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  • Writer's pictureMike Meacham

Revisiting El Curioso Impertinente in the Second Decade of the 21st Century.

Updated: Apr 18, 2022

Receiving the invitation to contribute an essay to the forthcoming volume ‘Don Quijote in Music and Performing Arts’ I immediately thought about the interpolated story El curioso impertinente.

This interpolation is in the same style than the ‘novelas ejemplares’ and was translated into French in 1608 as we will see later on. Because of this translation, it was favored as an inspiration for the French theater in the eighteenth century by different play-wrights, but not only the French were interested in this story. By 1617, also a German translation had been printed and, according to Wilhelm Creizenach in Die Schauspiele der Englischen Komödianten, a copy of that translation was acquired by the City Library of Breslau, which had the title Vnzeitiger Fürwitz. This German version has an epigraph that is absent from the Spanish original and it reads: Eine Newe vnnd schöne Historia. Dorinnen etliche Männer vnzeitiger Eyfer, vnd der Weiber schwachheit, auch beyder auβgang abgemahlet wird. Nützlich vnd lustig zu lesen. Jetzo aus Spanischer Sprache in die Deutsche bracht.

What could have prompted the German translator to include this epigraph? In light of the educational message and dire warning, one could surmise that he took the story from an edition of the Novelas ejemplares and felt compelled to explain to the German reader the nature of these Novelas in general and this example in particular.

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-William Call

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