The Dialogue of the Dogs (Art of the Novella)
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"Ever since I could chase a bone, I've longed to talk...."
The first talking-dog story in Western literature—from the writer generally acknowledged, alongside William Shakespeare, as the founding father of modern literature, no less?
Indeed, The Dialogue of the Dogs features, in a condensed, powerful version, all the traits the author of Don Quixote is famous for: It's a picaresque rich in bawdy humor, social satire, and fantasy, and it uses story tactics that were innovative at the time, such as the philandering husband who, given syphilis by his wife, is hospitalized. Late one feverish night he overhears the hospital's guard dogs telling each other their life's story—a wickedly ironic tale within the tale within the tale, wherein the two virtuous canines find themselves victim, time and again, to deceitful, corrupt humanity.
Here in a sparkling new translation, the parody of a Greek dialogue is so entertaining it belies the stunningly prescient sophistication of this novella—that it is a story about telling stories, and about creating a new way to discuss morality that isn't rooted in empiricism. In short, it's a masterful work that flies in the face of the forms and ethics of its time...and perhaps ours as well.
The Art of The Novella Series
Too short to be a novel, too long to be a short story, the novella is generally unrecognized by academics and publishers. Nonetheless, it is a form beloved and practiced by literature's greatest writers. In the Art Of The Novella series, Melville House celebrates this renegade art form and its practitioners with titles that are, in many instances, presented in book form for the first time.
gives a straight answer to what we ask, only rejoinders vulnerable to different readings. There’s no point asking our dark lord and master anything, because he mixes truth in with a thousand lies. I’ve decided he doesn’t know anything of the future for certain, but only by conjecture. “Still, he has us witches so enthralled that, even after all his heinous deceits, we can’t leave him. Instead we go a long way to see him and, on a great lawn, we come together in a numberless throng, witches and
into thin air, which surely made them think me a devil all the more. In six hours I’d logged a dozen leagues, and soon arrived at a gypsy camp outside Granada. I got a little of my strength back there, since some of the gypsies recognized me as The Learned Dog and gave me a hearty welcome. So nobody looking for me would luck into a reward, they hid me in a cave. I realized later that they meant to cash in on me in the same way my master the drummer had. I spent twenty days with them, and I
that, very much against my will and my better judgment, I played along and agreed for us to stay with another friend of hers, provided the whole affair wouldn’t last more than a week. “We finished dressing, and when she went to make her goodbyes to Doña Clementa Bueso and Lope Melendez de Almendarez, I ordered my servant to follow her with the luggage. Without taking leave of anyone, I followed too. Doña Estefanía stopped at another friend’s house and stayed talking with her for a while, leaving
conkers. Not with delicate and mellifluous voices, either, but with cracked caterwauling, whether solo or approximately together, that sounded less like singing than like shouting or gargling. They spent most of the day scratching fleas or patching their sandals. None among them were like Amaryllis, Filida, Galatea or Diana, nor were there any Lisardos, Lausos, Jacintos or Riselos. No, they all went by Anton, Domingo, Pablo or Llorente. All this persuaded me of something that I think everybody
and seeing that my care, sure-footedness, and bravery were proving useless to catch the wolf, I resolved to change my strategy. I wouldn’t chase after the wolf as I’d been doing, far from the flock, but stay near it instead. That way, when the wolf came, I’d stand a better chance of catching him. Week in and week out they’d raised the alarm, and one sable-black night I lay in ambush for those wolves against whom I’d failed to protect the flock. While the other dogs tore out ahead of me, I lay