aspecto) pronounced it "worthy of consideration," making as he did so a point made by nobody else: it is dangerous to base conclusions about authorship on a stylistic analysis of a short interlude, half of which consists of quotations.

Millé (1930: 120-23) also gave thought to the question, examining the claims to authorship of Lope (rejected, since Millé considered him to be the target of the interlude); of Góngora (possible, since he was the open enemy of Lope, although the "Entremés" lacks his biting wit); and of Juan de Salinas (possible partisan of Góngora and possible enemy of Lope, deserving only of "a vague suspicion of paternity"). …

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