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Rachel Schmidt

Position: 

Annual Fellow 2016-17

Biography: 

Rachel Schmidt is Professor in the Department of Classics and Religion. She has published Forms of Modernity: Don Quixote and Modern Theories of the Novel (University of Toronto Press, 2011) and Critical Images. The Canonization of Don Quixote through Illustrated Editions of the Eighteenth Century (McGill-Queens University Press, 1999).

 

Research Activities: 

Non-Literary Discourses in Cervantes´s Late Prose

The study will show how non-literary genres shaped Cervantes´s two last major prose works, Don Quijote II (1615) and Los Trabajos de Persiles y Sigismunda (1617). The Spanish novelist used the thematics of genres such as domestic governance, dueling, natural history and humanistic letters to structure the episodes in the second part of Don Quixote, but also constructed the conversations that link these episodes through discourse related to these genres plus religion and medicine. In the Persiles he employed cosmography and astrology to introduce irony into the allegorical pilgrimage of Protestant Scandinavian prince and princess to Rome. Through analyzing these non-literary discourses, I illuminate political and social nuances that have been lost to 21st-century readers who are no longer familiar with the conventions, language, and  ideas of the writings in which they circulated, nor the debates which they summarized in a nutshell. 

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