“Don Quixote”, I answered, and looked into almost shocked facial expressions, followed by quiet, uncomfortable giggling.
What was the question? If my friends at the coffee table had asked: “What is your favourite book, Lisa?”, and received that answer, they would have nodded knowingly, sympathetically, adding some random fact about the 1000pageclassic I claimed to love more than the countless other books I have read. But that was not the question. It was:
“With which literary character do you identify most?”
I was not the first one around the table to answer, and there had been plenty of identification with the brave, the strong, the pretty, the good, the clever heroes and heroines of the literary universe before it was my turn. I had time to think, and to think carefully.
There is no one like Don Quixote to make me feel the connection between my reading self and my real life. Who else loved books to the extent that he was willing to immerse himself completely in the illusion of his beloved fiction, against all reason? Who else struggled to survive and keep the spirit of beautiful ideas in the face of ugly, mean, bullying reality?
Why was there such awkwardness when I said I identified with Don Quixote? Because he is clumsy, he is bullied by the brutal ordinary people who can’t stand a mind focused on literary thoughts and idealist ideas, he is treated badly and made fun of. He is so very UNCOOL! He makes a silly figure in the ordinary society where appearance and participation in shared activities are more important to social survival and reputation than reflective thinking and expression of individuality. He is off the main track, and that is only acceptable to the world if you are a strong, fighting, violent hero, not if you are a harmless, yet ridiculous dreamer.
If you can’t be one of the group, you have to be stronger, more violent than the majority. Just being different is the most dangerous, the most hated thing in the world. Still!
But I don’t think there was much choice for Don Quixote. He had seen the raging madness of the world, and made a decision:
“When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams — this may be madness. Too much sanity may be madness — and maddest of all: to see life as it is, and not as it should be!”
In the most famous scene of all, the dialogue between Sancho Pansa and Don Quixote reveals the deliberate choice to see more in life than just the mere practicalities of food provision and business:
"What giants?" Asked Sancho Pansa.
"The ones you can see over there," answered his master, "with the huge arms, some of which are very nearly two leagues long."
"Now look, your grace," said Sancho, "what you see over there aren't giants, but windmills, and what seems to be arms are just their sails, that go around in the wind and turn the millstone."
"Obviously," replied Don Quixote, "you don't know much about adventures.”
If you only have one life to live, why choose the boredom of reality when your mind can create an imaginary adventure of giant proportions?
What a wonderful match they are, the idealist dreamer and his realist companion, complementing each other perfectly while exploring the real world in the same way Dante and Virgil complement and support each other’s thoughts while they explore the fantastic fiction of Afterlife in the Divine Comedy.
To me there is more heroism in seeing a perfect horse in the lame Rosinante, or a beautiful woman in the ugly, mean Dulcinea, than there could ever be in the strongest superhero riding the most powerful horse and gaining the love of the most stunning lady. That is a nobrainer, while it requires deeper thinking skills to see the adventure and beauty in average, weak, ugly life.
The moment Don Quixote turns ridiculous, and sad and “quixotic” in my world, is the moment before death when he renounces his ideal in favour of the mainstream understanding of Christian “comme il faut”, breaking Sancho Pansa’s heart, who, in his own, realist and practical way, understands the world’s need for characters like Don Quixote.
The sanity Don Quixote gains when he dictates his last testament is the capitulation of the tired, wornout spirit. He has already stopped living.
Another of my favourite windmillfighting characters, Jean Barois, foresaw the weakness of old age and wrote his testament to the world at the height of his intellectual power, thus haunting the bigot winners of his dying body afterwards with his words of idealistic power from the other side of the grave.
And for all those who smile at Don Quixote: it is much braver, and harder, to fight inanimate, mechanised windmills than firespitting dragons!
And: you have to have more than an ounce of Don Quixote in you to try to review this book of superlatives! Can I tell you a storyonly it may take a little time because sometimes a thousand trifles have to be recounted, as irrelevant as they are necessary, for the true understanding of a tale.
Chapter I : Regarding what befell the narrator on visiting a theatre
The comic operetta Don Quixote was being performed at my local theatre and I was amongst the audience at the first performance. It was a lively and entertaining reenactment featuring the knight errant Don Quixote and his erring squire Sancho Panza, and many of their adventures were recounted. As I sat in the theatre watching the performance I found myself more and more drawn towards the happenings on the stage. I continually shifted in my seat, and halfrose from it many times. I kept wanting to intervene, to give Don Quixote a fine new coat of armour, for example, and to exchange the old shaving bowl he wore on his head for the real Helmet of Mambrino which, as an avid reader with a large library, I knew exactly where to find.
I wanted to give his horse Rocinante a really good feed so that he would have some flesh on his poor bones (though I also knew that his and his master’s bony condition had saved them already from being eaten by a hungry lion).
I wanted to give Sancho Panza an even larger role in the story, with longer speeches, more proverbs, and greater opportunity to influence events.
I wanted to go backstage and meet with the producerand perhaps get a glimpse of the man who wrote the libretto.
But most of all I wanted Don Quixote to finally meet the Lady Dulcinea.
Chapter II : In which the diverting adventure of a puppet master is recounted, along with other things that are really worthwhile.
The operetta had reached the scene where Don Quixote is sitting in an inn along with other customers watching a traveling puppeteer’s production of the tale of a beautiful princess held captive in a castle. In the course of the puppet show, the puppet princess escapes from the castle and is pursued by her captors. Before anyone realised what he intended, Don Quixote sprang from his seat intent on rescuing the princess. He swung his sword at the hoard of cardboard figures, reducing them, and the entire puppet theatre to smithereens within minutes. Pandemonium ensued.
Don Quixote’s reckless actions were just the example I needed. Though it wasn't easy to move fast in my long opera gown, I ran towards the steps at the side of the stage, heedless of the whisperings and murmurings of the people I’d disturbed on the way. Before anyone knew what I intended, I had joined the actors on the stage where the puppet master was loudly bewailing the destruction of his puppet theatre. Don Quixote was dreamily contemplating the havoc he had created when he glanced up and noticed me standing near him. The Knight of the Sorrowful Face never looked so happy.
“The Lady Dulcinea at last, freed from her enchantment,” he said, dropping to one knee and covering my hands with kisses.
Everyone was stupefied.
“If that's the Lady Dulcurea”, muttered Sancho Panza, looking me up and down, “I’ll eat my packsaddle!”
“Curb your tongue, you jester and longtime nuisance,” responded Don Quixote, “does it seem right to dishonour and insult a duenna as venerable and worthy of respect as she? Consider and reflect on your words before they leave your mouth.”
I wasn’t terribly pleased to be described as a ‘duenna’ but I didn’t have time to debate the point because at that moment, the producer emerged from the wings and began to propel me from the stage.
“The Lady Dulcinea will appear at the proper time, dear Don Quixote,” he whispered consolingly, “and those words you’ve just uttered about the duenna belong in a later scene. This is the scene with the puppet theatre in the inn. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.”
Then he signalled to the puppet master to carry on with his speech and pushed me into the wingsthough I struggled a bit. I’d quite enjoyed being addressed as the Lady Dulcinea, duenna or no duenna.
Chapter III : Which continues the tale of The Reader who was Recklessly Meddlesome
“What do you think you're doing interfering in my production in such a ridiculous fashion?” the producer hissed into my ear, pushing me down a corridor and closing the door to the stage.
"It's all so entrancing I just couldn't stay in my seat," I insisted excitedly. “And I want to help Don Quixote, and Sancho Panza too, I want to arrange things better for them."
"What would you do for Sancho Panza?" he asked, standing with his back to the stage door and stroking his pointed beard thoughtfully.
"I'd give him a lot more speeches," I said eagerly, seeing that he'd calmed down a bit. "Speeches that would show him to be cleverer than he appears at the moment because I'm certain he is really very clever."
"And what would you do for Don Quixote?"
"I would give him success in a tournament, and I'd like to think he might sometime meet the Lady Dulcinea, even if only briefly."
He didn’t answer immediately, just continued to stroke his beard thoughtfully. It seemed that he might be considering my request.
“Can I examine your spectacles,” he asked suddenly, holding out his hand.
I was so surprised that I handed over my glasses immediately.
“Tortoiseshell, I see,” he said, tapping the frames with his index finger, “I've only ever seen it used for peinetas. Can I borrow these spectacles?”
“Absolutely not,” I cried, “I can’t see a thing without them and I’ll miss the rest of the playI’m missing enough as it is.”
“Hmm, if you won’t lend the spectacles, perhaps you’d lend your person?” he said with the trace of a smile. “After the interval there’s a short scene involving a duenna called Doña Rodríguez who wears spectacles, and since you want so much to be involved, you could take her place. She only appears once, and only has a couple of lines to deliver. But you must remove that ring,” he said, pointing to a ring I wore on my left hand.
I was thrilled to be given a chance to take part and agreed immediately, especially when the director said he might tweak some of the later scenes to allow Sancho Panzo to have a greater role, just as I had requested. He went off to consult with Cide Hamete, the librettist, while a costume person brought me a long and elaborate headdress to wear, complete with a peineta. The whole thing resembled a nun's veil. I donned it unwillingly. What can't be cured must be endured, after all, and the habit does not make the nun.
Chapter IV : Which deals wth matters related to this history and no other
Immediately after the interval comes the scene where Don Quixote and Sancho Panza are being welcomed to the castle of a wealthy duke. All the duennas in the service of the duchess stand in line to greet them. This was my big scene. Each duenna is supposed to be accompanied by a daughter so I also had a daughter whose job was to hold the end of my long headdress. As I stood with all the others, the two heroes passed so close to me I could have reached out and touched their sleeves. Just as they were about to enter the castle, Sancho stopped as if he'd forgotten something, and then he turned to me and said,
"Señora Gonzalez, or whatever your grace's name may be..”
"Doña Rodriguez de Grijalba is my name,” I responded, settling into my role, "How can I help you, brother?”
I was ready to oblige him in whatever way I could until I heard what he wanted. I was to go outside the castle gate and find his donkey and take him to the stable, because the donkey apparently didn't like to be left alone under any circumstances. I didn't think this was at all the kind of duty a duenna was supposed to undertake, and so I told Sanchoin a slightly raised voice. Then we traded a few insults in which the word 'old' was mentioned. The duchess and Don Quixote overheard and the Don castigated Sancho severely (see his lines above) while the duchess explained that though I was wearing spectacles and a wimple, I was in fact still quite young. I was mollified and Sancho went on his way, muttering something about the need for duennas to show more generosity towards donkeys.
Chapter V : Which recounts the second adventure of the Duenna, also called Doña Rodriguez
I watched the next few scenes from the wings. It seemed to me that the Duke and Duchess were organizing some very elaborate entertainments at the expense of the two heroes, entertainments in which a fair amount of trickery and deceit was involved. The more I watched, the less I liked it, especially when Don Quixote was clawed by a bunch of angry cats he thought were demons. He was recovering in his bed from this attack when I decided to creep into his chamber during the night and warn him about what the Duke and Duchess were up to. To get his attention, I had to pretend there was a damsel in distress who needed his help, so I told him that my daughter had been forsaken by her lover and would he please challenge the lover to a duel. That was exactly the right way to get him onside and he began to pay attention to the rest of what I had to say. I had just begun to explain about all the trickery that was going on in the castle when some figures dressed in black appeared and began to spank me unmercifully. “Ouch,” I cried, "help, help!", but to no avail (see update status: page 772) because Don Quixote was also being attacked, and since Sancho Panza was far away, he couldn't comfort either of us with his soothing proverbs. And so ended my unfortunate and embarrassing midnight tête à tête with the noble knight.
Chapter VI : Regarding matters that concern and pertain to this adventure
Back stage, everybody was complaining about my foolishness and audacity in meddling in the plot and generally making a spectacle of myself. The director said he regretted letting me play the part of the duenna. I was forbidden to step on stage again, and more or less thrown out of the theatre. But I didn't want to leave without speaking further with Don Quixote, and even with Sancho, who'd suddenly begun to deliver some of the best speeches of the entire opera, filled with juicy proverbs like pears in a wicker basket.
I reckoned I might as well be hung for a sheep as for a lamb, and how would an omelette get made if we didn’t break a few eggs, so I hid behind a windmill prop in the wings and waited my chance. As the Don and his squire were taking leave of the Duke, I stepped onstage once again and had the most interesting of my encounters with Don Quixote and the wise squire Sancho.
When we had finished conversing, I withdrew to a seat at the back of the theatre to watch the rest of the operetta, completely satisfied that my interventions had been useful and were achieving some effect.
Postscript: Which recounts what will be seen by whoever reads it and other matters which will be understood if the reader reads with attention
So now you've heard the story of how Doña Rodriguez, who was only supposed to have one scene in the opera, ended up having three, and of how this crazy reader, who recklessly entered the story, brought this mischief about. If you don't believe any of this could have happened, read Chapter LVI of Don Quixote, Regarding the extraordinary and unprecedentedly successful battle that Don Quixote of La Mancha had with the footman Tosilos in defense of the daughter of the duenna Doña Rodriguez.
And when you’ve read that, read Chapter LXIX : Concerning the strangest and most remarkable event to befall Don Quixote in the entire course of his history which features not just one spectaclewearing duenna but four!
My tortoiseshell glasses had started a craze.
When the performance was finally over, I left the theatre, pleased that my recklessness had lead to such a satisfying outcome, but thoughtful too about some of the things that had happened.
Why had Don Quixote addressed me as the Lady Dulcinea?
Why had the director asked me to remove my ring? I took it from my pocket and examined it. It's an old ring, in fact it's been in my family for a long, long time. I had picked it to wear to the theatre because it has a heraldic design, showing a gyron or triangular shape inside a coat of arms.
What all that signifies however, I cannot quite grasp for the moment, but I’m hoping some attentive reader will soon tell me..
A secondhand account translated from Arab historian Cide Hamete Benengelithat's how our narrator describes it , the book tells the story of Alonso Quixano, a country gentleman around fifty years of age, retired, who lives with his niece and a housekeeper in a village of La Mancha. A big chivalry tales enthusiast, he spends most of his time reading books (Amadís de Gaula, Orlando Furioso and Tirant lo Blanch, among others) about knights and their unending courage and dangerous quests. His excessive reading (is reading ever too much? :)) takes a toll on his mindor "his brains got so dry that he lost his wits."
Wishing to seek for adventures and enforce peace and justice, he renames himself Don Quixote, designates Dulcinea del Toboso as the lady of his heart"for a knighterrant without love was like a tree without leaves or fruit, or a body without a soul" , puts on an old armor that had belonged to his greatgrandfather, gets on his horse (now called Rocinante) and, early in the morning, starts his enterprise as knighterrant. After some muddles, Don Quixote ends up being severely beaten and is returned to his home by a peasant who recognizes him. That is the end of his first sally.
At this point, you can't help but ask yourself: what really goes on inside of Don Quixote's head? Could he simply be deemed as crazy? In every aspect but his love for chivalry, it's noticeable how he's witty and sharpand this becomes clearer as the story goes on. Putting aside the crazy card for a minute, it's impossible not to wonder if and why he's possibly trying to escape reality. Has he been unhappy or unsatisfied with his life? He often talks about how one day a book will be written about him, telling all of his great deeds. Does he feel he's lacking accomplishments in life and therefore embarks on his imbroglio? These are just a few of the superficial questions this apparently simple book raises.
After a short period of unconsciousnessduring which his friends burn most of his books of chivalry in a funny yet unsettling scene where the parish curate judge one by one if they're appropriate or not , our clumsy hero decides that he needs an esquire and convinces his neighbor Sancho of joining him on his quests, by promising him governorship of an ínsula. Here, we witness the birth of literary's best relationship between a protagonist and his sidekick.
Sancho Panza, described as a farm laborer, honest man but with very little wit in his pate, leaves his wife and children to serve as Quixote's esquire. Bigbellied, a mouthful of proverbs and the everfaithful companion, Sancho follows his master and obeys his wishes, but not without speaking his minduntil he is forbidden to, since Quixote can't take his blabbering anymore; much to our amusement though, the knight lifts his ban. Matching Don Quixote's supposed insanity is Sancho's socalled stupidity. Sure, he's uneducated and illiterate, but could he be called stupid or dumb? He realizes very early that his master is delusional as far as his chivalry ways go and is often baffled by his actionsbut still, never leaves his side; is that because of friendship and his unwavering loyalty?
One of the most striking aspects of the novel is its language: written in a playful and light tone, almost evoking innocence, Cervantes was able to make his readers go through moments containing some evil doings and violence without feeling any disgust; some punches and kicks were rather funny and amusing. And how was one supposed to witness Sancho's unfortunate encounter with the blanketers without any giggles? Even being an one thousand pages book, it never feels tiring to read it: its episodic format, constituted mainly of short chapters, keeps you going on just for one more. Before you realize it, you're three hundred pages deep already.
Contrary to popular belief that sequels are never as good as the original, a second volume of Don Quixote appeared in 1615first volume came out in 1605; nowadays it's mostly published as single workand is just as good (and has often been regarded by critics as better) than the first installment for its greater character development and philosophical insights. Written by Cervantes partially as a response to an unauthorized continuation of the novel, this infamous part 2 is actually one of the matters discussed by Cervantes on his own sequel, as Don Quixote and Sancho find out through someone who recognizes their names that there's a book written about them. After hearing some of the book's contents, they dismiss it as being full of lies and injuries. This was one of Cervantes innovations where characters were aware that they were being written about.
Don Quixote ranks really high on "best books ever written" listsmost of the time, it stands proudly at number one. Based on the number of adaptations alonedozens of films, operas and ballets , books that were influenced by itMadame Bovary by Flaubert; The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Sterne and The Idiot by Dostoyevsky, to name just a few , comics, cartoons and even a painting by Picasso and a sculpture by Dalí, it becomes quite clear that it isn't without reason that Don Quixote had an enormous artistic impact in the world and is considered to be one of the best works of fiction ever written.
Rating: simply put, Don Quixote is an undeniable masterpiece that's both amusing and thoughtprovoking that never let me down: 5 stars. 992.Don Quixote = Don Quijote de La mancha (Don Quijote de la Mancha #12), Miguel de Cervantes
The Ingenious Nobleman Sir Quixote of La Mancha, or just Don Quixote, is a Spanish novel by Miguel de Cervantes. Published in two volumes, in 1605 and 1615, Don Quixote is considered the most influential work of literature from the Spanish Golden Age and the entire Spanish literary canon. As a founding work of modern Western literature and one of the earliest canonical novels, it regularly appears high on lists of the greatest works of fiction ever published.
عنوانها: دن کیشوت؛ دون کیخوته؛ نویسنده: سر وانتس؛ انتشاراتیها: (روایت، نیل، وستا، روزگار و ...) ادبیات اسپانیا؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش در یکی از روزهای سال 1972 میلادی
عنوان: دون کیشوت؛ نویسنده: سروانتس؛ مترجم: محمد قاضی؛ تهران، انتشارات نیل، 1349 ؛ دو جلد جمعا در 1286 صفحه؛ یکی از کتابهای مجموعه ی ده رمان بزرگ جهان
عنوان: دون کیشوت؛ نویسنده: سروانتس؛ مترجم: ذبیح الله منصوری؛ ...، چاپ دیگر: تهران، کتاب وستا، 1389؛ در 564 ص؛ شابک 9786009104475؛
عنوان: دون کیخوته (دن کیشوت)؛ نویسنده: سروانتس؛ مترجم: کیومرث پارسای؛ تهران، روزگار، 1390 ؛ دو جلد حدود 1300 ص؛ شابک دوره 9789643741259؛
این اثر از کهنترین رمانها در زبانهای نوین اروپایی ست. بسیاری آن را بهترین کتاب نوشته شده، به زبان اسپانیایی، میدانند. «سروانتس» بخش نخست «دن کیشوت» را در زندان نوشتند، و نخستین بار در سال 1605 میلادی، در «مادرید» منتشر کردند، و بخش دوم آن، ده سال بعد در سال 1615 میلادی، به چاپ رسید. «دن کیشوت» زندگی فردی را به خوانشگر نشان میدهد، که دچار توهم است، و اوقات خود را با خواندن آثار ممنوعه میگذراند. در زمان روایت داستان، نوشتن و خواندن آثاری که به شوالیه ها میپرداخت، قدغن بود؛ و شخصیت اصلی داستان، خود را جای یکی از همین شوالیه ها میشمارد، و دشمنانی فرضی را، در برابر خویش میبیند، که االبته کوهها و درختها هستند. «دن کیشوت» پهلوانی خیالی، و بیدست و پاست که خود را شکست ناپذیر میپندارد. او به سفرهایی طولانی میرود، و در میانه ی همین سفرهاست، که اعمالی عجیب و غریب، از وی سر میزند. وی که هدفی جز نجات مردمان، از ظلم و استبداد حاکمان ظالم، ندارد، نگاهی تخیلی به اطراف خویش دارد، و همه چیز را، در قالب ابزار جنگی میبیند. تاکنون هیچ کتابی، به اندازه ی «دن کیشوت»، اینهمه مورد عشق و علاقه ی ملل گوناگون نبوده است. بسیاری از کتابها هستند، که تنها به یک قوم و ملت اختصاص دارند؛ و از حدود مرز یک کشور فراتر نمیروند، بسیاری دیگر نیز هستند، که در میان ملل دیگر هم خوانشگر دارند، اما تنها مورد پسند طبقه ی روشنفکر، یا مردمان عادی، یا طبقات ممتاز جامعه هستند؛ اما «دن کیشوت» تمام حصارهای جغرافیایی، نژادی، اجتماعی، و طبقاتی را، در هم شکسته، و عنوان خود را با دنیا و بشریت، گره زده است ا. شربیانی ( DOWNLOAD KINDLE ) ⚐ El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha ⚇ Don Quixote Has Become So Entranced By Reading Chivalric Romances That He Determines To Become A Knighterrant Himself In The Company Of His Faithful Squire, Sancho Panza, His Exploits Blossom In All Sorts Of Wonderful Ways While Quixote's Fancy Often Leads Him Astray—he Tilts At Windmills, Imagining Them To Be Giants—Sancho Acquires Cunning And A Certain Sagacity Sane Madman And Wise Fool, They Roam The World Together, And Together They Have Haunted Readers' Imaginations For Nearly Four Hundred Years
With Its Experimental Form And Literary Playfulness, Don Quixote Has Been Generally Recognized As The First Modern Novel The Book Has Been Enormously Influential On A Host Of Writers, From Fielding And Sterne To Flaubert, Dickens, Melville, And Faulkner, Who Reread It Once A Year, "just As Some People Read The Bible"
The narrator was great on audio but I couldn't keep up in my book for reasons so I just listened.
Mel ❤️ done quixote!!!
and that's not entirely true; there are some rollicking good times in here, but the first part is so much endlessly episodic violence, and while the second half becomes calmer and more focused, it never got my imagination engaged nor my blood flowing.
in fact, although i know he really does love it, i can't help but feel that brian's recommending this to me is similar to the duke and duchess having their fun with don q. i feel like brian is pulling a prank on methat he does not want me to meet my reading goal and is laughingly crowing, "no, karen, you will not read 150 books this year!! i am preventing you!!"
i will show you. despite the amount of time i was stalled on this one, i will come right back in the game.
but this, i did not love this. and a lot of it is just context. i can appreciate it as an artifact and as a foundation for western literature, but it suffers from the fate of any work that was not edited professionally.
tastes change over time. just in the same way that marilyn monroe would have probably had to drop fifteen pounds to rock our modernday underfed runway ideal, so this book could lose a similar amount of text. stop frothing, bri, seriously if this turned up in some slush pile somewhere, there would be allll kinds of criticism, and it might even get passed around the office (lgm) a few times to the giggles of the editorial assistants: "this guy can't even keep the supporting character's wife's name straight!!", "this is inconsistent!!"," "this is repetitive!""what is this interlude that has nothing to do with anything else doing in here??" "this is flatout stolen from another source!!!"
an editor would go to town on this puppy.
but we have the luxury of reading this 500 years after it was written and marveling at how fresh and modern it still sounds. and part of it is very modern. but grossman's frequent "cervantes probably meant here" or "this is the wrong reference" would not play in a modern novel. if jonathan safran foer had done this, there would be a crown of pretentious classics majors drawling, "i can't believe he said "perseus" when he meant "theseus"... " guffaw guffaw.
but 500 years down the road, we can afford to be more forgiving. vanity press authors take heart!
and i am aware i am being nitpicky, i am more just interested in pointing out how a lot of people who love this book would be very indignant to read something produced today that had so many obvious flaws.
but i do admire longevity.
i just couldn't get into it, overall. there are a lot of great moments here: the burning of the books (nooo!), the puppet show, don q. in a cage, and great nonaction sequences in the discussions of the value of drama as a medium and the difficulty of translation and many other minor occurrences.
the first half is just episode after episode of this delusional thug with some kind of 'roidrage, methaggression attacking people and innocent lions, unprovoked, and his sidekick who is a grasping fiend who would sell you out for even the promise of a sandwich. and it all reads like marx brothers slapsticky stuff. i mean, how do you break someone's nose with a loaf of bread??
with the second half, it is better and becomes more selfreflexive and much sadder, but a lot of it still remains tedious. the second half, written ten years after the first part, frequently references the unauthorized sequel to don q that some guy wrote and pissed cervantes off. it is like a mean girl passing notes to the cool kids, "did you hear what he said??? that's my man he's messing with!!" etc etc.
and i am not a lazy reader, even though my tastes tend toward a faster pace than this, but i have read plenty of slowpaced, dense prose that didn't make me take out my mental red pen and slash away at what i felt was extraneous or repetitious.
i can appreciate the message about art and its impact and its potential and its place in the world, but i did not have fun reading this book.
and i make no apologies.
and for jasminewho doesn't think there is anything complicated or pretentious in the spanish languagethis qualifies, i think. it gets all meta in the second act. for its time, it was seriously mindbending stuff.
come to my blog! Whatever else Don Quixote may be, I never found it boring. Parts of it were very funny, others had wonderful similarities with Shakespeare, some bits were more serious: it's like a mini library in a single volume. Wonderful.
Overall, it has quite a Shakespearean feelmore in the plotting and tales within tales (eg The Man Who was Recklessly Curious, stolen by Mozart for Cosi fan Tutte) than the language. In fact, the story of Cardenio is thought to be the basis for Shakespeare's lost play of the same name.
Very funnyslapstick, toilet and more subtle humour, with lots of factual historical and chivalric detail as well, but it doesn't feel especially Spanish to me. Certainly long, but I don't understand why, supposedly, so few people manage to finish it. Some of DQ's delusions hurt only himself (tilting at windmills), but others lead to suffering for his "squire" Sancho Panza (tossed in a blanket) or reluctant beneficiaries of his salvation (the beaten servant, beaten even more once DQ departs) and bemuse people (mistaking inns for castles, sheep for enemy armies and ordinary women as princesses) and are used to justify theft (the golden "helmet"/bowl) and nonpayment to innkeepers. His resolute optimism in the face of severe pain and disaster is extraordinary. Meanwhile, Sancho wavers between credulity (wishfully thinking the promise of an island for him to rule will come true) and pragmatism.
Part II starts with Cervantes' response to the unknown writer of an unofficial sequel to part 1, though DQ, Sancho and others also critique it in early chapters. The following story presumes that part 1 is true, and shows how DQ's resulting fame affects his subsequent adventures. A very modern mix of "fact" and fiction. Some characters doubt his exploits, others pander to them, especially the duke and duchess who go to great lengths to treat him in knightly/chivalric manner, and provide new adventures (for their amusement, at the painful expense of DQ and Sancho). Sancho gets rather more scope for lengthy meanderings of jumbled and largely irrelevant proverbs. Less slapstick and more pontificating than part Iboth DQ's advice to Sancho on how to govern his promised insula and when Sancho has intriguing disputes to resolve.
A Third, courtesy of Borges?
Borges wrote the short story "Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote" (published in The Garden of Forking Paths ). Menard is an imaginary writer, described as if he's real, who “did not want to compose another Quixote” but “the Quixote” by combining the don and Sancho into a single character and by, in some sense, becoming Cervantes.
What Don Q Means to Me
(This section was added after an epiphany, which prompted me to make my reviews more personal.)
I was wary of this book for many years; I feared it was too heavy in ounces and themes/plot/language, but only the former is true, and that can be obviated by a comfy chair (or an ebook).
I plucked up the courage to read it shortly after joining GR, partly through encouragement from others. It was a revelation, both in terms of the power of GR friends to enrich my life and my own confidence as a reader.
My enjoyment was heightened by reading it whilst my son and his friend who was staying (both aged ~10) repeatedly watched and quoted Monty Python's Holy Grailvery appropriate!
The DoubleEdged Sword
It is a doubleedged sword isn't it, reading great books too early in life?
If we read a book too early in life, we may not grasp it fully but the book becomes part of us and forms a part of our thinking itself, maybe even of our writing. But on the other hand, the reading is never complete and we may never come back to it, in a world too full of books.
And if we wait to read till we are mature, we will never become good readers and writers who can do justice to good books... so we have to read some good books early and do injustice to them. Only then can we do justice to ourselves and to great books later on.
One is reminded of Calvino in Why Read the Classics when we meditate on this.
Now the question is which books to do the injustice to and which the justice. Do we select the best for the earliest so that they become a part of us or do we leave the very best for later so that we can enjoy them to the fullest?
Tough choice. I have never been able to resolve. Have you? My god this was a long book and when I told my boyfriend I was reading this he tried to tell me I should read Das Kapital with him as well which is almost twice this long like no thank you. It was an okay book, I definitely enjoyed it more than I've enjoyed other classics I've picked up. It kind of reminded me of reading Candide because it had that same sort of satirical tone. Sancho was pretty amusing through out the book and Don Quixote's adherence to his belief that he was a knight was something. Some parts were better than others and I think I did enjoy part one of this a lot more than I enjoyed part two. The digs at whoever wrote the fake second part however through the actually second part written by Cervantes were pretty funny in their pettiness. I just also think the ending was kind of ridiculous where Don Quixote dies on his deathbed and suddenly he's sane and is denouncing chivalry. Felt dumb and unnecessary when the whole point of the book was to make fun of Don Quixote for his silliness in trying to imitate the stories of knights and since everything said there had been mentioned in the book at some point. I feel like I probably lost out on a lot of the word play since I was reading a translated version, though Sancho mixing up words was still included through out. I got pretty bored hearing Don Quixote complaining about Sancho's proverbs endlessly like how many comments on that does one need? Definitely enjoyed part one more for the parts of the story that weren't just related to Don Quixote and a footnote said people disliked the inclusion of things like the short novel but I actually liked them and so I missed it in part two. Just want to take a moment to say contemporary writing is definitely better than any of the classics I've read but I guess it's nice to see where the influence is coming from for all the contemporary books I might enjoy.
“Don Quixote”, I answered, and looked into almost shocked facial expressions, followed by quiet, uncomfortable giggling.