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Don Quixote in the Archives

Madness and Literature in Early Modern Spain

Dale Shuger

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A new reading of madness in Don Quixote based on archival accounts of insanity

From the records of the Spanish Inquisition, Dale Shuger presents a social corpus of early modern madness that differs radically from the 'literary' madness previously studied. Drawing on over 100 accounts of insanity defences, many of which contain statements from a wide social spectrum - housekeepers, nieces, doctors, and barbers - as well as the testimonies of the alleged madmen and women themselves, Shuger argues that Cervantes' exploration of madness as experience is intimately linked to the questions about ethics, reason, will and selfhood that unreason presented for early modern Spaniards.

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Note Concerning the Translation
Series Preface
1. Many Madnesses
2. The Symptoms of Madness
3. The Madman on the Road
4. The Madman at Home
5. Madness, the Mind, and the Novel
6. Madness, Authority, and the Novel
Epilogue (second sally)

About the Author

Dale Shuger is a professor of early modern Spanish literature and history at Columbia University. She received her doctorate from New York University in 2008. She has published articles on madness, the Spanish Inquisition, and Cervantes in several anthologies and in The Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies, and Cervantes (Journal of the Cervantes Society of America).


Don Quixote in the Archives is a well researched study that will prove useful for students and scholars alike.

- DAVID R. CASTILLO, SUNY, University at Buffalo, Renaissance Quarterly

Shuger offers a thoroughly researched and innovative exploration of madness in Don Quixote with wide appeal.

- Jonathan Wade, Meredith College, USA, Hispania, Volume 96, Number 4
Shuger's compelling, well argued study reviews the critical treatment of the madness motif in Don Quixote, "rethinks" Foucault, "revisits" Bakhtin, and examines documents of the period, including inquisitional sources.
- E.H. Friedman, Vanderbilt University, Choice: October 2012

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