Don Quixote: pain, space, and artifice.
EARLY IN PART TWO, Don Quixote describes his purpose by emphasizing the pain that he suffers as a wandering knight. He contextualizes this pain by referencing cartography. While courtiers "se pasean por todo el mundo mirando un mapa, sin costarles blanca, ni padecer calor ni frio, hambre ni sed," knights-errant "al sol, al frio, al aire, a las inclemencias del cielo, de noche y de dia, a pie y a caballo, medimos toda la tierra con nuestros mismos pies" (2.6:589). Don Quixote presents himself, metaphorically, as a kind of surveyor who suffers out in the world. The purpose of this suffering is to create and sustain a larger order that is, in turn, represented cartographically by the maps that the cortesanos are able to enjoy in comfort.
The cartographic allegory that Don Quixote employs brings the logic of maps together with the logic of his libros de caballerias. In this essay I will show how Cervantes's focus on the peculiarities of imagination and artifice in the context of interpreting literature prepares the reader to approach cartographic ideas in unique ways. The relationship that the protagonist offers above between pain and cartography is crucial for an understanding of the intersection of these two discourses in the novel. Cervantes suggests that maps, as nonfictional works of artifice, rely on both the imagination of their readers and the labors of those who maintain the integrity of the territories that are represented. For Don Quixote, however, the literary texts that he has read are also nonfictional. They too rely on the imagination of their readers and the labors of their heroes. Pain and imagination are intertwined in both representations.
Don Quixote's allegorical statement of purpose also builds on the notion that there are commonalities between his suffering as a caballero andante and the suffering of other armed men: all require that their pain be relevant to a larger social or cultural order. This larger order was, in the case of the nonfictional men of arms referenced in the novel, the "nation" of Spain. (1) The literary fantasy that sustains Don Quixote's purpose in the world commingles, in this sense, with the powerful yet also tenuous idea of early modern nationhood. One, of course, is primarily shaped by the artifice of libros de caballerias, while the other is sustained by the artifice of cartography. Both, however, must be imagined into existence.
Indicating that the "nation" exists in the imagination--that it is shaped by cartography and sustained by political faith--does not diminish its importance. Precisely because of the fact that it is an "imagined" entity, the nation can be imagined responsibly or irresponsibly. Cervantes aims, in this sense, not for the destabilization of the fantasy of nationhood, but rather for its fortification, for a vision of its contours that takes the suffering of armed men into account as one of its central sources of strength, legitimacy, and necessity. This is accomplished in an indirect manner because it also implies a critique: that the nation could be stronger than it is, and that, furthermore, its weaknesses ore particularly onerous for those who are asked to suffer greatly for it.
Cervantes does this in two ways. First, Don Quixote's allegory does not solely focus on the labors of armed men and the maps of the stable territories that they maintain. It additionally presents the actual reader of the novel with a mirror image of him- or herself: a cortesano who is also reading in comfort while perhaps forgetting the armed men that allow for his life of ease. The "desocupado lector" is thus pushed to understand his or her own comforts as the product of the labors of others who, under the aegis of the "nation," lead far less comfortable lives. Second, and more directly, Cervantes compels the reader to consider the sacrifices of armed men by presenting these sacrifices within the context of the pronounced physical pain of the novel's own armed protagonist. Don Quixote, in fact, reacts to serious pain in a manner that is significantly different from the other characters: instead of fleeing from his "fictional" role to seek physical safety, he endures it while emphatically articulating his literary identity. Cervantes's constructed empathy for Don Quixote in these moments allows the reader to consider the experience of physically suffering while holding to a belief in the coherent (cartographic/literary) order that, despite existing only in the imagination, gives that pain its meaning.
One of the reasons that Don Quixote does not abandon his fictional role when he experiences strong pain is suggested by the prologue to part one: unlike the other characters, Don Quixote is presented as being so deeply constituted by artifice that he is, at times, indistinguishable from it. Cervantes's protagonist, accordingly, responds to his surroundings by consulting different artificial discourses instead of drawing upon the experiences that correspond to his life prior to his "literary" transformation in the first chapter of part one. While these discourses clearly include a distillation of the libros de caballerias that he had read to excess, they also include cartography. This essay will begin, accordingly, with an analysis of how the 1605 prologue positions Don Quixote as a unique nexus of perception between artificial discourses and embodied subjectivity.
TEXTUAL BODIES AND OTHER CONTRADICTIONS
The prologue to part one does not strive for clarity. Instead, a series of inventive contradictions persistently confuse the text with its protagonist, the narrator with the author, and the protagonist with an actual historical figure. One result of these entertaining confusions is that the protagonist begins to occupy an impossible position in the imagination of the reader--he appears to be both a textual and a corporeal being.
The narrator of the prologue begins by stating that the book, despite his wishes to the contrary, is "un hijo del entendimiento." (2) Soon, however, the prologue refers to another "hijo." This time, the son that is being referred to is not the book, but rather its protagonist. We now have two sons to consider. (3)
Pero no he podido yo contravenir al orden de la naturaleza, que en ella cada cosa engendra su semejante. Y asi, que podia engendrar el esteril y mal cultivado ingenio mio, sino la historia de un hijo seco, avellanado, antojadizo y lleno de pensamientos varios y nunca imaginados de otro alguno, bien como quien se engendro en una carcel, donde toda incomodidad tiene su asiento y donde todo triste ruido hace su habitacion? (1.prologue:7)
If this doubled use of the "son" metaphor is confusing, this is no mistake on the part of Cervantes. Body and text compete and combine with one another as they exchange places in the prologue. Later in the same sentence the metaphor switches back again, referring to the creation of the story (and not of the protagonist) as being similar to the birth of someone in prison. Since language is born of language (following the rule of nature offered to us by the text above), this prison refers us to the mind of the author--to the meager entendimiento that the text was forced to develop within. (4)
This ongoing theme of artificial childbirth is furthered with the inclusion of imaginary muses that, despite being nearly sterile, would give birth easily in the peace of the wonderful countryside (a countryside that humbly refers us to the more amenable entendimientos of other more fortunate authors). When we are next presented with the notion that a father will praise even an ugly and awkward child, it is difficult to say whether this "child" is the protagonist (Don Quixote) of the book (Don Quixote). This, however, is precisely the point. Later in the dizzying prologue, the narrator directly engages us as readers. We are told that we are not related at all to the protagonist/text and that we are not its/his friend. What is the principal difference that sets the reader apart from this complex amalgam of flesh and artifice? Perhaps unsurprisingly, the reader is informed that he or she has a body and, within it, a soul. (5) The result of this crucial difference is free will. Our bodies and souls, in other words, set us apart from the soulless artifice that allows for literary characters to "exist" without real physical forms. The special nature of our bodies is, furthermore, connected to the unique space that these bodies occupy and operate within: "tienes tu alma en tu cuerpo y tu libre albedrio como el mas pintado, y estas en tu casa, donde eres senor de ella, como el rey de sus alcabalas" (1.prologue:7). The reader's body and the reader's space are each different from the artificial textual bodies and literary spaces that the prologue is trying to prepare us for. We remain in our houses, safely distanced from these confusions.
The prologue, instead of presenting a lucid set of ideas that the work is to be founded on, creates a series of confusions based on the uncertain nature of fiction. One of the principal sources of this instability is the way in which literary characters appear similar to everyday men and women but, ultimately, are artificial creations; though this is true of all literary texts, the prologue emphasizes its importance in the case of Dan Quixote. While these contradictions efficiently prefigure the fundamental "confusion" of the protagonist (who, after excessive reading, sees his "everyday" setting in literary terms), they also speak to a larger problem: Don Quixote's everyday surroundings are, in fact, also a literary construct.
This central problem is far more than an entertaining paradox: it is, instead, a tension that lies at the center of the reading experience. Constantly maintaining a clear sense of the artificiality of literary characters (and literary milieus) is not only difficult, it is also nearly impossible if one wants to become "immersed" in a work of fiction. The result of this often troubling contradiction between textuality and everyday reality is often a "suspension of disbelief" that readers use to avoid the difficulties that would otherwise ensue. (6) A reader, for example, might reject certain characters' supernatural powers as "unrealistic" while casually accepting that a narrator can have access to a character's thoughts or that there is no need for characters to eat, sleep, urinate, or defecate. The reader is expected, in this way, to be inconsistent and even willfully ignorant when it comes to differentiating textual bodies from everyday ones. Cervantes's prologue, however, encourages the reader to focus on the presence of artifice in the literary experience; to acknowledge that the bodies of the characters are not everyday bodies and, as such, are capable of performing profoundly different roles. (7)
Though all of the characters in the book share a common existence as fictional characters, the protagonist is unique among them; the prologue singles him out for a reason. Don Quixote, unlike the other characters, is emphatically artificial: he obeys a textual logic that supersedes the everyday context that his fellow characters treat as reality. As a character, Don Quixote is thus positioned as a strange and often unstable nexus between the encoded reality of artifice and the embodied reality of the everyday. When the other characters (with the qualified exception of Sancho) play along with Don Quixote's literary version of reality, they do so with full awareness of the farce. (8) For them, literary space and everyday space are completely separate and they (erroneously, as it turns out) squarely position themselves within the latter. (9) They do not truly believe in the enchantments of which they speak. One of the ways in which this is made apparent to us is the way in which they react--quite naturally--to the experience of physical pain.
FICTIONAL PAIN, IDENTITY, AND EMPATHY
Pain first appears in chapter three of part one, when Don Quixote attacks two mule drivers at the inn for attempting to move his armor from a well (as a part of the ceremony designed by the innkeeper to confer knighthood on Don Quixote). They are hurt very badly, and the other people at the inn, watching by moonlight, begin to throw stones at Don Quixote in anger. The innkeeper tries to get them to stop out of fear that Don Quixote might hurt of kill them all. The fanciful games that they have been playing with their strange visitor quickly come to a halt. They do everything in their power to convince Don Quixote to leave, abruptly making him a "knight" before showing him the door.
This pattern repeats itself throughout the text. As soon as any of the characters (other than Don Quixote) experience physical pain, they exit their roles as soon as possible while trying to avoid upsetting Don Quixote. Their reactions to pain suggest that they are not so different from everyday men and women; it is logical that they would abandon their invented "characters" so as to deal with their immediate discomfort while being wary of provoking another attack. Pain is in this way associated with a general rejection of artifice and invention. It is, furthermore, an assertion of a corporeally-experienced reality similar, perhaps, to that of the reader.
One of the clearest examples of this pattern is when Sanson Carrasco loses his duel with Cervantes's protagonist. Carrasco--posing as the masked Caballero del Bosque/Caballero de los Espejos--is toppled from his frustratingly immobile horse after he fails to secure his lance. This painful loss to Don Quixote results in the unmasking of him and also of Tome Cecial, who was posing as his squire using a fake nose. They are revealed to the reader and to Sancho (if not to Don Quixote) as impostors--they do not believe that they are, in fact, literary characters.
After the ordeal, the two false adventurers discuss the difference between those who pretend to be insane (or pretend to be fictional, we might add, given the literary nature of our protagonist's "condition") and those who truly are. Carrasco states that "[l]a diferencia que hay entre esos dos locos es que el que lo es por fuerza lo sera siempre, y el que lo es de grado lo dejara de ser cuando quisiere" (2.15:658). While pain compels them to abandon the "characters" that they are playing, Don Quixote does not have that option.
Sancho Panza shares this strong aversion to pain despite a general enthusiasm for the hoped-for benefits of his role as a squire. (10) In part two, when he is informed of the lashes that, if endured, will disenchant Dulcinea, he finds many different excuses to avoid the experience. Despite the earnest pleading of Don Quixote, Sancho is unwilling to follow this literary logic to its end:
--Senor--respondio Sancho--, no soy yo religioso para que desde la mitad de mi sueno me levante y me discipline, ni menos me parece que del extremo del dolor de los azotes se pueda pasar al de la musica. Vuesa merced me deje dormir y no me apriete en lo de azotarme, que me hara hacer juramento de no tocarme jamas el pelo del sayo, no que al de mis carnes. -- Oh alma endurecida! Oh escudero sin piedad! (2.68:1065)
Suffering pain in the context of Don Quixote's project is an act of faith that Sancho, clearly, is not prepared to make.
As Sanson Carrasco reminds us, the difference between Don Quixote and the rest of the characters in the book is that he is not playing with fictional masks. He is, instead, completely "caught" within the constraints of his identity as a literary figure. As the prologue to part one suggests, life for him cannot be separated from the literary. As a result, he affirms his identity as a fictional character even when experiencing strong pain. He is not "unmasked" in the face of pain because he, uniquely, is authentically fictional. There is no encounter with pain that causes him to renounce his identity.
An example that also involves the rejection of artifice in the face of pain--without, however, an "unmasking" given the absence of an invented "role"--is that of Andres. At first, he embraces Don Quixote's unlikely identity after the wandering knight intervenes in his severe beating. Even after the knight has left him alone and unprotected, Andres warns his abusive master in a manner that shows his faith in the promises of his surprise benefactor: " como que andara vuestra merced acertado en cumplir con el mandamiento de aquel buen caballero, que mil anos viva, que, segun es de valeroso y de buen juez, vive Roque que si no me paga, que vuelva y ejecute lo que dijo!" (1.4:51). The extreme pain that he suffers soon after causes him, however, to abandon his faith. (Andres is beaten so badly that he has to recuperate from his wounds in a hospital for an extended period of time). Rejecting Don Quixote's promises when they next meet, Andres hopes only to receive something (anything) of tangible value (1.31:319). The allure of artifice is now rejected in favor of everyday needs: money, food, and comfort. Pain, as before, brings this character to a recognizable, everyday perspective that emphasizes corporeally experienced reality. Artifice is rejected and the body's needs come to the foreground.
Before considering the moments in which Don Quixote experiences pronounced physical pain it is important to point out that not every violent scene in the novel involves pain. One reason for this apparent contradiction is the relationship between performative contexts of violence and slapstick comedy. The slapstick is a theatrical prop--used in sixteenth-century Italian commedia dell'arte--that makes a loud noise upon contact without actually causing the actor any serious pain. (11) The surprise of the loud noise and simulation of violence are, in this way, paired with an obvious absence of injury. The painless nature of this violence helps to create a comic reaction, a discharge of laughter that might otherwise be expressed as a scream. If anyone in the audience actually believes that the actor is being severely beaten, the scene would no longer be humorous. In an everyday context, strong pain interferes with humor--when someone is badly injured as the result of a joke it is no longer funny. (12) The performative context of the theater, however, allows for simulated violence to result in laughter in a manner that breaks from the rules of the everyday.
Similarly, while one of the narrators in Don Quixote states that "no son burlas las que duelen, ni hay pasatiempos que valgan, si son con dano de tercero" (2.41:1021), this everyday maxim clearly does not apply to the performative context of literature in the same manner. Since the literary bodies that we are presented with do not actually experience pain, it is possible for the text to present situations that are both violent and humorous--as long as explicit references to strong pain are removed from the representation. Accordingly, there are a number of scenes in Don Quixote that create, for the reader, the expectation of pain while simultaneously signaling its absence. A good example is the first series of events that occur at the inn in part one, chapter sixteen. When Don Quixote is hit by the mule driver he is immediately (and painlessly) knocked out. When he wakes up he does not groan in pain but, instead, calmly discusses the enchantments of the "castle" with Sancho. Similarly, after Don Quixote is attacked by the cuadrillero he calmly evaluates the situation with Sancho, once again mentioning the difficulties of dealing with enchanters. Though everyone is at one point hitting everyone else in the dark, the text never mentions the presence of serious pain. Instead, we are informed directly by the text that the fighting is meant to be humorous. Sancho fighting Maritornes, for example, is presented as "la mas renida y graciosa escaramuza del mundo" (1.16:144).
The examples of slapstick humor in the text are quite numerous. In each case they involve certain expectations of pain while simultaneously signaling pain's absence, thereby allowing the scene's comic potential to be realized. Sancho pulling out fistfuls of his beard when he realizes that he has forgotten to take the letter written by Don Quixote to Dulcinea is a good final example: "y sin mas ni mas se echo entrambos punos a las barbas y se arranco la mitad de ellas, y luego apriesa y sin cesar se dio media docena de punadas en el rostro y en las narices, que se las bano todas en sangre" (1.26:253). Despite the presence of blood, despite the hairs pulled forcefully out of his own face, this behavior is marked as clownish, setting up the punchline that he is upset not because he will be unable to serve his master but, instead, because he lost the promissory note for the three donkeys that would have represented his first real gains as a squire. No pain is explicitly mentioned and we are able to laugh along with the joke (instead of feeling dismay at witnessing an act of horrific self-mutilation).
The ability to manipulate the presence of pain is an important result of the difference between the space of the everyday and the space of the literary. Here, in a fictional context, the "bodies" that interact with their surroundings (and with one another) are unstable. At certain times they are sensitive to pain and at others they are impervious to injury. (13) As the prologue to part one makes quite clear, these bodies are quite different from our own. This difference between the everyday and the literary was prefigured, as we have noted, by the commedia dell'arte performances. The libros de caballerias themselves, additionally, provide protagonists that are even more immune to injury. Negotiating the unusual nature of these literary bodies requires the reader to be open to less-than-realistic representations and shifting performative contexts. As a result, I do not consider all of the "injuries" sustained by Don Quixote to be examples of the protagonist suffering strong physical pain. Without an explicit mention of serious pain by the text these incidents are often positioned within a comedic context that, in fact, requires pain to be excised from the scene. (14)
When Don Quixote explicitly suffers pain in the course of fulfilling his dudes as a wandering knight, he has a very consistent reaction. Unlike the other characters that are promptly "unmasked," Don Quixote adamantly affirms his literary origins and refuses to abandon his role. Strong pain does not interfere with the coherence of his literary world. The sensed "reality" of his physical form--his body in pain, acutely emphasized--is in this way counter-intuitively paired with the artificial "reality" of his constructed, textual self. The prologue's playful confusions of text and flesh relative to the protagonist and the book are reconfigured in these more difficult moments, bringing the complex nature of Don Quixote's emphatically fictional existence into high relief.
The very first time that Don Quixote experiences pronounced physical pain is in his early encounter with the traveling group of merchants in the fourth chapter of part one. Upon meeting them on his path, he demands that each admit that Dulcinea del Toboso is the most beautiful and virtuous woman in the world. After they ridicule Don Quixote, playing along by demanding visual proof, the situation quickly escalates.
One man in particular jokes that they would gladly admit to Dulcinea's perfection even if her portrait shows her with one eye blind and the other oozing pus. This enrages Don Quixote and he attacks. His horse Rocinante, however, loses his footing and both fall to the ground. We soon find that Don Quixote cannot move. Trapped within the old, heavy armor that he had eagerly worn for his adventures, he calls out, threatening and insulting the people that he had tried to attack. One of them decides to approach the immobilized Don Quixote, breaks his lance, and beats him with one of the pieces with all of his fury and anger:
Y, llegandose a el, tomo la lanza y, despues de haberla hecho pedazos, con uno de ellos comenzo a dar a nuestro don Quijote tantos palos, que, a despecho y pesar de sus armas, le molio como cibera. Dabanle voces sus amos que no le diese tanto y que le dejase; pero estaba ya el mozo picado y no quiso dejar el juego hasta envidar todo el resto de su colera; y, acudiendo por los demas trozos de la lanza, los acabo de deshacer sobre el miserable caido, que, con toda aquella tempestad de palos que sobre el llovia, no cerraba la boca, amenazando al cielo y a la tierra, y a los malandrines, que tal le parecian. (1.4:54-55)
Unable to respond physically, Don Quixote receives the blows while loudly threatening everyone around him. His assailant beats him until he is too exhausted to continue.
Don Quixote is unable to move because of the weight of his armor and the damage done to his body. After his attackers leave, he finds himself immobilized and in a difficult situation. Despite the pain, we read that the defeat is seen by him as a kind of blessing: "Y aun se tenia por dichoso, pareciendole que aquella era propia desgracia de caballeros andantes, y toda la atribuia a la falta de su caballo; y no era posible levantarse, segun tenia brumado todo el cuerpo" (1.4:55). In this sense he is, in fact, doubly trapped: first by his broken body and its heavy armor and second by the fictional role that he has taken up as his true identity.
Here, at the beginning of part one, Don Quixote responds to this pain by using the artifice of the books that he has read, though doing so does not yet come naturally. In fact, he has to remember to use a relevant situation from one of the adventures of his favorite literary knights: "acordo de acogerse a su ordinario remedio, que era pensar en algun paso de sus libros" (1.5:55). Doing so involves a complete transformation: he seems to cease being Don Quixote and, instead, takes on the role and identity of an injured Valdovinos. When a neighbor of Don Quixote happens to pass by he is treated as the uncle of Valdovinos.
This identity changes, once again, when he is placed atop his neighbor's donkey. Here Don Quixote presents himself as "el moro Albindarraez, cuando el alcaide de Antequera, Rodrigo de Narvaez, le prendio y llevo cautivo a su alcaldia" (1.5:57). This second transformation is altered slightly by Don Quixote, who proclaims: "Sepa vuestra merced, senor don Rodrigo de Narvaez, que esta hermosa Jarifa que he dicho es ahora la linda Dulcinea del Toboso, por quien yo he hecho, hago y hare los mas famosos hechos de caballerias que se han visto, vean ni veran en el mundo" (1.5:57). The effect of presenting himself as a Moor who is in love with Dulcinea does not seem to cause "him" any kind of anxiety. Moreover, she is momentarily combined with the beautiful "Jarifa" without hesitation. All of this flexibility with regard to Don Quixote's own identity culminates in a powerful pronouncement:
--Yo se quien soy--respondio don Quijote--, y se que puedo ser, no solo los que he dicho, sino todos los Doce Pares de Francia, y aun todos los nueve de la Fama, pues a todas las hazanas que ellos todos juntos y cada uno por si hicieron se aventajaran las mias. (1.5:58)
This statement makes it seem as though Don Quixote is taking on these literary identities as extensions of his own. We are left with the idea that Don Quixote is, first and foremost, a literary construction. His words seem to have the effect of unifying his multiple identities, once again, under the larger persona of Don Quixote. He is, here, a literary amalgam still in the process of being coherently formed from his imaginary antecedents.
Pain, in this early example, results in a vertiginous display of literary identity. It also communicates the sensory truth of a living body-the tactile intensity of being caught under the weight of his armor adds to the momentary sense that Don Quixote has a body very similar to the reader's own. It bears repeating that this jarring juxtaposition of textuality and corporeality is prefigured in the prologue to part one. The text creates a seemingly irreconcilable situation, emphasizing the artificial, literary nature of all that surrounds Don Quixote, while the intensity of the pain makes his body seem as real as the weight of the armor that presses down upon it.
Other examples of Don Quixote in pain follow the same pattern. At the end of part one, the knight-errant charges a group of church figures who are carrying with them a figure of the Virgin Mary. Believing that they carry the tearful woman against her will, he confronts them and attacks when they begin to laugh. Brought down quickly by a blow from one of the members of the party, he falls to the floor, motionless and "muy malparado" (1.52:526). Sancho immediately falls upon him, covering his body with his own, embracing him in a direct, tactile encounter. Using the language and tone of Don Quixote himself, he reminds Don Quixote who he is, essentially identifying him repeatedly and elaborately, ending with: "en fin, caballero andante, que es todo lo que decir se puede!" (1.52:526). These words revive him, bring him back to life.
After being awoken by this invocation of his identity and (literary) origins, Don Quixote voluntarily asks to be placed within the cage that he had been carried in earlier as he is in too much pain to ride Rocinante. He also mentions that he needs Sancho's help to place him in the cage due to the severity of his injuries. Regardless, he states that the physical pain he suffers is nothing compared to the anguish that those who live without Dulcinea's love must bear. Once again, his faith in the fictional structure that surrounds him is emphatically voiced; the possibility of pain suffered without the existence of Dulcinea (and the rest of the fictional world that he inhabits) would be too cruel to contemplate. Don Quixote's fictional body, in pain, is again paired with tactile physical immobility and the verbalized assertion of his faith in textual artifice in his textual origins.
When Don Quixote is under the care of the Duke and Duchess he is tormented in a variety of ways for the amusement of all of the residents of the castle. One night, a large sack filled with bells and cats (whose tails are tied to yet more bells) is emptied from high above Don Quixote in order to frighten him. He interprets the noise and movement as the work of evil enchanters and, as he stabs into the darkness, one of the cats jumps onto his face:
Y volviendose a los gatos que andaban por el aposento, les tiro muchas cuchilladas. Ellos acudieron a la reja y por alli se salieron, aunque uno, viendose tan acosado de las cuchilladas de don Quijote, le salto al rostro y le asio de las narices con las unas y los dientes, por cuyo dolor don Quijote comenzo a dar los mayores gritos que pudo. Oyendo lo cual el duque y la duquesa, [...] vieron al pobre caballero pugnando con todas sus fuerzas por arrancar el gato de su rostro. Entraron con luces y vieron la desigual pelea; acudio el duque a despartirla, y don Quijote dijo a voces:-- No me le quite nadie! Dejenme mano a mano con este demonio, con este hechicero, con este encantador; que yo le dare a entender de mi a el quien es don Quijote de la Mancha! (2.46:898)
The intense pain that Don Quixote suffers leads him, once again, to adamantly refuse to flee from that which physically causes the pain while simultaneously vocally asserting his identity. As before, we are presented with a strong assertion of his identity and, additionally, of the world of demons, wizards, and enchanters that he so forcefully believes in. He remains caught within his physical and fictional circumstances--in pain.
Don Quixote is not allowed to finish this battle, however, as the Duke rips the cat off his face and flings it away. The result of the prank is a seriously disfigured knight: "Quedo don Quijote acribado el rostro y no muy sanas las narices, aunque muy despechado porque no le habian dejado fenecer la batalla que tan trabada tenia con aquel malandrin encantador" (2.46:898). After Altisidora expresses her "love" for him, Don Quixote lets out a great sigh, disappointed that he was unable to finish his battle. The Duke and Duchess leave regretting that their prank ended as violently as it did. The text informs us that Don Quixote stays in bed for six days while his face heals.
One of the most challenging moments in the entire novel is, of course, the clash between Don Quixote and the vizcaino. Their conflict becomes physical rather quickly, with the vizcaino striking a blow with his sword against Don Quixote's shoulder that, had he been unprotected, "le abriera hasta la cintura" (1.8:82). We read that our protagonist feels "la pesadumbre de aquel desaforado golpe" and, as a result, cries out (1.8:82). As before, Don Quixote, in pain, remains fixed in his literary fantasy; his cries are for aid from the imaginary Dulcinea, his "flor de la fermosura" (1.8:82). His immediate reaction upon being injured is to speak to the absent, invented lady to whom he desperately dedicates his efforts; he does not hesitate in evoking a literary logic.
This literary artificiality soon extends itself to the entire scene. As Don Quixote and his adversary each raise their weapon to strike a deadly blow, the source manuscript of our text comes to an abrupt end. If we were previously asked to marvel at the way Don Quixote was caught within his own literary logic (even when in pain), here the entire literary space of the scene is revealed to be entirely contingent not only on the text we are reading but also on another text upon which it is based. (15) The imaginary depth of the literary space is emphatically brought back to the surface of the page, making Don Quixote's "insane" fictionality suddenly seem far less inappropriate.
Perhaps the most obvious example of suffering in the novel is the final clash between Sanson Carrasco--as El Caballero de la Blanca Luna--and Don Quixote. Carrasco, as the false knight who previously appeared as El Caballero del Bosque/El Caballero de los Espejos, goes against his word after suffering a painful defeat at the hands of Don Quixote. Now, in this second encounter, Don Quixote agrees that, if he loses, he will renounce his role as a wandering knight for the period of one year and admit that the lady of H Caballero de la Blanca Luna is more beautiful than his Dulcinea. When Don Quixote is violently knocked off Rocinante, Sanson Carrasco approaches on his horse and touches the point of his lance to Don Quixote's visor.
Fue luego sobre el y, poniendole la lanza sobre la visera, le dijo:
--Vencido sois, caballero, y aun muerto, si no confesais las condiciones de nuestro desafio. Don Quijote, molido y aturdido, sin alzarse la visera, como si hablara dentro de una tumba, con voz debilitada y enferma, dijo: --Dulcinea del Toboso es la mas hermosa mujer del mundo y yo el mas desdichado caballero de la tierra, y no es bien que mi flaqueza defraude esta verdad. Aprieta, caballero, la lanza y quitame la vida, pues me has quitado la honra. (2.64:1047)
Not even when hurt and threatened by death is Don Quixote able to speak against Dulcinea del Toboso, a woman who he has never met, but who performs a central role in his fictional world. In pain, he vocally expresses his place in an imaginary universe, even when doing so might result in his own death. Don Quixote, badly injured, lies enclosed within his armor, finally, like a corpse in a tomb. We hear, almost, the low echo of his voice reverberating within his physical enclosure. This final and intensely corporeal moment of pain, resigned tactile immobility, and vocal affirmation of textual identity begins the process of Don Quixote's unraveling. Unlike Carrasco, Don Quixote does not have the option of going against his word.
Elaine Scarry, in The Body in Pain, writes that it is typically the voice, struggling to emerge as language, but more often remaining within the unintelligible cries of an infant, that attempts to express the experience of great pain. For, although language is the medium most equipped to communicate pain, it is often abandoned in moments of real suffering. Strong pain emerges more often as pure disruption and arrest, through the abandonment of language and its capacity to represent:
Whatever pain achieves, it achieves in part through its unsharability, and it ensures this unsharability through its resistance to language [...]. Physical pain does not simply resist language but actively destroys it, bringing about an immediate reversion to a state anterior to language, to the sounds and cries a human being makes before language is learned. (4)
According to Scarry it is important to note that pain cannot be truly shared, that it is a profoundly solitary experience. As such, we are used to approaching pain indirectly, placing our own bodies in imperfect relation with the body experiencing pain. This is, of course, empathy. The difference between empathy and interpretation is significant. In the case of empathy we do not search for a particular meaning behind the fact of pain. Instead we find ourselves attempting to place our own bodies in the situation of the other's body in an attempt to somehow "feel" their experience with them.
Empathy, as a reaction to pain, is emphasized by the text as an important part of the relationship between Sancho and Don Quixote. When Sancho complains of the discomfort that he has suffered, Don Quixote replies that he has suffered a great deal more and, moreover, that any pain that he feels should be felt intuitively by his squire.
--Quiero decir--dijo don Quijote--que cuando la cabeza duele, todos los miembros duelen; y asi, siendo yo tu amo y senor, soy tu cabeza, y tu mi parte, pues eres mi criado; y por esta razon el mal que a mi me toca, o tocare, a ti te ha de doler, y a mi el tuyo. --Asi habia de ser--dijo Sancho--, pero cuando a mi me manteaban como a miembro, se estaba mi cabeza detras de las bardas, mirandome volar por los aires, sin sentir dolor alguno; y pues los miembros estan obligados a dolerse del mal de la cabeza, habia de estar obligada ella a dolerse de ellos. (2.2:563)
Sancho, of course, wants to confirm that empathy works both ways, with the master feeling the pain of his servant. The new, shared body suggested by Don Quixote does not seem to be verified by Sancho's own senses.
Don Quixote replies that the pain he felt upon seeing his squire suffer was spiritual pain, a pain that was greater that the physical pain suffered by Sancho: "-- Querras tu decir ahora, Sancho--respondio don Quijote--, que no me dolia yo cuando a ti te manteaban? Y si lo dices, no lo digas, ni lo pienses, pues mas dolor sentia yo entonces en mi espiritu que tu en tu cuerpo" (2.2:563). Placing the humorous content of this conversation aside fora moment, it serves to highlight an important aspect of pain and our response to it: Don Quixote suggests that the way to respond to pain is not through interpreting it, but rather through "sensing" it. Additionally, he explicitly asserts that the use of empathy should follow the general form suggested by existing power relationships. Since he and Sancho are united in a kind of alliance, there should be a strong empathetic bond between them, a bond that unites both their bodies and minds. (16)
If the reader is expected to respond to Don Quixote's pain with empathy, then what does this imply? Although we will return to this question at the end of the essay, it is worth noting that the divide between the protagonist and the reader is substantial. The prologue to part one shows us that while the reader has free will, a body, and a soul, the protagonist is made of artifice; that he has only a fleeting, imaginary physicality, and does not occupy the same kind of space. For the reader to respond with empathy, it would be necessary to relate his or her living body with Don Quixote's fictional body, allowing for the space of the everyday to enter into relation with one that has been artificially rendered. The potential consequences of this relationship are, clearly, less than certain. It is additionally worth noting that the moments of pain suffered by Don Quixote break with the logic suggested by Scarry above. Instead of fleeing from language, Don Quixote engages it. He is, after all, born not of a man and woman but, rather, of artifice and of convention. That he would cry out--not as an infant, but as a knight of chivalry from an old text--should be of no surprise.
SUFFERING, CARTOGRAPHY, AND THE READER
As the prologue to part one suggests, fictional reality often relies on an uneasy coexistence of artifice and everyday expectations. The moments in which Don Quixote experiences extreme pain in the course of his duties as a caballero andante are especially challenging for the manner in which they present a body in pain as well as an emphasized literary context that, following the tensions of the prologue, contests the everyday existence of that body. Yet pain is not simply presented as an isolated challenge for the interpretive or empathetic abilities of the reader. Suffering is, instead, deeply ingrained in Don Quixote's identity and self-described role in the world. Early in part two, his explanation of who he is focuses on pain and the way in which any coherent social system requires some people (such as himself) to suffer for it:
--Mira, amiga--respondio don Quijote--, no todos los caballeros pueden ser cortesanos, ni todos los cortesanos pueden ni deben ser caballeros andantes: de todos ha de haber en el mundo, y aunque todos seamos caballeros, va mucha diferencia de los unos a los otros; porque los cortesanos, sin salir de sus aposentos ni de los umbrales de la corte, se pasean por todo el mundo mirando un mapa, sin costarles blanca, ni padecer calor ni frio, hambre ni sed; pero nosotros, los caballeros andantes verdaderos, al sol, al frio, al aire, a las inclemencias del cielo, de noche y de dia, a pie y a caballo, medimos toda la tierra con nuestros mismos pies [...]. (2.6:589)
This statement of purpose has Don Quixote explain how important it is to him and to other men of arms for their suffering to benefit a larger social whole. It also establishes a crucial tension between those who suffer and those who read in comfort.
Don Quixote, specifically, draws our attention to the passive cortesano readers who are able to "travel" through dangerous spaces from the comfort of their homes thanks to the maps that they possess. These readers ore contrasted with the active caballeros andantes, such as Don Quixote himself, who suffer in the world while actively creating their own paths through it. Accordingly, he sets two very different kinds of "cartographic" moments against one another. The first, associated with the cortesano, involves a finished map that offers a completely safe (i.e., imagined) adventure for him to enjoy in total comfort. The second, associated with the caballero andante, however, is different; it involves a metaphorical act of territorial measurement: as the wandering knight suffers out in the world, without a finished map in hand, he "measures the earth with his footsteps." Don Quixote's allegory suggests that, like an actual surveyor, the wandering knight goes out into the world to create a spatial and cultural order where one does not yet exist. (17)
While the cortesanos and the caballeros andantes both have roles to play in the larger social order, one does so at a great distance from danger while the other through personal risk and direct contact with the unknown. The proximity of these two cartographic moments in Don Quixote's allegory logically suggests that that the cortesanos are reading the maps created (or at least facilitated) by the actions of the caballeros andantes: there is a symbiotic relationship between their professions. Don Quixote, at the end of this speech, states: "[d]os caminos hay, hijas, por donde pueden ir los hombres a llegar a ser ricos y honrados: el uno es el de las letras; otro, el de las armas. Yo tengo mas armas que letras" (2.6:592). This statement, by referring the reader to part one's "discurso de las armas y las letras," highlights the military associations of the allegory, drawing a more explicitly contemporary historical context into Don Quixote's literary and social project.
This earlier speech famously evaluates the relationship between jurists and soldiers by drawing a contrast between the corporeal and mental aspects of their work. We read that people are mistaken when they act as if jurists were disembodied intellects and soldiers nothing but mindless bodies. The jurist has a body just as the soldier has a mind and each--mind and body--requires the other. The jurists, however, are described as being pampered and powerful: "los hemos visto mandar y gobernar el mundo desde una silla, trocada su hambre en hartura, su frio en refrigerio, su desnudez en galas y su dormir en una estera en reposar en holandas y damascos, premio justamente merecido de su virtud" (1.37:394). Once again, suffering is key in understanding the nature of these social roles. The jurists--like the cortesanos--remain safe, while the soldiers--like the caballeros andantes--suffer in a contested, violent world.
The jurist, governing the world from a comfortable chair, closely mirrors the cortesano reading his map from the safety of the court. Both benefit from those who put their bodies at risk while being able, through cartography, to "see" past the walls that keep them sale. Don Quixote suggests that these readers, due to their comfort and due to the distance between them and the labors of men of arms, are in danger of forgetting about those who, risking pain and death, work to keep the social system together. In an effort to remind everyone (the actual reader included) of the bodies that sustain the maps and laws of the world, Don Quixote elaborates further on the trials of armed men (soldiers, of course, but also caballeros andantes):
[D]icen las letras que sin ellas no se podrian sustentar las armas, porque la guerra tambien tiene sus leyes y esta sujeta a ellas, y que las leyes caen debajo de lo que son letras y letrados. A esto responden las armas que las leyes no se podran sustentar sin ellas, porque con las armas se defienden las republicas, se conservan los reinos, se guardan las ciudades, se aseguran los caminos, se despejan los mares de corsarios, y, finalmente, si por ellas no fuese, las republicas, los reinos, las monarquias, las ciudades, los caminos de mar y tierra estarian sujetos al rigor y a la confusion que trae consigo la guerra el tiempo que dura y tiene licencia de usar de sus privilegios y de sus fuerzas. (1.38:396)
Don Quixote draws his listeners' attention to a vision of institutional harmony that combines territory, law, and order on a grand scale. The bodies of armed men suffer pain and death in order to maintain the integrity of not only cities and republics, but also the pathways through sea and land. We are given, once again, a spatial explanation of the role of armed men that strongly references cartography. (18) Without the soldier and the caballero andante, confusion would enter the map, making the space represented untraversable and, in fact, uncertain. If these individuals suffer it is to prevent the disorder of warfare from affecting the institutions of increasingly interconnected cities and territories as well as the coherence of their cartographic expression. Such suffering is, ultimately, intended to bring peace to the land. (19)
By referring to cartographic representations, Don Quixote directs our attention to a "genre" of two-dimensional artifice that, despite requiring the interpretive imagination of a reader, is closely associated with historical reality. It is important to recall, however, that for our protagonist the libros de caballerias are also historically viable works of two-dimensional artifice designed to be mentally visualized by a reader. While the differences between cartography and literature might, in an everyday context, be considerable, the specific literary context of Don Quixote makes their relationship more complex. When, for example, Don Quixote describes the cortesanos reading their maps as a way of "experiencing" other places without risking anything to do so, it is difficult not to see these maps as cartographic versions of the libros de caballerias, of (even more importantly) of the book that we are currently reading ourselves. The prologue's evocation of a "desocupado lector" reading Don Quixote from the comfort of his home brings us rather dose to these other relatively pampered readers. One clear consequence of seriously considering the relationship between the cortesanos reading their maps and ourselves reading Don Quixote's adventures is that we are pushed to contemplate our own comfort, our own position in the larger social order, as it pertains to those who suffer for that comfort.
It should almost go without saying that the idea of suffering in the service of others was quite familiar to Cervantes. The serious injury that he suffered in the battle of Lepanto figures prominently in his autobiographical writing. (20) The fact that Cervantes's autobiographical statements are positioned alongside his fictional texts should, at least to a certain degree, ameliorate the concerns of those who might be wary about forcing a relationship between fiction and biography. Without drawing too close a relationship between the author's experience in Lepanto and the pain suffered by his protagonist, it is nevertheless important to consider how central this injury was within the author's accounts of his own life. (21) Suffering pain for a larger social purpose was clearly not a tangential aspect of his experience. When this kind of pain is referenced within his literary work, it is difficult to defend glossing over these aspects of his biography. The way in which Don Quixote places value on his suffering is inevitably informed by these aspects of the author's life. (22)
While Don Quixote's statements of purpose assert that there is a crucial relationship between cartographically imagined visions of a large-scale social order and the pain suffered by armed men, this relationship is also illustrated by an important exception. The only time that strong pain suffered by Don Quixote is not immediately paired with a strong vocal affirmation of his literary identity is when he deviates (in a moment of weakness) from his own articulated role as a wandering knight. In chapter forty-four of part one, Don Quixote becomes distracted by the physical temptations of a "princess" being played by Maritornes. After hearing him extol Dulcinea's virtues, Maritornes, calling out to him from an opening in a hayloft, convinces him to let her touch his hand so that she might satisfy her explicitly illicit desires for him. He complies by standing on top of Rocinante and extending his arm in the hole in an embarrassing act of pride and weakness. Despite his wish that "la trabazon de sus musculos, la anchura y espaciosidad de sus venas" might suggest the vitality of his whole body, his hand is promptly caught in a noose, which is then tied to a door within the barn by Maritornes (1.43:453). She leaves, laughing with Dorotea.
The sexual nature of the scene and its reconfigured performance of penetration makes it one of the most bawdy in part one. The noose in the "hole" makes even this imaginary sexual encounter a dangerous trap for the knight. Soon Rocinante is fittingly tempted by "the flesh'" of the horses of new visitors to the inn and, as he moves away, Don Quixote falls, strung up like a torture victim, unable to touch his feet on the ground: "cosa que le causo tanto dolor, que creyo o que la muneca le cortaban o que el brazo se le arrancaba" (1.44:456). The reader is left to imagine his hand, painfully swollen with blood, caught upright in the air with no hope of release. The phallic, sexual nature of this torture should be quite clear. (23) Being so close to the ground (his toes lightly kissing it) increases his pain, the text assures us, by giving him the false hope of being able to ease the situation. Here, Don Quixote is being severely punished for deviating from his role as a fictional knight in love with the perfect Dulcinea. Pain is clearly emphasized, though since he is not in the service of others as a caballero andante, there is no pronouncement of his literary role. Instead, we have a scene devoted entirely to matters of the flesh. Having given in to temptation, the text doles out a lesson underscored by Rocinante's own weakness in his desire to "tornar a oler a quien le llegaba a hacer caricias" (1.43:456).
Soon afterward Don Quixote compensates for this lapse by resolving a great conflict that envelops all of the characters in chapter fortyfive. He does this not by intervening physically, but rather by using his mind, asking the oidor to take on the role of King Agramante and the Priest to take on the role of King Sobrino in order to bring peace to the group. This achievement of peace after chaos is a clear performance of the ideal role of arms in the world, especially since Don Quixote uses his mind (and not his body) to bring a solution to those in conflict. One might say that the less-than-admirable moment of weakness that Don Quixote was punished for created a deficit that was righted by his brilliant intervention. An excess of concern for the body was followed by a display of mental agility.
As we have seen, when Don Quixote does suffer pronounced physical pain (importantly, in the course of his imagined duties as a wandering knight) this suffering is joined with a strong vocal assertion of his literary identity. He does not flee his role. He explains that this pain is endured by him so that the larger social body can be peaceful and stable. In Don Quixote's allegory, what connects this pain (and the pain of others) with the peace of the larger territory is cartography. Though armed men such as himself do not possess maps that allow for safe imaginary travels, they participate in "cartographic moments" that connect their suffering in a meaningful way to their larger community. They suffer for a larger social system that encounters the order they sustain through cartographic representations. By describing the experience of pain as that of "measuring the earth with their footsteps," suffering becomes a basic unit of measure that indirectly results in the ordered spaces of maps (and also, for caballeros andantes, in the ordered texts of their adventures). Without this cartographic bridge, the pain suffered by the individuals mentioned by Don Quixote would be meaningless. Each moment of pain thus asks to be approached not only as an example of lived, experienced suffering, but also as forming part of a larger, social context that is best beheld through the artificial representation of the map. These individuals suffer while expecting their pain to "signify" something within an artificial framework.
The specific nature of the larger geographical and cultural figure that Don Quixote evokes in his statements of purpose is not easy to define or delimit. While at some moments Don Quixote seems to be referring to an imaginary "kingdom" from his libros de caballerias, other more historical references imply that he situates himself within early modern Spain. (24)
Anthony Cascardi reminds us that the early modern "nation" of Spain was also difficult to delimit, existing as a kind of political fantasy formed in reaction to myriad cultural, political, and religious heterogeneity. (25) With the Nueva recopilacion of 1567, the cultural and religious regulations of the Inquisition, the prohibition of the use of Arabic and Muslim cultural practices (1566-67), and the expulsion of the moriscos (1609-19), the "nation" was being imagined in the context of its absence. Cartography was instrumental in imagining this national coherence, in practical and also in symbolic roles. (26)
When Don Quixote legitimizes his suffering in terms of a cartographically imagined social whole, the idea of the "nation" is evoked alongside the fantasy of the libros de caballerias. This balance between a political and a literary frame of reference is supported by the "discurso de las armas y las letras." Don Quixote places himself in an early modern context when he laments that men of arms face mortal danger and injury and are rewarded with far less than the letrados who live lives of ease (1.38:395). His disdain for "aquestos endemonioados instrumentos de la artilleria" shows that he is focused, at the moment, on military conflicts that Cervantes would have been personally familiar with (1.38:397). Cervantes's understanding of the sacrifices of soldiers and civilians for the "imagined" (though not imaginary) nation of Spain inevitably draws from his experiences as a veteran wounded in battle and, later, as a purveyor for the Spanish Armada and a tax collector. (27) By referencing imaginary literary kingdoms next to the cartographically ordered space of "Spain," Cervantes discretely allows for his protagonist's struggles to refer to both literary and political contexts.
LITERARY CARTOGRAPHY AND CARTOGRAPHIC LITERATURE
Cartography, like literature, is a discipline that uses two-dimensional artifice to structure the imagination of its reader. While it is "non-fictional," many of the same challenges of interpretation apply. Beyond cartography's allegorical capacity to situate Don Quixote's suffering within a context associated with both a fantastical "kingdom" and an imagined "nation," it also provided a model for visualizing space that Cervantes took very seriously and integrated into his narrative strategies.
Cervantes's awareness of the complexity of cartographic space is perhaps best illustrated by the "Adventure of the Enchanted Boat." After setting off in a small boat on the Ebro River, Don Quixote tries to convince Sancho to stop worrying about the animals (still within sight) with the news that they soon will flow out into the great ocean of the Atlantic.
-- De que temes, cobarde criatura? [...] Por dicha vas caminando a pie y descalzo por las montanas rifeas, sino sentado en una tabla, como un archiduque, por el sesgo curso de este agradable rio, de donde en breve espacio saldremos al mar dilatado? Pero ya habemos de haber salido y caminado por lo menos setecientos o ochocientas leguas; y si yo tuviera aqui un astrolabio con que tomar la altura del polo, yo te dijera las que hemos caminado; aunque o yo se poco o ya hemos pasado o pasaremos presto por la linea equinoccial, que divide y corta los dos contrapuestos polos en igual distancia. --Y cuando lleguemos a esa lena que vuestra merced dice--pregunto Sancho--, cuanto habremos caminado? --Mucho--replico don Quijote--; porque de trescientos y sesenta grados que contiene el globo del agua y de la tierra, segun el computo de Ptolomeo, que fue el mayor cosmografo que se sabe, la mitad habremos caminado, llegando a la linea que he dicho. (2.29:774)
While Sancho remains unconvinced of this abstract, technical account of their surroundings, comically materializing the "linea" as a piece of "lena," Don Quixote has them both acting on a much grander scale. In this case, the Ptolemaic measurements refer away from the particulars of being-in-space while associating both characters with an imagined cartographic reality. (28) Their every movement, when interpreted through the calculations of the absent astrolabe, is in conversation with the distant poles that are the principal reference points for their Ptolemaic cosmos.
Soon we see that the easily verifiable space of Sancho is being challenged by the more artificial, imagined space of Don Quixote. Where Sancho uses the reliability of his senses to situate himself, Don Quixote defers to a series of cartographic terms and abstract laws that give his imagination a sense of authority.
[N]o se para que hay necesidad de hacer esas experiencias, pues yo veo con mis mismos ojos que no nos habernos apartado de la ribera cinco varas, ni hemos decantado de donde estan las alimanas dos varas, porque alli estan Rocinante y el rucio en el propio lugar do los dejamos; y tomada la mira, como yo la tomo ahora, voto a tal que no nos movemos ni andamos al paso de una hormiga. --Haz, Sancho, la averiguacion que te he dicho, y no te cures de otra, que tu no sabes que cosa sean coluros, lineas, paralelos, zodiacos, cliticas, polos, solsticios, equinoccios, planetas, signos puntos, medidas, de que se compone la esfera celeste y terrestre; que si todas estas cosas supieras, o parte de ellas, vieras claramente que de paralelos hemos cortado, que de signos visto y que de imagenes hemos dejado atras, y vamos dejando ahora. Y tornote a decir que te tientes y pesques, que yo para mi tengo que estas mas limpio que un pliego de papel liso y blanco. (2.29:775)
Don Quixote indignantly replies that Sancho's ignorance of astronomical navigation invalidates his meager sensory perception. The test that Don Quixote implores Sancho to make is a search for lice which, according to him, perish at the equator. Referring to Sancho as a sheet of clean and empty paper furthers the cartographic metaphor in a comical direction (its blankness positive proof of their proximity to the wide open, empty ocean). (29)
When Sancho finds entomological evidence that they are not as far along as Don Quixote had guessed, a narrative voice provides an interjection that reassures the reader after the dispute between the two characters: "Y, sacudiendose los dedos, se lavo toda la mano en el rio, por el cual sosegadamente se deslizaba el barco por mitad de la corriente, sin que le moviese alguna inteligencia secreta, ni algun encantador escondido, sino el mismo curso del agua, blando entonces y suave" (2.29:775). This voice informs us that there is no enchantment, no supernatural enchanter, only the river flowing, carrying them along. It is a direct statement of truth that strongly asserts that there is a stable version of the scene. We are assured that the water is real, the passage of time is real, and these two individuals are as they appear. No one has interfered with their world. The description of Sancho's hand reaching down and touching the water that pushes them forward in time and space is paired with a confidently articulated affirmation of truth. The tactile and visual experiences of Sancho reinforce the solidity of the reality substantiated by the narrator. It is quite likely to find oneself trusting in Sancho's senses and, also, in the narrator's calm voice of authority. Don Quixote's version of things, however, is more suspect.
This sense of stable reality, however, is also complicated by the presence of the narrative voice that interjects from nowhere. Who is speaking? Just as the voice assures us that there is no hidden individual--no magician or enchanter--creating the illusion of reality, it provides ironic evidence to the contrary. Someone, in fact, is observing the two arguing characters and, as an observer, is interacting with the scene, providing us with an account of the action that aspires to objectivity. The narration is itself evidence of a constructed subjectivity designed to create the illusion of truth, the appearance of stable reality. It is not too difficult to hear the voice of the narrator as a literary echo of the enchanter so feared by Don Quixote.
Despite our initial inclination to dismiss Don Quixote's fantastical cartography in favor of Sancho's version of the "real," we must contend with the fact that they are not on a river. The river and the boat are fictions and the hand releasing the louse in the stream is, truly, just as fictional as the equinoctial line projected by Don Quixote's mind. The quiet assuredness of the interjecting narrative voice is ironically misleading and we, as readers, must reevaluate the situation. It is difficult to disregard the fact that our ability to visualize the scene (with only a page of text as our guide) has us rely on a skill more akin to Don Quixote's imaginative prowess than to Sancho's senses.
While clashes between Sancho's senses and Don Quixote's imagination can be seen elsewhere in the novel, what makes this encounter unique is that the nature of the artifice that Don Quixote is using is not literary; he is no longer drawing from the novelas de caballerias that usually guide his actions. Instead of literature, cartography provides the abstract artifice with the power to represent a coherent spatial world. This observation is worth emphasizing: Don Quixote's madness usually has him "excessively" reliant on a literary framework for interpreting his surroundings; yet here the fictional is replaced by the cartographic.
The effect of this rather serious replacement is that cartographic artifice is shown to function in a manner that is analogous to literary artifice. This relationship of "equivalence" is bolstered by the way in which the objectivity of cartographic perspective is related to the perspective of the omniscient narrator. Both disciplines--cartography and literature--offer artificially encoded versions of imaginary spaces that supersede the immediacy of the senses. Both, in different ways, expand the "vision" of their readers beyond the immediacy of what the body is able to perceive. (30) Additionally, the fact that cartographic principles can be incorporated within the narrative strategies of Cervantes's text shows that one discipline can influence the other, that the disorienting challenges of cartographic interpretation can be reconfigured within a literary frame.
A second example of Don Quixote's engagement with cartography assures us that despite what some might see as a medieval, knightly mindset, our protagonist has a sense of space that is very much of his day. When Don Quixote finds himself snared in string nets on his way to Zaragoza, two young ladies appear to explain that they have stretched them out to catch birds while they read eclogues in the appropriately bucolic setting. Don Quixote responds by gallantly offering them the image of a net that might stretch across the globe, one that he would still try to avoid if he knew it belonged to such beautiful women.
Alabo el asunto de vuestros entretenimientos [...] y si como estas redes, que deben de ocupar algun pequeno espacio, ocuparan toda la redondez de la tierra, buscara yo nuevos mundos por do pasar sin romperlas; y porque deis algun credito a esta mi exageracion, ved que os lo promete por lo menos don Quijote de la Mancha, si es que ha llegado a vuestros oidos este nombre. (2.58:991-92)
Don Quixote's solution to the problem of escaping a world-constituting net is to find new worlds where they do not yet reach. Diana de Armas Wilson draws a connection between this scene and an imperial mindset, writing that "[a]n impulse similar to Don Quixote's to seek for new worlds [...] had led imperial Spain to conquer, Christianize, and Castilianize the New World in a series of widely debated political moves" (4).
Though the promise to respect this latticework--paired with the mention of a world beyond it--might seem to situate the protagonist right at the edge of the state's imperial project, the more literal meaning might take us elsewhere. Since the imagined matrix posited by Don Quixote is completely global in nature, finding a new world on which to step is a charming but fanciful impossibility, implying not a new continent (which would still remain caught in the net), but rather an entirely new cosmos. The fact that Don Quixote admits that he exaggerates (a rare instance of humility) points to the rhetorical nature of the idea that he proposes. Joining the exploration of the Indies would not be seen as such an impossible feat. In fact, it seems more reasonable to suggest that our protagonist has offered to painlessly exit the global map through his cosmic rhetorical flourish, floating unbound in imaginary and impossible new worlds in order to politely sidestep the projects of these young women. Instead of a transatlantic Don Quixote we are faced, in fact, with a rather charming astronauta andante.
A final, brief example of the integration of cartographic ideas within the text is Sancho and Don Quixote's ride on Clavileno. From his imaginary position high above the ground, Sancho asserts that he was able to see the entire planet at once despite the Duchess's insistence that "por un ladito no se ve el todo de lo que se mira" (2.41:863). In order to view the whole surface of the earth at once one would need, of course, a flattened image--a map instead of a globe, The difficulty in understanding that maps are manipulated works of artifice--geometrically flattened and refashioned globes--creates the humorous error: the counter-intuitive nature of cartographic perspective has effectively undermined Sancho's claims. Ricardo Padron observes that Sancho, by confusing "la senora Magalona" with "la senora Magallanes" (2.41:861) refers us to the "hypothetical wife of the famed explorer" whose expedition circumnavigated the globe (2).
In all of these examples we can see that the Ptolemaic version of space is being integrated into the narrative strategies of the text. It is a discourse familiar to Cervantes and, he hopes, familiar enough to his readers to allow his humor to come through. The clear presence of cartography as an influential form of artificial spatial representation in these specific examples leads to an inevitable question: to what degree does cartographic discourse play a role more generally in Cervantes's attempts to fashion complex literary spaces?
With regard to the moments in which Don Quixote suffers pronounced physical pain, I believe that cartographic discourse is indeed a significant influence. The challenge to interpretation that these moments pose is particularly important: we are asked to at once acknowledge the ubiquity of textual artifice and also visualize a sensing body--in pain--that interacts with the space around it. Being unable to "lose ourselves" in the literary space of the novel due to the emphasized artificiality brings the tension between surface and imagined depth to a point of crisis. This unresolved tension between an imagined space and its artificial encoding mirrors the cartographic contradictions of the Adventure of the Enchanted Boat. The fact that Don Quixote himself uses a cartographic allegory to contextualize these moments of pain provides an additional reason to consider the difficulty of interpreting the protagonist in pain next to the difficulty of properly visualizing the space communicated to the reader by maps--maps, as Cervantes reminds us, that are the products of the suffering of soldiers and surveyors.
An empathetic reaction to the protagonist's pain adds a further complication: reacting empathetically would require that we bring our own bodies (which, of course, remain in their everyday space) in imagined "contact" with the body in pain of Don Quixote. This is no small feat: an empathetic reaction would effectively attempt to bridge the gap between everyday space and literary space that was deftly traced by the 1605 prologue. It would require that one's own lived context be paired within the artificial context of the protagonist. Empathy, in other words, draws the reader into the novel in a manner that is analogous, at least, to the way one must pair oneself with a particular point on a map in order to amplify one's vision.
This essay has argued that Cervantes's Don Quixote combines a historical nonfictional framework for imagining space (cartography) with a fantastical fictional framework for imagining space (literature) in order to complicate the division between the reality of the reader and the reality of the novel. The moments in which his protagonist suffers physical pain within his role as a wandering knight are particularly important for this convergence of contexts, These moments of pain a]low us, as readers, to consider the parallels between the artificially sustained national "fantasy" of Cervantes's contemporary historical situation and the otherworldly fantasies of giants and encantadores that trouble his protagonist. Cervantes's experience as a veteran who was wounded in the service of the "nation" helps to prevent the comparison from being simplistic or dismissive.
The political echoes of the text, however, rely on the fact that Don Quixote is not a perfect soldier suffering obediently for his republica. On the contrary, his fantasy compels him to break with the institutions of the other characters around him. He is treated accordingly by agents of the state as a "salteador de caminos" instead of an honored combatant (1.45:472). His remarkable obedience is not--in a literal sense--to the "nation," but rather to the fantastical, peculiar logic distilled from his libros de caballerias. (31) Maintaining this belief system when faced with serious pain shows the strength of his faith. That these fantastical laws are related allegorically to the order of maps, and (in the Adventure of the Enchanted Boat) to the internal logic of cartography, obliquely expands the significance of the protagonist's obedience in a more political direction. Don Quixote's personal sense of order is, through cartography, contextualized within a historical frame of reference inseparable from the "nation" of Spain.
The indirect nature of this relationship is precisely what gives Cervantes the freedom to portray the tension between suffering for a larger purpose and understanding that purpose as largely constituted by artifice (without a larger institutional reality to buttress it). The profound absence of a coherent sense of a "nation" is a problem that, openly stated, would have likely been quite disruptive. Instead, the question is presented obliquely: if the novelas de caballerias are not real, then how real--truly--is the cartographically imagined republica that this vision of purpose becomes discursively entangled with?
The juxtaposition of Don Quixote's pain with cartographic and literary imaginaries serves to remind the reader of the suffering body of the soldier while highlighting the imagined nation that would, ideally, legitimate his efforts. To experience empathy for Don Quixote in these moments of serious pain is to consider the elusive presence of this mapped "national" figure and, simultaneously, the absence of a corresponding political reality in Cervantes's Spain. Empathy, as a kind of deeply intuitive bridge, allows the reader to approach the experience of being caught, impossibly, between suffering physical pain and needing to believe in a fantasy of coherent order that gives that pain meaning. If this experience causes readers to consider their own comfort and acknowledge those who suffer to maintain it--soldiers, perhaps, but others as well--then I do not feel that Cervantes would object.
Akerman, James R. "The Structuring of Political Territory in Early Printed Atlases." Imago Mundi 47 (1995): 138-54.
Cascardi, Anthony J. Cervantes, Literature, and the Discourse of Politics. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 2012.
Cervantes, Miguel de. Don Quijote de la Mancha. Ed. Francisco Rico. Madrid: Alfaguara, 2004.
--. Novelas Ejemplares. Ed. Jorge Garcia Lopez. Barcelona: Galaxia Gutenberg, 2005.
Cull, John T. "The 'Knight of the Broken Lance' and his 'Trusty Steed': On Don Quixote and Rocinante." Cervantes 10.2 (1990): 37-53.
Diez, Fernandez J. I. "Dos juegos del primer Quijote: El 'hijo del prologo y los juicios del escrutinio." Cervantes y su tiempo. Ed. Juan Matas Caballero, Jose M. Balcells, and Fernandez D. Perez. 2 vols. Leon: Universidad de Leon, Secretariado de Publicaciones, 2008.
Fernandez, Enrique. "'Sola una de vuestras hermosas manos': Desmembramiento petrarquista y diseccion anatomica en la venta (Don Quijote, 1, 43)." Cervantes 21.2 (2001): 27-49.
Fernandez de Avellaneda, Alonso. El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha. Ed. Luis Gomez Canseco. Madrid: Biblioteca Nueva, 2005.
Kagan, Richard, and Benjamin Schmidt. "Maps and the Early Modern State: Official Cartography." The History of Cartography. Ed. J. B. Harley and David Woodward. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1987. 661-77.
Lindgren, Uta. "Land Surveys, Instruments, and Practitioners in the Renaissance." The History of Cartography. Ed. J. B. Harley and David Woodward. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1987. 477-508.
Maravall, Jose Antonio. El humanismo de las armas en DON QUIJOTE. Madrid: Instituto de Estudios Politicos, 1948.
Moron Arroyo, Ciriaco. Para entender el QUIJOTE. Madrid: Ediciones Rialp, 2005.
Nabokov, Vladimir V, and Fredson Bowers. Lectures on DON QUIXOTE. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1983.
Ortelius, Abraham. Theatrum Orbis Terrarum / The Theatre of the Whole World. Trans. William Bedwell. London: John Norton, 1606. Web. 9 Oct. 2012.
Padron, Ricardo. The Spacious Ward: Cartography, Literature, and Empire in Early Modern Spain. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2004.
Parker, Geoffrey. Suecess Is Never Final: Empire, War, and Faith in Early Modern Europe. New York: Basic Books, 2002.
Ricapito, Joseph V. Consciousness and Truth in DON QUIJOTE and Connected Essays. Newark, DE: Juan de la Cuesta, 2007.
Scarry, Elaine. The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World. New York: Oxford UP, 1985.
Sontag, Susan. Regarding the Pain of Others. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003.
Weitz, Eric. "Slapstick." The Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre and Performance. Ed. Dennis Kennedy. Oxford UP, 2003. Web. 22 April 2011.
Wilson, Diana de Armas. Cervantes, the Novel, and the New World. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2000.
UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS, LOWELL
(1) As Anthony Cascardi suggests, any concept of early modern Spain as a nation must contend with the heterogeneous political reality that propelled "nationhood" forward as an idea. Cascardi also suggests that Cervantes was well aware of the power of a constructed national imaginary, together with the tensions that resisted it (II).
(2) Ciriaco Moron Arroyo argues that "entendimiento" should be interpreted through a philosophical framework as a term that involves the combination of ingenio and juicio. "En el caso del Quijote ese termino clave es "entendimiento," facultad superior del hombre. De sus dos funciones, la de inventar corresponde al ingenio, y la de distinguir el bien del mal o lo verdadero de lo falso, al juicio" (12). It is worth noting, however, that in the context of fiction the possibility of distinguishing the true from the false becomes complicated in such a fundamental manner that the underlying logic of these philosophical categories can be deeply affected. The prologue, for example, forwards a contradictory relationship between "language" and "being" (in the context of literature) that has serious consequences for terms usually utilized in an everyday philosophical context. Moron Arroyo is able to affirm, for example, that "[l]a locura de Don Quijote consiste en que se le queda suelto el ingenio--la capacidad de imaginar y de ilusionarse--porque pierde el juicio, o sea, la capacidad de distinguir entre la ilusion y la realidad" (34) because he allows for the everyday distinction between "iluson y realidad" to remain viable. When one interprets Don Quixote's literary context, however, as wholly that of "ilusion," clean distinctions between reality and fantasy become problematic (as do the philosophical perspectives that rely on these distinctions).
(3) Though clearly "hijo del entendimiento" is a phrase that is not typically used to refer to a literal "son," the deliberate confusion of the protagonist and the text and an actual human being complicates the everyday usage of the phrase. For further analysis see, for example, Diez Fernandez (1.24-25).
(4) A common interpretation of this part of the prologue is that Cervantes, who was imprisoned between 1592 and 1597, conceived the idea of the book while in jail. Francisco Rico, in his edition of the text, advances this opinion. However, the "como quien" in the sentence indicates that the action being referenced--the story being "engendered" by the author's ingenia---is similar to the birth of someone in prison. By comparing his own mind to a prison the notion of a "mal cultivado ingenio" is reinforced by the narrator. Luis Gomez Canseco, in his edition of Avellaneda's apocryphal work, also skips past the "como quien" in the sentence, suggesting that Cervantes "declara que su obra 'se engendro en una carcel'" (200). This is simply not true and has important consequences for the interpretation of the prologue.
(5) While this, of course, applies to readers of both genders, the text does seem to imply the presence of a male reader when it states that "estas en tu casa donde eres senor de ella" (1.prologue:7).
(6) This suspension of disbelief is referenced within the text when the canoniga explains his complex relationship to fiction toward the end of part one. He states that receiving pleasure from them requires him to ignore their deceitful nature, but that, upon remembering their lies, he totally rejects what they have to offer (1.49:503-04).
(7) The presence of Cide Hamete Benengeli, the translator of his work, and the multiple internal narrators also draw attention to the internal "reality" of the novel as a complex textual construction.
(8) While Sancho is occasionally persuaded to accept the existence of literary phenomena (enchanters and the like), he generally retains a sense of skepticism throughout the novel, pushing back against his master's understanding of reality. His reactions to pain are, accordingly, not unlike those of the other characters.
(9) The term "literary space" will be used to refer to the imaginary spatial milieu that the characters interact within. It is a space that is inevitably constructed through the interpretive synthesis of myriad sensory cues communicated to the reader--either directly or indirectly--by the various characters and narrators. As the reader proceeds through the text, these sensory cues suggest different, at times contradictory, spatial environments from very different perspectives. Literary space, in this sense, is perpetually changing and, given the way in which the rules of physics and logic do not necessarily apply, not always free of inconsistencies and outright contradictions. "Cartographic space," on the other hand, refers to the imaginary spatial milieu visualized by a reader of maps. It is also a mental construction that is based on abstract signs. It does not refer to the direct experience of a physical space. "Everyday space" refers to the embodied experience of being in physical space as a living individual. It is different from literary space and cartographic space in the way that it relies on the actual senses that perceive spatial surroundings, These three kinds of "spaces" can and do influence one another. It also quite important to note that none of them are ahistorical; each is deeply shaped by cultural and historical processes.
(10) Sancho affirms early on that "pienso guardarme con todos mis cinco sentidos de ser ferido ni de ferir a nadie" (1.21:191).
(11) For more on "slapstick," see Weitz.
(12) The question of what constitutes a serious injury varies, of course, across different cultural contexts. There is always a limit, however, past which the knowledge of the severity of an injury precludes laughter and enjoyment.
(13) Vladimir Nabokov's published lectures on Don Quixote provide an example of the consequences of ignoring the way in which slapstick functions relative to the absence of expected pain in a literary context. He presents the book as pathologically cruel, imagining pain's presence in every slapstick scenario despite the text's cues to the contrary. This approach leads him to suggest that every moment of "suffering" is, in fact, sadistic in that it is designed to foster laughter by giving the reader perverse enjoyment from witnessing "pain." A potential mitigating factor may be his reliance on Samuel Putnam's translation of the text as well as his desire to communicate to his students that the book is not a fable about "idealism." Asserting the cruelty of the novel, in this sense, might be seen as a strategy for "lowering" the book from its pedestal in order for his students to feel comfortable criticizing it. He sarcastically addresses these students as follows: "I have listed a whole set of jollities for the merry young student to choose from. [...] What a riot, what a panic! Some carriers in chapter 15 beat Rocinante so hard that he drops to the ground half-dead--but never mind, in a minute the puppet master will revive his squeaking dolls" (53).
(14) An example of a "marginal case" with regard to the relationship between slapstick comedy and pain is the "aventura de los rebanos," in which Don Quixote's teeth are knocked out by a rock flung from a sling. Instead of leading to strong pain, as one might reasonably expect, the injuries are used to set up a comic scene in which Don Quixote rather calmly asks Sancho to check how many teeth he has left and then (having imbibed the balsamo de Fierabras earlier) vomits on Sancho's face. Sancho, after realizing that he is covered in their healing tonic and not in blood, vomits all over his master in response. Pain is wholly absent from their comedic interactions. At the close of the chapter, which is far more subdued, Don Quixote does mention the discomfort and the loss of teeth, explaining that "a todo esto estamos sujetos los que profesamos la estrecha orden de la caballeria" (1.18:165). Despite the shift in tone, the slapstick content of the scene makes it more clownish than (strictly speaking) an example of serious suffering.
(15) The artificially suspended violence, when returned to in chapter nine, does not result in the feared mortal injury; instead, the vizcaino misses, damaging Don Quixote's armor and cutting his ear. The text describes this injury as incredibly lucky; a particularly active narrative voice places the emphasis on the protagonist's good fortune at having escaped death and not on suffered pain. Don Quixote, immediately afterward, is presented as frustrated, but he does not express pain. His calm words after defeating his foe additionally communicate that he is not in the throes of agony. Later in the narration, his injury is bothersome but never is presented to the reader as as seriously painful. On the contrary, it is the vizcaino who suffers the more emphasized injury and, as a result, flees the scene.
(16) Susan Sontag writes insightfully about the challenges of political identity and empathy with regard to photography in Regarding the Pain of Others. She reminds us that, although it is possible to simply feel empathy for another individual in pain (even in the case of a representation of someone in pain), these feelings never occur in a historical or political vacuum (108-13).
(17) Although surveyors did not, of course, literally measure the territory by walking it, they had to go out in the world and suffer discomfort in order to make their measurements. Uta Lindgren, for example, has drawn attention to the considerable physical risks undertaken by surveyors in the seventeenth century (486-87). The larger idea, nevertheless, seems to be that both the surveyor and the caballero andante serve the social purpose of creating a traversable, safe territory by going out into parts of the world that are not socially and geographically "in order."
(18) The "caminos de mar y tierra" were, in fact, the principal focus of most cartographic projects, even as Ptolemy's grid was beginning to appear in maps. Throughout the sixteenth century surveying practices were often still based in the old techniques of combining directionality and distance ("caminos" in other words) without regard for longitudes and latitudes. These methods were used to create "way-finding" maps that presented the reader with visualized itineraries connecting important places (on land) and important ports (on the water). The portolan charts used in the water were often more accurately scaled, with multiple crisscrossing paths that seemed to suggest a surface instead of simple a set of pathways. The transition from representing discrete paths between destinations and ports to showing large expanses of land and water within the Ptolemaic grid was slow and uneven. As this occurred, the word "espacio" itself was also beginning to refer to an area as opposed to a measure of time elapsed along a linear pathway. See Padron (62).
(19) The relationship between Don Quixote and the early seventeenth-century soldier is complex. Although here he includes both himself and contemporary soldiers within the same general category of armed men, there are other times that he refers to important differences between them. When Don Quixote faces off, as an individual, against the "sqaudron" of stone-wielding actors in chapter eleven of part two, we see a performance of some of the important differences between soldiers and "knights." Sancho skillfully convinces him to back down, reminding him that he is only supposed to engage other knights in battle. The fact that he does not make this differentiation in the two speeches above is important, signaling to the reader that there is indeed a viable contemporary historical context within which Don Quixote's words and actions might resonate.
(20) Cervantes proudly states, for example, that he received his injury in "la mas alta ocasion que vieron los siglos pasados, los presentes, ni esperan ver los venideros" (2.prologue:543). In the prologue to his Novelas ejemplares we read that Cervantes, imagining a caption to be placed under his portrait, describes his injury as "hermosa, por haberla cobrado en la mas memorable y alta ocasion que vieron los pasados siglos, ni esperan ver los venideros, militando debajo de las vencedoras banderas del hijo del rayo de la guerra, Carlo Quinto, de felice memoria" (17).
(21) Joseph Ricapito, for example, writes that "The wounding by a lance or any other blunt weapon is the analogue to Cervantes' own wounding. His reluctance to test the helmet may well be his wish that he not have ever been wounded and subjected to that pain, or merely to be reminded of it again" (140). Though I agree with the importance of taking Cervantes's experience as a soldier into account, I believe that this interpretation overly identifies Cervantes with Don Quixote, drawing an equivalence between any violent act and an imagined trauma suffered by the author. It also disregards the specific context of the wounding, making every hint of violence equally "cathartic."
(22) A particularly strong resonance between the author's autobiographical statements and Don Quixote's position on suffering concerns the way in which scars should be valued, not hidden, as evidence of honorable pain. Cervantes writes that "[s]i mis heridas no resplandecen en los ojos de quien los mira, son estimadas a lo menos en la estimacion de los que saben donde se cobraron [...]. Las que el soldado muestra en el rostro y en los pechos, estrellas son que guian a los demas al cielo de la honra [...]." (2.prologue:543). Likewise, while Don Quixote easily accepts the existence of magical beings in his novelas de caballerias, he adamantly rejects the clean, scarless face and body of Don Belianis as ridiculous (1.1:29). The fact that this is a major point of contention with regard to his acceptance of his books' logic points to the centrality of suffered pain in his view of reality.
(23) While I have been unable to find anyone who has identified Don Quixote's swollen, upwardly extended limb as a satirical representation of an erect penis, others have commented on the erotic character of the scene. John T. Cull writes that the episode is part of a larger effort to present Don Quixote as parodically less viril than the traditional caballero andante (37). Enrique Fernandez argues that the Petrarchan tradition of treating the parts of the female body as separate fragments parodically feminizes Don Quixote via his virginal hand (28-29).
(24) While the "discurso de las armas y las letras" is filled with mentions of early modern artillery, indicating that Don Quixote is indeed concerned with the historical present of Cervantes, a good example of the way the literary combines with the fantastical is the conversation between Don Quixote, the Priest, and the Barber at the beginning of part two. Here they discuss problems of governance: "de tal manera renovaron la republica, que no parecio sino que la habian puesto en una fragua y sacado otra de la que pusieron" (2.1:550). Don Quixote's opinions convince them that he has been wholly cured from his literary mindset until he recommends that all the "caballeros andantes que vagan por Espana" join the soldiers in their efforts to repel "el Turco" (2.1:552).
(25) Cascardi expresses the tension between national identity and other forms of allegiances, writing that "[b]eyond the empire, and in turn sustaining it, was something like a 'political imaginary' to which most citizens felt obliged to adhere and into which they had been 'interpellated' as political subjects even as they may have resisted incorporation into the nation" (II). With regard to the novel's positioning of this "nationhood" he notes that the "aprobacion" of the licienciate Marquez Torres that precedes part two "describes Cervantes' works as unique 'both for our nation and for foreign ones,' among which he specifically mentions Spain's continental rivals France, Gerrnany, and Flanders" (170).
(26) Richard Kagan and Benjamin Schmidt affirm that "[m]apmakers [...] played a vital role in the articulation of the early modern state--a fact that often goes unremarked in the traditional history of 'modern' nationalism" (662). This articulation of nationhood involved the creation of Spain's Casa de la Contratacion which was involved in "propagandistic duties" (62). Anton van den Wyngaerde's chorographic city portraits and Pedro Esquivel's peninsular map are both described in Geoffrey Parker's Success is Never Final along with other state mapping practices in sixteenth and early seventeenth-century Spain (97-121). With regard to the "symbolic" role of cartography, Parker describes a medal from 1583 that "[...] shows the king on one side and, on the other, a globe surmounted by a horse together with the uncompromising legend NON SUFFICIT ORBIs--'The world is not enough'" (26). Parker also relates that in 1586 Sir Francis Drake saw this emblem in the Governor's Mansion in Santo Domingo, writing that "[...] it had by then apparently become the 'logo' of the monarchy and Drake's men considered it a 'very notable marke and token of the vnsatiable ambition of the Spanishe King and his nation'" (26).
(27) For more on the relationship between Cervantes's experiences as a tax collector and veteran as relevant to the conception of a "political imaginary" in Don Quixote, see Cascardi (II).
(28) The origins of modern cartography are traditionally traced to the rediscovery of Ptolemy's Geographia in the fifteenth century. This work, originally written in the first half of the second century CE, begins with a grand act of abstraction: Euclidean geometry is employed to imagine the Earth as a perfect sphere perfectly bound in a net of latitudes and longitudes. This imaginary form allows every point on the territory of the Earth to be paired with a set of coordinates from the spherical matrix. Idealized geometrical space thus combines with (or, alternately, competes with) the irregularity of the territory in plain sight. This innovation--joining the clean lines of geometry with the uneven, vast landscape--opened up radical new possibilities for map-making.
(29) Ricardo Padron notes that the capacity of blank space to represent cartographic information in positive terms was an important development in cartography. Prior to the Ptolemaic resurgence, blankness negatively communicated a lack of cartographic knowledge (35-38).
(30) This overlap between literary and cartographic artifice is attested to in the introduction to what is considered the first modern atlas: Abraham Ortelius's Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (1570). Ortelius, who was made the royal cosmographer of Philip II in 1575, explained in a preface to his readers that the maps provided in the atlas could function like "certain glasses before our eyes," giving a unique sense of visual and spatial context to the otherwise strictly textual histories of "great Kings, Captains and Adventurors" (3). Maps thus allowed their reader to "virtually travel" on their own but, also, in conjunction with other texts. To see reading cartographic artifice and reading textual artifice as wholly separate practices would require that we ignore the influence of Ortelius's words.
(31) Although Jose Antonio Maravall asserts that Don Quixote wholly lacks the virtue of obedience (48), he also notes that the protagonist often conforms to the laws and statutes of "la orden de caballeria" (67). While Maravall associates this order with a medieval context, I would emphasize, instead, its literary (and imaginary) nature.
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|Author:||Andrade, Max Uberlaker|
|Publication:||Cervantes: Bulletin of the Cervantes Society of America|
|Date:||Sep 22, 2012|
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