The second-most striking feature is the abrupt ending of the story, which confirms in its way what will be said here below in my text concerning the narrator's indifference to his worthy subject Tomás and to the conventional goal of the story-teller, which is to say in an appropriate way as much and only so much as needs to be said. Evidence of this blend of indifference and mediocre craft work is revealed in the loose ends the narrator makes no attempt to tie up: disclosure of the parentage and birthplace of Tomás and his social condition; the amount of time and the means the Hieronymite employed in his cure; and the remainder of the time line: how long was it before Tomás left court, how long did he live in Flanders; how did he die, in what ways did he show the prudence and win the fame merely mentioned in the story's final sentence? Lesser matters invite attention: the part of the meddling morisca, the life and times of the dangerous dama, the identity of the honorable caballeros estudiantes and of the dishonorable príncipe who orders Vidriera brought to court. Had «Cervantes», rather than an undiscerning narrator, written the story, we'd know more about these matters. The author plants them in his text as seeds gone unwatered to give us evidence of what a poor tiller of novelistic soil his narrator is.
This said, it must be recognized and it cannot surprise that the coercive and abusive ways of the Court and its crowd extend far beyond the Court and are observed and registered by Tomás Rodaja and in the narrator's sketch; see especially 46.
The claim that significant truths are communicated easily even «por señas»
is about as truthful here as when the same claim is made (also as part of a playful
and insuperably ironic prolog) in the Archpriest of Hita's hilarious parable, the
disputación of the Greeks and the Romans. There the ignorant Romans, incapable
of understanding the Greeks' language, propose
«que disputasen por señas, por
señas de letrado» (Ruiz, 49d). Miguel de Cervantes, of course, is saying through
the Prolog «Cervantes» that confidence in simple truths and simple signs and in
the simplicity of communication-the certitude incarnated in the crowd and
narrator of «El licenciado Vidriera» -is a sure sign of ignorance. Is there among
the dozen Novelas ejemplares any that communicates truths (whether or not
«dichas por señas») in a clearly understandable way?
«Heles dado nombre de ejemplares, y si bien lo miras, no
hay ninguna de quien no se pueda sacar algún ejemplo provechoso» (1: 52).
«veréis que el que os respondía bien, según dicen, de improviso os responderá
mejor de pensado» (74).
In other words, the «Cervantes» who complains in his Prolog that
quedado en blanco y sin figura» remedies the lack twice over, first by composing
the Prolog self-portrait of the author as old soldier that begins
«Éste que veis
aquí, de rostro aguileño, de cabello castaño, frente lisa y desembarazada, de alegres
ojos y de nariz corva» (1: 51), and again in the idealized fictional sketch of a
young soldier, a figure of the author's own honorable and oft-frustrated aspirations.
Según Morley y Bruerton (246-47), probablemente fue compuesta hacia 1585-95. Poteet-Bussard (359), basándose en la cronología de los amores de Lope con Elena Osorio, propone 1587-88.
El estudio más detallado sobre las relaciones de Cervantes y Lope es el de Entrambasaguas (Estudios 1: 108-41); éste lo resume en 1961 (113-16). En las notas que acompañan la edición de Rico de Don Quijote, Joaquín Forradellas cita estudios adicionales (2: 254, n. 11.30).
In 1986 Murillo argued for Cervantine originality; in 1987, Gaos, in his edition of Don Quijote (I, 117) considered Cervantine indebtedness «probado cabalmente».
For purposes of brevity, repetitions of arguments, obvious errors, and corrections of such errors are usually omitted. [Ed. note: because of the value of a chronologically-arranged bibliography on this topic, the citation form departs from the MLA norm and organizes comments on the «Entremés de los romances» by date.] 129
Millé (1930: 137-38) suggested that the suelto might have been a fragment of the Tercera Parte. In 1956 Astrana Marín made the same suggestion (VI, 491 n.), with specific reference to the 1611 Parte. Both, it seems, had overlooked Castro's comments.