The Hand as Metaphor

in the Novelas ejemplares

Texas Christian University

From the prologue to the final words of the Coloquio de los perros, the Novelas ejem-
plares abound in corporeal metaphors that reflect Renaissance notions of selfhood.
While it is not surprising that the ‘Manco de Lepanto’ wrote insightfully about
hands, it is remarkable that hand imagery in the Novelas ejemplares has yet to be
sufficiently examined. This article demonstrates the importance of the motif to
this collection of short stories and contextualizes Cervantes’s artistic treatment of
the hand in early modern thought about the human body. Due to the particular
details of Cervantes’s life events, I argue that hand imagery in his literature takes
on a more significant role. More specifically, while he undoubtedly incorporates
elements of the Renaissance tradition, I contend that hand imagery in the Novelas
ejemplares reflects a rich panoply of connotations related to the nascent epistemo-
logical preference for empiricism, the hand’s unique capacity to both construct
and dissect narrative, and is a fecund metaphor for economic and political systems.
Desde el prólogo hasta las últimas palabras de El coloquio de los perros, las Novelas ejem-
plares contienen una abundancia de metáforas corporales que reflejan conceptos
del ‘yo’ del renacimiento. Aunque no es sorprendente que el ‘Manco de Lepanto’
escribiera de una forma profundamente consciente sobre las manos, es notable que
el imaginario de la mano en las Novelas ejemplares todavía no ha sido suficientemente
explorada. Este artículo demuestra la importancia del motivo a esta colección de
cuentos cortos y contextualiza el trato artístico de Cervantes de la mano al pensami-
ento sobre el cuerpo humano de la edad moderna. Arguyo que aunque cabe dentro
de la tradición del renacimiento que aparece tanto en la comedia española como
en las obras de Shakespeare, Petrarca y otros, en las Novelas ejemplares el imaginario
de la mano refleja un gran rango de connotaciones relacionadas con el empirismo
naciente, la capacidad única de la mano de construir y disecar la narrativa, y como
metáfora fértil de sistemas económicos y políticos. 

BHS 93.2 (2016) doi:10.3828/bhs.2016.8

For example. Certainly. and to the memorable episode at the inn. she underlines its role in marriage ceremo- nies. power and submission. Ganelin also points out that cognitive scientists have made parallel discoveries. intentions and will’ (1997: 286). 93 (2016) Numerous scholars have demonstrated Cervantes’s impressive ability to exploit the multi-layered connotative potential of the hand in Don Quijote. . ‘Prudence’ (Schmitz 2011) and ‘Cervantes’s Language of the Heart’ (2012). and concludes. and David Gitlitz have highlighted the rich and prominent use of image clusters centred on the hand in the comedia. see Malcolm Gaylord 1993. salvation and damnation’ (1987: 25). Beyond Iberia. pointing out that Calderón’s plays include ‘characters whose inability to manipulate weapons deftly or wisely is tied to their consistently poor or rash verbal expressions’ (2006: 112). Ramírez Santacruz 2010 and Brownlee 2005. particularly relating to ‘The Captive’s Tale’. see my articles. Matthew Stroud. pledges to royal authority.100 Ryan Schmitz bhs. Charles Ganelin. Due to the particular details of Cervantes’s life events.2 Nonetheless. while he undoubtedly incorporates elements of the Renaissance tradition. feudal obedience to a lord. in which Zoraida’s white hands are a source 1 of mysterious power that help Ruy Pérez escape from captivity.   3 On the role of the body in Cervantes’s representation of selfhood in the Novelas ejemplares and the Quijote. More specifically. ‘In all of these gestures. I argue that hand imagery in his literature takes on a more significant role. Cervantes’s obsession with the rich polyvalent symbol of the hand is no less evident in the Novelas ejemplares. recent scholarship has demonstrated the connections between manual dismemberment and forgetting in Titus Andronicus and how the hand functions as a generative symbol in Macbeth (Rowe 1994. Stroud notes that hands are often associ- ated with connotations of ‘trust and treachery. for example. Lynch 1988).   2 For an examination of the Maritornes episode. Cervantes has no monopoly on the use of hand imagery in early modern Spanish literature. Ganelin explores the connection between hand and tongue. in which Maritornes ingeniously traps Don Quijote in a donkey’s halter. Katherine Rowe has observed that in early modern Europe the hand is associated with agency. I contend that hand imagery in the Novelas ejemplares reflects a rich panoply of connotations related to the nascent epistemological preference for   1 For analyses of hand images in ‘The Captive’s Tale’. Critical analyses of Shakespeare’s plays have proven especially illuminating. which directs the lover’s attention to his maiden’s ‘bella mano’ (Mirollo 1972). however. see Quinn 2008. the hand represents and effects a point of contact between collective notions of person and the world of interiority. Readers have also highlighted Petrarch’s lyrics as an important source of the Renaissance poetic tradition. ‘gesture preceded speech in the evolutionary step between Homo erectus and Homo sapiens’ and ‘the location of speech in the brain (Broca’s area) is adjacent to the area that controls hand coordination’ (2006: 111). There- fore it is the purpose of the present article to demonstrate the importance of the motif to this collection of short stories and to contextualize Cervantes’s artistic 3 treatment of the hand in early modern thought about the human body.

and personal anecdotes. The prologue to his final book. y finalmente el regocijo de las musas’ (1969: 48). he notes that the one point he cannot pardon is being scorned for being mutilated. Cervantes recounts an anecdote in which. por haberla cobrado en la más memorable y alta ocasión que vieron los pasados siglos.6 In the prologue to the spurious second part of the Quijote. tiene más lengua que manos’ (1946: 12). how 4 to read the work that follows. the hand’s unique capacity to both construct and dissect narrative. . Cervantes’s response in the prologue to his second part of the Quijote constitutes a repossession of authorial control over his own biography. Cervantes’s prologues are   4 On the norms of Renaissance Spanish prologues. Cervantes’s prologues constitute an unusual discursive space in which the author is directly engaged with the reader. and is a fecund metaphor for economic and political systems.   5 In The Cervantes Encylopedia. during a chance encounter while travelling.   6 Lepanto. In September 1569. In short. Like the prologues of his peers. the Persiles. Avellaneda directs his attention to this same hand in a tasteless attempt to shame Cervantes for his imperfect body: ‘digo mano porque confiesa de si que tiene sola una. herida que. due to his participation in a duel. sí. in the prologues to each of his last three works and it is evident from the prologue of the Novelas ejemplares that he viewed it as a sort of badge or medal – a physical reminder and sign of the sacrifice he made to his country: ‘Perdió en la batalla naval de Lepanto la mano izquierda de arcabuzazo. el famoso todo.5 Cervantes refers to a prominent feature of his body. a student who hears his name takes hold of his left hand and declares: ‘Sí. Howard Mancing calls Cervantes the ‘undisputed master of the genre [of prologues]’ and notes his tendency to give the reader interpretive authority (2004: 588). él la tiene por hermosa. Cervantes was condemned to having his right hand publicly cut off and to banishment from the realm for ten years. see Canavaggio 1986: 46. for a recent examination of Cervantes’s prologues. see Mancing 2010. and important clues on. aunque le parece fea. éste es el manco sano. there are at least two ways in which Cervantes’s prologues are unconventional: they repeatedly insist on the reader’s interpretive authority and they include physical descriptions.bhs. those of Cervantes typically entail a twofold objective: to justify his writing of the text and to provide valuable information about. el escritor alegre. 93 (2016) The Hand as Metaphor in the Novelas ejemplares 101 empiricism. However. Prologues and Self-portraits Similar to those of other Spanish authors of the sixteenth and seventeenth century. however. his mangled left hand. starting with the Novelas ejemplares. which collectively create a self-portrait of the writer. On this episode in Cervantes’s life. see Porqueras Mayo 1957. also foregrounds his left hand as a symbol of pride and fame. y […] hemos de decir dél que como soldado tan viejo en años cuanto mozo en bríos. ni esperan ver los venideros’ (Cervantes 1985: 51). short biographies. ‘como si […] mi manquedad hubiera nacido en alguna taberna’ (Cervantes 2008: 535). was not the first occasion in which Cervantes was forced to visualize his life as a mutilated man.

ni estropeada del entendimiento’ (I. que sacarlas en público’ (Cervantes 1985. and the interpretation of narrative. Preciosa’s adopted grandmother is an ‘águila vieja’ who recognizes that Preciosa is a remarkable source of income. I: 62. Beyond the reach of nature. Even her surprising wisdom and eloquence are explained with reference to her hand. I: 62). Secondly. La gitanilla Hand imagery is woven deeply into the fabric of La gitanilla. que si por algún modo se alcanzara que la lección destas novelas pudiera inducir a quien las leyera a algún mal deseo o pensamiento. . offering to cut off his 7 lone functioning hand should they be found otherwise. ni todas las inclemencias del cielo […] pudieron deslustrar su cara ni curtir las manos’ (Cervantes 1985. The central action that pushes the narration is Juan’s petition for Preciosa’s hand in marriage. however. it is the intermediate state between the excess of wastefulness and the deficiency of avariciousness (1975: 141). as she explains her precocious knowledge about love by stating: ‘no soy manca. the distinct approaches to wealth and economic exchanges of the various communities of La gitanilla are expressed with references to hands. an economic approach that is likened.102 Ryan Schmitz bhs. Aristotle calls ‘open-handedness’ the ideal use of wealth. repeatedly. they are centred on his mutilated left hand and its symbolic significance as a representation of him as a proud war veteran and renowned author. discursive production. and does so in a way that underlines the importance of the hand as a leitmotif of the collection. the prologue to the Novelas ejemplares also addresses two important points. and more specifically. her hands acquire a quasi-divine quality when the paje/ poeta Clemente converts a coin touched by Preciosa’s hand into a relic. The first hint that Preciosa’s hands embody a supernatural and enigmatic quality appears in the initial description of her appearance: ‘Ni los soles. ni los aires. so she decides to ‘sacar a volar su aguilucho y enseñarle a vivir por sus uñas’ (Cervantes 1985. I: 52). During Juan’s probationary period living among the gypsies he wavers at the thought   7 ‘Una cosa me atreveré a decir. Cervantes claims to be the first to have written short works of fiction in Castilian. 76). ni renca. From the very first lines of the tale we are informed of the gypsy proclivity for theft. Thus. is as elusive as it is marvellous. the very prologue of the collection marks the beginning of what will be an extended rumination on the interconnections between hands. Similarly. That hand. he swears that his novelas are morally edifying. to the clutching talons of an eagle. In book IV of the Nichomachean Ethics. selfhood. and services. An important way in which clusters of hand images function in La gitanilla is in association with economic exchanges: the giving and taking of money. highlighting the inventiveness of his hand (‘las parió mi pluma’) to write original tales that were neither imitated nor stolen (1985. antes me cortara la mano con que las escribí. commodities. Thus. 93 (2016) unusually focused on his identity. Of particular importance in its role as a frame for the following tales. my emphasis). I: 52).

Whereas the clutching. which hold out the promise of prolonged profit (2000: 98–101). Preciosa. Cervantes puts an uncanny emphasis on the notion that anything and anyone is eminently merchantable (ter Horst 1985: 111). particularly her virginity. with an open hand. Preciosa states: ‘Flor es la de la virginidad que. hizo señal de querer darle algo. who tells the Virgin ‘lo que me has dado te doy/ mano siempre dadivosa’ (I: 70). a ser posible. of the gypsies’ (1985: 103). Robert ter Horst views the contrastive relationship between open-handed bountifulness and tight-fisted acquisitiveness as the central structural principle of La gitanilla. ‘Its reciprocal is the open aristocratic hand of Andrés.bhs. She commands a higher price. y cuando le sepas. y rascado muchas veces. Once again. y sacudido. el otro la deshoja. In her romance ‘salió a Misa’ she sings of Queen Margret. which she refuses to sell ‘a precio de promesas ni dádivas’ (I: 85). aun con la imaginación no había de dejar ofend- erse. I: 85. which is abundant. Preciosa depicts the virgin’s hands as overflowing with abundance. too. In contrast to the clutching hands of the gypsies and the empty hands of the lieutenant’s household. grasping talon is emblematic of the gypsies’ feeling of want and emptiness. my emphasis). aquél la huele. has de gustar dél de modo que comas las manos tras él’ (I: 104). Numerous connotative valences accrue here to Preciosa’s hands: . With remarkable frequency in the Novelas ejemplares. where Preciosa reads palms for a fee. vowing to only hand it over if it is ‘atada con las ligaduras y lazos de matrimonio’ (I: 85). liberal. Both at the Spanish Royal court in La gitanilla and at the Supreme Turkish Council in the Amante liberal. such that ‘no se daba manos para recoger [los cuartos que granizaban sobre ella]’ (I: 67). as a commodity: it is her most esteemed jewel. speaks of herself. Preciosa recognizes the deterioration and concomitant devaluation inherent in the manual exchange of material goods. Cortada la rosa del rosal. prodigal in contrast to the predatory sterility. finalmente. we are reminded that ‘todo se compra y todo se vende’ (Cervantes 2005. As the generator of abundant wealth that is offered up willingly. Thus. al cabo sacó la mano vacía’ (I: 81). ¡con qué brevedad y facilidad se marchita! Éste la toca. I: 63). The description of the lieutenant’s search is particularly illustrative: ‘poniendo la mano en la faldriquera. Hands are converted into texts at the lieutenant’s house. habiéndola espul- gado. only to come up empty. but the gypsy elder assures him: ‘aquí te industriaremos de manera que salgas un águila en el oficio. hand imagery is intimately linked to economic exchange. Carroll Johnson highlights Preciosa’s economic savvy in grasping the distinction between a one-time sale and a long-term investment: she likens the exchange of her virginity for matrimony to an investment in fairs. y. Part of the mystery surrounding Preciosa consists in the fact that despite her adopted grandmothers’ pledge. Preciosa is an anomaly in her gypsy community. 93 (2016) The Hand as Metaphor in the Novelas ejemplares 103 of stealing. she does not ‘vivir por sus uñas’ but rather her beauty and performing talents provoke an abundant shower of coins. y. or lack. entre las manos rústicas se deshace’ (Cervantes 1985. but the sterility of the house is clearly conveyed by the repeated action of hands searching pockets and purses for a coin.

the gypsy elder performs the simple ritual and then outlines his community’s approach to male–female relations. her word is. and flaws.104 Ryan Schmitz bhs. in 9 each of the novelas in his collection. To return to the main narrative thrust of Preciosa’s hand as a symbol of marriage.   9 ‘Heles dado el nombre de ejemplares. In the first. though hidden. como de cada una de por sí’ (Cervantes 1985. no hay ninguna de quien no se pueda sacar algún ejemplo provechoso. depicts women as sexual property. Cipión. was finalized by the jurisdiction of her father. The couple’s second betrothal occurs after their restoration to their true family and social positions. are illustrations of female agency and the power of the will to overcome what were perceived as corrupted 8 surroundings that would typically determine one’s behaviour. of the prevailing culture. then. indeed. Cervantes invites an attentive and careful reading of his works. she also hands over authorial control of her life narrative to the norms. Similar to Preciosa. 93 (2016) with a firm controlling grip on the reins of her person. to be concise and frank. y si bien lo miras. Recalling the link that Ganelin highlights in the comedia between hand and tongue. y si no fuera por no alargar este sujeto. Preciosa follows this with a powerful speech that rejects everything the gypsy representative has just said. and many other characters of the novelas. William Clamurro insightfully juxtaposes the two betrothal scenes in which Preciosa’s hand is given to Juan. By submitting her hand in marriage to Andrés. Costanza maintains her honesty. Cervantes claims that exemplarity is present. represented in the person. Physical and National Anatomies in El casamiento engañoso and El coloquio de los perros In the prologue. ‘when events lead her to exchange her gypsy for her aristocratic persona. By playfully disguising the moral lesson to be extracted from each tale. all three protagonists. of her father’ (1998: 66). we must read with a critical lens. Costanza of La ilustre fregona inhabits a social context in which strong situational factors test the strength of a young maiden’s will. she overcomes a compro- mising environment which leaves her exposed to the devaluing touch of her many suitors and thus maintains the value of her hand in marriage. Similarly. The Corregidor states that an inn is an indecent place for a maiden to work and it is assumed that she ‘debe de dejarse manosear y requebrar de los huéspedes’ (II: 192). I: 52). Textual. a matri- mony that she took great care to arrange but that. así de todas juntas. She supplants gypsy jurisdiction with her own. . it seems that once Preciosa’s hand is pledged in marriage her tongue becomes tied as well. which. this time. and Leonora from El celoso extremeño. like Preciosa. Nonetheless. and actions. law (1997: 35). distrusting first appearances   8 See Boruchoff 2009 for an interesting reading of free will and the female protagonists of the Novelas ejemplares. however. Preciosa is suddenly docile and ultimately silenced. Preciosa recognizes her position in the social hierarchy. ultimately. quizá te mostrara el sabroso y honesto fruto que se podría sacar. Peralta. Charles Presberg points out that.

emphasis added). conforme al símbolo de la mano que tiene en la palma un ojo con la letra: “Non temere credendum”’ (Covarrubias 2006: 1474). The eponymous heroine of La señora Cornelia receives the same advice. is one of many instances in Cervantes’s literature of a character that is an exemplary reader. in fact. In El coloquio de los perros.bhs. the Ensign Campuzano of El casamiento engañoso informs Peralta that lady Estefanía’s theft of his jewels was inconse- quential since. in which a hand with an eye in the palm is in the air above pennyroyal growing in the ground. In 1611. In line with the baroque commonplace of false appearances and the eye’s propensity to be fooled. Sebastián de Covarrubias Horozco defined ‘tocar con mano’ thus: ‘término toscano. While Don Quijote’s obsession with the need to corroborate visual sensory experience with a more deliberate and thorough examination with his hands is 11 the most memorable Cervantine use of this topos. aligns perfectly with an emblem from Andrea Alciato’s collection from 1549 titled. II: 346. Poleo’. Ojo. Covarrubias’s definition. ‘no es todo oro lo que reluce’ (II: 291). there was an increase in discourse that associated the human hand with critical analysis. Cipión insists: ‘todas estas cosas y las semejantes son embelecos. The accompanying motto reads: ‘Bivir templadamente y no creer de ligero [Sobrie vivendum et non temere credendum]’ (Vistarini and Cull 1999: 501). the concept is also central to the Novelas ejemplares. Cervantes’s most memorable heroes and heroines are those that either excel or monumentally fail at the task of sorting out the difference between truth and 10 In La gitanilla. no le habemos de dar crédito hasta tanto que el suceso dél nos muestre lo que conviene que creamos’ (Cervantes 2005. ‘Mano. vale hacer experiencia y asegurarse. . in which readers began to value the ‘distinction between what was and was not a verifiable fact’. a known liar and self-proclaimed hypocrite. mentiras o apariencias del diablo… y que aunque le tocamos con la mano. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. in an age of nascent empiricism. functioning as visual dictionaries that codified conventions and tropes. for example. Cipión’s distrustful disposition towards the dubious narrative of Cañizares. circumspection. emblem and imprese books were widely popular. mindful of the maxim restated throughout the collection. II: 291). pero a poco rato bien conocen la diferencia que hay de lo fino a lo falso’ (Cervantes 1985. upon hearing the witch Cañizares’s ambiguous prophetic claim that the dogs will revert to their original human form when the mighty are brought down and the humble are exalted. Thus. and personal (‘first-hand’) experience (Riley 1992: 164). Preciosa states. ‘es menester tocar las apariencias con la mano para dar lugar al desengaño’ (Cervantes 2008: 613). I: 104). ‘Ojos hay engañados a la primera vista tan bien les parece el oropel como el oro. 93 (2016) The Hand as Metaphor in the Novelas ejemplares 105 and eloquent rhetoric. Cervantes encourages his reader to follow the example given by his cautious and discreet characters who withhold judgment on matters until they are able to ‘tocar las apariencias con la mano’ (Cervantes 2008. we must peel back the layers of the narratives we read. ‘no es todo oro lo que en ellos relucen’ (II: 263). 11 In Chapter 11 Don Quijote states what would become a central theme of the 1615 Quijote. ‘No todo lo que reluce 10 es oro’.

as it is when Campuzano infoms his friend that he suffers from ‘dolores […] en el cuerpo y en el alma’ (II:  282). El casamiento engañoso and El coloquio de los perros are tales which foreground the fraught process of interpretation and highlight the importance of attending to another’s deeds rather than words to discover the underlying truth. economic. Marina Brownlee 2005. the reader must ‘tocar las apariencias con la mano’ (Cervantes 2008: 613). . and potentially deceptive. El casamiento engañoso begins on the margins of Valladolid. Quinn 2008. like Don Quijote. cause the captain and his companions to misinterpret her identity as possibly a Christian captive or a Christian renegade. ambiguously positioned between physical and spiritual existence. For all of their apparent differences. brilliant white hand has generated insightful critical readings that may prove fruitful to an interpretation of her parallel from the Novelas ejemplares. is the colour of her hand. who yearns to embrace Christianity. Startled by his appearance. Scholars have noted the erotic. As a female character whose hands are praised for their marvellous beauty and who adroitly manipulates her equally impressive skills of narration. Zoraida’s enigmatic. ‘del dicho al hecho hay gran trecho’ (Cervantes 2005. it is not by force. In La gitanilla. II: 321). as one critic puts it. Perhaps the most mysterious quality of this mora. as Berganza reminds us. and Mary B. in an intercalated novel that gives a ‘sympathetic portrayal of a career of arms over letters’. and Cañizares – share an important characteristic: they present narra- tions with fissures and ambiguities that force the reader to question their relia- bility. After all. using his sword as a walking stick. Peralta makes the sign of the cross ‘como si viera alguna mala visión’ and asks Campuzano. Unmoved by the impres- sive appearance created by her hidalgo suitor – a façade composed of sartorial and rhetorical ostentation backed by money (‘cien escudos de oro’) – Preciosa insists on a two-year probationary period so that. and linguistic roles that Zoraida’s hands play in executing the captive Ruy Pérez’s and her own 12 escape from Algiers. reality and appearance. 93 (2016) fiction. Preciosa displays her precocious wisdom in her response to Andrés’s marriage proposal. capacities. Berganza.106 Ryan Schmitz bhs. ‘Es possible que está vuesa merced en esta tierra?’ (II: 281). and so. Significantly. and the fact that it displays a makeshift cross and is decorated in expensive jewellery. that Zoraida achieves her desired 12 See Francisco Ramírez Santacruz 2010. Estefanía is reminiscent of Zoraida from the first part of Don Quijote. The interconnectedness of body and mind are consistently highlighted throughout the pair of novelas. Campuzano’s account of his ill-conceived marriage to doña Estefanía places emphasis on the images of hands and their communicative. ‘if Andrés means what he says he will have to prove it with his deeds’ (Thompson 2005: 268). Discoloured and emaciated from humoral imbalance and an intense sweating treatment. Campuzano seems to exist in the liminal space at the edge of consciousness. but with words conveyed via her hands. Similarly. the three principle narrators/ ‘authors’ of the pair of novelas that close Cervantes’s collection – the Ensign Campuzano. its whiteness. where a soldier stumbles from the ‘Hospital de la Resurrección’.

II: 284). Y para acrecentarle más. Campuzano becomes obsessed. He tells Peralta: ‘yo quedé abrasado con las manos de nieve que había visto y muerto por el rostro que deseaba ver’ (Cervantes 2005. If she initially . cualquier sensatez en quienes las admiran y hacerlos mostrarse dispuestos a hacer lo que ellas les pidan’ (2010: 266). the ‘fountainhead of so many witty poems in praise of […] la bella mano’ (Mirollo 1972: 33). like a careful theatrical performance. Given the human hand’s associations with power. porque tenía un tono de habla tan suave que se entraba por los oídos en el alma’ (II: 284). And yet her hands. Estefanía’s white hand is a surrogate for the lady herself. sin dejar ver el rostro más de aquello que concedía la raridad del manto. derribado el manto hasta la barba. o ya fuese de industria [o] acaso. Similar to Petrarch. no fue posible acabarlo con ella. when Campuzano makes a visit to what is supposedly her house. In his oral recounting of this significant first encounter with the woman who would become his wife. Although Doña Estefanía’s remarkable white hands are not imbued with the racial and religious issues associated with Zoraida’s. and the individual’s autonomy to narrate his/her own story. sin pronun- ciar palabra alguna. and ultimately entrapped. it is fitting that Estefanía’s remarkable hand serves as both the object of contempla- tion – the bait that ensnares her victim – and the director/ dramatist’s hand in performing her charade. II: 283) Like Zoraida. con muy buenas sortijas. a quien conocí por las manos’ (II: 284). pero éralo de suerte que podía enamorar comunicada. her shining white hand is ostentatiously displayed. sacó la señora una muy blanca mano. Also in line with Petrarch and his imita- tors. Campuzano recalls his first encounter with Estefanía: Se sentó en una silla junto a mí. 93 (2016) The Hand as Metaphor in the Novelas ejemplares 107 flight northwards to Christian Spain (Quinn 2008: 222). however her resplendent hand and extraordi- nary discursive ability are the source of her beauty: ‘No era hermosa en extremo. Francisco Ramírez Santacruz notes. then. agency.bhs. while the rest of her distinguishing features are veiled and hidden from sight. cosa que me encendió el deseo de verla. by the snow-white hand that sparks his passion. Like puppeteers with stunningly beautiful and surprisingly adroit hands. Curiously. Campuzano realizes that Estefanía may have controlled the first impression she made on him by clever and calculated design. ‘Ambas mujeres poseen unas manos cuya blancura y alhajas parecen derrumbar. which communicate via the letters she writes to the captive (translated by the renegade) and the sign language she utilizes when she inserts her hand through the bars that hold Ruy Pérez and the renegade captive: ‘más declaraba su inten- ción por señas que por palabras’ (Cervantes 2008: 418). y aunque le supliqué que por cortesía me hiciese merced de descubrirse. Estefanía’s identity is initially presented in a fragmented or dismembered manner. Estefanía’s overall appearance can best be described as average. there are other ways in which they are similar. he recognizes Estefanía via her hands: ‘Hallé una casa muy bien aderezada y una mujer de hasta treinta años. (Cervantes 2005. control. Estefanía and Zoraida manage to control the desires and ultimately the wills of the men that come under their spell.

‘A fe que se ha ido bien del pie a la mano la señora Estefanía’ (II: 288). a narrative whose material ‘goes beyond imagination and the very limits of nature’ and which makes all of his disgraces ‘bien empleadas’ (II: 292). stating that the story of his marriage pales in comparison to what he is about to tell. Astounded by their sudden ability to speak.108 Ryan Schmitz bhs. but wholly absent. the canine protagonists. From the very beginning of the tale. and the hand is metaphorically associated with both the construction and destruc- tion of texts. sin que viese visiones en ella de parientes fingidos ni de amigos verdaderos’ (II: 284). that she offered him an idle life of ease and pleasure) Estefanía is reintegrated. However. that is. They establish that Berganza will narrate his life story the first night and Cipión the second. he expresses harsh scrutiny and questions the verisimilitude of both of Campuzano’s narratives: ‘hasta aquí estaba en duda si creería o no lo que de su casamiento me había contado. The ensign attempts to stir admiratio in Peralta. which serves as a moral lesson for the Ensign’s autobiography. ‘siempre hallé la casa desembarazada. ‘Che chi prendere diletto di far frode. 93 (2016) appeared to him in a fragmented manner. Berganza and Cipión. then. and the deceptive potential of language are foregrounded. Among the many signs that he failed to interpret correctly./ Non si de’ lamenter s’ altri l’inganna’ (II: 291). ­verisimilitude. Thus. as well as a forewarning for readers of his manuscript of the Dogs’ Colloquy. when Campu- zano discovers that his wife had fabricated essentially every key detail of her life (that she owned this property. y esto que ahora me cuenta de que oyó hablar los perros me ha hecho declarar por la parte de no creelle ninguna cosa’ (II: 293). In line with Alonso López Pinciano and other narrative theorists of the period. Cervantes presents his reader with an exemplary manner in which to interpret narratives. that she sought a husband to obey and serve. he advises Berganza not only on moral issues such as avoiding vanity and the temptation to damage the reputa- tion of others but also on the art of narration. In the transition from frame tale to the central narrative of the Coloquio de los perros. waste little time in putting this miraculous gift to good use. though his turn never comes. only as a hand. as soon as Peralta hears of the talking dogs that his friend ‘heard and almost saw with his eyes’. The hand that functioned as the initial spark of desire and that he then sought in marriage is ultimately the hand that deceives him. the servant girl informs him. Peralta’s response to Campuzano’s autobiography is to cite a pair of Petrarchan verses. Berganza likens his chronicle to a . Campuzano tells Peralta. but now it is God’s hand that is upon him – ‘Aquí me tuvo de nuevo Dios de su mano’ – as he finds himself before the empty trunk that now appears to him as his coffin (II: 290). Just as the falsity of his expensive-looking jewels would have required more careful scrutiny to be discovered – he informs Peralta ‘que sólo el toque o el fuego podía descubrir su malicia’ (II: 291) – Estefanía’s fabrications would have been also evident if only he had taken the time to ‘tocar las apariencias con la mano’ (Cervantes 2008: 613). issues of narration. Cipión is the audience and critical commentator on Berganza’s self-presentation.

but it is a sign without referent: ‘rezo poco y en público […] vame mejor con ser hipócrita que con ser pecadora declarada: las apariencias de mis buenas obras presentes van borrando la memoria de los que me conocen las malas obras pasadas’ (II: 340). Throughout the novela. however. Similar to Estefanía and Preciosa. 2: 83). dejándose estar sumida en la profunda sima de su miseria. Not only do these facts make her a questionable narrator. según la vas añadiendo colas’ (II: 319). II: 342). After all. mentiras o apariencias del diablo… y que aunque le tocamos con las manos. no le habemos de dar crédito hasta tanto que el suceso dél nos muestre lo que conviene que creamos’ (II: 346. por sola su misericordia. Cañizares herself is duped by the simple deceit of Berganza jumping on cue and she hastily concludes that he is Montiel. no quiere alzar la mano a la de Dios. metaphorically alluding to the hand’s role in verifying the truth: ‘todas estas cosas y las semejantes son embel- ecos. Another way in which clusters of hand images in El coloquio de los perros function to create meaning is through the perverted use of what was known as the paramount instrument that God had given man. 14 Cañizares observes that ‘en fin todos los males que llaman de daño. The dogs’ most important interpretive challenge. the essential aspects of her being are reflected in her hands.bhs. Her narration. 13 Pinciano speaks of narrative arcs as ‘knotting’: ‘La fábula se considera como cuerda y tiene ñudo y soltura. 93 (2016) The Hand as Metaphor in the Novelas ejemplares 109 13 hand tying knots: ‘anundando el roto hilo de mi cuento’ (II: 307). Cipión critiques the lack of symmetry in Berganza’s story. Though she 14 recognizes God’s power. there are many reasons to question her reliability as a narrator. calling her prophecy a silly old lady’s story. she rejects His outstretched hand: ‘la costumbre del vicio se vuelve en naturaleza… [los sentidos dejan de servir] … y así. since it is based on scanty empirical evidence: ‘como ti vi hacer tantas cosas. para que se levante’ (II: 342). since it is her narration that offers an explanation of the mysterious identity of the dogs. but Cipión also distrusts Cañizares’s conclusion that Berganza is Montiel. arrives with the appearance of the witch Cañizares. She publicly displays the manual gesture of one who prays. sin que la hagas que parezca pulpo. Cipión rejects the foolish and vain points on which Cañizares attempted to convince Berganza that he is a human only temporarily transformed into a dog. It is also via her hand that we learn of the depravity of her soul and her complete inability to escape the vices that have become habitual. Convinced that Berganza is Montiel. vienen de la mano del Altísimo y de su voluntad permitente’ (Cervantes 2005. is fraught with ambiguity and there are many reasons to question what she presents as true. medio y fin’ (1953. . y tiene principio. my emphasis). Cipión scrutinizes her tale. however. Later. y que te llaman el perro sabio… he creído que eres hijo de la Montiela’ (II: 339). que se la está dando. Cañizares speaks transparently with Berganza. revealing that she is a hypocrite. Cañizares claims to have intimate and crucial information about who Berganza is and why he can speak despite his canine appearance. once again speaking of texts with a body metaphor: ‘que la sigas de golpe. son of her companion witch Montiela. Despite her expertise at manipulating appearances.

the merchant. reader interpretation. and the connections between individuals and their societies. his grasping of the witch. is wholly absent when he meets Cañizares. bribe. Cervantes’s use of hand images in the connected novelas El casamiento engañoso and El coloquio de los perros. then. ‘Bien pudiera yo volver a quitar lo que me quitó. Galen praised this versatility: ‘Now when you have considered the largest objects that man can handle with both hands […] then give heed. Arrojaban los bonetes o sombreros. In fact. Cañizares. the hand’s capacity to grasp objects of varying shapes and sizes marks the distinction between humans and other animals. Significantly. Like speech. Berganza notes. dismember and desecrate human and animal flesh. pero tuve asco y no lo consentí’ (II: 336). In this novela it seems that the hand is a metonym for the great variety of ways in which man is capable of committing horrific and corrupted deeds. Berganza appears in numerous memorable scenes grasping items as though he were human: the lanterns that illuminate the nighttime alms collection of the ‘hermanos de la Capacha’. II: 305. expressed via the mouth– hand gesture. carrying a basket of meat to his first master’s girlfriend. . curtsying or giving the right of way’ (1992: 164). ‘llegarle a las manos’ (II: 313). y yo se los volvía a la mano limpiamente’ (II: 316). and to create all manner of deceits. the respectful and egalitarian treatment he receives from the pupils of humanistic training is expressed via the children’s willingness to put their hands in his mouth: ‘domestiquéme con ellos de tal manera que me metían la mano en la boca y los más chiquillos subían sobre mí. the canine’s gesture of sniffing and licking human hands – a parallel. Thus. Furthermore. with his second master. por no poner mi boca jifera y sucia en aquellas manos limpias y blancas’ (Cervantes 2005. reinforces their central themes of the art of language and narra- tion. Similarly. are certainly not the only significant hands in Cervantes’s collection. to the smallest.110 Ryan Schmitz bhs. religions. he states that he did not dare. my emphasis). Conclusion There are many cases of exemplary hands in the Novelas ejemplares. in order to pull her into the courtyard and expose her heretical practices. Those of Preciosa. and economic backgrounds repeat- edly utilize their hands to thieve. when a basket of meat is stolen from him. pero no quise. of feudal codes of a vassal’s devotion to his lord and the protection offered in return – reflects 15 his respect or repudiation for certain individuals. 93 (2016) members of myriad professions. and Cañizares. it is worth noting. while remarkable. He states: ‘si la dejara me besara en la boca. Despite his lack of hands. the respect that Berganza shows for human superiority. Essential information about 15 Herman Roodenburg’s observation about the manuals of conduct of the Dutch Republic is equally true of Spain: ‘Respecting the space of one’s superiors was very important. […] you will find that man handles them all as well as if his hands had been made for the sake of each one of them alone’ (1968: 72–73). kissing a person’s hand. Significantly. pray. Estefanía. the manuals devote a great deal of attention to the delicate actions of doffing one’s hat.

—. Echoing the traditional metaphorical significance assigned to hands. Jean. like those of many characters throughout the collection. Canavaggio. Works Cited Aristotle. the Picaresque. Margaret Tallmadge May (Ithaca. 13. R.bhs. (Madrid: Cátedra). Like so many characters of the Novelas ejemplares. Clamurro. trans. —. J. Cervantes constructs layers of meaning related to agency. Los trabajos de Persiles y Sigismunda. not in accord with what is in her heart. que estando enclavijados los dedos se puede leer y después de apartadas las manos que dividida la razón’ (II. de. The essential detail of La ilustre fregona’s dénouement illustrates this idiosyncrasy. Norton). Jones (New York: W. Reidel Publishing Company). Beneath the Fiction: The Contrary Worlds of Cervantes’s Novelas ejemplares (New York: Peter Lang). Brownlee. David A. (Madrid: Cátedra). not weathered despite exposure to the elements. Harry Sieber. Aristotle: The Nichomachean Ethics. Simultaneously. and Boston. Apostle. devoted to peeling back surface appearances. ed. but given freely. 124. 2009. 2006 [1611]. Miguel de. intentions. 2005.5: 569–85. (Dordrecht. 1975. Novelas ejemplares. Covarrubias Horozco. Boruchoff. Juan Bautista Avalle-Arce (Madrid: Clásicos Castalia). a la traza y manera como cuando se enclavijan las manos y en los dedos se escriben alguna cosa. 93 (2016) The Hand as Metaphor in the Novelas ejemplares 111 a character’s identity is often conveyed via reference to his or her hands: the mysteriously beautiful hands of Preciosa. Novelas ejemplares. Holland. Volume 1. And yet there is something extraordinary about the way in which he. not stolen. whose manual gestures in public are a fraudulent sham. 1986. 1985. Alfonso F. Bulletin of Hispanic Studies. Hippocrates G. 1946. 2008. 189). Modern Language Notes. trans. Ganelin. Don Quijote de la Mancha. They are also. 1997. they reflect her firm. MA: D. Estefanía’s white hands are those of a master manipulator. NY: Cornell University Press). ‘Free Will. in Critical Reflections: Essays on Golden Age Spanish Literature in Honor of James A. instruments of scrutiny. The two pieces of the parchment that. William. ed. they are symbols of abundant income. 2005. and the Exemplarity of Cervantes’s Novelas ejemplares’. Avellaneda. Vol. Cañizares’s are those of a hypocrite. Martín de Riquer (Barcelona: Editorial Juventud). 82. when pieced together. 1969. ed. Charles Victor. On the Usefulness of the Parts of the Body.. adept at creating desire and ensnaring her victim. Marina. 2006. ed.2: 372–403. Harry Sieber. ‘A Glove by Any Other Name: A Fetish in Lope de Vega’s El guante de doña Blanca’. ‘Zoraida’s White Hand and Cervantes’s Rewriting of History’. the key to Costanza’s myste- rious identity is embodied in her hands. varied economic philosophies. provide the key to identifying Costanza’s true noble social standing are described with a gratuitous reference to hands: ‘Cortó un blanco pergamino a vueltas y a ondas. Galen. and the construction and dissection of narrative. 1968. Tesoro de la lengua castellana o española (Madrid: Iberoamericana). —. Volume 2. Sebastián. Cervantes. . perhaps because of his ‘manquedad’. El Quijote (Buenos Aires: Colección Austral). trans. W. poetically expresses the metaphorical valences of this body part. free will and the control she takes in rewar- ding her hand in marriage to a well chosen suitor. Cervantes.

Antonio Bernat. ‘The Whole Body of Fable with All of Its Members: Cervantes. Cervantes. 39. Enciclopedia de emblemas españoles ilustrados (Madrid: Akal). Roodenburg. 1972. 18. Ryan. in Texto y Espectáculo. Cervantes’s Theory of the Novel (Newark. Cervantes. Referents. Quinn. 2012. Alonso López. ‘Cervantes as Narrator of Don Quijote’. The Review of English Studies. Ramírez Santacruz. Mary.. ‘“God’s handy worke”: Divine Complicity and the Anatomist’s Touch’. Germany: Edition Reichenberger). Katheryn L. 1988. Williamsen (Lewisburg.. —. ‘Prudence. Bulletin of the Cervantes Society of America.2: 53–73. Jan Bremmer (Ithaca.. and John T.2: 213–29. UK: Tamesis). Power. ed. David Hillman and Carla Mazzio (New York: Routledge). The Cervantes Encyclopedia. 2008. 1994.I. Colin. ed. CT: Greenwood Press). NY: Cornell University Press). 1999. ‘La mano de Zoraida: autor. in Quixotic Desire: Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Cervantes.2: 87–127. Sincerity. 88. Shakespeare Quarterly. Schmitz. Pinciano. 2010. and the Body’s Betrayal of the Dissimulated Self in Cervantes’s La señora Cornelia’. Pinciano. 32. Alberto. ed. ed. Thompson. 1953.. Rowe. Presberg. 5. Vistarini. in A Cultural History of Gesture. Carroll B. 2000. 2005. 93 (2016) Parr. ‘Precious Exchanges: The Poetics of Desire. Stephen Boyd (Woodbridge. Porqueras Mayo. ed. 123.112 Ryan Schmitz bhs. Compa- rative Literary Studies. Charles D. NY: Cornell University Press).153: 29–38. 1998. 2011. 2 vols (Westport.3: 349–66. and Reciprocity in Cervantes’s La gitanilla’. Howard. discurso. Mirollo. 1985.S. E. Malcolm Gaylord. y manquedad’. Riley. ‘What Hands Are Here? The Hand as Generative Symbol in Macbeth’. Ruth Anthony El Saffar and Diana de Armas Wilson (Ithaca. Robert. in Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quijote. Mary B. C. ‘Eutrapelia and Exemplarity in the Novelas ejemplares’. 1987. Katherine. in A Companion to Cervantes’s Novelas ejemplares. Francisco. ed. 1992.2: 173–97. Matthew D. ed. DE: Juan de la Cuesta).. Philosophía antigua poética (Madrid: C. ‘In Praise of La bella mano: Aspects of Late Renaissance Lyricism’. and Theatrical Semiotics: The Use of Hands in the Comedia’. ‘Une Saison en enfer: La gitanilla’. Herman. 2004.C). Barbara Mujica (New York: University Press of America). 1993. 45. PA: Bucknell University Press). Hsu (Kassel. Stroud. Barbara Simerka and Amy R. Bulletin of Spanish Studies. 9. Cervantes and the Material World (Urbana: University of Illinois Press). Modern Language Notes. 1997. Lynch. —. in Cervantes y su tiempo. ed. 1957. ‘The “Hand of Friendship”: Shaking Hands and Other Gestures in the Dutch Republic’. Cervantes. El prólogo como género literario: su studio en el Siglo de Oro español (Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas). ‘Symbols. Harold Bloom (New York: Infobase Publishing). . —. Cull. Modern Texts: A New Reading of Cervantes’s The Captive’s Tale’.. Freud’. in The Body in Parts: Fantasies of Corporeality in Early Modern Europe. Mancing.1: 31–43. 2010.3: 279–303. ‘Cervantes’s Language of the Heart in the Novelas ejemplares and Don Quijote’. Johnson. 1992. Carmen Y. James V. ter Horst.. ‘Dismembering and Forgetting in Titus Andronicus’. ‘Handless Maidens.

However. and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without Liverpool University Press's express written copyright permission. . users may print. download.Copyright of Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (1475-3839) is published by Liverpool University Press. or email articles for individual use.