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MOVED ONLINE — Dissertation Defense — Maria Dominguez

This event last occurred March 27, 2020


This event has been moved online. If you would like to attend please use the following Zoom link:

Title of Dissertation: En busca de Dulcinea: Representación audio-visual de un personaje incorpóreo [Searching for Dulcinea: Audio-visual Representation of an Immaterial Body]


Dulcinea del Toboso is quite a mystery, as she is not a real person, but a fictional character who never makes an appearance in Miguel de Cervantes’ novel "Don Quixote de la Mancha" (1605, 1615). Even though Dulcinea does not say a word in the novel, she exists in the mind of the protagonist, Don Quixote. This old man and voracious reader of chivalry books fantasize about being a knight who encounters many adventures motivated by the thought of her idealized lady. The description given by Cervantes when he introduces Dulcinea in the novel is vague, associating her to a specific farm-girl, Aldonza, but using several terms of uncertainty. Dulcinea is not a human being, nor even a true literary character, so the only image we have of her is in our imagination.

My research focuses on proving that her image has had a remarkable evolution over the centuries becoming a kind of recognizable brand nowadays. Several scholars have already studied the enigma of Dulcinea. Miguel de Unamuno interpreted her as eternal glory, Menéndez Pidal as a pure ideal, Pedro Salinas as the shadow of a character who never achieved a state of being. More recently, Anne Cruz described her as the most famous immaterial body of all Cervantes’s works, and Frederick de Armas as a mythical imagination at work. Then, how to represent immaterial bodies? How to be Dulcinea and Aldonza, and neither one at the same time? How to become such a famous character without having any real voice? The purpose of my study is to reinterpret Don Quixote’s Dulcinea from the perspective of 20th and 21st century audio-visual and cultural products. I aim to open up new perspectives on the contemporary approach to classical readings. I believe that interdisciplinary studies and modern interpretations, such as those ones used in my work, will appeal to nowadays higher education students, who tend to visualize the humanities and the study of classical books as an intangible matter difficult to grasp (quite similar to the conventional perception of the elusive Dulcinea del Toboso). It is my intention to contribute to my dissertation to change this sentiment.

Durham Language and Literature Bld; Room 165

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Monica Hopkins
School of International Letters and Cultures