T C 357 • Reading Don Quijote - W
12:00 PM-1:00 PM
A course devoted to a close reading of the entire text of Cervantes's Don Quijote. Most literary historians consider this book to be the first modern novel. Many famous novelists in the four centuries since its publication regard it as their favorite. It is a long novel (more or less a thousand pages in the typical edition). We will read the whole book in the course of the fifteen-week semester.
By close reading is meant an approach that focuses on precise understanding of the text. The professor teaching this course believes that one must first read the lines before reading between them. At the same time, the project of reading a work so rich in cultural and literary references has to be enhanced by frequent discussion of historical, literary, philosophical, folkloric, linguistic, ethnographic, and sociological background. You have to learn a lot about Golden Age Spain and Early Modern Europe to get the vast and complicated joke of this novel. We will therefore digress as often as is convenient, explaining recondite details and pointing out parallels and analogies as best we can. In addition, we will read one work of criticism: Mikhail Bakhtin's The World of Rabelais. The latter work offers a theory that explains the cultural spirit of Cervantes, and his time, place, and people. At the same time, it situates Don Quijote in a literary, folkloric, and cultural tradition that stretches back thousands of years, while looking forward to our own world, a reality in many ways preconditioned by that of Imperial Spain.
2 quizzes 10%
1 mid-term with take-home essay 20%
1 final exam with essay 30%
Research prospectus 5%
15-page research paper 35%
About the Professor
Michael Harney received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. His specializations include(Medieval Peninsular Literature and(Golden Age Peninsular Literature. He has research interests in Medieval and Renaissance Spanish Literature, Comparative literature, literary theory, and cultural theory. In the past, he has taught Advanced Grammar and Composition I and a Don Quijote course.