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Don Quixote

Miguel de Cervantes

Don Quixote (Spanish: Don Quijote), fully titled El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha ("The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote of La Mancha") is an early novel written by Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. Cervantes created a fictional origin for the story based upon a manuscript by the invented Moorish historian, Cide Hamete Benengeli.

The protagonist, Alonso Quixano, is a country gentleman who has read so many stories of chivalry that he descends into fantasy and becomes convinced he is a knight errant. Together with his earthy squire Sancho Panza, the self-styled "Don Quixote de la Mancha" sets out in search of adventure. The "lady" for whom Quixote seeks to toil is Dulcinea del Toboso, an imaginary object crafted from a neighbouring farmgirl (her real name is Aldonza Lorenzo) by the illusion-struck "knight" to be the object of his courtly love. "Dulcinea" is totally unaware of Quixote's feelings for her and does not actually appear in the novel.

Published in two volumes a decade apart, Don Quixote is the most influential work of literature to emerge from the Spanish Golden Age and perhaps the entire Spanish literary canon. As a founding work of modern Western literature, it regularly appears at the top of lists of the greatest works of fiction ever published.

Plot introduction

Alonso Quixano, a fiftyish retired country gentleman, lives in an unnamed section of La Mancha with his niece and a housekeeper. He has become obsessed with books of chivalry, and believes their every word to be true, despite the fact that many of the events in them are clearly impossible. Quixano eventually appears to other people to have lost his mind from little sleep and food and because of so much reading. He decides to go out as a knight-errant in search of adventure. He dons an old suit of armor, improvises a makeshift helmet, renames himself "Don Quixote de la Mancha," and names his skinny horse "Rozinante." He designates a neighboring farm girl, Aldonza Lorenzo, as his ladylove, renaming her Dulcinea del Toboso, while she knows nothing about this.

(From Wikipedia, description text under GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL))

Version generated from Project Gutenberg Edition

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