January 28, 2023


Description: Avellaneda is the author of the false sequel of Don Quixote’s curious adventures.

Alonso Fernández de Avellaneda is the pseudonym of a man who wrote a sequel to Cervantes’ Don Quixote. The identity of Fernández de Avellaneda has been the subject of many theories, but there is no consensus on who he was. It is not clear that Cervantes knew who Avellaneda was, although he knew that it was a pseudonym, and that the volume’s publication information was false. One theory holds that Avellaneda’s work was a collaboration by friends of Lope de Vega. Another theory is that it was by Gerónimo de Passamonte, the real-life inspiration for the character Ginés de Pasamonte of Part I.

Don Quixote
Don Quixote Novel

Critical opinion has generally held Avellaneda’s work in low regard, and Cervantes himself is highly critical of it in his own Part 2. However, it is possible that Cervantes would never have completed his own continuation were it not for the stimulus Avellaneda provided[citation needed]. Throughout Part 2 of Cervantes’ book Don Quixote meets characters who know of him from their reading of his Part 1, but in Chapter 59 Don Quixote first learns of Avellaneda’s Part 2, and is outraged since it portrays him as being no longer in love with Dulcinea del Toboso. As a result of this Don Quixote decides not to go to Zaragoza to take part in the jousts, as he had planned, because such an incident features in that book. From then on Avellaneda’s work is ridiculed at frequent intervals; Don Quixote even meets one of its characters, Don Alvaro Tarfe, and gets him to swear an affidavit that he has never met the true Don Quixote before.

There is evidence that some of Cervantes’ condemnations are of tongue-in-cheek references to errors or jokes in Part 1. In Part 2, Chapter 59 of Cervantes’ version, Don Quixote disregards Avellaneda’s Part 2 because in it Sancho Panza’s wife is called “Mari Gutiérrez” instead of “Teresa Panza”. However, in the early chapters of Part 1 Sancho’s wife is called by many names (some within just two paragraphs) including “Juana Panza”, “Mari Gutiérrez”, “Juana Gutiérrez”, “Teresa Cascajo”, etc. “Teresa Panza” is settled on only after she becomes a substantial character. It is difficult to decide whether these are true mistakes, as malapropisms, aliases and puns are a running joke throughout the books. Cide Hamete Benengeli is miscalled “Berengena” (eggplant), Teresa is called “Teresona Panza” (approximately, “Fat Belly”), and so on.

When Cervantes wrote the 1605 Don Quixote, it was not at all clear that it would be the first of a two-volume set. At the end of the frame story—a pseudo-historical, metafictional narrative of how this “true” tale came to light—a scholar has uncovered documents concerning Quixote’s continued adventures and hopes to eventually publish them. However, Cervantes’s final words are forse altro cantera con miglior plettro, or, “perhaps someone else will sing with a better plectrum [pick for a musical instrument].” This could be interpreted as an invitation for another author to continue Quixote’s story.

Nine years later, someone did: Segundo Tomo del Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha was released in 1614, authored by an Alonso Fernandez de Avellaneda—a nom de plume whose identity remains a mystery to this day. Given the ambiguity of the novel’s conclusion, the passage of several years with no sequel, and the lucrative endeavor that a second Quixote book was sure to be, it’s understandable that another writer would throw his hat into the ring. However, the book’s unauthorized nature and its preface’s personal attacks on Cervantes earned the ire of Don Quixote’s creator and eventually the disparaging label of “the False Quixote.”

Now, you might be asking yourself, Isn’t it a bad idea to insult someone known for his wit and dexterity with a pen? And the answer to your question is a resounding yes.

Unbeknownst to Avellaneda, Cervantes was writing his own Quixote continuation, which he finished the following year. His Part II contains several references to Avellaneda, none of them kind. Wasting no time, Cervantes opens the preface with these words: “[G]entle…reader, how eagerly must thou be looking forward to this preface, expecting to find there retaliation, scolding, and abuse against the author of the second Don Quixote.” With some rhetorical apophasis, Cervantes vents his anger in the guise of taking the high road. “Thou wouldst have me call him ass, fool, and malapert,” he says, “but I have no such intention; let his offence be his punishment, with his bread let him eat it, and there’s an end of it.”


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Originally posted 2019-12-23 12:38:18.