Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Comic Confluence in Lazarillo de Tormes

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2012), 89, (7), 681–696.

Abstract

That Lazarillo is a comic text is no great revelation, but critics tend to view the comedy of Lazarillo in monolithic terms. In fact, different aspects of the comic can be identified in Lazarillo, and in this essay I endeavour to describe the interrelationships among these comic sources not in a mechanical manner, but dialectically. Three strands of the comic can be identified in the text - the physical, the comedy of subversion, and the comic sort most typical of the picaresque, namely the comedy of self-pity. I explain in the essay the interrelationships among these sources with respect to traditions inherited from antiquity and to more modern theories of the comic. Neither models from antiquity (above all, Apuleius's Golden Ass) nor the comic theories proposed by Hobbes and Bergson can adequately account for the peculiar mixture of comic energy in the Lazarillo.

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Maier, Maximilian