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Don Quixote: Book 4: End of Part 1: 12/19/08

The second half of Part One in Book Four of Don Quixote de La Mancha brings back the wackiness of Book One with a vengeance.

For most of Part One, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza are holed up at the inn (or castle as seen through Quixote-vision). To kill time and pad the book Quixote and Panza listen to the woeful tales of their fellow travelers.

In the hundred pages I read this week, fifty of them are taken up with the "Captive's Tale " about a man who has affected his own escape and the rescue of a man and his daughter from a slave trader. His adventures take him from various points in Italy to captivity by a Turk and by a Moor and time on a slave ship as an oarsman and imprisoning on an island.

The Captive's Tale is the most entertaining of all these overheard tales. It has the most derring-do and reminds me happily of the Dirk Pitt series of books by Clive Cussler. On page 262 the Captive describes: "'One Spanish soldier only, whose name was something de Saavedra happened to be in his good graces....' " Saavedra is of course, the author much in the same way that Dirk Pitt is constantly running into Cussler.

Don Quixote can't stay in the inn forever and he quickly outlives his welcome and is put under arrest for an altercation with the local barber. When it becomes painfully clear that Sr. Quixada is out of his mind, his head still full of the delusions brought forth by years of reading nothing but fantasy they decide to cart him home to recover. Of course to Quixote, he isn't taken home in a cage on the back of an oxcart; he is enchanted and captured by ogres and other demonic creatures.

Part One ends at the physical halfway point of the novel by declaring the death of Don Quixote, his beloved servant Sancho Panza and his noble Dulcinea! What does the dramatic cliffhanger mean? Just the return of sanity for Sr. Quixada. It can't last for long as we still have a big chunk of novel to finish.

I will be taking the next two weeks off for the holidays from my Don Quixote posts. I expect to be finished with the novel by the end of January. In the meantime, You can see the Tony Johannot illustrations that I've scanned on a special page I'm building. A big part of the fun of reading Don Quixote are the illustrations. I update the list of images each time I read the next section.

Comments (2)

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Comment #1: Saturday, December, 20, 2008 at 18:18:38


Don Quixote is one of the books my mother talked about for years. I had forgotten about it until reading this particular post. Now I am intrigued again and will likely pick it up on my next trip to the library. Great post.

Comment #2: Saturday, December 20, 2008 at 20:24:23


Don Quixote is worth the effort of reading. If you can, get an annotated copy and better yet, an annotated copy with illustrations. Take the book slowly. It's not one that can be rushed through.

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