Enrique Bernárdez

Translator and Professor at the Universidad Complutense, Spain

The Art of Telling Stories: From Don Quijote (and Before) to Tómas Jónsson (and Beyond)

Guðbergur Bergsson’s novels are “strange” in many respects; that is, they do not follow the most usual forms of fiction writing. Even if we may talk of “avant-garde” and point to some antecedents in the 20th century, the roots of such peculiarities of Bergsson’s story-telling may be found in much earlier times. I shall concentrate in some coincidences between Tómas Jónsson and El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha by Cervantes. It is interesting, I think, that both novels share a number of nowadays unusual features. But things go even farther back: some of these features are also found in the Sagas of Icelanders. And Tómas Jónsson is of course not the only novel of Bergsson’s where such “anomalous” features are to be found. Just the contrary. Lömuðu kennslukonurnar and Missir will serve as good examples of the same “art of telling stories” in more recent times.