Exemplary Stories (Oxford World's Classics)
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Even more popular in their day than Don Quixote, Cervantes's Exemplary Stories (1613) surprise, challenge and delight.
Ranging from the picaresque to the satirical, Cervantes's Exemplary Stories defy the conventions of heroic chivalric literature through a combination of comic irony, moral ambiguity, realism, and sheer mirth. With acute narrative skill and deft characterisation, drawing on colloquial language and farce, Cervantes creates a tension between the everyday and the literary, the plausible and the improbable. While encouraging us to reach our own moral conclusions, he also persuades us to accept the coincidental and the incredible: two boys indulge their life of crime at a time of public prayer; a young nobleman undergoes a change of identity at the behest of not a princess but a mere gipsy girl, and, most fantastically, talking dogs philosophize in a ward full of syphilitics. By placing the extraordinary within the contexts of the ordinary, the Exemplary Stories chart new novelistic territory and demonstrate Cervantes at his most imaginative and innovative.
This new translation captures the full vigour of Cervantes's wit and makes available two rarely printed tales, `The Illustrious Kitchen Maid' and `The Power of Blood'.
ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
and communicate a beauty in what could easily be seen as ugly and tawdry, in a way that calls to mind the paintings of Velázquez or Murillo, who can show sordid reality with complete frankness, and yet leave an impression of vivid artistic beauty. Purely as fiction, The Glass Graduate is perhaps the least satisfactory of the stories. It is uncertain whether Cervantes wrote it before or after he conceived the idea of Don Quixote, but there is obviously a kinship between the two stories of madmen,
couple of candles in front of the saints who in her opinion were most profitable and appreciative. With that, Pipota said to them as she went off, ‘Enjoy yourselves, children, while you have time; for old age will come, and then you will mourn the times you wasted in your youth, as I mourn them; and commend me to God in your prayers, for I am going to do the same for myself and for you, so that He may keep us free and safe, in our dangerous business, from the terror of the law.’ And with that,
and we’ll find out the truth of the matter.’ All this the licenciate heard, but he kept silent, and was more bewildered and confused than when he was out of his mind. The children passed on the word to the men, and before the licenciate reached the courtyard of the Consejos17 he was being followed by more than two hundred people of all kinds. With this following, which was bigger than that of a professor, he reached the courtyard, where all the people there gathered round him. Seeing himself
that they are of such a kind that I think all my misfortunes well worth while if only because they brought me to the hospital, where I saw what I shall now relate, which neither you nor any one else in the world will ever credit.’ All these preambles and commendations with which the ensign prefaced his account of what he had seen aroused the curiosity of Peralta. So much so that he pressed him to tell him straight away of the marvellous things he had to relate. ‘You will have seen’, said the
were filched by two tabby cats which, being fast movers and not tied up like me, would easily run off with what did not fall within the circuit of my chain. Brother Scipio, God give you all you desire if you will let me philosophize a bit without getting annoyed; because if I didn’t tell you straight away the things that happened to me then and which have come into my mind at this moment, I don’t think my story would be complete or of any value at all. Scipio Beware, Berganza, lest this desire