Sunday, 17 January 2010

On this day...

Miguel de Cervantes' 'Don Quixote' is first thought to have been published in Madrid in 1605. Although many aspects are disputed, right through from the date of publication to even the authorship, it is widely regarded as the first modern novel in Western culture, and the finest work in the Spainish literary canon. The novel, which Fyodor Dostoyevsky described as 'the ultimate and most sublime work of human thinking', belongs to the picaresque genre; depicting the tale of a rougish hero with satirical wit. The idea of ''Don Quixote' has translated into other areas of modern culture. Recently voted 'The Greatest Book of All Time' by the Nobel Institute, it is referenced several other important works, including 'The Three Musketeers', and 'The Pickwick Papers'. The novel also contains many 'firsts'; a woman complaining of her menopause, someone with an eating disorder, and the coined phrase 'the proof of the pudding is in the eating'. Even ingrained in the English language, it is responsible for adjective 'quixotic'; the desire to perform acts of chivalry in a radically impractical manner.

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