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Title: Reading as rewriting : Miguel de Unamuno, Jorge Luis Borges and the Quijote
Author: Hyland, Paul
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2019
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The relationship between Miguel de Unamuno and Jorge Luis Borges remains understudied. In this thesis I compare both authors according to their shared interest in reading and rewriting Miguel de Cervantes's Don Quijote de la Mancha. Across their vast respective bibliographies on Cervantes, from Vida de don Quijote y Sancho and 'Pierre Menard, autor del Quijote', both examine the canonical Spanish work from anachronistic perspectives, and re-author it according to personal circumstances and points of view. I interrogate a series of works that both authors produce on Cervantes's masterpiece, and outline the comparable yet contrasting aesthetic approaches that underlie their arguments. From this I show that the aesthetic models of reading that they produce are strongly derived from aspects of the Quijote, a novel whose narrative complexities compel the reader into a more active, critical role in interpreting the work. Beyond demonstrating the Cervantine echoes in their works, I argue that the non-intentionalist approach that Unamuno and Borges take when reading texts including and especially the Quijote fits comfortably within the realm of literary theories that were formalised much later on. In particular I focus on the reader-response theories of thinkers such as Hans Robert Jauß and Wolfgang Iser, as well as Stanley Fish's affective stylistics. I adopt key critical terms from the works of these theorists in order to critique the way Unamuno and Borges interpret the Quijote across their careers. Chief among my concerns is how the reader's cultural and historical circumstances produce unique meanings in the text that the author cannot prohibit. I also explore the question common to these theorists as to the principle by which an interpretation of a work can be considered acceptable or unacceptable. By tracing the commonalities and contrasts between Unamuno's and Borge's readings and rewritings of the Quijote I show how their works respectively further such theoretical discussions.
Supervisor: Boldy, Steven Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Borges ; Unamuno ; Quijote ; Rewriting ; Reader-response theory ; Jauß ; Iser ; Cervantes