(The Complete and Unabridged Edition)
The Greatest Novel of All Time by a Spanish Writer in the AUTHORITATIVE ENGLISH TRANSLATION
Miguel de CERVANTES
The Ingenious Gentleman DON QUIXOTE OF LA MANCHA (eBook Edition)
Don Quixote, fully titled The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha (Spanish: El ingenioso hidalgo don Quixote de la Mancha), is a novel written by Miguel de Cervantes. The novel follows the adventures of Alonso Quijano, who reads too many chivalric novels, and sets out to revive chivalry under the name of Don Quixote. He recruits a simple farmer, Sancho Panza, as his squire, who frequently deals with Don Quixote's rhetorical orations on antiquated knighthood with a unique Earthy wit. He is met by the world as it is, initiating themes like Intertextuality, Realism, Metatheatre and Literary Representation.
Published in two volumes a decade apart, in 1605 and 1615, Don Quixote is considered the most influential work of literature from the Spanish Golden Age and the entire Spanish literary canon. As a founding work of modern Western literature, and one of the earliest canonical novels, it regularly appears high on lists of the greatest works of fiction ever published. In one such list, Don Quixote was cited as the "best literary work ever written".
Although the novel is farcical on the surface, the novel, especially in its second half, is more serious and philosophical about the theme of deception. Quixote has served as an important thematic source not only in literature but in much of art and music, inspiring works by Pablo Picasso and Richard Strauss. The contrasts between the tall, thin, fancy-struck, and idealistic Quixote and the fat, squat, world-weary Panza is a motif echoed ever since the book’s publication, and Don Quixote's imaginings are the butt of outrageous and cruel practical jokes in the novel. Even faithful and simple Sancho is unintentionally forced to deceive him at certain points. The novel is considered a satire of orthodoxy, veracity, and even nationalism. In going beyond mere storytelling to exploring the individualism of his characters, Cervantes helped move beyond the narrow literary conventions of the chivalric romance literature that he spoofed, which consists of straightforward retelling of a series of acts that redound to the knightly virtues of the hero.
From shepherds to tavern-owners and inn-keepers, the characterization in Don Quixote was groundbreaking. The character of Don Quixote became so well known in its time that the word quixotic was quickly adopted by many languages. Characters such as Sancho Panza and Don Quixote’s steed, Rocinante, are emblems of Western literary culture. The phrase "tilting at windmills" to describe an act of attacking imaginary enemies derives from an iconic scene in the book.