Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Mechanisms of Wonder: The Performance of Marvels in Don Quixote Part II

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2021), 98, (1), 23–37.

Abstract

As many Cervantistas have explained, Don Quixote’s imagined reality in Part II of Don Quixote is markedly different from the one presented in Part I of the novel. His adventures are no longer solely the result of his own imagination, but rather carefully crafted and manipulated by secondary characters in the work, perhaps most notably by the duke and duchess. One thing that has not been so well explained in prior criticism, however, is that intimately tied to this manipulation is the production of marvels and spectacular performances. These marvels are objects that arouse the emotion of wonder in their audiences. Each of the three episodes under study involves inanimate objects that seem to possess animacy. Through the presentation of these marvels, Cervantes shows that the intentional manipulation of the senses is an important aspect of producing wonder, for it helps to keep hidden the cause behind the seemingly marvellous object.

Como muchos Cervantistas han explicado, la realidad imaginada de Don Quijote en la segunda parte de Don Quijote es notablemente diferente a la de la primera parte de la novela. Sus aventuras ya no resultan de su propia imaginación, sino que son productos de la manipulación de otros personajes secundarios, principalmente los duques. Un aspecto no muy comentado por la crítica, sin embargo, es que estas manipulaciones están íntimamente entrelazadas a la producción de maravillas y representaciones espectaculares. Estas maravillas son objetos que provocan la emoción de asombro en sus públicos. Cada uno de los tres episodios bajo estudio incluye objetos inanimados que parecen poseer animidad. Por las presentaciones de estas maravillas, Cervantes muestra que la manipulación intencional de los sentidos es un aspecto importante en cuanto a la producción de asombro porque ayuda esconder la causa detrás del objeto supuestamente maravilloso.

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Author details

COLE, CHRISTINA