The University of Wisconsin Press

Literature & Criticism - Hispanic / Renaissance / Anthropology


Cervantine Journeys
Steven Hutchinson

Recognizing that journey and movement are vital not only to the novelistic enterprise of Cervantes but to much of world literature as well, Steven Hutchinson develops a problematic of movement and the journey in relation to literature and discourse. Contending that most twentieth-century literature theory and criticism have attempted to ignore or suppress mobility and change, he sketches out some ways in which discourse deploys movement and the journey.

Hutchinson focuses initially on movement as concept and metaphor, affirming its centrality in the conceptualization of all discursive activities. He draws on an array of authors including Heraclitus, Plato, Longinus, Rabelais, Nietzsche, Saussure, Frances Yates, Kristeva, Meschonnic, and Deleuze to demonstrate the "motion" of discourse and of those engaged in it. He then turns to Cervantes' novels to show how metaphors of movement and travel, appearing on nearly every page, dominate the conceptualization of the soul, the self, desire, love, and life processes. Viewing travel as a composite of concurrent modes of experience with differing content and rhythms, Hutchinson considers the concept of errancy, the nature of "place" and the traveler's shifting relations with it, and the values that travel may have as a motion, displacement, encounter, and goal. Of key importance are the means of improvisation developed en route. His re-examination of Bakhtin's "chronotope" in light of Cervante's novels reveals the dynamic character of time-spaces in which travelers move. He shows, moreover, that unlike typical Renaissance utopias the many worlds of Cervantes' novels have the principles of becoming and dissolution inscribed in them.

Reflecting on the narrative of journeys both as memory and invention, Hutchinson concludes with an examination of the relations between travel experience and travel narrative and a discussion of the whereabouts of writers and readers in Cervantes' novels. The narration of journeys, he argues, necessitates and encourages improvisatory writing.

Steven Hutchinson is a professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

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Fall 1992

LC: 92-050253 PQ
256 pp.  6 x 9

The 1992 cloth edition is out of print but the paperback is still available.

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