From: Cervantes: Bulletin of the Cervantes Society of America
12.1 (1992): 59-72.
Copyright © 1992, The Cervantes Society of America
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owe a special debt to Alban Forcione for having explained exactly what Cervantes
understood by the term prose epic and what he meant when, in
the prologue to the Novelas ejemplares,he claimed that his last book,
The Trials of Persiles and Sigismunda,would rival Heliodorus'
Ethiopian History (65), the model of the prose epic for the sixteenth
century. In Cervantes, Aristotle and the Persiles, Forcione demonstrates
that The Trials of Persiles and Sigismunda is in part Cervantes' answer
to the critical stance of the Renaissance, which accepted the Aristotelian
definition of the epic as a genre distinguished less by its composition in
verse than by its verisimilitude, unity, high moral tone, and grand style
(23-45). For Forcione, Cervantes both considers and rejects neo-Aristotelian
literary theory, preferring to the classical principles of unity and
verisimilitude . . . an aesthetic based entirely on pleasure and
the freedom of the artist (255). The result is a narrative that delights
yet perplexes the reader with its multidirectional plot and fantastic
Forcione has made us aware of innumerable allusions to classical epics in The Trials of Persiles and Sigismunda. The story begins in medias res (61) and makes use of epic simile (190). Periandro's long narration in Book II resembles both Aeneas' and Odysseus' recounting of their adventures (187- 211); the story of Sinforosa and the burning castle is patterned on the loves of Aeneas and Dido (268) while the island paradises are modeled on
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the utopias of The Odyssey (229-245). Once we become aware of this
conscious borrowing from Greek and Latin literature, we easily pick up other
allusive patterns. The duel over Auristela, for example, between Arnaldo,
Prince of Denmark, and the Duc de Nemours, suggests the argument of the
Iliad. Periandro's disguises and the lies he fabricates for protection
against the Barbarians and Arnaldo recall The Odyssey. Auristela plays
Penelope to this Odysseus in her fidelity and cleverness in forestalling
her suitors. The reminiscences of Virgil and Homer are endless.
Cervantes also alludes to more contemporary epics at the end of the work. In Book IV, Chapter 6, as Periandro tours the seven churches of Rome, he visits a museum filled with blank frames reserved for famous poets of the future: Among these empty places he'd especially noticed two, at the top of one of them was written Torcuato Tasso, and a little farther down it said, Jerusalem Delivered, while on the other was written Zárate, and below that, The Cross and Constantine (323). The sonneteer acting as guide praises Tasso for his heroic and pleasing inspirationand Zárate for composing a work truly heroic, devout and worthy of being called an epic poem (323). Cervantes pointedly draws our attention to what he most admires about the epic: it tells a good story while it exalts human dignity and religion. By referring to Renaissance poets, moreover, he clearly affirms that the epic is a genre not strictly limited to antiquity but flexible, renewable by every age. Although since Forcione's later book, Cervantes' Christian Romance, and El Saffar's Beyond Fiction we have come to regard the Trials of Persiles and Sigismunda primarily as a romance, especially in its organization as a quest and its use of archetypes, we cannot ignore the evidence that the epic was very much on Cervantes' mind during his final years. While it would be an exaggeration to claim that the Persiles is only an epic, it is important for our fuller understanding of the work to recognize that Cervantes, like the author of The Jerusalem Delivered, attempts to blend the elevated topics of classical literature with the variety and suspense of medieval romance in a narrative celebrating both human heroism and Christianity.
As in the Renaissance, contemporary literary theory has attempted to define the epic, especially in its relation to the novel. For our purpose, an analysis of the epic characteristics of the Trials of Persiles and Sigismunda, the most significant of these modern critics are Georg Lukács and Mikhail Bakhtin. In the opinion of the Marxist Lukács, the epic poem and the novel are
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the two most important literary productions of Western culture, each one
the highest expression of a particular historico-philosophical
reality (Theory of the Novel, 56). The novel corresponds to
an alienated age that finds life fragmented, senseless, confusing, while
the epic is an uplifting genre which asserts that life is meaningful and
can be grasped in its totality (57-63). The novel concentrates on the individual,
while the epic takes as its subject the destiny of a community, which is
always closely linked to the drama of the hero. For Lukács, only Dante's
Divine Comedy exhibits characteristics of both the epic and the novel,
since it contains characters who act as individuals; yet it firmly upholds
the coincidence of life and meaning in a present, actually experienced
Mikhail Bakhtin in his study of time and language in Western literature proposes three essential characteristics of the epic:
(1) a national epic past serves as the subject for the epic; (2) national tradition (not personal experience and the free thought that grows out of it) serves as the source of the epic; (3) an absolute epic distance separates the epic world from contemporary reality; (Epic and Novel, ).
By the absolute past, Bakhtin refers to the origins of a culture, the mythical
moments that give rise to national history and inspire national piety (14-16).
In Bakhtin's view, the epic depicts a closed world, one that is hierarchical,
complete, where the hero has nothing more to learn, and where little of the
parody, so common in the modern novel, appears (21-22). The high style of
the epic functions as an additional means of distancing the reader (25).
For Bakhtin, the epic exists at the opposite pole of the novel, although
in the early seventeenth-century Baroque novel, one finds a slight influence
of the epic (38).
The remark of the village priest in Don Quixote, Part I, que la épica puede también escrebirse en prosa como en verso (433) suggests that Cervantes had long dreamed of competing with Heliodorus. If we are willing to concede that versification is not the main requisite of the epic a concession made by critics from Aristotle to the twentieth century who generally consider versification as simply greater evidence of the epic's high style we see that The Trials of Persiles and Sigismunda reveal several characteristics of the epic described by Bakhtin and Lukács. It may seem difficult to prove that this text presents us with an action that can be grasped in its totality when the main criticism traditionally
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leveled against the book is that its secondary episodes are too numerous
and too loosely connected to the main plot to achieve any
unity.1 In fact, Bakhtin calls this Cervantes'
unfortunate Persiles and Sigismunda (note, 86), judging
the book no more than a crude adventure story, that tumbles from one crisis
to the next until the lovers come together by chance at the end.
Twentieth-century scholars, however, have successfully defended the unity
of this work. In his Cervantes' Christian Romance, Forcione suggests
an allegorical reading of the adventures as the soul's progress from sin
to salvation; each secondary episode represents a miniature analogue
of the quest of the heroes, both in its structure and thematic
implications (31). El Saffar's Beyond Fiction: The Recovery of the
Feminine in The Novels of Cervantes offers a Jungian reading of the text
as a quest for the integration of the masculine and feminine elements of
the psyche (127-69). To examine the problem from a slightly different
perspective, let us note that the plot of the work is no more disconnected
than those of two of the most successful epics of Western literature
The Odyssey and the Divine Comedy. Odysseus' sea adventures
often distract the reader from the main action, the reconquest of Ithaca,
while the conversation between Odysseus and the swineherd that occupies almost
two books serves more as a lyrical interlude praising the pastoral life than
as an essential plot element. It sins against unity as much as Periandro's
narration of Book II. Dante outdoes Cervantes in both numbers of characters
and fantastic elements. Like Cervantes, Dante indulges in tangential plots,
for example the Inferno's cantos on the malebolgie, where the
pilgrim pits his intelligence against the wiles of mischievous devils. All
three writers love a good story and indulge their tastes for secondary tales
without sacrificing the structure of their compositions.
By a plot that is meaningful and can be grasped in its totality, Lukács really means a plot that depicts life as purposeful, directed toward a goal. We find such a plot in the quest of Cervantes' protagonists, who are not simply driven by chance but rather overcome insuperable difficulties and grow spiritually as they travel from Scandinavia to Rome. We find no ironic contrast between the hero's ambition and his actual deeds, as we do in
a summary of these criticisms, see the first chapter of Forcione's
Cervantes' Christian Romance, pp. 13-63.
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Don Quixote. This affirmation of the possibility of heroic accomplishments
links The Trials of Persiles and Sigismunda to the classical epic.
Cervantes also insists upon an orderly universe through the importance he accords to divine providence. Especially in Book I, the protagonists and many minor characters Rutilio, Cloelia, Mauricio, Transila attribute their survival to heaven. The narrator explains Periandro's miraculous escape from the sea squall and, later, his perfect landing of Cratilo's horse on the frozen sea to God's special intervention: . . . Heaven, which must be saving me for other things known only to it, made the front and rear legs of the powerful horse withstand the impact and no harm came to me other than being thrown off the horse (185). Similarly, Auristela is presented as an instrument of divine will. Cloelia begs her to save herself from death at the hands of the barbarians . . . for that would limit heaven's providential power, which can yet save you and protect you and bring you future happiness (29). Cervantes rejects the notion of a chaotic world, even the concept of fortune. In the final chapter, when the unexpected death of Magsimino allows the protagonists to marry, the narrator tells us, these strange reverses fall within the power commonly called Fortune, but which is nothing less than Heaven's unwavering plan (349). The author does acknowledge the existence of evil but attributes it to human sin: lust, anger, and jealousy cause shipwrecks, illnesses, and fires, not God. Even black magic becomes explicable. In the story of the werewolves, Rutilio hypothesizes that all these transformations are illusions created by the Devil with God's permission as punishment for the abominable sins of these accursed people (48). In Book II, the narrator scoffs at the thought of the Jewess's power to save Auristela from Hipólita's spell:
as though the health or sickness of others were in her hands, or as though all suffering as punishment for our sins didn't depend on God's will, . . . but God, being compelled . . . by our sins to punish them, allows this thing called witchcraft to steal away other people's health, and lets sorceresses do just that (336).
As in the works of Homer, Virgil, and Dante, in this work the action takes place both on earth and in the heavens, with a divinity
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constantly intervening to protect the heroes and spur them on to greater
Lukács' second criterion, that the epic hero's fate be linked to that of a nation or people, also offers insight into The Trials of Persiles and Sigismunda. In the final pages we learn that Periandro and Auristela, now restored to their rightful identities of Prince Persiles and Princess Sigismunda, will become joint rulers of Friesland and Thule. Their union signals the end to an epoch of wars in Scandinavia; moreover, their deeper understanding of the Catholic faith, which, as Cervantes tells us, in those northern regions is somewhat in need of repair (34), suggests that they will act to regenerate their community spiritually. The last words of the narrative speak explicitly of stability, fecundity, renewal: The course of her [Sigismunda's] life was spent in companionship with her husband Persiles, and her days were increased by the enjoyment of living to see great-grandchildren in their long and happy line of descendants (351). Cervantes further connects his protagonists' destiny to that of the collectivity through the theme of marriage and its relation to the functioning of society. As Periandro and Auristela travel from north to south encountering other couples, the stories of King Leopoldo, Arnaldo, Policarpo, and the Duc de Nemours, all of whom neglect their public duties for love, show the disastrous consequences of basing marriage on desire alone.2 The trial of Feliciana de la Voz, on the other hand, shows how adultery and child neglect can result from forced marriages. The Trials of Persiles and Sigismunda works toward a vision of matrimony based on merit, equality, and free choice, a vision incarnated in the unions of Persiles and Sigismunda, Antonio and Feliz Flora, and Constanza and her brother-in-law. Cervantes also insists upon the necessity of incorporating marriage into society.3 Through the examples of the older Antonio or Renato and Eusebia, all unhappy in their isolation and yearning for reconciliation with their families in their native countries, we understand the mutual dependence of the individual and the community. In this matter, Cervantes' text reminds us of The Odyssey. In both works, the reunion of the true lovers in marriage initiates the rebirth of the community.
2 El Saffar
explores the psychological and spiritual significance of most of the love
affairs in the work; see pp. 127-169.
3 For a study of the couples in their relation to society from a Girardian perspective, see Patrick Henry, Old and New Mimesis in Cervantes.
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Bakhtin believes that the epic normally takes
as its subject a significant event of national history, such as the founding
of an empire or a military victory. This certainly seems an obvious
characteristic of Greek, Latin and European medieval epics, perhaps the only
notable exception being Dante's Divine Comedy, an epic celebrating
the spiritual crisis of an individual. Yet even in the Divine Comedy
history plays an important role, since Dante introduces large numbers of
characters from biblical, classical and European history, both contemporary
and past, throughout his narrative and, perhaps more significantly, interprets
the pilgrim's quest as an allegory of human history. Dante's epic may provide
a clue to Cervantes' use of history in The Trials of Persiles and
Forcione has already called Cervantes' last fictional work an allegorical quest in the manner of Dante, although, for him, the quest motif identifies The Persiles as a romance. In Forcione's view, the allegorical framework renders the text atemporal rather than historical. The mirroring of the protagonists' drama in the secondary episodes, the endless recurrence of the specific motifs (Cervantes' Christian Romance, 46), the fusion of classical, Christian and chivalric literature produce that effect of timelessness which normally attends ritualistic activity (46-47). Without denying The Persiles' ritualistic elements, let us still note that it does draw our attention to actual historical occurrences in Late-Renaissance Spain. Events mentioned by secondary characters place the pilgrimage at the turn of the seventeenth century: In Book I Mauricio meets Periandro and Auristela sometime after 1558, for he has seen the Emperor Charles V during this latter's monastic seclusion in 1557-1558. In Book III, Chapter II, the sacristan's prediction of a spiritually unified Spain tells us that Phillip III's banishment of the Moriscos in 1609 has not yet taken place. The fictive action is, therefore, more or less simultaneous with the real time of its writing.
Not surprisingly, significant contemporary concerns, especially the Protestant Reformation and the problems between Moslems and Christians, form a subtext that gives political relevance to the protagonists' quest, much as do the memories of the Punic Wars for The Aeneid or the Crusades for The Song of Roland. Cervantes shows us a Europe struggling through three religious crises: the Protestant challenge to Roman Catholicism, the tensions among Arabs, Jews, and Christians in the Mediterranean, and the survival of primitive religious practices in
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Ireland and Scandinavia. The Morisco sacristan's wish for Spain, Oh,
when will the time come prophesied by my grandfather . . . when
Spain will be wholly and firmly Christian everywhere (255), seems to
be Cervantes' hope for Europe. The conclusion of the work, which sends a
king and queen renewed in their Catholic faith back to the north and unites
the barbarians Antonio and Constanza with the Frenchwoman Feliz Flora and
the Spanish count, suggests the possibility of a spiritually united continent,
perhaps a third Holy Roman Empire, for the seventeenth century. Cervantes
comes very close to repeating Dante's project. Both writers create fictive
dramas that mirror the real drama of their societies. Both raise contemporary
history to the level of myth by interpreting the crises of their times as
turning points in Christian history, when the true church will triumph. No
wonder that the first readers of the work, the Spanish living in an age of
political decline and religious troubles, enjoyed this story which honors
Spain as the only corner of the world where the real truth of Christ
is protected and venerated (255).
A predominant feature of epic literature for Bakhtin is its promotion of communal opinions or values, such as respect for the gods, piety, or bravery. Here again, if we consider that in his last work Cervantes was imbued with the spirit of the epic, we find that he allows many characters to speak out clearly as proponents of the Counter Reformation in favor of papal authority and traditional Catholic theology. At the most basic level, the plot reveals these beliefs. Persiles and Sigismunda must travel to Rome not only to understand the mysteries of their religion but also to receive permission to marry. As our hero explains in Book I, until we reach there [Rome] it seems we have no identity at all nor any liberty to use our free will (73). This sentiment is echoed in the final pages when the penitentiaries teach the lovers about the power of the pope, God's viceroy on earth and keeper of the keys to heaven (319). Their pilgrimage seems to symbolize the need for all true Christians to submit themselves to the Church's spiritual and temporal direction. In the early pages, Antonio, Ricla, Mauricio and Rutilio identify themselves specifically as Catholic Christians and not one of those beggars who go around looking for the true faith in other people's opinions (62), that is, Protestants. The protagonists believe in free will and the efficacy of good works. Periandro tells Arnaldo that he and Auristela travel to Rome as much by choice as
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by destiny (73). All of the sympathetic characters perform works of mercy,
ministering to the homeless, sick, dying and captive. The text places great
importance upon the sacraments of baptism, marriage, the last rites, and
especially in Books III and IV on penance, the second timber of our
shipwrecked lives . . . without which there's no way to open the
pathway to Heaven (319). This use of the sacraments is complemented
by innumerable religious rituals the wearing of scapulars, visits to
miraculous shrines, the celebration of the Pope's jubilee. This work gives
us an excellent idea of the early seventeenth-century Catholic mentality
in Spain, but it also goes further to argue in favor of Catholicism. Here
Cervantes follows in the footsteps of the greatest of Christian epic poets
Dante, Tasso, the French Huguenot d'Aubigné and forms
a link between the Renaissance and the later seventeenth century epicists
Le Moyne and Milton, who also consider the Christian drama of sin and salvation
an appropriate subject for a heroic narrative.
For Bakhtin, the epic world is absolutely distant from the contemporary world of the reader, whether that reader live in the day the epic was composed or thousands of years later. The epic poet creates this distance partially through the structure of his poem. The epic action has no loose strings, is not subject to any unknown events, but rather finished and closed like a circle . . . it is not relative to the present or to the future; it contains within itself, as it were, the entire fullness of time (19). Cervantes' text exhibits just such a closed structure. The ending, which joins the protagonists in marriage and speaks of their spiritual and physical fulfillment, leaves the reader with no questions. The protagonists' future has already taken place, as we learn from the book's final words and, thus, been removed from the openendedness of normal life. When Cervantes tells us that Sigismunda's days were increased by the enjoyment of living to see great grandchildren in their long and happy line of descendants (351), he guarantees that the future will be an endless repetition of the glorious past; as Bakhtin phrases it, the epic absolute past is the single source and beginning of everything good for all later times as well (15).
Bakhtin further believes that the distant universe of the epic requires a special language to describe it, one that is official and lofty (20). In his opinion, the epic especially avoids familiar speech, profanation and laughter, the eternally living element of unofficial language and unofficial thought (20) that marks
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the novel and betrays its folkloric roots (20-21). At first glance, the style
of The Trials of Persiles and Sigismunda seems to deviate from that
of the epic. Forcione suggests that Books III and IV are much less serious
than the first half of The Trials of Persiles and Sigismunda: Some
of the episodes of this part are animated by the spirit of comedy presenting
the triumph of a comic society over forces of unnatural laws obstructing
its wishes, and depicting the celebration of its victory by multitudes. These
celebrations include such traditional conclusions of comedy as a banquet,
a community dance, and various weddings (Cervantes' Christian
Romance 86). The union of Persiles and Sigismunda against the wishes
of Arnaldo, the Duc de Nemours and Magsimino, their escapes from pirates
and witches, their miraculous recoveries from falls and disease are indeed
the meat of comedy. And more than once a frown turns to a smile as the reader
witnesses potentially tragic situations, such as those of Feliciana de la
Voz, the counterfeit captives or Ruperta, resolve themselves happily. In
Cervantes' final work, love truly conquers all.
We may object, however, that Bakhtin's definition of epic style is too restrictive, that the type of comedy found in The Persiles, which we may term high comedy as opposed to the burlesque or the farce, is not entirely absent from the epic. William Calin in his Muse for Heroes: Nine Centuries of the Epic in France points out that the epic has always been an aristocratic genre, characterized by pomp, ceremony, a festal aura . . . because it was destined for an elite public: the aristocratic court of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, the only audience that literature could reach in those days (438). Even the Homeric epic lingers over such festive scenes as hecatombs, drinking and games which display the heroes' prowess. From another perspective, in The Divine Comedy, song, music and dance begin to appear as Dante the pilgrim approaches the court of heaven. Cervantes continues to use many of the conventions of noble literature in The Trials of Persiles and Sigismunda. His hero and heroine, as well as many of their companions, are stunningly handsome, inimitable in physical strength and moral virtue. What could be more normal than for these representatives of worldly power to be greeted by a rejoicing populace as they move closer to the kingdom of the Pope, the Prince of the Church, the representative of the King of heaven? Admittedly in all three writers, Homer, Dante, and Cervantes, we find folk customs as the basis of many of these celebrations, but this is folklore elevated to the level of
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art and luxury instead of being exploited for its ironic version of human
nature. Finally, as Calin reminds us, not only war, but a more private,
more intimate, more individual notion of heroism . . . ,
the knight's personal relationship to his lady, to his king, or to society
as a whole, is an essential element of the epic as far back as The
Odyssey (436-437) so that constructing a fable of heroism on love, and
the complications and resolutions that such a subject necessarily entails,
in no way lowers the style of the epic.
As a final comment on epic language, let us note that it is not nearly as unified as either Aristotle and his Renaissance admirers, or more recently Bakhtin, have asserted. The purpose of the epic simile has always been to force the hearer, or reader, to expand the frame of reference, to understand the similarities between seemingly disparate realms of experience. Homer loves to draw our attention to the fundamental links between human and animal society. Virgil focuses our attention on the connections between art and nature. Dante finds his metaphors not only in nature and art, but even in politics and the trades. The Trials of Persiles and Sigismunda contains wonderful epic similes in the manner of Dante that constantly challenge us to relate the tale of the young lovers to literature, theology and science. To cite only two examples, the comparison of Sinforosa to Dido in Book II, Chapter 17 (173) provides an elegant means of reminding us of the dangers that passion has eternally presented, while the reference to water pressure in Book IV, Chapter 11 allows us to grasp the appropriate psychological nuance:
When water is bottled up in a small-mouthed jar, the more it hurries to escape, the slower it pours out. The liquid at the mouth is pushed forward by the drops behind, which block each other's way and slow the forward motion of the current until at last it breaks through and the contents all empty out. The same thing happens with ideas conceived in the mind of a wounded lover; sometimes all of them rush together toward the tongue and block each other's way, and he doesn't know which one to express first to get his thoughts out (338).
Such an expansive vision also leads Cervantes, like Dante, to include discussions of literary theory and contemporary history in his narrative. These digressions only break with the notion of epic unity if we interpret the term unity in its narrowest sense of a simple plot. Cervantes, in the tradition of epic poetry, presents life in all of its richness and complexity.
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Cervantes' imitation of Heliodorus' prose
epic the Ethiopian History in The Trials of Persiles and
Sigismunda was obvious to seventeenth-century critics, who easily spotted
the Spanish book's borrowing of the Greek work's quickly-paced adventures,
shipwrecks, fantastic elements and surprise recognitions. Forcione's greatest
contribution to the discussion of this work as a prose epic has been to
demonstrate that it, as much as Don Quixote, contains highly conscious
references to neo-Aristotelian literary theory, especially the notions of
unity and verisimilitude, the two most essential characteristics of the epic
for the Renaissance. The purpose of this study has been to enlarge our
understanding of The Trials of Persiles and Sigismunda as prose epic
beyond the perspective of Neo-Aristotelian definitions of such a genre. By
applying the observations of the twentieth-century thinkers, Lukács,
Bakhtin and Calin to Cervantes' last book, we find that it resembles the
great epic poems of the Western world in its action that takes place on earth
and in a supernatural realm and its celebration of human heroism. Contemporary
history is elevated to mythic significance, while the dominant values of
the Counter Reformation are held up for the reader's admiration. Although
the main concern of the work is love, not war, Cervantes treats this subject
in an elevated manner appropriate to the epic. Because of his willingness
to incorporate so many areas of human experience artistic, theological,
political, psychological into his narrative, he succeeds in creating
a work reminiscent especially of Dante's Divine Comedy, a great epic
poem, but one much too expansive for the constraints imposed by Aristotle
and his followers.
Recognizing the affinities between The Trials of Persiles and Sigismunda and epic literature in no way means that we cannot also consider the work a romance. The Persiles seems, in fact, to draw upon elements of both the epic and the romance in a way not unlike that recommended by Tasso, who, according to Forcione, had the insight to understand that the classical epic could be revitalized only if it were to incorporate such features of the romances of chivalry as had made them so appealing to the modern audience variety, marvelous subject matter, and the relative contemporaneity in the events and customs which they depict. In effect, the new epic must be a purification of romance (Cervantes' Christian Romance, 7). From this perspective, Cervantes' last book appears as great a success, as original a contribution to the development of European fiction as Don Quixote,
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although quite different in intention and inspiration. Like Tasso and Zárate, whose portraits would grace the gallery of future famous writers that Periandro visits in Rome, Cervantes has produced in The Trials of Persiles and Sigismunda a work truly heroic, devout, and worthy of being called an epic . . . (Persiles, 353).
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Bakhtin, M. M. The Dialogic Imagination. Four Essays, ed. Michael Holquist, trans. Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1982.
Calin, William. A Muse for Heroes: Nine Centuries of the Epic in France. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1983.
Cervantes, Miguel de. Don Quixote de la Mancha, I. Barcelona: Editorial juventud, S.A., 1955.
. Novelas Ejemplares, ed. Juan Bautista Avalle-Arce. Madrid: Clásicos Castalia, 1982, vol. 1.
. The Trials of Persiles and Sigismunda. trans. Clark Colahan and Celia Weller. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989.
El Saffar, Ruth. Beyond Fiction. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984.
Forcione, Alban. Cervantes, Aristotle and The Persiles. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1970.
. Cervantes' Christian Romance. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1972.
Henry, Patrick. Old and New Mimesis in Cervantes, Cervantes X:1 (Spring, 1990), 79-87.
Lukács, Georg. The Theory of the Novel, trans. Anna Bostock. Cambridge: M.I.T. Press, 1971.
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