Constant Reader
WebBoardOrientationReading ListsHome WorksActivities
Classics Corner

Adventures of Don Quixote
by Miguel De Cervantes


The best-known book in Spanish literature, telling the story of the adventurous knight-errant and his squire Sancho Panzo, who set out to right the wrongs of the world.


From: Dean Denis dddenis@telus.net Date: Tuesday, July 01, 2003 01:12 PM Never having read this before, I was most struck by the gap between the popular image of Don Quixote and the character in the book. As is said in the Author's Preface by a friend of Cervantes, "And since this writing of yours aims at no more than to destroy the authority and acceptance the books of chivalry have had in the world, and among the vulgar,.... ...carry your aim steady to overthrow that ill-compiled machine of books of chivalry, abhorred by many, but applauded by more and, if you carry this point, you gain a considerable one." The extent to which Don Quixote is portrayed in popular culture as a romantic figure, indeed as the ideal of romanticism, is the extent to which this novel has failed or rather that we have failed to accept the point which Cervantes has set out to carry. The Don Quixote of the novel is a destructive force driven by his delusions to attack people and do them physical harm, to destroy their means of livelihood and disrupt the social order. I found it particularly siginificant that Cervantes attributes the history of Don Quixote to Cid (which means Lord) Hamet Ben Engeli, the Arabian author. It makes me wonder if Cervantes was prompted to write this antidote to the literature of chivalry in response to the destruction of the vibrant civilization that was Moorish Spain by the hired thug (aka knight-errant) El Cid and his band of mercenaries. All roads lead to roam. Dean
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (2 of 28), Read 53 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Mary Ellen Burns smeburns@yahoo.com Date: Tuesday, July 01, 2003 02:06 PM I saw "Man of La Mancha" on Broadway when i was 16 and was carried away by its idealism, etc. I agree that if Cervantes were to walk in on a production, he'd be horrified, and probably scream, "Stop, stop! You've gotten it all WRONG!" Perhaps because I have never read any of the romances Cervantes is skewering, I found this book hard going. I enjoyed the clever writing, but I felt that I was being hit over the head by the same idea over & over & over again. So, after about 200 pages or so, I decided to skip the next 700 and use the time I'd spend on the rest of Quixote on several different books. Hedging my bets, though, I didn't return Quixote to the library, just in case a number of CRs change my mind & convince me to keep going! Mary Ellen
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (3 of 28), Read 53 times Conf: Classics Corner From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Tuesday, July 01, 2003 02:36 PM This is a daunting book. I attempted it once many years ago, and came to about the same conclusion as you did, Mary Ellen. I have not attempted it again. But I'll be reading along here, hoping for insights I was too lazy to dig out for myself. R
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (4 of 28), Read 54 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Dean Denis dddenis@telus.net Date: Tuesday, July 01, 2003 02:38 PM Mary Ellen "...hit over the head by the same idea over & over & over again." I couldn't agree more. I found myself craving Mambrino's helmet to spare my poor pate from further blows. Not finding one, I found that I could not read this whole novel cover to cover. I, too, will rely on others to tell me what, if anything, I have missed. I will grant that Don Quixote does make a good case for oral hygiene in Chapter 18, "... for Sancho, you must know that a mouth without grinders, is like a mill without a stone; and a diamond is not so precious as a tooth." All roads lead to roam. Dean
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (5 of 28), Read 51 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Dean Denis dddenis@telus.net Date: Tuesday, July 01, 2003 03:29 PM Ruth, I would say "daunting" in size only. I didn't see many challenging concepts here. Also, I found the humour too slapstick for my tastes. All roads lead to roam. Dean
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (6 of 28), Read 52 times Conf: Classics Corner From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Tuesday, July 01, 2003 04:03 PM It's been so long since I attempted it, I can only remember that I found it tediously slow grinding. R
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (7 of 28), Read 51 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Robert Armstrong rla@nac.net Date: Tuesday, July 01, 2003 04:36 PM I also stopped in the middle of the journey. The donkey I was riding just sat down in the road, and then got stolen, and I can’t for the life of me continue. I want to go back to the old village and nurse my wounds. Keeping company with Don Quixote is just too rough. Punch and Judy can only be funny for so long. The old guy sure stirs up a lot of trouble. On the other hand, it wasn’t a complete waste. There were imaginative moments and an inside out world to view. But I kept waiting for Don Quixote to transmute into his currently perceived persona and it hasn’t happened so far. Earlier this year I saw the revival of MAN OF LA MANCHA on Broadway and the musical does not resemble the novel. Do they ever come into alignment? Has anyone finished this? Robt
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (8 of 28), Read 53 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Sherry Keller shkell@starband.net Date: Tuesday, July 01, 2003 04:50 PM I'm only on about page 135. I was wondering if anyone finished it, too. If the whole thing is his finding innocent people to fantasize about and knock on the noggin, I wonder how anyone ever finishes. I have enjoyed it so far, in small doses. My edition is a new translation, and the title is Don Quijote. But the picture of the cover on Amazon is different from the one I have. I'm too lazy now to go get the book. Sherry
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (9 of 28), Read 48 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Pres Lancaster plancast@neteze.com Date: Tuesday, July 01, 2003 08:12 PM Perhaps, to read Don Quixote is "to dream the impossible dream"? pres Life is hard, tough as nails. That's why we need fairy tales. (Munchhausen, Friedrich Hollaender ?)
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (10 of 28), Read 46 times Conf: Classics Corner From: George H malword@ameritech.net Date: Tuesday, July 01, 2003 11:07 PM Don Quixote-- The book of which Dostoevsky said 'A more profound and powerful work than this is not to be met with, it is the final and greatest utterance of the human mind' and Faulkner read once a year 'just as some people read the Bible' and Anthony Burgess accorded the role of being the 'sole narrative challenger to Shakespeare in beauty of words and depth of thought'... I can't understand the posts here, it's like a different book is being discussed. Granted, it might depend on which translation is being read and I personally prefer (by a narrow margin) Book II to Book I... still, this book is a sheer miracle. Nowhere, anywhere, are the issues of reality/fantasy, friendship, love, wisdom, and scores of others dealt with as profoundly and entertainingly as in Quixote... this book defines the enjoyment and the reward of reading to me.
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (11 of 28), Read 48 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Dean Denis dddenis@telus.net Date: Wednesday, July 02, 2003 02:14 AM George, I could be convinced. I admitted that I might be missing something. You say that those topics were never treated elsewhere as well. What would you offer to support this? All roads lead to roam. Dean
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (12 of 28), Read 43 times Conf: Classics Corner From: George H malword@ameritech.net Date: Wednesday, July 02, 2003 03:32 AM http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/039397281X/ref=lib_rd_ss_TFCV/103-2708228-7182229?v=glance&s=books&vi=reader&img=1#reader-link
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (13 of 28), Read 43 times Conf: Classics Corner From: George H malword@ameritech.net Date: Wednesday, July 02, 2003 04:07 AM Dean-- O.K. I'm being a little facetious above... sorry. It is of course impossible to convince someone something is likable when it is not, to them. I can only describe my experience of the book. I think first of the adventure of the puppeteer, Book II, Chapters 25-27. Don Quixote, witnessing a puppet show and in 'fear' for the lives of some of the more threatened puppets, attacks the offending puppets and soundly defeats them. But at no point can we readers be sure Quixote is insane enough to take the 'puppets' as real... we rather suspect that Quixote is testing the puppeteer on the strengths of his bragged about illusionary 'world'... the world of the puppet show. And as a metafiction, the narrator's authorial comments are peerless here. As the incident winds down, Quixote acquits himself honorably in the reckoning up of damages he has caused the puppeteer... strangely shining (albeit briefly)as a reality principle also. The sequence also has a (fake) fortune telling monkey, a disguised villian of epic proportions, Sancho desperately trying to understand the transformations of his master that have taken a more serious turn since the episode of the Lions, and Quixote himself winning this duel of the illusionists because he was smarter and, at his heart, intends no 'con'... unlike his opponent. And this is in the span of maybe 8 pages. I'll come back to this sequence in more detail...
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (14 of 28), Read 42 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Mary Ellen Burns smeburns@yahoo.com Date: Wednesday, July 02, 2003 11:38 AM So, if Dostoevsky thought Quixote "the last and greatest utterance of the human mind," why did he bother writing himself? (Had he not, my senior year in high school would have been a bit breezier, "Crime & Punishment"-free!) Sorry, couldn't help myself. George, your posts have again convinced me of the truth that tastes cannot be disputed. Clearly, I did not read enough of the book to be able to judge, but what is Cervantes saying about love or friendship that is more profound than any other writer ever? Mary Ellen
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (15 of 28), Read 37 times Conf: Classics Corner From: George H malword@ameritech.net Date: Thursday, July 03, 2003 12:14 AM Mary Ellen-- Funny...and I agree, taste is indisputable. I just think its a shame that a book which was was derided at its emergence by prominent thinkers for being too readable and too funny to be a classic or even of quality is now seen as turgid or as an 'impossible' read. Quixote was the masterpiece for the common reader, and a sublimity that even people not used to or usually enthused by reading could enjoy. As an obsessive reader, I also bow to the power of its influence--> lose Quixote and you change Madame Bovary, Moby Dick, Ulysses, Gravity's Rainbow, As I Lay Dying, and countless others. In my enthusiasm, I misspoke about my perception of its greatness though--> I meant to say nowhere do you find writing MORE profound, though many places equally so. The novel is, in some typesettings, over 1000 pages long and at no point can I get off the fence about either of its main characters. That is simply writing sorcery. Like Hamlet, there are as many Quixotes and Sanchos as there are close readers. Are they smart, dumb, or both? Are they crazy, sane, or both? Are they tragic, heroic, or both? Or neither? Are they jointly self-destructive, or transcendent? The countless provocations they provide each other are true love... I think they end knowing more about each other than any literary pair in history. And what is love but knowledge in action?
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (16 of 28), Read 40 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Sherry Keller shkell@starband.net Date: Thursday, July 03, 2003 07:15 AM I don't think anyone said the writing was turgid. I find the writing (or at least this new translation) remarkable. It seems modern and smooth and very funny. I expect to finish this, but I'm interspersing other books within. Sherry
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (17 of 28), Read 37 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ann Davey davey@tconl.com Date: Thursday, July 03, 2003 08:52 AM Well, George, you have convinced me I should at least try to read some of this book. What translation are you reading? That could make all the difference. Also, humor is a strange thing. I might burst out laughing at something another person finds just silly - and vice versa. Ann
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (18 of 28), Read 34 times Conf: Classics Corner From: George H malword@ameritech.net Date: Thursday, July 03, 2003 12:48 PM Sherry-- You're right, nobody said it was turgid... they said it was tediously slow grinding. Ann-- I'm taking advantage of CR's reading of Quixote to try the new Penguin translation by Rutherford but I highly recommend the Burton Raffel (I think that's the one Sherry's reading?) translation... my favorite by far. A man named Joshua Norton proclaimed himself Norton I, Emperor of the United States in 1859. Despite the lunacy of his claim, he ended up such a beloved figure that 30,000 people attended his funeral. He ate for free in San Francisco's best restaurants and many establishments in the city accepted his self-created money. Queen Victoria and Abraham Lincoln (reportedly) gave serious consideration to his correspondences. Was Norton a fool? Don Quixote eventually converts most of the figures around him to the idea of playing 'hoaxes' on him, setting up rigged 'adventures' for him to encounter so they could make fun of him when the prank was sprung. Ironically, however, the pragmatic effect is that he lives a life of non-stop adventure as opposed to his alternative 'normal' life which would have been what? He proclaims himself a knight and, in a spirit of mild maliciousness (excepting, always, Sancho)everyone around him busily works to fill his invented stage with sets and props. And into the bargain he builds the strongest verbal friendship imaginable. Who was fooling whom?
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (19 of 28), Read 29 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Sherry Keller shkell@starband.net Date: Thursday, July 03, 2003 05:23 PM Yes, that's the one I'm reading, George. I have nothing to compare it to, but it's quite lively with a modern feel. Sherry
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (20 of 28), Read 29 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Dean Denis dddenis@telus.net Date: Thursday, July 03, 2003 07:23 PM George, at first, the people do not want to play along. He attacks people with the intent to kill and seriously wounds one person. He attacks people and destroys their livelihood. When do people start "going along" with Don Quixote? Are they doing it so that he will be distracted and won't do them any more harm? Sancho Panza, a poor illiterate, is taken in by the promises of Don Quixote that he will be given an island to rule. (This looks to me like a reference to the ignorant mercenaries who destroyed Moorish Spain.)When does Sancho's relationship with Don Quixote change? Cervantes makes his anti-romantic approach clear in the preface. Marcela's speech at the funeral of the man who died "for her love" re-enforces it. Does Cervantes change his view on romance during the course of the novel? All roads lead to roam. Dean
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (21 of 28), Read 29 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Dean Denis dddenis@telus.net Date: Thursday, July 03, 2003 10:28 PM George, when in the novel does Don Quixote give the impression that he can see the world in any other way than through his complete delusion, thus giving rise to the irony which you saw arising from the puppet show incident? All roads lead to roam. Dean
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (22 of 28), Read 20 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ann Davey davey@tconl.com Date: Friday, July 04, 2003 10:20 AM George, I have Rutherford translation, so I'll give it a try. There must be a reason why this is considered the great classic of Spanish literature. I'm guessing that much of the allure must be in the words themselves. Can you imagine the effect of a bad translation of Shakespeare? It would have lots of non-English speakers questioning Shakespeare's greatness. Ann
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (23 of 28), Read 21 times Conf: Classics Corner From: George H malword@ameritech.net Date: Friday, July 04, 2003 12:48 PM Dean-- I don't believe Quixote is a destructive force at all... it is true that the onset of his madness is the most violent, but Cervantes was a veteran of the massive battle of Lepanto, and if he had wanted to portray destructiveness, it wouldn't have looked like this. The 1st blows Quixote deals out would have killed his victim, if he'd continued, which he didn't... he has no 'intent' to kill. Remember that our sensibilities are a lot more, uh, sensitive than those of the 1500's where a few thwacks on the head were not sensational. I also don't believe that a man a practical as Sancho is taken in by the promise of an island governorship, I think his 'belief' in that promise is his voluntary way of beginning to alter his own reality with faith, just as his master does, a step on the path of their true partnership. Part of the immense fun of the story is watching Sancho develop the ability to use 'enchantments', ie., discover the principle of creativity in real life. As for evidence of Quixote's ability to see through delusion I ask: which delusion? Do you mean his ability to grasp a fully accurate and undistorted reality the way you or I can? Can we? The book calls that very reality into question, so that is a very difficult question to answer. Everyone in the book thinks Quixote is mad but speaks amazing amounts of sense. When Sancho tells Quixote he is suffering 'tricks and dreams' he responds 'that is very possible.' When Quixote is told that the readers of 'Don Quixote' think he is mad, he says they know him as well as they know Julius Caesar or Hercules or Alexander the Great, which is palpably true-- we only know shards of truth about them and we only know shards of truth about Quixote. Elsewhere in the book Cervantes elucidates the difference between someone who is mad and someone who CHOOSES to be mad, and it is clear to me where Quixote (and, incidentally, Hamlet) falls. Although in about 1/10th of the pages, Hamlet manages to kill 6 people to Quixote's 0... a much more effective destructive force, that Dane...
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (24 of 28), Read 21 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Dean Denis dddenis@telus.net Date: Friday, July 04, 2003 03:56 PM George, I don't know "would have" I only know what Cervantes tells me. Our modern sensitivities do have an influence but they extend beyond cringing at the sight of someone getting hit on the head. Here are a few points at issue: In Part I Chapter 8 He damages a windmill. Now here I see our modern sensitivities leading us to forget that the windmill was a vital part of the people's livelihood, as were the sheep which he kills in a later chapter. Why is this not destructive? In the same chapter, Quixote attacks some monks. Our modern sensitivities might lead us to discount the social and political ramifications of such an act in the 17th century. In the Charles Jarvis translation we have: "... he [D.Q.] clapped spurs to Rosinante, and with such fury and resolution, that, if he [the monk] had not slid down from his mule, he would have brought him to the ground, in spite of his teeth, and wounded to boot, if not killed outright." Later in the same chapter, Don Quixote wants to take the coach which the monks were accompanying to Toboso. When a squire from Biscaine tries to prevent him, Quixote draws his sword and "... set[s] upon the the Bicainer, with a resolution to kill him." George, What does your translation say that leads to the conclusion that Quixote is not destructive? George you said, "I think his 'belief' in that promise is his voluntary way of beginning to alter his own reality with faith, just as his master does." Is there something in the text which leads you to this thought? In what chapter does the puppet show occur? It sounds interesting. Furthermore, I am not saying that "Don Quixote" is without merit. It is a clever satire. My point from the beginning has been how terribly different the popular notion of Don Quixote is from what Cervantes wrote. If Cervantes were alive today, he would still see romantic notions being used as an excuse to attack others for material gain. What makes Don Quixote interesting is that he has adopted the romantic notions completely and without any underlying venal goals. This gives him the innocence of the insane which popular culture has promulgated as "purity of heart." By the same token, it makes him indiscriminate in his destructiveness. In order for Cervantes's satire to work Don Quixote must be seen as delusional and his commitment to his romantic delusion as total and unwavering. Thus, when we see the romantic notions which we used to glorify our attacks on others turned upon ourselves, we come to think of them differently. All roads lead to roam. Dean
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (25 of 28), Read 16 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Dean Denis dddenis@telus.net Date: Friday, July 04, 2003 05:16 PM As a wounded veteran Cervantes certainly had much cause to be disillusioned with the romantic notions which hide the reality of war. In contrast to Don Quixote's innocence of the insane is the hypocrisy of the sane who adopt romantic notions when it suits them. All roads lead to roam. Dean
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (26 of 28), Read 14 times Conf: Classics Corner From: George H malword@ameritech.net Date: Friday, July 04, 2003 11:22 PM Dean-- The puppet-show is in Book II, Ch 25-28 Thanks for the examples. The things you quote come from early in Book I, before Quixote has been able to inoculate his fledgling madness with the spirit of play. Never, despite his insanity, does he mistake someone so far that he kills them, in fact, he is always merciful when in a superior position. The Basque threatened Quixote and told him he would kill him, so that of course is an exception. Also, there is the fascinating fact that the novel 'Don Quixote' does transform itself in a free-thinking way as Cervantes figures out more of what he's trying to say (hence my preference for Book II). If I can forgive Hamlet cold-blooded murder because of his tormented heart, I see no reason why I cannot forgive Quixote a windmill sail and some sheep for his troubled mind. My point is that Quixote is not intended to be seen as PRIMARILY destructive, he is to be seen as primarily creative. And how on earth is this novel a warning away from using force for material gain? Quixote wants nothing except a very, very erratic salary for Sancho... in fact he says a knight-errant should properly have no money at all, and when I try to picture Quixote amassing a fortune like Donald Trump my mind boggles. Never would this book have meant as much to as many people as it has if it was simply a satire... there is so much more there. Don Quixote simply is THE novel, it was first, and its message that an imagination can create better or at least more interesting realities is the engine that powers the very idea of novelistic form. My assertion that Sancho only believes in the island in a voluntary way comes from common sense-- he's smart enough to know otherwise... and he brings himself to believe in many things on behalf of his friend throughout the course of the story. You call Sancho a 'poor illiterate' but to me he seems brilliant, a veritable Socrates of sense. His governorship is a masterpiece of intelligence, and made me see visions of 'Panza for President' bumper stickers. Perhaps you see a gain for the world when Quixote recedes into Alonso The Good... I see a tremendous loss, mitigated for me only by the fact that I can eavesdrop on the witty, powerful and creative conversations between Quixote and Sancho whenever I choose...
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (27 of 28), Read 12 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Dean Denis dddenis@telus.net Date: Friday, July 04, 2003 11:46 PM George, thanks for the reference for the puppet scene. Please, re-read my previous post. I said that Don Quixote is not venal. All roads lead to roam. Dean
From: George H malword@ameritech.net Date: Saturday, July 05, 2003 01:39 PM Dean-- Sorry, I misread that point... thanks for clarifying. Now that the romantic/anti-romantic poles have been erected, I wonder if a tent can be strung upon them that would shelter us all?
From: Dean Denis dddenis@telus.net Date: Saturday, July 05, 2003 02:28 PM No problem, George. Good of you to take a second look. All roads lead to roam. Dean
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (30 of 66), Read 88 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ernest Belden drernest@pacbell.net Date: Sunday, July 06, 2003 01:39 AM Mary Ellen and Ruth, I read this book perhaps a year or so ago and am under the impression that it was suggested reading for our group. Being a slow reader faced with more than enough pages I read several hundred pages but then skipped to the last 50. This was my second reading. I read perhaps half of you postings so there may be a person who made a similar statement and I am not aware of it. So please forgive me. The focuses of the story pertains simply to the fact that the hero of this story get's carried away believing whatever his fertile brain comes up with and accepts these distortions as reality. Most, or all of us test an idea, a hypothesis against reality factors. We even may ask other people if an object or phenomenon is as we see it so than make logical corrections if need be. Of course, as a number of philosophers have told us, there can never be an agreement on an object that we can not perceive and that we have no experience with. An example may be a religious believe. More down to earth, before we had the proper instruments and knowledge of mathematics, we could argue forever if the moon was made out of cheese, etc. There are states of mind, especially in mental illness, when we have delusions about something or other. But, why do we adhere to them even if other people tell us that things are different? There are interesting answers to this question. Well we can assume that the tragic Knight Don Xuixote has absorbed all his reading (remember his library that was taken away from him)and WANTS to believe the everyday existence of chivalry. Perhaps he felt more comfortable with an imaginary world than with he perceived around him. But one could speculate about a number of reasons. He was certainly no mental or physical giant, nor was he wealthy or politically powerful. Reading about the age of Chivalry must have been quite attractive to such a person and so he created his own world. Since many of us have toyed with various fantasies and brilliant authors who have done the same and got paid for it we can see in this book an important lesson: Name realism, the here and now vs. a fantasy world of the past or the future. Most people in the psychiatric profession have seen people overwhelmed by a fantasy. They are common and it is, as a rule difficult if not impossible to destroy such fixed delusions. A common delusional state is paranoia, namely feeling persecuted or watched. Grandiosity (in secret or out in the open) is another perhaps less common delusional state. Cervantes fertile mind comes up with an endless list of more or less interesting delusions within the mind of our Don Quixote. Ernest
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (31 of 66), Read 87 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ernest Belden drernest@pacbell.net Date: Sunday, July 06, 2003 01:51 AM George H. I just read a number of your comments and can only agree with them. Comparing Hamlet with Don Quixote delusional state is most interesting. Ernest
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (32 of 66), Read 83 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Dean Denis dddenis@telus.net Date: Sunday, July 06, 2003 10:20 PM IN Act I Scene V, Hamlet tells his friends that he will fake madness, "As [he], perchance, hereafter shall think meet to put an antic disposition on..." and has his friends swear that they will not give him away. Act I Scene V, ll 173-189 But come;-- Here, as before, never, so help you mercy, How strange or odd soe'er I bear myself,-- As I, perchance, hereafter shall think meet To put an antic disposition on,-- That you, at such times seeing me, never shall, With arms encumber'd thus, or this head-shake, Or by pronouncing of some doubtful phrase, As 'Well, well, we know'; or 'We could, an if we would';-- Or 'If we list to speak'; or 'There be, an if they might';-- Or such ambiguous giving out, to note That you know aught of me:--this is not to do, So grace and mercy at your most need help you, Swear. Don Quixote has no ulterior motive as does Hamlet. Don Quixote has become completely immersed in the delusion of his fantasy. All roads lead to roam. Dean
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (33 of 66), Read 81 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ernest Belden drernest@pacbell.net Date: Sunday, July 06, 2003 11:40 PM You have a good point Dean. I did not think about it when I read a previous posting. But...there is a very thin line between pretense and truth. A pretense of a state of mind may lead to permanent delusions in some very few individuals. I know of a horrible example that goes way back in time. A man attempted to beat the draft during one of our conflicts by asserting to the military surgeon that he had the constant impulse to stab himself with a knife. He was rejected from duty and years later did stab himself. There is such a thing as processes within the unconscious mind which may become conscious and acted on. Ernie
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (34 of 66), Read 79 times Conf: Classics Corner From: George H malword@ameritech.net Date: Monday, July 07, 2003 04:47 AM Don Quixote says: ' I know who I am, and who I may be, if I choose.' Although they have different motives, I feel that Quixote is in as much control of his madness as Hamlet, who is only mad north by northwest, and he is in more control of himself than his literary descendent Captain Ahab. When the barber (at the beginning of Book II) tells a story whose point is plainly: Don Quixote is mad, Quixote responds by telling the barber he understands that point: '...nor am I a madman trying to make people believe me sane; I am merely striving to make the world understand the delusion under which it labors...' He continues with a beautiful set-piece on the 'glories' of knight-errantry, with knights taking their rest in open fields, exposed to the vagaries of nature, not even getting off their horses or removing their feet from their stirrups but leaning on their lances to 'take forty winks.' Considering Cervantes' own gorgeous essay on meeting even death hopefully is entitled 'A Foot in the Stirrup' I don't think it fanciful of me to see similarities between Cervantes and Quixote here. Then Quixote goes into a litany of knight-errants and why he admires them saying 'Who has been more chaste and courageous than Amadis of Gaul? Who more intelligent than Palmerin of England? Who more daring than Reynald?...' etc., It is a reader's cry we hear here, one we could rephrase as 'Who has been wiser than Hamlet? Who more courageous than Dorothea Brooke? Who has been funnier than Don Quixote?' Is Quixote insane here for thinking the best examples of humanity that come to his mind are fictional, and that, tormentingly, reality has not lived up to their promise?
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (35 of 66), Read 79 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Dale Short dshort@bham.rr.com Date: Monday, July 07, 2003 12:52 PM Don Quixote says, 'I am merely striving to make the world understand the delusion under which it labors...' By golly, that's also a war cry of the serious writer if I've ever heard one. >>Dale in Ala. http://www.writerstoolkit.com
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (36 of 66), Read 81 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Pres Lancaster plancast@neteze.com Date: Monday, July 07, 2003 01:15 PM How about: I am merely striving to make the world forget the delusion under which it labors...' pres Life is hard, tough as nails. That's why we need fairy tales.
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (37 of 66), Read 80 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Ian Marks comfortably_numb@ecosse.net Date: Monday, July 07, 2003 06:33 PM I've just taken DQ (Rutherford trans.) off the shelf, so I skimmed a lot of the previous posts for fear of spoilers, but I caught enough to realise that it's gonna be a matter of taste! Ian http://mysite.freeserve.com/bookmarks
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (38 of 66), Read 71 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Dale Short dshort@bham.rr.com Date: Monday, July 07, 2003 10:52 PM Understand the delusion? Forget the delusion? Interesting distinction, Pres. Depends on the individual writer, but both are worthy objectives, I think. Much food for thought there. >>Dale in Ala. http://www.writerstoolkit.com
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (39 of 66), Read 69 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Wednesday, July 09, 2003 01:23 PM George said: "My point is that Quixote is not intended to be seen as PRIMARILY destructive, he is to be seen as primarily creative." This is the thesis of DQ. Dale, and George, have hit what engages us fans of this novel to claim its worth...it is the book for artists and writers...and us freaks who live with the idea that the world is delusional and non-sensical...so gosh darnnit---we shall be the rock/movie stars of our own lives and work. DQ is the patron saint of the imagination. One way I like to work into the challenge of DQ is to consider a couple of movies that depend upon DQ. Much like George points out the legacy of Dq in literature...in a quick fix here are other examples or doorways into "getting" this novel.. the movies Bronco Billy, Being There, and The Fisher King come to mind... This is a delightful discussion and I have loved reading and catching up on all the thoughts here, and thanks Dean for opening up the discussion.. as for taste, it may be more to taste to absorb a movie like Bronco Billy or Being There or hey, what about the Johnny Depp movie with Marlon Brando? these movies have the same dedication and argument as DQ. I am also remembering the novel The Hotel New Hampshire where there is a clown with a sign( and maybe even a MONKEY) alluding to DQ and the clowns sign says "Life is serious, art is fun".
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (40 of 66), Read 64 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Wednesday, July 09, 2003 01:51 PM I am thinking about the fascinating notes of yours, Ernest, and I see another important concept in Dq is that making art, or engaging in our imagination can "cure" craziness or destructive psychological problems. Through imagination we can build a cushion around the insensitivities of politics, normalcy, social demands...each of which are built on a kind of common agreement of us all to "play act"...instead of real war and fighting...perhaps it is better to "play fight"? Oh so much comes to mind, but is warm and sunny, and I must take the dog for a walk... later!
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (41 of 66), Read 62 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Robert Armstrong rla@nac.net Date: Wednesday, July 09, 2003 04:58 PM “Through imagination we can build a cushion around the insensitivities of politics, normalcy, social demands.” Candy Candy, Your concept is right on. DON JUAN DE MARCO was the fab movie with Johnny Depp and Marlon Brando. This is a discussion where I agree with everyone and the polarized thoughts encompass my impatience and beguilement. (Cop out? Probably.) I’m reading an old translation (Charles Jarvis, 1742) and that may be part of my problem, although I can’t fault it in any specific way. It certainly gives an old world flavor. An aspect of the novel that I like is the complimentary pairing of educated fancy and common sense between Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. An aspect which puts me off (as has been already mentioned) is the damage that Don Quixote does inadvertently. An example comes near the beginning when DQ attempts to assist a youth who is being punished by his master. Don Quixote’s interference results in the youth being punished even more severely, the opposite effect intended. While I’m enamored with DQ’s imaginative idealism I’m also aware that our institutions for the criminally insane contain various analogs of this type. That Don Quixote doesn’t kill anyone comes down to a generous portion of luck. He certainly injures plenty of unsuspecting, innocent people. I have yet to place the wreckage into a cohesive context. The stature of this novel suggests that I’m constricted by a simplistic idea of good guy/bad guy and I’ll just have to read to the end to get this novel. However, I’m not sure I have the wherewithal to do so. Robt
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (42 of 66), Read 65 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Wednesday, July 09, 2003 10:51 PM Robert said, "The stature of this novel suggests that I’m constricted by a simplistic idea of good guy/bad guy and I’ll just have to read to the end to get this novel. However, I’m not sure I have the wherewithal to do so." One of the reasons I mentioned movies with what I believe have similar themes as DQ is because I don't think every person has to read every book. Yes, this has stature...but ultimately it deserves stature not only for its style,era, history, characters...but for the universalality of the characters...and its themes. When we have a movie or novel that we LIKE the style or era EASILY it is just easier to bond with it. I think its completely valid to be turned off by a style. How wonderful we can share excitement of content or characters and themes by comparing movies or other books. In some ways, perhaps a lot of ways, I would also compare The Horses Mouth to DQ. And there in fact in Careys classic novel the main fool is an artist!
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (43 of 66), Read 62 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Wednesday, July 09, 2003 11:55 PM Dean, I think your observation of the contemporary perception of DQ compared with the original characters is a profound one. This co-opting or sugar coating of evil or dark characters is something we seem to do with all our great beasts. I will sound like a broken record here as I mention one of my favorite writers AGAIN here at CR, but sorry...when I like something, I really like it, heh heh. I am thinking once again of Marina Warners book No Go The Bogeyman. Dean, and all, this entire book of Warners is all about how we make monsters cute and cuddily! This includes the anti-hero Hannibal Lecter...who kills without remorse, but we like him to Ogres in fairytales, to Disneys reworking of classic and old stories, to Tony the Tiger. Over time, we humans seem to mellow out our most vicious villains. I think its valid for some readers to be turned off or frightened by some of the events in this novel. I think there is a lot to be explored in the grotesque to the bonks on the head or wrecking windmills. I believe these represent the knocking off or loosening of consciousness/or rigid thought? and technology...but this needs further thought... I wish I had my copy of Warner here at this moment, but I don't...but I will look when I get home to see what she has to say about this novel versus popular cultures notions of it.
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (44 of 66), Read 60 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Dean Denis dddenis@telus.net Date: Thursday, July 10, 2003 12:08 PM I can see the mellowing out of our image of Don Quixote as we get farther and farther from the novel and the details are forgotten. I think, Robert, that what you referred to as the novel's "stature" is actually a shifting away from what Don Quixote really is. Your comparison to the criminally insane is a propos. Furthermore, I don't think that if one is sensitive, as you are, to the suffering which Don Quixote causes that one is "constricted by a simplistic idea of good guy/bad guy." Rather you're reading the text rather than seeing the mellowed image which Don Quixote come to represent: the innocence of the insane passing for purity of heart. Imagination is a wonderful thing but Don Quixote has no imagination. He has borrowed everything from his romantic books and is applying it literally. Perhaps, Cervantes was trying to tell how much harm can be done when we take other works literally. As for, the attack on the windmill representing "...the knocking off or loosening of consciousness/or rigid thought? and technology," I can't accept this because it is a uniquely modern affectation. An affectation, I might add, which is completely mythic. All roads lead to roam. Dean
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (45 of 66), Read 61 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Thursday, July 10, 2003 03:28 PM Ah, Dean, you remind me of interesting questions and ideas. I am I guess in the camp that Q is not insane, least of all, criminally insane. But, then that could be that I am nuts myself, so there ya go. Uh, he killed some sheep. I don't think that was "nice" per say...but we all kill sheep everyday. And cows and fish etc.That is unless one is a vegetarian, in which its okay to kill a tomato. I am not immune to the reality that he damaged property, honest, I get that but... When people around him set up games for him and pranks...his life work becomes more- hmm acceptable. His loved ones fear he is being mocked though...They may be mocking him, yes its true...but are they really mocking? I mean is it different than a playwright and their actors? Is it different than going to a museum and looking at art? Are artists just crazy folks who we can either enjoy or mock and then not be effected emotionally? Are actors just trained monkeys for our mocking or judgement? Is entertainment not an important and necessary act for the human? If we don't get our thoughts and ideas from novels and religion and stories, where do the "first ideas" come from? Is there really such a thing? Who are any of us but what we have been taught and exposed to? From our jobs to our fashion style and our diets? Is anyone of us free from our history of stories? Are any of us free and original from our parents ideas, our societys ideas? Are any of us free from contesting our history our stories? You pose a fascinating idea that perhaps the author was criticizing art and stories...almost like a Platonian idea that stories keep us from being true and real...(yet Plato leaned on myths to give examples of most of his arguments). Is this novel a satire to say a life of reading is bad...like kids watching the Matrix or Natural Born Killers or listening to heavy metal-therefore they will go to school and have a shootout? Is this novel about violence in entertainment begets violence in reality? Measuring the validity of technology or questioning the ultimate nature of reality or knocking around with consciousness is hardly a modern activity exclusively. We can find dozens of examples in other societies and cultures much older than the work of Cervantes. Various societies in South America come to mind. Platos cave metaphor also comes to mind with its descriptions of blind in the dark shadows of a cave and contesting ones awareness and consciousness once one has walked out into the light of day. But I too am fussy about my slapstick-back to the violence and vandalism in DQ...it bothers me a bit. But not as much as I dislike The Three Stooges...I just never got that.(I have heard that boys are more into the Stooges than girls) I like my slapstick served up by the Farralley Brothers, or SouthPark, or The Simpsons. I find that more to my taste.
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (46 of 66), Read 65 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Dean Denis dddenis@telus.net Date: Thursday, July 10, 2003 04:47 PM Candy, you are saying that the fact that I eat meat and therefore result in the death of animals is the same as getting out of my car as I drive by a farm and killing the nearest cow. Do you really make no distinction between these two types of killing? If you don't then you are, indeed, quixotic. Going from the towns folk mocking Don Quixote to actors and playwrights is a bad comparison. The interaction between the town's folk and Don Quixote is different from that between actors and an audience. A closer comparison would be Victorian Londoners finding an evening's entertainment at St. Mary's of Bethlehem Hospital for the insane. We do get our ideas from somewhere but we relate them to our circumstances. Without constraint there is no art. I don't think that Cervantes was "criticizing art and stories.". In Ch. 6 of Part I, the priest and the barber destroy Don Quixote's library and they are shown as ridiculous and hypocritical. You're right. Questioning our consciousness is not new. The modern affectation to which I was referring is the notion that humans can separate themselves from technology. As for the "rigid thought" which you mention at the end of Post #14, no one is more rigid in his thinking than Don Quixote which is another reason why I think that he has no imagination. All roads lead to roam. Dean
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (47 of 66), Read 56 times Conf: Classics Corner From: George H malword@ameritech.net Date: Thursday, July 10, 2003 08:28 PM Candy-- Before you answer, listen carefully to these quotes: 'Imagination is a wonderful thing but Don Quixote has no imagination.' and: '...no one is more rigid in his thinking than Don Quixote.' Those are statements so staggeringly reductionist as to be unanswerable. Why debate that idea of the book? All the great writers and readers who took inspiration from it were wrong... it is an endless cycle of parables against being too imaginative. Case closed. And its main character, rigid and without imagination and insane and destructive, Don Hitler, he only shows us how life shouldn't be. And Cervantes, who struggled in the name of his craft with as much determination and generosity as anyone I'm aware of, he was in favor of only moderate creativity and hated overstepped bounds. Please don't bother Candy, this hurts too much to watch.
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (48 of 66), Read 54 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Dean Denis dddenis@telus.net Date: Thursday, July 10, 2003 10:00 PM Cervantes does demonstrate great imagination but Cervantes is not Don Quixote. My remarks about Don Quixote's lack of imagination were inspired by Candy's remark that he is the patron saint of artists. Artists are sympathetic to the human condition whereas Don Quixote is oblivious to it by his total absorption in his books. Imagination leads us to sympathize with others and allow for differences. Don Quixote seems not like an artist but more like a fundamentalist with his literal interpretation and application of an idea without regard for the sensitivities of the people around him. Is it a coincidence that this novel appeared at the time of the Spanish Inquisition, authorized by Pope Sixtus IV in 1478? Don Quixote shows us how ridiculous it is to be totally committed to a literal interpretation of romantic notions. All roads lead to roam. Dean
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (49 of 66), Read 63 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Friday, July 11, 2003 01:27 AM "Cervantes fertile mind comes up with an endless list of more or less interesting delusions within the mind of our Don Quixote." Ernest Yeah, I guess I can see how DQ is perceived as nuts... Delusions... I am sad..so very sad...Is that it..he is just plain ole delusional? Rats. I declare, I am totally and utterly nuts. Just for the record. Anyway...I feel so sad...it makes me feel sad that DQ is just a write off as not worthy of introspection. About twenty years ago I used to argue with my college friends how this was the greatest anti-war novel ever written. I always took it that, in fact, Cervantes WAS DQ. That DQ suffered or was a metaphor for shell shock, what we now call PTSD. Was killing a couple of sheep so bad after our history of killing people? Was demolishing a windmill so bad after all the buildings we killed? "I am merely striving to make the world understand the delusion under which it labours..." I feel this is one of the final causes of this novel. Without agreeing that the world(human society) labours under a delusion... ...there won't be an agreement in discussions about war, literary discussions, art criticism, love, meanings, consciousness, spiritualism, nature, hope, freedom, politics, food, and anything else sharing a glass of wine or breath warrants... Is DQ delusional or is the world delusional? seriously deluded but after all kinds of adventure... Candy
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (50 of 66), Read 61 times Conf: Classics Corner From: George H malword@ameritech.net Date: Friday, July 11, 2003 02:50 AM Dean-- The sad fact is we're all wrong... an inevitability when people are screaming absolutes at each other. The happy part, for me anyway, is that you are quixotically tilting at a book that can never be reduced to what you're trying to reduce it to-- a more amateurish and nightmarishly bloated 'Gulliver's Travels'. It's a small pity that almost nobody else here enjoyed this novel, and that may be representative of what the book has to offer readers in this era, namely, nothing. But there have been other eras, and luckily their responses are recorded. An excerpt from a review in 'The Guardian' called 'In the knight's footsteps': 'Where did the novel begin? With Rabelais, Dante, Boccaccio, Chaucer, Anon? Maybe Shakespeare gave us the humanity for it, as well as the language; with patriotism and gallantry, André Malraux once named Madame de Lafayette as the starting point, on account of the psychological interiority of La Princesse de Clèves. Given a choice in the matter, I descend, as the saying goes, further south, to Spain. More specifically, to the Manchego plain, out of which old and boundless landscape emerged in 1605 a barely successful 58-year-old tax collector and ex-soldier, bearing the prototypical fictional text, the first story to be aware of its own fictitiousness, to take as its central problem the difference between appearance and reality; to be, in our terms, modern. To his intense, belated gratification, Miguel de Cervantes's Don Quixote was a bestseller in most of Europe. It turned out to be to the modern novel what Sigmund Freud is to psychology: the cartographer and elaborator of its quintessence. Don Quixote was recently voted best book of all time in a survey of 100 novelists. Whether such judgments have any validity or not, the book's influence persists. It is in the air. It is our climate. In the 18th and 19th centuries, novelists paid Cervantes constant tribute - witness Henry Fielding in his 1742 preface to Joseph Andrews: "written in Imitation of the Manner of Cervantes, Author of Don Quixote". Today the homage is less, and not so many actually read the novel (though they may create their own fiction about having done so). No matter! You don't have to read Don Quixote; you are impregnated with it.' and this, from Sir Walter Raleigh: 'It has often been said, and is still sometimes repeated by good students of Cervantes, that his main object in writing "Don Quixote" was to put an end to the influence of the romances of chivalry. It is true that these romances were the fashionable reading of his age, that many of them were trash, and that some of them were pernicious trash. It is true also that the very scheme of his book lends itself to a scathing exposure of their weaknesses, and that the moral is pointed in the scene of the Inquisition of the Books, where the priest, the barber, the housekeeper, and the niece destroy the greater part of his library by fire. But how came it that Cervantes knew the romances so well, and dwelt on some of their incidents in such loving detail? Moreover, it is worth noting that not a few of them are excluded by name from the general condemnation. "Amadis of Gaul" is spared, because it is "the best of all book of the kind." Equal praise is given to "Palmerin of England"; while of "Triante the White" the priest himself declares that it is a treasure of delight and a mine of pastime. "Truly, I declare to you, gossip, that in its style this is the best book in the world. Here the knights eat and sleep, and die in their beds, and make their wills before they die, with other things in which the rest of the books of this kind are wanting." But even stronger evidence of the esteem that Cervantes felt for the best of the romances is to be found in his habit of linking their names with the poems of Homer and Virgil. So, in the course of instructions given by Don Quixote to Sancho Panza, while they dwelt in the wilds of the Sierra Morena, Ulysses is cited as the model of prudence and patience, Aeneas as the greatest of pious sons and expert captains, and Amadis as the "pole star, the morning star, the sun of valiant and enamoured knights, whom all we have to copy, who do battle under the banner of love and chivalry." It would indeed be a strange thing if a book which is so brave an exercise of the creative imagination were mainly destructive in its aim, and deserved no higher honour than a scavenger. The truth is that the book is so many-sided that all kinds of tastes and beliefs can find their warrant in it. The soul of it is an irony so profound that but few of its readers have explored it to the depths. It is like a mine, deep below deep; and much good treasure is to be found at the more easily accessible levels.' These responses are good enough for me.
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (51 of 66), Read 57 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Friday, July 11, 2003 01:09 PM Those are very interesting responses, George. The idea of this novel being aware of its own fictitiousness has always been of interest to me. It mirrors the action in the novel too, where at first DQ is hallucinating(?) a windmill being a giant, sheep being enemies...and then his transformation from delusion to imagination... Hey...has anyone here seen the tv movie starring John Lithgow and Bob Hoskins? Or the Terry Gilliam movie about TRYING to film DQ? Last night out with friends, asked them if they had read DQ, one said he read it in school, thought the guy was such a loser and didn't finish reading it. But, he did see the Terry Gilliam documentary last week, and really liked it. I didn't know about this movie, Gilliam was in production of DQ when the one of the stars had to quit. It sounds a bit like Looking For Richard...apparently the sets and costumes are really cool. Johnny Depp was cast as Sancho.
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (52 of 66), Read 54 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Friday, July 11, 2003 01:27 PM "Today the homage is less, and not so many actually read the novel (though they may create their own fiction about having done so). No matter! You don't have to read Don Quixote; you are impregnated with it.'" This is what I was thinking of when I mentioned The Fisher King, and Being There or Bronco Billy...accessible movies which toy with similar issues and themes in DQ. Perhaps for many contemporary readers, the only reason to read DQ may be for the interest in the history of novel and literature...and really that would turn out to be such an academic purpose, it would put reading into that horrible domain of I have to read this to pass a class. I know last year, I said this was a "must read" novel...I take it back, because if its not fun, then whats the point? I see no weakness in ones reading past times if they don't enjoy this novel, I made a mistake by declaring that...the style and actions may be too old fashioned for many readers... I hope Gilliam gets back on track and makes that movie...I found some web sites that say he is buying back the rights from the previous film company he worked with...and I think the story and themes are important...more than actually reading the book...and a Terry Gilliam movie would probably turn audiences on that might not find the book palatable. This would be a fun thing, and its not 1000 pages long, heh heh. How funny that I mentioned The Fisher King in comparison to DQ and there Gilliam was the director..I didn't notice that right away, heh heh!
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (53 of 66), Read 58 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Friday, July 11, 2003 01:40 PM Wow, this TNT movie looks pretty cool...here are some links http://www.turnerlearning.com/tntlearning/donquixote/synopsis.html http://www.turnerlearning.com/tntlearning/donquixote/characters.html http://www.turnerlearning.com/tntlearning/donquixote/connect.html Questions and Activities During Viewing http://www.turnerlearning.com/tntlearning/donquixote/during.html And then an article about Gilliam and his movie Lost in La Mancha... http://www.melbournemovies.com.au/pre_03lamancha.html I was pretty blown away by the learning activities at the TNT site, that is so cool...I am going to see if I can rent this version...
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (54 of 66), Read 46 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Dean Denis dddenis@telus.net Date: Friday, July 11, 2003 07:20 PM George, I apologize if I gave you the impression that I was screaming. I certainly did not want to give that impression. Could it be that you have misinterpreted me again? Neither did I want to give the impression that I could summarize a 1000 page novel in a few posts. After all, one can't say everything at once and worthwhile discussions require an exchange of ideas which takes time. Candy, please read my Post #24 for my view on Don Quixote as an anti-war novel. All roads lead to roam. Dean
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (55 of 66), Read 46 times Conf: Classics Corner From: George H malword@ameritech.net Date: Friday, July 11, 2003 10:45 PM Dean-- ...and sorry to give you the impression that there is screaming, or that it is just you. A character flaw of mine, but I hear absolutes (whether yours mine or others) in debate as screaming, and absolutes have abounded... like Quixote having no imagination, or being totally consumed by books, or being the most profound book ever... sorry if you took it as me meaning your voice has volume. And I completely agree with your description of good discussions. Candy-- Thanks for the links... I'll definitely be tracking down that movie. I too am fascinated by the awareness of fictionality in Quixote, particularly in Pt II... I need to get my thoughts together...
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (56 of 66), Read 45 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Saturday, July 12, 2003 01:46 AM Dean,Thanks for reminding me of your specific comments I also checked out your post 25 which was also relevant. Perhaps we see different ways in which to grasp this idea of an anti-war stance in this book...I don't see it as rejecting the actions of DQ...which I can agree are utterly frustrating to witness at times. I really see Quixote as like Austin Powers or remember Steve Martin and Dan Akroyd as "Two Wild and Crazy Guys" skit on SNL...or other skit turned movie from SNL Chris Cattan and Will Ferrel in Ä Night At The Roxbury. I really do find myself laughing out loud sometimes reading these situations. George, I am often struck like a chill and with a laugh when they are burning books early on and come across... But what book is that next it?" "The 'Galatea' of Miguel de Cervantes," said the barber. "That Cervantes has been for many years a great friend of mine, and to my knowledge he has had more experience in reverses than in verses. His book has some good invention in it, it presents us with something but brings nothing to a conclusion: we must wait for the Second Part it promises: perhaps with amendment it may succeed in winning the full measure of grace that is now denied it; and in the mean time do you, senor gossip, keep it shut up in your own quarters." I love it, Cervantes has had more experience in reverses than verses...and notice how they don't destroy THAT book, ha ha. I am really thinking too how delightful Johnny Depp would have been at playing Sancho...Depp has a talent at giving certain comic looks a kind of emotional seriousness...I can just see him watching or listening to Quixote and going oh my god, what next this strange lord of mine will do, but I guess I'm in. Depp would make a great reality check...
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (57 of 66), Read 44 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Saturday, July 12, 2003 01:58 AM Perhaps some mysteriousness? Seeing, therefore, that the struggle was now over, and that his master was returning to mount Rocinante, he approached to hold the stirrup for him, and, before he could mount, he went on his knees before him, and taking his hand, kissed it saying, "May it please your worship, Senor Don Quixote, to give me the government of that island which has been won in this hard fight, for be it ever so big I feel myself in sufficient force to be able to govern it as much and as well as anyone in the world who has ever governed islands." To which Don Quixote replied, "Thou must take notice, brother Sancho, that this adventure and those like it are not adventures of islands, but of cross-roads, in which nothing is got except a broken head or an ear the less: have patience, for adventures will present themselves from which I may make you, not only a governor, but something more."
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (58 of 66), Read 49 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Saturday, July 12, 2003 02:17 AM There is a kind and strange scene that takes place and kind of shows how there are a couple of weird tensions...for one, Dq believes that without a knight errant, the world will go wild, women will be harmed and no law or order will be maintained...yet he is the one knocking people about...I see him as revealing the false notion of with out law and order or social constraint people would be heartless...here is an example of it...while he whines about the threat of no knight errants he is meanwhile had a rather nice dinner with some goatherds who have nothing to gain by sharing a meal with him and Sancho. They have civilized and altruistic actions...and live outside the realm of society that DQ believes in...they make the point of his delusion about the RUSTIC life opposed to the CIVILIZED life...insisting he hear a country boy sing eventually... All this long harangue (which might very well have been spared) our knight delivered because the acorns they gave him reminded him of the golden age; and the whim seized him to address all this unnecessary argument to the goatherds, who listened to him gaping in amazement without saying a word in reply. Sancho likewise held his peace and ate acorns, and paid repeated visits to the second wine-skin, which they had hung up on a cork tree to keep the wine cool. Don Quixote was longer in talking than the supper in finishing, at the end of which one of the goatherds said, "That your worship, senor knight-errant, may say with more truth that we show you hospitality with ready good-will, we will give you amusement and pleasure by making one of our comrades sing: he will be here before long, and he is a very intelligent youth and deep in love, and what is more he can read and write and play on the rebeck to perfection." The goatherd had hardly done speaking, when the notes of the rebeck reached their ears; and shortly after, the player came up, a very good-looking young man of about two-and-twenty. His comrades asked him if he had supped, and on his replying that he had, he who had already made the offer said to him: "In that case, Antonio, thou mayest as well do us the pleasure of singing a little, that the gentleman, our guest, may see that even in the mountains and woods there are musicians: we have told him of thy accomplishments, and we want thee to show them and prove that we say true; so, as thou livest, pray sit down and sing that ballad about thy love that thy uncle the prebendary made thee, and that was so much liked in the town."
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (59 of 66), Read 30 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Sunday, July 13, 2003 03:31 PM I was just re-reading through the posts here because I was wondering if any of us had mentioned the friendship in this novel. This is such a buddy story...the original odd couple? and here is George... "The countless provocations they provide each other are true love... I think they end knowing more about each other than any literary pair in history. And what is love but knowledge in action?" It is difficult to gauge here how many of us are actually reading or going to read this book, but some of us might really find a case of great friendship to be followed here... I was digging around and as usual came back to ol Harold Bloom (sorry Pres, hee hee) who writes... "No two readers ever seem to read the same Don Quixote, and the most distinguished critics have failed to agree on most of the books fundamental aspects." "...I set the most poignant and Quixotic of all critical agonists, the Basque man of letters Miguel de Unamuno, whose 'tragic sense of life' was founded upon his itimate relationship with Cervantes'masterpiece, which for Unamuno replaced the Bible as the authentic Spanish Scripture. 'Our Lord Don Quixote,'Unamuno called him, a Kafkan before Kafka, because his madness comes from a faith in what Kafka came to name 'indestructibility'. Unamunos Knight of the Sorrowful Countenance is a quester for survival, whose only madness is a crusade against death: "Great was Don Quixotes madness, and it was great because the root from which it grew was great:the inextinguishable longing to survive, a source of the most extravagant follies as well as the most heroic acts." In this view, the Don's madness is a refusal to accept what Freud called 'reality testing' or the reality principle." "The loving, frequently irascible relationship between Quixote and Sancho is the greatness of the book, more even than the gusto of its representations of natural and social realities. What unites the Don and his squire is both their mutual participation in what has been called 'the order of play' and their equally mutual if rather grumpy affection for each other. I cannot think of a fully comparable friendship anywhere else in Western literature, certainly not one that relies so exquisitely upon hilarious conversations My personal favorite among the many scores of Quixote-Sancho exchanges takes place in part two, chapter 28, after the knight has emulated Sir John Falstaff in the wisdom of discretion as the better part of valor. Unfortunately, his decision has involved abandoning a stunned Sancho to a furious village. After the incident, poor Sancho moans that he aches all over and receives rather pedantic comfort from the knight: "The reason for that," remarked Don Quixote, "is undoubtable the fact that the club they used was a long one and caught you all the way down your back where those aching parts are located; and if it had gone down any farther down, you would ache still more." "By God," exclaimed Sancho, "your Grace has taken a great load off my mind and made everything as clear as can be! Body of me! Is the cause of my pain such a mystery that it is necessary to explain to me that I ache wherever the club reached me?" Hidden in this exchange is the bond between the two, who beneath the surface enjoy the intimacy of equality. We can defer the question of which is the more original figure, while noting that the allied figure that they constitute together is more original than either is alone. A loving but quarrelsome duo, Sancho and the Don are united by more than their mutual affection and their authentic respect for each other. At their best,they are companions in the order of play, a sphere with its own rules and its own vision of reality: Unamuno is again the useful Cervatine critic here, but the theoretician Johan Huizinga in his subtle book Homo Ludens(1944)which barely mentions Cervantes(is more apt).Huizinga begins by asserting that his subject, play, is to be distinguished from both comedy and folly:"The category of the comic is connected with folly in the highest and lowest sense of that word. Play, however, is not foolish. It lies outside the antithesis of wisdom and folly." Don Quixote is neither a madman or a fool, but someone who plays at being a knight-errant. Play is a voluntary activity, unlike madness and foolishness. Play, according to Huizinga, has four principal characteristics:freedom, disinterestness, excludedness or limitedness, and order. You can test all of these qualities upon the Don's knight-errantry, but not alway upon Sanchos faithful service as squire, for Sancho is slower to yeild himself to play.The Don lifts himself into ideal place and time and is faithful to his own freedom, to its disinterestness and seclusion, and to its limits, until at last he is defeated, abandons the game, returns to Christian "sanity" and so dies. Unamuno says of Quixote that he went out to seek his true fatherland and found it in exile. As always, Unamuno understood what was most inward in the great book. The Don, like the Jews and the Moors, is an exile, but in the mode of the conversos and moriscos, an internal exile. Don Quixote leaves his village to seek his spirits home in exile, because only exiled can he be free.
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (60 of 66), Read 27 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Pres Lancaster plancast@neteze.com Date: Sunday, July 13, 2003 06:37 PM Don Quixote leaves his village to seek his spirits home in exile, because only exiled can he be free. All in the United States are exiles from their fatherlands (except native Americans); that is why we are free. And quixotic - impractical idealists bent on righting incorrigible wrongs. pres Life is hard, tough as nails, That's why we need fairy tales.
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (61 of 66), Read 28 times Conf: Classics Corner From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Sunday, July 13, 2003 06:44 PM Applause, Pres. R
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (62 of 66), Read 29 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Cara Randall carrotbean@yahoo.com Date: Sunday, July 13, 2003 09:55 PM this discussion is actually inspiring me to pick up DQ and read it in its entirety. whether this inspiration will last me until tomorrow is questionable. sadly enough, i actually spent a year of school in cervantes' home town, and spent an entire 2 or 3 months in a class discussing this very work (which we were reading in Spanish). what's truly embarrassing is that i've never finished it either. in fact, much of that course is a hazy memory. i would be interested to know, however, how this work fits in with the theatrical tradition of commedia del arte. does anyone have any ideas on that? cara
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (63 of 66), Read 30 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Robert Armstrong rla@nac.net Date: Monday, July 14, 2003 08:50 AM My preconception of Don Quixote, based on popular myth and musical, is that of a benign madman who sees the potential of nobility even when humanity is behaving its worst. When others see and mirror vice, Don Quixote sees and mirrors virtue as a force that overwhelms vice. And, in the benevolent spirit of comedy, portions of the world touched by this whimsical character rise to the occasion, Sancho Panza is the first to sign onto the quest, various individuals manifest their better selves, a common woman discovers her inner Dulcinea, and chivalry resurrects. Don Quixote’s delusion is wisdom in disguise and it’s the rest of the world, constricted by cynical “realism,” that is actually far crazier. Moral: be courageous, dare to be yourself, refuse to be dissuaded by accusations of madness, follow your vision, see the potential in others, believe in the power of good, realize your dreams, change the world for the better. It’s interesting that there’s a legend based upon a fictional character, instead of a historical one, which has taken centuries to evolve. Does anyone have a different preconception of Don Quixote? Robt
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (64 of 66), Read 29 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Robert Armstrong rla@nac.net Date: Monday, July 14, 2003 09:13 AM Apropos to the comments above, I just read Dale’s post about Charles Portis’ MASTERS OF ATLANTIS. Here’s a quote from Jim Gilbert’s review of MOA which could be speaking of Don Quixote: “Portis reminds us in comic relief that it is the innocent and misguided who, in the ordinary, everyday quest for answers and meaningful experience, stumble toward truth by way of delusion, often providing the initial fuel for the strangest-colored flames.” Robt
Topic: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (65 of 66), Read 13 times Conf: Classics Corner From: Mary Ellen Burns smeburns@yahoo.com Date: Tuesday, July 15, 2003 01:04 PM In my admittedly brief foray into DQ (about 1/5 of the way through, I threw in the towel), one of the contrasts I found amusing, was between Quixote's speeches praising the glories of the sacrificial lives of knights errant, and his reaction when faced with the same sacrifices. In an earlier post, someone (George?) referred to one of his addresses about knights sleeping in the open, eating next to nothing, etc. If I recall, a few chapters later, Quixote was complaining about the food! This was one of the aspects of the book that made me think that Cervantes was NOT Quixote (although we are all Quixote to the extent that few of us happily walk the walk we talk all the time!). Mary Ellen
From: Ian Marks comfortably_numb@ecosse.net Date: Tuesday, July 15, 2003 03:06 PM I'm on ch. VIII of pt 2 and am thoroughly enjoying it! For such a major work, it is so funny and so easy to read. BUT I've noticed a huge discrepancy which Rutherford, the translator, doesn't mention, either in his intro or in his detailed notes at the back. On. p. 473 (ch. LII of pt 1), it says "...Juana Panza, for this was the name of Sancho's wife", yet on p. 514 (ch. V of pt 2), it says "...his wife Teresa Panza". This is annoying me. I thought maybe it was the Spanish way in which people are sometimes known by two first names (e.g. Jose Maria), but in both instances, the lady is called by only one name. It really is irritating when the notes tell you who Samson was (!), but make no comment on this sort of thing. Anyone help? Ian http://mysite.freeserve.com/bookmarks
From: David Moody davidmoody22@aol.com Date: Tuesday, July 15, 2003 06:00 PM Ian: No definitive answer, but what I've found so far indicates that Ms. Panza was Juana (Joan) throughout part I, and Teresa throughout part II. It might be significant that the two parts were not published together: Part I came out in 1605, part II not till 1615. Also, part II was apparently written hastily in response to an apocryphal part II by another author. Outside of that (assuming we can rule out polygamy), the only suggestion I can make is that Cervantes' word processor was a rudimentary version without a find-and-replace feature, and he didn't think it was worth the bother to go through the whole manuscript to make this change. David
From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Wednesday, July 16, 2003 03:04 AM Its very pertinent the name changes in DQ. This is a book that is self conscious about names and changing names. Pres, I loved your post...I relate ...so many people I meet especially in the winter when its terribly cold we talk about the food and weather of their original country, or grandparents country...they love the memories etc...but ask would you like to go and live ther? OH NO...here we are free.
From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Wednesday, July 16, 2003 03:07 AM When readers are mentioned certain sections and chapters I have been using a handy website to reference their chapter references etc. There is also a handy bio of Cervantes. Nice website and it appears the entire novel is on-line which I find mind boggling.. So far I have been enjoying reading this novel on-line. http://www.donquixote.com/paronechap12.html
From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Wednesday, July 16, 2003 03:11 AM As David mentioned, part one and part two are about twelve years apart. Part two was written by popular demand, and its wonderful how this happened. Anyway, there is an intro here that may be of some interest... http://www.donquixote.com/english.html
From: Ian Marks comfortably_numb@ecosse.net Date: Wednesday, July 16, 2003 01:56 PM David ~~ The 12-yr gap was the only thing I could think of, i.e. that Cervantes had forgotten (!) the name of Sancho's wife. I can only assume that writers and editors maybe weren't as fussy about things like consistency in those days. There's a similar discrepancy where DQ originally says he had only seen his beloved Dulcinea four times, yet a couple of hundred pages or so later he says he's never seen her at all. Maybe I'm just being pernickety, but these are like grains of sand under the fingernails. Here we are, trying to enjoy the "greatest novel of all time", and contemporary editors let things like this pass sans comment. (All the more so since Penguin are making a big deal about the enhanced notes, commentaries etc. in the latest reissues.) Ian http://mysite.freeserve.com/bookmarks
From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Wednesday, July 16, 2003 02:09 PM Well, I can see how these things could be irritating and confusing. But nonetheless, name changes are important in this novel, for example the the Don changes his name to become a knight, and then changes it back when he goes back to be "normal" and then dies.
From: Mary Ellen Burns smeburns@yahoo.com Date: Thursday, July 17, 2003 02:08 PM So what was the significance of changing the name of Sancho Panza's wife? I just took it as carelessness (whether SP's or Cervantes', I'm not sure!). Mary Ellen
From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Thursday, July 17, 2003 03:20 PM Maybe he changed wives? R
From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Friday, July 18, 2003 02:09 PM Ha ha.
From: George H malword@ameritech.net Date: Tuesday, July 22, 2003 10:06 AM Candy-- Thanks for the Bloom quote, I loved it. I know people who would rather get into a street fight than have to speak in front of a group of people, and conversely, I can think of many celebrities and/or politicians who go to insane and unhealthy lengths to remain in the public eye or in an arena of influence... the evaluation of oneself in other people's eyes is a potent, intimidating and at times seductive thing. Bloom says, and I agree, that Don Quixote is the sanest person in his novel. He says Quixote is '...playing a very deep game with reality'. So setting aside the insanity issue for the moment, I think this book is an antidote to the power of 'opinion', realizing that only you are your own best audience. Nietzsche thought the most fatal illness was to become sick of an idea... he thought it the most modern of diseases. He probably would have thought that America, recently, caught the idea of war like a virus, and our whole country rolled over fitfully in its collective bed until we could discharge the energy in 'Iraqi Freedom'. Quixote may be ill from the idea of knight-errantry, but it is an illness he fights to turn to his advantage, one that ends up drawing out his eloquence, his humor, his courage, and extending his imagination. He lives with it as an ongoing dynamic as long as he can, rather than one mind and rage-emptying discharge of force from which nothing can be learned. The idea-as-disease motif is one of the things that keeps the novel so weirdly modern.
From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Tuesday, July 22, 2003 03:27 PM George said: "I know people who would rather get into a street fight than have to speak in front of a group of people, and conversely, I can think of many celebrities and/or politicians who go to insane and unhealthy lengths to remain in the public eye or in an arena of influence... the evaluation of oneself in other people's eyes is a potent, intimidating and at times seductive thing." Bloom makes an interesting observation regarding the speaking in DQ compared with the speaking in Shakespeare. He suggests that transformation occurs within characters in Shakespeare when they listen to them selves speak. They learn who they are and their motives. characters don't listen to each other much in Shakespeare. Yet...changes occur within a psyche. In DQ the two characters of the Don and Sancho transform or become more self realized by listening to EACH OTHER. I thought that was a fascinating concept within the history of literature...
From: Robert Armstrong rla@nac.net Date: Tuesday, July 22, 2003 07:57 PM George, Thank you for yet another eloquent post. Robt
From: Robert Armstrong rla@nac.net Date: Wednesday, July 30, 2003 11:20 AM Rounding out this month’s discussion, I rented LOST IN LA MANCHA on DVD which is a documentary of Terry Gilliam’s recent unsuccessful attempt to make a movie about Don Quixote. The film was to be titled THE MAN WHO KILLED DON QUIXOTE starring French actor Jean Rochefort as Don Quixote and Johnny Depp as a modern day, money grubbing realist who somehow finds himself as Sancho Panza. The documentary was to be a-making-of the film, but since the film disastrously unraveled during production, the documentary is an-unmaking-of the film. I give it a thumbs up and there are lots of DVD perks, including other interviews and documentaries with Terry Gilliam (who directed BRAZIL, 12 MONKEYS and FEAR & LOATHING IN LOS VEGAS) and Johnny Depp. Jean Rochefort, who was to play Don Quixote, is in his early seventies, which is somehow the way we currently see the character, but I recall that DQ is in his 50’s in the novel. How else could DQ have had all those battles? Gilliam says he will make another attempt to make the film and I hope he succeeds. Candy, Thanks for the link about this documentary in post #53. Check it out for a good review. Robt
From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Tuesday, August 05, 2003 04:28 PM Well, I better get on to renting this...something to do tomorrow on my day off. I am still working my way through reading this...I am in a major reading slump...a long book is not really helping heh heh...
From: Candy Minx candyminx@hotmail.com Date: Thursday, August 14, 2003 12:11 PM LOST IN LA MANCHA I watched this last night...and it is hard to believe on the one hand that that many disasters could happen in five days to a crew...and equally hard to believe movies get made at all, considering all the things that could go wrong. It was very frustrating to watch this go down...it was terrific to see the finished few minutes and the potential for beauty in the landscapes. I SO WOULD have cast someone else overnight...what was the deal there? For one, it was a french actor, and then there were about thirty "producers" who gave money to the film, and they were french...so maybe to get the money Gilliam had made it seem like some nationalistic project. It sure seems like it. Jeff Bridges was the narrator...and all I kept thinking was for gods sake, get Bridges to lose fifty pounds and be the Don!!!! He can do no wrong in my eyes... I am hoping Gilliam gets the backing and goes ahead with this movie...but he kept saying this was the curse of Quixote...

 
Read Don Quixote online!
Miguel de Cervantes
 

 
Search:
Keywords:
In Association with Amazon.com