Soñando en Manchego: Representaciones oníricas del "Quijote"

Angela Patricia Pacheco-Gonzalez, Purdue University


A common theme in the Spanish literature of the 16th and 17th centuries was the need to explain mental states related to appearance and reality. This complex theme includes topics such as the imagination, the use of fiction, visions, dreams, and so on. However, dreams were essentially important because of their contribution to the Golden Age of Spanish literature. Cervantes used the topic of appearance and reality throughout his novel Don Quixote de la Mancha. He included dreams by reflecting highly controversial oneiric phenomena. This dissertation examines the topic of dreams in the novel by analyzing two fundamental dreams in the story of don Quixote. These dreams are found in the episode of the wineskins in the first part of the novel, and in the cave of Montesinos in the second part. This work suggests that Cervantes used the wineskins episode to debate the nature of somnambulism with violence, and he used the dream in the cave of Montesinos to offer a reflection about lucid dreams. Rather than understanding dreams as simple and superstitious messages, I suggest that Cervantes made fundamental descriptions and observations through literature about the nature of these complex dreams. With this in mind, I also propose that these scenes bring great originality to the novel by adding closely related scientific descriptions similar to the modern neuroscientific research on dreams, especially concerning somnambulism and lucid dreaming. In opposition to other metaphoric dreams reflected in the literature of this period, these dreams directly address the nature of the mind and the mystery of its behavior. I explain that these scenes are covered with humor, madness, and speculation throughout the novel in order to avoid a possible censorship from the Inquisition. As a result, I believe that Cervantes was seeking to promote a medical view of the mind by making observations of infrequent dreams, and thus, leaving out the exploration of superstitions and popular beliefs.




Mancing, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Romance literature|Cognitive psychology|Film studies

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