Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better

An important topic we discussed this week in class was authorship, whether we could actually write an original copy of Don Quixote ourselves, without transcribing it word for word from a previously written copy of the same book. We thought it was impossible, “How can you make a new version of something that has been around for over four hundred years?” Then the answer hit us, you write the book using your own experiences, so it creates an original tale based on what you can interpret based on your experiences. In the beginning of the freshman seminar, we were told that Don Quixote has been translated hundreds of times by people from all walks of life, mailmen, merchants, christian scholars, etc.

All versions were translated and words were changed based on what the author was exposed to. Some editions of Don Quixote that were written by the christian scholars may lean heavily on the fact that Quixote is a good knight and may incorporate some christian symbolism or beliefs in their writing. Maybe, if we were to write a new version of Don Quixote, we could incorporate more words commonly used in modern society, as to alleviate the pain of working through Cervantes’ words, translated by Tom Lathrop, and trying to figure out what he’s saying all the time.

Quixote is the Author of his Own World

Cervantes might as well be the inventor of the term meta-fiction. Meta-fiction is when the author self-consciously alludes to the artificiality or literariness of a work by parodying or departing from traditional narrative techniques. He parodies the the whole idea of Don Quixote as a ancient knight’s tale by writing, in the novel itself, that he finds bits and pieces of Quixote’s life by different authors in different languages throughout the fictional world the fictional narrator lives in. He also makes fun of a knight being loyal to only one person by making Quixote capable of beating Sancho within an inch of his life if not for Dorotea intervening. “Don Quixote heard these blasphemies against his lady Dulcinea and couldn’t stand it. He raised his lance,without speaking a word to Sancho, and gave him two whacks that brought him to the ground, and if Dorotea hadn’t called to him to stop, he would have doubtless taken his life.”

Cervantes makes Quixote the author of his own world in a way, based on all of the books he’s read over the years, he creates this fantastic world where windmills are giants, and barber’s basins are helmets with unlimited power. He writes his own story the way we would write his, influenced by society and the media we have consumed and the experiences we’re taken part in. Perhaps Don Quixote could be a metaphor for a reader of a book, there is an entire story available for everyone to read, but does everyone sees it the same way? If you read Harry Potter and envision the magical castle of Hogwarts, do you see the version in the movies, what if you’ve never seen the movies before?Do you see different castle that you have made for yourself in your mind? All it depends on is what you’ve experienced in your life.