Graduation Year

Fall 2012

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Nicole Altamirano

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Rights Information

© 2012 Alexander J. Poyhonen


In chapter 1, I ponder the role of authorship and whether or not an original text can truly exist. Specifically, the claim that Borges has that a copy can be superior to an original. From this, brings me to chapter 2 with the movie Man of la Mancha. In this movie, I highlight some of the pros and cons of a copy. The windmill scene is a negative emanation of the Quixote, while the interaction between people and the presence of women is something the movie truly displays well. In the third chapter, I look at Lost in la Mancha because it demonstrates a failed attempt to translate the Quixote. In essence, anything that tries to represent this truly great text will fail; however, it's failure can paradoxically be thought of as a success because it's an homage to the Quixote. As far as the Ezra Pound material, I thought it extremely pertinent to look at his experience on a metro because he attempts to describe a vision that he had through poetry. He notes that it is very difficult to encapsulate his entire experience because the primary form of art (his vision) is being described through a secondary form (words). Thus, when you translate a form of art through a medium it loses some of its value. This is what happens with the Quixote; its primary form (words) is being displayed through a secondary form (film), and it inevitably loses something in the translation. The final chapter/conclusion is a more in-depth investigation of this investigation primary form of art (writing). This uses the character of Gines as a concrete example of a formal and stylistic quality that is unique to literature. Namely, the physical ranging of words on a page in both a spatial and literary sense. When you extract those lines from a novel you implicitly remove some of the dialectic between Cervantes' work and the genres he's invoking, just by taking it out of the form of literature. The surroundings of text establish the meaning of the novel. The conclusion is my final chance to argue why the Quixote is so special and untranslatable. I touch on the qualities that keep it forever live and present in us today. Through the Quixote's proclivity for renaming the real world (established societal beliefs/values, etc.) in his own vein, Cervantes allows for the Quixote to reappropriate the world around him, making it uniquely his. In so doing, Cervantes creates a character who is able, not only to write his own self-history, but to control the way that said self-history will be written by others. By blurring the lines between narrator and narration and history and fiction, Cervantes creates a work that is endlessly present, where words becoming living page, and actions occur as they are said.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.