SPAN 452 - Don Quixote (4)

The primary source for the course will be the two separate volumes that Miguel de Cervantes originally published in 1605 and 1615.  In creating the new genre of the novel, Cervantes adopts the scale of an epic to make a new world within the world of storytelling, and a better way to observe and understand ourselves.  Prose becomes the language of the heroic but, as the first modern masterpiece, the antiheroic as well, for Don Quixote is “beautiful,” according to Dostoevsky, “because he is ridiculous.”  Four centuries on, Don Quixote is not only a landmark of Western Culture, it is undeniably the key document of Spanish identity.  Few books in any language have such power to identify the spirit of a place, which is also a key aspect of Cervantes’s singular achievement.