Lesson 10 – The perfect novel according to Cervantes

Lesson 10 – The perfect novel according to Cervantes


Hi and welcome back again DQ and Carrasco now agree that writing requires
wisdom and skill and that critics are usually ignorant and arrogant: “to compose histories
and books of whatever type, it is necessary to have great judgment and mature understanding.” When DQ emphasizes that this is especially
true of humorous writing, he refers to the comic figures in the era’s theater: “the
most astute character in a play is the fool, because he who wishes to be taken for a simpleton
cannot afford to be one.” Carrasco then says that those who write prose
face an additional problem: “since printed works are taken in slowly, it is easy to spy
their flaws.” Moreover, those who are not themselves writers
should hold their tongue: “those who enjoy and take particular pleasure in judging the
writings of others without having brought anything of their own into the light of the
world.” Carrasco
argues that critics miss the forest for the trees, for they pay too much attention “to
the atoms of the bright sun of the work which they criticize.” Even Homer made errors, but then Carrasco
points out that what some think are errors might actually be beauty marks: “it just
might be that what seems wrong to them might be beauty marks which often increase the splendor
of the face that has them.” Wow! Cervantes lets Carrasco argue that his so-called
mistakes have made his novel even more perfect! The chapter ends with a glance at the two
other major complaints that readers had about part one. This passage is confusing, paradoxical even. Carrasco first quotes Eclesiastés 1.15, stultorum
infinitus est numerus, meaning “infinite is the number of fools,” but then he affirms
that “infinite are those who have enjoyed this history.” Switching gears again, he gives voice to readers
perplexed by SP’s missing ass and the 100 escudos that SP found in the suitcase in the
Sierra Morena: “he forgets to tell who was the thief who stole Sancho’s gray” and
“They also say that he forgot to include what Sancho did with those hundred escudos
that he found in the valise in the Sierra Morena.” At this point Sancho gets nervous and excuses
himself, complaining of “an upset stomach.” Before departing, however, he promises to
respond to Carrasco and all the other critics: “I’ll come back and satisfy your grace
and everybody else who wants to ask questions, regarding the loss of my ass as well as how
I spent the hundred escudos.” After DQ and Carrasco finish their “banquet”
and take a “siesta,” SP returns. That´s all for now, we´ll see each other in our next video

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