Book Review – Don Quixote

The Ingenious Nobleman Don Quixote of La Mancha is a very interesting book. Considered to be the very first modern novel written, I can see why this book is regarded as being one of the greatest stories to be ever written. I read John Ormsby’s 1885 translation that is available on the Project Gutenberg. This particular translation has an archaic style of language, which I’m a big fan of. As for some strange reason I love reading non modern texts; this explains why I love The Silmarillion so much, but I digress.

I really love how this story is presented. I believe this is one of the main reasons why this book considered a masterpiece. The story is narrated by a narrator that used different compilations of many works written of Don Quixote; where the book itself is in the story.

This book has a lot of themes that it covers. There were many times while reading this book that I felt almost like I was reading a philosophy novel rather than a satire of Chivalric Romance from the 16th century. The general synopsis of this novel is the story of an elderly man who reads so many chivalric romance novels that he loses his mind and decides to become a knight-errant to revive chivalry and serve the defenseless, under the name Don Quixote of la Mancha. The novel is essentially his adventures that he had throughout all of Spain, with the companionship of his trusty squire.

What made this book really enjoyable to me were not the underlying themes that it covers, but the setting of the story itself. I know medieval Spanish history fairly well, and this book being the Renaissance era, post medieval world. I knew exactly how the story fitted into the time that it took place. I feel what makes this novel so special is that it truly portrays Spain at the heart of the Renaissance era.

I read an English translation, so I’m planning on eventually reading its original Castilian version. Perhaps my only complain of this book is that is way too massive, they’re certain topics that I felt were overly repeated. While on the other side of things, this book introduced me to other related works that I’m planning on already reading For example Amadís de Gaula, since we’re constantly reminded how Don Quixote modeled himself after him.

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