Beneath the Fiction: The Contrary Worlds of Cervantes's by Wiliam H. Clamurro

By Wiliam H. Clamurro

Cervantes's Novelas ejemplares rival Don Quijote in complexity and value. This booklet analyzes all twelve novelas, trying to light up the inherent tensions among the often affirmative resolutions and classes proposed via Cervantes's narrators, at the one hand, and the inescapable socio-cultural dissonances and ironies of tale and language, at the different. This studying of the complete assortment finds the richness and complexity of a few of the less-studied novelas in addition to the impressive modernity (or postmodernity) of the ultimate textual content.

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THE FRONTIERS OF IDENTITY 43 entire process is only completed with the fourth and final stage, the moment in the middle of Ricardo's speech when-after renouncing his suit of Leonisa in favor of Cornelio's pretensions-he realizes that he has no authority over Leonisa. Ricardo's magnanimous gesture of stepping aside and relinquishing his claims to Leonisa, followed by his more enlightened realization that Leonisa is not and never has been within his power to give to someone else, thus symbolizes his transformation.

4 Concerning the theme of identity, the action of the novela traces a process by which Ricardo comes to be worthy of Leonisa and also transcends his own egocentrism. One might schematize the process as follows: in the first stage, Ricardo (in the sea-side garden, or picnic, confrontation scene) finds himself "out of his senses," or as we might say, alienated from from an adequate self-awareness. " In this part of the story he endures captivity, is forced to be patient, and as a result goes through a process of change.

The question of why Preciosa's happy restoration coincides with, or requires, a dramatic silencing of her verbal and personal autonomy and the implications of this radical change have been much discussed. 24 One might imagine or argue that her initial qualities of willfulness and independence of spirit will be maintained despite her return to this radically different social realm. Conversely, one could state that Cervantes, in "restoring" Preciosa, has subtly rejected and expelled a dangerous degree of feminine liberty, just as he rejects the values of the gypsy world.

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