Miguel de Cervantes Lecture Series EMINENT SPANIARDS II

Miguel de Cervantes

  1. The event took place on
Pedro M. Cátedra


  1. Pedro M. CátedraPedro M. Cátedra

    Es catedrático de Literatura española en el Departamento de Literatura Española e Hispanoamericana de la Universidad de Salamanca, en la que dirige el Seminario de Estudios Medievales y Renacentistas (SEMYR). Director del Instituto Biblioteca Hispánica del Centro Internacional de Investigación de la Lengua Española (CILENGUA), Fundación San Millán de la Cogolla, es codirector del Instituto de Historia del Libro y de la Lectura, profesor asociado del Grupo LECEMO de la Universidad Sorbona-Nueva París III, y Corresponding Fellow de la British Academy. Entre otros premios, cuenta con el Nacional de la Edición 1991 de la Universidad de Salamanca, en las categorías de mejor libro impreso y de mejor libro técnico y de erudición; Premio Menéndez Pelayo 1992 de Investigación del Institut d'Estudis Catalans; Premio Alexander von Humboldt 1999; y Premio Fray Luis de León 2005 de la Junta de Castilla y León.

    Sus más recientes libros publicados son la edición de Tres colloquios pastoriles de Juan de Vergara y Lope de Rueda» (Valencia, 1567) (2006); Contextos de los «Monumentos tipográficos riojanos" (2007); y El sueño caballeresco. De la caballería de papel al sueño real de don Quijote (2007).

The difference between an ancient author and a classical author; who can forge, represent and even become the support of a language and culture, in the widest sense; lies in the fact that the first one is an architectural element more in the building of language, literature, history, or thought, while the second one is -or will come to be- the foundation, the master column or beam of that building. In principle, it is the work of time and the dedication of entire generations of historians and readers who build this building, but a basic structure can only be stable if the best materials are used. And just because of these prime materials, thanks to their porosity and elasticity,  it is possible to have a long time preservation and to follow a normal adaptation even to the most harsh conditions, so the building remains standing, and thus, hosting or inspiring any view either in favor or against it.

With the construction of thought and literary creation, the materials also need to be good from the beginning and unfading through time and through cultural and historical periods. The original quality is what, among other reasons, allows works like Don Quixote to be, if not classical, at least canonical within their field since the day of their publication. This quality depends to a great extent on the capacity of the author to make himself lasting. Some classics of compelling personality -Virgil, Augustine of Hippo, Petrarch, Joyce- used as a tool for endurance their autobiographies and their explicit personal experiences. Others, like Cervantes, apparently minimized their juggernaut presence in the works and introduced all kind of alternative voices and seeds that would evolve into cultural myths like Don Quixote, along with other numerous elements that germinate in the readers, regardless of the century in which they live. As a reputed journalistic critic pointed out, the reason why Cervantes' most important work is canonical and enduring is due to the strength of the situations and heroes that foster in any reader unannounced aspects of their own autobiography and soul.

This is an apparent minimization. In this conference, and considering our starting point, we will go deeper into the unfading work of Cervantes from the most immediate perspective, in the very core of Cervantes' conversion to a universal and enduring eminence. The most immediate readers of Cervantes' work could recognize the reach and opportunity of a lived experience, which in the brilliant work of Cervantes can be perceived from the significant complexity and polyphony of Don Quixotee, a significant complexity to which Cervantes refers in several occasions. This Erlebniss is the result of a common historical experience, and the detail or description of this experience with the appropriate historiographic tools will allow us to put in place, not only the meaning of the original myths such as the character Don Quixote, but also the literary use as a personal means of expression -going from confession to social or political criticism, and dissidence-, and as pure literary tool for entertainment or for a creative innovation, which among other things allows for one of Cervantes' most important contributions, the modern novel.