Monday, August 31, 2015

Don Quijote (by Miguel de Cervantes), Volume 1

I've been reading Don Quijote (or Quixote, the more enjoyable spelling because it has an x) for months, and just reached the end of volume one. Did you know it was published in two volumes, published 10 years apart? Did you know Cervantes was a contemporary of Shakespeare's? Did you know this novel -- at least part one -- is a satire? Did you know it has a bunch of metatextual layers that address fiction qua fiction? I knew none of these things!

I knew about Scott Bakula singing songs from the musical on the Quantum Leap soundtrack. I knew about the concept of tilting at windmills. Based on that, I thought it was a noble tale -- did not get that Quixote himself is actually an insane old man, and that Sancho is a fool. So it's much funnier than I was expecting.

There are a lot of stories-within-stories in Quixote, and a lot of discussion about the implausibility of this or that story, and reassurance of the truthfulness of that story and the other story. The structure reminds me of Canterbury Tales -- Quixote runs into people who tell their stories, and we often leave the main storyline to follow the side plots. It means the plot itself doesn't have a lot of forward momentum, but it is interesting nonetheless.

I'm reading the Burton Raffel translation in the Norton Critical Edition, and look forward to delving into the end matter once I'm done. Thanks to Chris, I've also been enjoying the Yale lectures on Quixote. Recommended!

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Blogger Beth said...

I liked this more than I expected to, even though it had a lot more bathroom humor than I generally enjoy.

11:51 AM  
Blogger mo pie said...

I enjoy zero bathroom humor, but so far I'm nerding out on the metatextual stuff and ignoring all of that :)

3:30 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Yes, that is exactly the amount of bathroom humor that I enjoy. (I have really bad news for you about seven year olds.)

7:16 AM  
Blogger mo pie said...

It's not worse than four-year-olds is it? IS IT WORSE?

8:10 AM  

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