Judith Stallings-Ward [C]ada cosa de por sí y todas juntas, me suspendieron y admiraron. [E]ach [thing] separately and all of them in combination, astonished and bewildered me. --Don Quixote on the Cave of Montesinos This essay proposes an oblique reading of the Cave of Montesinos episode (Book II, chaps. 2223) that discerns several Erasmian references.1 Unlike earlier scholarship, which either detects a philosophical affinity between Don Quixote and Erasmus's Praise of Folly or dismisses any substantial link between the two authors, this paper makes a case for reading the cave episode as a foil to the Enchiridion militis christiani [Manual for the Christian Knight], a work to which Cervantes did have access, as I will indicate. The rhetorical figures of metaphor and metonymy inherent in the symbolic process of the episode's dream pull in opposite directions, leaving the meaning of key images and characters--among them the dagger and Montesinos--unstable and ambiguous.2 By undertaking to maintain the opposing perspectives simultaneously, the reader will see how those Erasmian references are camouflaged by a type of anamorphosis not unusual in seventeenth-century Spanish letters. The ambiguous and unstable nature of these references is an indication of the artistic and political climate informing
Comparative Literature Studies – Penn State University Press
Published: Jun 12, 2006
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