Abstract

While Cervantes’s playfulness with perspectivism and his skepticism in Don Quijote have been abundantly noted, the skepticism of the Novelas ejemplares is equally striking. Examining the tension between exemplarity and skepticism—the one offering models for behavior that presume belief, the other encouraging instead a productive doubt—suggests that Cervantes advances a fully engaged fictionality as an alternative to the exemplary text. In particular, “Rinconete y Cortadillo” and the dyad of “El casamiento engañoso/El coloquio de los perros” show that the picaresque allows him to probe a broader readerly skepticism, extending beyond irony to epistemological questions of the truth of narratives and how they might be assessed.

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