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“Against the Dog Only a Dog”. Talking Canines Civilizing Cynicism in Cervantes’ “coloquio de los perros” (With Tentative Remarks on the Discourse and Method of Animal Studies)

Peter Szondi Institute of Comparative Literature, Freie Universität Berlin, Habelschwerdter Allee 45, 14195 Berlin, Germany
Humanities 2017, 6(2), 28;
Received: 1 January 2017 / Revised: 17 April 2017 / Accepted: 19 April 2017 / Published: 13 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Narratology)


Deriving its designation from the Greek word for ‘dog’, cynicism is likely the only philosophical ‘interest group’ with a diachronically dependable affinity for various animals—particularly those of the canine kind. While dogs have met with differing value judgments, chiefly along a perceived human–animal divide, it is specifically discourses with cynical affinities that render problematic this transitional field. The Cervantine “coloquio de los perros” has received scholarly attention for its (caninely) picaresque themes, its “cynomorphic” (Ziolkowski) narratological technique, its socio-historically informative accounts relating to Early Modern Europe and the Iberian peninsula, including its ‘zoopoetically’ (Derrida) relevant portrayal of dogs (see e.g., Alves, Beusterien, Martín); nor did the dialog’s mention of cynical snarling go unnoticed. The essay at hand commences with a chapter on questions of method pertaining to ‘animal narration’: with recourse to Montaigne, Descartes, and Derrida, this first part serves to situate the ensuing close readings with respect to the field of Animal Studies. The analysis of the Cervantine texts synergizes thematic and narratological aspects at the discourse historical level; it commences with a brief synopsis of the respective novellas in part 2; Section 3, Section 4 and Section 5 supply a description of the rhetorical modes of crafting plausibility in the framework narrative (“The Deceitful Marriage”), of pertinent (Scriptural) intertexts for the “Colloquy”. Parts 6–7 demonstrate that the choice of canine interlocutors as narrating agencies—and specifically in their capacity as dogs—is discursively motivated: no other animal than this animal, and precisely as animal, would here serve the discursive purpose that is concurrently present with the literal plane; for this dialogic novella partakes of a (predominantly Stoicizing) tradition attempting to resocialize the Cynics, which commences already with the appearance of the Ancient arch-Cynic ‘Diogenes’ on the scene. At the discursive level, a diachronic contextualization evinces that the Cervantine text takes up and outperforms those rhetorical techniques of reintegration by melding Christian, Platonic, Stoicizing elements with such as are reminiscent of Diogenical ones. Reallocating Blumenberg’s reading of a notorious Goethean dictum, this essay submits the formula ‘against the Dog only a dog’ as a concise précis of the Cervantine method at the discursive level, attained to via a decidedly pluralized rhetorical sermocination featuring, at a literal level, specifically canine narrators in a dialogic setting.

1. Cherchez La Bête (Humaine): With Respect to Animal Narration

Diogenes […] disait […] C’est celui qui me traite et nourrit qui me sert,
et ceux qui entretiennent [les] bêtes se doivent dire plutôt les servir qu’en être servis.
natürlich nur tentativ
This initial subchapter addresses questions of method. In so doing, it also serves to situate the essay’s ensuing close readings of the Cervantine novellas with respect to the approach and discourse of Animal Studies. The following observations are tentative, their function heuristic.
It is commonly held that beings with a potential capacity for humane comportment and taking other perspectives are to deem self-evident a respectful conduct towards other beings: “‘Tat twam asi’, that is, ‘this living [being] are you’” (Schopenhauer 1988, p. 295, III, §44; trans. dsm).2 Usually, only the cynically minded might wish to display the candor (or insolence) of articulating the indirectly self-seeking nature that—from their particular point of view—is likely to be at the basis of statements such as “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Lk 6:31; cf. Mt 7:12; NIV).
Quarantining the putative faculties of humanly conceivable metaphysical entities (the caring for which must, for reasons of competence, be delegated to the respective professional curators), the nominal ‘human animal’ may seem to manifest an exceptional (and, in this, perchance distinctive) proclivity for taking other perspectives.3 In the inventory of effectual techniques that is rhetoric, such ‘perspective-taking’ is advocated as a capacity for ‘always also arguing on the other sides of any question’.4
Alignable in tendency with the perspectival inversion characteristic of the Cynic’s discourse (as in the above motto), Montaigne—whose Essais (proceeding from an awareness as to contingency) present an assorted accumulation of diverse data guided by, and gathered by way of, a poly-perspectival heuristics—muses: “When I play with my cat, who knows if I am not a pastime to her more than she is to me” (Montaigne 1989, p. 331, II.12; cf. p. 331n.; Montaigne 2009, p. 179, II.xii).5 Likely due to Derrida’s affirmative citation thereof in what has come to be a seminal text of Animal Studies (cf. Derrida 2002, pp. 375, 375n.), Montaigne’s reflection continues to be reiterated in the respective paradigm, specifically as evidence of a creditable recourse to ‘the animal itself and as such’.6 With this accentuation, ‘the real animal’ is seen to come into focus, thereby counteracting a ‘merely symbolic, purely figurative use’ (judged to be a priori compromised on account of the latter’s perceived semantic, notional, structural association with forms of exploitation).7
In this retrieval or liberation of ‘the animal as such’, the ensuing (also narratologically significant) aspects may seem to be suspended or elided: the textuality, virtuality, context, historical distance (alterity), and mediacy of the statement (including, in a scholarly environment, its stages of reception); the human being (here: the speaker of the Essais, usually identified with the historical author, referred to as ‘Montaigne’) performing the conjectural act of taking an animal’s perspective based on (what is semiotically represented as) a tangible experience; the respective human recipient visualizing the textually sedimented (putatively authentic) interspecies encounter by notionally accommodating it to her own (previously immediate, now recollected) experience with animals, not necessarily of the feline kind (thereby tying in her own Lebenswelt with what is perceived as the speaker’s lifeworld emerging suggestively from the text).
In an Animal Studies perspective, the collocation ‘animal narration’ might therefore seem a contradiction in terms, seeing that—rather than taking ‘the animal as such’—it adds another expression with (semantic) associations and (historical) implications that the paradigm expressly rejects: mediatedness, indirection, irony, semblance, the verisimilar, virtuality, ornament, symbolism, metaphor, figuration, rhetoric; along with certain genres expected to display a particular partiality toward the former, such as fables, satires, emblems, allegories, and the like; as well as a respective hermeneutics (qua more mediacy).8 In a radical view, the aspect of ‘narration’ might even be judged to be yet another arrantly anthropocentric mode, aiming to superstructure, earmark, instrumentalize, and ultimately veil ‘the animate animal itself’.9 By contrast, the language regime obtaining in the field of Animal Studies tends to privilege articulations positing immediacy, literalness, direct access, palpable life, authentic reality, truth, the body, nature, and animals.10
Facing this apparent aporia in terms of approach, one might have recourse precisely to Derrida’s aforesaid lecture—recognized as foundational for, and widely received in, Animal Studies—for purposes of proposing a provisionally practicable path.11 Two textual gestures seem to be of particular import in this respect: the essay’s express and recurrent signaling of its own textuality; and Derrida’s ostensive refunctionalization of a notorious Cartesian formula.
While articulating a desire to return to various manifestations of immediacy, the speaker repeatedly points both to the factual nonviability and the virtual possibility thereof: although all returns are virtual, they typically tend to be effectual only if that fact fails to register.12 The desired conflation—taking the virtual as the factual—occurs, as Derrida takes considerable care to render palpable, in the recipient (whether audience or reader), and precisely while acting in that capacity. Addressing others, language lays claim to reality:
I must make it clear from the start, the cat I am talking about is a real cat, truly, believe me, a little cat. It isn’t the figure of a cat. It doesn’t silently enter the room as an allegory for all the cats on the earth […] that is truly a little cat, this cat I am talking about[.]
These protestations of verity and (deictic) emphases take place—and the cat exists—in language: “the cat said to be real” (p. 378) by a speaker, and potentially perceived as such by a recipient taking a semiotically mediated as an actual cat.14 In (always) other words: “It is an animal of reading and rewriting” (p. 406).
A form of indirection recurs also at another level. In the face of its allusively familiar appearance, Derrida’s patent gesture towards Descartes—already visible in the lecture’s title “L’Animal que donc je suis (à suivre)” (Derrida 2002, p. 369n.), and reiterated in variation throughout (cf. e.g., pp. 371–72, 379–83, 386, 400–1, 403, 407, 410, 416, 418)—is not a structurally equivalent reformulation. While the Cartesian “vérité: je pense, donc je suis” (Descartes 1969, p. 52, IV.1, §33) tenders a quasi-non-processual formula (the ‘therefore’ notwithstanding), Derrida—maintaining (immediate) identifiability not least by a partial citation—alters its structure entirely.15 Into the self’s processing of itself, he intercalates an other: “I see it [sc. a ‘cat’] as this irreplaceable living being […]. Nothing can ever take away from me the certainty that what we have here is an existence that refuses to be conceptualized” (Derrida 2002, pp. 378–79).16 The ego’s unshakable foundation is external to itself: an alter that cannot be incorporated—“the wholly other that they call animal, for example, a cat” (p. 380)—and that might, for instance, “manifest to me in some way its experience of my language, of my words” (p. 387).17 Derrida’s formula of indirection renders in expressly processual terms Descartes’ virtual tautology of the self’s all but immediate recourse to itself.18 Belying the surface, the perceived Cartesian and Derridean tendencies are thus fundamentally at variance (immediacy vs. indirection); in the latter case, human beings arrive at themselves by way of a detour—via an other, specifically animals.19 In Cuneo’s felicitously parrhesiastic wording: “We use all kinds of animals as homing ‘devices’, to tell ourselves and others who we are, where we are, and where we are going. We use animals to orient ourselves” (Cuneo 2014, p. 2).20 By ceaselessly returning to returning, Derrida’s essay moreover and at once performs the impossibility (respectively, the virtuality) of direct access, and the ineluctability of indirection (specifically: of language).21
In light of the above, the fact that virtually all criticism in the field of Animal Studies seems to be (insistingly, tacitly) channeling its efforts through Descartes might be additionally motivated.22 Naturally, certain Cartesian assertions (blatantly dis)regarding animals render ‘him’ an expedient antagonist.23 Yet the paradigm’s tendency to privilege immediacy—and not the discursive tendencies in Derrida—may seem to align it with the Cartesian pattern, suggesting another reason for why Animal Studies can apparently neither do with nor without ‘Descartes’.
Arguably, the seemingly comfortable Cartesian recourse (with its negative leading sign only increasing that effect) results in a perspectival foreshortening, one outcome of which appears to be a virtually complete pretermission of discourses with cynical affinities from the pertinent discussions within Animal Studies—and this despite Cynicism’s sustained impact since its emergence in Antiquity, particularly also in terms of always already destabilizing the (now) so-called “human-animal divide” (Boehrer 2010, p. 3; Raber 2013, p. 30).24 In this respect, the (historically pre‑Cartesian) Cervantine texts to be described below might provide a perspectival counterpoise, seeing that they (explicitly, by implication) draw attention to the import of discourses with cynical affinities, and precisely in a context featuring (speaking) animals at a literal level; conceivably, such a nexus might tender a plausible basis (or incentive) for judiciously engaging with discourses of a cynical color also in the field whose discourse and method are under scrutiny here.
Having tentatively outlined (via Descartes, Derrida) selected discursive ground swells of Animal Studies, one might return to the above aporia, and formulate certain provisional observations in terms of method, specifically with a view to the nexus of ‘animals’ and ‘narration’.
As a focalizing device, an Animal Studies approach might serve a heuristic function in addressing textualized aspects hitherto unacknowledged, accentuating hermeneutic lacunae, drawing attention to data on, and descriptions of, animals sedimented in material and virtual documents, in works of art.25 Such would include (Ancient, contemporaneous) notions about a perceived flora and fauna (common knowledge, particular views) as conveyed by the respective text or object.26
Written animals speaking (narrating) in the human tongue appear in texts, whose protagonists are virtual characters; Borgards suggests the term “diegetic animals” qua “appearing as living beings […] within the narrated world” (Borgards 2015, p. 225; trans. dsm).27 This does not necessarily involve their standing (in) for something else (such as human beings), nor that theirs would be a ‘merely symbolic’ use.28 In a crafted textual environment, animals will inevitably be rhetorically rendered, strategically placed, often also with discursive implications; yet this need not entail their not also being present—at a literal level—as (the portrayal of) an animal in its capacity as animal within a virtual realm.29
A textual dog, for instance, might be represented (and appresented) as barking, retrieving, biting, shepherding, etc.—with there being no need to allegorize (and moralize) such semiotized phenomena with a view to human behavior. While not passing over other planes textually present, one might stay at a literal level, provisionally: the recipient is faced with the description of a virtual canine, appearing—in the context of a world semiotically induced—as a dog. The terms ‘rhetorical’ and ‘figure’ would then signify a plausibly rendered, textual canine, significantly and strategically placed in a virtual context, crafted by recourse to a (verbal) medium—and ‘realized’ by a recipient.30 The latter would supply the corresponding—culturally conditioned, personally inflected—signifieds; tie the semiotically engendered virtual realm in with her (immediate, recollected) experience, translating a textual reality into her own; and, perchance, attempt to take a respective animal’s perspective. Via this detour—a virtual appresentation, particular appropriation, grounded in a human being’s potential for conceivably putting itself where it is not (in another’s place)—such may indeed lead to an altered perception of, and appreciation for, actual animals in the respective recipient’s realm of (haptic, olfactory, etc.) immediacy, in her material lifeworld.31
If these observations are held plausible, it might seem to be a viable approach to describe a work’s inevitably mediated status (its virtuality, textuality), its historicity, (socio-moral) alterity, its structural (including narrative) devices, its rhetorico-strategic disposition (without reducing the art to elocutio)—while also accentuating the descriptions of (historically observable) animal behavior and (culturally specific) practices involving animals sedimented in a given work (of art).32 In addition (and as the case may require), one might tender hypotheses concerning textually implicit attitudes towards animals, perhaps in conjunction with wary observations comparing multifaceted historical positions and points of view with those of a given present or paradigm.33 One might, in Blumenberg’s formulation, ‘mobilize implications in retrospect’.34
In anticipation of the findings to be detailed in the ensuing readings, further aspects relevant to the matter at hand might be adduced at this point, and tied in with the above reflections on method: while cultivating a dialogic form in arrangement and presentation, the novella and colloquy studied herein are—in discourse historical terms—rather proximate to the Montaignian approach of staging a pluralistic panorama of voices (including the cynical), of juxtaposing various viewpoints or positions (also with respect to animals), and permitting their textual coexistence and concomitance. In terms of design, the Cervantine novelas—as his œuvre by and large—might also be seen as paradigmatic instances of manifold forms of indirection, accentuating mediatedness (the medium, situation of reception, the reader’s role in appresenting a tendered realm and its virtual residents, here specifically speaking animals), and effectually deploying diverse techniques of layering: in terms of a poetics of plot, and as regards the different notional levels textually present (relating to a possible reception)—such as a potential simultaneity of discursive, figurative, and literal planes (the latter being of particular significance in the present context).
The texts to be described in the following take and tender the perspective of an animal—specifically one that has always been particularly proximate to human beings (and vice versa).35 Even so, the agent performing that ‘taking’ is—intratextually (in the narrative framework: Campuzano as author, Peralta as reader), extratextually (from a poetic and hermeneutic point of view: ‘Cervantes’, the respective recipient)—still and always a human being. In this respect, neither the recipient nor the medium (including various dimensions and forms of mediatedness) may be spirited away: “Our starting point lies […] in the […] works themselves and in the way they reflect upon animals” (Enenkel and Smith 2007, p. 11).

2. The Novellas in Question: “The Deceitful Marriage”, “The Dogs’ Colloquy”

púselo en forma de coloquio
A brief synopsis of the Cervantine texts under scrutiny seems requisite. From a narratological perspective, the “Novela del casamiento engañoso” and “El coloquio de los perros” are closely interrelated: the former serves as a framework for the latter; via myriad echoes, they reciprocate at various levels (the structural, semantic).
After meeting the licentiate Peralta, the ensign Campuzano (having left a hospital after treatment) narrates a first (apparently autobiographical) story, then promises a curious tale concerning a conversation overheard and put to paper. While (the intratextual author) Campuzano rests, Peralta reads what is ‘the colloquy of the dogs’.
Apart from a brief conclusion (closing the frame), the second narrative is in the form of a dialog between the aforesaid hospital’s two hounds (Berganza, Cipión): after some reflections concerning their unexpected capacity for articulating themselves in the human tongue, Berganza proceeds to tell the story of his life ab ovo, along the lines of episodes experienced in the service of various masters (butcher, shepherds, merchant, students, bailiff, magistrate, soldiers, sorceress, gypsies, morisco, poet, theatrical producer, hospital worker).36 This largely chronological narrative is interspersed with remarks, replies, and reprimands on the part of Scipio, with assorted mutual digressions of an often metapoetical or moral philosophical nature.37

3. The Linguistico-Textual Setting: An Age of Rhetoric Across Europe

Así va el mundo
In every respect, Early Modern Europe is dominated by, suffused with, the art of rhetoric.38 Apart from the fact that contemporary narratology is based on this téchne, it is needful to approach a text emerging in early seventeenth century Spain from a rhetorical perspective.39
Briefly, the art’s overarching aim is effect—typically qua persuading (dissuading) someone of a case at hand. This entails taking into consideration the addressees, specifically as regards what they are always already primed for by their background (upbringing, education, ‘Lebenswelt’)—hence the aptum (what is taken to be appropriate, at a given time, in a specific context).40 The latter will determine what readers or listeners deem plausible: what they can be taught (docere), or brought to accept, as being so, via various strategies of amusing (delectare), stimulating emotionally (movere).41 The ultimate objective remains to convince (persuadere) the respective addressees of the plausibility of what they are being presented with—and supposed to take in—by any means and all: the art of rhetoric tends to cumulate and integrate its techniques for maximum effect.42

4. The Narrative Framework: Crafting Plausibility in “The Deceitful Marriage”

Auffällig ist […] die komplizierte Rahmentechnik.
para hacer memoria […] y para desengaño
The aspect of persuading the (intra-, extratextual) readership of the tale’s plausibility is particularly pertinent to the case at hand, since it tenders animal narrators—specifically dogs, and precisely in their capacity as canines at a literal level.44 Consequently, the respective Cervantine novellas suggest and assemble several reasons for what must otherwise seem out of the ordinary, arranging these on several planes. While its caption points to a town (‘Valladolid’) and specific locale (‘hospital’), another indicator of the text’s attempt at tying in with shared knowledge is given in the last clause of its full title: the canines are ‘commonly called the dogs of Mahudes’.45 In other words: regardless of whether this is taken as a historical reference by the respective recipient, the textual effort in terms of producing an effect of immediate plausibility based on the projection of a supposed common ground will be patent (at a metapoetical level).
Similarly, the colloquy initially ties in with customary assumptions: “the difference between the brute animal and man is that man is a rational animal [‘animal racional’], while the brute is irrational” (Cervantes 2016b, p. 452; Cervantes 2002a, p. 299; cf. p. 309).46 Berganza and Cipión then proceed to log and exchange apparently prevalent notions concerning various canine characteristics, taken up from human conversations overheard during their lives, and evidently stored in a copious retentive faculty: “ever since I could gnaw at a bone I have wanted to be able to talk, to express things […] I had accumulated in my memory [‘depositaba en la memoria’]” (Cervantes 2016b, p. 453; Cervantes 2002a, p. 301).47
Teeming with rhetorical techniques aiming at rendering plausible the tendered tale featuring speaking animals, the narrative framework presents a conversation between the convalescing “ensign Campuzano” and the “Licentiate Peralta” (Cervantes 2016a, pp. 433–46, here 433–34), which leads to the latter’s perusal of the former’s manuscript—the coloquio.48 Setting the scene for canine interlocution, the “Novela del casamiento engañoso” is decisive narratologically: its transition to the dialog of the dogs demands detailed analysis.
Above all, the ensign’s narrative (novella-related) strategy aims at accommodating his friend’s curiosity, apparent penchant for “amazement”; in this vein, he declares:
I still have other events [‘sucesos’] to relate to you that surpass the human imagination [‘exceden a toda imaginación’], seeing as how they go beyond the very limits of the natural order of things [‘fuera de todos los términos de naturaleza’].
He also expressly asks Peralta to “be prepared to believe it”, “se acomode a creerlo” (Cervantes 2016a, p. 444; Cervantes 2002b, p. 293), describing himself as an earwitness of an all but vivid event: “yo oí y casi vi con mis ojos”—as he admits, Campuzano never actually sees the dogs talking, inferring the fact from what he hears, “a poco rato vine a conocer, por lo que hablaban, los que hablaban” (Cervantes 2002b, p. 293).50
When Peralta reacts with predictable incredulity, the ensign agrees to the event’s implausibility—“animals can’t talk”—while offering a (discourse historically irrefutable) exception in the same breath: “unless it be owing to some miracle” (Cervantes 2016a, p. 444).51 This (orthodox) metaphysical leeway is immediately supplemented by commonly accepted, demonstrable cases that likewise challenge an unconditional denial of speaking animals: “I know quite well that thrushes, magpies, and parrots can talk, but only in the sense that they recite words from memory that they learn by heart [‘aprenden y toman de memoria’]”—an empirical observation, bolstered by an epistemological hypothesis—“and because these animals’ tongues are aptly shaped [‘cómoda’] for pronouncing the words”; ultimately, this series of concessions is itself limited in agreement with common assumptions: “But none of that means they can actually talk and answer, or engage in coherent speech [‘discurso concertado’]” (Cervantes 2016a, p. 444; Cervantes 2002b, pp. 293–94).52 Regarding other animals—‘elephant, dog, horse, ape’, see (Cervantes 2016b, p. 453)—this acknowledged state of affairs is given as inverted within the coloquio: for such beings are said to be capable of (retentive and) seemingly rational acts, while lacking the capacity for articulation in the human tongue.53
In another rhetorical move to craft a common ground, Campuzano skillfully concedes his own skepticism, “yo mismo no he querido dar crédito a mí mismo, y he querido […] tener por cosa soñada” (Cervantes 2002b, p. 294)—yet only to willfully assert (and later repeat: “contra mi opinión vengo a creer que no soñaba”) that he was “wide awake and in full possession of his senses [‘con todos mis cinco sentidos’]”; that he recorded everything verbatim (“sin faltar palabra”), to serve as a testimony “from which one may obtain sufficient evidence [‘indicio bastante’] to incline and persuade a person to believe [‘mueva y persuada a creer’] that truth of what I’m saying” (Cervantes 2016a, pp. 444–45; Cervantes 2002b, p. 294).54 The terminology being evidently rhetorico‑forensic, it will be little wonder that any refinement in terms of elocutio (ornatus) is ostentatiously denied for the alleged report itself (a rhetorical denial of ‘rhetoric’)—which, with a view to plausibility (always a matter of degree), somewhat alleviates (“casi”) the previous, absolute claim:
almost in the exact same words [‘casi por las mismas palabras’] that I had heard spoken, I transcribed it the next day, refraining from trying to adorn it [‘adornarlo’] with any sort of rhetorical coloring [‘colores retóricas’], and neither adding nor removing anything just to improve its flavor [‘para hacerle gustoso’].
Between these two reciprocal passages occurs the most effective rhetorical move, similarly structured along an articulated act of apparent self-persuasion via argument in utramque partem.55 Peralta having voiced his view to the effect that Campuzano be telling tall tales, the latter immediately concedes, but only to deliberately reassert his sensorial confidence, his faith in the power of words to craft credence, his willingness to intersubjectively suspend his judgment (“mi verdad”) yet again—culminating in a rhetorical question regarding his interlocutor’s attested desire for a narrative’s delightful function:
But supposing [‘Pero puesto caso’], maybe, that I have been deceived [‘engañado’], and that what seems real is actually a dream [‘y que mi verdad sea sueño’] […]—even so, would not your honor […] like [‘se holgará’] to see written down, in the form of a colloquy, the conversation between those two dogs, whoever or whatever they really are [‘o sean quien fueren’]?
As with all things in nature, the strongest argument is always pleasure.56 Peralta immediately falls into the rhetorical trap, believes the attempts at persuasion to be of the past, and consents:
As long as your honor […] doesn’t waste any more time trying to persuade me [‘persuadirme’] that you really heard two dogs talking, I will right gladly listen to [‘de muy buena gana oiré’] this colloquy, which I already judge to be good [‘juzgo por bueno’], seeing that it has been composed and written down as the product of his honor the ensign’s notable literary talent [‘buen ingenio’].
All the while, the reader is fully aware that Campuzano has just left the hospital, apparently after a rather laborious treatment (“I underwent the sweatbox cure forty times”), suggesting that he had not exactly been in control of his senses at all times (Cervantes 2016a, p. 443; cf. p. 434; Cervantes 2002b, pp. 282, 282n.). The ensign’s preemptive giving of (quasi-empirical, medico-nutritional) reasons for his asserted attention to detail and acoustico-textual fidelity might thus be received as (highly) ironic—pleasing the reader into persuasion, into a considerable readiness for (being) taking in (by) what follows in the coloquio:
since I was being so attentive, my intellect [‘juicio’] was really keyed up [‘delicado’], and my memory [‘memoria’] was sensitive [‘delicada’], subtle, and completely unencumbered (thanks to the numerous raisins and almonds that I had consumed), I got it all down by heart [‘todo lo tomé de coro’].
Another inverted echo—the animal rationale here behaves (“todo lo tomé de coro”) like the ‘verisimilitudinous’ avians: “toman de memoria” (Cervantes 2002b, p. 294). Given all of the above, the intratextual reader plausibly takes the tale as an occasion for delight: “the licentiate […] accepted the notebook, laughing [‘riyéndose’] and acting as if he were making fun [‘como haciendo burla’] of everything he had heard, and everything he was about to read” (Cervantes 2016a, p. 446; Cervantes 2002b, p. 295).
This insinuated form of reception is decisive: having ostensively relinquished the explicit claim to be presenting a per se persuasive narrative (with animals conversing in the human tongue), and having thus implicitly advocated that the extratextual reader take in what has been announced as a delightful tale in the corresponding manner, the colloquy seldom seems to fulfill the expectation raised by its framework. The arrangement (dispositio) is analogous to giving a dog its medication embedded in some liver. At intervals, this textual technique recurs in the canine tête-à-tête itself: a pleasant sugarcoating is administered in the form of often brief, waggishly clever (levis), subtly ironic interludes (delectare), while the dialog’s tart core is conveyed as a series of quasi-descriptive observations (docere)—its topic and tone being predominantly serious (gravis).58 The latter also applies to the presence and significance of a complex set of discursive implications pertinent to the selection of a particular animal—present and significant, at a literal level, precisely as animal—for the sermocinatio that is the “coloquio de los perros”.59

5. A Tale of Hounds and Humans, by Hounds, for Humans: Animal Narration in “The Dogs’ Colloquy”

man alone of the animals possesses speech.
A discursive struggle inscribed into the text, and directly pertinent to the question of animal narration, is the very fact of—in what is officially a Counter-Reformation context—endowing animals with a human form of articulation in the first place. As the Christian religion has a notoriously polyvalent relation to ‘speech’—in both its Jewish legacy (see the performative “fiat lux” in Gen 1:3; Vulgate) and the New Testament, blending the former with (Neo-)Platonizing inheritances via the polysemous Greek word ‘lógos’ (cf. spec. Jn 1:1)—granting animals a locutionary capacity might be problematic, could be seen to destabilize man’s primacy (cf. e.g., Gen 1:27–28, Mt 10:31), likely also in Salvation Historical respects.60 At the same time, Scripture’s last book (Apocalypsis) not only ‘opens the eyes’, but apparently also the mouths: at the end of days, “every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them” are said to praise the Lamb of God (Rev 5:13); “the four beasts” also speak (Rev 4:6–7, 6:1); likewise, the adversary one: “there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies” (Rev 13:5; cf. Dan 7:3–8, 11, 20, 25; KJV).61 While the possibility of animal locution (if taken literally) is thus inscribed into the tradition—hence conceivable generally speaking—it seems to be reserved for exceptional times, to say the least.
In its discursive climate of conception (with the Counter-Reformation well underway), the coloquio must therefore (seem to) employ several strategies of either mitigating what is likely to have been a discursively volatile matter; or of justifying the latter in (apparently) orthodox terms—hence these words, put into Berganza’s mouth: “I find myself enriched by this divine gift of speech [‘deste divino don de la habla’]”; also implicitly equating speech with life (in an orthodox acceptation): “this gift [‘bien’] […], which I consider to be something on loan [‘prestado’]” (Cervantes 2016b, p. 453; Cervantes 2002a, p. 301).62 Mirroring Campuzano’s strategy, both dogs accentuate their (textually) factual caninity, and that they will exploit their kairós, while deprioritizing its causative:
there’s no reason for the two of us to start arguing [‘disputar’] about how or why we’re talking. […] let us take advantage [‘aprovecharnos’] of this happy situation, and talk all night […] I intend to enjoy myself and take advantage [‘gozarle y aprovecharme’] of it [sc. this gift of speech] as much as I can[.]
Analogously to the ensign’s aforesaid assertion of his sensory perception, Berganza declares:
I […] believe that everything we’ve undergone up to this point, and what we’re undergoing right now, is a dream [‘todo (…) es sueño’], and that we are, in fact, dogs. But let us not for all that refrain from enjoying [‘gozar’] this gift of speech which we have been given, and the exceeding excellence of possessing human powers of reason, for as long as we possibly can.
The extratextual recipient might take a structurally equivalent stance (at a metalevel): while animal narrators are not exactly likely, this need not deter the reader from deriving some benefit from the text, whether in terms of delectare, movere, docere (or otherwise)—with the colloquy accommodating each and all of these potential approaches (Einstellungen).63 In the present case, the function of delectare (the enjoyment promised) envelops that of docere (the message conveyed); while the latter is apparently not how the intratextual reader (Peralta) peruses the novella, (present-day) extratextual recipients may tend to focus particularly on the socio-moral, historico-cultural, epistemological, or zoopoetic—cf. (Derrida 2002, p. 374)—information simultaneously imparted.64
In line therewith, scrutinizing the dialog’s intratextual situation of communication is needful.65 In many passages, the referential and emotive functions dominate textually (Berganza narrating observations, experiences).66 Whenever Scipio is speaking, the conative function tends to be in the forefront; several (interactive) sections feature metalingual, metapoetic assessments—including those where the dogs speak about their surprise at being capable of speech (partly, this involves the phatic function).67 Typically a source of pleasure for the recipient, the poetic function subtly prevails throughout (to a greater degree in the highly rhetoricized original).68 This is decisive, since (at a metalevel) a text’s poeticity integrates with its discursive dynamics in several respects: “poeticalness is not a supplementation of discourse with rhetorical adornment but a total reevaluation of the discourse and of all its components whatsoever” (Jakobson 1987a, p. 93). In Cervantes’ case, this is particularly pertinent in terms of assorted (poetically functionalized) echoes, inversions, frequent equivalences at the structural level—including (narratological) mise en abyme, recurring discursive latencies, forms of notional suspension with a tendency to produce various effects of irony.69

6. Concerning Cynicism: ‘Diogenes the Dog’ and the Cervantine Canines

no en el sentido alegórico, sino en el literal
todo cuanto decimos es murmurar.
A self-reflexively rhetorical dimension is woven into the text itself.70 In a respective approach, it is requisite to describe what is stated (de dicto, de re)—and, more intricately, what could have been, but is not. In a context referring to inventio, sermocinatio (qua device in terms of tractatio), and aiming at crafting an effect of plausibility, Campuzano claims:
The things they talked about [‘trataron’] were important and diverse [‘grandes y diferentes’], and more aptly debated [‘tratadas’] by wise men [‘varones sabios’] than spoken out of the mouths of dogs [‘dichas por bocas de perros’]. So that, since I could never have made up [‘inventar’] these utterances on my own, I have come to believe [‘vengo a creer’], in spite of myself and against my better judgment [‘contra mi opinión’], that I have not been dreaming [‘soñaba’], and that the dogs have been, in fact, talking.
At the metalevel, the choice has been precisely for dogs speaking ‘wisely’ (literally: to and with each other, in their capacity as canines, and in what is, to their knowledge, an ‘intraspecies’ colloquy)—and not for other, equally conceivable entities (else one might as well think of two owls, horses, or elephants); it is a discourse historically motivated selection, as the following will demonstrate.72
A recent translator of the Exemplary Novellas labels four of them—including “The Glasswork Graduate”, “The Deceitful Marriage”, “The Dogs’ Colloquy”—“darker”, “gloomier narratives” (Cervantes 2016c, p. 431).73 Typifying the protagonist of the first as “[a] thoroughly disillusioned pessimist” (Cervantes 2016c, p. 210), he avers—with (Forcione 1982, pp. 242–50)—the “destructive negativity of cynical philosophy” (Cervantes 2016c, p. 212).74 Reflecting a widespread attitude toward ‘cynicism’—cf. (Mayfield 2015, pp. 3–11)—such value judgments tend to arise from certain (personal, moral, notional) expectations, as per which something is then seen to fall short. While the gauge applied is naturally up to the respective reader’s proclivity, the above is not the only possible measure and assessment.
This essay takes as its point of reference the—distinctly transcultural—reception of the literary persona of ‘Diogenes the Dog’, which had already had a history of almost two millennia when the Cervantine “Coloquio” was published in 1613, culminating the Novelas ejemplares.75
A text’s discursive substratum—its structurally relevant, (partly) latent or express intertexts (a historico-culturally specific, even distinctive kind of code)—might be located at a metalevel of the rhetorical function of docere, and be conceived of as (conatively) directed at the extratextual recipient (metareferentially, metalingually, from a poetico-hermeneutic perspective).76 The process of reception can (and typically does) take place without attention being paid to this additional plane—just as one might enter a house without knowing its ground plan. In other words: a literal level—at which, for instance, textual canines are (semiotically) portrayed and (virtually) received in their capacity as dogs—can coexist with other planes simultaneously present (among them the discursive).77 Even so, knowledge of the structural, “architextual” (Kohlhauer 2002, p. 60; trans. dsm; cf. p. 81) level tends to initiate a reassessment of the overall (semiotic) edifice by adding (exegetic) nuances, disclosing other potential points of view. Such is the objective of the ensuing synopsis, providing the discourse historical groundwork for the colloquy’s (partly oblique) references to cynicism.78
D. Laertius’ Lives of Eminent Philosophers were brought from Constantinople in the early fifteenth century, translated into Latin within the first half thereof, available in print by the 1470s, and widely circulated.79 Well-known Diogenical matter had already been prevalent throughout Europe in the Medieval Latin Gesta Romanorum, the Spanish Bocados de oro.80 While the (infinitizable) sentences and anecdotes in such compilations invite ‘reallocation’ by their very form, Machiavelli’s refunctionalization of dicta—extracted from D. Laertius, employed in La vita di Castruccio Castracani da Lucca (~1520)—is particularly noteworthy.81 It might be signaled by the mention of “Florence” and “Lucca” in the Cervantine novella “The Glasswork Graduate” (Cervantes 2016d, pp. 216–17)—precisely in a text performing a structurally equivalent reallocation of sayings with a cynical slant.82 In terms of genre, the coloquio’s frequently (and in part explicitly) satirical thrust additionally reinforces its ties to cynical discourses—the latter having been dependably linked particularly to the Menippea since Antiquity.83
Everyone knows this anecdote: “He [sc. ‘Diogenes’] lit a lamp in broad daylight and said, as he went about, ‘I am looking for a man’” (D. Laertius 2005, p. 43, VI.41).84 It is decidedly refunctionalized in “The Deceitful Marriage”:
two dogs […] go around at night with the brothers of the Order of St. John of God, lighting the way with a pair of lanterns [‘lanternas’]. […] if perchance someone tosses alms out of a window, […] the dogs go up to it right away, shedding light [‘alumbrar’] with their lanterns, to see what has fallen. And they tend to stop in front of the windows which they know [‘saben’] to be places where people are in the habit of [‘tienen costumbre de’] giving them alms [‘darles limosna’]. And out on the street like that, the two dogs behave so meekly [‘mansedumbre’] that they seem [‘parecen’] more like lambs [‘corderos’] than dogs; back in the hospital, however, they are veritable lions [‘leones’], protecting [‘guardando’] the building with extreme care and vigilance [‘cuidado y vigilancia’].
A comparison with the terse Diogenical anecdote, attention to the discursive implications conveyed by contrast, are needful, as the above sets the scene for all that follows in terms of animal narration in the coloquio—hence also for a potential reception in this respect.86 Initially, one might log the alterations: midday vs. night, ostensively undue or prodigal vs. functional employment of (artificial) sources of light, apparently gratuitous vs. conducive, purposive objective, resplendent futility of endeavor vs. attainment. Asking for alms is also part of the agenda dependably attached to the arch-Cynic’s literary persona since Antiquity—as in this notorious instance: “He once begged alms of a statue, and, when asked why he did so, replied, ‘To get practice in being refused’” (D. Laertius 2005, p. 51, VI.49).87 The tendency differs considerably from that of the Cervantine canines; their collecting of alms is set in a Christian—socio-morally sanctioned, rather than willful (even frivolous)—context.
Regarding their intratextual portrayal, these specific dogs—in their textual capacity as animals—are here markedly (re)functionalized by human beings: as organico-technical mélanges (body, lantern); as ambulant luminaries, characterized by a knowledge of human habits (later presented as capable of articulating the like). In material, metaphorical, and abstract terms (all of which are simultaneously present textually), both aspects appear as leitmotifs of the following coloquio: ‘to shed light on’, focusing on sight and ken (by figurative extension); ‘to know customs’, accentuating a retentive faculty (among other things).88
From an intertextual perspective, their characterization is clearly informed by a Christian ground swell, as the catchwords “meekly” and “lambs” indicate (immediately perceived by anyone in that discourse historical climate): “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Mt 5:5; KJV); “Bienaventurados los mansos: porque ellos recibirán la tierra por heredad” (RVA). “I send you forth as lambs among wolves” (Lk 10:3; KJV); “yo os envío como corderos en medio de lobos” (RVA).
This discursive setting is melded with another venerable point of reference. The discussion of the guardians (phýlakes) in Plato’s Politeía—here (Plato 2013, pp. 182–91, II, 374e–376c; see pp. 314–19, III, 410c–411d), cf. (Ziolkowski 1983, p. 96), (Kohlhauer 2002, pp. 58, 58n., 71, 74–75)—seeks a literally natural occurrence coalescing (inward) affability (towards familiars) and (outward) aggression (against externals): “they [sc. the guardians] must be amenable [‘práous’] toward their own people, but intractable [‘chalepoús’] against their enemies” (Plato 2013, pp. 184–85, II, 375c); and heuristically encounters it in the factual conduct of canines:
Where shall we find a gentle and stouthearted [‘praon kaì megalóthymon’] character together? […] surely gentleness of nature and strong spirits are opposing qualities. […] Yet whichever of these qualities you removed, the result would never be a good guardian [‘phýlax agathòs’]. […] there are natural dispositions […] which have these opposing qualities. […] We may see it in other animals [‘állois zóois’], not least in the one we compared to our guardian. I’m sure you know about dogs with good breeding [‘ton gennaíon kynon’]: that their character [‘ethos’] is naturally to be able to be most friendly to those they are used to and recognize, but the opposite with those they don’t know. […] Then this is possible […] and we are not looking for our guardian to be the type that contradicts nature [‘ou parà phýsin’]. […] he who is going to be watchful [‘ho phylakikòs’] still lacks something: in addition to being strong-spirited, he must be naturally interested in philosophy[.] […] You will also see this in dogs, something that deserves our admiration in the animal. […] at the sight of someone unknown to it, it becomes aggressive, even if it hasn’t had an adverse experience before. But whoever it sees that it recognizes, it welcomes them even if it has never been treated well by that person […] this natural instinct of the animal makes it seem clever [‘kompsón’] and truly a philosopher [‘alethos philósophon’] […] in that it distinguishes what it sees as either friendly or hostile [‘phílen kaì echthràn’], by no other means than being familiar with the one and not recognizing the other. Yet how could it not be eager to learn[,] when it can distinguish by what it knows and what it does not know what belongs to its world [‘oikeion’] and what is alien [‘allótrion’] to it? […] is [not] passion for knowledge [‘philomathès’] the same thing as the passion for wisdom [‘philósophon’]? […] In that case, let’s […] apply it to mankind as well.
Again, the Cervantine text—staging the hospital’s environment as a quasi-micro-pólis—provides a catchword, “guardando” (Cervantes 2002b, p. 293) to support the signaling of this intertext, echoed at several levels (semantic, structural) in the coloquio.90 In both Plato and Cervantes, the respective dogs are textual canines, but precisely in their capacity as animals; the recipient is to (and likely will) visualize virtual dogs, based on her experience with tangible, olfactible ones. Even so, the necessary presence of this literal level does not signify that—at the discursive level concurrently present—the natural, factually observable conduct of dogs could not also have further implications (as is the case in both texts). In other words: not only does a discursive reading not efface the literal plane; but the former actually depends on the latter.
Regarding the incorporation of apparent opposites, another Scriptural dictum literally tying in with the above is crucial: “I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Mt 10:16; KJV); “yo os envío como á ovejas en medio de lobos: sed pues prudentes como serpientes, y sencillos como palomas” (RVA).91 While, at a literal level, the familiarly canine (shepherding) function of fending off wolves will later feature in the coloquio—see (Cervantes 2002a, pp. 305–11, spec. 310–11), with Berganza wearing “el collar de Leoncillo”, standing in for the defunct dog so named (p. 306)—the serpentine–columbine prodigy, which Christ’s dictum counsels, is replaced by alluding to the alloy of ‘lion’ and ‘lamb’ that another Scriptural passage employs to portray Christ Himself (see Rev 5:5–6).92
Likewise, it is needful to note that Epictetus’ diatribes—specifically (Epictetus 1928b, pp. 130–69, III.22)—had already refunctionalized the Platonic ‘guardian–watchdog’ analogization to textually housetrain unruly Cynics, particularly with the aim of Stoicizing the image otherwise conveyed of the ‘Diogenes’ persona.93 The Epictetian discourse employs the equation ‘Cynic (from ‘kýon’) qua scout and guardian’ in a literalized fashion, thereby deriving an itemized occupational profile and targeted mission statement for his Stoicized ‘Cynicism’:
Man, the Cynic has made all mankind his children […] in that spirit he approaches them all and cares for them all. Or do you fancy that it is in the spirit of idle impertinence he reviles those he meets? It is as a father he does it, as a brother, and as a servant of Zeus, who is Father of us all.
above all, the Cynic’s governing principle should be purer than the sun; if not, he must needs be a gambler and a man of no principle, because he will be censuring the rest of mankind, while he himself is involved in some vice.
the true Cynic […] must know that he has been sent by Zeus to men, partly as a messenger [‘ángelos’], in order to show them that in questions of good and evil they have gone astray […]; and partly […] as a scout [‘katáskopos’]. For the Cynic is truly a scout, to find out what things are friendly to men and what hostile; and he must first do his scouting accurately, and on returning must tell the truth[.]
Displaying a monodirectional, didactico-moralizing impetus, an assertive air of authority, the Stoic thus tries to impose his view of how matters should be. With differences in tone and semblances in tendency, the Cervantine coloquio features the ensuing agenda:
You think gossiping [‘murmurar’, implying harm done: ‘slandering’, ‘maligning’, ‘censuring’] is the same as philosophizing [‘filosofar’]? There you go! Canonize it, […] Berganza, that cursed plague of gossip [‘la maldita plaga de la murmuración’], and give it whatever name you like, and that will give us a reputation for being cynics [‘cínicos’], which is the same as saying ‘gossip-mongering dogs’ [‘perros murmuradores’].
The translation of “murmurar”, “murmuración”, “murmuradores” as “gossip” seems infelicitous, here; for such arguably mitigates the term’s impact, obscuring the import of the discursive reference to the history of reception and various refunctionalizations of cynicism.95 The damage (potentially) done by the tongue—“speaking ill” (“decir mal”)—is a leitmotif throughout (Cervantes 2016b, p. 466; Cervantes 2002a, p. 315).96 Moreover, such forms of articulation are stably attached to cynicism from its outset, due to the contumelious conduct of the arch-Cynic ‘Diogenes’: “He was great at pouring scorn on his contemporaries” (D. Laertius 2005, p. 27, VI.24).97
Apparently in accord with the discursive climate of its conception, the “Colloquy” has Berganza link injurious words and deeds to the doctrine of Original Sin: “wrong-doing and speaking ill [‘hacer y decir mal’] are things inherited from our first parents [‘nuestros primeros padres’], that we lap up with our mothers’ milk” (Cervantes 2016b, p. 466; Cervantes 2002a, p. 315; cf. pp. 342, 344).98 Ostensively in line with the official Counter-Reformation agenda and its universal(ist) claim, this Catholic reading is then also applied to (a particular conception of) secular philosophy (words put in Scipio’s mouth):
Beware, Berganza, lest that urge to philosophize [‘esa gana de filosofar’] you say has come over you be some temptation sent to you by the devil. Because slander [‘murmuración’] has no better veil for glossing over and covering up its dissolute wickedness [‘su maldad disoluta’] than the slanderer’s [‘murmurador’] giving to understand that everything he says is a matter of philosophical opinion [‘sentencias de filósofos’], and that speaking ill [‘decir mal’] amounts to moral censure [‘reprehensión’], and revealing [‘descubrir’] other people’s flaws [‘defetos’] is only righteous zeal. And there is no slanderer [‘murmurante’] whose life, if you consider and scrutinize it, is not full of vice [‘vicios’] and contempt for others [‘insolencias’].
After a section chastising the ostentatious, non-pertinent, erroneous use of Latin for purposes of signaling erudition—see (Cervantes 2002a, pp. 318–19)—Scipio offers the abovequoted reproof, cautioning against gaining a reputation for being “cínicos” qua “perros murmuradores” (p. 319).
Despite several attempts—including later ones, especially since the Enlightenment, see (Mayfield 2015, pp. 3–11, 66–75)—the Stoicized version of the ‘Cynic’ could not succeed. By contrast, the Cervantine take is still very much present comparatively—also due to several literary allusions, adaptations.99 The variance between the Epictetian and the Cervantine strategy of reshaping the cynic’s image is directly tied to their discursive tendency and communicational situation—hence also of narratological import. “I wouldn’t want us to sound like preachers”, Berganza asserts; and when he admonishes “all [that] sounds like preaching, Scipio”, the latter replies: “So it seems to me, so I shall remain silent” (Cervantes 2016b, p. 463).100 Whereas the Stoic imperatively scolds and dogmatically lectures his intratextually explicit audience, the Cervantine coloquio’s “contrapuntal” (Díaz-Plaja 1968, p. 110; trans. dsm), decidedly dialogic, dynamically polydirectional disposition permits the implicit (intra-, extratextual) addressees to follow the verbally staged contentions in utramque partem—see (Forcione 1984, pp. 179, 186, 228)—the articulated and (virtually) embodied ‘intraspecies’ altercation between the two canines, in the manner of their choice: be it primarily for purposes of pleasure (delectare), of edification (docere), or for effecting an emotionally responsive state of mind (movere); be it as a piece of epideictic rhetoric (the genus demonstrativum, chiefly in its variant of blaming rather than praising), an (implicit) exhortation (based on a scene featuring several voices, as in the genus deliberativum), an indictment of contemporary society (qua infinitized ‘lawsuit’, pertaining to the genus iudiciale); be it as a secular confession, an extended fable, a (Menippean, carnivalesque) satire or dialogic diatribe, a novela picaresca, a meta-dialog, a metalingual or metapoetical treatise; be it as a socio-historically, epistemologically informative, zoopoetically plausible narrative (simultaneously encouraging and facilitating the taking of other perspectives); be it still, or altogether, otherwise.101

7. ‘Against the Dog only a Dog’: Talking Canines Humanizing Cynicism

qué quiere decir filosofía; que aunque yo la nombro, no sé lo que es;
sólo me doy a entender que es cosa buena.
Rhetorical techniques of indirection (especially such as pertain to a multiplication, interlacing of narrative levels) are prevalent in the Cervantine œuvre overall—and also in the novellas at hand.102 Rather than lecturing the addressee by itemizing how the human Cynic must be and act, the coloquio’s two dogs talk—as textual canines—about how they are and behave in (literary) fact: a vivid, virtually actual embodiment of the etymological root of the word ‘cynic’ (‘kýon’)—rather than a human being observing and adopting animal traits, with ‘Diogenes’ being dubbed a ‘dog’ due to his flagrantly crude conduct.103 Via the contrast of Berganza’s (articulated) bearing (as a literal canine) to that on the part of the humans in his narrated lifeworld, the reader—taking the textual dog’s perspective at a metalevel—may have a tendency to side with the colloquy’s canine approach as represented by this interlocutor in the dialog.104 In this indirect way, the persona of a human cynic (generally conceived) is implicitly (at the discursive level) reshaped by a textually literal recourse to the very animal that provided the name in the first place—a complex situation of (partly latent) discursive remodeling that relies precisely on (the recipient’s appresentation of) the dogs textually present in their capacity as animals.
Echoing the framework narrative’s account concerning the apparently renowned conduct of the clinic’s canines, the ensuing tenders Berganza’s perspective, describing his (view of his) canine performance within the colloquy’s (virtual) world:
one night, seeing you [‘viéndote’] carrying a lantern [‘llevar la linterna’] in the company of that good Christian, Mahudes, I perceived you to be contented, virtuous, and engaged in pious actions [‘contento y justa y santamente ocupado’]. And, full of righteous envy [‘buena envidia’], I sought to follow in your footsteps [‘quise seguir tus pasos’], and with this laudable intention I presented myself to Mahudes, who straightaway chose me to be your companion and brought me to this hospital.
Concurrently present with the (socio-historically, zoopoetically plausible) literal plane, the concept of (visually induced) imitatio appears to be patent at a discursive level.106 The dogs, as animals, seem ‘humanized’ (qua process)—especially Berganza. Still, he is not presented (respectively: does not represent himself) as an idealized specimen—even after joining the hospital crew.107 Throughout his (narrated) life, he often acts in not exactly ethical ways: partly (and plausibly) due to his factually canine nature—see (Schmauser 1996, pp. 78–79); in part because his behavior as animal always seems influenced by human (while not strictly humane) conduct—with the doctrinal root of this (‘fallen’) state of affairs being explicit.108 Even so, Berganza’s actions are humanized (at a metalevel) in that he does not partake in ‘man’s inhumanity’—on account of his kind caninity (as commonly conceived); and since he ties in with human(ist) values otherwise (considered) inaccessible to an animal, such as moral philosophical musings of the following nature: “premeditated vengeance bespeaks cruelty and a spiteful disposition” (Cervantes 2016b, p. 506).109
From a meta-perspective, Berganza is neither portrayed as an utterly deprived, all but depraved, and then (partially) reformed ‘pícaro’—nor as an idealized sage in canine skin. Rather, he is presented in terms of a conceivable ‘errare caninum est’: a flawed, ultimately considerate animal quasi rationale, concurrently capable of aggressive and gentle conduct—precisely as Plato’s ‘Socrates’ had envisioned the guardians of his pólis by heuristically tying in with an apparent coincidence of opposites occurring naturally in the observable behavior of dogs (precisely in their capacity as animals). Alleviating its rigor, the Cervantine version outperforms the Epictetian reformulation of the Cynic by rendering the cynical Berganza a dog in fact—a decidedly down-to-earth one, with visible defects in accord with the current discursive climate (Original Sin, affecting nature as a whole).110 While still ‘only’ barking (a literal dog in his own narrative), Berganza is forced to keep his observations to himself; not speaking the human tongue, he is naturally unable to gradually alter or somewhat alleviate (say, by introducing laws) the state of affairs—the human condition—he witnesses:
since it was easier for me to perceive all these things than to reform them, I decided not to pay any attention to them. I therefore sought refuge in a sanctuary, as so many do when they renounce vices when they can no longer practice them, although it’s better late than never.
While freely admitting to his shortcomings and not abandoning his canine nature, Berganza (at the literal level, in his textually natural capacity qua dog) does indeed do his part throughout (not only at the hospital)—mostly (alleging that he is) acting more ‘humanely’ (in a humanist acceptation) than ostensive ‘humans’ (in the textual realm he crafts in his capacity as narrator, and by way of his narrative).112 Even so (one might conjecture, at a metalevel), a human being—while not able to give up its flawed nature (in the orthodox view)—may play its part for the time being.
As the extensive history of reception concerning Diogenical matter evinces, all of the manifold attempts at moralizing—civilizing, humanizing, housebreaking—that apparently feral ‘kýon’ ultimately proved feckless: always, the appealingly appalling mélange that is cynicism—its skillful contumely, its refined disrespect, its elegant indelicacy in stance and statement, see (Mayfield 2015, pp. 1, 12–13, 53–55, 98n., 109, 390n.)—has effectively outshone and outdone any Epictetus or Enlightenment representative (much less any more recent attempters) as might have felt it incumbent on themselves to muzzle the matter.113 For ‘parrhesía’ (‘saying it all’, freedom of speech) remains ‘the most appealing thing among men’—as ‘Diogenes’ is said to have asserted.114 After more than two millennia, the Cervantine coloquio—specifically its character Berganza, semiotically present as a literal canine, and (all but inevitably) appresented as such by the recipient—is arguably still the closest any text has come in terms of pitting a (discursively) functional opponent against the persona of the arch-Cynic: ‘nemo contra Canem nisi canis ipse’, ‘against the Dog only a dog’.115


The author is grateful to Joachim Küpper and Susanne Zepp for their effectual comments to the benefit of this essay. The author wishes to thank the anonymous reviewers commissioned by the Humanities journal, as well as the editor for the Special Issue Animal Narratology, Joela Jacobs.

Conflicts of Interest

The author declares no conflict of interest.


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“Diogenes […] said: ‘[…] it is the man who keeps and feeds me who is my slave’. And those who keep animals should be said rather to serve them than to be served by them” (Montaigne 1989, p. 338, II.12). Such patterns of (perspectival) inversion—grounded in the apparently human potential for ‘virtually taking another (including: an other’s) point of view also’—have been particularly characteristic of cynically inflected discourses, from ‘Diogenes’ via (for instance) Machiavelli, to Nietzsche, and beyond. Since the condition of possibility for this notional process of inversion is an awareness as to contingency—that things might as well be (seen to be) otherwise—this tendency is constitutively not monodirectional; hence a perceived cynic such as Feuerbach might turn a characteristically cynical maxim into this: “The other is per se the mediator between me and the […] species. Homo homini Deus est” (Feuerbach 1976, p. 189, I; trans. dsm); “the highest and first law [‘must’] be the love of [a hu]man [being] for [hu]man[kind] [‘des Menschen zum Menschen’]. Homo homini deus est – this is the supreme practical principle” (Feuerbach 1976, p. 318, II; trans. dsm). The style of the Humanities journal does not permit references in the abstract, hence the names of the authors were used therein; the respective references are (in order of appearance): (Ziolkowski 1983, p. 95); (Derrida 2002, p. 374); cf. (Alves 2014; Alves 2011; both passim), (Beusterien 2016, passim), (Martín 2012; Martín 2004, both passim); see (Blumenberg 2006a, p. 596). Moreover, the journal’s style stipulates the repetition of author names in successive mentions, as well as the doubling of parentheses for formatting reasons; the respective changes (including errors potentially incurred in the converting process) pertain to the procedures of copy editing, and were beyond the author’s influence; the reader’s lenience with regard to the appearance of the layout is requested.
Cf. Montaigne’s observation: “Since animals are born, beget, feed, act, move, live, and die in a manner so close to our own” (Montaigne 1989, p. 345, II.12)—with these similarities serving (also) as a basis for, and with a view to, potentially taking other perspectives. Schopenhauer later reiterates the VedanticMahavakya, i.e. the great word” (Schopenhauer 1988, p. 295, III, §44; trans. dsm) as an imperative: “‘Tat twam asi!’ (‘This are you!’)” (p. 483, IV, §66; trans. dsm)—while accentuating the conduct to result from this insight: “thus he will also not torture any animal” (p. 481, IV, §66; trans. dsm). Generally, see the ostentative self-evidence implied in assertions such as: “The capacity for moral conduct signifies an obligation to conduct [oneself] morally, especially also with respect to animals” (Benz-Schwarzburg 2015, p. 248; trans. dsm). Seeing that Animal Studies may seem to have a tendency to focus virtually all of their critical attention on Cartesian(izing) currents (while largely disregarding other philosophico-discursive strands, including the cynical), Schopenhauer’s ethics might not have received the consideration it would appear to merit (in this particular field).
“Der Mensch ist ein extremer Standpunktwechsler” (Blumenberg 2006b, p. 879). Cf. and contrast Benz-Schwarzburg on de Waal’s views concerning the human “capacity for cognitively taking the position of another” (Benz-Schwarzburg 2015, pp. 247–48; trans. dsm). See Dopico Black’s reference to “Coetzee[’s]” putting the following words in “Costello[’s]” mouth: “[‘]there is no limit to the extent to which we can think ourselves into the being of another[’]” (Dopico Black 2010, p. 245); on the reception of the latter, see (Bühler-Dietrich and Weingarten 2016, pp. 8–10). In this respect, cf. Boehrer on Ruskin’s notion of the “pathetic fallacy” qua “invest[ing] the natural world with the observer’s own passions” (Boehrer 2010, p. 2; cf. pp. 3, 11–12).
A corollary of taking other perspectives is their factual plurality; hence a (citational) pluralization of approaches is requisite in any descriptive form of scholarship. Blumenberg accentuates that “fast alles, was wir überhaupt wissen, die Bedingtheit der Hypothese hat. Die Stärke der Hypothese kann nur in ihrer Konkurrenzfähigkeit mit anderen Hypothesen liegen. Sie macht jedes Wissenschaftssystem wesensmäßig pluralistisch—und das auch mit der Philosophie” (Blumenberg 2006b, p. 161). For the context at hand, cf. “No less than feminist, Marxist, post-colonial, structuralist, and formalist approaches, a literary criticism perspective on animal issues is a point of view, a form of consciousness, a way to read any work of fiction” (Shapiro and Copeland 2005, p. 343). As to the period in question, Enenkel/Smith emphasize the “variety of discourses on animals among early modern scientists, writers and artists” (Enenkel and Smith 2007, p. 12).
For Montaigne’s observations concerning animals with respect to humankind, see spec. (Montaigne 1989, pp. 330–58, II.12). For comparable instances of perspectival inversion, see spec. “This defect that hinders communication between them and us, why is it not just as much ours as theirs? It is a matter of guesswork whose fault it is that we do not understand one another; for we do not understand them any more than they do us. By this same reasoning they may consider us beasts, as we consider them. It is no great wonder if we do not understand them; neither do we understand the Basques […] We must notice the parity there is between us. We have some mediocre understanding of their meaning; so do they of ours, in about the same degree. They flatter us, threaten us, and implore us, and we them” (Montaigne 1989, p. 331, II.12; cf. p. 344); see also (Fudge 2006, p. 118); as to the “parity”, cf. “this equality and correspondence between us and the beasts” (Montaigne 1989, p. 354, II.12). On the whole, Montaigne’s Essais tender a dense (Early Modern) summa—an eclectic aggregate of (virtual, historical, proto-empirical) observations, common knowledge, judicious citations, inherited arguments, perceived facts on myriad subject matters (including animals), gathered by way of reading and (purported, personal, vicarious) experience—from a variety of sources, both Ancient and contemporary, collective and private. Cf. “Montaignes Essais sind eine Summe der Vielheit. Diversité ist das Stichwort […] durch alle Essais […] Panorama der Vielheit” (Stierle 1987, p. 424); see also (Küpper 1990, p. 272). On the changing knowledge concerning animals during “the early modern period”—triggered by “[t]he discovery of the new world”, its “dissemination” considerably “reinforced by the printing press”—see (Enenkel and Smith 2007, p. 1).
With regard to “Montaigne’s […] Apology for Raymond Sebond” in general, Derrida states: “You will recognize that as one of the greatest pre- or anti-Cartesian texts on the animal” (Derrida 2002, p. 375; cf. spec. p. 375n.). In this respect, cf. Cummings: “Pliny left in place a countertradition on the question of animal rationality that Montaigne and others could still draw on” (Cummings 2004, p. 182); “the violence of Descartes’s response, […] Descartes’s denial of animal language[,] can hardly be understood outside its context in a specific refutation of Montaigne and his sympathizers. […] Sorabji surmises that Descartes went as far as he did only because of what Montaigne had said” (p. 180); cf. “‘I cannot share the opinion of Montaigne and others who attribute understanding or thought to animals’. Descartes […] 1646”, qtd. in (Cummings 2004, p. 185n.). In this respect, the following Cartesian assertion ties in refutatively with Montaigne (as qtd. above): “Et on ne doit pas […] penser, comme quelques anciens, que les bêtes parlent, bien que nous n’entendions pas leur langage: car s’il était vrai, puisqu’elles ont plusieurs organes qui se rapportent aux nôtres, elles pourraient aussi bien se faire entendre à nous qu’à leurs semblables” (Descartes 1969, p. 94, V.11, §59). For positions on Montaigne in the field of Animal Studies generally, see e.g., (Boehrer 2009, p. 545); (Boehrer 2010, p. 7); (Alves 2014, p. 272); (Enenkel and Smith 2007, pp. 11–12, with further references); (Fudge 2007, pp. 42–45); (Fudge 2006, pp. 78, 96, 117–122); (Perfetti 2011, pp. 148–49, 163–64); on “Pliny’s elephant”, “Montaigne’s cat”, Descartes, and Derrida, see also (Cummings 2004, pp. 179–81, here 179). For a “representative but not exhaustive” (Wolfe 2009, p. 572n.) overview of seminal publications in animal studies until 2009, see (Wolfe 2009, passim); for a succinct outline of (particularly) formative texts, cf. (Boehrer 2009, p. 543). Concerning “the degree to which an animal is presented true to himself or herself”, see (Shapiro and Copeland 2005, p. 344). Generally, cf. the formulations: “the animality of the animal […] its presence as meaningful in itself” (Fudge 2004, p. 7); “die Tiere selbst, das Tier-Sein der Tiere“ (Bühler-Dietrich and Weingarten 2016, p. 7; cf. pp. 12–14); “dass die Tiere nicht für sich selbst, sondern aus der menschlichen Perspektive gesehen werden” (Mussner 2015, p. 174; cf. p. 162); “Freud did not let the dog be a dog” (Beusterien 2016, p. 35). With regard to the author and texts at hand: “The animals of Cervantes remain more than metaphor” (Alves 2011, p. 56); Beusterien “turns to Animal Studies in order to argue on behalf of the elimination of the animal as figure” (Beusterien 2016, p. 36; cf. pp. 8, 109); cf. “para encontrar al animal verdadero detrás del tropo antropomórfico” (Martín 2012, p. 462; Martín 2014, p. 476); “varios animales pueden ser examinados como algo más que la abstracción que proveen las metáforas antropomórficas” (Martín 2012, p. 452); cf. (Martín 2014, p. 469); (Martín 2004, p. 1560). Contrast Boehrer’s descriptive stance: “animal character is always necessarily figurative, a result of socially generated patterns of meaningful action […] despite […] Fudge’s exhortation that we attend to ‘the literal meaning of animals’ in early modern texts […] animal character […] arises through group interaction, in the space between individuals. Whether the groups in question are intraspecies or cross-species, they generate a sense of social being that cannot be reduced […] to a literal notion of the Tier an sich” (Boehrer 2010, p. 22). Cf. “the cluster of attributes, often incompatible, associated with each species is historically inflected” (Perry 2004, p. 20). See also Mussner, evoking tropes as “eine auf Erfahrung mit dem Tier beruhende Wendung” (Mussner 2015, p. 174; cf. p. 173)—the selectivity of such (verbalized) experiences or observations (cf. “die versprachlichte Beobachtung”, p. 175) notwithstanding; in this respect, see Cuneo’s suggestive remark: “It matters that it is the horse as opposed to […] a goat, who is chosen as a symbol for pride” (Cuneo 2014, p. 4)
See Wolfe: “Rather than treat the animal as primarily a theme, trope, metaphor, analogy, representation, or sociological datum […] scholars in animal studies” are to ‘take the animal seriously’ (Wolfe 2009, pp. 566–67). Cf. also the following formulations: “[in] reductive moves […] an animal or animal part is an instrument or resource for the use of humans. […] the animal is reduced radically […] [in] symbolic use, ‘figurative appropriation’ […] or ideational exploitation” (Shapiro and Copeland 2005, p. 344); “The dog as dog has disappeared […] animals were prompts to the abstract. […] animals were […] used […] animal behaviors were used” (Fudge 2006, pp. 106–7); “el empleo figurado del animal suele ser antropocéntrico, podría ser visto […] como pura explotación estética” (Martín 2012, p. 462); cf. “reduce al animal a un tropo” (Martín 2014, p. 472; see also p. 469). All the same, the fundamentally metaphorical ‘nature’ of language may lead even animal-intentioned critics into statements such as: “Will man sich auf eine ertragreiche Weise mit den Tieren in der Literatur beschäftigen” (Borgards 2015, pp. 226–27).
Cf. e.g., “an occasional, tired, animal metaphor” (Shapiro and Copeland 2005, p. 343); “animals for Deleuze and Guattari are […] conceptual pieces in a philosophical game” (Raber 2013, p. 12). As to the bias against rhetoric on the part of Animal Studies, see (Borgards 2015, p. 226). Regarding the paradigm’s rejection of a certain genre, see this catalytic statement on Derrida’s part: “Above all, it would be necessary to avoid fables. We know the history of fabulation and how it remains an anthropomorphic taming, a moralizing subjection, a domestication. Always a discourse of man, on man, indeed on the animality of man, but for and as man” (Derrida 2002, p. 405; cf. pp. 374, 378, 403, 403n.).
Generally, see Derrida’s incisive caveat against “venturing to say almost anything at all for the cause, for whatever cause or interest” (Derrida 2002, p. 398).
In hermeneutic terms, everything is to be read in sensu litterali, not spirituali (allegorico, tropologico/morali, anagogico). The same as biographistic or psychoanalytical criticism, such proclivities as outlined above may lead to deprioritizing the inevitably mediated state, the historical alterity, the virtuality, the (textually sedimented) rhetorico-strategic functions, of the respective material. Moreover, the reader’s active participation in the production of meaning (by selective attention, by contributing associations, etc.) is sidelined along with textuality and mediacy—thereby (ultimately) spiriting away both the recipient and the medium. In discourse historical terms, the Animal Studies paradigm might (eventually) locate itself in a long tradition of cultural critique (along Lucretian, Rousseauist, Romanticist lines, for instance, and with the respective genres; as to the latter generally, cf. (Forcione 1989, p. 349)); in such a view, the field’s apparent, occasionally voiced uneasiness with its disciplinary parentage, cultural studies—cf. (Wolfe 2009, passim, spec. pp. 565–66, 568); contrast (Dopico Black 2010, passim, spec. pp. 236–37)—would be the result of its de re affiliation to the above; consequently, certain radical positions might indeed be innocent of an awareness as to—or even feel inclined to expressly disown—their own condition of possibility: human culture. Cf. “natural and timeless because the return belongs with nature (the animal, instinct) and not with culture (the human, reason)” (Fudge 2007, p. 40). Contrast: “the concept of culture that informs cultural studies is always already inhabited by the human” (Dopico Black 2010, p. 237). Regarding the countless variants of a ‘return to nature’ (as tentatively listed above), see e.g., Derrida’s emphasis on nudity (Derrida 2002, passim, spec. pp. 369, 373–74, 390, 418); Fudge’s accentuation of ‘homecoming’ (Fudge 2007, passim), of recovery: “the project of this book is to recover animals from the silence of modern scholarship” (Fudge 2006, p. 4); Raber’s stress on a “belief in the primacy of the body […] the role of the body […] the significance of the body” (Raber 2013, pp. 12–13; cf. pp. 11, 19–20, 28, 30, passim), spec. as “this constant but incomplete search for actual animals with actual bodies” (p. 12); Boehrer’s focus on a “return” to a “pre-Cartesian status” (Boehrer 2010, p. 12)—“to move beyond […] by moving behind […] to the issues and developments that preceded” (p. 12). In a Bataille/Kojève context, Agamben initially signals “a return to animality” (Agamben 2004, p. 5); “man, who has become animal again” (p. 6; cf. p. 7); “Kojève returns to the problem of man’s becoming animal […] [‘]Man […] must also become purely ‘natural’ again[’] […] [‘]man’s return to animality[’]” (pp. 9–10); this emphasis is reiterated at the end: “make its way back to […] from which it came […] to return to their original place” (Agamben 2004, p. 89); “man’s regained animality” (p. 90)—returns frame Agamben’s book. Having asked “¿cómo recuperamos al animal[?]” (Martín 2014, p. 472; cf. p. 476), Martín—with regard to “interrelaciones […] con otras especies” in Cervantes’ Quijote—states: “ese mundo paralelo […] hay que recuperar y validar. Hacerlo es sólo una de las recompensas de los Estudios de Animales” (Martín 2012, p. 462); cf. (Martín 2014, p. 476). A similar tendency might be visible even in Cuneo’s more cautious statement: “I would like to […] transport us out of the realm of the academic and the representational at least to the threshold of our lived lives” (Cuneo 2014, p. 13). Less warily, Wolfe asserts: “animal studies intersects with the larger problematic of posthumanism […] in the sense of returning us precisely to the thickness and finitude of human embodiment and to human evolution as itself a specific form of animality […] we are returned to a new sense of the materiality and particularity not just of the animal […] but also of that animal called the human” (Wolfe 2009, pp. 571–72); with a complimentary (re)turn inward at the end: “not just ‘out there’, among the birds and beasts, but ’in here’ as well, at the heart of this thing we call human” (p. 572). Virtually any (ever theoretico-rhetorical) ‘return to’ tends to be a ‘flight from’—in the case of Animal Studies: from anthropocentrism, most likely.
As to the import of Derrida’s aforesaid lecture, Wolfe states that it “is arguably the single most important event in the brief history of animal studies” (Wolfe 2009, p. 570); cf. (Bühler-Dietrich and Weingarten 2016, p. 8); see also Fudge’s reading thereof (Fudge 2007, passim).
As to a desire for immediacy in the face of constitutive indirection (given the linguistic medium), see the lecture’s first line: “To begin with, I would like to entrust myself to words that, were it possible, would be naked” (Derrida 2002, p. 369)—with emphasis on the qualification; similarly, see the gradation and positing accentuated here: “posing them [sc. ‘some hypotheses in view of theses’] simply, naked, frontally, as directly as possible, pose them” (p. 392); as well as, at the end: “the naked truth, if there is such a thing […] Nudity perhaps remains untenable” (p. 418). As to immediacy, see (pp. 369, 372, 374, 376, 378, 400, 418). For express emphasis on indirect structures, cf. e.g., “labyrinthine, even aberrant, leading us astray from lure to lure” (p. 392); “It will not be a matter of attacking frontally or antithetically” (p. 398). In Derrida’s essay, returns are legion—cf. (Derrida 2002, pp. 369, 392–93, 400–1, 413, 418); meta-poetically, the text lays bare its recursive structure as such (pp. 380–381, 390, 401, 406, 412n.); cf. spec. “I must once more return to” (p. 380); “a term that will come back more than once, from different places and in different registers” (p. 381); “Yet I have been wanting to bring myself back to my nudity before the cat” (p. 390); “We will have reason to go back over these steps and tracks” (p. 401); “But since I wish ultimately to return at length to” (p. 406); “I will return to this” (p. 412n.).
For instances of what might appear to be a conflation of the figurative with the factual (and taken as the latter) in the present context, see e.g., (Fudge 2008, pp. 188–89; cf. p. 199); (Alves 2011, p. 62); (Raber 2013, pp. 79–80); (Beusterien 2009, pp. 212, 219); (Beusterien 2016, pp. 8, 38–39). With respect to the poetics of the Cervantine œuvre, an (a priori) rejection of the modus obliquus, of irony, of intercalated narrative levels and diverse perspectives, would arguably be particularly problematic.
Laying bare this linguistic factuality, Derrida refers to Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass”, quoting from the latter the phrase “‘really a little cat’”—and later glosses that a respective intertextuality might even obtain throughout: “In fact you can’t be certain that I am not doing that” (Derrida 2002, p. 376). Cf. “It is a question of words, therefore. […] an exploration of language” (p. 401; see pp. 409, 416–17, passim)—language being another of humankind’s detours to itself (cf. (Derrida 2002, pp. 390, 401)). Derrida also signals (semiotic, linguistic) mediatedness by dwelling on the (human) act of naming, calling, classifying animals (cf. Gen 2:19–20)—see (Derrida 2002, pp. 380–81, 385–86, 392, 398–99, passim), spec. “what they call the animal” (p. 380); “the gaze called animal” (p. 381); in this respect, see also the critique of an inevitable linguistic possessiveness, of animal ownership in and via language (Derrida 2002, pp. 375–76, 383, 390); “Animal is a word that men have given themselves the right to give” (p. 400). Fudge reiterates the pattern: “Derrida insists that this incident with his cat is a real encounter […]. He describes the scene, returning insistently to his nakedness, his actual nakedness” (Fudge 2007, p. 45; cf. p. 46)—with the ‘scenic’ quality accentuated; “Derrida’s repeated return to his own nakedness in a lecture, in a medium in which he stands in front of his audience and speaks of his own full frontal nakedness. The philosopher—the great mind—asks his audience, who are fast becoming his spectators, to view him as a body, and worse, as a naked body” (Fudge 2007, p. 46)—with emphasis on (the several layers of) ‘mediatedness’. The scene to be envisioned has affinities to Diogenical practice.
On Gómez Pereira’s (structural) precursorship with regard to (apparently) Cartesian notions (“We have here a ‘Nosco ergo sum’”), see (Dopico Black 2010, pp. 241–45, here 243). Concerning the elision of the ‘ergo’, see Blumenberg: “In ihr [sc. der ‘Reflexion’] wird dieses Bewußtsein sich selbst das Andere […]. Es ist das Problem, das Descartes offenlegte, als er das ausdrückliche oder heimliche ‘ergo’ im Cogito sum bestritt oder verschwinden ließ” (Blumenberg 2006b, p. 154; cf. pp. 155, 161, 169–72); cf. “der schon zu Lebzeiten des Descartes von seinen Korrespondenten geäußerte Verdacht, im cogito ergo sum stecke ein diskursiver Prozeß, folglich sei momentane Evidenz ohne Erinnerungseinfluß ausgeschlossen” (p. 161).
Contrast: “cette certitude […]: je pense, donc je suis […] pour penser, il faut être” (Descartes 1969, p. 54, IV.3, §34). To tentatively put Derrida’s move in (counter-)Cartesian terms: the desired “certainty” is externalized into the apparently irreducible being of an ‘other than the self’; hence (perchance): ‘I perceive (my perceiving) that the other is (other), therefore I am’. In other words: it is by insisting on the other’s fundamental alterity that the self comes into (perceiving, being) its self (contrast the tendency in Schopenhauer’s Vedantic reference above). Derrida seems to be insinuating which blueprint for conceptualizing ‘radical alterity’ he is refunctionalizing when suggesting: “I hear the cat or God ask itself, ask me” (Derrida 2002, p. 387).
See Montaigne: “the animals that live with us recognize our voice” (Montaigne 1989, p. 343, II.12); “How could they [sc. ‘animals’] not speak to one another? They certainly speak to us, and we to them. In how many ways do we not speak to our dogs? And they answer us. We talk to them in another language […] and we change the idiom according to the species” (Montaigne 1989, p. 335, II.12); see (Derrida 2002, p. 375n.). Cf. (spec. with the qualification in brackets): “In dieser von den Tieren ausgehenden Wirkung auf uns erfahren wir nicht nur etwas über uns selbst, sondern es ist nun sinnvoll möglich zu sagen, dass vermittelst dieser (Rück‑)Wirkung wir etwas über die Tiere selbst (aber nicht: über Tiere an sich) erfahren” (Bühler-Dietrich and Weingarten 2016, pp. 13–14). Rather revealingly in this respect, Fudge claims: “In a world without animals, humans […] would lose themselves” (Fudge 2006, p. 36); “Taking animals seriously […] offers us […] another way of conceptualizing both ourselves and the world around us” (Fudge 2006, p. 4; cf. p. 109). Derrida situates his entire œuvre with respect to “the question of the living and of the living animal. For me that will always have been the most important and decisive question. I have addressed it […], either directly or obliquely, by means of readings of all the philosophers I have taken an interest in, beginning with Husserl” (Derrida 2002, p. 402).
With the latter only temporarily delayed or deferred by the time it takes to think, say, or write: ‘cogito sum’ (and but marginally accelerated by eliding the ‘ergo’). As regards the apparently human need for (self‑)reflection (at least in theory), one might—in this particular context—adduce that (as per Agamben’s reading) “Linnaeus […] defined Homo as the animal that is only if it recognizes that it is not” (Agamben 2004, p. 27); “man has no specific identity other than the ability to recognize himself. […] Homo sapiens […] is […] a machine or device for producing the recognition of the human” (pp. 25–26)—potentially, that is.
This indirection via the animal seems particularly patent at the end: “And in the first place, me […] Is there animal narcissism? But cannot this cat also be […] my primary mirror?” (Derrida 2002, p. 418). Cf. “In […] Derrida’s lecture […] can be traced an admission of the centrality of animals to the assertion of human status” (Fudge 2007, p. 51). Candidly, Cuneo accentuates “the […] foundational, […] complex, […] ubiquitous ways in which humans use animals, not just for physical labor or for scientific experimentation, but for representational work and for self-definition. […] [the] human use of animals […] includ[es] our own scholarly use of historical animals to perform our professional identities” (Cuneo 2014, p. 3; cf. pp. 4, 14). See also Bühler’s structurally comparable position in an epistemological context, stressing “dass ein bestimmtes Wissen vom Menschen alleine über den Umweg über das Tier gewonnen werden kann. So werden Tiere in Experimentalsystemen zu Objekten des Wissens und fungieren dabei als Substitute des Menschen” (Bühler 2016, p. 20; on substitution in that regard, see also pp. 20–21, 23–26, 33, 35–36, 38). For a poetico-literary context, cf. “In der langen Geschichte jenes Reflektierens der Menschen über sich fällt dem Tier […] eine besondere Rolle zu” (Kohlhauer 2002, p. 52). Generally in this respect, cf. “[‘]Yet they needed them [sc. ‘animals’] in order to draw from their nature an experimental knowledge [‘ad experimentalem cognitionem’][’]”, Aquinas qtd. in (Agamben 2004, p. 22). In terms of animal heuristics, see also Montaigne’s formulations: “These are particular actions; but what everyone has seen and what everyone knows” (Montaigne 1989, p. 342, II.12); “if anyone studies closely what we see ordinarily of the animals that live among us, there is material there for him to find facts” (pp. 342–43, II.12).
Cf. “There are many stories, told by philosophers, historians, poets, about dogs […] the stories told about dogs […] are never really about dogs at all, they are always about humans” (Fudge 2007, p. 37). See Beusterien, paraphrasing “Garber’s position”, which “argues that the critical return to the human is […] taking place in the study of the dog” (Beusterien 2016, p. 5n.).
In appropriating Derrida’s lecture, the paradigm of Animal Studies may seem to have isolated the instances calling for immediacy; such a reading would also have been facilitated by passing over the explicit signals of indirection as are provided in the text’s various auto-referential gestures, including the ironies of apparent authorial intent, which signal its constitutive state of mediatedness, of virtuality. For such techniques tender a structural, syntactico-semantic realization of the underlying configuration (indirection over immediacy) in a quasi-permanent ‘mise en abyme du discours’—to adopt Küpper’s formulation from another context (Küpper 1990, pp. 342, 370, 372, 381); this procedure is arguably characteristic of Derrida’s écriture in general. Cf. “Derrida’s tale [sc. ‘its end’] ultimately […] returns us, it seems, to its beginning” (Fudge 2007, p. 48). The aforesaid pattern also appears to transfer itself into readings of his work: “I want to read Derrida as the re-teller of a key myth of modernity that brings together the dog, the home and the human. […] I will, like Lassie to her home, return to Derrida” (Fudge 2007, p. 38).
See Fudge’s findings concerning the reception of Descartes, particularly in Early Modern England (Fudge 2006, pp. 5–6, 147–74; spec. pp. 153, 156, 160, 172); as well as her incisive critique of the (tacit) presence of a Cartesian approach (including the respective notions as to animals) in contemporary scholarship, which, in part, is seen to project that discourse back on, or into, pre-Cartesian writings (Fudge 2006, pp. 175–93, especially 179–80, 185); needless to say, spec. Cartesian positions cannot apply to Cervantine texts. On Descartes in the context of Animal Studies, see also (Boehrer 2009, pp. 545–46); (Boehrer 2010, pp. 9–10; spec. pp. 12, 24); (Martín 2014, p. 475); (Bühler 2013, p. 191); likewise Raber, who (while stating that “[b]oth of these critics [sc. ‘Boehrer’, ‘Fudge’] clearly struggle against Descartes’ legacy”) wishes to “fully subvert[…] Cartesianism” by way of “look[ing] to histories and narratives about embodiment”—since, “[a]s long as we fight over reason, we are stuck on Descartes’ playing field” (Raber 2013, p. 11). Cf. “As any medievalist or early modern scholar will tell you, the question of the animal assumes, if anything, even more centrality in earlier periods; […] the idea of the animal that we have inherited from the Enlightenment and thinkers such as Descartes and Kant is better seen as marking a brief period” (Wolfe 2009, p. 564). Similarly: “in most posthumanist accounts, Descartes tends to be the go-to man […], a habit we might question” (Dopico Black 2010, p. 237).
For the Cartesian positions on animals in this respect, see (Descartes 1969, pp. 90–97, V.9–12, §§56–60); spec. “le corps de chaque animal […] comme une machine” (p. 90, V.9, §56). Cf. “Between Augustine and Rousseau, […] within the evolving history of the ego cogito ergo sum, stands Descartes. He waits for us with his animal-machines” (Derrida 2002, p. 391; cf. pp. 396, 400). Such (apparently unworldly) Cartesian speculations about beings other than humans would likely have made (or make) no sense to anyone in the presence of—and engaging with—animals on a daily basis: “Cartesius certe non vidit simios”, Linnaeus qtd. in (Agamben 2004, p. 23); cf. “the orthodox philosophical debate sits at odds with what was apparently obvious to day-to-day living. Animals think” (Fudge 2006, p. 145); see also Thomas as qtd. in (Boehrer 2010, p. 26).
Cf. Bühler, condensing theorizations on the part of (among others) Plessner, Simmel, Derrida, Luhman, and Lotman into the formula: “Grenzen sind nicht gegeben, sondern werden gemacht” (Bühler 2013, p. 13). Faced with “the border between human and animal” (Agamben 2004, p. 21; cf. pp. 22, 36)—this “hiatus” (p. 92) that, “[i]n our culture”, may seem to be “the decisive political conflict” (p. 80)—Agamben posits “a mobile border within living man” (p. 15): “the caesura between the human and the animal passes first of all within man” (p. 16; cf. p. 79); in so doing, he searches for instances where the “critical threshold, at which the difference between animal and human, which is so decisive for our culture, threatens to vanish” (p. 21). Describing “the blurring of the lines between humans and animals” in the Middle Ages, Salisbury states: “The separation between animals and humans seemed to be lost even as contemporary influential thinkers like Thomas Aquinas were asserting the absolute difference between the species” (Salisbury 1994, p. 134); he stresses that, from a Medieval viewpoint, “the species were [‘closely’] linked in people’s minds: animals cannot live without men” (pp. 18–19)—concerning the manifold ties between dogs and humans in the Middle Ages, see spec. (pp. 45–49, 135). Cf. Raber, remarking that in “Renaissance culture, […] the boundary that divides human from animal is neither fixed nor stable” (Raber 2013, pp. 9–10). With regard to notions concerning animals in Early Modern times, Fudge notes the—discourse historically significant—impact of (Ancient) Skepticism, spec. in terms of its (effectively dissimilar) influence on Montaigne and Descartes; in particular, she accentuates “the impact on human–animal relations of the rediscovery of the skeptical writings of Sextus Empiricus in the sixteenth century” (Fudge 2006, p. 5; cf. pp. 116–22)—spec. that “Sextus constantly takes animals as evidence of the boundary of human understanding” (p. 117). As to the pretermission of Diogenes and Cynicism where mention would seem requisite (discourse historically speaking), cf. e.g., “I plan to speak endlessly of nudity and of the nude in philosophy. Starting from Genesis” (Derrida 2002, p. 369; cf. p. 374); “a properly transgressal if not transgressive experience of limitrophy” (p. 397; similarly: pp. 399, 408); likewise in Fudge, see (Fudge 2007, p. 45; cf. p. 46), e.g., when speaking of “this undermining of the opposition between reason and unreason” (Fudge 2006, p. 3); and especially, when citing Joubert’s definition of “‘untrue’ […] laughter” as “‘dog laughter’ or the ‘cynic spasm’”, since “‘angry and threatening dogs have this look’”, qtd. in (Fudge 2006, p. 17; cf. pp. 25, 35); similarly when Fudge later mentions the “connection between scornfulness and laughter” as “repeated by numerous early modern thinkers in England” (p. 19); likewise: “a pissing dog comes to stand for everything that a human is not, and cannot be” (Fudge 2008, p. 198); cf. Raber, referring to the latter remark, as well as to “Topsell” on “‘rayling’ as a characteristic of the cur: ‘The voice of a Dogge […] is by the learned interpreted as rayling and angry speech’, which is why dogs are sometimes used as ‘emblems of vile, cursed, rayling, and filthy men’”, qtd. in (Raber 2013, p. 145). In such instances, mention of cynicism would seem indispensable (discourse historically speaking). Given her topic, Mussner’s omission of cynicism may seem striking (Mussner 2015, passim). A Cultural History of Animals in the Renaissance, cf. (Boehrer 2011, passim), mentions “Diogenes of Sinope, the Cynic philosopher” only in passing, and apparently without the critical attention requisite (Perfetti 2011, p. 163); the other references to cynicism in that ed. volume seem to be valuative, rather than discourse historically motivated: cf. “cynical overtones” (De Ornellas 2011, p. 31); “less cynical, demonstrably sincere” (p. 34); “the […] cynical use of the pelican image […] inspire[s] equal cynicism” (p. 36). By contrast, Perry—who examines instances of Early Modern English animal narration without rejecting rhetoric, cf. (Perry 2004, pp. 19, 30, 33), or certain genres (such as fables and satires)—refers to “Swetnam[’s] […] following the model of Diogenes”, with “several responses […] turn[ing] his self-representation as a snarling dog back on himself” (p. 24).
Generally in this respect, Fudge emphasizes that “there is no such thing as a pure human society” considering “the number of day-to-day interactions between humans and animals in all areas of life” (Fudge 2004, p. 6). Cf. “there is no such thing as human identity, history, culture, without the prior cooperation, collaboration, habitation, ideological appropriation, consumption of animals, without animals as the ‘always already’ of both materiality and culture itself” (Raber 2013, p. 28). Boehrer speaks of a “heavy integration of animals into” numerous “aspects of early modern society”—which includes the “literary”: “Montaigne’s Apology for Raymond Sebonde […] abounds with sentient beasts” (Boehrer 2009, p. 545); cf. (Boehrer 2010, p. 7); “in early modern culture” there was a “literal and figurative proximity of nonhuman to human animals” (Boehrer 2009, p. 545); cf. (Boehrer 2010, p. 8). For the Spanish context, Alves stresses: “all ranks and estates interacted to a greater or lesser extent with nonhuman animals” (Alves 2014, p. 271). As “the three principal uses to which early modern Europeans put the beasts in their lives”, Boehrer suggests: “haulage, companionship, and food” (Boehrer 2010, p. 18). Cf. what Raber gives as “some of the most ordinary, unremarkable, and unremarked experiences of early modern life: using a dog to hunt or herd, petting a cat, riding a horse” (Raber 2013, p. 14); with respect to “the dog” as “[t]hat most ubiquitous of pets”, she accentuates a “wide set of useful tasks for individual businesses (butchers […] still used dogs to bait bulls […])”, which “brought them into the city in huge numbers” (p. 140). Alves has: “On the ground, in practical application, many Spaniards, like other early modern Europeans, predominantly saw animals as sources of labor, food, and entertainment—as objects to be used to enhance their human lives” (Alves 2014, p. 273); cf. “en la temprana época moderna los animales eran absolutamente centrales en las vidas de los humanos, como alimento, ropa, medios de transporte y trabajo, y como compañía” (Martín 2014, p. 468).
A note on alterity—on the other that is the text—may seem requisite at this point. If the initial, producing and receiving culture considered certain views plausible, it is not for the ‘modern critic’ to ignore them (to say nothing of deeming them absurd). Cautioning against positivistic approaches, Enenkel/Smith highlight “its [sc. of ‘early modern zoology’] striking alterity and discontinuity from modern science” (Enenkel and Smith 2007, p. 5), and call for contextualization: “Various methods of animal description may occur at the same time […]. Most important are the specific historical contexts, interests, needs and the literary, theological, philosophical and artistic discourses” (p. 5). For a seventeenth century context, Bühler stresses: “die Antike [‘blieb’] als Argumentationsfolie auch weiterhin erhalten” (Bühler 2016, p. 20). Emphasizing alterity (“strikingly different from our own”), Salisbury cautions: “Our notions about animals were not uniformly acquired nor have they remained constant over time” (Salisbury 1994, p. 3)—cf. what may seem a particularly marked instance of Medieval alterity: “a saint’s cult that completely eliminates the lines between humans and animals”, “that of Saint Guinefort, a greyhound” (p. 175); at once, Salisbury notes certain relatively durable continuities: “dogs had been serving the same functions for millennia” (p. 18). See Callaghan, stressing “the radical alterity of nascent modernity” (Callaghan 2003, p. 58), spec. with regard to “that shady area, both literal and metaphoric, of relations between the species” (p. 64). Contrast the following claims: “para buscar al animal en Don Quijote a veces hay que leer a Cervantes contra Cervantes […] para encontrar al animal verdadero detrás del tropo antropomórfico hay que mirar dentro y más allá del texto en sí” (Martín 2014, p. 476); cf. (Martín 2012, p. 462); as well as the obverse: “Cervantes anticipates postures from Animal Studies” (Beusterien 2016, p. 42; cf. pp. 47, 49). Texts and material objects (such as paintings) are embedded in their (back)grounds of emergence in manifold ways, not least in carrying along sedimented assumptions, views previously held. Moreover, general and prevalent, widely held notions (also about animals) may tend to be of greater import with regard to works of art (including literature) than particularist notions not available to most recipients (in terms of prior knowledge)—unless expressly contained in the respective document or material item itself. What Cuneo describes with reference to a particular context—“a suggestive mixture of eye-witnessing and authoritative accounts (textual and verbal) with folklore, literary conventions and […] anecdotes” (Cuneo 2014, p. 12)—may apply to animals (as represented) in literature generally. Cf. Boehrer, stressing “the innumerable […] commonplaces whereby traditional language assumes a continuity between human and nonhuman animal experience” (Boehrer 2010, p. 3). Arguably, it is only as a relative remark that the following holds good even ‘today’: “Nahezu alles, was wir heute als alltägliches Wissen von Tieren haben, ist geprägt durch wissenschaftliches Wissen” (Bühler-Dietrich and Weingarten 2016, p. 15); contrast Mussner, stressing “dass die in der Allgemeinsprache verwendeten Tierbezeichnungen häufig nicht der wissenschaftlichen Taxonomie entsprechen” (Mussner 2015, p. 161). Cf. Blumenberg’s remark concerning the relative ‘inertia or remanence of language’—“daß die Sprache von hoher Trägheit ist” (Blumenberg 2009, p. 129)—in another context; also exemplified in this: “Was auch immer wir wissen, die Sonne geht über uns auf und unter, insgeheim sogar für uns auf und unter” (Blumenberg 2011, p. 311).
In her reading of “talking animals” in Early Modern English satire—with spec. focus on their inducing “pleasure for readers” (Perry 2004, p. 20; cf. pp. 19, 27, 29, 31, 33), and emphasizing “the power of rhetoric” (p. 19; cf. pp. 30, 33)—Perry, tentatively “borrow[ing] […] Ritvo’s term”, speaks of “‘rhetorical’ animal[s]”, while simultaneously signaling their having “very little in common with […] [their] ‘material’ counterpart” (Perry 2004, p. 20). Concerning speaking animals from a generally narratological perspective, see Borgards (2015, p. 226); while initially admitting that “die Tiere der Literatur zunächst aus Wörtern [‘bestehen’]. Literaturtiere sind Textgestalten” (Borgards 2015, p. 225)—he later censures the fact (in anthropocentric terms): “Literaturtiere sind […] Produkte von Menschen für Menschen, gelesen und interpretiert von Menschen; die Tiere, die unsere Welt bevölkern, spielen dabei kaum eine Rolle. Dieser anthropozentrischen Perspektive lässt sich eine theriozentrische Haltung entgegensetzen“ (p. 227). Naturally, such a professed ‘theoriocentric stance’ would (supposing its viability) be taken—and valued as such—by human beings. Later, Borgards does call for the—frankly anthropocentric—modes of “contextualization, historicization” repeatedly (p. 228; trans. dsm; cf. pp. 227, 229), and vehemently: “zwingend nötige […] Historisierung” (p. 229).
Cf. Fudge, “asserting that the animals within these texts are to be interpreted as animals and not simply as symbols of something else” (Fudge 2006, p. 4)—with ‘interpretation’ qua mediacy.
In terms of genre, it might especially be epics and novels that—in characteristically crafting (the impression of) ‘entire worlds’—would all but naturally seem to include ‘animals as animals’; hence (perchance) the tentative plausibility of suggestions such as: “Don Quixote’s animals are the animals of Spain in [a] literary microcosm” (Alves 2011, p. 58); “Don Quijote […] contiene una cantidad elevadísima de animales reales” (Martín 2014, p. 470); cf. (Martín 2012, p. 452).
If inclined to do justice to a mediated (textual, virtual) animal, one will arguably have to take seriously the media (texts, paintings, etc.) providing the semiotic stimuli for the recipient’s notional ‘realization’ of the animal represented. Close attention to the medium, to mediatedness, is the premise of a careful reading of a given textual animal, of the descriptions and views concerning animals. The reader makes—renders, ’realizes’—the animal; consequently, contextualization (including the reception) is needful. To spirit away the reader is to do likewise unto the animal: isolating a perceived ‘animal as such’ will lead to its effacement. Any perceived (interpreted) ‘reality’—including an otherwise textual one—will be the ‘realization’ of its respective recipient. Striving to work as descriptively as possible, scholarship can attempt to describe these processes, their workings, and can never be free of them. The same obtains in a related matter: for, as far as “question[ing] anthropocentrism” (Wolfe 2009, p. 572; cf. pp. 568–69) is concerned, one might have to add that, for the most part, such curiously inquisitive conduct seems to be performed by animals capable of engaging in virtuality, and spec. such as they themselves have set up by, and for, themselves. In this view, perspectival inversion (‘theriocentrism’, ‘posthumanism’, cultural critique) is human. Structurally, see Raber on “the use of the term ‘nonhuman animal’”, while not also “refer[ring] to a human as a ‘non-canine’ animal”: “of all animals only we feel we need to signal our lack of distinction” (Raber 2013, p. 195n.). Generally, cf. “Doch scheint die Spezies Mensch ein großes Stück weit über das hinaus zu gehen, was andere Tiere machen, mithilfe oder aufgrund ihrer Sprache” (Mussner 2015, p. 157).
Cf. what Wolfe calls “the mobilization in literary texts of identification and sympathetic imagination regarding animals” (Wolfe 2009, p. 569); he emphasizes “the embodied finitude that we share with nonhuman animals” (p. 570; cf. p. 571). Borgards suggests: “Literatur kann versuchsweise die Perspektive eines Tieres einnehmen” (Borgards 2015, p. 227)—a performance on the part of human beings, who conceive of, and receive, literature. Cf. “We all have some knowledge of the life of a nonhuman animal and […] some ability to empathize with the world-as-experienced by that animal” (Shapiro and Copeland 2005, p. 345). As regards the author and texts at hand, see also Beusterien, with reference to Haraway (Beusterien 2016, pp. 3, 7, 42, 47).
Cf. “historians […] depend on documents written by humans for other humans. The animals have left no documents behind. […] We cannot hear the animals—all we hear is human chatter” (Cuneo 2014, p. 3)—hence “an acceptance of the mediated nature of historical knowledge” (p. 4) is requisite. See also the balanced formulation of Cuneo’s guiding questions: “What kinds of identities (both human and animal) were generated by interactions between human and animal? How were these identities articulated, for what purposes, and for what kinds of audiences” (Cuneo 2014, p. 2); as well as her nuanced remark: “animals were used both physically and symbolically by human animals […] some interactions between humans and animals can do more than one thing simultaneously” (pp. 4–5). See Fudge: “to ignore animals is to ignore key aspects of our own culture. […] it is not only real animals that are significant to so-called human culture. It is also conceptual animals […] animals of the mind” (Fudge 2008, p. 187); “the real and the conceptual are not […] wholly separate spheres. In the early modern period they can become enmeshed” (p. 188)—the latter apparently modifying her earlier claim: “to ignore […] the link made between humans and real animals in many texts from the [‘early modern’] period […] is to translate real animals into figurative ones […]. If there was a beast in man, there were also numerous beasts outside of man” (Fudge 2006, p. 177). Generally, cf. “die Tiere der Literatur […] stehen mit den Tieren der Welt in einem vielfältigen und wechselseitigen Austausch” (Borgards 2015, p. 229; cf. p. 228); “the metaphor is intertwined with the realities of human animal-relations” (Alves 2011, p. 60n.; cf. p. 62)—a remark that might be infinitized. As regards sedimented historical knowledge, see Boehrer’s formulation: “to concentrate on the semiotic residue of earlier social practices” (Boehrer 2010, p. 20); cf. “für eine […] Wissensgeschichte der Tiere ist die Literatur […] von konstitutiver Bedeutung” (Borgards 2015, p. 228). Fudge stresses: “animals” are “an important aspect of the cultures we interpret” (Fudge 2004, p. 7); “ignoring animals in our reconstructions of the past is also failing to fully represent those past worlds. […] If animals are absent from the histories we write, then those histories remain incomplete” (Fudge 2008, p. 186); in particular, she stresses “the relevance and significance of animals to a reading of early modern literature” (p. 187). Referring to Fudge, Dopico Black emphasizes “the value of […] the study of animals (and of human-animal relations) in order to understand the past” (Dopico Black 2010, p. 246n.).
The latter might be induced by the contrast agent commonly referred to as ‘Theory’—with its administration clearly marked; in this respect, ‘critical’ will mean ‘descriptive’ attention. Contrast Wolfe, calling for “a critical and not just descriptive practice” (Wolfe 2009, p. 567); otherwise Boehrer: “this project is descriptive rather than ameliorative in nature” (Boehrer 2010, p. 199; cf. p. 27). Wolfe’s angle—asserting “the radically ahuman technicity and mechanicity of language”, and speaking of “creatures” in the same sentence (Wolfe 2009, p. 571); similarly: “Kreatur” (Borgards 2015, p. 227); “creature” (Beusterien 2016, p. 47); “criatura” (Martín 2014, p. 473)—seems to proceed from an ontologico-metaphysical premise that is no matter, here.
See his guarded wording in the German: “es gibt die nachträgliche Mobilisierbarkeit von Implikationen” (Blumenberg 1999, p. 73).
Joining Animal Studies and historical research in his exploration of Early Modern Spain, Alves examines “what was considered good and bad behavior toward animals”, the “[s]ocially approved treatment of tame animals”, “popular attitudes regarding animals”, “[t]he definition of acceptable human interaction with other animals in the Spanish empire”—and, in so doing, also has recourse to “classic sources like Cervantes’ ‘Colloquy of the Dogs’” (Alves 2011, p. 27, for his respective reading, see pp. 56–57); spec. “Cervantes’ work [sc. the coloquio, here] does offer some indications of what might be expected in an early modern Spanish dog’s life” (Alves 2011, p. 56); cf. (Alves 2014, p. 273). “Cervantes’ tale reflects much about his Castilian Spanish culture, and its empirical observations regarding dogs” (Alves 2011, p. 57); cf. (Alves 2014, p. 273). Similarly, Martín seeks to “ilustrar el papel social y cultural del perro en la temprana época moderna en Europa, tal como lo representan en su coloquio los finos interlocutores Berganza y Cipión” (Martín 2004, p. 1559); for a brief overview of “qué se sabía en su época sobre esos cuadrúpedos”, cf. (Martín 2004, pp. 1561–1562, passim, here 1561). With regard to the text’s historical substrates, she states: “los discursos de la literatura, de la cría de animales y de la vida real convergen en la narración de Cervantes” (p. 1566); “Cervantes […] suministra un retrato exacto, detallado y realista de la España de su época” (p. 1569); hence she speaks of “una interpretación fidedigna de la vida” (p. 1567): “Digamos, entonces, que Cervantes logra crear un contrato mimético creíble” (p. 1571n.). Beusterien’s chapter on the coloquio, cf. (Beusterien 2016, pp. 35–54; see also pp. 55, 57, 74, 77) aims to “turn[…] away from interpretations of the canine in the ‘Dialogue of the Dogs’ as a figure or mask for the human […]. Instead, it turns to Animal Studies in order to argue on behalf of the elimination of the animal as figure” (Beusterien 2016, p. 36; cf. pp. 8, 109). For Boehrer’s references to Don Quixote with respect to animal studies, see (Boehrer 2010, pp. 71–73, 112–13, 155–57).
As regards the apparent prevalence of performing canines in Early Modern Europe, see Montaigne: “Everybody is satiated, I think, with seeing so many sorts of monkey tricks that mountebanks teach their dogs” (Montaigne 1989, p. 340, II.12); cf. (Montaigne 2009, p. 195, II.xii). On Montaigne and Cervantes generally, see also (Forcione 1989, p. 338); (Dümchen 1989, pp. 112–14); (Nerlich 1989, passim, spec. pp. 264, 266, 268–72, 280–81, 284).
This abstract does not claim to be exhaustive; it condenses (Cervantes 2002b, pp. 279–95; Cervantes 2016a, pp. 433–46) and (Cervantes 2002a, pp. 297–359; Cervantes 2016b, pp. 451–512). The present essay focuses on two intercalated narratives: the conversation between Campuzano and Peralta qua framework for the colloquy of Berganza and Cipión, which equally frames a series of episodic tales—some of which include one or more narrative levels (quotes, forms of reported speech, implicit dialogs with intertexts via allusions, sermocinationes). Integrated with this rhetorico-narrative setting, discourse historical implications—re Scripture, Ancient philosophy, cynicism, animal narration—form the other focal points. For reasons of space, the present article cannot address all facets, nor detail each of the episodes in the coloquio. A comprehensive analysis of these novelas may be found in Forcione’s seminal studies (Forcione 1984, passim); cf. (Forcione 1982, passim).
On the nexus between rhetoric and narratology, see e.g., (Mayfield 2017b, pp. 4n.–5n., 13n., 18n., 24–25).
On the Husserlian (phenomenological) term ‘Lebenswelt’ in general, see (Blumenberg 2010, passim). On the rhetorical ‘aptum’, cf. (Lausberg 1990, p. 44, §102; Lausberg 2008, p. 144, §258); (Mayfield 2017b, pp. 18–19, 18n.–19n.); his perceived parrhesía notwithstanding, Berganza observes it in certain areas (implicitly of a risqué nature), here as regards the lifeworld of the “comediantes”, to which pertain “infinitas cosas, unas para decirse al oído y otras para aclamallas en público” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 354; cf. p. 351)—with Cipión’s respective comments (p. 358). Generally, see (Boyd 2010, p. 16; Hart 1979, p. 385n.); cf. “converting the raw material of life into acceptable patterns of expression” (El Saffar 1974, p. 80).
Cf. (Lausberg 2008, pp. 181–85, §§325–334). As to plausibility (‘probabile, credibile, verisimile’), see (Quintilian 2001, p. 234, 4.2.31; Lausberg 2008, pp. 179–80, §322; Mayfield 2017b, p. 10n.). Cf. “Ist der Grundstein für die phantasierte Welt einmal gelegt, so wirkt jeder weitere Schritt schlüssig, plausibel” (Kohlhauer 2002, p. 65).
“The intricate [or: ‘complex, complicated’] framing technique […] is striking [or: ‘prominent, conspicuous’]” (Nolting-Hauff 1987, p. 190; trans. dsm); later, Nolting-Hauff links this to “a layered [or: ‘multiple’] delegation of the role of the narrator and a cautiously dosed increase of irreality from one narrative plane to the next” (p. 194; trans. dsm).
See e.g., (El Saffar 1974, pp. 69–70); (Aylward 2010, pp. 256–58); cf. “flirtation with the implausible” (Gaylord 2002, p. 115). Kohlhauer, speaking of a “‘cynocentric’ narrative perspective” (Kohlhauer 2002, p. 55; trans. dsm), stresses: “Cervantes’ Hunde sind […] alles andere als allegorische Figuren, personifizierte Abstraktionen oder gar mythisch anmutende Gestalten von märchenhaftem Typus” (p. 55); “Abgesehen davon, daß sie denken, sprechen und vor allem erzählen, verhalten sich seine [sc. of the coloquio] Hunde wie … Hunde eben” (p. 63). Martín has: “Berganza discierne y actúa como un perro, y entiende el mundo de muchas maneras caninas” (Martín 2012, p. 462); if this is perceived to be thus, her earlier remark may seem problematic: “En términos de la enunciación, hay que olvidar que Berganza habla en vez de ladrar” (Martín 2004, p. 1562)—spec. since these (textual) dogs themselves, in their capacity as canines, repeatedly deal with this very problem (by speaking); similarly, Beusterien asserts that “from a narrative point of view, the dog’s ontological status is irrelevant in the consideration of language” (Beusterien 2016, p. 38)—while the canines render precisely this aspect problematic throughout.
Cf. (Cervantes 2002a, p. 299). The full title—thereto, see (Schmauser 1996, pp. 18–26)—expressly embedded (also layout-wise) into the narrative itself (by far the most protracted in the collection, with the greatest density of spatial references), reads: “Novela y coloquio que pasó entre Cipión y Berganza, perros del hospital de la resurrección, que está en la ciudad de Valladolid, fuera de la puerta del campo, a quien[es] comúnmente llaman los perros de Mahudes”, cf. (Cervantes 2002a, p. 299); titular caps removed). Via explicitly obtaining Peralta’s agreement to his knowledge of the dogs, the ensign had already primed also the extratextual reader to take in the above more immediately (perhaps unquestioningly): “‘Your honor has probably already noticed [‘habrá visto’] […] two dogs that go around at night […], lighting the way with a pair of lanterns’. ‘Yes, I have seen that’” (Cervantes 2016a, p. 443); “‘Your honor has probably also seen, or heard about [‘habrá visto o oído’] […] what they say concerning those dogs[’] […] ‘I’ve heard tell […] that all that is true[’]” (Cervantes 2016a, p. 444; 2002b, p. 293). The modes of (potentially) acceptable evidence are dominantly tied in with the aural and visual: cf. “visto […] visto […] visto o oído […] oído […] oí y casi vi con mis ojos […] oí […] oído escuchando, por ver […] oyó”—all within a brief space (Cervantes 2002b, p. 293); generally, cf. (Schmauser 1996, pp. 29–35). This audiovisual tendency continues also in the canine coloquio (without, as one might provisionally surmise, shifting the dominance also to the olfactory, in conjunction with the auditory rather than the visual); in other words: construals trying to spirit away the inevitable anthropocentricism will meet with considerable resistance.
Cf. the locus classicus: “man is a political animal [‘politikòn ho ánthropos zoon’] in a greater measure than any bee or any gregarious animal […]. Nature […] does nothing without purpose; and man alone of the animals possesses speech [‘lógon’]” (Aristotle 1944, pp. 10–11, I.i.10, 1253a); “a man who is incapable of entering into partnership, or who is so self-sufficing [‘autárkeian’] that he has no need to do so, is no part of a state, so that he must be either a lower animal or a god [‘hè theríon hè theós’]” (pp. 11–13, I.i.12, 1253a); as to cynicism in this context, stressing simultaneity, the transitional nature of such perceived limits, cf. (Mayfield 2015, pp. 25, 25n., 28, 28n., 183, 197–98, 238–39, 320n., 391–402, 437); concerning the coloquio (see (Forcione 1984, pp. 15–16, 83, 152–53, 215–17, 221); regarding Berganza, Schmauser remarks “that the boundary between animal and human being oscillates in both directions” (Schmauser 1996, p. 78; trans. dsm). Sextus Empiricus cites the Hellenistic common ground, then balances it skeptically: “Others [sc. ‘Stoics’, ‘Peripatetics’] used to assert that ‘Man is a rational mortal animal [‘zoon logikòn thnetón’], receptive of intelligence and science’. […] no animal is irrational but all are receptive of intelligence and science” (Sextus Empiricus 1933, pp. 168–69, II.26; p. 168n.). Tying in with several (Stoic, Peripatetic, Platonic) formulae, he later ridicules the act of definition itself: “‘O rational mortal animal, receptive of intelligence and science, have you met with an animal capable of laughter [‘zoon gelastikòn’], with broad nails and receptive of political science, with his (posterior) hemispheres seated on a mortal animal capable of neighing, and leading a four-footed animal capable of barking [‘zoon tetrápoun hylaktikón’]?’” (Sextus Empiricus 1933, pp. 286–87, II.211). In the coloquio, perspectivism, skeptical views are put into the witch’s mouth (the latter being crucial): “a nuestro parecer, mudamos forma, y convertidas en gallos, lechuzas o cuervos” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 342); cf. the perceived change of supposedly rational animals into beasts: “que convertían los hombres en bestias”; “sirviéndose dellos en todo cuanto querían, que parecían bestias”; “aquella ciencia que llaman tropelía, que hace parecer una cosa por otra” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 337); cf. (Boyd 2010, p. 24); generally, cf. “toda tropelía” (Gracián 2009, p. 164, I.7); such undermines, renders (potentially) permeable, an alleged animal–human divide: “sé que eres persona racional y te veo en semejanza de perro” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 337). In this respect, Alves suggests: “The tale of the witches summarizes the extent to which distinctions between the human and canine have grown difficult to make” (Alves 2011, p. 57); cf. (Alves 2014, pp. 273–74); “Berganza’s story sympathetically breaks down species boundaries by cataloguing behavioral similarities” (Alves 2011, p. 57); cf. (Alves 2014, p. 274)—while supplying the decisive qualification in a footnote: “the witch, discredited as she is” (Alves 2011, p. 57n.).
Cf. “Bien es verdad que en el discurso de mi vida diversas y muchas veces he oído hablar grandes prerrogativas nuestras; tanto, que parece que algunos han querido sentir que tenemos un natural distinto, […] que da indicios y señales de faltar poco para mostrar que tenemos un no sé qué de entendimiento capaz de discurso” (Cervantes 2002a, pp. 299–300). See these formulations (by both interlocutors): “Lo que yo he oído […] nos suelen pintar […]; y así, habrás visto (si has mirado en ello) […] donde suelen estar […] Bien sé que […]. Sé también que […] Ansí es; pero bien confesarás que ni has visto ni oído decir jamás” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 300; cf. p. 309), reaffirming a common ground in this respect). Concerning the retentive emphasis: “ocupaba la memoria en acordarme de muchas cosas” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 306; cf. pp. 308, 318, 322, 332); see (Forcione 1984, p. 159); (Schmauser 1996, pp. 40–41). On the concept of ‘hypólepsis’ qua ‘taking up and tying in with’ an (ostensible) common ground, see (Mayfield 2017c, passim). Cf. “Statt etwa ihre eigene Meinung kundzutun, ziehen es beide Hunde geschickt vor, mit Hilfe des indirekten Standpunktes die allgemein-(un)verbindliche Sprache der opinio communis zu inszenieren” (Kohlhauer 2002, p. 59). As to current and common ken regarding what is taken to be the characteristic loyalty of dogs during Early Modern times, see also Montaigne’s testimony (Montaigne 1989, p. 346, II.12).
Cf. Johnson, suggesting that one “read the Casamiento narrative […] as a story artfully told, characterized by the narrator’s withholding and anticipating information […] establishing a complex and dynamic rhetorical relationship with his hearer-reader” (Johnson 1991, pp. 8–9).
The colloquy’s outset echoes: “el hablar nosotros pasa de los términos de naturaleza” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 299); cf. (Teuber 2005, p. 251). Berganza’s surprise at his capacity for speech mirrors the (implicit) reader’s reaction to the ‘notable novelty’ (novella): “me causa nueva admiración y nueva maravilla” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 299); cf. “noté su vida y costumbres, que por ser notables es forzoso que te las cuente” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 346); likewise characteristic for this genre—cf. (Küpper 1990, pp. 41–44; on Cervantine novelas, pp. 270–72, 277, 282n., 286, 387, 387n., 395–96, 459–60); (Küpper 2005, pp. 218n.–219n.); generally, see (Krauss 1940, passim, here spec. pp. 20–23); also (Spadaccini and Talens 1989, pp. 211, 220–21)—is the above tendency of outperformance, already visible in the framework: “my experiences [‘sucesos’] are the strangest and oddest [‘los más nuevos y peregrinos’] your honor ever heard of in your life” (Cervantes 2016a, p. 434; Cervantes 2002b, p. 282). Before the “dogs” are first mentioned, a comment (implicitly) directed at the novella’s readership speaks of “Peralta’s [‘inflamed’] eagerness to hear his friend’s tale” (Cervantes 2016a, p. 443); “encendían el deseo” (Cervantes 2002b, p. 293); the ensign’s own fervent “desire to see” (“encendió más el deseo de verla”) conduced to his being deceived (Cervantes 2016a, p. 435; Cervantes 2002b, p. 283); in the coloquio: “les encendió el deseo de no dejar de ver todo” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 335). Calling Campuzano a “víctima del lenguaje” (Sieber 2002, p. 32), Sieber—also referring to the “eco” of the aforesaid passages—sees the ensign apply the knowledge (gained by his experience with the lady) to his poetic productions qua “arte de contar historias” (p. 34); concerning Peralta, he speaks of “una curiosidad vital” (p. 34); for “curiosidad” in the coloquio, see (Cervantes 2002a, p. 338). On rhetoric qua “art of accommodation” (Eden 1997, pp. 2, 14); cf. (Mayfield 2015, p. 50n.; Mayfield 2017b, pp. 18–20); re the coloquio, cf. (Forcione 1984, pp. 26, 158).
Cf. (Ziolkowski 1983, p. 101). See “hace[r] algo de nonada” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 304); on enárgeia in Cervantes, cf. (Schmauser 1996, pp. 35–36); on rhetorical evidentia generally, see (Mayfield 2017b, pp. 16n.–17n.).
The Spanish fronts the concession: “si no es por milagro no pueden hablar los animales” (Cervantes 2002b, p. 293). Cipión later echoes: “este milagro” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 299); cf. “aquel misterio o prodigio”, p. 336. A Nominalist ground swell is present in the emphases on the divine ‘quia voluit’: in the ‘theologian’ witch’s tale—“porque Dios no quería” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 341), “su voluntad [sc. ‘del Altísimo’] permitente” (p. 342), see (Forcione 1984, p. 80, generally); as well as in the effect of ‘consummate contingency’—cf. (Blumenberg 1999, pp. 166, 170, 181, 194n., passim), (Küpper 1990, pp. 268, 269n., 283, 286), (Küpper 1998a, pp. 117–18), (Küpper 1998b, pp. 173–77), (Mayfield 2015, pp. 98–108), referring to “perspectivism”, “chance”, “Blumenberg”, see (Forcione 1989, p. 340; cf. p. 349); in the resultant semblance of diversity—cf. (Cervantes 2002a, p. 332), see (Forcione 1984, pp. 179, 189–90), (Gaylord 2002, pp. 112–14), also intertextually (Boyd 2010, pp. 13–16); and of the variability of all things, from the perspective of the animal rationale—cf. (Küpper 1990, pp. 41–44, 173, 263–90, spec. 282–83), (Boyd 2010, pp. 43–44); here as mediated via another animal: “lo que el cielo tiene ordenado que suceda, no hay diligencia ni sabiduría humana que lo pueda prevenir” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 301). It is notable that the aspect of animal narration is rendered problematic at all—spec. in epistemological terms; the latter could be read as indicative of the epoch, considering that prevalent literary forms (fables, metamorphoses, folktales) otherwise take it for granted, cf. (Aylward 2010, p. 256); see the lore concerning Orpheus (Ovid 2005, pp. 75–76, X.143–44; pp. 120–21, XI.1–2); cf. Friedman on Unamuno’s canine “Orfeo” in Niebla (Friedman 2006, pp. 264–65, 303).
See Montaigne: “Yet the animals are not incapable of being taught also in our way. Blackbirds, ravens, magpies, and parrots we teach to speak; and that facility with which we see them rendering their voice and breath so supple and manageable for us […] testifies that they have an inward power of reason which makes them so teachable and determined to learn” (Montaigne 1989, pp. 339–40, II.12)—emphasis on “we see”, and “for us”. The above is precisely what Descartes would later explicitly oppose (among other aspects). Cf. “Up until the eighteenth century, language […] jumps across orders and classes, for it is suspected that even birds can talk. […] even the physical demarcation between man and the other species entailed zones of indifference in which it was not possible to assign certain identities” (Agamben 2004, p. 24). See also Cummings’ remarks on the issue in general: “the question of animal language […] is always a question of epistemology. For what is meant by language (and what is an animal)? […] The question of epistemology at issue is not animal language […], but human language, and the tests applied prove not whether animals speak animal language but whether animals speak human language” (Cummings 2004, pp. 178–79).
Cipión’s hypólepsis of Berganza’s statement lists these animals—unable to articulate themselves in a human fashion—as almost or seemingly rational: “elefante, perro, caballo o mona” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 300). As to comparable (historical) presences of perceivedly ‘reasonable animals’ in Early Modern times—attesting to a European prevalence—see Fudge on “Morocco the Intelligent Horse” (Fudge 2006, pp. 123–46, here 123); likewise as to “Morocco, the knowledgeable horse”, cf. (Perry 2004, p. 27)—spec. “The animals that could be used to explain Morocco existed in the world outside of books, outside of intellectual discussions. They could be found in a world available to all, and meaningful to all. In this context […] [a]nyone who owned a horse would know the animal’s capacities; anyone who had a dog would likewise know” (Fudge 2006, pp. 144–45). On elephants in this respect, see (Cummings 2004, passim; spec. pp. 168, 173).
Similarly Berganza: “sin añadir ni quitar de la verdad una tilde” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 330); cf. (Mt 5:18); what he says about novelas pastoriles might also be taken as an (ironic) meta-comment on the coloquio: “todos aquellos libros son cosas soñadas y bien escritas para entretenimiento […], y no verdad alguna” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 309). The fact that a given text explicitly censures other (apparently highly idealized) works for their distance from a perceived ‘reality’ (for the present context in this respect, see also (Dümchen 1989, p. 106) tends to serve as an effectual device for reinforcing its own plausibility, its claim to verisimilitude (or even to verity, authenticity, authority, etc.); relating to an effect of such a strategy de re, Manning—with reference to (Gittes 2006, p. 356)—states: “we frequently find Berganza’s narrative more credible than Cañizares’ version of events” (Manning 2007, p. 149)—which (including other intratextual levels) is Peralta’s reading of Campuzano’s rendering of Berganza’s account of the witch’s version (along with Scipio’s objections; cf. (Spadaccini and Talens 1989, pp. 221–22); spec. “Berganza’s text is not complete without Cipión’s active intervention in its constructions”, p. 229). In readings focusing primarily (or solely) on a work’s literal plane, the equalization of an (inevitably crafted, arranged) text with a perceived historico-spatial (or even local) reality may seem especially problematic when centering on non-specific, basically recyclable images also otherwise employed: “El tipo de pastor merodeador que encont[r]amos en el Coloquio era una realidad de la vida” (Martín 2004, p. 1566)—while this may be the (historical) case or not (to say nothing of ascertaining its statistical relevance), the function of such tópoi is of particular effectuality in literature (sensu lato). On Skepticism in the Cervantine œuvre, see (Ihrie 1982, passim); re the coloquio, pp. 113–15). The oneiric hypothesis is present in both tales, see e.g., (Cervantes 2002b, p. 294; Cervantes 2002a, p. 347); cf. (Forcione 1984, p. 127); (El Saffar 1976, pp. 85–86); (El Saffar 1974, pp. 68, 75); (Teuber 2005, pp. 249–50, 257); (Gaylord 2002, pp. 113, 115); (Boyd 2010, pp. 39–40); (Kohlhauer 2002, p. 65); “the world of Cañizares is oneiric, too, […] a dream world in a world of dreams” (Nerlich 1989, p. 295). A crucial precedent in this respect—and also as to animal narration—is Lucian’s “The Dream, or the Cock”, featuring a speaking rooster (Lucian 1915, passim; thereto, see especially, pp. 184–90, passim); cf. spec. “The cock talked like a human being!”; “Then do you think it a miracle if I talk the same language as you men?” (p. 175, §2); “Why, this is not a dream, is it?” (p. 177, §3); “A philosopher cock!” (p. 181, §4); etc. As to Aesop, Ovid, Apuleius, Lucian, Rabelais, Des Périers (“Cymbalum Mundi”), Villalón (“El Crótalon”), see (Kohlhauer 2002, pp. 56, 60, spec. 64–68, 70, 74–75, 81, passim; here pp. 70, 70n.); as to Lucian, Villalón, cf. also (Nolting-Hauff 1987, pp. 184–90, passim; and pp. 190–195 re the colloquy); as regards the coloquio vis-à-vis the “Baldus”, see (Blecua 1972, pp. 175–78, here p. 175). Beusterien’s claim that “[t]he animals in important source texts of ‘The Dialogue of the Dogs’ are bereft of language” (Beusterien 2016, p. 37; cf. p. 38; contrast p. 51) is problematic—spec. since he briefly glances at Lucian, at des Périers (p. 38); his discarding the latter is based on the fact that “Cervantes never mentions that the dogs have consumed or incorporated a human tongue in order to speak” (Beusterien 2016, p. 38). The narrative framework and the dogs (in the coloquio itself) explicitly accumulate a considerable number of other possible motivations for the capacity for speech on the part of the canines: their being metamorphosed humans, the whole scene being a miracle, a dream, a feverish vision or hallucination induced by Campuzano’s treatment (likely for syphilis), a poetic tour de force on the part of Campuzano, etc.; in Spadaccini’s/Talens’ felicitous wording: “The reader enters the world of the Coloquio through a series of filters” (Spadaccini and Talens 1989, p. 226). Of a similarly problematic status as a nondifferentiation of a text’s various narrative planes is the conflation of the intra- with the extratextual level: “Cervantes accurately had his Berganza tell us” (Alves 2011, p. 84). It is precisely from the perspective of Animal Studies that claiming authorial intent (especially if harnessed as a warrant for a perceived authenticity) will effectively spirit away the animal in the process. A mindful, even wary correlation of the various textual planes potentially present simultaneously (e.g., literal, putatively authorial, discursive, epistemological, etc.) is requisite, in order to bring an animal into focus in its capacity as animal. When Beusterien briefly refers to “the ensign” for purposes of a construal combining “psychoanalytic interpretations” and “Animal Studies”, he asserts that Campuzano actively narrates (“the oral telling of the dog dialogue itself”, (Beusterien 2016, p. 42)) or ‘reads’ the coloquio ‘to’ Peralta (“the ensign’s […] reading to his friend”, p. 42n.), neither of which is supported by the text. If opting, as Beusterien does throughout, for the supposition of a perceived authorial intent as the (sole) basis for his case, and for what he takes to be the respectively authoritative reading—cf. e.g., “This intentional lack” (Beusterien 2016, p. 38); “Cervantes deliberately emphasizes” (p. 39); “Cervantes anticipates postures from Animal Studies” (p. 42); “Berganza, a creature intentionally defined” (p. 47); “Cervantes intentionally tangles” (p. 49; cf. pp. 50, 53); “‘The Dialogue of the Dogs’ should be read as disposing of certain foundational anthropocentric precepts” (p. 54)—maintaining the impression of having focused on ‘the animal as animal’, “studying the animal itself” (p. 35), on the “elimination of the animal as figure” (Beusterien 2016, p. 36; cf. pp. 8, 109) might prove difficult; and all the more so, when insisting on a biographically inflected poetics: “I have given preference to the stuttering thesis as an influence in Cervantes’ creation of the talking dogs […] Cervantes’ stuttering inspired him to conceive the human-animal divide in the innovative ways that he does” (Beusterien 2016, p. 39n.); cf. (Beusterien 2009, pp. 218–19). With respect to apparently oneirically induced animal speech in general, see also Fudge’s reference to “Artemidorus’s dream text”, and “the speaking animal of the dream” (Fudge 2006, pp. 35–36); as well as Perry on “Woodhouse’s Flea speak[ing] for himself […] from the shelter of a Dog’s ear”—which speech act “is framed by two dreams” (Perry 2004, p. 30).
See this arch-rhetorical (forensic) technique: “in utramque partem vel in plures” (Quintilian 2001, p. 156, 3.11.2); cf. (Mayfield 2017b, pp. 14–16).
Cf. “What matters is not the truth, but the virtuosity of the ‘engaño’” (Gossy 1989, p. 72). Rhetorically, this pertains to the function of delectare, chiefly produced by the elocutio (including the ornatus) and actio; see Scipio’s metapoetical remarks (Cervantes 2016b, pp. 455–56; Cervantes 2002a, p. 304); Campuzano on his lady: “tenía un tono de habla tan suave que se entraba por los oídos en el alma” (Cervantes 2002b, p. 284; cf. p. 285). Generally: “el deleite mucho mayor es imaginado que gozado” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 343, cf. p. 342); see (Hart 1979, p. 383); (Teuber 2005, p. 257); (Boyd 2010, pp. 22, 39); cum grano salis (Dunn 2010, pp. 97–101). On the etymological ‘sweetness’ in the word ‘persuasion’, see (Bers 1994, p. 188); (Mayfield 2017b, p. 19n.; Mayfield 2017d, p. 210).
See (El Saffar 1974, pp. 72, 74, 78, 81). Structurally, this attitude echoes that on the part of Campuzano’s lady: “parecía que les [sc. ‘demonstraciones’, ‘ofrecimientos’, ‘razones’] daba atento oído antes que crédito alguno” (Cervantes 2002b, p. 284). Cf. Cummings’ felicitous formulation in another context: “He [sc. Browne] knows his readers will not believe him, but they will half want to, and they will play along with his game” (Cummings 2004, p. 166).
Cf. (Forcione 1984, pp. 11, 168). For this textual strategy (with corresponding images), as précised by the siglo de oro’s grand maestro of rhetoric, see (Gracián 2011, p. 180, §144; pp. 217–18, §210; p. 245, §267); cf. (Mayfield 2015, pp. 206–7, 233–34); on the ‘decoy’ in Gracián, see (Küpper 2007, pp. 426–27). Cf. and contrast: “The tone is light and ironical throughout, but behind it is the grim assumption that speaking ill of others is one of the most damaging things in life” (Riley 1976, p. 195). Generally, cf. “Talking animals […] sugar the instructive pill; they exist to entertain” (Perry 2004, p. 20).
Like the comprehensive art of rhetoric, a text’s discursive (sub- or super)structure is located at an (often latent) metalevel. Throughout this essay, the heuristico-hermeneutic application of discourse analysis to literary texts follows Küpper’s take on the Foucauldian blueprint (Küpper 1990, pp. 30–32, spec. 31n.); cf. (Küpper 2001, passim). On sermocinatio, see (Rhetorica 2004, pp. 394–99, IV.lii.65); for varying terminologies, cf. (Lausberg 1990, p. 140, §425; pp. 142–143, §§432–433; Lausberg 2008; pp. 406–13, §§817–829).
To say nothing of the host of passages on “dumb idols” (Hab 2:18, 1Cor 12:2; KJV; cf. e.g., Ps 115: 4–7, 135:15–17); nor of these notoriously thorny lines (Lev 24:16; Mt 12:31–32; Mk 3:29). As everyone knows, there is also a speaking serpent in Gen 3:1, 4–5; naturally, this particular precedent for animal narration in Scripture will likely be considered rather problematic, in a Christian context. Cf. Cummings, noting (with regard to Early Modern England): “As if to provide authority, Browne cites (with disingenuous seriousness) ‘the Serpent that spake unto Eve’ and dogs and cats that talk to witches” (Cummings 2004, p. 165). For speaking animals (donkey, dog, lion) in Scriptural traditions from a dogmatic point of view, see also (Hobgood-Oster 2014, passim), with spec. reference also to Balaam’s speaking donkey at Num 22:28–30 (pp. 217–18); the readings—including a “story of a preaching dog” from “The Acts of Peter” in “Christian apocrypha”—are problematic (p. 218; cf. p. 219), to the extent that they may seem to be uncritically dogmatic; as to the centrality of the lógos in the Christian tradition, see also (Hobgood-Oster 2014, passim, spec. pp. 211–15, cum grano salis). Generally—and like the Cervantine œuvre overall—the coloquio teems with (largely) oblique references to Scripture, see (Forcione 1984, p. 72, passim). As to the fiat lux with regard to the present thematic focus, see also: “Wären wir Gott gleich, so würden die Geschichten, die wir uns ausdenken, selbst zu Wirklichkeiten, in denen wir uns ausdrücken”—thus Blumenberg’s paraphrase of a sentence on the part of Campanella: “ut cum fabulas fingimus, quas realiter exprimeremus si Deo aequivalentes essemus”, qtd. in (Blumenberg 1986, pp. 83, 83n.).
The doctrinal plane is also inscribed into the witch’s tale (Cervantes 2016b, pp. 487–95), suggesting that Berganza and Scipio are human brothers in houndlike shape. She cites a prophecy, see (Cervantes 2016b, p. 490; Cervantes 2002a, p. 338), concerning their (potential) retransformation, which alludes to a suitably distorted mélange—cf. (Forcione 1984, pp. 44–46); (Gossy 1989, pp. 79, 130n.); (Boyd 2010, p. 39); (Dunn 2010, p. 100)—of various Scriptural passages (among others: Dan 4:37, with context; Isa 2:11–17, 40:4; Lk 1:51–52, 3:5, 14:11; Mt 23:12, 28:18) with a revelational tendency. In a rhetorical analysis of sermocinatio (at various levels), it must be rendered problematic what is put into the mouth of whom—e.g., a hag teaching a dog on dogmatic matters of the Faith, his account thereof being additionally mediated via the intratextual reader (Peralta) and author (Campuzano).
Likewise, Scipio states: “si el cielo me concede tiempo, lugar y habla” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 322). See Sieber’s felicitous formulation: “El don del hablar es el punto de origen de su vida” (Sieber 2002, p. 37). For the discursive implications: “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1Cor 6:19–20; KJV). See an orthodox articulation of ‘life on loan’ in Calderón’s later El gran teatro del mundo: “¿Cómo me quitas lo que ya me diste?”—“Porque dados no fueron, no: prestados/sí, para el tiempo que el papel hiciste” (Calderón 2009, p. 81, vv.1296–1298); see (Epictetus 1928a, pp. 490–91, §11; pp. 496–97, §17); cf. (Mayfield 2015, p. 59n.). On the Council of Trent, the Tridentine Counter-Reformation, generally and re Cervantes, cf. (Küpper 1990, pp. 21–23, 25, 287–290, 387n., 459–460, passim); with (Küpper 2000, pp. 178–79, 193n., 197–98, 199n., 201n., 203–4, 212n.–213n.; Küpper 2005, pp. 218–19); (Forcione 1984, p. 196); (Spadaccini and Talens 1989, pp. 212, 238–39); (Nolting-Hauff 1987, pp. 191–92); on the novelas, see (Teuber 2005, pp. 243–44); (Gossy 1989, p. 59); contrast (Atkinson 1986, p. 131)—who thus does not render sufficiently problematic the following: “investing dogs with the power of speech, a liberty for which also there was sound precedent” (p. 138); see (Aylward 2010, p. 256).
Cf. “a set (Einstellung) toward” (Jakobson 1987a, p. 66). Generally, any type of text, particularly those of an expressly literary make, are polyfunctional constructs—from both a productive (poetic) and a receptive (hermeneutic) point of view. Historically, various rhetorical traditions log the functions of docere (prodesse), delectare, movere—usually all with a view to persuadere or dissuadere, cf. (Mayfield 2017b, p. 19n.). For the Horatian “aut prodesse […] aut delectare” (Horace 2005, p. 478, v.333); cf. “gusto o provecho” in the witch’s tale (Cervantes 2002a, p. 341); the ars poetica is mentioned on (p. 355); see Berganza’s aiming at taking Scipio’s advice to recount events “de manera que enseñen y deleiten a un mismo punto” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 307); cf. (Boyd 2010, pp. 40–41); (Thompson 2010, pp. 265–66, passim); with the context cum grano salis, cf. (Atkinson 1986, pp. 138–39); re “mezclar […] lo útil con lo dulce” in connection with cynicism (Cervantes 2005, p. 20); cf. (Riley 1976, pp. 194–95). On polyfunctionality and rhetoric, cf. (Mayfield 2017b, pp. 5–8, 5n.–6n., 8n., 14n., 33n.).
Cf. “the specific world view of Hapsburg Spain […] that reality is in the text and is part of its structure” (Spadaccini and Talens 1989, p. 214); “the reader plays a central role in the construction of meaning” (p. 216); “The reading of the Casamiento/Coloquio […] entails the discovery of the rhetorical structure of our perceptions of reality; an […] encounter with a world constructed out of a confluence of discourses through the […] tricks of language” (p. 231); “From a rhetorical standpoint, one of the techniques used by art and literature to persuade was to implicate the reader/spectator in the work itself. […] the power of interpretation is ‘given’ to the reader/spectator in order to make the manipulation (and the persuasion) more viable” (Spadaccini and Talens 1989, p. 240); cf. “the creative act of reading belongs to the actual reality of the text itself” (Nerlich 1989, p. 254); “Cervantes’s complex fictionalization of the reading process in the Dogs’ Colloquy. […] this kind of activation of the reader” (Forcione 1989, p. 336; cf. p. 345). For an ethical reading re “tropelía y engaño literario: El coloquio de los perros es una mentira que quiere ser en su propio modo una verdad” (Sieber 2002, p. 38; cf. p. 31); see (Teuber 2005, p. 258); (Hart 1979, pp. 379–80).
Jakobson’s linguistico-literary description of communicational situations suggests six functions (and corresponding factors): the emotive (addresser), conative (addressee), referential (context), metalingual (code), phatic (contact), and poetic (message); cf. (Jakobson 1987a, passim, spec. pp. 66–71)—all of which will be present in most any form of semiotic interaction, albeit to differing degrees of predominance; these may differ from an intra- or extratextual perspective. Poetic and hermeneutic emphases tend to vary (even be at variance), since any recipient all but inevitably refunctionalizes anything received—a process also influenced by how a semiotic artifact has been conceived.
Cipión had requested: “me cuentes tu vida y los trances por donde has venido al punto en que ahora te hallas” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 301); cf. Berganza’s summary remark towards the end, with Nominalist couleur re contingency—generally thereto, cf. (Küpper 1990, pp. 41–44, 263–90, spec. 270–72, 277; Küpper 2000, pp. 210–15)—“¿Ves mis muchos y diversos sucesos? ¿Consideras mis caminos y mis amos tantos?” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 354). These rhetorical questions are paradigmatic of polyfunctionality: the emotive and conative function are accentuated; the poetic one is present in various forms of parallelism, in the cumulative consonance based on the high density of the letter ‹s›. Regarding the “comediantes”, Berganza details the focus and content of his observations (“noté, averigüé y vi”) in this percursio (partly representative re other episodes): “su proceder, su vida, sus costumbres, sus ejercicios, su trabajo, su ociosidad, su ignorancia y su agudeza, con otras infinitas cosas” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 354).
See “la admiración que nos causó el vernos con habla” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 336); cf. (Gaylord 2002, p. 115); cf. “Hablan sobre la posibilidad de hablar (como Cervantes habla en el Prólogo de la posibilidad de prologar)” (Sieber 2002, p. 35).
In its generally metalingual context—cf. “Este nombre se compone de dos nombres griegos” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 320)—the pun in ‘añadiendo colas al pulpo’, with Berganza remarking “no se llaman colas las del pulpo” (p. 319), seems a rhetorico-semantic paronomasia, melding ‘colon’ (from Greek ‘kólon’) with ‘cola’; for another reasoning, see (Forcione 1984, p. 6n.; cf. pp. 227–28); on wordplay in the coloquio, see (Hart 1979, p. 383). The account of Berganza’s and Scipio’s being human brothers in canine shape is additionally motivated poetically: the sorceress causative of their alleged metamorphosis—“Tuvo fama que convertía los hombres en animales” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 337)—is supposed to be able to “hacer nacer berros”, a patent paronomasia with the “perros” she is then said to have ‘midwifed’; cf. “mostróle que había parido dos perritos”, “este perruno parto de otra parte viene”, “ella había convertido a sus hijos en perros” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 338); cf. (Forcione 1984, p. 155n.). For the ‘paronomastic’ “metamorphosis” in “Canis, Cañizares, ‘Canization’”, see (Kohlhauer 2002, p. 54; trans. dsm).
Cf. (Forcione 1984, pp. 10, 41, 102, 126–27, 138); (El Saffar 1976, pp. 58, 84–86, passim; El Saffar 1974, pp. 64, 76, 82–85); (Gossy 1989, pp. 57–58); (Schmauser 1996, pp. 159–60); (Teuber 2005, p. 257); (Boyd 2010, pp. 15–16, 41); (Aylward 2010, pp. 235, 239–58); (Spadaccini and Talens, p. 228); (Kohlhauer 2002, pp. 75, 81). The coloquio commences with an ironic marker (typical of Cervantine écriture), then echoed at the end: “[la] merced que el cielo en un mismo punto a los dos nos ha hecho” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 299); “El acabar […] y el despertar […] fue todo a un tiempo” (p. 359); cf. (Boyd 2010, pp. 16, 41). For internal parallelisms featuring slight variations with considerable discursive import: “la ociosidad, raíz y madre de todos los vicios” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 310); cf. (1Tim 6:10, 2Thess 3:6–13, spec. v.10); “la ociosidad sea madre de los pensamientos” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 318). Cf. Johnson’s metapoetical statement: “We are left, as usual, where Cervantes so often leaves us, with […] multiple perspectives, and […] competing voices” (Johnson 1991, p. 22).
This must all the more caution against anachronistic construals, against spiriting away the reader or recipient.
On the various “modi tractandi”, here spec. “sermocinatio” qua ‘putting words into the mouth of’, see (Lausberg 2008, pp. 532–33, §1105; p. 543, §§1131–1132)—with ‘delegating one’s voice’ being a device of indirection. On “memoria” and “inventio” with regard to Cervantes, cf. (Nerlich 1989, pp. 264–65).
Refunctionalizing the concept of “motivation” mutatis mutandis (Jakobson 1987b, pp. 26–27); cf. (Küpper 1990, pp. 41–42, 41n.–42n.). At a literal level, cf. also: “el único animal que se ajustaba a la intención satírica del Coloquio era precisamente el perro, por su doble condición de animal doméstico, hábil escrutador de vidas cotidianas, y de andariego y callejero. Ni el asno ni el gallo le servían para ello” (Blecua 1972, p. 177). Like other domestic beings (or, as Blecua argues above, more than others), dogs tend to be perceived by humankind as quasi-go-between entities—hence (literarily) expedient for evincing various forms of human–animal interaction. Generally speaking, dogs may have always seemed to give humankind the impression that they were striving to communicate; the particularly close—spatial, physical—proximity that has (arguably all but always) obtained between these species may be seen to provide the (factual) basis for a continued semiotic interaction characterized by reciprocity, mutuality; hence: “reading a dog’s bodily movements as communication is not anthropomorphic, but is an acknowledgement of the shared embodiment that makes all languages possible” (Raber 2013, p. 192n.).
See (Sieber 2002, p. 31); cf. “this extraordinary two-part finale” (Gaylord 2002, p. 113); “the summation of the entire moral thrust of the Novelas” (Boyd 2010, p. 41; cf. p. 42).
As to a multilevel approach, see Küpper’s explication (with reference to Aristotle, Lotman) regarding “welchen Grad an Abstraktion die Literatur erreicht, welchen Profils also ihr kognitiver Anspruch ist”: spec. “dass ein literarischer Text in dieser Hinsicht eben jenen Grad erreicht, den wir ihm als Leser zuschreiben”; hence: “das entsprechende Niveau von Verallgemeinerung ist in das Benehmen des Rezipienten gestellt”—with it being possible “im Akt der Lektüre mehrere denkbare Ebenen des Allgemeinen zu erproben und zwischen diesen Ebenen hin- und herzuwechseln” (Küpper 2013, p. 265).
Within the coloquio, Cipión performs an exegesis of Camacha’s (supposedly prophetic) verses, trying to read them allegorically: “sus palabras se han de tomar en un sentido que he oído decir se llama al[e]górico, el cual sentido no quiere decir lo que la letra suena, sino otra cosa” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 346); when that has apparently proven unsuccessful, he opts for the ‘literal sense’: “no en el sentido alegórico, sino en el literal, se han de tomar los versos de la Camacha” (p. 347); and when this proves inconsistent with the facts—precisely since “nos estamos tan perros como ves” (p. 347)—he rejects the verses and witches altogether.
Concerning the Quijote, Küpper states: “the author favors the oblique modus as a result of fundamental considerations” (Küpper 2005, p. 219n.; trans. dsm); Nolting-Hauff accentuates “a particularly wary mode of expression” on the part of Cervantes (Nolting-Hauff 1987, p. 192; trans. dsm). Overall, as Forcione notes, “Cervantes tends to exploit the value system of his society to construct his works” (Forcione 1989, p. 350); cf. also (Nolting-Hauff 1987, pp. 191–92); (Küpper 2000, p. 179)—the latter with the universal remark as to “was sich hinter wohlfeilen Formeln zu verbergen pflegt: Abgründe” (p. 184n.).
On the Gesta Romanorum, see Largier (1997, pp. 246–48), giving an exemplum featuring a familiar Alexander–Diogenes encounter, from a 1342 manuscript—cf. (Oesterley 1872, p. 589, §183, germ. §15); see the Medieval Spanish libro de los enxemplos (~13th century), cited in (Largier 1997, pp. 204–5), referring to Valerius Maximus, to Seneca’s de beneficiis for its moral message—see (Seneca 2006, pp. 298–99, V.iv.3–4). Cf. the 13th century El libro de los buenos proverbios, “also translated into Hebrew”, based on an “Arabic collection of sayings […] of the 9th century” (Largier 1997, p. 208n.; trans. dsm). On the 13th century Bocados de Oro, see (Bocados 1971, pp. 39a–44, X); (Largier 1997, pp. 188–96); cf. (Mayfield 2015, p. 23n.); as to the “Medieval ‘genres’” of “the exempla and the novas” (Spadaccini and Talens 1989, p. 210; see pp. 211–213); cum grano salis, cf. (Beusterien 2016, pp. 8, 37–40, 49, 51, 53–54, 57). The above might demonstrate the transcultural, translingual prevalence of the matter at hand. Rather than to a historical individual, it refers to a literary persona commonly called ‘Diogenes the Dog/Cynic (of Sinope)’—cf. “ὁ Κύων” (Aristotle 2006, p. 400, III.x.7, 1411a)—continually constructed and construed over the course of a considerable tradition enduring to this day: “the story of Diogenes, like a snowball rolled downhill, gathered additions to itself as it went along” (Dudley 2003, p. 19); generally, see (Niehues-Pröbsting 1988, p. 18); (Mayfield 2015, pp. 11–12, 18–53, spec. 18n., 21n.–22n.).
On ‘chria’, (in)finite ‘sententia’, see (Lausberg 1990, pp. 130–31, §§398–399; Lausberg 2008, pp. 431–34, §§872–879, pp. 536–40, §§1117–1121); re the coloquio, cf. (Hart 1979, passim, spec. p. 380). For Blumenberg’s concept of “Umbesetzung”, ‘refunctionalization’, ‘reallocation’, cf. (Blumenberg 1999, pp. 52, 57–58, 60, 71, 87–88, passim; Blumenberg 1996, pp. 183–299); re applications, see (Küpper 1990, pp. 258, 274, 406, passim); (Mayfield 2015, p. 170n.; Mayfield 2017c, passim). For the present argument concerning the coloquio, it is needful to log a comparable presence of this textual strategy in the “Novela del licenciado Vidriera” (Cervantes 2002c, pp. 54–73); cf. (Riley 1976, pp. 190–95, passim); (Küpper 2000, pp. 180–90; re cynicism, pp. 186n.–187n., 190); (Ricapito 1996, pp. 85–88); (Dümchen 1989, passim). Refunctionalizations occur in terms of form and content—cf. (Cervantes 2016d, pp. 221–39), with (D. Laertius 2005, pp. 22–85, VI.20–81). The context—siglo de oro, Counter-Reformation Spain, the attribution of the protagonist’s wayward behavior to a mental condition caused by a substance administered against his will, see (Cervantes 2016d, p. 220)—produces (paradigmatic) alterations (in tendency); moreover, a textual strategy of aemulatio regarding the Diogenical ‘source type’ (Lotman’s term mutatis mutandis)—see (Lotman 1972, pp. 151, 151n.); cf. (Mayfield 2015, pp. 11–12, 12n., 19, 19n., 22–55, 272, 272n., 286)—holds sway throughout, while the basic structure of the anecdotes and sententiae remains discernible; cf. and contrast (Riley 1976, pp. 191–94, including examples); (Forcione 1982, p. 263, ch. 3 passim); cf. (Forcione 1984, pp. 6n., 7, 12n., 181, 201); (Schmauser 1996, pp. 87, 89–90). In terms of tendency, cf. e.g., the Cervantine version—“he would only drink water from springs or rivers, and that only with his hands. […] During the summers, he slept out in the countryside, out in the open [‘al cielo abierto’]” (Cervantes 2016d, p. 221; Cervantes 2002c, p. 54); the formulation “al cielo abierto” is also used by Berganza (Cervantes 2002a, p. 305)—with this account in D. Laertius: “One day, observing a child drinking out of his hands, he cast away the cup from his wallet with the words, ‘A child has beaten me in plainness of living’” (D. Laertius 2005, p. 39, VI.37); “In summer he was wont to roll around on the red-hot sand” (D. Laertius 2008, pp. 289–90, VI.23; trans. dsm); cf. (Mayfield 2015, pp. 46–48). In terms of structural affinity, cf. e.g., a Cervantine version—“One time, as he was standing in front of a tailor’s shop, he noticed that the fellow was standing around doing nothing [‘estaba mano sobre mano’]. He said to him: ‘There is no doubt about it, master tailor: you are on the path to salvation […], since you have nothing to do, you won’t have any occasion to tell lies’” (Cervantes 2016d, p. 231; Cervantes 2002c, p. 65)—with the following in D. Laertius: “to a man whose shoes were being put on by his servant, he said, ‘You have not attained to full felicity, unless he wipes your nose as well; and that will come, when you have lost the use of your hands’” (D. Laertius 2005, p. 47, VI.44); cf. (Mayfield 2015, p. 45). A penchant for wordplay is discernible in “The Glasswork Graduate” (in Cervantes generally) and D. Laertius passim; cf. “De las damas que llaman cortesanas decía que todas, o las más, tenían más de corteses que de sanas” (Cervantes 2002c, p. 71); for comparable puns, cf. pp. 63, 63n., 65, 65n., 67
); with: “The school [‘scholèn’] of Euclides he [sc. ‘Diogenes’] called bilious [‘cholén’] and Plato’s lectures [‘diatribèn’] waste of time [‘katatribén’]” (D. Laertius 2005, pp. 26–27, VI.24); cf. (D. Laertius 2008, p. 290n.); (Dudley 2003, p. 57); (Mayfield 2015, p. 50n.; on Diogenical wordplay, p. 30n.). Generally, cf. “News of his madness [‘locura’] and of his answers and sayings extended throughout Castile” (Cervantes 2016d, p. 223; Cervantes 2002c, p. 56); “people of every walk of life were always hanging on his every word” (Cervantes 2016d, p. 228; cf. p. 230; Cervantes 2002c, pp. 61, 63); “In the end, he said so many such things that, if it were not for […] his dementia [‘locura’], anybody would have thought he was one of the wisest men in the world” (Cervantes 2016d, p. 239; Cervantes 2002c, p. 73)—statements that, mutatis mutandis, might plausibly be reapplied ‘backwards’ to ‘ho kýon’ (qua control); spec. in connection with the (paronomastic) comment on the apparent ‘madman’, embedded in a particular altercation: “más tenéis de bellaco que de loco” (Cervantes 2002c, p. 55). ‘Diogenes’ is dubbed “[a] Socrates gone mad” by ‘Plato’ (D. Laertius 2005, p. 54, VI.54); thereto, cf. (Mayfield 2015, p. 31). Figuratively at first, Berganza is described as “algún demonio en figura de perro”, dubbed “‘perro sabio’” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 333); later, some take it literally: “‘¡Apártense, que rabia el perro sabio!’ […] es Demonio en figura de perro” (p. 345).
83(Juvenalian) satire is explicitly mentioned: “era difícil cosa el no escribir sátiras” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 306; cf. p. 306n.); (Forcione 1984, pp. 180–82); see (Kohlhauer 2002, p. 66). As to satire, diatribe, the Menippea, the carnivalesque, with respect to the coloquio, see especially (Kohlhauer 2002, p. 54; cf. pp. 56–57, 60, 63, spec. 64–70, 74–76, 78, 81, passim; with explicit reference to Cynicism, cf. pp. 70, 74); generally, see (Nolting-Hauff 1987, passim; pp. 184–89), in conjunction with (Nolting-Hauff 1983, passim); as to the coloquio in particular, cf. (Nolting-Hauff 1987, pp. 190–95).
85See (Forcione 1984, pp. 155–56, 155n.); also Berganza, on his conduct toward the poet: “Hícele mis acostumbradas caricias, por asegurarle de mi mansedumbre” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 351). Cf. Montaigne: “I observe with […] amazement the behavior, […] common enough, of the dogs that blind men use both in the fields and in town; I have noticed how they stop at certain doors where they have been accustomed to receive alms, how they avoid being hit by coaches and carts, even when for their part they have enough room to pass; I have seen one, along a town ditch, leave a smooth flat path and take a worse one, to keep his master away from the ditch” (Montaigne 1989, p. 340, II.12); cf. the spec. pertinent passage in Montaigne’s French with the Cervantine wording above: “je me suis pris garde comme ils s’arrêtent à certaines portes, d’où ils ont accoutumé de tirer l’aumône” (Montaigne 2009, p. 196, II.xii). The other segment perhaps relevant here, “j’en ai vu le long d’un fossé de ville, laisser un sentier plein et uni, et en prendre un pire, pour éloigner son maître du fossé” (p. 196, II.xii), may seem like a rendering of dogs as anti-pícaros, if contrasted with Lazarillo’s vengeful termination of serving “el ciego”, at the end of the first tractado (Lazarillo 2011, pp. 44–46, I)—for whom he acts as a sort of human seeing-eye dog, and an aide in begging alms, “salimos por la villa a pedir limosna” (p. 44, I)—by deceiving the blind man into leaping headlong (“de toda su fuerza”) into a post (“poste”), leaving him “medio muerto” (Lazarillo 2011, p. 45, I).
86Concerning the dogs with their lanterns, Beusterien writes: “Cervantes evokes the commonplace notion from the day that the dogs are connected to the pursuit of an exemplary life associated with Saint Dominic and his order. A multitude of images from the sixteenth and seventeenth century can be found of Dominican dogs holding torches in their mouths […] Rosal’s description of the Dominicans states: ‘the preaching order of […] Saint Dominic has the dog with a torch in its mouth as its coat of arms, a symbol of preaching and representative of the purest doctrine and an exemplary life’” (Beusterien 2016, p. 49; cf. p. 49n.); as to Dominicans and canines, see also (Forcione 1984, pp. 155n.–156n.); (Alves 2014, p. 277); (Manning 2007, p. 148). In the latter case, dogs are indeed (only) instrumentalized as symbols, wherefore Beusterien’s all but exclusive privileging of this imagery—which would have contributed to the Early Modern recipients’ being able to tie in their experience with the coloquio’s virtual world—may seem somewhat remarkable, considering his claim to a decidedly non-figurative, Animal Studies approach otherwise (Beusterien 2016, pp. 35–36, 48n., passim). The reference to Cervantes’ being “also interested in the Cynics” (Beusterien 2016, p. 78n.) occurs later, as a footnote in the context of a discussion concerning Velázquez’ painting of “Mennipus [sic], known as Cynic or ‘little dog’” (p. 78), where Beusterien asserts: “While the dogs carrying torches principally connected them with Dominican iconography, it also connected them with the Cynic philosophers” (p. 78n.). Given the express reference to cynicism in the coloquio, as well as the textual presence of Platonico-Socratic and Scriptural indications even at the semantic level, an effectively exclusive emphasis on Dominican iconography (which, in turn, would have been influenced by the aforesaid traditions) may seem problematic. Beusterien’s reading of the coloquio as “a revolutionary animal exemplum” (Beusterien 2016, p. 39)—contrast (Kohlhauer 2002, p. 61)—hinges on the dualism of “the dog’s connection to saintliness” and “to a tradition in which they are icons of the diabolic” (Beusterien 2016, p. 50; cf. p. 51); a reference to the text’s explicit gesture(s) toward cynicism would have significantly diluted the alleged polarity Beusterien requires, in order to make his case.
87Cf. (D. Laertius 2005, p. 47, VI.46, p. 51, VI.49, p. 61, VI.59, pp. 69, 68n., VI.67); see (Mayfield 2015, pp. 26n., 30, 45, 48, 51, 52n., 61, 306). Cf. Berganza on the gitanos: “Cuando piden limosna, más la sacan con invenciones y chocarrerías que con devociones” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 348).
88“Cipión and Berganza serve as watchdogs and ‘lightdogs’” (Nerlich 1989, p. 309). Throughout the coloquio, the dogs are not ‘employed’ in line with what might seem their most ‘utile’ natural capacity (the olfactory) from a human perspective; instead, they serve as audiovisual observers—a tendency accentuated by frequent mentions of terms referring to the respective senses (in physical and figurative contexts); but cf. “llegó a mis narices un olor de tocino […]; descubríle con el olfato, y halléle” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 325)—ironically, this instance (where Berganza’s scent plays a crucial role) causes considerable havoc for the humans involved. Generally, cf. also Raber’s heuristic contrast: “When early modern texts discuss cats, they rarely if ever dwell on the haptic zone that for postmoderns may be the most significant source of pleasure for both parties: petting cats simply does not figure in early modern texts or cultural artifacts, although we must assume that it happened” (Raber 2013, p. 25).
89The dog had already been introduced at (Plato 2013, pp. 182–83, II, 375a); mentioned again, with the horse (pp. 184–85, II, 375a). The glosses at (Plato 2013, pp. 188n.–189n.) seem to be innocent of a serious appreciation for the rhetorico-hypoleptic dimension of Plato’s écriture; on this problem, see (Ziolkowski 1983, p. 96). Given a respective readiness, a polyfunctional view of semiotic artifacts might demonstrate that apparent or near opposites (the ironic, grave, cheerful, severe, etc.) may be simultaneously present; re the coloquio, see (Forcione 1984, pp. 171–74, 177–78, 195, 200, 214, 231)—spec. “contexts of rapidly shifting perspectives and varied tones” (p. 173); “[t]he plurality of meanings effected” (p. 174); “play of possibilities” (p. 177).
90Scipio refers to the “amistad y fidelidad inviolable” attributed to dogs with the respective term figuratively employed, “guardaron” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 300; cf. p. 300n.). Regarding outward aggression, Berganza states: “servía con gran cuidado y diligencia; ladraba a los forasteros y gruñía a los que no eran muy conocidos; […] hecho universal centinela de la mía y de las casas ajenas” (pp. 312–13). In his shepherding episode: “it seemed to me that the proper and natural function of dogs [‘propio y natural oficio de los perros’] is to stand guard over [‘guardar’] livestock, which is a task entailing a very great virtue, namely that of sheltering and defending the humble [‘humildes’] and the needy from the proud [‘soberbios’] and powerful” (Cervantes 2016b, p. 457; Cervantes 2002a, p. 305; cf. pp. 310–11), where these terms reappear: “el oficio de guardar”, “se guardase”, “guardar”, “guarda”, “centinelas”). Generally, the attributes human beings in a certain context attach to particular animals tend to be mediated by previous (literary) formulations (fables, folktales, proverbs, etc.); cf. e.g., Montaigne’s following formulations, apparently melding near-contemporaneous historical data with allusions to the Platonic intertext: “as the Spaniards in the recent conquest of the Indies did to their dogs, to whom they gave pay and a share in the booty; and these animals showed as much skill and judgment in pursuing their victory and holding back, in charging or withdrawing according to the occasion, in distinguishing friends from enemies, as they did ardor and fierceness” (Montaigne 1989). For a reading of a document relating to “the Spanish dog” qua “mighty military fighting machine” of “sixteenth-century conquistadors”, see (Beusterien 2016, pp. 1–3)—given the Animal Studies approach of the latter, the wording may seem rather curious.
91Not only a learned Early Modern audience would all but inevitably connect this Scriptural passage, or (narrative) allusions thereto, also with the notorious Plautine sententia (which, incidentally, also resonates with the Platonic passage above, if cited in full): “lupus est homo homini, non homo, quom qualis sit non novit” (Plautus 1966, p. 176, II, v.495); re the coloquio in this respect, cf. (Kohlhauer 2002, p. 59). Generally, see Gracián’s topical coalescence: “entre los hombres, pues cada uno es un lobo para el otro” (Gracián 2009, p. 99, I.iv); “ya estamos entre enemigos […] que si los hombres no son fieras es porque son más fieros, que de su crueldad aprendieron muchas vezes ellas. Nunca mayor peligro hemos tenido que ahora que estamos entre ellos” (p. 100, I.iv). Contrast Beusterien, who—contesting what he calls “the homo homini lupus tradition”, including “La Celestina”, “Gracián”, “Hobbes” (Beusterien 2016, p. 48; cf. p. 49)—claims: “Cervantes […] marks an important step toward the manifestation of the Animal Studies argument against the use of the homo homini lupus metaphor” (p. 49).
92Cf. and contrast (Forcione 1984, pp. 155–56). See Gracián’s formulation: “No ser todo columbino. Altérnense la calidez de la serpiente con la candidez de la paloma. […] Sea uno mixto de paloma y de serpiente; no mostro, sino prodigio” (Gracián 2011, pp. 234–35, §243); cf. (Mayfield 2015, pp. 227–28). In the coloquio, Cipión praises the Jesuits in precisely those terms (“singular prudencia […] humildad profunda […] bienaventuranza”), while adding the notion that they function as celestial scouts: “guiadores y adalides del camino del cielo” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 316); cf. (Hart 1979, pp. 380–81); (Forcione 1984, pp. 147–51); (Nolting-Hauff 1987, p. 192). Regarding ‘poetic license’, Horace’s ars poetica states that this cannot include “that savage [‘immitia’] should mate with tame [‘placidis’], or serpents couple with birds, lambs with tigers” (Horace 2005, pp. 450–51, vv.12–13).
93See (Mayfield 2015, pp. 61–75, spec. 69–70, 72n., 73). Cf. its history of reception during the Early Modern Age: “the first printed edition of the Discourses” was “published […] in Venice in 1535” (Dobbin 2011a, p. xxiii). “The most important modern editions are […] published in Basel between 1560 and 1563, which included a Latin translation and commentary” (p. xxiv).
94Cf. the second quote with Scipio’s ensuing guidelines: “murmura, pica y pasa, y sea tu intención limpia, aunque la lengua no parezca” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 308). On ‘Diogenes’ qua “spy” (Epictetus 2011, pp. 45–46, I.24); Epictetus ties to this literary persona the ‘espying’ of the following: “death is no evil, for it is not shameful either. […] ill repute is the empty noise of madmen” (p. 45); “to be simply clothed is better […] to sleep on the bare ground is the softest bed”: “This is a proper spy” (p. 46). Dobbin glosses: “Diogenes is a ‘spy’ because he has scouted out the extremes of hardship, and is in a position to report that nothing there is beyond endurance” (Dobbin 2011b, p. 202)—adding that suchlike is “part of a revisionist effort to rescue Cynicism’s reputation by bringing it more into line with traditional Hellenic values” (p. 203).
95As the third meaning of three, the DRAE offers: “Conversar en perjuicio de un ausente, censurando sus acciones” (Real Academia Española 2014, s.v. “murmurar”)—with “perjuicio” conveying a clearly severe implication. Cf. the witch’s self-description: “no puedo […] pensar en bien, porque soy amiga de murmurar” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 343; cf. p. 340). Having cautioned “Vete a la lengua, que en ella consisten los mayores daños de la humana vida” (p. 304)—Cipión distinguishes two kinds of “murmuración”: “consentiré que murmures un poco de luz y no de sangre; […] no es buena la murmuración, aunque haga reír a muchos, si mata a uno” (pp. 306–7); cf. “murmura, pica y pasa” (p. 308); Sieber glosses: “Cipión se refiere al lenguaje como instrumento físico del satírico que puede herir a su víctima” (Sieber 2002, p. 37). Referring to Scipio’s aforecited line, Beusterien bases his reading of the coloquio on Aesop’s having (been believed to have) been a stutterer—with “Cervantes’ creation of talking dogs […] parallel[ing] Aesop’s interest in creating talking animal[s]” (Beusterien 2009, p. 218); hence he wishes to hinge “new readings of El coloquio de los perros” vis-à-vis Cervantes’ intuited stuttering on a “literal” (“not […] a figurative”) reading of the sentence “‘en ella consisten los mayores daños de la humana vida’” (Beusterien 2009, p. 219)—the decontextualization of which may seem rather problematic. For “murmuración” as “‘backbiting’” (Ziolkowski 1983, p. 101); cf. (Forcione 1984, pp. 171–72, 180–81, 227); (El Saffar 1974, p. 64); (Hessel 2008, pp. 13–14, the latter cum grano salis passim). Elsewhere, the trans. gives “murmura” as “tattle” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 308; Cervantes 2016b, p. 459), while later rendering “un maldiciente murmurador” (linked to: “calu[m]niar”) as “a certain malicious slanderer” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 314; Cervantes 2016b, p. 466), “murmuración” as “slander” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 318; Cervantes 2016b, p. 469); cf. also (Kohlhauer 2002, pp. 65–66, 71); the semantic distance between ‘gossip’ and ‘slander’ seems considerable. Generally, an onomatopoetic quality of the word ‘murmurar’ cannot be discarded; cf. the felicitous formulation: “murrende Kritik” (Teuber 2005, p. 253; with ‘knurrende’ implied in a canine setting); hence also ‘snarling’ (perchance ‘grumbling’). Cf. the contexts, variants of ‘murmurar’ in “The Glasswork Graduate” (Cervantes 2002c, pp. 59, 69, 71); see (Riley 1976, p. 194). As to the semantic scope of ‘murmuración’, and regarding the overall œuvre, the dedication’s nexus of “los Cínicos” with ‘vituperation’, ‘lack of respect’ (“su vituperio, sin guardar respecto a nadie”), might be adduced (Cervantes 2003, p. 54); see (Riley 1976, p. 194); re Machiavelli, cf. (Strauss 1978, p. 40); (Mayfield 2015, pp. 109, 197, 197n.); cum grano salis, as Riley notes—(Riley 1976, pp. 194–95); cf. (Hart 1979, p. 386n.)—also the reference in Torres’ ‘aprobación’ for the Quijote’s second part; see (Cervantes 2005, p. 20). Generally, cf. also Gracián’s description of the human tongue as a weapon “mucho más terrible[…] y sangrienta[…]” than the “armas naturales” of the animals: “tienen [sc. ‘los hombres’] una lengua más afilada que las navajas de los leones” (Gracián 2009, p. 101, I.iv); the glosses add: “Navajas: ‘Fig. colmillo de jabalí y de algunos otros animales’. (Dic. Acad.) Gracián lo relaciona con la lengua de los murmuradores, que también se llaman ‘navajas’. (Dic. Aut.)” (Gracián 2009, pp. 101n.–102n.).
97Cf. (Mayfield 2015, pp. 28–35). Re “The Glasswork Graduate”: “Like Diogenes he is intellectually vain and courts the admiration of a public which he spends most of his time insulting. […] His habit of destructive criticism is his outstanding Cynical characteristic” (Riley 1976, p. 194).
99See spec. Hoffmann’s “Nachricht von den Neuesten Schicksalen des Hundes Berganza” (Hoffmann 2006, pp. 101–77, II.v; cf. pp. 690n.–723n.). See the synopses in Ziolkowski’s ch. “Talking Dogs: The Caninization of Literature” (Ziolkowski 1983, pp. 86–122, spec. 102–22, 240–45); on Unamuno’s Niebla, see (Friedman 2006, pp. 264–65, 303); as to Lizardi’s “Conference of a Bull and a Horse”, cf. (Alves 2011, p. 198); for further references concerning the coloquio’s ‘afterlife’ in other texts, see also (Nolting-Hauff 1987, p. 192); (Johnson 1991, pp. 23, 23n.); (Beusterien 2016, pp. 24–25, 45n.); (Kohlhauer 2002, p. 81); as regards the “representational strategies of the illustration of ‘El coloquio de los perros’” in its various editions over the centuries, see (Manning 2007, passim, spec. p. 148, here p. 136).
100The Spanish has forms of ‘to seem’: “no quiero que parezcamos predicadores” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 311); “Todo eso es predicar, Cipión amigo […] Así me lo parece a mí, y así, callo” (p. 312).
101Generally, cf. (Forcione 1984, p. 17); (Dunn 2010, p. 86); (Hart 1979, pp. 378–79, 382, 384n.). For the rhetorical genera, see (Lausberg 2008, pp. 52–61, §§59–65). On the dialog’s dynamics, cf. the metatextual reference in the framework narrative: “púselo en forma de coloquio por ahorrar de dijo Cipión, respondió Berganza, que suele alargar la escritura” (Cervantes 2002b, p. 295); cf. (Aylward 2010, p. 238). On Cervantine dialog, see (Kohlhauer 2002, pp. 70–76); (Spadaccini and Talens 1989, pp. 211, 222, passim); cf. spec. “Cervantes’s works culminate in dialogism” (Spadaccini and Talens 1989, p. 211); “a plurality of voices surfaces within the text” (p. 222). Kohlhauer also suggests: “In vielerlei Hinsicht liest sich das Hundegespräch wie eine pointierte Persiflage auf die Disputatio des Mittelalters […] ebenso [‘käme’] das gelehrte Streitgespräch der Renaissance in Frage” (Kohlhauer 2002, p. 71). The intratextual framework offers (Aesopic) fables, folktales, for generic situating: “¡Si se nos ha vuelto el tiempo de Maricastaña, cuando hablaban las calabazas, o el de Isopo, cuando departía el gallo con la zorra y unos animales con otros!” (Cervantes 2002b, p. 294). Berganza applies to his situation a specific Aesopic fable regarding a “donkey” (Cervantes 2016b, pp. 464–65); in his exegesis, focusing on the (rhetorical) aptum, he uses the term “pícaro” re one who might pertinently imitate a donkey: “rebuzne” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 313); this also links to the mention of “Apuleius’s Golden Ass”, “El asno de oro” (Cervantes 2016b, p. 491; Cervantes 2002a, p. 339); cf. (El Saffar 1976, p. 63). The text’s structure (a life story, usually ab ovo; narrated episodically; tendering a sequence of various masters served, locales visited, customs observed; with a tone ranging from tongue-in-cheek to caustic; etc.) implicitly signals the picaresque; cf. and contrast (El Saffar 1976, pp. 15, 38–39, 46; El Saffar 1974, pp. 63–64, 80); see (Forcione 1984, pp. 7, 15, 24–29, 89–99, 156–58, passim); (Schmauser 1996, pp. 198, 201); (Teuber 2005, p. 254); (Ziolkowski 1983, pp. 100, 102); (Gossy 1989, pp. 59–60, 72–74, 128n.–129n.); (Gaylord 2002, pp. 114, 127n.–128n.); (Aylward 2010, pp. 237–39); (Kohlhauer 2002, pp. 66–69, 78); (Nolting-Hauff 1987, passim, spec. pp. 185–87), also in conjunction with (Nolting-Hauff 1983, passim); re the coloquio, see (Nolting-Hauff 1987, pp. 190–92); cf. “‘metapicaresque’” (Echevarría 1980, p. 19, cf. spec. p. 23, passim); the latter reprinted in (Echevarría 1993, pp. 48–65, here 54); the initial setting conduces thereto, in signaling a deviant milieu: “Seville [‘Sevilla’] […] that shelter of the poor and refuge of outcasts, whose grandeur not only finds a place for the lowly, but also allows the great to go unnoticed” (Cervantes 2016b, p. 464; Cervantes 2002a, p. 302); on Seville in this respect, see (Küpper 1990, p. 403). Sieber suggests: “Lo que lee es una ‘novela picaresca’ […] una parodia del género […]. Las aventuras de un perro son en realidad una experiencia de intertextualidad. Tiene todos los elementos: el punto de vista autobiográfico […], padres desconocidos […], sirve a muchos amos […] y juega el papel de satírico, castigando a la mayoría de sus amos, y descubriendo sus vidas hipócritas” (Sieber 2002, p. 35). Campuzano—admitting to his “intención tan torcida y traidora”, while preferring to prudently omit it (“que la quiero callar”)—qualifies a literary (secular) confession thus: “aunque estoy diciendo verdades, no son verdades de confesión, que no pueden dejar de decirse” (Cervantes 2002b, p. 286); rhetorically, this pertains to the office of dispositio (‘being economical with the truth’); generally, see (Lausberg 2008, pp. 241–47, §§443–452). Cf. “Una verdad te quiero confesar, Cipión” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 344). “The very fact of a succession of masters undermines the ideal of loyalty of which the dogs have spoken. Berganza’s narration is, from a dog’s point of view, a confession. He has failed as a loyal servant. […] Berganza justifies his disloyalty by citing the hypocrisies and deceptions of men” (El Saffar 1974, pp. 67–68). The witch (like an unrepentant ‘Augustinian’) seems to be making her willful ‘confessiones’ to a dog—cf. (Forcione 1984, pp. 41–42, 59–60, 63, 68, 89–91, 135–37, 178). As regards genre (and apart from brief mentions of “the humanist dialogue” (Beusterien 2016, p. 57; cf. pp. 37–38), Beusterien seems to limit the coloquio to a “ground-breaking version” of the “animal exemplum” (p. 40; “revolutionary”, p. 39; cf. pp. 8, 49, 51, 53–54, 57): “Cervantes […] not only radically reconfigure[s] the animal exemplum and the humanist dialogue, but the renaissance representation of the canine. […] Cervantes borrows renaissance conceptions of the animal only to reconfigure them” (Beusterien 2016, p. 57). Even when omitting the narrative framework that is El casamiento engañoso from the analysis (which hardly seems a sustainable approach, given its textual presence in the coloquio), such a generic mono-focus will seem problematic for this (and very likely for any other) Cervantine text. Incidentally, Beusterien’s all but categorical emphasis on the genre of the exemplum might, from his own point of view, not seem to be exactly conducive to the Animal Studies approach he claims. Focusing on (Menippean) ‘satire’ and the ‘carnivalesque’ (Kohlhauer 2002, p. 54; cf. pp. 56–57, 60, 63, spec. 64–70, 74–78, 81, passim), Kohlhauer reads the coloquio as a ‘parody’ (“parodistisches […] Spiel”) on “animal literature” (p. 53; trans. dsm; cf. pp. 57, 60, 65, 75, spec. 77, 79–81, passim); “eine Parodie, eine Satire der Satire” (p. 66), ‘breaking with all of its conventions’ (p. 54; cf. pp. 56–58, 60, 77, passim); he stresses its “‘desymbolization’ […] of the conditio animalis” (Kohlhauer 2002, p. 62; trans. dsm; cf. p. 77). Metapoetically, Sieber sees Cervantes ‘satirizing’ “la falta de estructura aristotélica de esas novelas picarescas” (Sieber 2002, p. 35). One might consider the poet’s all but exclusive emphasis on the “espectáculos” (Cervantes 2002a, pp. 352–53, here 353) as staging the effects of not following Aristotle in this respect; on ‘ópsis’, see (Aristotle 1995, pp. 52–55, §6, 1450b); cf. (Mayfield 2017b, p. 27n.). Cf. “Esta novela [sc. the coloquio] es […] una meta-novela”—Dunn cited in (Sieber 2002, p. 38n.); cf. (Gaylord 2002, pp. 115–16). Cf. “a colloquy about the colloquy” in general, “a kind of metadialog” (Kohlhauer 2002, p. 75; trans. dsm; cf. p. 77).
103With the second to last item cum grano salis, the ensuing précis might be utile: “Various reasons were given for the[…] canine title: […] sexual shamelessness, […] biting criticism—and […] sycophancy—[…] homeless frequenting of the streets” (Riley 1976, p. 192; cf. and contrast p. 196); see (Ziolkowski 1983, p. 97).
104Rhetorically, this is a most effective (because indirect) device, since (even provisionally) ‘identifying’ with the hounds is not necessary: the delegation of humanity to dogs does not inevitably make a claim as to the comportment of humans (only potentially)—thereby refraining from a moralizing ‘you should/ought to’; generally, see (Aylward 2010, p. 258). Cf. “One of the peculiar effects of the Colloquy […] is its heavy thrust toward dogmatic assertion and its simultaneous resistance to that very thrust. A double elusiveness” (Forcione 1984, p. 17; cf. p. 18); generally, Krauss states “[d]aſs Cervantes nicht moralisieren ging” (Krauss 1940, p. 22).
105While also being a reference to a traceable historical individual, cf. (Alonso 1942, passim, spec. pp. 301–302), the syllables in the name of Berganza’s and Scipio’s master may also allude to the other world religions (previously) present on the Iberian peninsula—a hypothesis reinforced by the emphatic phrase in its vicinity (with thanks to Prof. Küpper for this suggestion).
106As to his previous capacity for imitative behavior: “cuando me daban nueces o avellanas las partía como mona […] ensalada […] comí como si fuera persona” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 316).
108Cf. Forcione on “the manner in which Berganza implicates himself in the folly that he surveys” (Forcione 1984, p. 175; cf. p. 235); hence suggestions of “heroism”, cf. (Forcione 1984, pp. 154–66, here 154), of “Berganza” qua “true descendant of the Socratic school of philosophers” (p. 160; equally re Neo-Stoic elements, pp. 163–68), may seem problematic. Berganza is a hound of many names and masters—but ultimately his own; his ‘service mentality’ tends to be motived by the fact that it serves him to serve—when it does: “Yo, de corrido, ni pude ni quise seguirle” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 354); “Pero, en efeto, llevado de mi buen natural, quise responder a lo que a mi amo debía, pues tiraba sus gajes y comía su pan, como lo deben hacer no sólo los perros honrados, a quien se les da renombre de agradecidos, sino todos aquellos que sirven” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 320); cf. “buen natural” (p. 313); see (Forcione 1984, pp. 157–58). Throughout, he leaves his ‘masters’: “servía bien […] y nadie me despidió, si no era que yo me despidiese, o, por mejor decir, me fuese” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 312); “sin despedirme de nadie” (p. 332); this conduct is sometimes rationalized as a defensive move: “acordé de poner tierra en medio, quitándomeles delante de los ojos. Halléme un día suelto, y sin decir adiós a ninguno de casa, me puse en la calle” (p. 323). Berganza expressly instrumentalizes a virtue: “la humildad […] es un medio […] Désta […] me aprovechaba yo” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 312); crucially, cf. (p. 316); see (Hart 1979, pp. 380–81, 383); contrast (Antonio 1953, p. 307); (Riley 1976, p. 197); (Forcione 1984, pp. 162–64, 169–74). Scipio states: “Berganza, si tú fueras persona, fueras hipócrita, y todas las obras que hicieras fueran aparentes, fingidas y falsas, cubiertas con la capa de la virtud, sólo por que te alabaran, como todos los hipócritas hacen” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 321). This parallels the witch’s ‘Machiavellian’—see (Machiavelli 1995, pp. 115–20, XVIII); (Mayfield 2015, pp. 118, 122, 125–26, 133–41, 146, 150, 173–75, 193, passim)—explanation of her conduct: “rezo poco, y en público; murmuro mucho, y en secreto; vame mejor con ser hipócrita que con ser pecadora declarada […]. En efeto: la santidad fingida no hace daño a ningún tercero, sino al que la usa. […] este consejo te doy: que seas bueno en todo cuanto pudieres; y si has de ser malo, procura no parecerlo en todo cuanto pudieres” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 340); “cubro con la capa de la hipocresía mis muchas faltas” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 342); on “murmuración and hypocrisy”, see (El Saffar 1974, pp. 66–68, here 66); cf. (Forcione 1984, pp. 29–30, 175–76); (Ihrie 1982, pp. 113–14). In Scripture, an explicit effect of the Fall is described in Gen 3:19, which Berganza echoes: “me hallaba bien con el oficio de guardar ganado, por parecerme que comía el pan de mi sudor y trabajo” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 310); even so, and against his apparently best intentions, he is not actually performing his task (“Desesperábame de ver de cuán poco servía mi mucho cuidado y diligencia”), being deceived by the shepherds, whose malevolence (“los pastores eran los lobos”) evinces another effect of the Fall (Cervantes 2002a, pp. 310–11). Cf. “A lo menos, yo haré de mi parte mis diligencias, y supla las faltas el cielo” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 315); see (Cervantes 2002b, p. 292); (Forcione 1984, p. 146).
109The Spanish resembles a (proverbial, forensic) sententia: “la venganza pensada arguye crueldad y mal ánimo” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 354). Even so, Berganza is not only a barking dog, but also a biting one (both: literally, figuratively); his intermittent factual mordancy in several episodes, e.g., (Cervantes 2002a, pp. 322–23, 331, 344–45); cf. (Hart 1979, pp. 381–82) might be seen to ‘translate’ into a certain incisiveness; since sarcasm (‘tearing flesh’ verbally) does not seem to be his case (murmuración, cynicism, being somewhat more on the ‘insidiously’ subtle side), one might argue that ‘the gift of speech’ as such already somewhat blunts his ‘bite’ (particularly in this dialogic setting, and self-interestedly); cf. (Cervantes 2002a, p. 321). On ‘man’s inhumanity’, cf. e.g., “these butchers kill a man as readily [‘con la misma facilidad’] as they kill a cow” (Cervantes 2016b, p. 455; Cervantes 2002a, p. 303); generally, see (Mayfield 2015, pp. 197–98). Cf. “the world of the Coloquio is a world of beasts […] [with] human beings everywhere descending to the level of the beast […] The association of man’s inhumanity with bestiality in Christian writings is […] as ancient as the Bible” (Forcione 1984, p. 83; cf. pp. 117–18, 132).
110See Riley’s twist-in-the-tail formulation: “Berganza […] keeps lapsing and finally gives up trying to avoid making remarks that might be construed as malicious” (Riley 1976, p. 195). Cf. Scipio’s sententia: “since doing evil is a thing that comes natural[ly] [‘viene de natural cosecha’], it’s easy to learn how to do it” (Cervantes 2016b, p. 454; Cervantes 2002a, p. 302). At the metalevel—and in contrast to Baroja’s view, stressing the “humorous touches” regarding the witch’s depiction qua mediated via a dog (Baroja 2001, p. 219; cf. p. 220)—it will hardly be without discursive import that the didactic formulation of the doctrine (and vicious cycle) of Original Sin—thereto, cf. (Küpper 1990, pp. 51n., 55–56, 56n., 116, 122, 159, 401–2, 414–15, 421, passim)—is put into the witch’s mouth, acting as a “teóloga”: “Dios es impecable; de do se infiere que nosotros somos autores del pecado, formándole en la intención, en la palabra y en la obra, todo permitiéndolo Dios, por nuestros pecados […] la costumbre del vicio se vuelve en naturaleza […] como el deleite me tiene echados grillos a la voluntad, siempre he sido y seré mala” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 342; cf. p. 344); (Rom 7:19; see Mt 4:6, Lk 4:10–11); cf. (Forcione 1984, p. 171). In his picaresque, partly cynical rationalizations, Berganza sometimes begins sounding like the ‘Machiavellian’ witch: “hoy se hace una ley, y mañana se rompe, y quizá conviene que así sea. Ahora promete uno de enmendarse de sus vicios, y de allí a un momento cae en otros mayores” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 321). Generally, cf. “the canine viewpoint functions as an alienating device that exposes human affairs in a cynical light. […] scarcely an aspect of early seventeenth-century Spanish society fails to come under the cynical eye of the dog Berganza” (Ziolkowski 1983, p. 102).
111Riley notes “[t]he touch of cynical humour in these words” (Riley 1976, p. 197); cf. (Forcione 1984, pp. 177–78); (Hart 1979, p. 383). Generally, see Berganza’s struggling with his being unable to articulate himself in the human tongue, cf. (Schmauser 1996, p. 77); (Gossy 1989, pp. 73–74); (Dunn 2010, p. 99): “queriendo decírselo, alcé la voz, pensando que tenía habla, y en lugar de pronunciar razones concertadas ladré” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 358). He speaks of “la grande tentación que tengo de hablar” (p. 304); “me acuden palabras a la lengua como mosquitos al vino” (p. 315). Berganza says he had considered speaking before being capable thereof: “determiné, como si hablar supiera, aprovecharme dellos [sc. frases ‘latines’]” (p. 318). See his semiotic behavior: “Bajé yo la cabeza en señal de obedecerla” (p. 336); “Díjele bajando la cabeza que sí haría” (p. 343); on the expectation of human beings in this regard, cf. (Cervantes 2002a, p. 339); they tend to act as if the hound could talk: “y todos me hablaron, y así me preguntaban por mi amo como si les hubiera de responder” (p. 332). To facilitate (the semblance of) a dialog, the witch generally supplies what she surmises might be Berganza’s queries: “Quisiérale yo preguntar […], y parece que me leyó el deseo, pues respondió a mi intención como si se lo hubiera preguntado” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 341; cf. p. 312, between the dogs)—this might also imply the reader’s position.
112Despite his disavowals: “la virtud, […] con alcanzárseme a mí tan poco, o nada, della” (Cervantes 2002a, p. 316). Berganza (says he) makes up for his masters’ faults, lies: “por no sacar mentiroso a mi amo” (p. 334). As to Humanism in this respect, see (Forcione 1984, pp. 15–16, 146–86, spec. 152–53, 186, 215, 227, 235, passim); cf. (Forcione 1982, passim).
113Regarding cynicism in “The Glasswork Graduate”: “Vidriera is a mixture of attractive and unattractive qualities. […] his likable qualities combined with his ruthless critical intellect” (Riley 1976, p. 190); while the context is problematic, cf. the felicitous link between “wit” and “vituperative” in this respect (Babb cited in (Riley 1976, p. 191).
114“Asked what was the most beautiful thing among men [‘en anthrópois’], he [sc. ‘Diogenes’] replied: ‘The free word’ [‘παρρησία’]” (D. Laertius 2008, p. 312, VI.69; trans. dsm; D. Laertius 2005, p. 70); see (Mayfield 2015, pp. 52–53). Cf. “the unsparing candor of the Cynic philosopher” (Forcione 1984, p. 6; cf. p. 228). On parrhesía and ‘propriety’ in the coloquio, see (Cervantes 2002a, p. 319); cf. (Forcione 1984, pp. 5–8, 13). While embedded in a problematic context, the following seems decisive: “Berganza y Cipión […] dicen todo cuanto quieren y como quieren. […] Los dos perros, murmuración adelante, llegan a murmurar de la murmuración” (Antonio 1953, p. 305); re Erasmus in this respect, cf. (Forcione 1984, p. 183). Parrhesía, paradoxically put: animals cannot talk, so they might say whatever they want.
115Cf. the following motto, opening part IV of Goethe’s Dichtung und Wahrheit: “Nemo contra deum nisi deus ipse” (Goethe 1962, p. 205); cf. (Blumenberg 2006a, p. 596, passim). This oppositive structure reflects the arch-Cynic’s tendency of aiming at outshining anyone—as inscribed into several encounters with seeming ‘social superiors’, such as ‘Philip’, ‘Plato’—as to the latter, cf. e.g., (D. Laertius 2005, pp. 28–29, VI.26); (Forcione 1984, p. 183); (Mayfield 2015, pp. 25n., 26–27, 37n., 44, 44n., 47n., 52n.)—with the most emblematic being: “When […] sunning himself […], Alexander […] stood over him [sc. ‘Diogenes’] and said, ‘Ask of me any boon you like’. To which he replied, ‘Stand out of my light’ [‘aposkótesón mou’, sc. ‘unshadow me’]” (D. Laertius 2005, pp. 40–41, VI.38); cf. (Mayfield 2015, pp. 20n., 27–28, 42–43, 47–48, passim). In this respect, the coloquio’s being (in generic label, in textual fact) a multidirectional, polyphonic dialog is fundamental—see (Spadaccini and Talens 1989, pp. 222, 229): an uncynical Scipio’s counterclaims, his more restrained persona and presence, are articulated and active throughout—even while Berganza is performing his (intermittently) parrhesiastic, cynical self.

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Mayfield, D. “Against the Dog Only a Dog”. Talking Canines Civilizing Cynicism in Cervantes’ “coloquio de los perros” (With Tentative Remarks on the Discourse and Method of Animal Studies). Humanities 2017, 6, 28.

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Mayfield D. “Against the Dog Only a Dog”. Talking Canines Civilizing Cynicism in Cervantes’ “coloquio de los perros” (With Tentative Remarks on the Discourse and Method of Animal Studies). Humanities. 2017; 6(2):28.

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Mayfield, DS. 2017. "“Against the Dog Only a Dog”. Talking Canines Civilizing Cynicism in Cervantes’ “coloquio de los perros” (With Tentative Remarks on the Discourse and Method of Animal Studies)" Humanities 6, no. 2: 28.

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