I wasn’t able to get this post out fast enough in the US but, I’m taking the time to pay homage, anyway; it’s a book every booklover should read at least once. It’s the second-most-translated book after the Bible for a reason!
January 16, 1605 was the day Miguel de Cervantes gifted the world his novel, Don Quixote. Even in 2021, the writing is pleasing and digestible for anyone—it’s funny and explores eternal themes of love, friendship, adventure, justice and self-identity. In a snapshot, Don Quixote tells the tale of an older man who after reading books is inspired to go out into the world as a knight. Those around him think he’s gone insane (maybe he has) but he’s hellbent on bringing back chivalry and a time where a woman’s love was won and a knight was the everyday person’s champion. Love him for his bold sense of justice and sincerity, or hate him for his lunacy and incompetent attempts to live out a life as he sees just, Don Quixote is still an admirable character who faces challenges head-on and disregards the reality of his age, personal title, and world around him in pursuit of a dream.
Side note: Don Quixote’s logic of trading one’s reality for one of adventure and street vigilantism hasn’t died. We saw the rise of The Real Superhero Project in 2010 and though it has mostly disappeared, we will probably see it again. As long as injustice and dreaming exist, a spark of Don Quixote lives in us all.
de Cervantes’ talent was unfortunately not recognized during his lifetime—may he rest in peace—but the legacy of Don Quixote burns brightly to this day. You can still take tours in Spain, attend festivals, and ballets focused on Don Quixote. It’s still considered a classic that’s studied and read all over the world.
Happy Don Quixote Day!