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Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (Download-PDF-Book Review-Online Reading-Summary)


Author Miguel de Cervantes
Original title El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha
Country Spain
Language Early Modern Spanish
Genre Novel
Publisher Francisco de Robles
Publication date
1605 (Part One)
1615 (Part Two)
Published in English
1612 (Part One)
1620 (Part Two)

Cervantes wrote that the first chapters were taken from "The File of La Mancha", and the rest were translated from Arabic by the Moorish author Cide Hamete Benengeli. This metafictional trick seems to give the text more credibility, which implies that Don Quixote is a real character and that the related events actually happened several decades before the registration of this account. However, it was also a common practice at the time when the fictional works had the pretext of being objective, such as the common opening line of fairy tales "Once upon a time in a very distant land ..."
In the course of their travels, the protagonists meet innkeepers, prostitutes, sheep hunters, soldiers, priests, escaped convicts and despised lovers. The characters mentioned sometimes tell stories that incorporate real-world events, such as the conquest of the Kingdom of Maynila or battles in the Eighty Years War. Their meetings are magnified by the imagination of Don Quixote in knightly missions. The tendency of Don Quixote to intervene violently in matters irrelevant to him and his habit of not paying debts, result in privations, wounds and humiliations (with Sancho often as a victim). Finally, Don Quixote is persuaded to return to his hometown. The narrator implies that there was the third search, but says that records of it have been lost.
Don Quixote has been enraptured by reading chivalric novels, which he himself decides to convert into a knight-errant. In the company of his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, his exploits flourish in all kinds of wonderful ways. While Quijote's fantasy often leads him astray - he bends over the windmills, imagining them as giants - Sancho acquires cunning and a certain sagacity. A crazy madman and a wise fool, they roam the world together, and together they have tormented the imagination of readers for almost four hundred years.
With its experimental form and its playful character, Don Quixote has generally been recognized as the first modern novel. The book has had an enormous influence on a large number of writers, from Fielding and Sterne to Flaubert, Dickens, Melville, and Faulkner, who read it once a year, "just as some people read the Bible."