Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Fame and Misfortune: The Cost of Success in Don Quijote

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2005), 82, (5), 649–670.

Abstract

Don Quixote, having pledged to serve the lady Dulcinea, enters the world of chivalry in search of fame and glory. Even before his first adventure, he imagines a chronicle of his exploits. In Part 2, he finds that he has achieved success by virtue of Cide Hamete Benengeli's published account. Success becomes a double-edged sword. Don Quixote is well known, which means that, while the characters in Part 1 are surprised by his antics, those in the second part who have read the book answer his metafiction with their own. The thesis of this essay is that Cervantes makes Part 2 an allegory of success in its various manifestations and, by extension, that the motif allows him to examine the burdens of the writer from a unique perspective. The calculated treatment of the consequences of success is disturbed and expanded by the appearance in 1614 of the Avellaneda Quixote. Avellaneda's intrusion surely would have caused pain to Cervantes, but the spurious sequel both animates the knight and intensifies the allegory.

Don Quijote, tras haber dedicado sus servicios a Dulcinea, se interna en el mundo caballeresco en busca de gloria y fama. Incluso antes de su primera aventura ya se imagina la crónica que inmortalizará sus hazañas. En la segunda parte descubre que su éxito, que se convertirá en una espada de doble filo, se lo debe al manuscrito del historiador Cide Hamete Benengeli. Ya don Quijote es conocido. El caballero andante ha sorprendido a los personajes de la primera parte por sus acciones, pero los de la segunda parte se aprovechan de los actos del loco cuerdo para convertirse ellos mismos en dramaturgos. Este trabajo mantiene la tesis de que Cervantes ha creado, con el Quijote de 1615, una alegoría del éxito en sus más variadas manifestaciones, que, como consecuencia, evalúa el oficio del escritor desde una perspectiva única. La aparición del Quijote de Avellaneda en 1614 altera y amplía este leitmotiv. A pesar del doloroso suceso del Quijote falso, el libro de Avellaneda sirve tanto para revitalizar a don Quijote como para intensificar la alegoría.

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Friedman, Edward