Literary Narratives and the Cultural Imagination: King Arthur and Don Quixote as National Heroes (Hardback)
  • Literary Narratives and the Cultural Imagination: King Arthur and Don Quixote as National Heroes (Hardback)
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Literary Narratives and the Cultural Imagination: King Arthur and Don Quixote as National Heroes (Hardback)

(author), (foreword)
£65.00
Hardback 316 Pages / Published: 15/01/2019
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In Literary Narratives and the Cultural Imagination: King Arthur and Don Quixote as National Heroes the author examines traditional Arthurian and Cervantine literary narratives to discuss how the two literary figures became paladins of their respective nations. Whereas the former bestows upon the homeland a positive image of Britain, based on military might, a glorious past and a promise of return, the latter contributes to a negative image of Spain based on a narrative of defeat and faded glory. In the analysis of the political intentions behind the literature that gave wings to the rise as paragons of these very famous literary characters, a semblance of the national imaginaries of the countries of their birth appears. Indeed, the tradition of Waterloo and the tradition of La Mancha are polar opposites in their Weltanschauung, and they only have in common that both heroes, Arthur and Quijote, are depicted as paladins of justice, benefactors, and redeemers of their land of birth. It is this idealized view of what is possibly the figment of a writer's (or many different writers) pen that astonishes the reader, for behind it lies an intention to market (for internal and external consumption) both literary creations, exceeding the boundaries of the creative fiction that invented them to transform them into myths and political symbols of their respective nations.

Publisher: Lexington Books
ISBN: 9781498536950
Number of pages: 316
Dimensions: 229 x 152 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Heroes today are in short supply, so this book by Ma. Odette Canivell should be celebrated as she takes us back to two of the greatest heroes ever invented where myth and reality are hopelessly intertwined. Many might think it difficult to say anything new about these two protean characters, but Ma. Odette Canivell succeeds through a novel approach that compares and contrasts not only the two heroes themselves but also their evolution in literature. -- Victor Bulmer-Thomas, Honorary Professor, Institute of the Americas, University College London
Maria Canivell turns what could be a simple comparatist literary history into a fiercely passionate vindication of Don Quixote as a national hero, by dint of his political skepticism, blind self-perception, and philosophical streak. In her reckoning, the better-known and existentially secure King Arthur takes second place, precisely due to his certainty about human affairs. Throughout this well-considered and immaculate study surfaces a manifesto, an act of advocacy. If Don Quixote had an attorney, it would be Canivell. Ranging from Heidegger to Mitsubishi, Otto Rank to Disney, this author's study argues that heroes are marketed as much as they are created. Along the way, the histories of Spain and England are examined as fashioning these two heroes who, paradoxically, serve as precursors of those nations. -- Johnny Payne, Mount Saint Mary's University
Energetic and thought-provoking. I have always thought that the Spaniards and the English (I choose these terms carefully and deliberately) are each the other's favorite historical rival and Other. It was an inspired idea to compare two such great national fictional heroes, Alonso and Arthur, and Maria Canivell's analysis brings out not only the contrasts between these popular characters but, even more significantly, between the two countries that gave them life and still revere them. -- Gerald Martin, University of Pittsburgh
In Literary Narratives and the Cultural Imagination, Maria Odette Canivell presents a fascinating account of the evolution of "national heroes" who embody the traits to which their respective nations aspired, and who in doing so affect the "life, perception, and imaginations" of the nations they serve. The figure of King Arthur emerged from dim history into legend and literature to represent virtues of the monarchy and eventually British national pride, tradition, and optimism. The entirely literary figure of Don Quijote represented a great nation in decline, suffering from the loss of empire and economic hardship, desiring to fight reality with dreams. Canivell's comparison of these characters combines meticulous scholarship and a deep love of her subject to produce a lively and informative study. -- Robert Hoskins, Professor Emeritus, James Madison University

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