0146 | Don Quixote – Miguel de Cervantes

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Context: listened to this while I worked in the kitchens at Wycliffe.

REVIEW
This is a loooong book and I listened to it over about three weeks on my mp3 player. I’m glad I did. I did enjoy it on the whole. Cervantes was a great satiricist on par with Swift et al. and he was also a great thinker I believe.

The characters of Quixote and Sancho Panza, the wisest fool the world will ever know, are immortal now. But there are a whole host of others who enrich the tapestry.

The wit flows quite freely and a lot of it bites even now which I appreciated. Throughout, pretty much every human institution and philosophy comes up as a target at some point.

But what I loved most was the way that fantasy turned into reality which in turn created quite a philosophical challenge; just what is real? If you think it’s real, or if enough people think it’s real, does that make something real? At the start of the book, Quixote is a fool. But when he dies, he is celebrated as a hero. What happened to make that change of state is the genius of this work and makes it a fascinating study in social thought actually.

FIRST LINE
In a village of La Mancha, the name of which I have no desire to call to mind, there lived not long since one of those gentlemen that keep a lance in the lance-rack, an old buckler, a lean hack, and a greyhound for coursing.

CLOSING LINE
Farewell.

RATING
rubbish | poor | mediocre | okay | good | very good | excellent | superb

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