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November 27 , 2010

Don Quixote Among the Saracens

A Clash of Genres and Civilizations


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.

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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.

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