The Phantom Chapters of the Quijote

By Raymond S. Willis Jr. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION

It is the purpose of this study to offer a new interpretation of the openings and closings of the chapters in the Quijote. These passages, as is well known, offer certain syntactical oddities; but the problem raised by the peculiarities, if correctly posed, is not one of syntax. It properly falls within the domain of esthetics, for it is part of the vastly larger problem of how the author gave verbal form to his novel, and not simply how he arranged words. In a piece of fiction, as in any work of art, form and content, far from being two distinct things, are but two discernible aspects of an indivisible whole. The words in their arrangement are not just the vehicle for their content: they are the content incarnate.

Our problem has specifically to do with the textual relationship of contiguous chapters, a relationship which is placed in high though false relief in those instances, so often commented, when one chapter is linked syntactically with its predecessor.1 To offer a commonplace example, Chapter 6 of Part I begins with the relative clause, El cual

____________________
1
This is not the occasion for a review of the history of this commentary, which is in large part a reflection of historical changes in sensibility and methods of scholarship. The linking, as a syntactical phenomenon, is carefully treated by L. Weigert, Untersuchungen zur spanischen Syntax auf Grund der Werke des Cervantes, Berlin, 1907. The overall presence of the linking is treated by H. Hatzfeld, Don Quixote als Wortkunstwerk, Leipzig-Berlin, 1927, in the chapter entitled "Mittel der Kompositionellen Bindung", pp. 98-115.

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The Phantom Chapters of the Quijote
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 5
  • Table of Contents 9
  • Chapter I - Introduction 11
  • Chapter II - Overflowing Chapter-Endings 21
  • Chapter III - Conjunctive Chapter-Openings 48
  • Chapter IV - Pseudo-Interruptions 83
  • Chapter V - Conclusion 104
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