From: Cervantes: Bulletin of the Cervantes Society of America
16.1 (1996): 109-11.
Copyright © 1996, The Cervantes Society of America
* This is a response to a review written by Yvonne Jehenson in Cervantes 15.2 (1995); the exchange is continued in this current issue in Jehenson's Response.
and Sir Philip Sidney with regard to rustic and literary shepherds being
separated in a literary work. Such commentary, however, is not germane. It
is not likely that pastoral theory would have affected Cervantess invention
of a rustic like Sancho, because Sancho has both a literary pedigree (see
F. Márquez Villanueva, Fuentes literarias cervantinas, 2094)
and most likely an external model or models. Jehenson incorrectly holds theory
as a standard for creative artists, even as that theory of pastoral was at
best sporadic or even perfunctory, especially in Spain.
Is it not plausible to conclude that a creative artist has taken his inspiration from the reality around him? It is not possible nor would one want or need to justify Sancho and other rustics of the Quijote in the pastoral theory of the time.
Jehenson characterizes what I call Arcadian figures as a mixed bag; this is just another example of her taking my work out of context to assign it a negative criticism. I carefully document with abundant citations from primary and secondary sources the Arcadian dimensions which several characters of Cervantes have. Her review makes it sound as it they were stereotyped as pastoral characters by me. Some, like Cardenio and the Gentleman in the Green Suit, have been created with certain pastoral nuances. Cardenio, for example, is surely associated with the pastoral (see for example M. Moner, Cervantès conteur, 186, and F. López Estrada., ed. Galatea, p. 91, who agree); but this does not mean that I think he is wholly a pastoral character and nothing more.
Jehenson objects to my bringing together topoi of other genres to define the pastoral: masquerades, disguises, friendship, leisurely conversation, interrelated stories, mimetic plays, Renaissance academic colloquia all become essential to the imaginative pastoral. The fact of the matter is that these are essential to many pastoral novels and plays, and that is why I have studied them in detail. A reading of the vast body of Spanish pastoral dramas and novels of the period will confirm that these are featured activities among shepherds in many pastoral works.
What is particularly disturbing about Jehensons review is that she generally has failed to comment on the substance of my work. I would have welcomed a careful and constructive examination of my analyses of the Galatea, the various pastoral episodes of the Quijote, and my assessment of the critical history of Cervantess pastoral vision. Most of all, I wonder why Jehenson did not review my chapters on pastoral play, a topic for which I have supplied abundant documentation. And perhaps an answer to this question emerges
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when against my own work she quotes Klaus Theweleits Male Fantasies where pastoral is seen for what it has always been, a leisurely game . . . in a courtly milieu. This leisurely game (italics mine) is precisely the basis for much of part III of my book, for pastoral evolves into a literary game, as I explain, late in part II of the Quijote. This oversight on her part is proof positive that she ignored a major part of my analysis. The result is a review that distorts my book.
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