Don Quixote Among the Saracens: A Clash of Civilizations and Literary Genres

Don Quixote Among the Saracens: A Clash of Civilizations and Literary Genres

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By Frederick A. de Armas
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2011
World Rights
256 Pages
ISBN 9781442616011
Published Mar 2013
Online discount: 15%
 $28.95    $24.61
ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442696112
Published Jun 2013
Online discount: 24%
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The fictional Don Quixote was constantly defeated in his knightly adventures. In writing Quixote's story, however, Miguel Cervantes succeeded in a different kind of quest — the creation of a modern novel that ‘conquers’ and assimilates countless literary genres. Don Quixote among the Saracens considers how Cervantes's work reflects the clash of civilizations and anxieties towards cultural pluralism that permeated Golden Age Spain.

Frederick A. de Armas unravels an essential mystery of one of world literature's best known figures: why Quixote sets out to revive knight errantry, and why he comes to feel at home only among the Moorish ‘Saracens,’ a people whom Quixote feared at the beginning of the novel. De Armas also reveals Quixote's inner conflicts as both a Christian who vows to battle the infidel, but also a secret Saracen sympathizer. While delving into genre theory, Don Quixote among the Saracens adds a new dimension to our understandings of Spain's multicultural history.

Frederick A. de Armas is the Andrew W. Mellon Distinguished Service Professor in the Humanities, Spanish Literature, and Comparative Literature at the University of Chicago.


I. Pillars of Genre/Ghosts of Empire: An Introduction

II. A Pythagorean Parody of Chivalry

III. Questioning Quaternities

IV. An Arab's Audacious Pastoral

V. Magics of the Defeated

VI. Clues to a Narrative

VII. Greek Interlace / Italian Interweaving

VIII. Palinurus and the Pleiades

IX. Don Quixote among the Saracens

X. Thymos and its Chariot

Works Cited

‘Cervantes is a master at throwing curves; de Armas is a master at catching new ironies in a literary classic. The combination is extraordinarily rich and winning. Highly recommended.’

E.H. Freidman, Choice Magazine vol 49:11:2012

‘De Armas meticulously probes into the visionary and labyrinthine mind of Don Quixote… De Armas has written an original book, a topical book, a moral book.’

Diana de Armas, Iberoamericana vol 12:48:2012

‘De Armas turns in his usual solid performance as he presents original ideas about the Cervantes masterpiece and the author’s and novel’s background.’

L.R.N. Ashley, Bibliothèque d'humanisme et Renaissance vol 74:03:2012

‘De Armas’ greatest strength lies in his philological eclecticism, which shines a powerful microscope on Cervantes’ text, producing unforgettable close readings of many passages that have never been adequately explained.’

William Childers, Bulletin of Spanish Studies, vol 91:08:2014

PROSE award in the Literature Category awarded by the Association of American Publishers (United States) - Commended in 2012