From: Cervantes: Bulletin of the Cervantes Society of America
11.1 (1991): 45-59.
Copyright © 1991, The Cervantes Society of America
||PATRICIA S. GASTON|
HILE they even more frequently describe Fielding's or Sterne's influence on the Waverley novels, Scott's critics are often interested in how his novels reflect Scott's awareness of Cervantes. When he was only fourteen, Scott began a translation of Don Quixote and he remained fond of that novel throughout his life, as Jerome Mitchell reminds us in Scott, Chaucer and Medieval Romance1. There are numerous references to and quotations from Don Quixote in the Waverley series. Best known of these are the title for the Waverley subseries Tales of My Landlord and Scott's instructions to his readers in Waverley:
From the minuteness with which I have traced Waverley's pursuits, and the bias which they unavoidably communicated to his imagination, the reader may perhaps anticipate, in the following tale, an imitation of Cervantes. But he will do my prudence injustice in the supposition. My intention is not to follow the steps of that inimitable author, in describing such total perversion of intellect as misconstrues the objects actually presented to the senses, but that more common aberration
Mitchell, Scott, Chaucer and Medieval Romance (Lexington, Ky,: University
Press of Kentucky, 1987), p. 11.
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from sound judgment, which apprehends occurrences indeed in their reality, but communicates to them a tincture of its own romantic tone and coloring2.
Edward Waverley is like Don Quixote in that his worldview is the result of his reading, an unstructured education consisting of
much curious, though ill-arranged and miscellaneous information. In English literature he was master of Shakespeare and Milton, of our earlier dramatic authors, of many picturesque and interesting passages from our old historical chronicles, and . . . of Spenser, Drayton, and other poets who have exercised themselves on romantic fiction. . . . In classical literature, Waverley had made the usual progress and read the usual authors; and the French had afforded him an almost exhaustless collection of memoirs, scarcely more faithful than romances, and of romances so well written as hardly to be distinguished from memoirs. The splendid pages of Froissart . . . were among his chief favorites. . . . The Spanish had contributed to his stock of chivalrous and romantic lore.
While secluded at Waverley Manor and left to educate himself, young
Waverley drove through a sea of books, like a vessel without a pilot or
rudder. Like Quixote, Waverley leaves home with this education as his
guide. His peculiar military career leads Waverley to the turning point when
he felt himself entitled to say firmly, though perhaps with a sigh,
that the romance of his life was ended, and that its real history had now
Alexander Welsh maintains that Waverley is in some ways a youthful counterpart of Don Quixote3. Welsh regards Quixote not as mad, but as merely foolish arguing vigorously that the pursuit of justice which Quixote symbolizes may be essentially a fool's blessed errand. In turn, Waverley is certainly not deranged, but merely very young. Thus, an aberration from sound judgment is not a lifetime affliction, but an aspect of . . .
citations are from the Magnum Opus edition of the Waverley novels: 48 volumes
(Edinburgh: Cadell, 1829-1833). This is the final, authorized edition of
the series published under Scott's supervision and the first to include his
second series of prefaces.
3 Alexander Welsh, The Hero of the Waverley Novels (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1963), pp. 10-11.
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youth and when the cure for quixoticism consists simply in growing
up, the nineteenth-century novel of disillusionment has been
Even so, critics have rarely seen Cervantes' influence in Scott's novels anywhere but in some variation of the quixote5. Little has been said about his farther-ranging structural and narrative influence. Suggestions that these exist have been typically rejected, as Welsh demonstrates in The Hero of the Waverley Novels:
Scott's good sense saved him from associating too warmly with the Knight of La Mancha. . . . The same good sense, however, restricted Scott's understanding of Cervantes' parody. He does not seem to have understood . . . the play between fiction and reality in Don Quixote. He neither practices himself nor quite recognized the method of posing fiction against fiction. . . . Instead, Scott's instinct was to rationalize Cervantes' parody6.
Actually, Scott makes an extensive practice of setting up the play between fiction and reality, as well as the play among levels of fiction. Not only do we find an illusion-filled figure wandering through the novel's landscape as a trace of Cervantine influence; but, more significantly, we also find as evidence textuality foregrounded, layers of fictionality superimposed, and the author portrayed as editor. Best representing Cervantes' extensive influence are the Waverley prefaces.
5 Overlooking Cervantes' influence on the Waverley series may lead to remarks such as David Brown's:
Waverley was in a way Scott's prentice-work as a novelist, however, and it is only right to criticize the novel's weakness in some respects. Most obvious is Scott's reliance on his reading to supply both his irony and his narrative style. The mock-Spenserian overtones, for example, eventually become tiresome, and the Shakespearian allusions (though usually well-handled) make the work overly self-conscious at points. Maria Edgeworth quite properly took exception to the rather uneasy authorial addresses to the reader that Scott inserted in Waverley: They are like Fielding, but for that reason we cannot bear that an author of such high powers, of such original genius, should for a moment stoop to imitation. Sterne's influence in this respect is also apparent. In all these cases, Scott is leaning too heavily on other writers not an unusual fault in a first novel, and one which he subsequently avoided in the best of his work (From Walter Scott and the Historical Imagination [Boston: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 19791, p. 28).
6 Welsh, p. 15.
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They make extensive use of four narrative devices
found in Don Quixote: the journey and inn motifs, the found manuscript
device, and the strategy of self-conscious textual referentiality. But the
series adds a dimension to the questions raised by Don Quixote concerning
narrative authority, the nature of fiction, and the relationships between
life and art, appearance and reality by applying these questions to historical
fiction. For instance, we may hypothesize that the found manuscript device
and the historical novel link in the idea that history is itself a found
manuscript the plot, action, and characterization having already been
acted out in historical events, then laid aside to await discovery and narrative
treatment by later transcribers, editors and others.
The motif of the journey, punctuated with inns as resting points, provides the organizational basis for Don Quixote's plot, character development, and narrative structure. Quixote travels to seek adventure, and finds it in abundance. His journeys are the stuff of which Cid Hamete Benengeli s manuscripts are made; Benengeli records and comments upon Quixote's experiences, while transcribing the tales, ballads, and adventures narrated to Quixote by other characters. The journey motif brings these narrators together, while also providing narrative raw material. The inn and its landlord give these travelers a stopping point where they may encounter one another in person or through narrative, when the story of one character is told to and by others. Ironically, Quixote finds little rest at these inns along with varied reactions from their keepers since he is sometimes at his maddest during these interludes, as his encounter with Maritornes illustrates. But it is the first innkeeper encountered who makes Don Quixote's journeys what they are: by dubbing him a knight, the ceremony without which the transformation from Quixada/Quesada/Quexana to Don Quixote could not have occurred, and by advising Quixote to equip himself with money and clean shirts in slim saddlebags information which the books of chivalry apparently neglect.
The journey motif is also the organizational device in the Waverley novels. The Tales of My Landlord subseries opens with two epigraphs. The first is from Robert Burns:
|Hear, Land o' Cakes and brither Scots,|
|Frae Maidenkirk to Johnny Groat's,|
|If there's a hole in a' your coats,|
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|I rede ye tent it;|
|A chiel's among you takin' notes,|
|An' faith he'll print it!|
In these lines, the traveling narrator is a spy one with a keen eye for realistic detail, for local color, who could be anywhere, recording anything. The found manuscript for this chiel is not necessarily already on paper. The implication is that the subject of this found manuscript might want to be cautious while the process of finding it is at work. The second epigraph reads:
It is mighty well, said the priest; pray, landlord bring me those books, for I have a mind to see them. With all my heart, answered the host; and going to his chamber, he brought out a little cloke-bag, with a padlock and chain to it, and opening it, he took out three large volumes, and some manuscript papers written in a fine character. Jarvis's Translation.
Quixote is enthusiastic about being the subject of transcription and so the found subject of a later manuscript intermittently lost and found:
As our new-fledged adventurer paced along, he kept talking to himself. Who knows, he said, whether in time to come, when the veracious history of my famous deeds is made known, the sage who writes it, when he has set forth my first sally in the morning, may not do it after this fashion? Scarce had the rubicund Apollo spred o'er the face of the broad spacious earth the golden threads of his bright hair, scarce had the little birds of painted plumage attuned their notes to hail with dulcet and mellifluous harmony the coming of the rosy Dawn, that, deserting the soft couch of her jealous spouse, was appearing to mortals at the gates and balconies of the Manchegan horizon, when the renowned knight Don Quixote of La Mancha, quitting the lazy down, mounted his celebrated steed Rocinante and began to traverse the ancient and famous Fields of Montiel, which in fact he was actually traversing7.
E. C. Riley, Cervantes' Theory of the Novel (Oxford: Clarendon Press,
1962). For discussion of the dilemma of the relationships between fact and
fiction, see Leonard Davis, Factual Fictions: The Origins of the English
Novel (New York: Columbia University Press, 1983) and Jerry C. Beasley,
Novels of the 1740s (Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 1982).
Indeed, the idea of factual fiction is the seminal dilemma faced
by the realist novel.
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Here is a manuscript waiting to be found, but other potential characters
may be more reluctant concerning their possible transcription.
Found manuscripts also appear in Cervantes' novel, as the scene described in the epigraph illustrates8. A Story of Ill-Advised Curiosity provides another found manuscript; this tale is written in a very good hand and left with the landlord in an old valise secured with a little chain. The Landlord mean[s] to return it to the person who forgot the valise, books and papers here, for maybe he will return some time or other. Here is a primary example of a manuscript separated from its unknown author, mislaid by its owner, found by someone else, and then interpolated into the text of Don Quixote.
Cervantes' landlord is paralleled in Scott's Tales by the landlord of the Wallace Inn, but it is not in his possession that the tales are found. Instead, the subseries is named for him because he is a link with Scott's tutor text and because he, like Cervantes' landlord, provides and oversees a meeting place for potential taletellers. There are tales told at the Wallace Inn: The Black Dwarf is one of these. These are tales collected by Peter Pattieson during his own limited ramblings: Old Mortality is one of those. But all of the tales in the series are first transcribed by Pattieson and then edited by Jedediah Cleishbotham from Pattieson's papers [which] had been left in [Cleishbotham's] care (to answer funeral and death-bed expenses).
By sharing the journey and inn motifs with Don Quixote, the Waverley novels demonstrate their own textuality. The epigraph above provides the Waverley subseries with its title, while establishing the series' textuality by referring to a novel outside its scope. The novels attach themselves to their forebear or tutor text by referring outside themselves to this text and by appropriating bits of Don Quixote into themselves. But the most significant link between Don Quixote and the Waverley novels is that both call attention to themselves as texts by self-consciously exposing their own narrative machineries. This machinery is encased in the found manuscript device. Don Quixote is superlatively self-conscious in that it claims to be the result of
references to Don Quixote are to the Norton Critical Edition, which
is the Ormsby translation, revised, edited by Joseph R. Jones and Kenneth
Douglas (New York: W. W. Norton, 1981).
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discovery and editing by one person, translation by an anonymous Morisco,
and transcription by Cid Hamete
Benengeli9. Quixote's adventures are additionally
transcribed by others in other texts and remembered by the citizens of La
Mancha. By using the found manuscript device, the author of the book at hand
defers narrative authority and responsibility by attributing the production
of the original text to another writer one who is at least one remove
from the reader because of this ploy. The more or less present author may
claim to be a compiler, editor or translator, but does not claim final narrative
responsibility for the text.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines the verb find as I. To come upon by chance or in the course of events and II. To discover or attain by search or effort. These definitions give positional preference to the element of chance in the activity of finding and well suit the Waverley prefaces and their manipulation of the found manuscript device. Don Quixote's use of this motif also stresses the accidental. But what happens to the concept of the accidental when the found manuscript motif is located within a historical novel? This question brings the second definition of find into configuration with the first: the manuscript is both accidentally and deliberately discovered, both an artifact and a link with the past. Obliquely, a significant observation about the nature of historical discourse is made and a hint that history itself may be described as a found manuscript is given.
Further, it is important to realize that what is found has been lost and can easily be lost again. In Don Quixote, loss of a manuscript section stops the Knight of the Sorrowful Countenance in mid-battle at the end of Chapter 8, and more of Benengeli's manuscript must be found before the battle can be resolved. In the Waverley prefaces, an ongoing tension is created by the image of the ever-receding past, which is inevitably slipping away from the best of antiquarians, historians, minstrels, folklorists,
John J. Allen, Don Quixote: Hero or Fool? A Study in Narrative Technique
(Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1969); Anthony Close, The Romantic
Approach to Don Quixote: A Critical History of the Romantic
Tradition in Quixote Criticism (Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 1977); Howard Mancing, The Chivalric World of Don Quixote: Style,
Structure, and Narrative Technique (Columbia, Mo.: The University of
Missouri Press, 1982) as examples.
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storytellers, and historical novelists. Metaphorically, the loss of the past
may be seen as bringing any human group to the impasse of liminality, just
as the loss of the Cid's manuscript has arrested Don Quixote. The reader
cannot proceed in discovering what has already happened to Quixote without
being able to read what has been transcribed about him. The Waverley prefaces
suggest that human activity in the present is somehow impaired if we cannot
read the manuscript of the past.
Waverley authorial personae find manuscripts in abundance. In the Tales, Jedediah Cleishbotham finds Peter Pattieson's manuscripts among other papers. Laurence Templeton and Captain Clutterbuck find and are given manuscripts to which they pay some editorial attention; then, hoping for assistance, they send these on to the Author of Waverley. Templeton's manuscript source is the singular Anglo-Saxon MS., which Sir Arthur Wardour preserves with such jealous care in the third drawer of his cabinet, scarcely allowing anyone to touch it, and being himself not able to read one syllable of its contents. Thus, the manuscript of Ivanhoe is found in the possession of a character in The Antiquary, the Author of Waverley's second novel, and referred to the Author for editing. Clutterbuck's manuscript source for The Monastery and The Abbot a clasped paper book, about the size of a regimental orderly-book, full . . . of memoranda is given to him by a mysterious Benedictine monk. This text is also passed on to the Author of Waverley for further revision. Dr. Dryasdust receives the manuscript for Peveril of the Peak a very boring narrative, running to the length of perhaps three hundred and thirty pages in each volume through the mail. The manuscript reaches Dryasdust about a week before its anonymous author does. Dryasdust then identifies his visitor as the Author of Waverley, but also refers to him as the Eidolon. The Greek term eidolon means spectre or image; to this, English adds phantom. The term suggests that authorial authority is a fading, illusory thing and that the author is merely an image instead of a viable being. Woodstock's truly anonymous narrator opens that novel's 1826 preface with this statement about found manuscripts:
It is not to my purpose to inform my readers how the manuscripts of that eminent antiquary, the Rev. J. A. Rochecliffe, D. D., came into my possession. There are many ways in which such things happen, and it is enough to say they were
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rescued from an unworthy fate, and that they were honestly come by.
Crystal Croftangry, the last of the Waverley narrative personae, is presented
with the most personal found manuscript in: that this one is a remnant of
his own family history and all that remains for him of a failed fortune.
By equipping itself with an intricately layered preface, Don Quixote sets the model and thus becomes a found manuscript for the Waverley series. The layers include title and dedication page, price declaration, corrector's statement, royal letter of permission to publish, dedication to the Duke of Bejar, prologue, and preliminary verses. The prologue establishes the problematic image of the author as stepfather to the text, and discusses the problem of writing prefaces. So difficult is this task that a trusted friend appears to help Don Quixote's first-person narrator write the preface, thus facilitating (the narrator tells us) the novel's completion. The friend maintains that the prologue already exists in a certain way and needs only to be found. In this case, the activity of finding is that of bricolage: all the current author has to do is to lift bits from standard texts and piece them together in the pattern already established by literary tradition and reader expectation. According to this formula, Horace, Holy Scripture, Cato, mythology, Ovid, Homer, Virgil, Julius Caesar, Plutarch, Leon the Hebrew, Fonseca, Aristotle, Saint Basil, and Cicero are all standing by, waiting to fulfill specific preface functions. Reference to them, as long as it coincides with reader expectation, is all that is needed to establish narrative authority and to produce an impressive prologue.
This description forms a powerful parallel to the scene in the Minutes of Sederunt of the General Meeting of the Shareholders Designing to Form a Joint-Stock Company, United for the Purpose of Writing and Publishing the Class of Works Called the Waverley Novels a situation calling together almost all of the Waverley narrative personae. Here, the Eidolon (also called the Preses on this occasion) describes an invention by which at the expense of a little mechanism, some part of the labor of composing these novels might be saved by the use of steam. Already, division of labor is being used in series production, with each authorial persona assigned a role in this monumental task. But now, technology can go a step farther in generating the generic Waverley text:
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Gentlemen, it is to be presumed that this mechanical operation can only apply to those parts of the narrative which are at present composed out of commonplaces, such as the love-speeches of the hero, the description of the heroines person, the moral observations of all sorts, and the distribution of happiness at the conclusion of the piece. Mr. Dousterswivel has sent me some drawings, which go far to show that, by placing the words and phrases technically employed on these subjects in a sort of framework . . . and changing them by such a mechanical process as that by which weavers of damask alter their patterns, many new and happy combinations cannot fail to occur, while the author, tired of pumping his own brains, may have an agreeable relaxation in the use of his fingers.
Here is another sort of bricolage: a text made up of set pieces from other
texts in the series to which the resulting bricolage will belong. A standard
critical barb aimed at the Waverley novels is being deflected here; critics
characterize the series by its wooden, intrusive set pieces. But something
more is also at work. While the friendly advisor in the preface to Don
Quixote recommends that its authorial persona look to earlier authors'
texts for immediately portable pieces out of which to assemble a preface,
the Preses suggests in the preface to The Betrothed that future Waverley
novels themselves should look to past Waverley novels for these useful bits,
thus creating a circular, perfectly self-referential text.
Don Quixote and the Waverley novels share another link: each underscores its own referentiality and its own status as text through copious use of source materials and citations. In Don Quixote, these sources are themselves literary: ballads, poems, and plays the contemporary audience was familiar with and first in importance the books of chivalry which the novel borrows from and professes to attack. All of these sources are satirical targets in the novel, but they all exert influence upon Quixote's behavior in the textual present and account for his vision of the past. For the Waverley series, source materials are ballads, poems, oral narratives, and historical texts, all of which create the layered, embedded narratives that constitute what this series means by historical fiction, historiography, and, indeed, all forms of historical discourse. These are the found manuscripts that Scott's novels make use of and, in using them in a particularly self-conscious manner, the series describes historical
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discourse as referential, eclectic, and inextricably involved in its own
Herbert Butterfield regards historical fiction as an act of resurrection10. In a sense, historical fictions resuscitate a once-lived past, revitalizing the lost text and reviving its characters and their motivations. But a false immediacy is suggested because what is resurrected, what is found are not in fact past events themselves, but merely the text of past events. The manuscript to be found is always already an artifact, whether written or otherwise inscribed in stone, paint, or memory. Further, the Waverley novels as historical fictions demonstrate a remarkable urgency in their search for the lost manuscripts of the past: the human past as manuscript is ephemeral and constantly receding, determined to lose itself or to remain lost. David Brown remarks about The Antiquary's characters own obsession with history as a subject11; this anxiety permeates the entire Waverley series. The historical urgency of some of the narrative personae is ironically underscored by the apparent detachment of others, as evidenced by the latter's cynicism concerning their own found manuscripts and their sniping remarks on the subject among themselves.
However history is evaluated, memory personal or shared constitutes a significant sort of found manuscript in the Waverley prefaces, and one that is particularly vulnerable to loss. Scott's critics usually like those Waverley novels that are referentially founded in personal memory better than those that use more bookish source materials12. They particularly favor the novels that draw on Scott's personal memory, memory that falls within the boundaries of familial oral tradition (e.g., the sixty years of Waverley's subtitle). This time period includes the life experiences of immediate generations who can narrate these events to the young.
In Waverley's first chapter, The Author comments about the vulnerability of memory. He points out that the subtitle's sixty years since are rapidly increasing in number, causing the date of Waverley's action to recede farther into the past. Time's
Butterfield, The Historical Novel: An Essay (Cambridge, Mass.: The
University Press, 1924), preface.
11 David Brown, Walter Scott and the Historical Imagination (Boston: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1979), p. 63.
12 John O. Hayden, Introduction, Scott: The Critical Heritage (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1970), p. 4.
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passing weakens the vigor of shared memory and increases the need for the aid and supplement of transcription. The passage of time underscores Waverley's status as a historical novel and defines the text as vulnerable to this process in the same manner as are the events and characters which it attempts to protect from erasure. Waverley's Introductory deals with this dilemma in two seemingly contradictory ways: by describing human nature as universal and constant and by ironically undermining this claim. If human nature does not vary with time and place, then it stands outside the limits of history and constitutes a significant sort of permanent found manuscript, impervious to the erasures of time. In this case, the historical novel too partakes of this universality and its task of preserving an ephemeral past through its representations is not quite such a desperate one. In fact, the Author suggests:
By fixing, then, the date of my story Sixty Years before this present 1st November, 1805, I would have my readers understand, that they will meet in the following pages neither a romance of chivalry nor a tale of modern manners; that my hero will neither have iron on his shoulders, as of yore, nor on the heels of his boots, as is the present fashion of Bond Street; and that my damsels will neither be clothed in purple and in pall, like the Lady Alice of the old ballad, nor reduced to the primitive nakedness of modern fashion at a rout. From this my choice of an era the understanding critic may further presage that the object of my tale is more a description of men than manners. . . . I must be understood to have resolved to . . . [throw] the force of my narrative upon the characters and passions of the actors; those passions common to men in all stages of society, and which alike agitated the human heart, whether it throbbed under the steel corslet of the fifteenth century, the brocaded coat of the eighteenth, or the blue frock and white dimity waistcoat of the present day*. . . . It is from the great book of Nature, the same through a thousand editions, whether of black-letter, or wire-wove and hot-pressed, that I have venturously essayed to read a chapter to the public.
Here the image of the great book of Nature suggests a found manuscript of yet another kind. This one demands especially careful transcription and allows for very little editorial textual play. It is the text which inscribes all others, with any given historical event as merely a particular manifestation of human
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nature's constants. But the Author cannot leave this pronouncement alone. He immediately undermines it with this footnote:
*Alas! that attire, respectable and gentlemanlike in 1805, or thereabouts, is now as antiquated as the Author of Waverley has himself become since that period! The reader will please to fill up the costume with an embroidered waistcoat of purple velvet or silk, and a coat of whatever color he pleases.
Just as the cultural artifacts of fashion change with time, the historical
novel itself is subject to the boundaries of manners which the
Tangential to the limits of memory, Waverley's Magnum Opus preface takes up the problem of the unrecallable source. But here, the narrator expresses despair over these limits, as he describes his situation:
I think I have seen some account of the real estate of the transaction, and of the machinery by which the wizard worked his wonders; but whether in a book, or a pamphlet I am uncertain. I remember one passage particularly to this purpose.
If memory is itself the reference or the repository of source material, then
it empowers narrative authority, a category always in question in a text
based on a found manuscript. Two types of metaphorical found manuscripts
are juxtaposed here: that from which the fictional author or editor creates
her/his text and that which is found in memory and historical record.
Both types are called into question by the Waverley authorial personae. The found manuscripts of memory and historical event are vulnerable to the erasures of time. Even the definitive found manuscript of the great book of Nature is not impervious to this process. The Author of Waverley undermines the found manuscript motif as it is modeled after Don Quixote. In his letter to Captain Clutterbuck in the preface to The Monastery, the Eidolon writes:
One walks on the sea shore, and a wave casts on land a small cylindrical trunk or casket, containing a manuscript much damaged with seawater, which is with difficulty deciphered, and so forth. Another steps into a chandler's shop, to purchase a pound of butter, and behold! the waste-paper on which it is laid is the manuscript of a cabalist. A third is so fortunate as to obtain from a woman who lets lodgings, the curious contents of an antique bureau, the property of a
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deceased lodger. All these are certainly possible occurrences; but I know not how, they seldom occur to any Editors save those of your country.
The Author does not identify his own work as based on such luck, though he claims that status for Cleishbotham's manuscript; nor does he mention Don Quixote here. Instead, he refers the reader and the Captain to the History of Automathes, Adventures of a Guinea, and Adventures of an Atom and continues:
At least I can answer for myself, that in my solitary walks by the sea, I never saw it cast ashore anything but dulse and tangle, and now and then a deceased starfish; my landlady never presented me with any manuscript save her cursed bill; and the most interesting of my discoveries in the way of waste-paper was finding a favorite passage of one of my own novels wrapt round an ounce of snuff. No, Captain, the funds from which I have drawn my power of amusing the public, have been bought otherwise than by fortuitous adventure. I have buried myself in libraries, to extricate from the nonsense of ancient days new nonsense of my own.
The Eidolon situates Clutterbuck in the country of utopia and so exposes or at least threatens to expose the Captain's essential fictionality. Inversely, this threat underscores the desire of the Waverley narrative personae for independent lives and for escape from the boundaries of the preface. But it also turns the found manuscript motif back upon itself in a curious, informative way: being an extension of a literary tradition, any later text is, in a very real sense, a found manuscript; being grounded in historical event, the same is true for any form of historical discourse including the historical novel. The manuscript may be found in a variety of hiding places: in personal or communal memory, oral tradition, ballad, historical records, architecture, artifacts. But the finding will not always be through luck, though this characteristic is definitional and established by the experience of numerous Waverley personae. According to the Eidolon, finding is more typically a result of method and diligence characteristics also established in defining find. He implies that behind all of the manipulations of text and narrative responsibility attached to the found manuscript device, there is still the hand of an author who in the end accounts for the artistry of a particular text.
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The point of juxtaposing the found manuscript motif and the historical novel is this: history itself can be seen as a found manuscript, one created by many hands. It is a manuscript continually in danger of being forever lost. History requires fiction to salvage the text of the past, fill in its blanks, and make it legible to the general reader. For, according to the numerous authorial personae in Don Quixote and the Waverley novels, something of immeasurable value is lost with the permanent loss of this text, however partial and fragmented it may by necessity be.
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