Adventures in Paradox: Don Quixote and the Western Tradition

Paperback | January 27, 2004

byCharles D. Presberg

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Cervantes’s Don Quixote confronts us with a series of enigmas that, over the centuries, have divided even its most expert readers: Does the text pursue a serious or comic purpose? Does it promote the truth of history and the untruth of fiction, or the truth of poetry and the fictiveness of truth itself? In a book that will revise the way we read and debate Don Quixote, Charles D. Presberg discusses the trope of paradox as a governing rhetorical strategy in this most canonical of Spanish literary texts.

To situate Cervantes’s masterpiece within the centuries-long praxis of paradoxical discourse in the West, Presberg surveys its tradition in Classical Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the European Renaissance. He outlines the development of paradoxy in the Spanish Renaissance, centering on works by Fernando de Rojas, Pero Mexía, and Antonio de Guevara. In his detailed reading of portions of Don Quixote, Presberg shows how Cervantes’s work enlarges the tradition of paradoxical discourse by imitating as well as transforming fictional and nonfictional models. He concludes that Cervantes’s seriocomic "system" of paradoxy jointly parodies, celebrates, and urges us to ponder the agency of discourse in the continued refashioning of knowledge, history, culture, and personal identity.

This engaging book will be welcomed by literary scholars, Hispanisists, historians, and students of the history of rhetoric and poetics.

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Cervantes’s Don Quixote confronts us with a series of enigmas that, over the centuries, have divided even its most expert readers: Does the text pursue a serious or comic purpose? Does it promote the truth of history and the untruth of fiction, or the truth of poetry and the fictiveness of truth itself? In a book that will revise the w...

Charles D. Presberg is Assistant Professor of Spanish at the University of Missouri-Columbia. His articles have appeared in MLN, Cervantes, Bulletin of the Comediantes, Hispania, Revista de Estudios Hispanicos, and Laberinto.

other books by Charles D. Presberg

Adventures in Paradox: Don Quixote and the Western Tradition
Adventures in Paradox: Don Quixote and the Western Trad...

Kobo ebook|Jan 4 2001

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:264 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.55 inPublished:January 27, 2004Publisher:Penn State University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0271023643

ISBN - 13:9780271023649

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“Adventures in Paradox is an essential study for readers interested in the puzzles of logic and storytelling that Cervantes presents to us.”

—Stephen Rupp, Modern Language Review