Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Scepticism and the Humanist Tradition: Cervantes’s ‘La gitanilla’ and Montaigne’s ‘Apologie de Raimond Sebond’

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2019), 96, (1), 17–32.

Abstract

This article investigates Cervantes’s engagement with one of the central questions of scepticism, the problem of the criterion. Through an analysis of how identities are fashioned and proved in ‘La gitanilla’ (1613), I argue that Cervantes taps into the universe of Pyrrhonian scepticism as he creates an antithetical fiction that draws the reader into suspending judgement and questioning dogmatic inferences. I also argue that Cervantes’s sceptical narrative shares a common epistemological concern with the thought and writings of the French philosopher Michel de Montaigne, as evidenced in Montaigne’s sceptical manifesto, the ‘Apologie de Raimond Sebond’ (1580).

Este ensayo investiga la manera en que Cervantes emplea una de las cuestiones centrales de la filosofía escéptica, el problema del criterio de la verdad. A través de un análisis de cómo se construyen y prueban las identidades en ‘La gitanilla’ (1613), demuestro que Cervantes penetra el universo del escepticismo pirrónico mientras crea una ficción antitética que le invita al lector a suspender el juicio y cuestionar sus inferencias dogmáticas. También argumento que la narrativa escéptica de Cervantes comparte las preocupaciones epistemológicas expresadas en el pensamiento y escritura del filósofo francés Michel de Montaigne, como se evidencia en su manifiesto escéptico, la ‘Apologie de Raimond Sebond’ (1580).

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Author details

Sherman, Kátia