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Open Cultural Studies

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Chivalry, Materialism, and the Grotesque in Don Quijote and Alberto Blest Gana’s El ideal de un calavera

Patricia Vilches
Published Online: 2017-05-19 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/culture-2017-0003

Abstract

This study analyses chivalry, materialism, and the grotesque in Alberto Blest Gana’s El ideal de un calavera [The Ideal of a Rogue] (1863) under the light of Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quijote’s part II (1615). It underscores the legacy of Cervantes on the Chilean author especially in his reflections on nation building. Unlike its author, Don Quijote eluded restriction and successfully reached the colonies; once there, author and text became a massive influence on intellectuals in the burgeoning Americas. Blest Gana, for example, created protagonists who were multi-dimensional and imbued with quixotic overtones. Praised by his counterparts, he created work that was finely detailed, with a goal of portraying the nation’s cultural practices at specifics points in history. Deploying techniques inspired by Honore de Balzac (also a reader of Don Quijote), Blest Gana illustrated the colourful aspects of his society. His sharp eye depicted and interpreted nationhood and society through the course of dramatic historical events in El ideal de un calavera by shining a bright light on the political and social enemies who emerged in the historical unravelling of the nation in the 1830s. The resulting kaleidoscope of astute, idealistic and cowardly individuals conveyed subtle yet definite Cervantesque tones.

Keywords: Blest Gana; Cervantes; Chile; nineteenth-Century; nationhood

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About the article

Received: 2017-01-12

Accepted: 2017-04-18

Published Online: 2017-05-19

Published in Print: 2017-01-26


Citation Information: Open Cultural Studies, Volume 1, Issue 1, Pages 17–31, ISSN (Online) 2451-3474, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/culture-2017-0003.

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© 2017. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. BY-NC-ND 4.0

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