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Why is Don Quixote such a classic? 
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Post Re: Why is Don Quixote such a classic?
I generally steer clear of "classic" anythings. They are usually hyped far beyond anything they can deliver, and thus by the time I do get to them, I can only be disappointed. I find this true of all expressive fields, novels, poetry, art, movies, music. The more hype something gets, the less inclined I am to like it, because I am very headstrong and want to make decisions for myself, so if someone tells me I will love something and I don't, I then become even more jaded than I've already become, and so I try to take the words "classic" and "best seller" and "you'll love it" with a very large helping of salt, just to be sure. There are some books I am glad I was forced to read because I liked the story but not the writing and wouldn't have come to it on my own, but then there are the supposed "classics" that I absolutely hate, and wonder how they became classics to begin with. Don Quixote is, unfortunately, shaping up to be one of the latter. It seems a lot more interesting with a bit of a rewrite and some "classic" musical numbers, ala Man of La Mancha. I liked it a lot better when that was the most I knew of the mad knight.



Fri Apr 23, 2010 10:31 pm
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Post Re: Why is Don Quixote such a classic?
Robert Tulip wrote:
Assessments of book quality are subjective. The fact that a poll of the world's greatest authors ranked Don Quixote as the best novel ever provides a reasonable basis to enquire as to what may be good about this book. The conclusion I draw from this poll is that Don Quixote has deeper content, in terms of social commentary, than is sometimes seen if we just focus on character and plot.

We hold very dearly to our opinions and assessments about things like books. It's probably good that this is so, overall. I have to say that I can't understand an opinion, whether an author's or anyone else's, that DQ is the best novel of all time. The best example of that literary form that we have? Better than Middlemarch or Ulysses? I don't think that your poll seeks to determine which is the best novel. Recommendations are made for diverse reasons, and an author's opinion of which book everyone should read is not the same as a judgment that it's the best of a certain kind.


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Sat Apr 24, 2010 7:06 am
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Post Re: Why is Don Quixote such a classic?
bleachededen wrote:
I generally steer clear of "classic" anythings. They are usually hyped far beyond anything they can deliver, and thus by the time I do get to them, I can only be disappointed. I find this true of all expressive fields, novels, poetry, art, movies, music. The more hype something gets, the less inclined I am to like it, because I am very headstrong and want to make decisions for myself, so if someone tells me I will love something and I don't, I then become even more jaded than I've already become, and so I try to take the words "classic" and "best seller" and "you'll love it" with a very large helping of salt, just to be sure. There are some books I am glad I was forced to read because I liked the story but not the writing and wouldn't have come to it on my own, but then there are the supposed "classics" that I absolutely hate, and wonder how they became classics to begin with. Don Quixote is, unfortunately, shaping up to be one of the latter. It seems a lot more interesting with a bit of a rewrite and some "classic" musical numbers, ala Man of La Mancha. I liked it a lot better when that was the most I knew of the mad knight.

We earlier discussed Paradise Lost by John Milton. I found it hard to read, but having read it have a far clearer sense of Milton's worldview, for example with earth hanging by a string from heaven above the pit of hell. It is an evocative image from an encounter with a deep thinker. This is part of the value of reading classics, that their real meaning takes time to ponder and wonder about, considered against big themes of history and identity. Milton gave a narrative myth to England in a similar way to how Cervantes gave a narrative myth to Spain.

Cervantes established Don Quixote as a type, to the point that the name Don Quixote is emblematic for quixotic actions. I found it interesting, bleachededen, that you compared ignorant religious views with Don Quixote in another thread. For you having read the book gives this comparison more weight, as you have some idea what Don Quixote is really like. His fantastic mentality, in disregarding reality, is similar to people today who believe a narrative logic despite its discrepancies with the real world.

It can be hard to say who is right and who is wrong when people are following their dreams. Don Quixote's dreams are dangerous, causing him to release prisoners and assault innocents. He also represents a continuity with an earlier chivalrous imagined world of nobility and duty, and by comparison his detractors seem cynical and limited.

The reason for Cervantes' mockery of chivalrous literature is to criticise how imagined fantasy can be preferred over empirical observation. Cervantes sits at the dawn of the modern world with Galileo and Shakespeare. He is an advocate for the modern world against blind faith in traditional authority. Economically, I suspect there is a linkage between the outlook of Cervantes and the emerging bourgeois merchant class of his day, focused on rational innovation and change.



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Post Re: Why is Don Quixote such a classic?
Robert Tulip wrote:
The reason for Cervantes' mockery of chivalrous literature is to criticise how imagined fantasy can be preferred over empirical observation. Cervantes sits at the dawn of the modern world with Galileo and Shakespeare. He is an advocate for the modern world against blind faith in traditional authority. Economically, I suspect there is a linkage between the outlook of Cervantes and the emerging bourgeois merchant class of his day, focused on rational innovation and change.

Don Q. does prefer fantasy derived from the chivalry books to boring empirical reality, but he is the only one in the book who does so. The germ of Cervantes' story thus doesn't amount to social criticism, in my book. In the world of the novel everyone else thinks Don Q. is loony, too; Cervantes doesn't provide any more commentary than that. The chivalry books are a bit like Harry Potter books or the Midnight series today. People are crazy for them, but almost nobody thnks they are real. They don't need ridiculing on that basis, just as I don't think Cervantes intended to ridicule books that were nakedly--for everyone but one--fantastic entertainments.

I can see why writers view Don Quixote as a seminal book, as a starting point for modern fiction. Cervantes was helping create the form without knowing he was doing so. His proto-novel is therefore not a pinnacle of the form, but rather rough and lacking in artistry--though abounding in energy and inventiveness. For modern readers, a problem is that this 1,000 page book has only two main characters and they develop little throughout the book. There is little progression in the book, in terms of an anticipated end or climax (cf. Huckleberry Finn, e.g.); the 50th adventure could be placed 5th without it making much difference.

The narrative structure is probably what interests writers and critics most. There are boxes within boxes. My own view of this is that Cervantes was having some fun experimenting. Overall the narrative seems a little muddled to me, with no clear intent that I can see for Cervantes putting in at least three narrative perspectives. But later writers would pick up on this innovation and use it more intentionally. It's great fun, though, to see the Don and Sancho, as characters in a book written by an Egyptian author, translated by a Moor into Spanish, and presented by yet a third narrator whom we can call Cervantes, being lionized (or is it victimized?) by characters who have read in a book about the pair's own earlier exploits! The Duchess even uses the written account of Sancho's fabrication of Dulcinea's enchantment to persuade him that that he was enchanted to report that she was a peasant girl! No wonder some post-modernists are enchanted with the book.

I've reached page 700. I found the Cave of Montesimo to be a good complicator of the action, with Sancho having caught the Don actually in a lie (Don sees Dulcinea as falsely reported by Sancho). This long book, as I mentioned, seems longer still due to lack of much narrative drive based on either character or plot.


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Last edited by DWill on Sun Apr 25, 2010 2:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.



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Post Re: Why is Don Quixote such a classic?
The other characters are beginning to seriously get on my nerves. Am I supposed to read the duke and duchess "did not repent their taunting of Sancho...but found much pleasure in it" to mean these are good people? Am I supposed to see the duke and duchess as being righteous and just when they replace the farmer who has soiled the good name and reputation of their beloved duenna's daughter with a footman, then agreeing with Don Quixote's mad claim that the farmer was replaced by the footman by the enchanters who pursue him, and not by the duke, who has actually contrived the entire fight so that Don Quixote will lose? Am I supposed to find this footman honorable who, upon seeing the lady whose honor is in question, forfeits the duel and vows to marry her, even though this goes against the reason for the duel in the first place (which was to force the farmer who promised the maiden his hand and took her maidenhood and fled instead)? And what's up with the duchess and the idiot maid Altisidora beating the duenna and pinching and poking Don Quixote for no reason I could glean except that they had heard them talking about their beauty and becoming jealous and angry? Really? I wish I could beat up everyone who ever called me ugly or less than pretty without being caught or even seen and not consider myself to be a huge jerk!

And what can the duchess be thinking, dragging the rest of poor Sancho's family into her ill-begotten humor? Poor Teresa and Sanchica are going to be laughingstocks within a chapter or so, and they could have avoided this if the duchess had kept her stupid mouth shut and left the poor woman (whom she'd never even met!) alone. Please, oh, god of literature, let this book end soon so I can read something where villains are actually villains, and tormentors and liars who use misguided and mentally ill people are regarded as villains and not good, upstanding "Christians."

This book will be the end of me. I can't imagine ever rereading this accursed thing, so a big kudos to those of you who are reading this for a second time or more, because I don't have the strength and suspension of disbelief to ever come to this story again.

Bah.



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Post Re: Why is Don Quixote such a classic?
Many thanks bleached eden and dwill, I'm just going to have to read Part Two, you have so whetted my appetite.

The 'good Christians' are the object of Cervantes' satire - people who claim to live by a moral code but are bereft of ethics. At least Don Quixote has a consistent moral code, even if it is crazy.

Dukes and duchesses can be good at spinning a story about their noble virtue while actually delighting in the torment of others. Satire is about the exposure of such hypocrisy.



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Post Re: Why is Don Quixote such a classic?
It is still terrible to read such acts. :(

I should be finished within the next few days. I cannot wait.



Mon Apr 26, 2010 1:09 am
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Post Re: Why is Don Quixote such a classic?
Robert Tulip wrote:
Many thanks bleached eden and dwill, I'm just going to have to read Part Two, you have so whetted my appetite.

The 'good Christians' are the object of Cervantes' satire - people who claim to live by a moral code but are bereft of ethics. At least Don Quixote has a consistent moral code, even if it is crazy.

Dukes and duchesses can be good at spinning a story about their noble virtue while actually delighting in the torment of others. Satire is about the exposure of such hypocrisy.

Have a good go at Part 2, Robert. Satire is, I suppose, somewhat in the eye of the beholder, but as I've said already, we can't read a text as satirical just because we prefer to. There needs to be a clear direction to do this given by the narrator or author. As I've also said, I don't see any difference in attitude shown by Cervantes or his narrators from that shown by the characters themselves. Using piety as an example, whenever Don Q says something pious--even, in one case, explicitly Christian--we are supposed to view this as an indicator of his sanity and good sense. Cervantes continually has Sancho as well as other characters remarking after such statements how strange it is that the knight can speak such wisdom, in view of his obvious lunacy when it comes to knight errantry. He is mad only in this one particular, a fact that Cervantes emphasizes over and over.

The knight does, of course, have a moral code, that of doing good deeds in the process of winning himself renown. He is rather an egomaniac, in fact, obsessed with becoming the greatest knight of all time. Although he has this code, since the good deeds he seeks to do come from fantastic books and will not be evident in the real world, he really doesn't do many deeds that benefit people, rather causes more harm than good in his delusions. I don't think Cervantes, to his credit, really pushes on us this idea we've come to have about Don Q, that there is a nobility in his questing deserving of our imitation. Cervantes is affectionate toward his character and puts into his mouth some noble thoughts no doubt held by Cervantes himself, but in the end he is content to have his hero recant everything on his death bed. He doesn't mythologize Don Q in the end but rather brings him down to size.

I continue to be surprised at Cervantes' narrative trickiness, and this provides some interest for me that the stories often don't. The business about the afflicted waiting woman, which is an elaborate trick the Duke and Duchess play on the knight, I find pretty tedious. But it's interesting that Cervantes can both praise his own writing by praising Cide Hamete, as well as address readers' objections to his book by creating commentary by the Moorish narrator, who objects to having to stick his source, which contains only stories about two characters. Here we are told that it was actually the translator who stuck in the stories in the first part, to relieve monotony. The translator's own views on this are conveyed to us by Cervantes/the narrator. What his source is for these views isn't clear, though at one other point we were told what the translator had written in a marginal comment on the manuscript of the translation. At any rate, the translator tells us that in this second part of the history, he will refrain from going off on tangents.


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Post Re: Why is Don Quixote such a classic?
DWill wrote:
Satire is, I suppose, somewhat in the eye of the beholder, but as I've said already, we can't read a text as satirical just because we prefer to. There needs to be a clear direction to do this given by the narrator or author.
The subtlety of the satire in Don Quixote derives from the sensitive political nature of his mockery of the ancient regime. Cervantes stands for modern reason against traditional obscurantism. Obscurity is exemplified by fallacious tales of chivalry which sought to convince readers of their truth through imagined pedigrees of text, handed on from the author to the narrator. (Funny where did I see a book about that?) Cervantes cannot give a clear direction to read Don Quixote as satire, in the manner I understand Swift wrote Gulliver’s Travels as social criticism, because Cervantes lacked the political position of a Swift to allow satire. The Roman Catholic Church was powerful in Spain in the 1600s, and did not look kindly on criticism. It is likely Don Quixote would have been suppressed and censored if Cervantes had taken his arguments to their logical conclusion. These conclusions are, from the observation that Don Quixote is a fool for believing imaginary dreams, that anyone who believes something without evidence is a fool. We can see how this attitude validated the emerging Protestant temper, and helped set the scene for Descartes’ belief that God validates the logic and evidence of our senses and minds. By sticking strictly away from politics, Cervantes is able to offer a far deeper and more subversive satire than he could possibly have achieved by direct statement.
Quote:
As I've also said, I don't see any difference in attitude shown by Cervantes or his narrators from that shown by the characters themselves. Using piety as an example, whenever Don Q says something pious--even, in one case, explicitly Christian--we are supposed to view this as an indicator of his sanity and good sense. Cervantes continually has Sancho as well as other characters remarking after such statements how strange it is that the knight can speak such wisdom, in view of his obvious lunacy when it comes to knight errantry. He is mad only in this one particular, a fact that Cervantes emphasizes over and over.
You have drawn attention to this disjunction earlier Bill of a schizoid separation between sanity and madness in the personality and character of Don Quixote. The tragedy here is that you cannot be mad in one particular, one’s fundamental worldview, without that madness infecting everything about you. Don Quixote’s pious comments did not strike me as inherently sane, rather the reverse. Romantic chivalry has an internal rationality, and Don Quixote’s romantic fling at the world transforms this rationality into absurdity, mocking everything associated with chivalry. His rationality is all the more bizarre for being so coherent in his lucid moments. These lucid episodes are not boxed off from his madness, in the way some might make conceptual walls between ordinary life and their religion, but let us gaze into the eye of delusory thought processes.
Quote:
The knight does, of course, have a moral code, that of doing good deeds in the process of winning himself renown. He is rather an egomaniac, in fact, obsessed with becoming the greatest knight of all time. Although he has this code, since the good deeds he seeks to do come from fantastic books and will not be evident in the real world, he really doesn't do many deeds that benefit people, rather causes more harm than good in his delusions. I don't think Cervantes, to his credit, really pushes on us this idea we've come to have about Don Q, that there is a nobility in his questing deserving of our imitation. Cervantes is affectionate toward his character and puts into his mouth some noble thoughts no doubt held by Cervantes himself, but in the end he is content to have his hero recant everything on his death bed. He doesn't mythologize Don Q in the end but rather brings him down to size.
Cervantes could not help but mythologise Don Quixote. I am not that familiar with Hispanic culture, but I understand Don Quixote is something of a Spanish icon. See Don Quixote: From Text to Icon. The nobility of Don Quixote consists in the entrepreneurial spirit of one who is willing to follow his inner star wherever it may lead. Cervantes did not need to push in order to make Don Quixote a secular saint, patron of paths best avoided.
Quote:
I continue to be surprised at Cervantes' narrative trickiness, and this provides some interest for me that the stories often don't. The business about the afflicted waiting woman, which is an elaborate trick the Duke and Duchess play on the knight, I find pretty tedious. But it's interesting that Cervantes can both praise his own writing by praising Cide Hamete, as well as address readers' objections to his book by creating commentary by the Moorish narrator, who objects to having to stick his source, which contains only stories about two characters. Here we are told that it was actually the translator who stuck in the stories in the first part, to relieve monotony. The translator's own views on this are conveyed to us by Cervantes/the narrator. What his source is for these views isn't clear, though at one other point we were told what the translator had written in a marginal comment on the manuscript of the translation. At any rate, the translator tells us that in this second part of the history, he will refrain from going off on tangents.
This multiple layering of authorial voice is a deliberate mockery of the chivalric claim that authenticity of a text was proven by a lineage of provenance, like the pedigree of a horse. Authors had incentive to lie in order to improve the credibility of their books, so I think your assessment that everyone knew the knightly tales were fiction is too quick. Cervantes provided a service to the gullible, reminding them to exercise doubt about things people told them. Many readers are gullible, and I can imagine these medieval romances formed a moral universe rather like those built around today’s shining knight movie stars.



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Post Re: Why is Don Quixote such a classic?
Robert Tulip wrote:
The subtlety of the satire in Don Quixote derives from the sensitive political nature of his mockery of the ancient regime. Cervantes stands for modern reason against traditional obscurantism. Obscurity is exemplified by fallacious tales of chivalry which sought to convince readers of their truth through imagined pedigrees of text, handed on from the author to the narrator. (Funny where did I see a book about that?) Cervantes cannot give a clear direction to read Don Quixote as satire, in the manner I understand Swift wrote Gulliver’s Travels as social criticism, because Cervantes lacked the political position of a Swift to allow satire. The Roman Catholic Church was powerful in Spain in the 1600s, and did not look kindly on criticism. It is likely Don Quixote would have been suppressed and censored if Cervantes had taken his arguments to their logical conclusion. These conclusions are, from the observation that Don Quixote is a fool for believing imaginary dreams, that anyone who believes something without evidence is a fool. We can see how this attitude validated the emerging Protestant temper, and helped set the scene for Descartes’ belief that God validates the logic and evidence of our senses and minds. By sticking strictly away from politics, Cervantes is able to offer a far deeper and more subversive satire than he could possibly have achieved by direct statement.

And this satirical voice or outlook is what you experience, as a reader? If you don't feel it, then, of course, there is no cause to label it as satire. Such an experience with the book is all but totally absent for me, and the question is why. One difference is that for world, I accept only the world of the novel itself. I view your interpretations, importing to the book whatever is held to be going on in political and intellectual history at the time Cervantes is writing, as very intellectualized. That any book should be read as a statement about the era of its writing seems to be committing a fallacy, one not too different from the one that states the writer's biography is directly relevant to meaning.
Quote:
You have drawn attention to this disjunction earlier Bill of a schizoid separation between sanity and madness in the personality and character of Don Quixote. The tragedy here is that you cannot be mad in one particular, one’s fundamental worldview, without that madness infecting everything about you. Don Quixote’s pious comments did not strike me as inherently sane, rather the reverse. Romantic chivalry has an internal rationality, and Don Quixote’s romantic fling at the world transforms this rationality into absurdity, mocking everything associated with chivalry. His rationality is all the more bizarre for being so coherent in his lucid moments. These lucid episodes are not boxed off from his madness, in the way some might make conceptual walls between ordinary life and their religion, but let us gaze into the eye of delusory thought processes.

Oh, I agree that the Don's selective madness could never happen--but Cervantes was only concerned with coming up with a good conceit for a plot, and he did. We shouldn't expect from him modern knowledge of psychology, anyway. The Don's piety didn't strike me as either sane or not; that isn't the point. It's the context that decides the writer's own slant on a character, and there is nothing I came across that tells me Cervantes is lumping the Don's piety into his madness. On the contrary, as I said, his piety is always meant to serve as a marker of his soundness, just as his various pronouncements on law, learning, and custom are. His lucid episodes are not really episodes but strictly dependent on the subject matter. Many of his listeners note what happens when he turns the subject to knight errantry: he does from voice of reason to voice of irrationality. And it's just Cervantes' conceit, not meant to be realistic.
Quote:
Cervantes could not help but mythologise Don Quixote. I am not that familiar with Hispanic culture, but I understand Don Quixote is something of a Spanish icon. See Don Quixote: From Text to Icon. The nobility of Don Quixote consists in the entrepreneurial spirit of one who is willing to follow his inner star wherever it may lead. Cervantes did not need to push in order to make Don Quixote a secular saint, patron of paths best avoided.

Okay, I don't dispute his iconic status, but after the initial appearance of a character, fictional or real, things can happen outside the book or account, and my point was simply that I don't see Cervantes himself leaning towards sanctifying his character. As for Spanish culture, I'm not familiar with it, either, but of course bullfighting is still popular there.
Quote:
This multiple layering of authorial voice is a deliberate mockery of the chivalric claim that authenticity of a text was proven by a lineage of provenance, like the pedigree of a horse. Authors had incentive to lie in order to improve the credibility of their books, so I think your assessment that everyone knew the knightly tales were fiction is too quick. Cervantes provided a service to the gullible, reminding them to exercise doubt about things people told them. Many readers are gullible, and I can imagine these medieval romances formed a moral universe rather like those built around today’s shining knight movie stars.

Interesting view. One would have to be steeped iin the culture of the era to know with any confidence.


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Last edited by DWill on Mon Apr 26, 2010 1:57 pm, edited 4 times in total.



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Post Re: Why is Don Quixote such a classic?
I, too, am not seeing the satire, because Cervantes presents the duke and duchess and others who play tricks on someone whom they know is not in his right mind, and he shows them to be upstanding citizens whom we should view as such, instead of pointing us toward the idea that these people are not as good as they seem to be, which is what I read, but only because I am so far removed from the time period in which Cervantes wrote.

People reading Don Quixote at the time of its inception would no doubt agree with the actions of the duke and duchess and not question their civility and humanity, as I do, reading them from many centuries later where we don't put as much stock in nobility and the unquestionable state of those who are "high born." It is only the modern mindset we bring to the book that can see satire, because Cervantes' original audience would no doubt not see any problems with the actions of the duke and duchess and priest and barber and all others who use Don Quixote's peculiar madness to their own pleasure. So I agree with DWill, if there is any satire to be had here, it is that which we add ourselves by reading it so far out of its original context. Cervantes is writing to entertain, not to make any specific political point, no matter how much we may read into the text hundreds of years later.



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Post Re: Why is Don Quixote such a classic?
The contrast between Don Quixote and the Duke and Duchess is one of the important themes of the book: What is sanity? After all, DQ is supposedly insane, but what about the Duke and Duchess? Do they aspire to do anything noble? No. Do they embrace any ideals? No. Can they feel empathy towards others? No. And yet they're considered sane and noble. I think Cervantes is contrasting the real world vs. the ideal one. In the end, I think he's saying that that real world is meaningless without ideals, even if those ideals are not always visible or apparent. Keep in mind: Though Sancho sees the world as it really is, and makes good decisions as a governor, he lacks ideals and therefore abandons the dream he cherished for so long.

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The Way of the River: My Journey of Fishing, Forgiveness and Spiritual Recovery


Thu Apr 29, 2010 10:18 am
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Post Re: Why is Don Quixote such a classic?
Please see my post in the thread Don Quixote: Part II, where I have asked the question "are the tricksters more insane than the tricked?" I would like to hear all of your comments on the questions in those posts.



Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:19 pm
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Post Re: Why is Don Quixote such a classic?
I might believe that Cervantes is intentionally contrasting Q with other characters who display low moral standards if Q were not shown actually as rather impotent in the novel. His ideals being based on the long-ago, merely legendary code of knight-errantry, naturally they have no exercise in the real world. I can't think of any positive accomplishments of his in the book; there may be a few, but certainly Cervantes, in highlighting the ridiculous plots and other elements of the books about knights, is not likely to extol Q's mania as "what the world needs now." This isn't to say that the aspect that people have admired in Q--willing fantasy into his own reality against all obstacles--is all made up. Cervantes likes his main character, is as gentle as he can be with him considering the ridicule and abuse he subjects him to, and just by making Q. persevere as much as he does, grants him a degree of nobility. That the other characters besides Sancho are are merely one-dimensional plot devices, is the element that allows Q. to show up by contrast as someone with depth.

Randy, I don't see Sancho's failure as due to his lacking ideals. He was set up by the D & D, of course, who wanted amusement and made sure that he would not want to retain the governorship of his isle. I'd also have to agree with Bleacheden that Cervantes doesn't place the D & D on a moral weighing scale opposite the hapless heroes. The whole machinery of the book is to generate misadventure for this pair, and the D & D fulfill this function well.

I wouldn't deny that Don Quixote and Sancho are endearing comic characters.


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Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:52 pm
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Post Re: Why is Don Quixote such a classic?
This thread seems to be a catch-all for DQ matters. Has anyone paid much attention to the chapter introductions? These appear to reflect the main work of the narrator (as opposed to the writer and translator). The narrator makes no comment on the action that I can see except with his gently mocking tone and mock-heroic language in these one-sentence summaries. They're fun to read. It surprised me, in fact, that the narrator doesn't set himself up as more of a moral voice or judge. He is distant. In the example that Bleachededen cited of the tricksters being as mad as the tricked, wasn't it
Cide Hamete who says this, not the narrator? The narrator's stance is as someone who found some manuscripts and presents them without overt editorial comment--although it is often hard to believe that what we're seeing is a straight translation from Cide Hamete. The narrator's basic attitude is, "Hey, this is what the book says, it's not my material."

Only 50 pages from the end, I'm wondering if Cervantes can throw in yet another narrative wrinkle. As I've said, the complexity of the narrative seems the most distinguishing feature of the book, and I speculate that brainy lit critics just go to town on that. The episodes themselves are often, to me, somewhat cookie-cutter, not unlike those of the knight-errantry books. But I like that the narrator tells us that Don overhears an argument in the adjoining room at the inn, concerning what Part 2 of the adventures of Don Quixote says. This is, of course, the book that was published under the real-life Cervantes' nose. So Cervantes gets to get a jab in at the rip-off author, or rather has Cide Hamete do the jabbing. This reported book is probably different, though, from the book mentioned at the start of Cervantes' Part 2. That book was not labeled Part 2 and is apparently just a manuscript written because of the oral legend that grew up about the heroes' exploits. Anyone as confused as I am? It's best not to think too hard about the plausibility, in terms of time sequence, of these narrative voices. But any kind of literary narration is artificial, so I wouldn't be hard on Cervantes.


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Last edited by DWill on Sat May 01, 2010 6:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sat May 01, 2010 6:36 pm
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