Jennifer Bosserman

Dr. Lewis

FSEM 100K3

December 16, 2016

Celebrating 400 years of Cervantes is about much more than just an amazing author. It is also about celebrating his amazing works, such as the novel Don Quixote. As a way to honor Don Quixote, there is an exhibit in Simpson library with several works about the novel. Don Quixote is one of the most respected pieces of literature all around the world. Paintings, books, and even movies have been created in appreciation of Don Quixote. One of the most famous representations of Don Quixote and one of the works being reviewed is the sketch Don Quixote (1955) by Pablo Picasso. Two more works being reviewed include John Jay Allen’s book called Don Quixote: Hero or Fool (1969) analyzing Don Quixote and Cervantes’ work and El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha.

As the fourth of seven children, Cervantes had a very interesting life, not only as an author but as a person. Aside from being an author, Cervantes also joined a Spanish regiment in Naples and became a soldier. Only one year later he was captured by Barbary Pirates and spent five years in prison awaiting his ransom (Saavedra and Lathrop 8). Cervantes came up with the idea for Don Quixote while spending time in jail. As read in the novel, Cervantes published part two of Don Quixote as a response to another author publishing a second part to the novel. (Saavedra and Lathrop 20). Cervantes’ first book was La Galatea (1585). He also wrote poetry and plays. Cervantes’ biggest and most known accomplishment was Don Quixote (vol. 1 1605, vol. 2 1615). Sadly, Cervantes died in 1616. He received a small amount of recognition for the novel but the majority of recognition came several years after Cervantes death. Cervantes was later on credited with writing the first modern novel, Don Quixote.

The 1949 edition of El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha is the oldest edition held in the library stacks. This edition was edited by Francisco Rodriguez Marin and published by Ediciones Atlas, Madrid. This is the story of Don Quixote untranslated and in Cervantes’ original writing. Don Quixote is translated to more than 50 languages. Cervantes has such a unique writing style that this book is known as the greatest work of Spanish literature in England. (Thomas). There are many different translations of Don Quixote, but the only true translation is the novel that Cervantes wrote himself.

The publishing company Ediciones Atlas started publishing in the early 1600’s and since, have published several hundred books. The majority of the books they publish are Spanish literature. (Ediciones Atlas) The editor Francisco Rodriquez Marin studied law at the University of Seville. While studying at this University, he took up an interest in Spanish songs through the Folk-Lore Adaluz Society in which he co-founded in 1881. He began his work as a lawyer in 1883. In 1904 he dedicated himself to journalism and begun editing. (Wikipedia, Francisco Rodriguez Marin )

Not included in the exhibit is a translation of Don Quixote published in 1742. It was translated by Charles Jarvis and published in London. The reason this novel is not included in the exhibit is because it is kept in the special collections room. Since the novel is so old, it needs to be kept in certain lighting in order to preserve it as long as possible. It is available for showing at the Simpson library with permission.

The sketch Don Quixote was made by world-renown painter Pablo Picasso. The original sketch was made in 1955 and was known as an Indian ink drawing (Wikipedia). This style was very different from works of Picasso’s earlier Rose, Blue, and Cubist periods. The sketch features Don Quixote mounted on his horse Rocinante as well as his sidekick Sancho Panza. There are several ways that this sketch could be interpreted but many think that the sketch is full of movement and it is bright of humor (Wikipedia). This piece is so popular now that people even tattoo it on themselves. (Pinterest)

The very first copy of Picasso’s Don Quixote was given to a civil war fighter pilot to give to his dying mother, although it’s not the exact copy that we know today. Picasso then later made an oil painting of Don Quixote in 1947 with the pilot and his wife’s name inside the painting to give to them as a gift. The 1947 oil painting is thought to be one of the paintings that the famous sketch of 1955 is based off of. Although it is very difficult to find the original works of Pablo Picasso, the sketch Don Quixote is thought to have turned up at a family’s home in Tbilisi, Georgia recently. It is believed to be the original sketch due to the colors that were used as well as the strokes (Picasso’s Original Don Quixote). Since this sketch has just turned up and there has been no studies as to whether it is real or fake. There are no museums in which this famous piece of Don Quixote is held.

The book Don Quixote: Hero or Fool was written in 1969 by professor John Jay Allen. This book is very important in the analysis of Don Quixote and Cervantes as an author. It studies the writing style of Cervantes in depth and questions whether or not Don Quixote is a hero or fool.  Don Quixote being a hero or fool is very controversial and I think everyone has their own opinion of it. For instance, in a blog post about Don Quixote, things are said of him such as, “Don Quixote is a true hero in every sense of the word.” and “Although Don Quixote is fighting windmills and herds of sheep, he does it all in the name of heroism and chivalry.” (Sumner) John Jay Allen’s book gives us a little bit of insight as to what gives Quixote these characteristics.

John Jay Allen was born in 1932 and studied at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1960 (Cervantes Bulletin of the Cervantes Society of America). John Jay Allen was a professor at the University of Kentucky from 1983-1999 and in 2000 began teaching at Emeritus. He won numerous awards for his writings and research, and ultimately was named to the Spanish Royal Academy (Hairston). He wrote several books including Don Quixote: Hero or Fool (1969) as well as The Reconstruction of a Spanish Golden Age Playhouse (1983). This book was published by the University of Florida Press, which began printing academic works in 1945. They have published over 2500 books and are currently publishing an average of 100 books a year (University of Florida Press).

Cervantes wrote a novel that inspired many and needs to be remembered for a long time. It inspired many great authors as well as taught valuable lessons to readers. Don Quixote by Pablo Picasso and Don Quixote: Hero or Fool by John Jay Allen both do a remarkable job evaluating and remembering Don Quixote.



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Thomas, Hugh. “The Survival of Don Quixote.” History Today 25.7 (1975).


Wikipedia. Don Quixote (Picasso). 9 November 2016. 3 December 2016.


—. Francisco Rodriguez Marin . 9 October 2016. 15 December 2016.


Allen, John Jay. Don Quixote, Hero or Fool; a Study in Narrative Technique. GAinsville: U of Florida, 1969. Print.


De, Cervantes Saavadera Miguel. The ingenious Gentelman Don Quixote De la Mancha. Madrid: Ediciones Atlas, 1949. Print.


Picasso, Pablo. Don Quixote, 1955.