Tuesday, January 04, 2005

"Don Quixote might be dead, but his ever-ambiguous ghost lives on. His admirers -- and, in unequal measure, detractors -- are legion. Operas, musicals, theatrical and film adaptations, as well as fictional recreations keep piling up: Laurence Sterne was inspired by Don Quixote's misadventures when writing Tristram Shandy; Gustave Flaubert paid homage to him in Madame Bovary, as did Fyodor Dostoyevsky in The Idiot. Isaac Bashevis Singer's 'Gimpel the Fool' can be read as a reimagining of the knight's simplicity. And so on."

Don Quixote turns 400 this month. It was made available to the public for the first time on Jan. 16, 1605; by the time the second part was published in 1615, it was a best seller. Ilan Stavans doubts the novel would find a publisher today--likely to be deemed a "trouble manuscript"-- although it did manage to make its way past the Inquistitorial censors of the day.

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