Don Quijote de la Mancha follows the muddled pursuits of our hapless romantic hero, a man who calls himself Don Quixote. One part extreme romantic, another part “crazy old coot,” Quixote is an icon of Western literature—and the leading character in what many consider amongst of the greatest books ever written. Published in two volumes (1605 and 1615), the novel follows Quixote (and his “trusty squire”—the peasant farmer Sancho Panza) on his knightly mission to restore justice, to right wrongs and to revive chivalry (long gone in his modern times).
The books author, Miguel de Cervantes, has been nicknamed El Príncipe de los Ingenios (“The Prince of Wits”) and his impact on the Spanish language is undisputed. His masterwork, Don Quixote, is considered the first “modern” novel—and Cervantes has influenced writers since.
Cervantes died on 22 April 1616. William Shakespeare died on the 23rd of the same year. However, due to the differences in the calendars used, they actually died 11 days apart (Spain had moved on to the more-accurate Gregorian calendar while England was still using the older Julian calendar). It’s fascinating to realize that two of the world’s greatest writers lived and worked simultaneously—all while the Italian Renaissance was producing its great visual art. What a hotbed of artistic advancement the Sixteenth Century provided!
The bookends above, made some three centuries after Cervantes’s death, present a wonderful little scene of Don Quixote heading-off to fight windmills. They are beautifully cast—and the perfect gift for any writer, reader or book-lover. Please click on the photo to learn more about them.
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