From: Cervantes: Bulletin of the Cervantes Society of America 11.2 (1991): 7-25.
Copyright © 1991, The Cervantes Society of America

Of Witches and Bitches: Gender, Marginality and Discourse in El casamiento engañoso y Coloquio de los perros


IN THE Casamiento engañoso the syphilitic soldier Campuzano reveals that the jewelry his wife had stolen from him was all false. But this doesn't necessarily mean that he is poor. His real wealth is discourse, first the oral narration of his marital adventures, and then the manuscript he offers his friend Peralta the lawyer to read, a literary text. Campuzano's real talent (in the Biblical sense of wealth given him) is as a teller of tales. He is rather like Cervantes himself in this.1
     Campuzano is the last in a series of sympathetic but impotent soldier-poets who appear throughout Cervantes' works. He recalls Ruy Pérez de Viedma, who narrates his experiences as a captive in Algiers and runs into his brother, the successful

     1 Julio Rodríguez Luis makes this explicit, noting that “el apellido Campuzano empieza con el mismo signo y tiene igual número de letras que el de Cervantes.” Novedad y ejemplo de las “Novelas” de Cervantes, v. 2 (Madrid: José Porrúa Turanzas, 1980), 53, n. 11.



lawyer, in Don Quijote I, 39-41. He is also a more elaborated version of the soldier-poet in La guarda cuidadosa, who woos the girl with love poetry and the record of his military service but loses her to the sacristan.2 There is also a relation between Campuzano and Tomás Rodaja/Rueda in El Licenciado Vidriera, who tries his best to be a man of letters but is derided and rejected, and forced finally against his will into the profession of arms, where he “wins” fame (as a soldier) and death simultaneously. Otis H. Green once postulated that Licenciado Vidriera has an autobiographical dimension; certainly Casamiento/coloquio does.3 Finally, Campuzano is a remote descendant of Elicio in La Galatea, who mobilizes an army of soldier-poets to rescue poetry itself, allegorized in the person of Galatea, from the clutches of the Portugese.4
     We are accustomed to read the Casamiento narrative from some kind of moralistic high ground and to judge Campuzano from that perspective. Mauricio Molho, for example, makes much of what he calls “le peché de Campuzano.”5 Is he a liar? Can we trust the Coloquio story in view of his self-confessed deceit in the other one? If we read the Casamiento narrative instead as a story artfully told, characterized by the narrator's withholding and anticipating information, hinting at moral purpose only to undercut it, as he says so often encendiendo el deseo, in short

     2 Eugenio Asensio laid out the grounds for this identification only to reject it. Eugenio Asensio, prologue to his edition of Cervantes, Entremeses (Madrid: Castalia, 1970), 32-33. Francisco Márquez Villanueva has no difficulty with the autobiographical reference. In fact, he draws attention to it. See “Tradición y actualidad literaria en La guarda cuidadosa,” in his Fuentes literarias cervantinas (Madrid: Gredos, 1973), 95-108. Mary Gaylord has also written about this: “La poesía y los poetas en los entremeses de Cervantes,” ACerv 20 (1982), but her observations have more to do with poetry (verse as opposed to prose) and literary theory than with the evocation of a “portrait of the artist.”
     3 See Otis H. Green, “El Licenciado Vidriera: Its Relation to the Viaje del Parnaso and the Examen de ingenios of Huarte,” in A. S. Crisafulli, ed., Linguistic and Literary Studies in Honor of Helmut A. Hatzfeld (Washington D. C., 1964), 213-220.
     4 Mary Gaylord has dealt with poets in La Galatea in “The Language of Limits and the Limits of Language. The Crisis of Poetry in La Galatea,” MLN 97 (1982), 254-271, but not in this precise context. More to the point is Leslie Deutsch Johnson, “Three Who Made a Revolution: Cervantes, Galatea and Caliope,” Hispanófila, no. 57 (1976): 23-33.
     5 Maurice Molho, ed., El casamiento engañoso y coloquio de los perros / Le mariage trompeur et colloque des chiens (Paris: Aubier-Flammarion, 1970), “Remarques,” pp. 71-72; 75-78.

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establishing a complex and dynamic rhetorical relationship with his hearer-reader, that is, if we don't judge Campuzano morally, but artistically, the Casamiento story appears in a new light, much more positive or at least morally neutral. If becomes the hook Campuzano uses to bring us into the orbit of his world of discourse and what allows him finally to offer us the written (and therefore more prestigious/ambitious?) text of the Coloquio. L. J. Woodward has worked this out with precise references to the precepts of rhetoric. The Casamiento is the inductio to the Coloquio. It proceeds according to the prescribed method ordo artificialis, with the short illustrative story about Campuzano and Doña Estefanía, the proverb about Don Simueque and his one-eyed daughter, and the sententia from Petrarca.6
     Campuzano, the man of arms, tells his stories to Peralta, a professional of letters, literally a letrado. Now what happens here? The man of arms becomes the man of letters. It is he who proffers texts to be reacted to, not his friend the lawyer, who makes a good living by manipulating words but whose manipulations never become part of any text we read. The “man of letters” is silenced. In this sense, as Campuzano's story, the last of the Novelas ejemplares is the story of a writer trying to become one.
     In fact, maybe this is Cervantes' final or most detailed or most profound statement about the artist (i.e. himself) in society.7 But there are several portraits of the artist in this text. There is Campuzano who addresses Peralta, there is Berganza who addresses Cipión, there is Cañizares who addresses Berganza. And there is also a narrator who addresses the reader.
     There is a nexus between the dogs' speech, the witches' speech, and Campuzano's oral and especially written discourse. All these speakers have in common that they are supposed to remain mute. Campuzano's text (the Coloquio) is about giving voice, that is, speech, real membership in the community, to those marginated elements whose status is so insignificant it

     6 L. J. Woodward, “El casamiento engañoso y el coloquio de los perros,” BHS, 36 (1959): 80.
     7 Alban Forcione claims, however, that La Gitanilla and Pedro de Urdemalas “present the full biography, the apprenticeship and triumph, of the Cervantine figure of the poet.” Alban Forcione, Cervantes, Aristotle, and the Persiles (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1970), 306. Lesley Lipson has recently challenged Forcione's categories in “La palabra hecha nada: mendacious discourse in La Gitanilla,” Cervantes 9.1 (1989): 35-53.


renders then infans and thereby deprives them of membership. Campuzano's text is designed to make the unspoken speak, to raise the repressed (collectively, the things society doesn't want to think about) to the level of consciousness. We should consider Cañizares, as witch and as woman, and her speech first. The prevailing viewpoint is exemplified most forcefully in recent Casamiento/Coloquio criticism by Alban Forcione.8 Forcione considers the Cañizares episode “a monstrous embodiment of disorder” (61). Cañizares herself is “the monster at the center of the labyrinth” (59). “Whether or not Cervantes actually believed in witches . . . it is nevertheless clear that he was well aware of the imaginative power of the myth of witchcraft, that he effectively introduced its vision of annihilating energy and its vocabulary of horrible inversion at the moment of climactic disintegration in his narrative, and that he exploited its theological implications to pursue to its most profound depth his major theme of the nature of evil” (71).
     María Antonia Garcés has recently offered a more modern and marginally less moralistic version of Forcione's thesis. Largely because she insists on Cañizares as a sexual being (a characteristic Forcione shies away from), her vision of the old woman as the monstrous locus of evil is even more virulent that his. Garcés also situates the problematic of Berganza's encounter with Cañizares within the context of Lacan's theories of accession into language and the Symbolic order. “This is a voyage into the womb, a descent into the abyss where the monster lives, . . . a face to face encounter with the ‘void’ epitomized by a woman's genitals.” Cañizares is “the most repulsive invention of the maternal, a desecration of that saintly body which represents the highest construct of the Christian civilization regarding human conception and nurturing. . . .  Therefore corruption —sexuality, syphilis and sin— is identified from the onset with the feminine, of which the maternal is the real support.”9
     The association of Cañizares the witch to a fearsome crone who is somehow also a mother need not proceed from the theories of Julia Kristeva, whence Garcés derives it. Cañizares the crone may also be considered as the debased, degraded and disempowered

     8 Alban Forcione, Cervantes and the Mystery of Lawlessness (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1984).
     9 María Antonia Garcés, “Berganza and the Abject: the Desecration of the Mother.” A paper presented at MLA, Washington D. C., December 1989.

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remnant of “the Great Mother,” who was worshiped throughout the ancient Near East and whose worship fell victim to patriarchal religions in the second or first millennium B.C. She is identified with the earth, with the generative principle, and with the seasonal and life cycles. There is a lively debate among scholars both feminist and otherwise concerning whether her worship signified a matriarchal socio-political order, or simply reflected matrilineal reckoning of descent, and whether the Goddess was ousted by the discovery of paternity, by Indo-European barbarians, by the institution of private property, or just what.10 Barbara Walker divides the Goddess into three aspects not unlike the Trinity familiar to Christians. “This many-named Goddess was the first Holy Trinity. Her three major aspects have been designated Virgin, Mother, and Crone” (21). Around the fifth century A.D. Christianity incorporated her worship or at least her veneration, but with significant modification. The Virgin and Mother aspects where merged into the familiar figure of Mary. The Crone aspect, traditionally considered essential to the comprehension of the trinitarian goddess and the logic of the natural cycles she presided, was simply amputated. This tactic allowed the fact of death to be replaced by the promise of eternal life, and it made female sexuality disappear behind virginity and nurturing.
     There is accumulating a body of feminist analysis of the silencing of women by the patriarchal order. Elaine Showalter observes that “It was because witches were suspected of esoteric knowledge and possessed speech [‘possessed’ is an adjective modifying ‘speech’] that they were burned.”11 Showalter's apparently offhand observation about witches is the fruit of an alternative, almost an underground tradition of attempts to explain the phenomenon of witchcraft from the perspective of the witches instead of that of their persecutors.
     In 1862 in a book entitled La Sorcière, Jules Michelet explained the rise of witchcraft in the Middle Ages and Renaissance precisely as the only means of revolt possible for women against

     10 I have found the following particularly useful: Gerda Lerner, The Creation of Patriarchy (New York: Oxford UP, 1986); Merlin Stone, When God Was a Woman (New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1976); Barbara G. Walker, The Crone. Woman of Age, Wisdom and Power (New York: Harper and Row, 1985).
     11 Elaine Showalter, “Feminist Criticism in the Wilderness,” in David Lodge, ed. Modern Criticism and Theory. A Reader (New York: Longman, 1988), 340. Widely available elsewhere as well.


the oppressive feudal-patriarchal order. It is easy, especially for a man, to dismiss Michelet's melodramatic account of the peasant bride and the feudal lord who abuses and humiliates her by exercising his droits de Seigneur on her body as hyperbolic docu-drama, but contemporary feminist theory finds his hypotheses congenial and rewarding. Helène Cixous, Catherine Clément, and Marguerite Duras all return approvingly to Michelet's theses on the origins and meaning of witchcraft. When Xavière Gauthier founded her feminist literary review in 1976 she names it Sorcières. For Gauthier all women are sorcières. The figure of the witch is a kind of hyperbolic trope, the extreme case of woman's situation in man's society.
     The French feminists' attraction to witchcraft is based on a perception of witches as powerful liberated women. Their attributes:
     —‘direct’ contact with nature, with their body, with the body of others;
     —practices, ideas, and a language that are presented as positive models for a specifically feminine, as opposed to an oppressive masculine culture;
     —a halo of mystery and secrecy that evokes the notion of a private territory or kingdom where women are queens.
     Witches were subversive because of their alliance with the devil, their medical practices, and their sexual activities, imagined or real, especially during the Sabbath ‘orgies’. . . .  Witches as healers, poisoners, aborters, and midwives knew about plants and the body . . . because they had studied them practically. If witches used plants effectively it is because they classified them and experimented with them, and that is a ‘scientific’ approach. It is not a better practice because one calls it scientific, but it means that witches used their brains in the same way as men, who later monopolized medicine.”12
     Across the channel, Catherine Belsey observes that witchcraft can be considered “as a practice offering women a form of power which was forbidden precisely by orthodox concepts of the family.”13

     12 An anonymous collective contribution to Questions feministes, no. 1 (November 1977). In Elaine Marks and Isabelle de Courtivron, eds. New French Feminisms (New York: Schocken Books, 1981), 220.
     13 Catherine Belsey, “Literature, History, Politics,” in David Lodge, ed. Modern Criticism and Theory. A Reader (New York: Longman, 1988), 405. Widely available elsewhere as well.

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     Michelet's theses have been favorably received by at least a segment of competent clinical opinion in this country as well. Thomas S. Szasz considers that witches were silenced and hounded out of existence because they competed, rather too successfully, with the established order and its corollary of male supremacy. “By aiding the weak,” he writes, “the witch tended to undermine the established hierarchies of dominance —of priest over penitent, lord over peasant, man over woman.”14
     Marxism, which shares with feminism a vision of society divided into oppressors and victims, also shares the alternative approach to understanding witchcraft. Marja Ludwicka Jarocka bases her discussion of the witches in the text and their place in Cervantes' society on Michelet's theories.15 Jarocka notes that Cañizares is not the only witch in our text. Rather, she belongs to an entire subculture composed of marginated women.
     The witches also competed with the new science of medicine, and exclusively masculine practice restricted to university graduates and encoded in the Latin language.16 It has even been argued that this competition alone was responsible for the systematic hunting down and extermination of witches precisely during the period of the formation of modern medicine. Thomas Szasz observes that the sorceress “acquires, by experimenting with drugs extracted from plants, a genuine knowledge of some powerful pharmacological agents” (85). Among these he lists belladonna, a term that was coined precisely to name the wise woman who understood its use.17
     Julio Caro Baroja comes perhaps as close as a man could in 1961 to identifying witches' behavior with their status as women. Like Marja Jarocka, he considers the witch as a woman on the margin of society. He evokes women who find themselves belittled by their surroundings, perhaps left with a “complejo de

     14 Thomas S. Szasz, M.D., The Manufacture of Madness (New York: Harper and Row, 1970), 86.
     15 See Marja Ludwicka Jarocka, El coloquio de los perros a una nueva luz (México: UNAM, 1979), 39-43; 98-115.
     16 Juan Blázquez Miguel observes that “cualquier vieja o joven, sospechosa de cualquier heterodoxia, por ligera que fuese, social o religiosa, era acusada de bruja, y nada digamos si se dedicaba al curanderismo.” Blázquez Miguel, Eros y Tánatos. Brujería, hechicería y superstición en España (Toledo: Editorial Arcano, 1989), 20.
     17 Thomas S. Szasz, M.D., The Manufacture of Madness (New York: Harper and Row, 1970), 83.


impotencia” after a series of failed amorous relationships, and concludes that “las hechiceras antiguas formaban como una sociedad secreta de mujeres.”18
     Juan Blázquez Miguel traces what he calls a “proceso de satanización de la mujer” beginning in the twelfth century, a tendency to blame women for everything from outbreaks of plague to ecclesiastical schism.19 The enormously influential Malleus maleficarum of 1486, for example, identifies witches as women because “all witchcraft comes from carnal lust, which in women is insatiable.”20 As a Spanish example Blázquez Miguel cites Martín Castañega, writing in 1529: “Cristo, conociendo su naturaleza perversa, las apartó de sus sacramentos, mientras que por lo mismo el Diablo les dio libertad para sus excrementos; son más fáciles de engañar por su natural simpleza; son más curiosas para saber y escudriñar cosas ocultas; son más habladoras y se enseñan unas a otras; como son menos fuertes tienen mayor propensión a la ira y son más vengativas; al llegar a la vejez tienen apetitos carnales que no pueden satisfacer y piden ayuda al diablo.”21
     Having noted the general tendency to equate women and their alternate healing arts with witchcraft and the Devil, we can proceed to the specific historical context of Cervantes' witches. Everyone has noted the presence, by name, of a real witch, Leonor Rodríguez, La Camacha de Montilla. Leonor Rodríguez and her sister (?) Catalina were both tried for witchcraft and condemned at the auto of 8 December 1572. The proceedings have been published by Rafael Gracia Boix.22 The material published by Gracia Boix is only very tenuously related to Cervantes' text, except for the name “La Camacha,” which figures so prominently in it. Neither of the historical Camachas is remotely appropriate as a modelo vivo for anyone in the Coloquio de los perros, although there are some similarities, which should be noted. Like Cañizares in the story, both Catalina and Leonor were condemned

     18 Julio Caro Baroja, Las brujas y su mundo (Madrid: Revista de Occidente, 1961. Rpt. Madrid: Alianza, 1966), 317.
     19 Juan Blázquez Miguel, Eros y Tánatos. Brujería, hechicería y superstición en España (Toledo: Editorial Arcano, 1989), 20.
     20 Jacob Sprenger and Heinrich Krämer, Malleus maleficarum (1486), ed. Montague Summers (New York: Dover, 1971), 47.
     21 Martín Castañega, Tratado muy sutil y bien fundado de las supersticiones y hechicerías y varios conjuros (Logroño, 1529).
     22 In Autos de fe y causas de la Inquisición de Córdoba (Córdoba, 1983), 91-96.

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to volunteer work in a hospital. Catalina was to serve “cinco años en Córdoba en el hospital que se le señalare” (94), and Leonor “los dos primeros años de los diez [of her exile] en un hospital en Córdoba, cual se la señalare” (96). Both women, as indeed all the witches who were tried and condemned on the same occasion, devoted a good part of their professional practice to what we might call magical alcahuetería, arranging for certain men to come into the presence of female clients, including the celebrated apparition of a certain Don Alonso de Aguilar in the client's garden in the form of a horse (Bernarda Alba, watch out!), but neither of them is noted as a midwife, and there are no references to childbirth in the proceedings. Similarly, and this is even more curious, there are no references to witches' sabbaths or aquelarres. Thus the two most crucial aspects of Cañizares' intervention in the Coloquio are missing from the Camacha proceedings.
     In spite of the textual prominence of the Andalusian Camachas, it seems that of all the manifestations of the European witch craze of 1450-1750, the one that most probably bears on Cervantes' text is the famous Logroño auto of 1610. The largest such event in history, it attracted some 30,000 spectators. An extensive relación was published in the same year by Juan de Mongastón, which Cervantes surely must have read.23 In this context it is perhaps not insignificant that Cañizares herself directs attention away from Andalucía to Navarra when she remarks that she and La Montiela “habíamos estado las dos en un valle de los Montes Perineos en una gran jira.”24
     She refers to an aquelarre in the Basque country. The word is of Basque origin, suggesting the prominence of that region in both the production and persecution of witches. “Akerr” is ‘macho cabrío’, and “larre” is ‘prado’, the goal and the site respectively of the witches' clandestine gatherings. The question has

     23 Amezúa, for one, seeks to minimize the importance of this event, because he believes the Coloquio was written no later than 1605, and probably in Fall 1604, when Cervantes was living in Valladolid. He is willing to admit, however, that Cervantes could have incorporated some details from the 1610 relación into last-minute revisions of his text. Amezúa, Cervantes creador, II, 452. All Forcione says is: “Various Cervantists have connected the genesis of the Cañizares episode with the famous auto de fe of Logroño in 1610.” (Cervantes and the Mystery of Lawlessness, 68, n. 14). He then remits to Amezúa's edition of Casamiento.
     24 ed. Sieber, vol. II, p. 340.


always been whether the women were actually physically transported to the rendevous with Satan or whether they merely dreamed it. Ever since Dr. Andrés Laguna identified some of the ingredients of the soporific unguent the women smeared on their bodies, clinical opinion has favored a chemically induced hallucination as the explanation for their accounts of where they went, what they did and with whom.25 But clinicians were in short supply in the sixteenth century.
     Pedro Ciruelo's Reprobación de las supersticiones y hechicerías (1530) ascribes the normally impossible events, real or imagined, to the Devil. The Reprobación was reprinted nine more times before publication of the Coloquio: in 1538, 1540, 1541, 1547 (three editions), 1548, 1551, and 1556. It is difficult to believe that Cervantes was not acquainted with it. Ciruelo's description of the witches' visible behavior is strikingly reminiscent of Berganza's. “También las cosas que hacen las brujas, o jorguinas son tan maravillosas que no se puede dar razón dellas por causas naturales. . . .  Otras destas en acabándose de untar y decir aquellas palabras se caen en tierra como muertas, frías y sin sentido alguno, aunque las quemen o asierren no lo sienten. Y dende la dos o tres horas se levantan muy ligeramente y dicen muchas cosas de otras tierras y lugares adonde dicen que han ido. . . .  Esta ilusión acontece en dos maneras principales: que horas hay que ellas realmente salen de sus casas y el diablo las lleva por los aires a otras casas y lugares; otras veces ellas no salen de sus casas, y el diablo las priva de todos sus sentidos, y caen en tierra como muertas y frías, y les representa en sus fantasías que van a las otras casas y lugares. Y nada de aquello es verdad, aunque ellas piensan que todo es así como ellas lo han soñado, y cuentan muchas cosas de las que allá pasaron.”26 Ciruelo clearly believes

     25 M. J. Harner has recently observed that all the famous unguents are found to contain atropine, a powerful alkaloid, as well as mandragora and henbane. The broom the witches were said to mount served to apply the atropine bearing mixture to the sensitive vaginal membranes. The result of this application is said to be a “trip” in the modern sense of drug culture slang. M. J. Harner, “The Role of Hallucinogenic Plants in European Witchcraft,” Hallucinogens and Shamanism (London, 1973), 124-150. Other unguents have been found to contain aconite or monkshood, cinquefoil and belladonna. This combination is said to produce cardiac arrhythmia, which in a sleeping person would give the sensation of falling or flying. Blázquez Miguel, Eros y Tánatos, 23-24.
     26 Pedro Ciruelo, Reprobación de las supersticiones y hechicerías (1530), ed. Alva V. Ebersole (Valencia: Albatros, 1978), 37.

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that the Devil, and not some chemical agent or the imagination of the individual concerned, is responsible for what happens.
     Cañizares: “Hay opinión que no vamos a estos convites sino con la fantasía, en la cual nos representa el demonio las imágenes de todas aquellas cosas que después contamos que nos han sucedido. Otros dicen que no, sino que verdaderamente vamos en cuerpo y en ánima; y entrambas opiniones tengo para mí que son verdaderas, puesto que nosotras no sabemos cuando vamos de una o de otra manera, porque todo lo que nos pasa en la fantasía es tan intensamente que no hay diferenciarlo de cuando vamos real y verdaderamente. Algunas experiencias desto han hecho los señores inquisidores con algunas de nosotras, y pienso han hallado ser verdad lo que digo” (340).
     When Cañizares says that the Inquisitors have conducted experiments and found both of two contradictory propositions to be true (“Do we really go there, or do we imagine it?”), she is probably reflecting, in a general way, the double explanation proposed by Ciruelo as long before as 1530, and in a more immediate and empirical context, the antagonism and opposed interpretations of the Inquisitors whose investigations led to the famous Logroño proceedings of 1610. These were the hard liners Alonso Becerra Holguín and Juan Valle Alvarado on the one hand and Alonso de Salazar Frías (the “witches' advocate”) on the other. On 20 April 1611, concurrently with the Becerra/Valle and Salazar Frías debates, and at the request of the Inquisitor General, the humanist Pedro de Valencia offered a reaction to the recently published account of the 1610 auto. Either the witches' meetings were real, and took place with the cooperation of the Devil; or the witches' meetings were dream-visions produced by the witch unguent; or the witches' meetings were sometimes real and sometimes only dreams, but in any case involved the cooperation of the Devil.27
     Salazar Frías had violent disagreement with his two hard-nosed colleagues, which led to a series of position papers and mutual recriminations in the years following the 1610 proceedings.

     27 Valencia's observation remained unpublished until 1900, when Manuel Serrano y Sanz published them as the “Discurso de Pedro de Valencia acerca de los cuentos de las brujas y cosas tocantes a magia,” Revista de Extremadura 2 (1900), 189-303; 337-347. Summarized in Gustav Henningsen, The Witches' Advocate (Reno: University of Nevada, 1980), 7. (See also the testimony of María de Lesaca reported by Idoate.)


In 1612 Salazar Frías himself offered a summary of his disagreements with Becerra and Valle, which makes reference precisely to the points at issue in Cañizares' discourse. “Se encuentran los más principales diciendo cada uno de esta manera: Ellos, que todos los confitentes han visto o cometido real y corporalmente cuanto de sí mismos y de las demás, respectivamente, testifican. Yo, que aunque sea posible en mucha parte de ello, ninguno de todos los papeles presentes tal persuaden. Ellos, que las probanzas de esto son perfectas con evidente verdad. Yo, que las mejores de ellas tienen la incertidumbre que todos los tiempos y gentes han hallado.”28
     The testimony of the witches themselves is instructive. A certain María de Lesaca, 68 years of age, gave her deposition at Elgorriaga on 3 May 1611. Some of the things she says bear an uncanny resemblance to things Cañizares says.
     “Preguntada por el tercer artículo, dijo este testigo que puede haber cuarenta y más años que es profesa en el arte de bruja, y que ha ido a los aquelarres y juntas que el demonio ha hecho al circuito del dicho lugar. Y en ellos, del dicho tiempo a esta parte, ha visto muchas gentes que se juntan de muchos lugares de esta valle, y ha conocido a muchos y a otros no conoce. Y les ha visto ir en cuerpo y en alma, y vestidos, y danzar en las dichas juntas y hacer reniegos de Dios y de la Virgen María, como lo hizo este testigo y tiene confesado ante los comisarios de la Inquisición.
     Preguntada si iba en cuerpo y en alma y con sus vestidos, o si quedaba adormida, y el demonio por lo que decía y le hacía parecer . . . creía y se afirmaba en ello, y tenía aquello por fe y verdad, dijo que el demonio afirmadamente le ha hecho con creer en todo el tiempo dicho, que ha ido corporalmente. Pero que a otra parte, ha estado considerando y perpleja e incrédula, que no debe ser sino ilusión, y que a las veces que en este ministerio e imaginación se ha ocupado, habiendo venido a su noticia del demonio, le ha atormentado y hecho creer que van en corpóreo. Y así, en esta vaguedad e incredulidad ha estado.”29

     28 AHN, Inquisición, legajo 1679, núm. 239. In Florencio Idoate, La brujería en Navarra y sus documentos (Pamplona: Diputación Foral de Navarra, 1978), 421.
     29 AGN, Procesos de 1611, núm. 506, fols. 31-32. In Florencio Idoate, La brujería en Navarra y sus documentos (Pamplona: Diputación Foral de Navarra, 1978), 386-387.

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     A response to Salazar Frías' memorial of 1612 offers precious testimony not only to the credulity and literal-mindedness of his antagonists, but also to the kind of stories that were flying around in the wake of the 1610 proceedings, stories Cervantes could have picked up in the form of plaza and tavern gossip. There are some truly spectacular reports of events that closely parallel those recounted by Cañizares, including tales of strange animal birthings. Some of these appear in a document prepared by Valle and Becerra, abstracting testimony culled from the proceedings of 1610 and from their initial visita of 1609.30
     Catalina de Porto, age 60, was impregnated no fewer than four times by the Devil. The first time she gave birth to three toads. “Y los primeros dolores le dieron estando en la iglesia un día de fiesta, al tiempo que se cantava la Magnífica” (144). After the birth, at which the Devil acted as midwife, she “los limpió y los empañó a cada uno en su trapo limpio y los puso todos tres en una cesta, y los calentó al fuego y los regaló como si fueran niños, y tenían las figuras como el padre” (144).
     María de Don Esteve, age 53, is even more interesting. “Dice que la primera vez que el demonio tuvo acceso con ella después que fue bruja, la empreñó y estuvo muy mala del preñado. . . .  Y tomó un paño doblado muchas veces y se le revolvió al cuerpo, y se echó en la cama para recoger en el dicho paño lo que pariese, y para que la sangre no pasase de la cama. Y vino a parir una cosa como sapo, del tamaño de un perrillo cuando nace, y tenía el vello rojo y cola, y el rostro ni era de persona ni de perro, y quería parecer a ambas cosas, y tenía alguna semejanza a la cara del demonio del aquelarre” (146).
     María de Don Esteve's reference to a dog is more than suggestive, especially in conjunction with Catalina de Porto's recollection of the Magnificat, firmly tied to Cañizares' discourse by Pamela Waley in 1957.31

     30 It dates most probably from 1613, and it remained in manuscript until Florencio Idoate published it in 1972. Florencio Idoate, Un documento de la Inquisición sobre brujería en Navarra (Pamplona: Aranzadi, 1972). Harry Sieber calls attention to this publication, without incorporating any of its content. Novelas ejemplares (Madrid: Cátedra, 1980), vol. II, p. 340, n. 111.
     31 Pamela Waley, “The Unity of the Casamiento engañoso and the Coloquio de los perros,” BHS 34 (1957): 201-212. Now see also E. C. Riley, “La profecía de la bruja (El Coloquio de los perros),” Actas del primer coloquio internacional de la Asociación de Cervantes (Barcelona: Anthropos, 1990), 83-94.


     We might conclude tentatively that witches, signalled by Cañizares' presence at the center of Cervantes' text, are the extreme form of all the oppressed segments of the population who are empowered, that is, given voice, made to speak, by Campuzano's speech and written discourse.
     But before we get too carried away with the idea of witches as women of power who offer an alternative to patriarchy, we should recall the facts as reported in the Inquisition documents. First of all, witchcraft was by no means the exclusive province of women. The real witches were both women and men, in more or less equal distribution. Carlo Ginzburg in fact begins his influential study of the witches' sabbath with the off-handed observation that “male and female witches met at night, in solitary places.”32 Second, the dominant note is the sexual submission, by both witches and warlocks, to the often brutal phallic domination of the Devil in his guise of macho cabrío. Initiation for witches consisted in a brutal rite of both vaginal and anal penetration, a savage reaming accompanied by great pain and bleeding. A few examples from the 1612 document, among many that might be cited:
     “Graciana de Amezaga, de edad de 40 años, dice que el demonio los conocía a todos carnalmente, a los hombres por detrás y a las mujeres por ambas partes, y que cuando a ella la conoció carnalmente el demonio por primera vez, era doncella y la defloró, sintiendo mucho dolor, y le salió sangre, que llevó en la camisa a su casa, y al día siguiente la tenía y vio en ella.”
     “Martín de Vizcar, de edad de 70 años, dice que el demonio le estupró y sacó gran cantidad de sangre, que le corría por los muslos y le ensangrentó mucha parte de la camisa. Y cuando su mujer la vio llena de sangre, le dijo que de donde diablo traía la camisa de aquella manera, y él le respondió que se había dado un encuentro en la pierna.”
     “María de Dinarte, de edad de 40 años, dice que la primera vez que el demonio la conoció sométicamente, tuvo mucho dolor y la salió sangre, y otro día se echó de ver en la camisa.”33
     This is, shall we say, something less than sexual or any other kind of liberation. The point, which even Cervantes' “ponderous” sense of irony could have grasped, is that in practice,

     32 Carlo Ginzburg, Ecstasies. Deciphering the Witches' Sabbath (1989). Translated by Raymond Rosenthal (New York: Pantheon, 1991), 1.
     33 Florencio Idoate, Un documento de la Inquisición sobre brujería en Navarra (Pamplona: Aranzadi, 1972), 141.

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witchcraft was not about the empowerment of women, but (pace Gauthier) about a different form of patriarchal domination. Witchcraft as described in the documents is a kind of freudian-slip revelation of the violent but invisible underside of the visible structures of “straight” patriarchal society.
     Now, what has all this to do with Cervantes' text? I think a great deal, because while Cervantes had to have been familiar with documents such as those just quoted, or at least with verbal summaries of the most scandalous parts, Cañizares' discourse eliminates the Devil and all traces of phallic domination. As she exists in the text, Cañizares really is empowered. The crucial difference between her and the historical witches whose testimony fills so many pages may be stated linguistically. Cañizares is a speaking subject, an I, who generates herself through her discourse. The historical witches are robbed of discourse, they figure only as “este testigo,” and their testimony is recast and recounted in the third person by that very patriarchal establishment before which they stand accused, as objects.
     This explains Cañizares' discourse, but it doesn't explain the frankly negative portrait of her offered by Berganza and enthusiastically endorsed by Cipión. And every critic has also called attention to the dogs' depiction of her as monstrous. This may be Cervantes' last irony on the matter. Yes, Berganza and Cipión accede to language and the Symbolic order, as everyone has noted. But coming into language simply means that they immediately become the victims of ideology, blithely unaware of the already gendered nature of the language (the only language) that is available to them. Or perhaps Cervantes is the unwitting victim of ideology here, because it doesn't seem to have occurred to him to create two talking female dogs (“The B[W]itches' Colloquy”?). On the other hand, it does occur to him to create two competing discourses: the dogs' masculine-gendered speech and Cañizares' emphatically feminine version. This duplicity of discourse is what is responsible for the duplicitous intellection of Cervantes' text and for the duplicity for resulting critical discourse.
     Forcione and Garcés, who see Cañizares as a monstrous embodiment of evil, seem to be speaking from within the discourse of patriarchy, manifesting the hysteria provoked by the terror of “that sex which isn't one.” Mary Gossy, on the other hand, begins her consideration of Cañizares with reference to what she calls Forcione's “paranoid descriptions of feminine sexuality”


and observes how “heterodox femininity is . . . identified with evil” (70). Like Garcés, Gossy identifies Cañizares as a representation of female sexuality, and like her, she attributes the language of the description to masculine fear of “the menace and horror stimulated by the unfathomable uncertainty.” She further observes, inacurately, that Cañizares is the only woman in the Casamiento/coloquio who actually has a voice, who exercises the motherly function of generation —of discourse. Not entirely incidentally, Gossy also draws attention to the dogs' entry into language and the Symbolic order (73), again foregrounding the situation they share with Cañizares in patriarchal society: marginalized and silenced.34
     Cervantes creates a situation here analogous to that of Don Quijote I, 50, where the discourse of the Canon, as spokesman for the Aristotelian poetics of verisimilitude resting on a clear-cut distinction between history and poetry, is challenged and opposed by Don Quijote, who conflates those presumably mutually exclusive categories of Aristotelian orthodoxy and generates an alternate discourse based on a poetics of psychic, as opposed to circumstantial verisimilitude. I believe it was Alban Forcione who first realized that the presence of Don Quijote's alternate discourse disqualifies the Canon as a spokesman for Cervantes' own literary theories. In the same way we might conclude that the presence of Cañizares' alternate discourse disqualifies Berganza and Cipión as spokesdogs for Cervantes' position on witches. Their hysterical aversion to Cañizares' physical person and what she represents in society can no longer be taken as normative. We are left, as usual, where Cervantes so often leaves us, with nagging unresolved (and probably unresolvable) questions of ambiguity and multiple perspectives, and unresolvable dialectic of competing voices.
     It is possible that the immediate impulse for all these officially silenced members of society given voice and speech by Cervantes, and especially the talking dogs, is a throwaway in Guzmán de Alfarache, where Guzmán wants to denounce an abuse but doesn't bother to complete the process because he's only an insignificant/infans pícaro. He concludes: “Estos ladridos a mejores perros tocan; rómpanse las gargantas, descubran los

     34 Mary S. Gossy, “Marriage, Motherhood, and Deviance in El casamiento engañoso / Coloquio de los perros,” in her The Untold Story. Women and Theory in Golden Age Texts (Ann Arbor: Michigan UP, 1989), 57-82.

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ladrones” (I, ii, 3). This is the significance of Berganza's last adventure, after he has taken refuge in the hospital. He attempts to repeat to the Corregidor a plan for reducing the number of prostitutes, a plan he has overheard from one of the marginalized, officially “voiceless” inmates of the hospital, but all he can do is bark. “Alcé la voz, pensando que tenía habla, y en lugar de pronunciar razones concertadas ladré con tanta priesa y tan levantado tono que, enfadado el Corregidor, dio voces a sus criados . . . , y un lacayo que acudió a la voz de su señor . . .” (358). The power structure has a voice. Indeed, in this little episode the possession of a voice is what defines the power structure as such.
     A huge accumulation of scholarship has been led astray by Peralta's refusal to take seriously the content of the dogs' discourse, and has insisted instead on the tradition of talking dogs.35 This critical sleight of hand almost re-enacts Campuzano's experience with Peralta, who evades the real question (Is this a true and therefore troubling description of our society and its structural weaknesses?) by substituting for it a trivial one (Did these dogs really talk?). In so doing he reduces his friend's denunciation of society's ills to an entertaining fiction. Cervantes literalizes Alemán's allegory, demonstrating what happens when the bark is turned into speech but the new speakers are still without authority. The authority-less author's potentially revolutionary social message is painlessly absorbed into the status quo by the simple expedient of identifying it as a fiction and relocating it outside the realm of reality.
     Antonio Rey Hazas points out that Guzmán de Alfarache engages in an imaginary dialogue with the reader, and that Cervantes puts Guzmán's fantasy of the critical reader into the text along with the picaresque narrator. “De ahí que la misma forma dialogal sea una probable respuesta paródica a las invitaciones de Guzmán al tú, al lector.”36 I would go further. Some years ago I suggested that many of Guzmán's interpellations of

     35 Amezúa recalls, among many others, Baltasar del Alcázar, El diálogo entre dos perrillos (1585?), “muy breve en su extensión y pobrísimo en peripecias,” and remarks that Rodríguez Marín had already considered it the germ for Casamiento/Coloquio (Cervantes creador, II, 414).
     36 Antonio Rey Hazas, “Género y estructura de El coloquio de los perros, o cómo se hace una novela,” in José Jesús Bustos Tovar, ed., Lenguaje, ideología y organización textual en las “Novelas Ejemplares” (Madrid: Universidad Complutense, 1983), 132.


an imaginary reader were in fact manifestations of his own insecurity. This paranoiac self-revelation can only cause the reader to not take seriously the social abuses Guzmán is trying so hard to expose, and instead to feel superior to him. Cervantes remedies this, as Rey Hazas says, by transforming the imaginary reader-critic into a real one, thus freeing Berganza from the burden of paranoia. The reader is similarly freed to take his (both Berganza's and his author Campuzano's) exposé of society's ills seriously. But there's the rub. The presence of the critic-authority turns the social message into a fiction and thus neutralizes it. The author (Berganza, Campuzano) isn't the author-ity. So in my view the real function of Cervantes' parodic response to Guzmán's invitation is to demonstrate that even with the burden of paranoia removed, the message still doesn't need to be taken seriously.
     Let me try to work back through the hierarchy of authors from Cañizares to Berganza to Campuzano to Campuzano's creator. Mary Gaylord concludes, following an elaborate conceit with López Pinciano and Vulcan the artífice cojo, that “in Cervantes' literary cosmos, the authorial deity is a crippled god. It is striking that Cervantes chooses to dramatize the author's relation to his text in figures which do not suggest authority, control, power, but rather contingency, limitation, even impotence.”37
     It is certainly true that Campuzano is cojo like Vulcan; he is so described in the opening paragraph (“haciendo pinitos y dando traspiés” 281). He is using his sword as a staff. I had always interpreted this fact in light of his recent venereal disease, as a symbolic representation of his earlier misuse of his phallus, now perhaps rendered unusable altogether. There is no question that the sword is a phallic object, but its signification transcends its literal sexual function. In a well known essay Sandra M. Gilbert called attention to what has become a cliché of feminist criticism, the pen-penis pair as the specifically masculine instruments of both biological and literary generation. The phallic sword is then subsumed under the pen/penis. She concludes that the pen is “not only mightier than the sword, it is also like the sword in its power . . . to kill.”38 To fecundate, to bestow life

     37 Mary Gaylord, “Cervantes' Portrait of the Artist,” Cervantes 3.2 (1983): 102.
     38 “Literary Paternity,” in Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination (New Haven: Yale UP, 1979).

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on the one hand and to take it away on the other, is probably the ultimate fantasy of masculine, potency and God-like authority. But Campuzano's sword/phallus doesn't have the power to do anything; he's dragging it along the ground, as Peralta observes in astonishment when he contrasts it specifically to his friend's absent lance. In Cervantes' text the series of analogies elaborated by Gilbert moves backward, from the sword/phallus to the pen/phallus, from the profession of arms to letters, from Campuzano as de-activated cocksman to Campuzano as non-combatant soldier to Campuzano as frustrated author. Campuzano as artist is nothing if not handicapped, limping along like Vulcan and deprived of the normal use of his “tools.”
     With respect to the voice that calls Campuzano into existence on the first page and finishes him and Peralta off on the last: “Y con esto, se fueron.” I have always interpreted that to mean something like: “dejaron de ser (porque su ser depende de mí),” that is, as an affirmation of the narrator's authority and power. But what are we to make of the fact that simultaneous with its killing off Campuzano and Peralta, the narrative voice itself is suddenly and forever silenced? And what of the fact that the entire book ends exactly here? Who, if anyone, is finally in charge here? Where is the author's authority?
     Might it be said that Cervantes' practice had already undone in 1613 the series of interlocking patriarchal connections posited by Edward Said in 1975? In his mini-meditation on the word authority at the beginning of Beginnings Said maintains that “the unity or integrity of the text is maintained by a series of genealogical connections: author-text, beginning-middle-end, text-meaning, reader-interpretation, and so on. Underneath all these is the imagery of succession, of paternity, of hierarchy.”39 Cervantes' text challenges Said's assertion on two grounds. First, as we have just seen, the author's authority simply evaporates, vanishes, like the author himself and all his characters, at the end of the text. Secondly, as we have also seen, Cañizares' discourse demonstrates that genealogical connections and succession need not be synonymous with patriarchy. Rather, the reverse is true. Pater semper incertus, mater certissima.


     39 Edward Said, Beginnings: Intention and Method (New York: Basic Books, 1975), 4-5.

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