Concerning Don Quixote and The Copernican Revolution

2015-07-01
Modern science has been conventionally thought to begin with Copernicus’s De revolutionibus (1543). However, it was culminated with the scientific studies of Brahe, Kepler and Galilei in the period starting from the second half of the 16th century and in the 17the century, and it was completed with Newton’s studies in his Principia (1687/1713/1726). This period is called the Copernican Revolution, which brought about so drastic changes in scientific practice as well as in the history of thought. Around the same time, a similar, even one can claim, a revolutionary event took place in the history of literature with the publication of Cervantes’s Don Quixote (1605/1615). The fundamental reason for the Copernican revolution to have established itself was what Galilei did especially in his Dialogue (1632) to undermine the reliability of common sense perceptions and observations by his thought-experiments. By doing so, Galilei thus argued that secondary qualities depending upon common sense perceptions could not be regarded as forming the integral part of scientific knowledge and reality. The main issue Don Quixote is addressing is the dichotomy between reality and appearance. The strategy Cervantes employs in dealing with this issue has a striking similarity to Vth International Comparative Literature Conference, Mersin 796 Galilei’s methods of undermining the reliability of common sense perceptions. In my presentation, I shall establish the presence of this parallelism between both cases by talking about examples taken from both works. Auerbach in his “Enchanted Dulcinea” in Mimesis (1946) considers Don Quixote on the basis of the dichotomy between tragedy and comedy, and argues that the novel, since it does not deal with anything that is tragic, is essentially a funny book. In the light of the considerations above I would argue that we can reconsider the part Auerbach overlooks: Don Quixote is not only a comedy, but a tragedy as well; for it undermines the very basis of human survival which is trust in common sense perception
Citation Formats
S. Bağçe, “Concerning Don Quixote and The Copernican Revolution,” 2015, p. 795, Accessed: 00, 2021. [Online]. Available: https://hdl.handle.net/11511/71079.