Canterbury Travel on It is presented as the manuscript that the ensign gives the licentiate to read for himselfwhile the ensign rests. What is unbelievable in the story’s basic presupposition has already been identified in the frame narrative. Dogs do not talk and they do not have human intelligence. As Scipio, one of the two dogs, says, at the beginning of their colloquy, about their gift of speech: [What makes it aIl the more miraculous (milagro) is not only that we speak but also that we speak intelligently, as though we had minds capable of reason; yet we are so devoid of it that Postmodern Communities in Pynchon and Cervantes 285 the difference between brute beasts and man consists in this, that man is a rational animal and the beast is irrational [el hombre animal racional, y el bruto, irracional.13 This initial miracle is an aporia because, in this first of the complex echoes of classical wisdom that run aIl through The Dogs’ CoIloquy, everybody since Aristotle knows that what distinguishes man from the other animaIs is that man has reasori and speech, whereas the other animaIs do not. A dog, however, utters this piece of received wisdom. A dog ought not by nature be able to speak these words, much less understand them. Canterbury Travel 2016.
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