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Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

A short introduction to the novel

Victoria Townsend

on 6 April 2011

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Transcript of Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

don Quixote Don Quixote is the most translated work after the bible Foundational work of Western Literature, considered the first modern novel Written in two volumes -
in 1605 and 1615, in Spain Very popular at
the time.
(And it still is!) by
Miquel de Cervantes Illustration by
Honore Daumier The story's setting is in the La Mancha region of Spain... and begins in an unnamed village... The story is about the adventures of Alonso Quixano, a retired country gentleman nearing 50 years of age, who lives with his niece and a housekeeper. He becomes obsessed with books of chivalry, believing every word to be true. He decides to become a knight-errant and renames himself "Don Quixote." Don Quixote's first adventure involves a stop at an inn, where the bemused innkeeper benevolently dubs him a knight. Later, he gets beaten and is brought home by a kind neighbor. His family burns his books and tries to keep him confined. But... He convinces a dimwitted neighbor, Sancho Panza, to come along with him in return for governorship of an (imaginary) island and they escape. One of Don Quixote's first and most famous adventures with Sancho Panza involve windmills, which... Don Quixote believes to be giants flailing their arms. Another involves a herd of sheep, which he believes to be an army. Miguel de Cervantes, novelist, playwright and poet, was the son of a poor doctor. He had to leave Spain for awhile after a fight, went to Italy and served in the household of a cardinal, returned to Spain, spent years in jail for not paying his bills, and is considered the supreme innovator of Spanish literature. Thus, the term "tilting at windmills" came into the English language and means attacking imaginary enemies, or fighting unwinnable or futile battles After numerous adventures (or misadventures), Don Quixote finally regains his sanity, but sinks into depression and dies sane, but broken-hearted. Still, his grand delusions inspire us all to
dream the impossible dream -
fight the unbeatable foe -
right the unrightable wrong -
and reach the unreachable star. He makes a pasteboard helmet, puts on an old set of armor, and mounts his skinny old nag which he believes to be a mighty warhorse - Rocinante. You guessed it - he's not exactly playing with a full deck of cards. Don Quixote also decides he must have a lady to whom he would send tribute from the foes he defeats. He selects a local peasant girl (unbeknownst to her) and calls her Dulcinea. A knight-errant is a figure of medieval chivalric romance literature.

"Errant," meaning wandering or roving, indicates how the knight-errant would typically wander the land in search of adventures to prove himself as a knight.
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