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Don Quixote: Book 1: 11/15/08
The Don Quixote de La Mancha (1605) story most of us probably know off the top of our head is actually the first of two books. In comparison to the sequel (written a decade later) is just a novella.
I originally planned to re-read the shorter of the two Don Quixote books for the Classics Challenge but upon taking my lovely old copy off my shelf I realized I wanted to do more than just write a quick review of the part we all know.
My posts about my re-reading Don Quixote won't be especially scholarly, rather they will just be this fan girl's thoughts. If you want to "read along" with the translation I'm reading is available online through Google Books.
Book One has eight chapters that cover the first quest of Don Quixote and in true serial fashion, it ends on a cliff hanger. Can you imagine having to wait ten years to find out how the big show down turned out?
The first chapter quickly establishes that Don Quixote is a parody of the literary elite who had made novels the most popular use for the printing press. Two hundred years after Gutenberg's printing press made book publishing so much simpler, people wanted entertainment, not scholarly or religious work. Of course, those books get published too in great numbers, but for every documentary film, there are probably a dozen cheesy blockbusters.
With cheesy entertainment come the dedicated fans. Think cosplay is a new concept? Ha! Sr. Quixada was doing it back in 1605 when he donned a mostly cardboard suit of armor and went out into the world to live first hand all the adventures he had been reading. That's right, Don Quixote is a complete fan boy. His only problem; no fantasy conventions to attend! Does that stop him? Of course not. He just puts on his armor, arms his nag (Rocinante) and sets out to defend the honor of the fair Dulcinea.
Book one has four main parts: the transformation of Sr. Quixada into Don Quixote, Don Quixote's first quest and the way it's received by the people he meets, an intervention by his well meaning friends and servants and his enlistment of Sancho Panza to make an escape for a second and longer quest. What becomes of that second quest comes in Book Two and will be left for future posts.
I will be covering roughly ten chapters per post. I plan to do my Don Quixote posts on Saturdays. I don't want to overwhelm this blog (or my readers!) with too much Don Quixote.
Comment #1: Sunday, November, 16, 2008 at 12:21:48
I'm eager to follow your posts about Don Quixote. I read the entire thing twice when I was in high school, enjoyed it but probably missed a lot. I already learned more in reading your first post than I ever knew! "
Comment #2: Monday, November 17, 2008 at 21:31:24
Thank you for your encouraging comment!
Comment #3: Sunday, November, 16, 2008 at 23:57:20
What a gorgeous copy of Don Quixote you have!
Comment #4: Monday, November 17, 2008 at 21:33:02
Yes. It's a lovely copy. The photographs don't do it justice.