Lorna Dee Cervantes, "Persona Ingrata" (from From the Cables of Genocide: Poems of Love and Hunger)
- Don Quixote, Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra
Lancer class Don Quixote for the Lostbelt 6.5, Traum in Fate Grand Order.
Illustrator: Murayama Ryota.
You can chip his blade! You may crush his armour! But his moustache is invincible!
“And remember, Sancho, no man is more than another unless he does more than another”.
- Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote.
'Stache-Off!! Round 1
Leí un pasaje donde uno de los personajes de Cervantes, en un manicomio, dice que puede hacer que llueva cuando le plazca. Entendí en ese momento que los escritores eran capaces de lograr todo lo que se propusieran.
Bienvenida a casa, Lucia Berlin.
Here I was, once again, opening Endless Nights to finally read the bit of Despair when I opened the story of Morpheus. Silly me, thinking tonight was the night.
And thing is that I find a curiosity I never noticed before, a treat for the Spanish readers, I found Cervantes. Or what I believe is an amalgamation of the Spanish greatests writters and painters related to Dream, somehow.
That gentleman in the back of these panels is quite peculiar. Never noticed before but there he is. And if you have some knowledge of Spain' art and literature history, or the so called Spanish Golden Age, his pose, his dress, might look familiar. Ok, if you're curious follow me:
1) "El caballero de la mano en el pecho" (The Nobleman with his Hand on his Chest), El Greco. This portrait of an unknown nobleman from the XVI century holds the same pose, dressing code, hand in chest, sword by the left than the figure in the story. Is a quite famous portrait in Art History and Pop culture in general in Spain. And again, even tho is not known, more often than not is used to portrait or make reference to Miguel de Cervantes.
2) Portrait of Miguel de Cervantes, considered the Spanish greatest writer, compared and contemporary to Shakespeare; author of The Quixote, a story about a man who dream a story about stories and where reality and fiction are really difficult to tell apart.
3) The red symbol in the chest of the character looks quite a lot like the Santiago Cross to me, like the one in Diego Velazquez portrait in "Las Meninas" (The Maids of Honor). Once again, another greatest of Spain, the painter, in this case.
Who might that character be? I don't know. I presume is just a treat from the illustrator, the Spanish Miguelanxo Prado.
And then, out of nowhere, thought about why? Why is it there? On a story about Dream of the Endless? On the panels along Death? And words came to me, long gone but not forgotten, from Calderón de la Barca, also a knight of Santiago, from his play "La vida es Sueño" ("Life is a Dream"):
"Porque toda la vida es sueño y los sueños, sueños son".
And I'm here, just... writing this for myself, because nobody might be interested, nobody cares and it doesn't even matter that much, but the greatest poem about dreams might even have anything to do with that small character in that couple panels on a story about the Prince of Stories, Dream of the Endless.
I wish I could ask somebody about this but I dont think there's anyway or anybody to reach.
So, I will leave here a translation of the main poem for.. i dont know, for you. Is a great play, really, one where dreams are everything and they're as real as one can asume anything can get.
Defining the picaresque
[by J. Ardila, abridged]
Cover of La pícara Justina (1605), featuring “The ship of picaresque life” sailing on the River of Oblivion. Aboard the vessels are the eponymous Justina, and three protagonists of earlier picaresque (or adjacent) novels (Celestina, Guzmán de Alfarache “poor and content”, and Lazarillo de Tormes), on the helm is Time, Idleness is sleeping below, and Death is waiting above.
Most critics within Spanish literary studies agree that a picaresque genre did indeed exist, that [it began with Lazarillo de Tormes in 1554 and was consolidated with Guzmán de Alfarache in 1599], and that it thrived in the first half of the seventeenth century. The vast majority of critics concur that the main features of the picaresque genre are:
its formal realism and hence structure [when each development in the plot is the logical corollary of events that precede it, as opposed to the and-then structure where episodes are in random order and interchangeable];
it is the fictitious autobiography of the main character, commonly narrated in the first person;
the text is addressed to either a narratee or an implicit reader;
the protagonist tells his or her life in order to explain how they came to find themselves in a particular situation;
it is highly satirical and often comical, and serves the author to express his own political views;
the narrator’s discourse is often ironic and so is the general message of the text;
its protagonist is a picaro,
a picaro being a literary type who
is born to a family of the underclass, normally new Christians [i.e. of Jewish or Moorish descent; when the genre appears, Spain has already expelled or forcibly converted all Jews and Muslims, and treats those who converted and stayed as second class citizens; many protagonists AND authors of the Spanish picaresque belonged in this minority], a condition that determines his future,
undergoes a progressive psychological change,
is a social outsider who tries his hand at several professions living by his or her wits,
normally engages in unlawful activities, and
is a cunning trickster who deceives others.
This set of characteristics is seldom found in picaresque narratives published in Spain after Guzmán. For instance, many picaresque novels were written in the form of second- and third-person narratives, and even as dialogues. Taking the study of the picaresque beyond Spain will also show that the life of some picaros is not conditioned by their parentage and, contrary to Spanish picaros, they climb the social ladder until they achieve a comfortable position, e.g. Moll Flanders, Colonel Jack and Ferdinand Count Fathom. The picaresque elements of any post-Guzmán picaresque fiction will inevitably adapt to the personal circumstances and the cultural context of its author, and it is imperative to account for these when assessing its relation to the picaresque genre.
These and other facts considered, the essential characteristics of the picaresque genre are three –
the narration of a life expounding the circumstances leading to a final situation;
the implicit satire of the novel that reflects the social bias of the author;
the picaro as protagonist.
Readers in Spain and abroad always appreciated the social realism of the picaresque novels. Yet although social criticism was overt in the picaresque, it took some time for critics to understand the genre’s social bias. Social bias was a common denominator in the first picaresque novels – most of the authors in the genre were amateur writers who belonged to a social minority and chose to write a picaresque tale because of the genre’s adaptability to social satire. The picaresque is hardly without a political message. It is a form of Bildungsroman that reflects on men’s place in society and how they came to understand and accept their status. This aim addresses issues of philosophical concern; the picaresque urge to understand the social meaning of life elaborated a complex existential philosophy.
Finally, the main character of a picaresque novel is a picaro, a literary type who encompasses all the characteristics explained above. The picaro was conceived as a parody of the heroes in the romances and also as a social outsider who rebels against the establishment. Not all antiheroic delinquents are picaros, however. According to Baudelaire, the delinquent is – alongside the artist and the prostitute – one of the three most frequently encountered characters in modern literature. Taking the delinquent as the main or sole element of the picaresque would inevitably and spuriously turn the genre into a catch-all category comprising texts some of which have little or nothing in common with it.
An excellent example of the confusion that pseudo-picaros may cause is to be found in Cervantes’s La ilustre fregona (The Illustrious Scullery Maid, 1613), which has often been classed as picaresque because of its two pseudo-picaro protagonists. However, don Diego and don Juan are not picaros. The narrator begins this novella declaring that they were ‘dos caballeros principales y ricos’ (two famous and rich gentlemen), that don Juan had an ‘inclinación picaresca’ (picaresque inclination) and succeeded in becoming a picaro to the extent ‘that he could give a lecture at the university to the famous picaro from Alfarache’. Cervantes, of course, is parodying the picaresque. A picarowas an outsider, born into the underclass, who endures poverty andbecomes a picaro because he has no choice, despite his determination to rise socially. Don Diego and don Juan are noblemen who decide to become picaros to enjoy the freedom of picaresque life. But picaros were far from considering themselves the beneficiaries of freedom – it was never their choice to become picaros; conversely, they always express very explicitly their strong desire for a respectable life.
The picaro type results from the new conditions of modern society. This new literary type features in the Spanish picaresque novels of the seventeenth century and in those published subsequently in other countries, especially in eighteenth-century England. Small differences and variations are the inevitable corollary of the usage of the picaresque mould in different cultural contexts.
— J. Ardila (2015). "Origins and definition of the picaresque genre." The Picaresque Novel in Western Literature, 1–23.
Lorna Dee Cervantes, "Raisins" (from From the Cables of Genocide: Poems of Love and Hunger)
Nambung National Park, Cervantes, Western Australia
Photographer: Paul Harrison
Another Fine Press Friday!
This two-volume edition of Don Quixote de la Mancha: The History of the Renowned Don Quixote de la Mancha, written by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547-1616), was illustrated by Edward McKnight Kauffer and published by Nonesuch Press, London, 1930. First published in Spanish in 1605, Cervantes’s Don Quixote is often cited as the first modern novel. The text of this edition is from Peter Anthony Motteux’s early 18th-century translation, revised by John Ozell in 1743.
Nonesuch Press was founded in London by Francis Meynell in 1922 with the intent to produce finely designed books. Following the Arts and Crafts tradition of William Morris’s Kelmscott Press, books published by Nonesuch were typeset on a hand press. The final design would then be produced by commercial printers to keep the books affordable while maintaining high aesthetic value.
The American graphic designer Edward McKnight Kauffer (1890-1954) found most of his success in England. He is most well known for the posters he designed for London’s Underground and London Transport, and his later posters for Shell Oil and the Great Western Railway. He also became interested in textiles, interior design, and theatrical design. His wife, Marion Dorn, was an American textile designer who also found great success in London. She illustrated the book William Beckford’s Vathek for Nonesuch Press in 1929 (which we highlighted in a previous post)..
This edition of 1475 copies was printed by Walter Lewis, master printer for the University of Cambridge, on Casinensis hand-made paper. The 21 illustrations were produced in photogravure and colored by assistants at Curwen Press using pochoir.
Go here for more posts on Nonesuch Press.
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-- Teddy, Special Collections Graduate Intern
Least isekaiable man in the world and they still got him somehow. Smh
"Yo nací libre, y para poder vivir libre escogí la soledad de los campos: los árboles destas montañas son mi compañía; las claras aguas destos arroyos mis espejos; con los árboles y con las aguas comunico mis pensamientos y hermosura."
— Don Quijote de la Mancha, Miguel de Cervantes