From: Cervantes: Bulletin of the Cervantes Society of America 6.1 (1986): 51-56.
Copyright © 1986, The Cervantes Society of America
ARTICLE

Style and Genre in Don Quijote: The Pastoral


JOHN J. ALLEN

IN A DISCUSSION of the episode of Marcela and Grisóstomo and its context, Francisco Ayala writes very suggestively of the integration in Don Quijote of various “espacios espirituales,” “ámbitos imaginativos diferentes, y en principio inconciliables.”1 Martínez-Bonati, in the first of his penetrating series of essays in Dispositio, explores the phenomenon further, elucidating the “carácter de la abstracción,” or “principio de estilización” (p. 33), that defines each of these disparate “regiones de la imaginación.”2 He makes the following fundamental point about the relationship between the world of Marcela and Grisóstomo and the world of the goatherds: “Las leyes de una estilización son incompatibles con las de la otra; hay, como dijimos, discontinuidad entre las regiones de lo imaginario” (p. 45). Don Quijote's problem, of course, is precisely that he believes in the continuity of the world of his daily experience with the world represented in the books of chivalry, while in fact these two worlds are mutually exclusive (p. 41).
     These seem to me to be extremely fruitful insights, and since both Ayala and Martínez-Bonati deal mainly with the content and perspective of these “regiones de la imaginación,” and only

     1 Ensayos (Madrid: Aguilar, 1972), pp. 605-06.
     2 Félix Martínez-Bonati, “Cervantes y las regiones de la imaginación,” Dispositio 2 (1977), 33.

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52 JOHN J. ALLEN Cervantes

incidentally with style itself, what I want to do here is the following:
     1) illustrate the multiplicity of styles in which a given core situation is expressed by Cervantes in Don Quijote.
     2) suggest that the use of many styles functions as part of a lesson in how to read: that it functions to induce a consciousness in the reader of style and its effects, often through extreme and abrupt stylistic variation.
     3) indicate the complementary and even more explicit highlighting of style in another alternative stylistic context of Don Quijote: the chivalric.
     4) offer an interpretation of the broader significance of this lesson in how to read.
     Here are some samples of the various styles with which Cervantes treats the common core situation or episode that is potentially “pastoral”; we could call it “unrequited love in the country.” The gamut of styles runs from the treatment of the instinctual ‘passion’ of Rocinante through the comic narration of Sancho, the naive rustic lyrics of Antonio, the narration of the literary tragedy of Grisóstomo, and the stylized penance of Eugenio, all the way to literature enacted as such, in the eclogues of Garcilaso and Camoens which are ready for presentation in Part II, Chapter 58.
     My samples are not all from the same point or stage in the respective episodes; some are delivered by participants, some by narrators. Neither the speaker nor the content are important for my purposes here. I am simply asking you to attend for a moment to the sound of the five passages, the sound of five different “regiones de la imaginación”:
     1) le vino en deseo de refocilarse con las señoras facas, [que] debían de tener más gana de pacer que de ál.3
     2) yendo días y viniendo días, el diablo, que todo lo añasca, hizo de manera que el amor que el pastor tenía a la pastora se volvió en omecillo y mala voluntad; y la causa fue, según malas lenguas, una cierta cantidad de celillos que ella le dio, tales, que pasaban de la raya y llegaban a lo vedado. (I, 238)
     3) no te quiero yo a montón,
         ni te pretendo y te sirvo
         por lo de barraganía;
         que más bueno es mi designio. (I, 161)

     3 Don Quijote de la Mancha, ed. J. J. Allen (Madrid: Cátedra, 1984), I, 190.


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     4) Quiso bien, fue aborrecido; adoró, fue desdeñado; rogó a una fiera, importunó a un mármol, corrió tras el viento, dio voces a la soledad, sirvió a una ingratitud, de quien alcanzó por premio ser despojos de la muerte en la mitad de la carrera de la vida . . . (I, 176)
     5) mi competidor . . . sólo se queja de ausencia . . . . Yo sigo otro camino más fácil, y a mi parecer el más acertado, que es decir mal de la ligereza de las mujeres, de su inconstancia, de su doble trato, de sus promesas muertas, de su fe rompida, y, finalmente, del poco discurso que tienen en saber colocar sus pensamientos e intenciones que tienen. (I, 570)
     Cervantes' mastery in the stylistic characterization of these different regions of the imagination is evident in the varieties of rhythm, of the lexicon, of the distance between the speaker and his subject, in short in the rhetoric of even these brief excerpts. This versatility is, I think, unparalleled, sin par. One of my selections is verse, but the different effects of prose and verse are minimal components of the stylistic matrix involved in each example. Only think of the abyss that separates Don Quijote's two poems to Dulcinea.

      In Part I:       Así, hasta henchir un pipote,
aquí lloró don Quijote
ausencias de Dulcinea
del Toboso. (I, 308)
In Part II: Así el vivir me mata,
que la muerte me torna a dar la vida.
¡Oh condición no oída
la que conmigo muerte y vida trata!
          (II, 539)

The first set of verses is funny (is meant to be funny); it is difficult to see how the second set can be.

     We don't need Cervantes to show us this kind of disparity, of course. We know that ‘the execution of a brave man,’ for example, can be that of Sidney Carton presented by Dickens in A Tale of Two Cities, or it can be that of Pablos' father, in the Buscón, as recounted by Alonso Ramplón, hangman and brother of the deceased. But Cervantes, who can do both things in the same chapter, even in the same sentence, is particularly keenly aware of the relationship between style and genre, and is, I think, at pains to make the reader aware of it, as part of the lesson in how to read embodied in his story of that classic misreader, Don Quijote.


54 JOHN J. ALLEN Cervantes

     Now, in this context, let us look briefly at Cervantes' preparation for the Marcela-Grisóstomo episode. Ayala's characterization gives us our perspective:

[Hay] una gradación muy sutil. Don Quijote va a ingresar en esta Arcadia fingida a través de las chozas de unos cabreros, su rústica mesa y sus groseras ceremonias. El mismo se encargará de evocar la edad de oro con su discurso famoso. Apenas terminado, se anuncia la venida de un “zagal muy entendido y muy enamorado,” el son de cuyo rabel no tarda en oírse. Este zagal, Antonio, que cantará “con buena gracia” una canción oportuna, se eleva individualizado sobre la estatura vulgar de sus compañeros; y otro recién llegado cabrero, Pedro, aportará la noticia de lo sucedido con los señores y su fingida Arcadia dándonos así acceso a su peculiarísimo terreno literario. (P. 603)

     The performance of Antonio is indeed a nice touch, but the most skillful and daring aspect of the transition, akin to the escalation of Sancho's stylistic potential in Part II, Chapter 5, is the transformation of the language of Pedro as he relates the events leading up to Grisóstomo's death. Beginning in the realm of comic realism with the series of vulgarismos that Don Quijote compulsively corrects —cris, estil, sarna—, the gamut of Pedro's style runs in a single page from “hételo aquí, cuando no me cato, que remanece un día la melindrosa Marcela hecha pastora,” to:

aquí suspira un pastor, allí se queja otro; acullá se oyen amorosas canciones, acá desesperadas endechas. Cuál hay que pasa todas las horas de la noche sentado al pie de alguna encina o peñasco, y allí, sin plegar los llorosos ojos, embebecido y transportado en sus pensamientos, le halló el sol a la mañana . . . . (I, 167)

The descent from the pastoral region of the imagination following the conclusion of the episode is equally swift: the rejection of Rocinante by the Yanguesan mares in Chapter 15.
     My point is that this uncomfortably intimate juxtaposition of styles is more than simply an alarde de virtuosismo by Cervantes. He insistently and repeatedly emphasizes style from the beginning of the book. The question of the importance of appropriate style is central to the Prologue to Part 1, and much in the early chapters is dedicated to establishing the extraordinary significance of stylistic variation. Two examples from Don Quijote's very first encounter will have to suffice by way of illustration, and since I have analyzed them before, in other contexts, I will simply allude to them here. The first is the treatment of Don Quijote's arrival at the inn in Chapter 2, his reception by the


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prostitutes and the innkeeper, and the meal he is served. Cervantes' use of three key words —castellano, doncellas, and truchuelas— enables him to demonstrate the possibility of imposing two radically different interpretations on a single series of events, by the association of the words with two incompatible regions of the imagination: chivalric romance and comic realism.
     The second example: when the innkeeper informs Don Quijote in Chapter 3 that he, too, had once been a knight errant, Cervantes demonstrates the possibility that content may actually be overwhelmed, obliterated, by style:

él, asimesmo, en los años de su mocedad, se había dado a aquel honroso ejercicio, . . . haciendo muchos tuertos, recuestando muchas viudas, deshaciendo algunas doncellas y engañando algunos pupilos . . . . (I, 100)

     Don Quijote's acceptance of this mock-heroic speech —“prometió de hacer lo que se le aconsejaba con toda puntualidad”— is based exclusively upon its stylistic conformity to a proper account of chivalric activity. The different styles of Cervantes' masterpiece sometimes flow and modulate, sometimes clash; they turn opaque or transparent; they deflate and they elevate, in intricate and always purposeful involvement with the characters and events that they stylize.
     I suggested some years ago that this last episode demonstrates the primacy, for Don Quijote, of the esthetic over the ethical in his initial attraction to the books of chivalry.4 Now I would like to speculate briefly about the relationship, in Don Quijote, of the esthetic to the ethical.
     Style is the vehicle of Martínez-Bonati's “principio de estilización,” and style is to episode as experience is to events. That is, style is an imitation (or a projection) of one or another of the perceptual screens through which we all experience life. When Wayne Booth says that “our stories criticize each other as expressions of how life is,”5 his assumption is that reading literature is looking at life through another's perceptual screen. A way of writing or a way of talking expresses a way of looking at the world.
     Cervantes' exploration and exemplification of stylistic variation is at the heart of his perspectivism, of his interest in different ways of

     4 Don Quixote: Hero or Fool? Part II. Gainesville: University Presses of Florida, 1979), pp. 54-55.
     5 The Rhetoric of Fiction (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1960), p. 69.


56 JOHN J. ALLEN Cervantes

looking at things. He never stops doing this, in Don Quijote. When we are told that the protagonist, “entre compasiones y lágrimas de los que allí se hallaron, dio su espíritu, quiero decir que se murió” (II, 577), the italicized phrase is not there to clarify; it is there to produce the dissonant clash of two disparate regions of the imagination, two levels of style, two genres.
     In this attempt to suggest the stylistic component of Martínez-Bonati's elegant scheme of regions of the imagination, I have to stop short of accepting his insistence that all of these regions undercut one another, for reasons that I cannot go into here. Let me say only that the adoption by Don Quijote of a style consonant with the perceptual screen through which Cervantes' novel views events, i.e., a style consistent with a proper experience of these events, as he sheds chivalric archaism and, finally, shuns ‘literary’ rhetoric altogether, is the validation of his recovery at the end. “Yo tengo juicio ya, libre y claro,” is less convincing, less definitive, than “en los nidos de antaño, no hay pájaros hogaño.”


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