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Post tenebras spero lucem: Alquimia y ritos en el Quijote y otras obras cervantinas
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of Modern Languages, Romance Languages.
2014 (Spanish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This study focuses on two areas: alchemy (Part I) and rituals of initiation (Part II) in the works of Miguel de Cervantes, focusing on Don Quijote de la Mancha as my main case study.

The first part analyses the function of alchemy and how it can be interpreted throughout the works and various literary genres of Cervantes. It will demonstrate that the texts of Cervantes contain both explicit and implicit allusions to, as well as different aspects of alchemy, such as operative and spiritual alchemy and how these are ultimately used by Cervantes as a means of expression. The author draws from this rich source and modifies these means of expression in order to achieve various results: sometimes with wit or in relation to fraud; at other times it focuses on inner alchemy relating to chivalry in what I have called spiritual chivalry, which has the aim of self-improvement and ultimately, gnosis.

 Regarding the chivalric rituals of initiation, according to this investigation chivalry serves as both satire and representation of the alchemical process in the case of Don Quijote, which finds its key moments during the rituals. In this sense alchemy and chivalry are studied as two sides of the same coin, in which the search for something higher, an object (the philosopher stone, the beloved), subjects the protagonist to continuous transmutations and puts him in contact with the transitory, that is, liminal states, people and spaces. From this perspective Don Quixote de la Mancha is built upon liminal poetics.

My approach, which follows the tenets of analogical hermeneutics, is included within the framework of the Western Esotericism Studies. The 16th and 17th centuries were a fertile age for alchemy throughout Europe. In Spain, alchemy and other esoteric disciplines co-existed with the Spanish Inquisition and its body for the control of ideas and texts: censorship. By being ambiguous and putting into dialogue different ideas of alchemy, Cervantes not only allowed readers to reach their own conclusions, he also protected his work from censorship.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2014. , 250 p.
Studia Romanica Upsaliensia, ISSN 0562-3022 ; 80
Keyword [en]
alchemy, analogical hermeneutics, censorship, rites, chivalry, liminality, symbolism, hermetism, Paracelsus
Keyword [es]
alquimia, hermenéutica analógica, censura, ritos, caballería, liminalidad, simbolismo, hermetismo, Paracelso
National Category
Languages and Literature
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-218904ISBN: 978-91-554-8885-7 (print)OAI: diva2:697880
Public defence
2014-04-05, Geijersalen, Engelskaparken. Thunbergsv. 3H, Uppsala, 13:15 (Spanish)
Available from: 2014-03-13 Created: 2014-02-19 Last updated: 2014-04-29

Open Access in DiVA

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