Saturday, March 10, 2018

Quixote as a Ghostly Charles V

I referred obliquely yesterday to the ghost of Charles V, so here's some more obliquity:
Don Quixote's names and actions hide a . . . secret. Following [the literary theorist, Tzvaten] Todorov, there is a double movement toward and away from the revelation [of that secret]. In the end, all that can be said is that the play of genre and narrative may point to a specific hidden mystery, one that deals with a clash of civilizations and the anxieties it causes the protagonist. This secret both complements and contrasts with the vision of a knight as a ghostly Charles V. Don Quixote as a new Charles is deprived of all power except that of the imagination as he rides through the genres. He personifies an emperor who upon abdication has become 'the ghost of all power.' While the emperor repeatedly walks the halls of the monastery thinking of his past achievements and hollow present, the knight rides through an impoverished Spain, seeking the power that Charles discarded, only to find visions less substantial than his emaciated body. It may be that his haunting is there to warn those who sympathize with the knight that the imperial pursuits of the narrative are flawed, that the secret must be revealed. (Frederick A. de Armas, Don Quixote Among the Saracens: A Clash of Civilizations and Literary Genres, 2011)
There. That ought to raise more questions and eyebrows!



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