Biografía de Dulcinea

  1. Zambrana Pérez, María
Supervised by:
  1. Mercedes Comellas Director
  2. Luis María Gómez Canseco Director

Defence university: Universidad de Huelva

Fecha de defensa: 15 June 2023


Type: Thesis


The present study seeks to resolve some of the questions related to Dulcinea del Toboso. Specifically, we have tried to conclude whether it is possible to speak of Don Quixote's lady as a character in Cervantes' work, given that she does not appear at any point in the novel, and whether or not it has been possible to represent her iconographically. The theoretical framework we have used is the one used in Don Quixote. Banco de imágenes, which covers the illustrated editions of the text from 1618 to 1915. The joint reading of text and image has allowed us to see how the discourse about Dulcinea has been transferred to painting, realizing that this discursive or textual translation to an iconographic materialization was feasible. Thus, the study of the illustrations has been divided into three fundamental parts: the episodes of the narrative where Dulcinea has been included, the portraits of Aldonza Lorenzo, often included as ornamentation within the illustrated editions of the text, and the frontispieces or mirror images. In the first place, the series of episodes continuously repeated by the illustrators, which we have come to call "fossilized chapters", have come to corroborate that most of the time the idea of Dulcinea corresponds to a moment in the narrative that Don Quixote does not control and that, consequently, does not reach the depth of his beloved. These are images where we find the supposed Dulcinea to whom Sancho delivers the letter in his embassy to El Toboso (I,31), which correspond more to Sancho's idealization than to that of Don Quixote; the three villagers who leave El Toboso enchanted by the squire (II,10) and the vision of the nymph who accompanies Merlin in the ducal palace -(II,35), a moment in which it becomes clear how it is possible to disenchant Dulcinea. In this first part of the study we have seen how some common places have been created that repeat, in many occasions without variations, episodes that are not representing the reality of Dulcinea del Toboso and that, although they help to the total understanding of the lady, reveal that it is impossible to introduce her in an illustration if it plays only at a narrative level. Secondly, the "Portraits of Aldonza Lorenzo" have come to confirm that the realities of the villager and the beloved of Don Quixote tend to be confused in the same way in cartoonists and their illustrated editions as in critical studies. If for many of the scholars who approach the literary Dulcinea, she and Aldonza end up being reduced and merged into the same reality, whose boundaries are blurred, the portraits of the villager are often labeled with the name of Dulcinea, but they show a woman who embodies the type of the rustic, with hardly any novelty. Thirdly and finally, the study of the "Frontispieces or mirror images" has made it possible to demonstrate that the only way to represent Dulcinea is through metarepresentation. If Dulcinea is an idea created by Don Quixote, who lives in him and does not need to be seen by the knight to be defended; if Dulcinea is a character who lives in the discourse that others, especially Don Quixote, make of her; if Dulcinea is absence within the novel, the way to transfer this to illustration is the meta-image. The beloved ends up being thus corseted, framed; she is a painting within a painting, which makes it possible to transfer these multiple textual interpretations to the pictorial.