Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

‘El curioso impertinente’ as Empiricism's Folly

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2014), 91, (5), 477–492.

Abstract

This article proposes a new model for interpreting ‘El curioso impertinente’, the interpolated novela in El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha (1605). After underscoring the difficulties of relating the Quijote to sixteenth-century scepticism, I show how the ‘Curioso’ is ideal for a treatment of epistemological questions. I argue that the novela gives fictional life to an epistemology of experimentation similar to what Francis Bacon presents in The Advancement of Learning (1605). In The Advancement of Learning, Bacon warns against the dangers of applying his empirical methods to questions of faith. ‘El curioso impertinente’ shows that these concerns are justified.

Access Token
£25.00
READ THIS ARTICLE
If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Arbesú Fernández, David, 2005. ‘Auctoritas y experiencia en "El curioso impertinente"’, Cervantes, 25.1: 23-43. ‘Auctoritas y experiencia en "El curioso impertinente"’ Cervantes 25 23 43 Google Scholar

Ariosto, Ludovico, 1960 [1516]. Orlando furioso, ed. Santorre Debenedetti and Cesare Segre (Bologna: Commissione per i Testi di Lingua). Orlando furioso Google Scholar

Ashworth, E. J., 1974. Language and Logic in the Post-Medieval Period (Dordrecht, Holland: D. Reidel). Language and Logic in the Post-Medieval Period Google Scholar

Avalle-Arce, Juan Bautista, 1975. Nuevos deslindes cervantinos (Barcelona: Editorial Ariel). Nuevos deslindes cervantinos Google Scholar

Bacon, Francis, 1974 [1605]. The Advancement of Learning and New Atlantis, ed. Arthur Johnston (Oxford: Clarendon Press). The Advancement of Learning and New Atlantis Google Scholar

Bacon, Francis, 2000 [1620]. The New Organon, ed. Lisa Jardine and Michael Silverthorne (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press). The New Organon Google Scholar

Blumenberg, Hans, 1983. The Legitimacy of the Modern Age, trans. Robert M. Wallace (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press). The Legitimacy of the Modern Age Google Scholar

Castro, Américo, 1925. El pensamiento de Cervantes (Madrid: Hernando). El pensamiento de Cervantes Google Scholar

Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel de, 1978 [1605]. El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha, ed. Luis Andrés Murillo (Madrid: Castalia). El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha Google Scholar

Concilii Tridentini Actorum, 1965, ed. Stephanus Ehses., 2nd ed. 13 vols. (Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany: Societas Goerresiana). Google Scholar

Descartes, René, 1988. Selected Philosophical Writings, trans. John Cottingham et al. (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press). Selected Philosophical Writings Google Scholar

Durán, Manuel, 1995. ‘From Fool's Gold to Real Gold: Don Quixote and the Golden Helmet’, in Studies in Honor of Donald W. Bleznick, ed. Delia V. Galván et al. (Newark, DE: Juan de la Cuesta), pp. 17-31. Studies in Honor of Donald W. Bleznick 17 31 Google Scholar

Fernández-Santamaría, José A., 1990. Juan Luis Vives: escepticismo y prudencia en el Renacimiento (Salamanca: Universidad de Salamanca). Juan Luis Vives: escepticismo y prudencia en el Renacimiento Google Scholar

Forcione, Alban, 1982. Cervantes and the Humanist Vision (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press). Cervantes and the Humanist Vision Google Scholar

Gerli, E. Michael, 2000. ‘Truth, Lies, and Representation: The Crux of "El curioso impertinente"’, in Cervantes for the 21st Century, ed. Francisco la Rubia Prado (Newark, DE: Juan de la Cuesta), pp. 107-22. Cervantes for the 21st Century 107 22 Google Scholar

Ife, B. W., 2005. ‘Cervantes, Herodotus and the Eternal Triangle: Another Look at the Sources of "El curioso impertinente"’, Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, 82.5: 671-81. ‘Cervantes, Herodotus and the Eternal Triangle: Another Look at the Sources of "El curioso impertinente"’ Bulletin of Hispanic Studies 82 671 81 Google Scholar

Ihrie, Maureen, 1982. Skepticism in Cervantes (London: Tamesis). Skepticism in Cervantes Google Scholar

Krueger, Alison E., 2009. ‘Cervantes's Laboratory: The Thought Experiment of "El curioso impertinente"’, Cervantes, 29.1: 117-65. ‘Cervantes's Laboratory: The Thought Experiment of "El curioso impertinente"’ Cervantes 29 117 65 Google Scholar

Lorca, Daniel, 2010. ‘The Function of Skepticism in Part I of Don Quijote’, Cervantes, 30.2: 115-48. ‘The Function of Skepticism in Part I of Don Quijote’ Cervantes 30 115 48 Google Scholar

Mahoney, Edward P., and James B. South, 1998. ‘Aristotelianism, Renaissance’, in Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. E. Craig. Routledge. [Online.] Available at: http://www.rep.routledge.com (accessed: 15 May 2012). http://www.rep.routledge.com Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy Google Scholar

Mancing, Howard, 2006. ‘Camila's Story’, Cervantes, 25.1: 9-22. ‘Camila's Story’ Cervantes 25 9 22 Google Scholar

Marías, Julián, 1955. ‘La pertinencia de "El curioso impertinente"’, in Ensayos de convivencia (Buenos Aires: Sudamericana), pp. 233-39. Ensayos de convivencia 233 39 Google Scholar

Moréri, Louis, 1759. ‘Sanchez, François’. Le Grand dictionnaire historique.The ARTFL Project. Available at: http://artfl-project.uchicago.edu/content/dictionnaire-de-moréri (accessed 19 May 2012). http://artfl-project.uchicago.edu/content/dictionnaire-de-moréri ‘Sanchez, François’ Le Grand dictionnaire historique. The ARTFL Project Google Scholar

Parker, Alexander, 1948. ‘El concepto de la verdad en "El Quijote"’, Revista de Filología Española, 32: 287-305. ‘El concepto de la verdad en "El Quijote"’ Revista de Filología Española 32 287 305 Google Scholar

Patin, Guy (ed.), 1703. ‘Franciscus Sanchez’. Patiniana. 2nd ed. (Amsterdam: François van der Plats), p. 98. Patiniana 98 Google Scholar

Popkin, Richard, 1991. ‘Theories of Knowledge’, in The Cambridge History of Renaissance Philosophy, ed. Charles B. Schmitt and Quentin Skinner (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press), pp. 668-84. The Cambridge History of Renaissance Philosophy 668 84 Google Scholar

Popkin, Richard, 2003. The History of Scepticism: From Savonarola to Bayle (Oxford: Oxford University Press). The History of Scepticism: From Savonarola to Bayle Google Scholar

Sanches, Francisco, 1988 [1581]. Quod nihil scitur, ed. Elaine Limbrick and Douglas F. S. Thomson, trans. Douglas F. S. Thomson (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press). Quod nihil scitur Google Scholar

Schmaltz, Tad M., 1996. Malebranche's Theory of the Soul (Oxford: Oxford University Press). Malebranche's Theory of the Soul Google Scholar

Shattuck, Roger, 1996. Forbidden Knowledge (New York: St. Martin's Press). Forbidden Knowledge Google Scholar

Sprigge, T. L. S., 1998. ‘Idealism’, in Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. E. Craig. Routledge. [Online.] Available at: http://www.rep.routledge.com (accessed 15 April 2013). http://www.rep.routledge.com Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy Google Scholar

Vives, Juan Luis, 1913 [1513]. Vives: On Education [De Tradendis Disciplinis], trans. Foster Watson (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press). Vives: On Education [De Tradendis Disciplinis] Google Scholar

Wardropper, Bruce, 1957. ‘The Pertinence of "El curioso impertinente"’, PMLA, 72.4: 587-600. ‘The Pertinence of "El curioso impertinente"’ PMLA 72 587 600 Google Scholar

Wehrs, Donald R., 1988. ‘Sterne, Cervantes, Montaigne: Fideistic Skepticism and the Rhetoric of Desire’, Comparative Literature Studies, 25.2: 127-51. ‘Sterne, Cervantes, Montaigne: Fideistic Skepticism and the Rhetoric of Desire’ Comparative Literature Studies 25 127 51 Google Scholar

Wormald, B. H. G., 1993. Francis Bacon: History, Politics and Science, 1561-1626 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1993). Francis Bacon: History, Politics and Science, 1561-1626 Google Scholar

Wray, K. Brad, 1997. ‘Bacon, Francis’, in Encyclopedia of Empiricism, ed. Don Garrett and Edward Barbanell (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press), pp. 27-31. Encyclopedia of Empiricism 27 31 Google Scholar

Wyszynski, Matthew A. 2008. ‘Friendship and Rhetoric in "El curioso impertinente"’, in ‘Aquí se imprimen libros’: Cervantine Studies in Honor of Tom Lathrop (University, MS: University of Mississippi), pp. 132-43. ‘Aquí se imprimen libros’: Cervantine Studies in Honor of Tom Lathrop 132 43 Google Scholar

Zagorin, Perez, 1998. Francis Bacon (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press). Francis Bacon Google Scholar

Arbesú Fernández, David, 2005. ‘Auctoritas y experiencia en "El curioso impertinente"’, Cervantes, 25.1: 23-43. ‘Auctoritas y experiencia en "El curioso impertinente"’ Cervantes 25 23 43 Google Scholar

Ariosto, Ludovico, 1960 [1516]. Orlando furioso, ed. Santorre Debenedetti and Cesare Segre (Bologna: Commissione per i Testi di Lingua). Orlando furioso Google Scholar

Ashworth, E. J., 1974. Language and Logic in the Post-Medieval Period (Dordrecht, Holland: D. Reidel). Language and Logic in the Post-Medieval Period Google Scholar

Avalle-Arce, Juan Bautista, 1975. Nuevos deslindes cervantinos (Barcelona: Editorial Ariel). Nuevos deslindes cervantinos Google Scholar

Bacon, Francis, 1974 [1605]. The Advancement of Learning and New Atlantis, ed. Arthur Johnston (Oxford: Clarendon Press). The Advancement of Learning and New Atlantis Google Scholar

Bacon, Francis, 2000 [1620]. The New Organon, ed. Lisa Jardine and Michael Silverthorne (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press). The New Organon Google Scholar

Blumenberg, Hans, 1983. The Legitimacy of the Modern Age, trans. Robert M. Wallace (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press). The Legitimacy of the Modern Age Google Scholar

Castro, Américo, 1925. El pensamiento de Cervantes (Madrid: Hernando). El pensamiento de Cervantes Google Scholar

Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel de, 1978 [1605]. El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha, ed. Luis Andrés Murillo (Madrid: Castalia). El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha Google Scholar

Concilii Tridentini Actorum, 1965, ed. Stephanus Ehses., 2nd ed. 13 vols. (Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany: Societas Goerresiana). Google Scholar

Descartes, René, 1988. Selected Philosophical Writings, trans. John Cottingham et al. (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press). Selected Philosophical Writings Google Scholar

Durán, Manuel, 1995. ‘From Fool's Gold to Real Gold: Don Quixote and the Golden Helmet’, in Studies in Honor of Donald W. Bleznick, ed. Delia V. Galván et al. (Newark, DE: Juan de la Cuesta), pp. 17-31. Studies in Honor of Donald W. Bleznick 17 31 Google Scholar

Fernández-Santamaría, José A., 1990. Juan Luis Vives: escepticismo y prudencia en el Renacimiento (Salamanca: Universidad de Salamanca). Juan Luis Vives: escepticismo y prudencia en el Renacimiento Google Scholar

Forcione, Alban, 1982. Cervantes and the Humanist Vision (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press). Cervantes and the Humanist Vision Google Scholar

Gerli, E. Michael, 2000. ‘Truth, Lies, and Representation: The Crux of "El curioso impertinente"’, in Cervantes for the 21st Century, ed. Francisco la Rubia Prado (Newark, DE: Juan de la Cuesta), pp. 107-22. Cervantes for the 21st Century 107 22 Google Scholar

Ife, B. W., 2005. ‘Cervantes, Herodotus and the Eternal Triangle: Another Look at the Sources of "El curioso impertinente"’, Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, 82.5: 671-81. ‘Cervantes, Herodotus and the Eternal Triangle: Another Look at the Sources of "El curioso impertinente"’ Bulletin of Hispanic Studies 82 671 81 Google Scholar

Ihrie, Maureen, 1982. Skepticism in Cervantes (London: Tamesis). Skepticism in Cervantes Google Scholar

Krueger, Alison E., 2009. ‘Cervantes's Laboratory: The Thought Experiment of "El curioso impertinente"’, Cervantes, 29.1: 117-65. ‘Cervantes's Laboratory: The Thought Experiment of "El curioso impertinente"’ Cervantes 29 117 65 Google Scholar

Lorca, Daniel, 2010. ‘The Function of Skepticism in Part I of Don Quijote’, Cervantes, 30.2: 115-48. ‘The Function of Skepticism in Part I of Don Quijote’ Cervantes 30 115 48 Google Scholar

Mahoney, Edward P., and James B. South, 1998. ‘Aristotelianism, Renaissance’, in Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. E. Craig. Routledge. [Online.] Available at: http://www.rep.routledge.com (accessed: 15 May 2012). http://www.rep.routledge.com Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy Google Scholar

Mancing, Howard, 2006. ‘Camila's Story’, Cervantes, 25.1: 9-22. ‘Camila's Story’ Cervantes 25 9 22 Google Scholar

Marías, Julián, 1955. ‘La pertinencia de "El curioso impertinente"’, in Ensayos de convivencia (Buenos Aires: Sudamericana), pp. 233-39. Ensayos de convivencia 233 39 Google Scholar

Moréri, Louis, 1759. ‘Sanchez, François’. Le Grand dictionnaire historique.The ARTFL Project. Available at: http://artfl-project.uchicago.edu/content/dictionnaire-de-moréri (accessed 19 May 2012). http://artfl-project.uchicago.edu/content/dictionnaire-de-moréri ‘Sanchez, François’ Le Grand dictionnaire historique. The ARTFL Project Google Scholar

Parker, Alexander, 1948. ‘El concepto de la verdad en "El Quijote"’, Revista de Filología Española, 32: 287-305. ‘El concepto de la verdad en "El Quijote"’ Revista de Filología Española 32 287 305 Google Scholar

Patin, Guy (ed.), 1703. ‘Franciscus Sanchez’. Patiniana. 2nd ed. (Amsterdam: François van der Plats), p. 98. Patiniana 98 Google Scholar

Popkin, Richard, 1991. ‘Theories of Knowledge’, in The Cambridge History of Renaissance Philosophy, ed. Charles B. Schmitt and Quentin Skinner (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press), pp. 668-84. The Cambridge History of Renaissance Philosophy 668 84 Google Scholar

Popkin, Richard, 2003. The History of Scepticism: From Savonarola to Bayle (Oxford: Oxford University Press). The History of Scepticism: From Savonarola to Bayle Google Scholar

Sanches, Francisco, 1988 [1581]. Quod nihil scitur, ed. Elaine Limbrick and Douglas F. S. Thomson, trans. Douglas F. S. Thomson (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press). Quod nihil scitur Google Scholar

Schmaltz, Tad M., 1996. Malebranche's Theory of the Soul (Oxford: Oxford University Press). Malebranche's Theory of the Soul Google Scholar

Shattuck, Roger, 1996. Forbidden Knowledge (New York: St. Martin's Press). Forbidden Knowledge Google Scholar

Sprigge, T. L. S., 1998. ‘Idealism’, in Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. E. Craig. Routledge. [Online.] Available at: http://www.rep.routledge.com (accessed 15 April 2013). http://www.rep.routledge.com Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy Google Scholar

Vives, Juan Luis, 1913 [1513]. Vives: On Education [De Tradendis Disciplinis], trans. Foster Watson (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press). Vives: On Education [De Tradendis Disciplinis] Google Scholar

Wardropper, Bruce, 1957. ‘The Pertinence of "El curioso impertinente"’, PMLA, 72.4: 587-600. ‘The Pertinence of "El curioso impertinente"’ PMLA 72 587 600 Google Scholar

Wehrs, Donald R., 1988. ‘Sterne, Cervantes, Montaigne: Fideistic Skepticism and the Rhetoric of Desire’, Comparative Literature Studies, 25.2: 127-51. ‘Sterne, Cervantes, Montaigne: Fideistic Skepticism and the Rhetoric of Desire’ Comparative Literature Studies 25 127 51 Google Scholar

Wormald, B. H. G., 1993. Francis Bacon: History, Politics and Science, 1561-1626 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1993). Francis Bacon: History, Politics and Science, 1561-1626 Google Scholar

Wray, K. Brad, 1997. ‘Bacon, Francis’, in Encyclopedia of Empiricism, ed. Don Garrett and Edward Barbanell (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press), pp. 27-31. Encyclopedia of Empiricism 27 31 Google Scholar

Wyszynski, Matthew A. 2008. ‘Friendship and Rhetoric in "El curioso impertinente"’, in ‘Aquí se imprimen libros’: Cervantine Studies in Honor of Tom Lathrop (University, MS: University of Mississippi), pp. 132-43. ‘Aquí se imprimen libros’: Cervantine Studies in Honor of Tom Lathrop 132 43 Google Scholar

Zagorin, Perez, 1998. Francis Bacon (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press). Francis Bacon Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

McCallister, Timothy

McCallister, Timothy