From: Cervantes: Bulletin of the Cervantes Society of America 8.1 (1988): 115-18.
Copyright © 1988, The Cervantes Society of America


Ruth El Saffar, ed. Critical Essays on Cervantes. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1986. vi + 220 pp.

     Ruth El Saffar's contribution to the G. K. Hall series makes available in English a carefully selected set of critical studies on Cervantes's works. Faced with the difficult task of choosing a representative variety of critical approaches from the vast field of Cervantine studies, her edition has provided a balanced overview of the development of modern Cervantine criticism and has indicated some current directions in research. A fair proportion of the essays selected, therefore, deal with the interrelated nature of the critical enterprise and seek new implications for the exchange between author and reader in Cervantes's works. Of the eighteen essays included, three have been translated to English for the first time and two others were written specifically for the collection. The reprinted essays might be considered classics of Cervantine criticism even though several of them were published relatively recently. El Saffar's edition does not duplicate any of the essays found in the earlier and briefer collection in English by Lowry Nelson (1969), and it provides a greater range of critical approaches than can be found in another recent grouping of studies on Cervantes edited by Harold Bloom (1987). Additional benefits for students in El Saffar's collection are a brief yet pertinent bibliography of critical works and an insightful introduction in which she indicates several important works of Cervantine criticism which were too lengthy or otherwise not adaptable for inclusion in her edition.
     A general historical overview to Cervantine studies is provided by the first essay in the series, Helmut Hatzfeld's “Thirty Years of Cervantes Criticism” (1947). Appropriate to the tone of El Saffar's collection, the article emphasizes that each individual sees Don Quixote according to his spirit or that of his generation. The remaining essays are arranged in the edition to comply with the chronological order in which Cervantes's works were published. Jennifer Lowe's “The Cuestión de Amor and the Structure of Cervantes's Galatea” (1966) argues against criticism that judges the narrative of Cervantes's first published work to be too frequently interrupted and too confusing in structure. Lowe shows how the variations on cuestiones de amor in the Galatea provide thematic and structural unity to the work, and she reminds us that sixteenth-century readers would have enjoyed the structural challenges presented by the cuestiones and other familiar topics. A more recent study by



Mary Gaylord Randel, “The Language of Limits and the Limits of Language: The Crisis of Poetry in La Galatea” (1982), reveals how Cervantes's contradictory stance on poetry constitutes a pastoral paradox. Contrary to the expressed purpose of the Galatea and to the generically privileged position of poetry in the pastoral, Cervantes's text ultimately reveals the insufficiency of verse.
     Opening the set of essays on Don Quixote is Luis Murillo's historical survey, “Cervantic Irony in Don Quijote: The Problem for Literary Criticism” (1966). Commencing his study with the eighteenth century and ending with the analysis of Américo Castro, Murillo traces the evolution of the concept of irony which modern readers and critics take for granted. “Partial Magic in the Quixote” (1952 in Spanish) by Jorge Luis Borges points out what writers as well as readers have found so fascinating and yet so disturbing in the Quixote: if Don Quixote is a reader of the Quixote, we as readers can be fictitious. Dámaso Alonso in “Oscillation in the Character of Sancho” (1969) shows that Sancho waivers between roguishness and idealism throughout the entire Quixote and that his fluctuating identity is more complex than initially thought. An essay treating the novel's other central character is Charles Aubrun's “The Reason of Don Quixote's Unreason” (1972). Aubrun explores the socio-economic motives that could explain the early adventures of Lord Quixada I Quesada. Javier Herrero discusses the thematic relevance of the interpolated tales and the role of Don Quixote in Part I of the novel in his study “Sierra Morena as Labyrinth: From Wildness to Christian Knighthood” (1981). With Don Quixote's moral victory in the battle of the wineskins and with the transformation of Cervantes's characters from a labyrinthine state of moral confusion to one of harmonious love and friendship, Christian humanistic values are seen to triumph over courtly and Neoplatonic conceptions of love. In “Don Quixote: Story or History” (1981), Bruce W. Wardropper describes the confused notions of history in Cervantes's era in order to reveal how the author of Don Quixote focuses on the ill-defined frontier between history and story or that between truth and uncertainty. On a related topic, George Haley reveals that Cervantes's narrative strategies warn the reader to beware of fiction passing as history. His essay, “The Narrator in Don Quijote: Maese Pedro's Puppet Show,” explores how the interplay of story, storyteller, and reader in the novel are repeated on a smaller scale in one of Don Quixote's adventures. Marthe Robert casts light on the problematic relationship between Cervantes and his character Don Quixote. In “Doubles” (1963 in French), she describes the Cervantine process of character creation as a doubling activity in which the author continually disguises himself. Michel Foucault's “Don Quixote in the Lettered World” (1966 in French) recognizes Cervantes's novel as the first modern work of literature for its exposure of the arbitrary relationship between things and words, and for its modern concepts of textuality. The only article dealing with Cervantes's shorter prose fiction works is William C. Atkinson's essay, “Cervantes, El Pinciano, and the Noaelas ejemplares” (1948). Atkinson discusses the Novelas as a series of Cervantine experimentations on the difficult relationship between art and reality.

8 (1988) Review 117

Another study demonstrating Cervantes's literary range is Elias Rivers's “Cervantes's Journey to Parnassus” (1970). Rivers shows how Cervantes's satirical burlesque and self-deprecating irony in the mockepic Viaje del Parnaso are part of the poet's attempt to secure his public image as author and critic of poetry.
     The first of two studies on Cervantes's theater is Jean Canavaggio's “Cervantine Variations on the Theme of Theater within the Theater” (1972). His article explores the ways in which the Cervantine interplay of main action and framed action is infinitely richer than the mere use of the technical device. The essay “Writing for Reading: Cervantes's Aesthetics of Reception in the Entremeses” was written by Nicholas Spadaccini specifically for the El Saffar edition. Spadaccini argues that Cervantes undermines the established definition of the comic genre entremés by redefining its receptors as readers for whom the predictable reception for the public performance of a work is likely to be circumvented through the subversive act of private reading. Basing his arguments chiefly on El retablo de las maravillas, Spadaccini attempts to show how Cervantes's “demystification” of the privileged position held by Old Christian landed peasants in the official culture and in comedias such as Lope's Peribáñez is made possible by redirecting his entremés to an ideal reader rather than to the theater-going common man. The altered horizon of expectations for his receptors thus enables Cervantes to textualize material drawn from folklore and from his own personal reflections about contemporary Spanish society and to redirect it without suffering an “otherwise predictable trivialization of the material.” While Spadaccini's study offers some interesting insights on Cervantes as playwright, his thesis rests upon an overly generalized conception of the comedia's portrayal of the Spanish peasant, a view which critical research continues to debunk. In addition, his assumptions about audience reception overlook complex issues of performance theory as well as the opinions of Cervantes's ecclesiastical contemporaries who held that theater was the most subversive genre.
     Alban Forcione's excerpted essay “The Christian Romance Structure of Cervantes's Persiles” (1972) contributes to our understanding of the thematic and symbolic unity of Cervantes's posthumous novel by showing that the Persiles had a coherence of its own. Forcione reveals how the sequencing of adventures repeats the cyclical pattern of the Persiles's overall quest and how its structure is animated by the spirit of orthodox Christianity. The final article of the collection and the second one written especially for it is Diana Wilson's study on the Persiles, “Uncanonical Nativities: Cervantes's Perversion of Pastoral.” Centering her discussion about the episode of Feliciana de la Voz, Wilson shows how that character's acquisition of a female narrative voice has ramifications for our critical readings of the entire work. Wilson points out that Cervantes's ironic intertextuality strategically sets Feliciana's narration of her delivery of an illegitimate child alongside two subtexts of parturition: that of the Virgin Mary and that of Ovid's mythical Myrrha. Feliciana's voiced story thus constitutes a significant contrast to the speechless deliveries of Mary and Myrrha and to the silence of women in the


Barbaric Isle of the Persiles. Revelations such as these on Cervantes's experiments with new narrative strategies in his last work make Wilson's study a valuable contribution to Cervantine studies.
     In sum, this excellent collection of essays organized by Ruth El Saffar will make accessible to students in humanities courses a wide variety of critical studies in English on Cervantes's works, and it will also serve Cervantine scholars as a handy source for many classic essays

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Fred Jehle

Publications of the CSA


From: Cervantes: Bulletin of the Cervantes Society of America 8.1 (1988): 118-22.
Copyright © 1988, The Cervantes Society of America


Cervantes, Miguel de. The Adventures of Don Quixote de la Mancha. Translated by Tobias Smollett with an introduction by Carlos Fuentes. New York: Farrar, Straws and Giroux, 1986. xxxi + 846 pages.

     Smollett's translation of Don Quixote first appeared in London in 1755. It is historically important, for it is one of the principal versions in which Cervantes's novel was known to several generations of English and American readers. Its chief rival was its immediate predecessor, the translation by Charles Jarvis (his name appears in some editions as Jervas), which appeared in 1742, three years after the translator's death. Jarvis's translation was often reprinted throughout the nineteenth century and well into the twentieth. During the latter half of the nineteenth century, it was more popular than Smollett's. Mary Wagoner's checklist of Smollett's works (New York, 1984) lists more than thirty complete editions of his Don Quixote by 1839. Smollett's translation was reprinted only once more, in 1858, and then not again until its republication in 1986 by André Deutsch in England and by Farrar, Straws and Giroux in the United States.
     Smollett includes Cervantes's prologues to both parts, and the aprobaciones for Part II by Marqués Torres, Gutiérrez de Cetina, and Joseph de Valdivielso. He omits the aprobaciones for Part I, as well as Cervantes's dedication of Part I to the Duke of Béjar and that of Part II to the Count of Lemos. These omissions hardly lessen the value of the book to the general reader for whom it is intended, but Smollett's failure to include the burlesque verses with which Part I both begins and ends is more serious, since the verses help to shape the reader's response to the narrative enclosed within them. The omission is surprising in that Smollett, like other eighteenth-century readers but unlike many modern ones, must have regarded Don Quixote primarily as a comic work.
     Carlos Fuentes's Introduction goes over familiar ground gracefully and intelligently. The English text is often awkward; readers of Cervantes will


8 (1988) Review 119

probably prefer to consult the longer Castilian version in Fuentes's Cervantes o la crítica de la lectura (Mexico City, 1976).
     I have reservations about the wisdom of telling readers who have not yet experienced Don Quixote for themselves that “we shall never know what it is that the goodly gentleman puts on his head: the fabled helm of Mambrino, or a vulgar barber's basin” (p. xviii). As Richard Predmore pointed out years ago, the reader is given absolutely no reason to doubt that what Don Quixote puts on his head is indeed an ordinary barber's basin. I have similar reservations about Fuentes's assertion that Don Quixote “forces” many of the other characters, among them Dorotea in her role as Princess Micomicona, the Duke and Duchess, and Sansón Carrasco in his role as the Knight of the Mirrors, “to enter, disguised as themselves, the immense universe of the reading of Don Quixote” (p. xxii). This seems to me true only of Doña Rodriguez, of Sancho in his role as governor of Barataria, and perhaps of Sansón Carrasco. All the others remain clearly aware of the distance that separates the roles they play in their dealings with Don Quixote from their real selves.
     Not everyone will share Fuentes's conviction that Américo Castro is “the greatest modern interpreter of Spanish history” (p. xxv), a conviction that leads him to assert that the Libro de buen amor “saves and translates into Spanish the literary influences of the Caliphate of Córdoba” and to call La Celestina “the masterpiece of Jewish Spain.” Nor will everyone agree that “Don Quixote is the most Spanish of all novels. Its very essence is defined by loss, impossibility, a burning quest for identity, a sad conscience [sic, for 'consciousness'] of all that could have been and never was, and, in reaction to this deprivation, an assertion of total existence in a realm of the imagination, where all that cannot be in reality, finds, precisely because of this factual negation, the most intense level of truth” (pp. xxiii-xxiv). These are the clichés of a good deal of older Spanish Quixote criticism, with a dash of Castro added to make them more exciting.
     Smollett certainly did not read Don Quixote in this way. He was writing well before the birth of that “romantic approach” to Cervantes's novel which, as Anthony Close has shown, has dominated Quixote criticism for the last two centuries. In a note setting forth his aims as a translator, he says that he has attempted “to maintain that ludicrous solemnity and selfimportance by which the inimitable Cervantes has distinguished the character of Don Quixote without raising him to the insipid rank of a dry philosopher, or debasing him to the melancholy circumstances and unentertaining caprice of an ordinary madman” (p. 19).
     In fact, Smollett's conviction that he was engaged in translating an essentially comic text would be hard to infer from his translation, though one gets an occasional glimpse of it in his notes. The best example is perhaps the long and heavily ironic note on “duelos y quebrantos” (pp. 27-28) which ends: “Having considered this momentous affair with all the deliberation it deserves, we in our turn present the reader, with cucumbers, greens and pease-porridge, as the fruit of our industrious researches, being thereunto determined, by the literal signification of the text, which is not 'grumblings

120 THOMAS R. HART Cervantes

and groanings,' as the last mentioned ingenious annotator seems to think; but rather pains and breakings; and evidently points at such eatables as generate and expel wind; qualities (as everybody knows) eminently inherent in those vegetables we have mentioned as our hero's Saturday repast” (pp. 27-28). It is easy to see why Allison Peers, writing on “Cervantes in England” in the Bulletin of Spanish Studies in 1947, says that “Smollett's art, though by no means despicable, was completely unlike [Cervantes's]. His style is vigorous and hearty; his humor, broad to the point of farce, and often extremely coarse.” But Smollett's note on the phrase he mistranslates as “gripes and grumblings” is quite exceptional. His heartiness and coarseness, however evident in his own novels, are rarely perceptible in his translation, precisely because it is on the whole a very faithful one.
     In the Preface to his English version of Ovid's Epistles (1680), John Dryden divides translations into three classes: metaphrase, paraphrase, and imitation, the freest of the three. Dryden defines metaphrase as “turning an author word by word, and line by line, from one language into another.” Paraphrase is “translation with latitude, where the author is kept in view by the translator, so as never to be lost, but his words are not so strictly followed as his sense, and that too is admitted to be amplified, but not altered.” On this scale, Smollett's Don Quixote lies somewhere between metaphrase and paraphrase. Such a conception of translation leaves little leeway for the translator to impose his own conception of the character of the original.
     The late Reuben Brower remarked in a fine essay (“Seven Agamemnons,” reprinted in his Mirror on Mirror: Translation, Imitation, Parody, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1974) that “the translator, in seeking to preserve a kind of anonymity, in seeking to eliminate himself —to let his author speak— often finds that the voice which actually speaks is that of his own contemporaries.” Brower notes that “this twofold character of anonymity and ‘contemporaneousness’ can be illustrated from famous translations in which several writers have taken part. A reader quite familiar with Dryden will find it impossible to distinguish Dryden's own translations of Juvenal from those of his helpers. What reader of Pope's Homer could confidently separate —on internal evidence alone— the passages by Pope from those supplied by Broome and Fenton? . . . If we should define the poetry of Pope or Dryden from their translations alone, we should find we were omitting most of what distinguishes them from their contemporaries.” Brower's point is of special relevance to Smollett, since it has been alleged that his translation of Don Quixote is merely a revision of Jarvis's. The accusation was first made by Alexander Tytler (Lord Woodhouselee) in his Essay on the Principles of Translation (1791) and has often been repeated. Carmine R. Linsalata, in Smollett's Hoax (Stanford, 1956), added the charge that the translation is in any case not Smollett's own work, but that of a team of hack writers hired to do the work for him; Smollett lent only his name, made famous by the publication in 1748 of Roderick Random. Linsalata's book is unconvincing, as A. A. Parker pointed out in a brief but incisive review in Modern Language Review (1959). In the light of Brower's view that anonymity and contemporaneousness characterize

8 (1988) Review 121

most translations, Smollett's dependence on Jarvis, like the possible existence of what Linsalata calls “Smollett's hack school,” seems important primarily to students of Smollett's life rather than to readers of his translation.
     I believe that some reference to the controversy over Smollett's share in the preparation of his translation should have been made in this reissue, perhaps in a brief note to the reader following Fuentes's Introduction. Such a note might also have said something about the interpretations of Don Quixote current in England in the eighteenth century, with a reference to the studies by Anthony Close. Readers might well have been reminded that Smollett's translation appeared a quarter of a century before the first annotated edition of Cervantes, that of the Reverend John Bowie (1781), and cautioned that Smollett's admiring account of “The Life of Cervantes” (pp. 1-18) contains a number of inaccuracies. Finally, it would have been helpful to warn non-specialist readers of the occasional errors in Smollett's notes by adding a sentence or two in brackets to those that need correction. A brief selective bibliography would also have been useful.
     Like other English versions of Cervantes's masterpiece, Smollett's falls short on two main counts. One is that it fails to render the wide range of stylistic levels in the original. Smollett does not attempt to reproduce the archaisms of Don Quixote's address to the women he finds outside the door of the inn (I. 2) and hence leaves the reader wondering why they failed to understand him. Nor does he capture the difference in stylistic level, beautifully analyzed by Erich Auerbach in Mimesis, between Sancho's address to 'the peasant girl that he persuades Don Quixote is Dulcinea and her brusque reply: “Apártense nora en tai del camino, y déjenmos pasar” (II.10).
     The second deficiency of Smollett's translation, again one it shares with other versions, is that it fails to capture the sense of fun in playing with the possibilities of language that sometimes makes Cervantes as hard to render into English as Rabelais. Names like Alifanfarón de Taprobana, Pentapolín del Arremangado Brazo, Brandabarbarán de Boliche, and Alfeñiquén del Algarbe, all from a single chapter (I. 18), are just on the far side of sense while remaining marvelously evocative, like the erotic glíglico invented by La Maga in Cortázar's Rayuela. Like other translators, Smollett usually leaves proper names alone, though sometimes he tries to find an English equivalent, as in “Don Godamercy of Mont-alban” (p. 55), “the brown mountain” for la Sierra Morena (pp. 193, 217) Elsewhere, Smollett keeps the Spanish name (p. 182). Sancho's deformation of Cide Hamete Berenjena becomes “Cid Hamet Bean-and-jelly, . . . for I have often heard that the Moors are very fond of beans and jellies” (p. 438).
     Smollett's translation is on the whole readable and reasonably accurate. His errors are neither so numerous nor so grave as to lead the reader seriously astray. Some apparent errors must be attributed not to Smollett's lack of linguistic competence but to the deficiencies of the editions available to him. A case in point is his rendering of “la batalla que el valiente de Tirante hizo con el alano” as “the battle fought between Alano and the valiant Detriante” (p. 55). Juan de la Cuesta's first edition of 1605 similarly reads “el

122 THOMAS R. HART Cervantes

Alano” and “Detriante”; the emendation found in our modern editions was first proposed by Bowle in 1781.
     The slightly archaic flavor that Smollett's translation now has for English or American readers ought perhaps to be counted a virtue, since it may approximate the impression a Spanish reader gets from Cervantes's original. No reader familiar with Fielding or Sterne will find it difficult. Certainly it is much easier to read than Thomas Shelton's version (Part I, 1612; Part II, 1620), clear evidence that English has changed far more than Spanish since Cervantes's day. Anthony Close has argued persuasively that eighteenthcentury readers understood Cervantes's aims better than we do, and this may be still another reason for preferring Smollett's Don Quixote to the twentieth-century translations by Samuel Putnam and J. M. Cohen or to Joseph Jones and Kenneth Douglas's revision of John Ormsby's nineteenth-century version, though, as I have suggested, Smollett's interpretation of Don Quixote can hardly be inferred from his translation alone.
     Cervantistas have good reason to be glad that Smollett's Don Quixote is now available again both in a handsome hardcover edition and in paperback.

University of Oregon

Fred Jehle

Publications of the CSA


From: Cervantes: Bulletin of the Cervantes Society of America 8.1 (1988): 123.
Copyright © 1988, The Cervantes Society of America


     José M. Casasayas has requested that we publish the following list of errors and omissions that occurred in the printing of his article “La edición definitiva de las obras de Cervantes” (Cervantes VI, 2). The text as printed is enclosed in quotes; corrections are in bold type.

     p. 144, n. 5, 1. 3: Entre “selectas, DQ2” añadir: “selectas, DQ = Don Quijote ambas partes, DQl = Don Quijote primera parte (1605), DQ2.”
     Ibidem, ú1t. 1.: Donde dice: “de la primera o de la segunda,” añadir: “de la primera edición o de la segunda.”
     p. 148, n.20: “Cuesta I la.” debe “ser Cuesta I 2d.”.
     p. 148, n.24, 1. 2: “28 caps.).” debe decir “25 caps.).”.
     p. 149 Is. 415: Donde dice “1616-Mey, I DQ2 ésta”, debe decir: “1616-Mey, I DQ2:Li-1616-Rodríguez, ésta”.
     p. 150, n.31, 1. 3: La fecha “1774” debe ser “1774”.
     p. 151, n.35, 1. 4: La fecha “188” debe ser “198”.
     Ibidem, l.-2: “DQ:Bu-1804” debe ser “DQ:Bur-1804”.
     p. 157, n.52, ú1t. 1.: “imperó” debe it en plural: “imperaron”.
     p. 159, 1. 2: “sigue la más” léase “sigue siendo la más”.
     p. 160, n.60, ap° Mendizábal: “1053-Fax 92d edi-” debe decir: “1953-Fax (2d edi-”.
     p. 161, n.60, ap° Riquer, 1.2: “DQ:B-1953-Juventud” debe enmendarse por “DQ:B-1958-Juventud”, y
     Ibidem, ú1t. 1., que dice “Kapelusz (1a ed. en “Clásicos Universales Planeta”);” debe decir así: “Kapelusz (la edición en col. “Grandes Obras de la Lit. Univ:'), DQ:B-1974-Juventud (10a edición en col. “Libros de Bolsillo Z”), DQ:B-1975-Juventud (lo- edición en col. “Para Todos”), DQ:B-1975-Planeta (la edición en col. “Hispánicos Planeta”), DQ:B-1980-Planeta (la edición en col. “Clásicos Univ. Planeta”);”.
     p. 168, n. 72: “de DQ” (l.7) debe ser “del DQl”, y “del DQ”(l.9) debe ser “del DQl”.
     p. 172, n. 73, 1. 5: Entre “excepción vosses / mercès,”, añadir “excepción vossa / mercè y su plural vosses mercès,”.
     p. 176, 1. 18: Entre “etc., lemas” añadir: “etc., interesados en conocer, aparte de los problemas”.
     p. 184, item 2a, ls. 7 18: “a- / hora” debe it sin el guión y decir simplemente “a / hora”.
     Ibidem, 1. 3: El primer “ANSIMESMO” debe ser “ANSIMISMO”.
     p. 184, n. 87, 1. 3: El primer “asi mismo” de los dos entre paréntesis debe ser “asimismo”.
     p. 187: El párrafo “Bien . . . empresa.” no debe ir sangrado.
     p. 188, párr.b), ú1t. l.: El “quique” del aforismo latino debe ser, naturalmente, “cuique”.


Fred Jehle Publications of the CSA HCervantes