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Don Quixote (1605) - Cervantes

Related: 1600s literature - Cervantes - fiction - literature - novel - modern novel - postmodern novel - chivalric romance - Spain

Miguel de Cervantes wrote Don Quixote as a parody of the the mediaeval romance genre in general and the Amadís de Gaula in particular. [Apr 2006]

Don Quixote has read himself into madness by reading too many chivalric romances. This motif can also be found in Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina. [Aug 2006]

It is ironic that Cervantes's Don Quixote is described as the first novel (an extended work of prose fiction, written in "vulgar Latin", i.e. the people's language), the first modern novel (due to its focus on the psychological evolution of a single character featuring an anti-hero) and the first postmodern novel (due of its use of self-reflexivity in the second volume).

The novel also introduced Sancho Panza, the first use of the sidekick stock character.

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert is often said to be a retelling of Don Quixote


Don Quixote de la Mancha (now usually spelled Don Quijote by Spanish-speakers; Don Quixote is an archaic spelling) is a picaresque novel by the Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. Published in 1605, it is one of the earliest written novels in a modern European language and is considered by some to be the finest book in the Spanish language. Don Quixote is almost universally accepted to be the emblematic work of Spanish literature. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Quixote [Apr 2006]

First novel

Miguel Cervantes's Don Quixote has been called "the first novel" by many literary scholars (or the first of the modern European novels). It was published in two parts. The first part was published in 1605 and the second in 1615. It might be viewed as a parody of Le Morte d'Arthur (and other examples of the chivalric romance), in which case the novel form would be the direct result of poking fun at a collection of heroic folk legends. This is fully in keeping with the spirit of the age of enlightenment which began from about this time and delighted in giving a satirical twist to the stories and ideas of the past. It's worth noting that this trend toward satirising previous writings was only made possible by the printing press. Without the invention of mass produced copies of a book it would not be possible to assume the reader will have seen the earlier work and will thus understand the references within the text. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_literature#The_early_modern_period [Sept 2005]

Metafiction [...]

Metafiction is primarily associated with postmodern literature but can be found at least as far back as Cervantes' Don Quixote. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metafiction [Apr 2005]

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