The Enamoured Knight

Douglas Glover“Writing of Don Quixote as a template for the ambitious novelist, Glover emphasizes that the novel has followed not one but a number of trajectories; that while one kind of novel has trudged along the path of conventional realism, an alternate tradition has gone skipping merrily up the path of self-consciousness, complexity, elaboration, and playfulness — seating himself firmly on that side of the aisle.

“Much of what he has to say about Cervantes’s novel quite naturally reflects Glover’s questioning and growing awareness of the thrust of his own writing, writing ’tilted toward the foregrounding of repetitive structures’ in which ‘nothing is taken for granted and all thought is conjectural rather than descriptive.’ He came into his own as a writer, he says, with the realization that literature’s goal was not some reductive truth but ‘a vision of complexity, an endless forging of connections which opens outward into mystery.’

“Little wonder that Douglas Glover, with his love of mystery, artifice, and complexity — with his tales of people in whose lives at one and the same time nothing, and everything, seem to happen — should find himself drawn to chaotic, half-crazed, cruel, comic Don Quixote. The wonder is that we have, as a result, this amazing book.” (James Sallis at The Boston Globe)

“…Glover invents his own contemporary formalist mode, one that is informed by Lacan, Zizek, and Foucault, draws heavily on Anne Carson and Viktor Shklovsky, spars with Nabokov, revisits Northrop Frye, and seems more interested in the Bakhtin of Rabelais and his World than of The Dialogic Imagination. The Enchanted Knight is not a strict New Critical ‘close reading,’ but a self-conscious assembly of critical approaches and theories that nonetheless places formalist analysis at the center of its project. It results in a reading of Cervantes that is eclectic, personal, scholarly, and smart, and that suggests, I think, a direction for future literary criticism to take.” (Martin Ryker at The Denver Quarterly)

Douglas Glover“Douglas Glover’s extended meditation on Don Quixote, The Enamoured Knight, is simply packed to the brim with marvellous stuff. Not only does he lovingly and with great thoughtfulness delve into the richness of Cervantes’ masterwork, which is celebrating its 400th birthday this year, but he takes readers on a wonderful tour of critical perspectives on Don Quixote.

“Glover also appraises the form of the novel itself, with a little help from Ian Watt, Mikhail Bakhtin, Milan Kundera, and Northrop Frye, amongst others. He then studies the nature of Cervantes’ brilliant uses of humour (with great humour himself, finding seven types including verbal dialogic, reverse-trend, situational, slapstick, Rabelaisian, and parodic), ponders the question of what it means to be a reader and how readers interact with written texts, and contemplates the effects Don Quixote has had on world literature.

“Glover approaches his subject with such care, investigating the book’s complex Chinese box structure, and the development of the character of Don Quixote and his squire Sancho Panza. He finds interesting parallels between the novel and Alice Munro’s short story ‘Meneseteung,’ as well as other novels as diverse as Mansfield Park, Heart of Darkness, Anna Karenina, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, and The Accidental Tourist.

“In doing so, Glover asks us to ask ourselves questions about how we read Don Quixote and why. Is this a work of comic genius? Is it about the defeat of fantasy by realism or the human spirit persevering in the face of harsh reality? What is most satisfying about The Enamoured Knight is its ability to convey Glover’s utter fascination for Don Quixote. His love for the novel comes across with a freshness and liveliness that makes for riveting reading.” (Jeffrey Canton at Quill and Quire)

“Even though my initial reading of Don Quixote is past, I find myself with the Ingenious Gentleman as part of my consciousness and besides returning for re-reading pilgrimages into the text, à la Faulkner, there are a few books, this one as well as Meditations on Quixote, by José Ortega Y Gassett, that I think are wholly worthwhile and enjoyable reads, both for their subject and the fact that their application transcends the topic at hand. The Enamoured Knight is brief, accessible, and an excellent introduction to and consideration of Don Quixote.” (Bud Parr on his website Chekhov’s Mistress, now sadly defunct)

Table of Contents

Love and Books, an Introduction — Recovering the Text: Technical and Analytical — A Basic Reading — Plot and Subplot, Large Structural Considerations — The Labyrinth of Mirrors — Chinese Boxes and Russian Dolls, or How the Magician Seems to Disappear into the Hat with the Rabbit — Rozinante’s Sex Life and Other Jokes — Some Ancillary Devices — Don Quixote and Novel Form — Critics in Disarray — The Strict Realists — The Hybrid School — The Weak Thematic — The Easy-Going (Romantic) — The Easy-Going (Postmodern) — The Experimental Novel — The Form of Form — What Length Means for the Novel — The Invention of Plot — The Invention of Subplot — Character Grouping and Gradation — The Nudge — Novel Form and Memory — The Reader Theme — Night Thoughts on an Insomniac Reader, or Thematic Meditations — Why Books are to Blame — Character and Symptom — The Thematic Matrix of the Novel — The End.

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