Miguel de Cervantes Saaverda
1st ed. 1605
Don Quixote, written around four hundred years ago, has endured the test of time to become one of the world’s finest examples of literature; one of the first true novels ever written. It’s uncommonness lies in the fact that it encompasses many different aspects of writing that spans the spectrum. From light-hearted, comical exchanges between Don Quixote and Sancho Panza to descriptions so strong that produce tangible images, the book remains steadfast in any reader’s mind.
As apparent in the first chapter, the book’s main purpose was to combat the chivalric novels that had become so popular at the time of Cervantes. Like the man who once called himself Alonso Quixano, many other men of 16th century Spain were becoming so engrossed in the unrealistic tales of knights and their romances that daily chores fell prey to another romance novel. It was Cervantes purpose to bring the meaning back into literature at the time, while providing thoughtful entertainment for readers.
This proved to be fitting to the time in which Cervantes lived, for at the time he wrote Don Quixote, the golden age of Spain was declining, along with the arts that had long been celebrated in the country’s culture. The stories that this book combats are perfect examples of this decline, much like the dark ages of the 14th century. Don Quixote is considered a profound portraiture of two conflicting attitudes toward the world: idealism and realism. The work has been appreciated as a satire on unrealistic ideals, an exposè of the tragedy and harm of idealism in a corrupt world, and a plea for a return to reality. Whatever its intended emphasis, the work presented to the world an unforgettable description of the transforming power of illusion, and it has had an indelible effect on the development of the European novel.
The style in which Don Quixote is written not in standard novel format, but...
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