Don Quijote de la Mancha

Posted on 30. Sep, 2010 by in Entertainment, Literature, Spanish Culture

“Somewhere in La Mancha, in a place whose name I do not care to remember, a gentleman lived not long ago, one of those who has a lance and ancient shield on a shelf and keeps a skinny nag and a greyhound for racing (…)”

When I think about chivalry, the first image that comes into my mind is that of the wandering knight in shining armour, defending the helpless, loving idealized women, and behaving according to strict honour codes. We all know about King Arthur and his Round Table. But every coin has two sides: it is true that Spanish medieval literature gave us “El Cid Campeador” as an example of a brave knight, but we have Don Quixote as a chivalric character as well.

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra published Don Quixote in 1605, achieving great success. Although some elements were taken from his own life, the writer’s intention was to mock in this novel the popularity of romance books. I’ll give you only a brief summary, in the hope that you will read this novel someday!

Don Quixote is a middle-aged man, obsessed with the gallant adventures he reads in books, who decides to take his lance and sword to defend the weak with the help of his loyal squire Sancho Panza, and his old horse, Rocinante. In his eccentric mind, he fights giants instead of mills, and tries to win honour and glory in the name of his ladylove, Dulcinea del Toboso, who is in fact a peasant. Cervantes plays with irony, criticizes social roles and values through the tragicomic character of the knight, and emphasizes Sancho’s down-to-earth wisdom by using him as the link between Don Quixote and the rest of the world, between madness and reality.

Don Quixote is a literary masterpiece worth reading. It is currently available in the public domain, so you don’t even have to buy it. If you feel brave enough, you can read and even listen to it in this link:

Don Quixote-read-listen

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“En un lugar de la Mancha, de cuyo nombre no quiero acordarme, no ha mucho tiempo que vivía un hidalgo de los de lanza en astillero, adarga antigua, rocín flaco y galgo corredor.”

Cuando pienso sobre la caballería, la primera imagen que viene a mi mente es la de un caballero errante, de brillante armadura, defendiendo al débil, enamorado de damas idealizadas, y actuando según los estrictos códigos del honor. Todos conocemos al rey Arturo y su mesa redonda. Pero toda moneda tiene dos caras: es cierto que la literatura española medieval nos dio al Cid Campeador como ejemplo de un valiente guerrero, pero también tenemos a Don Quijote como personaje caballeresco.

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra publicó “Don Quijote” en 1605, obteniendo un gran éxito. Aunque algunos elementos se basaron en su propia vida, la intención del autor fue la de ridiculizar en esta novela la popularidad alcanzada por los libros sobre el amor cortés. Tan solo dejaré un pequeño resumen, ¡ya que espero que todos leáis esta novela algún día!

Don Quijote es un hombre de mediana edad, obsesionado con las ideas caballerescas que lee en los libros, que decide coger su lanza y su espada para defender al desvalido con la ayuda de su leal escudero Sancho Panza, y su vieja montura, Rocinante.  En su mente enferma, lucha con gigantes en vez de contra molinos, intenta ganar honor y gloria en nombre del amor que siente por su dama, Dulcinea del Toboso, quien en realidad es una campesina. Cervantes juega con la ironía, critica los roles sociales y los valores adoptados a través de la figura tragicómica del caballero, y ensalza la sabiduría popular de Sancho, usándolo como nexo entre Don Quijote y el resto del mundo, entre su locura y la realidad.

Don Quijote es una obra maestra de la literatura que merece la pena leer. En la actualidad pertenece al dominio público, por lo que no hay que pagar por ella. Así que, si os sentís valientes, podéis leerla e incluso oírla en este enlace:

Don Quijote de la Mancha- leer-escuchar

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About Magda

Hi all! I’m Magda, a Spanish native speaker writing the culture posts in the Transparent Language Spanish blog. I have a Bachelor’s in English Philology and a Master’s in Linguistics and Literature from the University of Granada, in Spain. I have also completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Education, and then worked as an English teacher in several schools and academies for several years. Last year was my first at university level. In addition, I work as a private tutor, teaching English and Spanish as a foreign language to students and adults. In my free time, I’m an avid reader and writer, editing and collaborating in several literary blogs. I have published my first poetry book recently. And last but not least, I love photography!

One Response to “Don Quijote de la Mancha”

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