The first of the novel’s two volumes went on sale on Jan. 16, 1605. Cervantes completed the second volume in 1615, and died the following year.
His nomadic life was a tale of hardship. His left arm was crippled in battle. He spent five years as a hostage in Algeria. He later roamed Spain as a tax collector and civil servant for the Spanish Armada, all the time trying to write plays, poems and novels. He was said to have done several stretches in prison. By the time he started “Don Quixote” he was a middle-aged failure.
A fusion of reality and fantasy, the novel tells the adventures of an ordinary gentleman who has overdosed on the stories of knights errant — all the rage in the 16th century — and decides to live them out. Taking the name Don Quixote de La Mancha, he mounts his nag, Rocinante, and sallies forth to right wrongs and protect the have-nots.
He is obviously mad — “a muddle-headed fool, with frequent lucid intervals,” Sancho Panza observes. He mistakes inns for enchanted castles, charges windmills with his lance and dreams up Dulcinea, the beautiful damsel to whom he has pledged love and fidelity. At the end of his odyssey across Spain, the “knight of the doleful countenance” senses the folly of his actions and returns home sadly to die.
“Its message is you’re either mad or you’ll end up mad,” said Juan Victorio, medieval-literature professor at Spain’s National Open University. “If you have goodness in your heart and want to help humanity you have to pretend you’re mad for them to pay you any attention.”
In 2002, a panel of 100 leading authors from 54 countries chose “Don Quixote” as the best book ever, winning 50 percent more votes than any other.
SOURCE : Associated Press; Peter OToole; John Lithgow
Don Quixote is well-known as a parody of the chivalric romances that were popular in the 1600s. Moreover, the book is also regarded as ‘the first modern novel’ as the author gave value to its characters’ thoughts and beliefs by adding dimensions. Reading quotes from Don Quixote will provide you with a fair idea about the significance laid down by Miguel de Cervantes. The main message remains to serve your country as a knight, live a chivalrous life and strive to be better.
The maddest thing a man can do in this life is to let himself die.”
Too much sanity may be madness — and maddest of all: to see life as it is, and not as it should be!”
“The truth may be stretched thin, but it never breaks, and it always surfaces above lies.”
“the praise of the wise few is more important than the mockery of the foolish many,” and humor do not reside in slow minds.”
“One man scorned and covered with scars still strove with his last ounce of courage to reach the unreachable stars; and the world will be better for this.”
“the praise of the wise few is more important than the mockery of the foolish many,”