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The Reader's Journey

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Chapter Summary

As "Landing on 'la isla de la Inmortalidad' " demonstrates, the ultimate message of El Criticón, remains ambiguous. Since social and religious position gave an individual like Gracián the wherewithal to circulate material that contrasted with the goals of seventeenth-century authorities, this chapter examines a most crucial question: the manner in which the text invites the reader to participate in its complex structure and thus to derive meaning from the text. Gracián's clear desire to evoke a reaction from reader of his novel suggests an approach strikingly similar to Iser's conception of the implied reader. As Edward H. Friedman observes, Gracián's level of linguistic artifice, particularly in El Criticón, is remarkable. In ten of the thirteen interpolations that begin crisis in Parte I, an omniscient third-person narrator relates an allegorical tale and then transitions into Critilo and Andrenio's postponed adventure.

Keywords: Andrenio; Critilo; Gracián; interpolations in El Criticón; seventeenth-century Spain; Wolfgang Iser



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