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CRRS Friday Workshop: Stephen Rupp – “The Land and its Learning: Cervantes and Vergil’s Georgics”

February 1, 2019 at 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Bio: Stephen Rupp is Professor of Spanish and Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto and a Fellow of Victoria College. His research focuses on the literary and intellectual traditions of early modern Spain and the relationship between literature and historical change. He has written on politics and political theory in Spanish drama and, most recently, on the representation of warfare and soldiers’ lives in the works of Cervantes in Heroic Forms: Cervantes and the Literature of War (Toronto, 2014). A central question in his work is the use of literary genres—both traditional forms received from the classical tradition and the new genres of Renaissance Europe—to respond to conditions of historical and social change. This paper comes out of his current work, which deals with Cervantes’s engagement with classical literature, particularly the three defining genres of Vergil’s poetry: eclogue, georgic, and epic.

Abstract: Don Quixote presents various characters who live on the land, including shepherds and goatherds who tend their flocks and rich peasants who manage the lands held by their families. Such characters possess knowledge useful for their lives: awareness of the soils and seasons favourable to their crops, the signs of stars and weather, the arts and skills of rural labour. The association of land and learning is a familiar literary theme from the Georgics, one of the three canonical genres of the Vergilian canon. Cervantes draws on Vergil’s didactics of farming and his praise of the country life. He also combines the Georgics with other genres, particularly pastoral and Greek romance. I will explore georgic themes and generic mixing in three sets of characters from Don Quixote: Grisóstomo and Marcela (I.11-14), Quiteria and Basilio (II.19-22), and Dorotea and Fernando (I.28).


February 1, 2019
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
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