From: Cervantes: Bulletin of the Cervantes Society of America 19.2 (1999): 204-14.
Copyright © 1999, The Cervantes Society of America

A Don Quijote for the New Millennium1


As Francisco Rico's brief initial “Presentación” indicates, some four years ago the fledgling Instituto Cervantes commissioned the Centro para la Edición de los Clásicos Españoles (Fundación Duques de Soria) to prepare an edition of Don Quijote for the broad and diverse public addressed by the Institute's various programs. What Professor Rico, who had begun planning just such a project at least as many years earlier, understood that to mean is best expressed in his own words:

Amén de dar, por primera vez, un texto crítico, establecido según las pautas más rigurosas, la edición, pues, había de aclarar ágilmente las dudas e incógnitas que un libro de antaño, y de tal envergadura, por fuerza provoca en el lector sin especial formación en la historia, la lengua y literatura del Siglo de Oro; pero también debía tomar en cuenta las necesidades del estudiante y, por otro lado, prestar algún servicio al estudioso, ofreciéndole, por ejemplo, una primera orientación entre la inmensa bibliografía que ha ido acumulando la tradición del cervantismo (I, XIII).

     1 Don Quijote de la Mancha. Ed. Francisco Rico (Director) et al. Instituto Cervantes. Barcelona: Crítica (Biblioteca Clásica), 1998. Two volumes: CCLXXXVI + 1247 pp. and 1294 pp., respectively, with accompanying CD-ROM.


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These, as the majority of my readers will have recognized, are precisely the goals of Editorial Crítica's “Biblioteca Clásica,” and the general format of that series, much expanded and enriched in this case with introductory and ancillary material, has been adopted here, most notably including the double footnote/complementary-end-note layout (about which more later) that distinctively characterizes the series.2 The intended readership thus runs the entire gamut from the specialist to the legendary ‘lector general de formación media,’ who is here identified more precisely than I have found elsewhere, in a passage perhaps worth quoting: “Nuestro destinatario ideal habla el español como lengua materna y no ha estudiado filología ni historia en la universidad, aunque sí tiene la suficiente curiosidad y gusto por la literatura para emprender y . . . continuar hasta el final una lectura atenta del Quijote” (CCLXXVI). As if the attempt to satisfy the entire spectrum of potential readers were not sufficiently quixotic, Rico also took it upon himself to represent the contemporary range of critical approaches to the Quijote by commissioning some fifty-odd cervantistas to bring their widely divergent perspectives to bear in the shaping of introductory “Lecturas” to each of the chapters of Cervantes's masterpiece. The work that has been produced according to his plan and under his direction is truly monumental, a world-class edition, and the most rigorous and comprehensive such treatment of any work of Spanish literature that I am aware of.
     Volume I contains the “Presentación,” an “Estudio preliminar,” the “Prólogo,” a “Resumen cronológico de la vida de Cervantes,” a description of “La presente edición,” and the text of Parts I and II. Volume II includes almost 250 pages of “Lecturas,” the “Notas complementarias,” the “Aparato crítico,” 17 appendixes and a series of illustrations, more than 200 pages of bibliography and an “Indice de notas.” The daunting task of writing the ‘Estudio Preliminar’ for such a work —another standard feature of the Biblioteca Clásica series— fell to Fernando Lázaro Carreter, who chose to focus on “Las voces del Quijote,” stressing the independence and autonomy of character first glimpsed in La Celestina and “declaradamente visible” (XXI) in Lazarillo, where the added element of contemporary verisimilitude, together with a

     2 Truth in reviewing requires that I acknowledge here my own participation in both projects, having produced, with Domingo Ynduráin, an edition of Calderón's El gran teatro del mundo for Editorial Crítica and contributed Lecturas I, 25-26 and 29-31, to the Instituto Cervantes Quijote. I am also the editor of an edition cited occasionally in this one.

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concern for the ‘truth’ of language fostered the development of free indirect style and the aspectual richness of polyphonic language. Lázaro examines the ways in which Don Quijote represents the culmination of this quintessentially modern process.
     The customary “Prólogo” of the Biblioteca Clásica series is here comprised of eight sections by individual cervantistas, each an outstanding authority in his or her particular aspect. Jean Canavaggio's “Vida y literatura: Cervantes en el Quijote” opens the prologue. Not a simple biographical sketch, this essay is a sensitive presentation of Cervantes as the author of this particular work, focusing on the prologues, the Captive's Tale, the self-characterizations and alter-egos, and the textual signs of the impact of Avellaneda's apocryphal Quijote upon Cervantes.
     The second piece of the prologue is the first of two in this sequence by Anthony Close. “Cervantes: Pensamiento, personalidad, cultura” is an excellent evocation of the cultural heritage evidenced in Cervantes's work and a complete and balanced summary of critical contributions to this aspect. “The ‘literariness’ (literariedad) of the Quijote,” remarks Close, “with the attitude of self-criticism and self-reflection that it presupposes, is perhaps the feature that brings him closest to our own time” (LXXIV). He characterizes Cervantes's thought as balanced and rational, his mentality as based upon a providential world view “intrínseco a la actitud vital de Cervantes” (LXXVII). Drawing upon the prologues to the works and the Viaje del Parnaso, Close presents a cheerful, amusing, and even-tempered Cervantes, fond of chatting with friends. Not modest, to be sure, but not one to take himself too seriously either.
     “La España del Quijote,” by Antonio Domínguez Ortiz, is principally a characterization of the society of the time. Domínguez Ortiz outlines a series of defining tensions in Cervantes's Spain: the conflict between the desire for national unity and autonomy in the provinces (Galicia, Vasconia, Aragon) and the clash of Christianity with Islam, among others, in a society struggling to maintain clear divisions between nobility, clergy and commoners, but riven by the conflicting dichotomies of rich and poor, individual virtue and lineage, arms and letters, and country and city, and by the marginalization of slaves, conversos, and pícaros.
     A fourth section of the prologue, by Sylvia Roubaud, is devoted to the “Libros de caballerías” so fundamental to the origins and shape of Don Quijote. Roubaud traces the history of the their fate in successive generations: unread and disdained for centuries, picked up again by writers such as Vargas Llosa and examined anew by

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cervantistas of the recent past, who have re-edited and re-evaluated them for their intrinsic interest as well as for their relevance to Don Quijote. Roubaud comments upon their numbers, their editorial history, and their readership —not an elite minority, but “un público amplio, numeroso y variado” (CX). She discusses their sources and filiation, both indigenous and foreign, and their content and structure (digressive and episodic), and she notes distinguishing features of the indigenous works, given preference by Cervantes, such as the exclusion of adultery and the profusion of authorial intermediaries. The contribution of the Rico edition to this material, hazier than most even to Cervantes's devotees, is greatly enhanced by the inclusion of Appendix 2 in Volume II, “Motivos y tópicos caballerescos,” a collection of passages culled by Mari Carmen Marín Pina from a dozen and half books of chivalry and arranged under fifteen headings ranging from “el sabio cronista y el manuscrito encontrado” and “el amanecer mitológico” to “la cueva de las maravillas” and “el caballero pastor,” a wonderfully useful collection of texts for comparison with Cervantes's parodies (II, 859-902).
     “Cervantes: Teoría literaria,” is the contribution of E. C. Riley, the acknowledged authority on the subject, who is singled out additionally by Rico in his initial presentation, along with Martín de Riquer, as one of two “insignes decanos del cervantismo” (I, XVI), whose advice and counsel in this project clearly went beyond their specific contributions to the text. Riley discusses Cervantes's sources in classical and Renaissance Italian theorists, the implications of his use of and comments on the books of chivalry, and the importance for Cervantes of Huarte de San Juan and López Pinciano. Distinguishing among three ways in which theoretical considerations manifest themselves in Don Quijote —in dialogues and speeches, in Don Quijote's madness and motivation, and by inference from Cervantes's narrative practice— Riley writes of Cervantes's ambiguity and ambivalence, of the difficulty of evaluating the importance to Cervantes of perspectives voiced through the mouths of characters with their own distinctive personalities and perceptions, and of Cervantes's consciousness of the importance of negotiating sensitively the conflicting demands of neo-Aristotelian dichotomies: credibility and the provocation of admiratio; unity and variety.
     The sixth section of the prologue, and one of the most difficult to write, certainly, is “Las interpretaciones del Quijote,” by Anthony Close, who begins by affirming that the baciyelmo of modern Quijote interpretation is made up of the historically conscious reconstruction of the work in its time (bacía), on the one hand, and the attempt

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to accommodate the text to the perspective of the modern reader (yelmo), on the other. Once again, as he did in The Romantic Approach to “Don Quijote,” he characterizes the reception of the work in the 17th and 18th centuries as comic. Omitting once again inconvenient commentary of a different sort by Johnson, Pope, Sarah Fielding, and the testimony of those among Don Quijote's neighbors in La Mancha who, upon assessing his activities in Part I, thought him “valiente, pero desgraciado” [II, 2, 644]), Close explains the birth and spread of the Romantic perspective (in Germany, then England, and even later Spain) as an error based upon the easy assimilation of Don Quijote, as the solitary figure in opposition to his world, to a central icon of Romantic ideology. Although this perspective continues to dominate in some interpretations, according to Close, and affects all subsequent interpretation to a greater or lesser degree, the publication of El pensamiento de Cervantes, in 1925, marked a change in criticism and interpretation with its vision of a Cervantes familiar with Renaissance theory, and its emphasis on Cervantine ambiguity, realism, and ironic perspectivism.
     Close picks out the following orientations and their representatives as significant after the watershed of 1925: (1) perspectivist: Spitzer, Riley, Gerhardt; (2) existentialist: Castro, Gilman, Durán, Rosales; (3) narratological/socio-anthropological: Redondo, Joly, Moner, Segre; (4) oppositional intellectual sources: Bataillon, Vilanova, Márquez Villanueva, Forcione, Maravall; (6) oppositional to Castro's “Pensamiento”: Auerbach, Parker, Green, Riquer, Russell, Close. He locates the inspiration for these developments in theorists and critics such as Ortega, Lukács, Bakhtin, Alter, Booth, Trilling, Levin, Girard, Frye, Robert, Foucault, Genette, Segre, Freud, Jung, French Structuralism, and ‘postmodernist thought’ (Derrida, Barthes, Kristeva). From this plethora of critical writing, Close extracts four particularly influential items “que han repercutido profundamente en la crítica posterior” (CLXI): (1) Riley's Teoría de la novela en Cervantes; (2) Spitzer's “Linguistic Perspectivism in the Don Quixote”; (3) Auerbach's “The Enchanted Dulcinea,” from Mimesis; (4) Américo Castro's post-Pensamiento writings, basically involving the idea of the centrality of casticismos for understanding Spanish Golden-Age culture.
     Close has given in his post-1925 review a full and sensible account of an enormous body of criticism. I have looked through the “Lecturas” and “Notas complementarias” sections in the second volume of this magnificent edition with his list of critics before me, to see to what extent the fifty or so cervantistas who wrote the commentaries

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coincided in their references with his assessment, and I think in his general outline he reflects rather well the contemporary consensus as to whose interpretations have been most helpful. His choices of “particularly influential” items were less successful, however, if Rico's cervantistas are reliable guides: Riley is, of course, clearly the dean of Cervantes scholars, living and dead, his Cervantes's Theory of the Novel a constant reference in the “Lecturas,” and his later work heavily represented, but Spitzer is cited only rarely, and while Close himself is referred to with some frequency, Auerbach —at the head of Close's line of development in opposition to Castro's Pensamiento, and thought by Close to have been particularly influential— is virtually absent, along with the rest of that group. Castro's post-Pensamiento writing is also cited less than I would have expected. On the other hand, Casalduero turned out to be much more influential still today than Close (or I) would have suspected, and Close seems to have underestimated the influence of Avalle-Arce, El Saffar, and Martín Morán, among other contemporary critics.3
     In “La composición del Quijote,” Ellen Anderson and Gonzalo Pontón provide an elegant summary of investigation into and hypothesizing about the writing of both parts of the novel. An introductory piece by Pontón deals with the general problems presented by Part I: the question of the literal or metaphorical jail in which the book was engendered; how to reconcile the extensive dated activity involved in the Captive's Tale with dates of publication of the books in Don Quijote's library and those of works such as El Pinciano's Philosophía antigua poética which seem clearly to have influenced Cervantes in the writing of Part I. Anderson then summarizes Geoffrey Stagg's ground-breaking work on the composition of Part I —the involved manipulation of various segments, particularly the Grisóstomo-Marcela episode, the theft of Sancho's donkey, the subsequent insertion of chapter titles and part divisions— adding treatment of subsequent work by Flores and Martín Morán. Pontón concludes with a discussion of the issues raised concerning the composition of Part II: Cervantes's changed attitude toward the use of

     3 “Theory vs. The Humanist Tradition Stemming from Américo Castro,” Close's thorough and lucid subsequent contribution to the Hispanic Issues volume Cervantes and His Postmodern Constituencies, ed. Anne J. Cruz and Carroll B. Johnson (New York and London: Garland, 1999), 1-21, is an indispensable complement to this discussion, one in which the work of El Saffar and Martín Morán, among many other recent critics of frequent reference in the Lecturas, is discussed and placed in its appropriate critical-historical context.

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interpolated stories, implications of dates of letters in the text, and speculation as to the effects of Avellaneda's sequel upon Cervantes's composition of his own.
     Francisco Rico's “Historia del texto” closes the prologue with a comprehensive fifty-page survey, beginning with all the problematics of the earliest editions, their characteristics and filiations, and the likelihood of the involvement of Cervantes in the 1605 and 1608 Cuesta editions, and continuing through the wider diffusion of the work in progressively less reliable editions in the century preceding the edition produced for Lord Carteret in 1738. The process that culminated in the Academy edition of 1780 is described in detail as are the editions of Bowle (“se halla en la raíz de todos los posteriores”) and Clemencín (1833-39). Particular attention is paid to the publication in 1874, together with the pioneering facsimile of López Fabra, of Hartzenbusch's “1633 notas,” “que nos ponen ante un conjunto de materiales, modos de trabajar y observaciones textuales que el cervantismo moderno ha incrementado en una magnitud menor que Hartzenbusch en relación con quienes lo precedieron” (CCXXVI).
     Rico's consideration of all the principal subsequent editions includes a detailed critique of the exclusive respect for Cuesta 1605 that characterizes editions from Máinez (1877-79) and Fitzmaurice-Kelly (1898) to the present, culminating, in this account, in the recent posthumous edition of Vicente Gaos (Madrid: Gredos, 1987), and abetted by “las virtudes de Schevill [1927-41] y las carencias de Rodríguez Marín [1911-13]”: “el paradigma para la edición del Quijote fue, así, la renuncia a la edición crítica” (CCXXXV). An extensive “Nota bibliográfica” with comments on Flores's old-spelling edition (1988) remits the reader to the more thorough treatment of all of this material in Rico's El texto del Quijote (Barcelona: Crítica, 1998), which I have not seen. Canavaggio's exhaustive “Resumen cronológico de la vida de Cervantes,” with source documentation for each entry detailed on facing pages, precedes Rico's “La presente edición,” wherein he defines and defends his concept of what a ‘critical edition’ should be and indicates two novel characteristics provided by his own: (1) a textual basis arrived at through a study and evaluation of all of the Cuesta editions of both parts and a methodical scrutiny of the subsequent editorial tradition; (2) a text informed by the examination of each reading and variant in the light of the fundamental norms of textual criticism so as to arrive at the most solidly grounded resolution in each case, “en vez de atenerse a la panacea del codex unicus, a la vetusta idea, tan tenazmente sustentada sin análisis, de que en los muchos pasajes problemáticos del Quijote la solución consiste en

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transcribir la princeps a ciegas y por principio” (CCLXXIII). Rico then lays out the reasoning behind the considerable authority that his edition accords to Cuesta B (1605) in relation to the princeps (1604; Cuesta A [1605]), and that —less, but significant— accorded to Cuesta C (1608). He also expands here briefly upon the use of and reference to the subsequent editorial tradition, encapsulating the significant conclusions of the more extensive consideration that comprises the “Historia del texto,” and he specifies the criteria that control the selection of items to be included as footnotes (explanations or clarifications necessary for the literal understanding of the text) and of the second set of “Notas complementarias,” relegated to Volume II. It is these more expansive notes, together with the chapter-by-chapter “Lecturas” also contained in Volume II, that will of course be of interest to students and scholars, for they open the door to the vast Cervantine bibliography, presented with reference to the particular textual moments to which they apply, and keyed to the textual footnotes in Volume I.
     A third set of notes comprises the “Aparato crítico,” which includes a list of abbreviations for the more than 60 editions to which reference is made in the “Aparato,” a more specific identification of the seven that are fundamental to his textual base, and a precise delineation of the operative principles involved in orthography, accentuation, punctuation, and paragraphing. The extent of modernization in the edition is as follows:

reducir las consonantes del viejo sistema fonológico a los grafemas que hayan venido a heredarlas en la actualidad, manteniendo íntegramente las oscilaciones del vocalismo y de los grupos consonánticos (en una o en dos sílabas) de carácter culto. . . . La modernización de la antigua serie de oposiciones entre b y v (o u), s y ss, c o ç y z, g o j (o i) y x. . . . Observamos básicamente el uso moderno de la h. . . .

The discussion of punctuation and paragraphing —routinely left unaddressed in the preliminaries of even the most respected editions of Spanish classics— has been fully researched and thought out, and the criteria for this edition are clearly and explicitly set forth.
     I have to say that when I asked the assembled siglodoristas who attended the session for researchers in Golden Age drama at the 1998 AIH conference in Madrid for their opinions about the triple-notation system used here and uniformly in the Biblioteca Clásica —we had, of course, not yet seen the new Quijote— the reaction was strongly negative, even among some who had prepared Crítica

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editions for the series: “cumbersome,” “a nightmare for the editor,” etc. I concede that the system complicates the editors' work considerably, but I think the results are worth the extra effort. I find that the system admirably fulfills the purposes for which it was designed. I have used texts from the series in my own classes, and my students have not found these editions troublesome to work with.
     The nearly 200 pages of “Apéndices e ilustraciones” represent yet another extraordinarily useful contribution to the extensive body of material provided by this edition to inform and facilitate the reading of Cervantes's masterpiece. The orthography, morphology, and syntax of the novel are treated in great detail, using abundant examples from the text, in Juan Gutiérrez Cuadrado's “La lengua del Quijote: Rasgos generales.” The section on “Motivos y tópicos caballerescos,” treated above, is followed by a chart listing the various categories of “La administración del estado y de la iglesia,” a lucid clarification by Bernardo Hernández of the complications of Golden Age “Monedas y medidas,” a sequential juxtaposition by José María Casasayas of the diabolically confusing series of “Lugares y tiempos en el Quijote,” and, finally, an extensive series of maps and charts and of illustrations of houses and inns, household furnishings, clothing and armor, ships and tools and musical instruments, windmills and fulling mills, picturing for us a plethora of elements of the material culture of Don Quijote's world. A 217-page bibliography and a comprehensive “Indice de notas” complete Volume II of the edition.
     The text itself is legibly presented, the footnotes averaging something like 60 to a chapter, presenting typically a 40-line page of which three parts of four are text and one part double-column notes in smaller but still easily legible font. The seven pages of Chapter 4 of Part II, for example, which I have just selected at random, contain 58 notes. Of these, a couple of dozen define words and explicate phrases and another dozen and a half clarify or further specify and characterize some aspect of the language. Several others indicate a source or note a historical or classical allusion, and a couple refer the reader to other contexts in the Quijote. Forty-four of these notes remit the reader to the “Notas complementarias” in Volume II for further information. Of these second-tier notes, a few give more precise or extensive legal or technical definitions, and a few provide the definitions from Autoridades or Covarrubias that the reader gratefully finds banished, except in unusual cases, from the notes at the foot of the page in the text; these complementary notes serve primarily to record the source of the definition or resolution in previous authoritative editions (25) and/or provide representative comments

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from critics (21), sometimes as many as a half dozen. Only one of these complementary notes in Chapter 4 refers the reader to the “Aparato crítico,” but that third set of notes contains an additional 23 notes concerning other details relating to textual problems and variants in the chapter.
     The Lectura that corresponds to my arbitrary sample chapter 4, written by Ricardo Senabre, considers chapters 2, 3, and 4 collectively; the beginning lines give the flavor of the usual Lectura approach:

     Estos tres capítulos, centrados en los coloquios o “razonamientos” entre DQ, Sancho y el bachiller Sansón Carrasco, poseen una marcada unidad, no sólo porque se desarrollan en el mismo lugar y con los mismos personajes, sino porque constituyen, en conjunto, una mirada hacia atrás, hacia las andanzas de amo y escudero narradas en la Primera parte, de las que ahora se hace una especie de sutil resumen escalonado en varias fases . . . (II, 121).

Other Lecturas run the gamut from the idiosyncratically personal to the conscientious reflection of issues involved in the present state of critical studies. A number of them emphasize thematic relationships (Avalle-Arce, Murillo), others highlight aspects of structure (Moner, Guillén, Javier Blasco), and several focus upon relevant social and historical issues and institutions (Rico, Ly). In still other Lecturas interpretation predominates in the analysis (Ynduráin, Pelorson). I found these readings truly informative, often very perceptive and suggestive, and admirably concise and direct. A distinct advantage of the displacement of the Lecturas to a separate volume, from their originally intended destination preceding the chapter which they discuss, is the presentation of a text relatively free, including the footnotes, from the interpretation that sometimes directs and controls the reading of other editions. I agree with the preference expressed by Margherita Morreale, with a dismissive glance at certain of Vicente Gaos's notes, for “un Quijote bien interpretado a ras de la letra y de la semántica de las palabras, . . . que no diera pie para consideraciones apodícticas, y la invención de ‘incisos’ y ‘concesiones a las ideas de la época’ . . . o para deducciones sobre la conciencia de estado social . . .” (II, 215). The entire collection of brief and sharply focused Lecturas offers a wonderful variety of approaches, and thus of course constitutes further collective testimony —if one were needed— to the extraordinarily durable heritage of Cervantes's masterpiece.
     Accompanying the edition is a CD-ROM with the complete text, in line-by-line and page-by-page conformity with the published

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volume. The data base is organized so as to accomplish the following functions: (1) word and character-chain search (location and frequency); (2) generation of concordances (with flexibility of context strings and format); (3) search for occurrences of combinations of words (and, or, and not); (4) indexes (alphabetical, frequency, and statistical); (5) sequential orthographic, morphological, syntactical, and stylistic searches.
     We shall not soon see another such edition, and no edition or translation of Don Quijote of any kind in any language will henceforth be able to dispense with this one. Carefully planned and executed, exhaustively comprehensive with regard to textual variants and to linguistic, cultural, and historical background, scrupulously attentive to every nuance of the prior editorial and critical traditions, and admirably free of errata,4 this fine edition provides us, for the first time, an edition fully worthy of this remarkable text.


     4 Errata noted: I, LXXXVII, l. 14: omit durante; CCXXXV, l. 36: Casayas s/b Casasayas II, 176, 13: Laguncia s/b Maguncia; 212, l. 19: invlucrado s/b involucrado; 236, l. 32: las tantas veces s/b la tantas veces; 309, Iventosh > Iventosch; 1099, Jones '77: Historica s/b Historical; 1100, Kagan '81: Lawswits s/b Lawsuits; Kenion '15: Simbolism s/b Symbolism; 1110, Lo Ré '89: Death s/b Deaths; 1163, l. 23: An article of mine on “DQ and the Origins of the Novel,” is listed here as by E. C. Riley.

Fred Jehle Publications of the CSA HCervantes