Don Quixote the Legacy

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1st2thebar's review of Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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“Don Quixote the Legacy”

Written on: 20/02/2018 by 1st2thebar (2 reviews written)

Don Quixote
Translated by P. Motteux
Duration: 768 pages
Written period: 1605 - 1615

Format: Four books in one paperback; collectively each chapter is roughly six pages long.


A note on translation: it was chosen that 'Don Quixote' was deemed an example of idiocy in 1687 by John Phillips - therefore, all English translations may not be what Cervantes envisaged. So, worth checking on the translator's original script if you're writing a thesis or submitting a paper. With respect to the professionalism of Motteux (the translator), I cannot confirm the accuracy of the 'Wordsworth Classic' for this copy had been translated in 1712; enough time for a generation of writing manipulators to misinterpret the original - cue the manga heading. Instead of the Latin raconteur quips which inevitably was Cervantes pen, there's a manga mode present - why Cervantes's 'Don Quixote' is deemed a graphic novel. Worth seeing Gustave Dore's illustrations on John Ormsby's translation.


A note on Cervantes's intent: research, and experiencing humanism gifts you wisdom, alas, that's not faith. 'Don Quixote' gifts the reader a greater fidelity, the novel graphically illustrates the means to comprehending ourselves in myth / narrative. The author allows the flow of the chapters to underline our ills, wants and even captures guidance. Why Sancho; Quixote's Squire features so much, and has done so in culture / entertainment / games etc - almost as part of the fabric of comradeship... idioms derive from suchlike, too many to mention. I echo Cervantes plea that 'Don Quixote' has answers to real life difficulties... the novel also exposes battlement idiocies, warped ideologies and brings witticism; Cervantes chooses not to be a Aristotle or a Cicero; due to the understanding his personal intent was philosophically a 'lighter mode' of interpretation. Indeed, satire is a plausible intent, written under the tagline of... knight-errantry. As an individual, I'm switched on to the novel's far-reaching eminence, there's very few comparatives.

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Narrative, genre and style derives from a movement or author; finding that jewel of recognition is a realisation to behold. For those not acquainted with Miguel de Cervantes, he is probably the most famous author of Spanish descendent; he was notably the only author qualified to write 'Don Quixote.' The composition is the first example of graphic story-telling; the novel's essence and style has provoked and enriched four centuries of innovative narrative - one book, one author, that's all it takes. Another poignant point is the West knows much of Shakespeare's works but comparatively little of de Cervantes; who perished the day before Shakespeare's demise; 22nd April 1616. Irony or via design? Such coincidences mount, what's prevalent is the Spaniard warrants a place in world literature, 'Don Quixote' is the sparkling jewel, hence, the duel demands supremacy.

Cervantes received a third rate education, you'd think the the level of intellectualism may subdue creativity, of the view, greater education habitually encourages greater works... alas, not Cervantes was an exception to this rule, and if any scholar questioned qualifying credentials, Cervantes's tongue would be particulary prickly. My interpretation of 'Don Quixote' differs to a plethora of authors who systematically divide the concept of stream and consciousness from actuality. I dare not to divide the novel up so candidly - and treat each episode as if I was slicing a cake; books should be examined via their wholeness not in sections; ah, indeed... four books it's not. 'Don Quixote' is an over-elaborate biography of the author, done so in character portrayals - warts et al. I have discussed egocentricity with comrades before and six times out of ten de Cervantes enters the fold. What gravitates my thinking again towards bio-legacy terms is de Cervantes was in his late fifties when 'Dom Quixote' was penned. Every writer ponders a professional legacy to leave for future generations the best means to do this is by activating and unlocking a biographical prose in narrative. Cervantes had the means, knowhow and experience to flourish in the golden age of Western literature.

Not many have responded correctly to Cervantes's novel or understood his objective fully. I am no different, but I am by character most likely to highlight my shortcomings rather than my expertise. 'Don Quixote' underlines this archetypal analogy; he is a gentleman, well a knight-errant, who is seeking chivalous exploits - mindfully and reactionary. The truth is somewhat blurred, and it's mean't to be. Because chivalry acts rarely has a positive outcome - why even bellicose language has a habit of unloading depressing results and still we've not risen above the lunacy. Yep, there's a circumstantial madness that's unanswerable. No-one can read the conscious motives, however you cannot underestimate the power of fantasy and the dreamy intoxicating beauty of Dulcinea del Toboso, a figment of ones' imagination. You see her vision stimulates boundless creativity, inspiring every male urge to restlessly drive onwards, in travel, adventures and escapism - forever searching for a divine damsel. A few literature masters namely, Flaubert, Kafka and Joyce concurred in this formulaic (creative) philosophy - Spaniard, Coullant-Valera creatively made Dulcinea his life's purpose. Will Self openly exclaimed he denoted fellow walker and author Ian Sinclair was transfixed with the London Orbital in hope of bumping into Dulcinea, presumably in his entrenched motorway madness of witnessing fiction and truth colliding, but why the M25? Don Quixote enabled modern man to imagine such eventualities, who knows stranger things happen at sea and Cervantes had been at the helm captaining the ship of fools... and doesn't every captain have a rustic companion of complimentary build; vital to fulfill your suppositious quest - welcome, Sancho Panza.

Young Cervantes was a workhorse for the Catholic ecclesiastical hierarchy, mainly for Acquaviva, who was earmarked to become a cardinal at a tender age; indeed, he played a notable role with the 'Referendary of the Apostolic Signatura' the supreme court of the Catholic Church - furthermore, the vocational trip to the Vatican sealed his cardinal path. Evidently a deistic calling which abruptly stalled, the perverse slave, master relationship shaped Cervantes ideology, shades of the experience is depicted in: 'tilting at the windmills' a chapter whereby Quixote and his Squire Sancho fight the 30 - 40 windmills, imagining them as outrageous giants. They took three or four swigs from the bottle their eyes sparkling at the spoils all for an Adventure. Rome in 1566 was indeed an adventure too for Cervantes, albeit, Acquaviva was not the adventure type; his creative delusion differed greatly, call it feasting on the selfish gene - nevertheless, much of the adventure for the slave / knight-errant was to have a savoury feast on his thoughts of a mistress being his prize, whenever possible. Cervantes stream of consciousness between fact and fiction created folklore, myths and legends; 'Don Quixote's' chivalous play is with us everyday... And every great man has a Sancho, call it a 'wingman'... forever ready to bolster the amour propre. "I fancy, I should hardly mind your laws, for all laws, whether of God or man, allow one to stand in his own defence, if any offer to do him a mischief." Sancho's euphoric tone even claims Don Quixote words as commandments, he would keep to them as he would the Sabbath. Such gravitas comradeship prior to attacking windmills, of course it's carefully orchestrated for there's always sycophantic euphoria when up against something totally imaginary. Biblical verse demands it, for humankind's greatest invention is phantasmagoria.

Reading the Holy Scriptures and taking heed in their meaning strips Quixote of his logic, and blights his humanism; chivalrous act merely leaves a physical mark or has damning consequences. Book III gravitates to Quixote's unwise choices... you see, Cervantes loses his use of his left hand while in a sea fight whereby he volunteers *again* for the Holy League (organised by the Pope) at the battle of Lepanto against the Ottoman Empire. For a twenty five year old you'd be deluded the disability could be shrugged off so easily. Shackled to a dysfunctional limb for life, via doing a good deed for the Pope from his home-province of Habsberg - he was subjected to barbaric slavery thanks to the Turkish 'piratas;' no wonder the chivalrous insanity of knight-errantry commenced. Scholars state with assurance Cervantes's five year period in a Turkish prison created 'Don Quixote' in 1575; in truth, the concept was created while haplessly fighting for the Holy League a handful of years prior - Cervantes termed it: izquierda... meaning left. Many claim it refers to left hand, those who aren't socially deranged will denote it means he had left his faith. 'Don Quixote's' chapter: "what happened to our knight when he left the Inn?" Brings the reader a reality check for the Inn becomes a 'castle' and Quixote becomes a knight... and he in a chivalrous bravado sings of the divine as in the maiden of La Mancha (Dulcinea del Toboso); the reply is - "Sir Knight, we do not know who this good lady is that you speak of; show her to us, for, if she be of such beauty as you suggest, with all our hearts and without any pressure we will confess the truth that is on your part required of us." Naturally, proof of such a beauty or of such a divine purity rarely appears (unless you're dehydrated and on mountain tops) when asked. Quixote suffered due to his imaginative faith.

During 1596 - 1602, Spain was at the mercy of a plague, the first of three in the seventeenth century. 'Don Quixote' was penned within a few years after the plague, practically synchronised with Shakespeare's 'Hamlet.' There's comedy and tragedy in both analogues, seemingly imitating each other in very different countries and circumstances, hence, there's grandiose similarities but I doubt the author of Hamlet could possibly pen 'Don Quixote' - for the novel expells all what's human and divine (God's Knight so they say) - plus, made the romantics run to the hills; possibly to seek out there own Dulcinea; their archetypal opinion rarely computed with the raconteur spirit. However, I've no doubt, Cervantes had the eloquence and novelty factor to pen 'Hamlet.' Treat 'Don Quixote' as a play perhaps, read the chapters as individual days out, preferably when you were young and carefree and full of daydreams... the novel is then seriously amusing, outlandishly ambitious and graciously humble in its inbuilt recognition, which to me seems impossible to be all ot that. To sum it up, Cervantes creation is three hundred and sixty one degrees of reality - one degree beyond everyone's subconsciousness. Much of life's merry-go-round hampered Cervantes's creation... why Cervantes had to adopt the knight-errantry mentality, beyond the call of duty. I also hasten a guess Sancho was the world's greatest of companion.

Thanks for reading.

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