I’ve decided that my spanish work for the year will be to read some sections of classical Spanish “high” literature, and comment upon then. So, I spent the morning working on a section from Don Quixote by Cervantes. I wrote it out in Spanish, and it took me about 11 minutes to read it in Spanish right now. I will work on it some more in a bit.
The novel “Don Quixote de la Mancha” written by Cervantes and published in 2 volumes 10 years apart (1605, 1615) opens with an elaborate description of almost baroque detail of the daily life of the hero-to-be later renamed Don Quixote. The hero is prepared for the everyday threat – keeping “a lance in the lance-rack”, up for the game – with “a greyhound for coursing”. He is modest, eating ”lentils on Fridays”, “leftovers on Saturdays”, and yet able to afford “a little extra or so on Sundays”. He aspires to be better, “making a brave figure in his best homespun”, but he loves to read books of chivalry rather than participate in the sports of daily life “selling many an acre of tillage land to buy books of chivalry to read.” He apparently lies away at night struggling with the logical difficulties of these texts, some of which “Aristotle himself could not have made out or extracted had he come to life again for that special purpose”. At other times, he is “tempted to take up his pen and finish ‘that interminable adventure’ in the book properly. Apparently other more absorbing thoughts prevent him.” He argues with the other village intellectuals (probably in the barber shop) about who, from which novel, was the greatest knight, until he loses his wits, unable to tell reality from fantasy. He decides that he should “make a knight of himself”, “roam the world in quest of adventures”, “righting every kind of wrong”,” exposing himself to peril and danger from which he will reap eternal fame and reknown.”