Don Quijote With an Expert Guide

26Jan13

Honoré_Daumier_017_(Don_Quixote)

 

“En un lugar de la Mancha, de cuyo nombre no quiero acordarme, no ha mucho tiempo que vivía un hidalgo de los de lanza en astillero, adarga antigua, rocín flaco y galgo corredor…” So begins the most renowned and influential work produced by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha. In this masterpiece which many believe establishes the modern novel, Cervantes details the life and adventures of a certain Alonso Quijano who is driven mad by the oversaturation of chivalric romance. Nigerian poet and novelist Ben Okri claims, “If there is one novel you should read before you die, it is Don Quixote.” And the editors here at Penumbra could not agree more.

Yet any worthwhile task, by and large, demands a degree of effort; all illusions aside, Don Quixote is not an easy read. Individuals seeking to undertake the challenge will likely be met with some difficulties along the way, but that is where Roberto Gonzalez Echevarría comes in. The Cuban literary critic currently holds the seat of Sterling Professor of Hispanic and Comparative Literature at Yale University. In his open course videos provided below, Gonzalez explains the intricacies and nuances (in English) presented in the Cervantine classic. Acting as our Virgil through the 17th century Spanish world of a crazed and liberated gentleman, Gonzalez offers a literary guide to appreciating this paramount work. “Quixote is a book that will affect your lives,” he claims. So we invite you to let yourselves be affected, whether for fun or function, by the greatest and most ingenious knight-errant there ever was.

The pen is the tongue of the soul; as are the thoughts engendered there, so will be the things written” (Part II, Book III, ch. 16).

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