Abstract

The influence of Don Quixote is evident in the earliest of Washington Irving's writings, particularly in The Alhambra. Previous scholarship has focused on the more obvious aspects of the relationship of the two texts, as well as evidence of Don Quixote in Irving's American writings. This article will focus on the narrative and structural techniques of both authors, tracing Irving's indebtedness to Cervantes, particularly in regards to the extradiegetic narrator. Common in most of Irving's work is the use of a fictional narrator, offering Irving authorial distance from his audience allowing him a satirical voice without accepting full responsibility for the ideas. Using Gerard Genette's concepts of diegesis, extra- and metadiegesis, the article compares the narrative voice(s) of both texts, showing how Irving's Geoffrey Crayon appropriates the narration in the same way Cide Hamete Benegeli does in Don Quixote, as well as demonstrate to what degree Irving borrows from Cervantes in The Alhambra. Aside from the obvious intertextual references to Don Quixote, Irving structures his work with the inclusion of multiple narrators and texts, mixing history and fable, creating a book filled with a romantic escapism that entices and toys with the reader, much like Cervantes did with Don Quixote.

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