One witch, two dogs, and a game of ninepins: Cervantes' use of renaissance dialectic in thecoloquio de los perros
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The best and best-known of Cervantes'Exemplary Novels, The Colloquy of Dogs, is also the most difficult yet most rewarding. Exploiting a humanist poetics grounded in the classical tradition of rhetorical dialectic and colloquy and imitating Erasmus'sPraise of Folly, Cervantes makes human nature and the human use of reason problematic by raising questions and paradoxes about them. In such a work, built through many layers of narration and dialogue, the meaning finally rests with the reader (as, mutatis mutandis, in the dialogues of Plato) whose job it is to determine reading and so at last stabilize the text. In this way,The Colloquy of Dogs not only teaches the reader but puts the lessons of the colloquy to an immediate test and into immediate action.
KeywordsClassical Tradition Ella Billiard Table Humanist Belief Paradoxical Preface
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