Saturday, November 12, 2016

puppets essay

prof: so we are going totalk today about two of the most significant episodes of part iiof the quixote, episodes that mark a transitionto-- that begin the sort of the downslope of the novel as it moves towards its conclusion. it is a protracted culminationand finale consistent with the slower more deliberatepace of part ii. we will be meeting onecharacter from part i, who reappears,ginã©s de pasamonte,

under the guise of masterpuppeteer master peter, and there will not only berepetitions of episodes from part i,but even repetitions of episodes from part ii withinpart ii. after the episodes that i willdiscuss today, three major new developmentsoccur. first, that don quixote willsometimes leave the center of the action to be replaced bysancho. second, that both don quixoteand sancho become the objects of

amusement for frivolous upperclass characters who have read part i. and three, that the protagonistwill be surrounded by many more characters than before. the overarching theme of thenovel continues to be desengaã±o as mostof the action is staged by internal authors. it is an action that is highlytheatrical and the props or backstage of the skits arerevealed to the reader,

either during the performanceor right after. the first of the two importantepisodes is the one about don quixote's descent intomontesinos cave, a truly remarkable tour deforce and one of the most brilliant scenes in the westernliterary tradition. so montesinos cave,this is one of the principle episodes of part ii and arguablyof the entire work because it seems to engage the mainliterary topics and sources of the novel and also provides arare glimpse into the inner

workings of don quixote'ssubconscious. it is as if we were lookingbehind the scenes of the quixote or allowed to seeits reverse side, as we see the reverse side ofthat painting within las meninas thatvelã¡zquez is working on. it is also as if were allowedto dissect the protagonist while he's still alive. let us first notice that thisis an adventure that don quixote seeks,that he looks for it,

not one that is imposed on himby chance, like the encounters on the roador by other characters who are scripting his life. as we have seen,sansã³n carrasco from the very beginning is trying toscript don quixote's life, and there will be severalauthor internal authors doing that,but this is not the case at all. this is an episode,an adventure that don quixote wants to undertake,and he tells the scholar or the

cousin that he wants to do soand asks how to get to montesinos' cave. it is also an episode that isstrictly spanish, and that seems to take donquixote into the depths of the spanish soil:it is as if saying that these kinds of fabulous events alsohappen in spain and in the present,although, as you will see, and i will speak about thesources of the episode descents into caves and so forth,but this is one that is based

on a spanish tradition;that is, people knew about montesinos cave and talked aboutit--they exist--and don quixote wanted to go into them;he decided that he had to have this adventure. one way to see the episode asflowing from camacho's wedding--which is the bigepisode preceding it--is through its connection with ovid. the cousin or scholar,who is their guide, is writing a spanish ovid,and the explanation given about

the rivers of spain and theirnames is in the spirit of the metamorphoses. this scholar is another satireof students and intellectuals, like the one that we seen inthe case of sansã³n carrasco;this is even more extreme, this is a really ridiculousscholar who is trying to find out who had the first cold inhistory, if you remember. and so, i also said that inpart ii of the quixote cervantes seems to be signalingas his sources homer,

virgil, ovid and,as we shall see, dante,as if claiming that his work is their worthy successor:that he's in their league, as it were, in common parlance. i will speak about virgil whenwe get to meet altisidora, the character that you willmeet and find very amusing, who is a version of dido. now, this descent into the cavehas antecedents in the odyssey,the aeneid,

and the divine comedy,of course. although there are also sourcesin chivalric romances, this is an adventure on ahigher literary level, this is not just going back toepisodes in the chivalric romances but homer,virgil, dante. there are, of course,also traditional stories about going into caves in all culturesand in all literatures. if you have read your americanliterature you see that in tom sawyer,and huckleberry finn,

and so forth,there are episodes where the characters go into caves,but here, i think, the sources are those that imentioned. going down into the cave has,of course, deep psychological resonances,having to do with don quixote's sexuality,and concomitantly his fear of death. as he enters the cave he has towalk away at the brambles covering the entrance in actionsthat are symbolic or reminiscent

of a deflowering,and the blackbirds that fly away in fright are clearintimations of death; they are bad omens;they have kind of a hitchcock-like air to me,i mean, to modern readers. they, i'm sure,remind you of that very frightening hitchcock filmthe birds. what don quixote experiences inthe cave is a dream and, of course, this aligns it withdream literature. this is clear by his beingasleep when he is pulled back

up,and from the story he tells about falling asleep when hesits down on the coiled up rope within the cave. don quixote says that he wakesup from that sleep, but it is obvious that heawakens within the dream, that this is a dream within adream, another mirror effect. what the dream allows is forthe untrammeled emergence of don quixote's deepest fears in theform of stories related to his

fantasies or drawn from hisfantasies. it is as if he had beenadministered a drug, a truth serum,or as if he had relaxed on the psychoanalyst couch,and allowed himself to free associate. the story of durandarte andbelerma is drawn from the carolingian cycle. remember that i mentioned thevarious cycles of the chivalric romances and the epics and thecarolingian is from charlemagne,

and so forth. they're drawn from thecarolingian cycle and seems to have embedded not only the fearof death, but the fear of castration. all of the characters,except for merlin, are from the ballads of thecarolingian and arthurian cycle: king arthur,charlemagne. the characters are supposed tobe dead and everyone is in mourning, and the procession iskind of a mournful procession

as--like a burial. durandarte's body in the storyhas his heart removed and sent to belerma as a symbol of hisundying love; this is the original story. he asked when he died to havethis heart removed and sent to his beloved. here his castrated cadaver,as it were, appears as the statue grazing his own tombunable to speak. but the veracity of the storyis compromised,

or grotesquely guaranteed,by montesinos' explanation that he has had to salt the heart sothat it will not rot and begin to smell. this destroys the fantasy. i mean, if this great hero hashis heart sent to his beloved, one never thinks that thisheart will be subject to the laws of nature,this is fantasy world; but here, that fantasy isdestroyed and the story-- the veracity of the story,in other words,

can be guaranteed by the factthat they have to salt it so that it won't rot. natural laws threaten thestory's verisimilitude. a jerk-beef heart is not thesame as the heart that symbolizes love,courage and masculinity. the heart, of course,has all of these connotations. so if you think of it as beingmade of jerk-beef all of those connotations are destroyed orbecome grotesque. although time is flexiblewithin the episode its effects

on flesh are present;that is, impinging other aspects. i say that the time is flexibleas was in the episode because, how long was don quixote down? the scholar and sancho say anhour, at most; he says three days! and then there is the issue ofhow long ago these stories occurred, hundreds of years ago,yet these characters are there. so time within the story isflexible, as time tends to be,

as we know, in dreams. we know now from modern studiesin dreams that stories that seem to take a long time actuallytake a few seconds in a dream, and that there is thiscompression that freud talks about,how a dream compresses stories in a very short time. this is intimated here,in that don quixote says that he's been there for three daysand they say only an hour. but the effect of time on fleshis evident.

now, this detail of the effectof time on flesh reveals don quixote's own doubts about thelegitimacy of chivalric legends. i mean, remember,this is a story he himself is telling,so if the story comes up in this subconscious it's becausehe has doubts about the legitimacy of the chivalriclegends. the stories,those of the chivalric legends, violate natural law,hence they are fantastic, as other characters have beentelling him all along,

and all of this seems to havehad an effect on him. now, don quixote is recognizedas a great knight, a constant that began withsansã³n carrasco's revelation of the existence ofpart i, and this is something that willhappen over and again in part ii,that he is recognized as a great knight,but in this case by character's whose own existence is very,very doubtful, and that he himself will doubtfrom now on by asking others

anxiously,like maese pedro's--;like master peter's monkey,if what happened in the cave was real,and by insisting that sancho believe that it was real andstriking deals with him: "i'll believe that if youbelieve the cave of montesinos,"it shows that he's not that sure about it. so their recognition;that is, the recognition of his being a great knight by thesecharacters is hardly an

assurance. i am underlining these doubtsthat the stories reveal about his own fantasies,but the most disturbing part of the story is the appearance ofdulcinea in the guise of the ugly wench that sancho tried tomake him believe was his lady. this is--we know from freud,freud's great book, the interpretation of dreamsthat was published in 1900, when he talks about the remainsof the day, how a dream picks up elementsfrom the previous day and

incorporates them into stories,and this is sort of the remains of the day. now, the appearance of thiswench convinces sancho that don quixote is insane because he wasthe author of that charade, but it also shows to whatextent that episode of the three peasant women has shaken donquixote's own beliefs and probed deep into the sources of his owndesires for dulcinea and of his invention of dulcinea. this peasant dulcinea whosmells of raw garlic,

as you remember,as she smelled of sweat in sancho's earlier story abouther, when he said:'i got next to her and she smelled a little bit because shewas pitching hay or whatever it was.' this peasant dulcinea is,i think, is close to don quixote's own real desire foraldonza lorenzo, the original dulcinea. it seems to be the represseddesire for a vulgar physically

strong sexually aggressiveyounger woman who is the very opposite,in fact, is the co-relative opposite of his idealization ofher. the more vulgar this woman ofhis desires is, the more idealized she willbecome in his fantasy. also, when asked for a loan byher in this hilarious, hilarious part of thestory--the last thing you imagine is for dulcinea askingfor a loan from don quixote-- which is going to be backed up,by the way, the guarantee is an

intimate--an inner garment ofdulcinea's; this is a very elaborateunderskirt of sorts, and it's going to be theguarantee--i mean, these things are highlysexualized. but don quixote is short tworeales: she wants six, but he has only four left togive her. this is a clear sign of hisdeep and repressed fear of sexual inadequacy--it couldn'tbe clearer; you don't have to befreud--which may be the source

of his heroic fantasies. he's old, he feels sexuallyinadequate, so he wants to imagine himself a young vigorousknight who can go and fight and seduce maidens. so sancho's invention in theepisode of the enchanted dulcinea has dug deep into donquixote's dreads and into the source of his fantasies. in this topsy-turvy world ofthe cave there are eerie images of death, also.

i already mentioned theblackbirds at the mouth of the cave. durandarte's cadaver posing asa statue on its own sarcophagus is the eeriest of them all andthe uncanniest, it's an inversion. the statue on a sarcophaguspresumably represents the body of the dead person within it--i'm sure you have been to european cathedrals,where you go and you find all of these sarcophagi and you seeon top the recumbent statue of

the person within it,kings and all of that who are usually like this with theirhands like this, and they have their swords nearthem and all of that-- i find that eerie enough tobegin with, but in any case--here,however, the cadaver is the statue;nature has replaced art, or has become art. do you understand? instead of having arepresentation you have

literally the cadaver on top ofthe sarcophagus. but let us not forget that weare dealing here with death and also in the realm oftemporality; if you remember thatdurandarte's heart was salted so that it would not smell. how can the cadaver replace thestatue and not rot like its heart? art has been taken over bydeath, too; this is what the intimation is.

nothing, not even art,is immune from death in this world of the cave. there may be a pun,a ghoulish pun embedded here: sarcophagus comes from thegreek sarcos, flesh and phagein,to eat. the sarcophagus literally eatsflesh, the flesh of the dead body that it contains,but here the dead body has escaped to become its ownstatue. this is a very baroque image.

we will meet--we will findanother sarcophagus that we will be discussing in the course ofthe next few chapters. now, the stories and imageswithin montesinos cave highlight the central topic of part iidesengaã±o. desengaã±o,as we have seen can mean the destruction of all illusions. when don quixote comes to,after emerging from the cave, he declares,in what is a classic expression of desengaã±o,and this is a quote:

"forgive ye, friends,[he tells the scholar and sancho]for having brought me away from the most pleasing and charminglife and sight, that ever mortal saw or lived. in short, i am now thoroughlysatisfied that all of the enjoyments of this life passaway like a shadow or a dream, and fade away like the flowerof the field. o unhappy montesino! o desperately woundeddurandarte!

o unfortunate belerma! o weeping guadiana! and ye unlucky daughters ofruydera, whose waters show what floods of tears stream from yourfair eyes!" he says a bit later,quote: "i awaked, and found myself,i knew not by what means, in the midst of the finest,pleasantest, and most delightful meadow,that nature could create, or the most pregnant fancyimagined."

unquote. this is the locusamoenus of renaissance, pastoral literature that i havementioned before-- you remember the locusamoenus into which rocinante wanders and falls in love withthe mares and all of that. it is a topic of renaissanceliterature as the most pleasant of place, and this is where helands, and presumably where he has his dream. desengaã±o,as i have been saying,

means to peel away theillusion, the delusion. it is a form of self-analysis,of recognition comparable to the one in today's termsachieved through psychoanalysis. don quixote seems to have divedinto this own subconscious. is this a regressus aduterum, an atavistic return to the womb? that's the latin way of sayingit, return to the womb, regressus ad uterum. it's an atavistic return to thewomb;

i mean, it's trying to get backinto the mother's womb, seeking solace and refuge. don quixote's descent,as we have seen, makes him look harshly uponhimself. it does not completely shakehis beliefs or dispel his madness, but it is a seriousblow, and from now on he will act saner. how can it have beenpleasurable, however? only if one thinks that once inthe cave he was at least in the

living presence of hisfictions-- this was pleasurable--and thatthe disillusionment became repressed,as he experienced it. when he met all of theseelements that threatened his disillusions he repressed themimmediately, and that--as we tend to repressunpleasant experiences-- that he was not aware,as we readers are, that what he experiencedthreatened his beliefs. so he comes back with doubts,but are not conscious doubts.

now, everything seems toconverge in the scene of the montesinos cave:don quixote's belief in the authenticity of the romances ofchivalry and the reality of what he sees when he sees windmills,for instance, are questioned. the topics of the courtly lovetradition, which had filtered into theromances of chivalry tumble through literalization by theirbeing put through the requirements of natural law. i already alluded several timesto durandarte's salted heart;

belerma, for her part,may have looked under the weather because she had hermenstrual period, thought not really it isexplained, because the problem was that she is menopausal. real time, and with it,periodic bodily functions, age and aging and decay havecrept into the world of fiction contained in the cave. no harsher way to dispel theidealization of a renaissance beauty than to imagine hermenstruating or going through

menopause,meaning that she's already aged; imagine botticelli's venus'swith those problems, it's grotesque! it's brilliant;however, to subject these idealizations to temporality,and temporality here means that the age, that they suffer amenstrual period. why would dulcinea need a loan? it is said that need ornecessity is everywhere in passing;the world of magic is invaded

by needs and physical laws andwhat ensues are grotesque images. now, there are many literaryantecedents to the cave of montesinos episode,and i have already mentioned: homer, virgil and dante,but the originality of the episode is not so much thedescent into the cave as that it reveals don quixote'ssubconscious. this is cervantes' way ofshowing us the knight's mind from within, unencumbered byreason.

as such, it seems to be abetter device than the soliloquy in shakespeare or incalderã³n, which are parallel devices toshow what a character's thoughts are: "to be or not tobe", and so forth,and in calderã³n "â¡ay,mã­sero de mã­!"--this is from the life is a dream. it is also more modern andacceptable,

this device in cervantes,to contemporary readers, it seems to me,because no one goes around delivering soliloquies that areperfectly structured rhetorically. i'm sure you haven't heard anyof your friends going around delivering soliloquies that areso poetically well wrought. but telling a dream is a commonactivity, not only to psychoanalysts,you tell your dreams to your friends.

in the episode there is agrotesque combination of fantasy, and not just realitybut the possible, all having to do with the decayof human flesh. but as i have suggested,isn't this also a tale of castration fear? these are the repressed figuresin don quixote's mind. peter dunn, who was a very goodhispanist, a british hispanist who taughtfor many years, at the end of his career atwesley university nearby,

wrote the following in a verygood article on this episode. actually, peter dunn wrote thisarticle in spanish and i'm translating him into english;these are the baroque inversions that you can get inthis course, too. this is what peter dunn said inmy own translation into english: "what is observed,in the cave of montesinos episode, is quixoticism from theinside. he looks at himself in themirror of his madness where comedy and spectator merge andthe enchanter and the enchanted

coalesce. far from offering us an imageof eternity, montesinos' cave constitutes a frozentemporality. don quixote will have to returnto his own bed, and dream the dream of death soalonso quixano can awaken, purged of his dreams and readyto contemplate himself without theater in the mirror ofeternity." this is anticipating the deathof alonso quijano at the end of the book.

anthony cascardi,an american hispanist, links the episode to the dreamargument in descartes and makes quite a few valuableobservations about don quixote as a whole,particularly about the entire debate about the relationshipbetween reality and fantasy. he says:"i see his engagement as with problems of skepticism andepistemology, and more specifically,with the use of fiction as a mode of knowledge of the world.

his response to skepticism andto its complement epistemology is to reject epistemology whileremaining anti-skeptical. but this is only another way ofsaying that its purpose is to affirm the role of fiction inour relationship to the world, which, it might further besaid, is an affirmation of the role of fiction in the task ofphilosophy. cervantes shows that we relateto the world, including the world of our ownexperiences, in ways other than what theepistemologists call knowledge,

and that all we know of theworld cannot be characterized in terms of certainty. cervantes will,to include the imagination and dreams within the range of validhuman experience, within what we call the worldin the broadest sense, free of the caveats of reasonspoints this up." in short--cascardi tends to bea little too philosophical-- in short, that stories,that literature are a form of knowledge and a method ofapproaching knowledge of the

world and of ourselves and a wayto understand both the world and the workings of our own minds. now, psychoanalysis knows this,and this is the reason why freud availed himself of figureslike the oedipus myth, to name mental processes,and, of course, freud acknowledged that hissources in the development and invention of psychoanalysis,as he was really the inventor of it,were literary, and that he learned more fromliterature than from the

nineteenth century science thatpreceded him. so the point is that thesestories in montesinos cave show that stories are valid ways ofapproaching knowledge, knowledge of the world andknowledge of our own minds. and this is what this episode,i think, suggests brilliantly, independently,and also, of course, within the structure of thenovel. so much, for the time being,for the episode of montesinos' cave, to which we will probablyhave to allude a number of times

in succeeding lectures. and we move now to the secondimportant episode that i want to discuss today,and that is master peter's puppet show. now, i have made a crudedrawing on the blackboard that will help me explain theepisode; it is sketchy, i understand;it is more picasso than velã¡zquez,let's put it that way, but you can recognize some ofthe figures: that,

of course is ginã©s depasamonte, that is the speaker,the boy who speaks; that is don quixote;that is sancho, and then the rest of theaudience, and, of course, the puppet show asbest as i could render it. now, the reappearance ofginã©s de pasamonte establishes a concretecontinuity with part i. other than sancho,the women of don quixote's house,the priest and the barber,

ginã©s is the onlycharacter from part i who comes back in part ii. if before ginã©s was arogue picaresque author, a mateo alemã¡n--remembermateo alemã¡n, the author of guzmã¡nde alfarache; remember that i said in thatepisode of the galley slaves when he says he has written hislife, he's a mateo alemã¡n. a mateo alemã¡n,he is now as master peter,

a miniature playwright,a lope de vega in miniature-- remember, lope de vega,cervantes' enemy and the great spanish playwright of theperiod. as both, alemã¡n andlope, ginã©s stands for themodern author, whose not an aristocrat or acleric and has to earn a living from his craft. lope liked to put the "devega" in his last name to pretend that he wasaristocratic,

and he made up fables about hisfamily and all of that, but he was not. ginã©s also stands forcervantes himself, and the whole episode is like alaboratory for fiction to carry out experiments about fiction,as cervantes tends to do, and we have seen. ginã©s is wily;he does not respect literary tradition or rules,and shows the limitations imposed by the medium ofliterature.

like the imagined friend of the1605 prologue-- remember the imagined friendwhom cervantes says comes to visit him and helps him writethat prologue-- this modern author does nothave a conventional or a deep classical education and has torely on compendia and books of familiar quotations for hiserudition. lope was known for this,to get his information here and there pretend that he had read alot. he read a lot,but not in the way that

humanists had read a great deal,and he made it up the way that the friend tells cervantes inthe prologue, to just go and get this bookand that and then just make a list of sources in alphabeticalorder, and that's the way these modernauthors operate. now, ginã©s has now oneeye covered. this is why i have--well,actually i have the wrong eye covered;it's supposed to be the left eye that is covered,so, to be true to him,

we'll uncover this eye andcover this eye, the left eye. he has one covered,presumably the one that pulled in and made him cross-eyed,because he knows that this is a distinctive trait that isdangerous for him to display. he can be spotted,described and nabbed by the holy brotherhood,so he has to disguise himself; this is why he has tocover--it's sort of his signature, his body signaturewhich is that he's cross-eyed,

like having a prominent scar orsomething. remember the description of donquixote that the trooper reads when he's about to arrest him,towards the end of part i, he has a description;so a description of ginã©s will probably beginby saying: he is cross-eyed, so he has to cover that eye tobe safe. ginã©s is a fugitive fromjustice. remember, he is one of thegalley slaves that don quixote set free,so whatever other crimes he

committed to make him be agalley slave, he has also escaped. hence, i quote:"i had forgot to tell you [this is from the book]that this same master peter had his left eye and almost half hischeek covered with a patch of green taffeta,a sign that something ailed all that side of his face." that's from the text of thequixote. but being one-eyed,as it were, even if it is

faked, suggests freshrestrictions that impinge his art because of his limitedperception of reality. i am sort of glossing over myarticle in the casebook that you have read,presumably, by now. this deformity also makes himlook furtive, dangerous, sneaky,and, of course, aesthetically interesting,like the characters in part i and those in velã¡zquez'spaintings. he is no renaissance idealizedmodel of a man,

although it is said severaltimes that he is a gallant and good looking man,but he's cross-eyed. before, ginã©s convergingside access distorted reality--we have gone over this. now, he lacks depth perception,which is very suggestive to the show that he will stage at theinn. ironically, by eliminating oneeye, ginã©s is overcoming the problem of non-convergingsidelines; it is a radical way of doing sobut now he lacks perspective.

remember, that bi-ocular sightyou see with two eyes, therefore you have potentiallya double vision; and there are,because of this, there are,in some cultures, deities that overcome this byhaving a pineal eye, which is an eye in the middleof the forehead that sort of serves to mediate between thesetwo. so, in the case ofginã©s, he is eliminating this eye tohave only one eye,

and therefore only one vision,where before, as a cross-eyed,his access did not meet: they were supposed to meet herebut they don't quite meet, and therefore he saw it in adistorted way, but now with only one eye,as we know, he loses depth. now, the whole episode of thepuppet theater is besides yet another critique of lope devega, a protracted experiment onmimesis like that of princess

micomicona,and not just in literary terms but also in pictorial terms. but as a critique of lopecervantes, again, harps upon the carelessnesswith which lope used history to write his plays. remember the episode with thecanon of toledo where there was a protracted discussion andcritique of lope for just grabbing historical elementspell-mell without being very faithful to history.

when don quixote protests inthe middle of the show that it is wrong to have moors ringingbells instead of kettle drums, master peter answers with whatcontemporaries were surely not to miss as an allusion to lopede vega. it says:"seã±or don quixote, [says ginã©s de pasamontefrom within the puppet theater] do not criticize upon trifles,nor expect that perfection, which is not to be found inthese matters. are there not a thousandcomedies acted almost

everywhere,full of as many improprieties and blunders,and yet they run their career with great success,and are listened to, not only with applause but withadmiration? go on, boy, and let folks talk;[he's now addressing the boy], go on, boy, and let folks talk;for, so i fill my bag. i care not if i represent moreimproprieties than there are motes in the sun." now, this is as clear anallusion to lope de vega as

could be made,and remember that avellaneda, as i mentioned before,may have been a follower and a defender of lope de vega,and this is why he wrote in his prologue such insulting commentsabout cervantes. now, as a laboratory of mimesisthe show that maese pedro and his assistant put on is of aconceptual complexity worthy of the velã¡zquez of lasmeninas and the spinners,which you have seen here. to begin with,we have that the performance of

the puppets is not enough initself, and that master peter's figuresand props require a supplemental oral commentary or narrativeexecuted by his assistant: this is the assistant. i put a little balloon here,as in comic books, because this is what he'ssaying. of course, if i may be allowedto use his convention from comics. so he needs the supplementalnarrative by the

trujamã¡n,was the word of the period. but the visual and verbalrepresentations do not harmonize properly,and both don quijote and ginã©s have to admonishthe boy, who is the author'ssupplementary voiceover. it's like a voiceover in afilm, but it is as if the voiceover and the film imagesdidn't quite mesh. it is a dual performance of theauthor's invention. that is, the author'sinvention, which is

ginã©s,here, is manifested in two ways--which is manifestedvisually and orally at the same time,hoping that they will complement each other. but they do not meshsatisfactorily, as if there were an inherentflaw in the recital that reflects the awkwardness of thetheatrical routine. it's very awkward to representthe stories with these material objects that represent humanbeings,

so what we have here is a veryflawed combination of the oral and the visual trying tocombine, to produce a performance,a satisfactory performance. to produce mimesis,representation, and it is a critique of mimesisand representation; this is what i'm trying to say. don quixote's correction to theboy is significantly made in the language of geometry as appliedto painting. don quixote says:"here don quixote said in

a loud voice:'boy, boy, on with your story in astraight line, and leave your curves andtransversals: for,to come at the truth of a fact, there is often need of proofupon proof'." what could seem like a mererhetorical display on the part of the knight is,on the contrary, of surprising propriety in thecontext of the episode, because the whole effect of thepuppet show depends on a visual

trompe-l'oeil--it's a french expression for a trick,trompe-l'oeil, you use it in english;trampantojo, is an old work in spanish,it's the same, "trampa"and "ojos," trampantojos. we don't use it any more inspanish, we use trompe-l'oeil,the french word, most of the time,but it's based on a visual

trompe-l'oeil or a visualtrick based on perspective, exactly the way that a paintingis organized according to geometrical rules that producethe effect of mass and depth-- i hope you follow this:geometrical rules of the painting,we've talked about the book by alberti,produce the effect of mass and depth by distance. master peter himself,by the way, agrees with don quixote,and his admonition to the boy

also appeals to the language ofgeometry and painting: "boy,none of your flourishes, but do what the gentlemen bidsyou; for that is the surestway." "flourishes"is "dibujos," or drawings,in the original. don quixote and ginã©s'words say more than they know a common occurrence in cervantes,as we have seen many times. the puppet show's effect,its verisimilitude,

is based on a question ofproportions and perspective, and has a great deal to do witha straight a line that don quixote demands that the boynarrator follow without much success. it is a metaphor,of course, to apply straight line to how a story unfolds,a narrative unfolds. the narrative straight line andthe straight line that can be drawn from the spectators to theshow are related. that is, this is the straightline from the spectators to the

show as they look at it,and i'm relating that to the straight line in the story thatdon quixote refers to when he admonishes the boy. if the spectators look directlyat the theater to engage in its fantasy,they have to disregard that at such a short distance humanfigures, horses and buildings,should appear so small, as if they were much furtheraway. perspective has to be assumedas if different geometric

relations between the public andthe tiny actors obtained, as if the geometric physicalrelations between the spectators and the show were different thanthey are because they're so close. the narrator goes through"curves and transversals,"as don quixote calls them, to achieve the illusion ofsimultaneous action taking place,and to hold the spectators attention and approval in thesame way that the theater has to

abuse the rules of geometry tostage the action-- abuses the rules of geometry tostage the action in what is presumably a greater territory,but it is compressed on the stage, and the proportionbetween the various elements, the various--the actors and thehorses and all of that, are not followed. ginã©s cannot vary thefigures dimensions as they come closer or further away from thepublic, the dimensions are a given thatcannot be changed.

this whole ensemble of virtuallines, like those invelã¡zquez's painting, hold up the fiction and itsprops at the same time in front of the audience. the audience here is aware bothof the fiction and of the props that are there to make up thefiction, is what i'm trying to say,as in velã¡zquez's paintings. to sustain the illusion thenarrator not only avails himself

figuratively of the geometricfigures, but also of the rhetoric ofvisions repeating the anaphora like--anaphora is a rhetorical figure when you repeat a word or a turnof phrase: "let us not forget...,let us not forget..., " the orator will repeatsomething like that; that is an anaphora,and here the language of visions in medieval literatureused this figure and the boy says: "prayobserve...,"

"see him now...,""turn your eyes toward...,""now behold...," "do you not see...,""behold now...," "observe that..." what he's really telling them,with all of these repetitions is: but don't actually see whatis really happening, overlook it to be able toaccept the fiction. within the very illusion of ashow we have a kind of mirror duplication of the problem ofperspective and vanishing point.

remember that i talked aboutvanishing point in las meninas about the gentlemanwho's at the very end, who is literally leaving andvanishing, so there would seem to be a punthere. this becomes literal whenmelisandra and don gaiferos, who are on the same horse,gallop desperately running away from the moors towards"la lã­nea de francia,"towards the line dividing france from spain,the border.

so if they are on the horse,here, they're moving towards the back of the stage towards avanishing point, so this is literalized here thevanishing point in the fiction, that is being depicted in thestory. now, all of these tricks manageto confuse don quixote, of course, who predictablylunges towards the action to participate in it,caught in a net of rhetorical and geometrical figures thathave blinded him not letting him see the difference in sizebetween his own body and those

of his enemies:he has lost the sense of proportion,and this is what encourages him other than his madness,of course, to participate in the action. this is, by the way,this scene of don quixote lunging on to the stage,is the one that orson welles used in his attempted film onthe quixote. orson welles never finished hisquixote, but there are parts that hefilmed,

and i spoke about them in asymposium on orson welles here, a couple of years ago,and got to see some of them, and this is one of them,and what he has, the scene takes place in amovie, a movie that is being shown outdoors,actually, and don quixote climbs on the stage and slashesat the screen in this modern adaptation of this famous scene. i think that cervantes projectshimself in ginã©s master peter as author of modernfictions.

as he had already done in thegalley slaves episode in part i, to not overlook that cervanteswas also maimed, like ginã©s is cross-eyedand cervantes, as you remember,had a lesion on his left arm that he couldn't use. ginã©s master peter isstruggling with the hardships of authorship,as it were, by adjusting his ability to perceive reality,hence to represent it. making himself one-eyed,master peter manages to prevent

the problems created by hiscross-eyedness. remember that with two eyes,let alone their being crossed, there are two visions,which may or may not coincide, but certainly will not if he iscross-eyed; we have gone over this. this is the cause of his notbeing able to foresee and ending to hisautobiographyã¢â‚¬â€œremember? he says, 'how can myautobiography be finished if my life is not?'

you could project that as aproblem of vision, too, if autobiography goes thisway and life that way, and you have a vision thatdoesn't allow for a coincidence of the two,that infinitely receding end of the fiction,or infinitely to the end of his life,could be seen as part of his problems with his eyes. with only one eye,however, master peter would be able to look straight throughonly one visual access,

but this is not a happysolution either. to compensate for his loss ofone-half of the visual field he must look sideways:if he has his eye covered he has to look sideways,askew in his head. he cannot achieve a harmoniousvision, and he makes himself more awkward and interesting,hence he cannot represent reality properly. with only one eye master petercannot create a perspective that will correspond to reason,to follow alberti's treatises

on painting that i mentioned. his reading of literarytradition is also askew, like the tilt of his head. we also know that with only oneeye he would also lose his depth perception, which woulddisastrously affect his capacity to create perspective. his rewriting of the melisendraand gaiferos story is fraught with errors, like lope de vega'splays which don quixote tries to correct, as we saw.

only that ideal reader,alonso quijano, who, instead of writingromances of chivalry tried to act one out,can see straight in the lucid nights of his library andperceive fictions that are harmonious and very similarwithin themselves and to himself. don quixote,in the darkness of juan palomeque's inn,by slashing the wineskins, makes the various fictionallevels converge and resolve the

conflictive stories. it is the ability to fuse allof those non-converging levels of fiction that makes cervantessuch a great modern author, whose fictions will not destroythemselves from within, as ginã©s' does here. cervantes' is a happycross-eyedness, because the various lines donot fuse in his imaginative world, yet cohere in some way. to him, the origin of vision isalways already a double vision,

with irony being congenital toit, with representation depending on it. i like to see this wholeepisode of master peter's puppet show as an allegory of the wholeof the quixote, with cervantes the authorhidden inside there, but outside his fiction,which he controls through strings with a voice projectedby an agent, cide hamete benengeli or histranslators, whom he cannot quite controleither.

the story itself,like that of melisandra and gaiferos,is drawn from literary tradition but distorted andrearranged as needed, and the public,we, the readers, are drawn into this fiction,but not completely aware as we are of the artifice of the wholeconstruct. i am moved, romantic that i am,with cervantes' identification with ginã©s,the fugitive from justice, roaming through spainstruggling to make a living with

this fiction making contraption. now, cervantes wraps up thistake on modern literature and its labors in the brilliantscene that closes the episode of master peter's puppet show,the one in which aided by sancho and the innkeeper donquixote compensates the puppeteer for the figurines thathe has smashed. the value of each broken piecedepends on his or her relative importance in the fiction,not on its material value based on the stuff of which it ismade,

plus the workmanship. charlemagne is worth a greatdeal because of who he is in the story, for instance. the real and the fictionalworlds cut through each other here. real money is being paid inrestitution for damages, but the amount of thecompensation is figured on fictional values--do youunderstand what i mean? i mean, a slave,or a peasant,

or a servant would not--afigurine, even if it's beautiful and big, would not cost as muchas that of the king. what cervantes seems to beunderlining here is the value of fictional characters ascreations by their author. how much would a don quixote ora sancho be worth to cervantes? how much a hamlet toshakespeare? how much would it take tocompensate garcã­a mã¡rquez for coronelaureliano buendã­a, or borges for pierre menard?

these are fictional entities,but now they have a real monetary value in a world inwhich literature is becoming a commodity,without ceasing to be, at the same time,one of the great expressions of the human spirit. this scene is reminiscent ofthe one in part i towards the end when restitutions are madeto the barber whose basin has been taken,to the innkeeper for expenses and damages and marriage vowsare exchanged to make up for

fernando's dishonest behaviortowards dorotea. it is a miniaturized scene ofrestitutions, a small-scale repetition ofthat scene in part i. to me, it is as if cervanteswere boasting of how many ways he can rewrite episodes in partii, and he is certainly a master puppeteer himself.

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