Guide The History of Don Quixote, Volume 2, Part 29

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Is it, haply, an idle occupation, or is the time ill-spent that is spent in roaming the world in quest, not of its enjoyments, but of those arduous toils whereby the good mount upwards to the abodes of everlasting life? If gentlemen, great lords, nobles, men of high birth, were to rate me as a fool I should take it as an irreparable insult; but I care not a farthing if clerks who have never entered upon or trod the paths of chivalry should think me foolish.

Knight I am, and knight I will die, if such be the pleasure of the Most High. Some take the broad road of overweening ambition; others that of mean and servile flattery; others that of deceitful hypocrisy, and some that of true religion; but I, led by my star, follow the narrow path of knight-errantry, and in pursuit of that calling I despise wealth,. This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue? Upload Sign In Join.

THE HISTORY OF DON QUIXOTE, By Cervantes, Vol. II., Part

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Part 2, Book 1, Chapter 21

Close Dialog Are you sure? Maybe I will read it in the Batcave. View all 39 comments. Shelves: fiction-finished , literature. I'll be the first to admit it: I'm a fan of popular fiction. I desire enjoyment from certain factors of pacing and style that the literary elite consider "common" and I, in turn, generally find "literature" to be incredibly pretentious.


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This has led me to hold what some might consider "uncultured" opinions about various great works. Which brings us to Don Quixote, which many in the literary elite consider to be the greatest novel ever written. Did I love Don Quixote? I woul I'll be the first to admit it: I'm a fan of popular fiction.

I wouldn't go that far. Does it deserve to be called the greatest novel ever written?

More Books by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

I'm willing to put it on the short list. By rights, it should be like so much other "classic literature:" dense, slow, utterly irrelevant to modern life, and soporific. Instead, it's dense, slow, engaging, and surprisingly relevant. Cervantes manages, almost continuously, to be clever in ways that transcend the year gap and resonate with us now. There's no question that adapting to the writing style of that era is a challenge, and Don Quixote will be slow going to readers accustomed to modern pop fiction.

But most intelligent readers will consider this a price worth paying. Why Don Quixote still works stems largely from its having taken the formulas of "heroic knighthood" which we are still vaguely familiar with as legend today and showing it to be cartoonish and absurd. Despite the cultural gap, modern readers will still get the gist of the parody, even if they haven't read the chivalric literature that it is an explicit parody of. The other reason the story works is because, strangely, we find ourselves continuously at odds with the author over the character of Don Quixote himself.

We are told, at every turn, that Quixote is a fool, a madman, and a sinner. Cervantes breaks from the traditional role of a passive narrator to make constant judgment on Quixote's failures and flaws.

Don Quixote, Vol 1 (Chapter 29) [AudioBook]

And because we see Quixote so maligned by both his own author and everyone in the book, we as the reader fall in love with him. By writing a book about a dreamer with unassailable ideals but using the narrative voice of a vitriolic cynic, Cervantes forces us to stand up for the nobility and purity that Quixote achieves. Cervantes has, in effect, martyred his own protagonist in such a dramatic way that it falls to the reader to elevate Quixote to the status of saint. And any book that can pull that off is worth the difficult prose.

Oct 29, J. The line between wisdom and madness is flipped on its head over and over. Published in and , Don Quixote still amazes! While reading the first part gets the reader most of the iconic scenes from this work most will recognize Don Quixote battling windmills, or mistaking a peasant for a lady, for instance , a complete read turns Don Quixote and Sancho into old friends that is consequently enjoyable and satisfying. Don Quixote is unable to revive the age of chivalry in 16th century Spain.

Already, living according to these codes is antiquated. It is a dubious fame for which he and Sancho are continuously pranked. The message is clear for me in this part: Is it better to believe in something and see life as an adventure or not be fooled? So much could be said.

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This is admittedly a long read, but very worthwhile! This was two years ago. I had just toured the palace—one of the finest in Spain—and was about to explore the French gardens, modeled after those in Versailles, when I encountered the gift shop. Normally I do not buy anything in gift shops, since half of it is rubbish and all of it is overpriced. But this book, this particular volume, called out to me and I obeyed. It was a foolish purchase—not only because I paid gift-shop prices, but because my Spanish was not anywhere near the level I needed to read it.

And at the time, I had no idea I would be staying in Spain for so long. There was a very good chance, in other words, that I would never be able to tackle this overpriced brick with Bible-thin pages. At least I left myself some hope. Even with this crutch, and even with an additional two years of living in Spain, this book was a serious challenge.

Visor de obras.

I know many Spaniards, even well-read ones, who have never successfully made it through El Quijote for this very reason or so they allege. Trapiello has done the Spanish-speaking world a great service, then, since he has successfully made El Quijote as accessible as it would have been to its first readers, while preserving the instantly recognizable Cervantine style. And while I can see why purists would object to this defacement of hallowed beauty, I would counter that, if ever there were a book to painlessly enjoy, it is El Quijote.

Now, undeniably something is lost in the transition. It is also worth noting how similar the two are; Trapiello has taken care to change only what he must. Onward to the book itself. But I hesitate. The more I contemplate this book, the more I think that a critic must be as daft as the don and as simple as his squire to think he can get to the bottom of it. Cervantes was either extremely muddle-headed or fantastically subtle, since this book resists any definite conclusions you may try to wring from its pages.

It is as if a New Yorker cartoonist accidentally doodled Guernica. He is the only author I know who can produce scorn and admiration in the same sentence. He is able to ruthlessly make fun of everything under the sun, while in the same moment praising them to the heavens. The book itself embodies this paradox: for it is at once the greatest rejection of chivalric romance and its greatest embodiment—an adventure tale that laughs at adventure tales.

There is no question that Cervantes finds the old don ridiculous, and he makes us agree with him; yet by the end, Quijote is more heroic than Sir Galahad himself.


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The central question the book asks is whether idealism is noble or silly. The Knight of the Sorrowful Countenance is an undeniably hilarious figure. But do we laugh at his expense, or at our own? Is his idealism pathetic, or is it our realism? The book resists both horns of this dilemma, until finally we must conclude that we are all—dreamers and realists alike—equally ridiculous. For we all reside in a social world whose rules only exist in our beliefs and in our actions, a world which we create but do not design.

It is only Quijote who seems to realize however unconsciously that, by changing the script, we can recreate the world. And he does.

By the time we get to Part Two, everyone is playing along with Quijote. Even so, I am not able to go so far as Miguel de Unamuno, and consider Quijote a sort of messiah. For Quijote truly is out of touch, and frequently gets pummeled for it.