Law and History in Cervantes' Don Quixote

Law and History in Cervantes' Don Quixote

by Susan Byrne

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Law and History in Cervantes’ Don Quixote is a deep consideration of the intellectual environment that gave rise to Cervantes’ seminal work. Susan Byrne demonstrates how Cervantes synthesized the debates surrounding the two most authoritative discourses of his era – those of law and history – into a new aesthetic product, the modern novel.

Byrne uncovers the empirical underpinnings of Don Quixote through a close philological study of Cervantes’ sly questioning of and commentary on these fields. As she skilfully demonstrates, while sixteenth-century historiographers and jurists across southern Europe sought the philosophical nexus of their fields, Cervantes created one through the adventures of a protagonist whose history is all about justice. As such, Law and History in Cervantes’ Don Quixote illustrates how Cervantes’ art highlighted the inconsistencies of juridical-historical texts and practice, as well as anticipated the ultimate resolution of their paradoxes.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442665958
Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Publication date: 09/26/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 256
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Susan Byrne is an associate professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Yale University.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Note on Texts xiii

List of Illustrations xv

Introduction: Cervantes' Quixotic mos hispanicus 3

1 History, Jurisprudence, and the Creation of the Novel 6

2 Giovio, Baeza, History, and Law in Cervantes' Works 21

3 Jurisprudence in Spain, Seventh to Sixteenth Centuries 45

4 Laws Broken, Glossed, and Made: Don Quixote 52

5 Laws Broken, Glossed, and Made: Sancho Panza et al. 83

6 History and Historiography in the Quixote 108

7 Cervantes' mos hispanicus: Considerations and Conclusions 142

Notes 149

Bibliography 209

Index 229

What People are Saying About This

Isaías Lerner

‘This is a most important and original study that deserves a central and special place in the vast bibliography on Cervantes. Susan Byrne’s highly sophisticated use of archival research, developed in her historical and philological approach to Don Quixote’s text, greatly helps to reconstruct anew the ideological contexts of the writer and of the “idle readers” of his time.’

Charles Victor Ganelin

‘Stimulating and illuminating, Law and History in Cervantes’ ‘Don Quixote’ makes a strong case for the argument that Cervantes’ brushes with and knowledge of law were sufficient for him to incorporate its multiple threads throughout the novel. Susan Byrne consistently reveals her thorough knowledge of the confusing compendia that form Spanish jurisprudence as Cervantes would have known it. Byrne’s success in identifying legal issues in numerous episodes of the novel (beyond what most twentieth- and twenty-first-century editors have noted) and bringing to light the writings of jurist Paolo Giovio make this book a major contribution to the research on Cervantes.’

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