The book I recently borrowed from my boyfriend, Don Quijote de la Mancha, is written in Spanish and since my translation for the language is weak, I read the English version. However, I appreciate the original version. This novel considered the most influential work of literature from the Spanish Golden Age (Spanish: Siglo de Oro, Golden Century) was originally written as short stories read in sections. It was only later compiled into a novel and published in two volumes in 1605 and 1615.
The author, Miguel de Cervantes, after joining the Spanish army and fighting at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, lost the use of his left hand. However, this did not stop him from writing years later. Miguel de Cervantes, wrote this in a form of Old Castilian, the medieval form of the Spanish language
The Story: Don Quixote, a gentlemen of middle-age, has gone mad from reading too many books about chivalrous knights. His adventure with a peasant, Santo Panza, who follows him and their relationship, is interesting. The lady that Don Quixote loves is a garlic peeler to whom he gives the name, Dulcinea, thinking she smells of sweetness and is beautiful. As the story progresses, it seems he is oblivious to his disastrous actions and chooses to ignore the world.
—Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote, Volume I, Chapter I: “In a village of La Mancha, the name of which I have no desire to call to mind, there lived not long since one of those gentlemen that keep a lance in the lance-rack, an old buckler, a lean hack, and a greyhound for coursing.”
—Miguel de Cervantes, How Don Quixote Fell Sick-How He Died, Chapter 74: “As nothing that is man’s can last forever, but all tends ever downwards from its beginning to its end, and above all man’s life, and as Don Quixote’s enjoyed no special dispensation from heaven to stay its course, its end and close came when he least looked for it.”…
Photo of bronze statues of Don Quixote / Sancho Panza by sculptor Lorenzo Coullaut Valer. Photo taken at the Plaza de España in Madrid by R.T.in 2005 during one of his trips to visit his father in Spain.
Written and Photographed by Mary Gilmartin, November 14, 2012