2015 November 01 22:18
Time to read: 1 minute
My 6th grader asked me this evening about the classic novel, Don Quixote. "Like, what's it about, Dad?"
I gave her a synopsis she could identify:
Miguel Cervantes wrote Don Quixote in Spanish at the same time Shakespeare was writing his plays in English.
Have you ever loved a series of books so much that you could identify with the characters (ahem: the Harry Potter series, the various Percy Jackson series, etc.)? Well, this guy in the Mancha region of Spain loved reading his books of chivalry and knights of old so much, that he went a little nuts and decided to go on the greatest LARPing adventure ever. He called himself "Don Quijote de la Mancha" ("Sir Quixote of La Mancha"), dressed as a knight in kinda shining armor, and convinced a local guy, Sancho Panza, to run around with him as his "squire." Sancho was not nutty like Don Quijote, so his job was really to make sure that Don Quijote didn't get into much trouble. Their first adventure was against some giants who were troubling the area, or, as Sancho knew them to be, windmills that were doing what windmills are designed to do.
Back then, copyright was non-existent, so after the first book was written, someone else wrote a sequel. Cervantes, the original author, wrote a second book and devoted several chapters to Don Quixote and Sancho Panza learning about this unauthorized sequel and dealing with its fallout.
At that point, she laughed and decided that this sounds like a pretty cool book.
I read the first book in high school, then loaned out my copy and forgot to whom I loaned it. Much later, I listened to the audiobook version of Don Quixote: Translated by Edith Grossman as read excellently by George Guidall.
I also have a version in Spanish that I take out and read a little of every now and then. However, with only 4 years of high school Spanish under my belt, this is a difficult read.
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