Teaching Cervantes’s Don Quixote from a Cognitive Historicist PerspectiveInterdisciplinary Literary Studies (2014)
When approaching Cervantes’s Don Quixote from a cognitive historicist perspective, we make better sense of the work and the context in which it was conceived, the early modern exploration of the mind. Such an approach takes us to a higher epistemological level: by considering Cervantes’s account of cognition in parallel with those other thinkers working in the realm of medical philosophy (such as Juan Luis Vives and Huarte de San Juan), we transcend our first level of inquiry, the actual literary work, and place our students in a position to gain a deeper and more cohesive knowledge of early modern culture. This article proposes a model for a course that connects Cervantes’s masterpiece to the cognitive ideas of his time while emphasizing process-centered, close-interaction pedagogical strategies. Content is organized around three main themes: (1) psychiatry (the senses, perception and delusion, emotional imbalance), (2) differential psychology (typology of wits, humoral theory, gender difference), and (3) human development (from animal to rational, the cognitive faculties) and includes a balanced combination of primary and secondary sources coming both from the humanities and the sciences. Benefits and pitfalls of the course are considered and a course reading list and sample class activity are provided.
Citation InformationJaén, I. (2014). Teaching Cervantes's Don Quixote from a Cognitive Historicist Perspective. Interdisciplinary Literary Studies, 16(1), 110-126.