Journey With the Ingenious Gentleman of La Mancha and his fearless followers at University of Mary Washington

Individual Catalog Essay

Daniel Pan

Digital Don Quixote

Professor Lewis

12 December 2016

Catalog Essay

Don Quixote’s unique personality has allowed him to withstand the four-hundred-year test of time by igniting curiosity among modern researchers. When asked to choose works of literature, art, and film to create an exhibition that accurately represents his temperament, there was a wide range of criteria that determined what was vital to include. Some criteria included how the publication dealt with humanities such as history while others contributed by showing audiences how Don Quixote is portrayed in digital studies. Collectively, the selections in the display case at the Simpson Library represent how inspirational Don Quixote’s character has been to producers, artists, and writers since his creation.

Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, oil painting by Honoré Victorin Daumier in 1855

Honoré Victorin Daumier was born in Marseilles, France in 1808. He came from an artistic background with his godfather being a painter and his father, a poet who rose to the ranks of being “presented to King Louis XVIII before falling from favor and eventually dying in an asylum” when Daumier was only thirteen (Adhémar). Daumier seems to have inherited his father’s creativity because he became “a famous caricaturist and lithographer, who was also active as a painter and sculptor” (Adhémar). Some of his early works include cartoons for satirical journals that aimed to attack the current French regime. Like his cartoons, his paintings also frequently “depicted more timeless subjects, often drawn from literary sources (Adhémar). Historians that have studied Daumier’s work believe that his early profession as a journal cartoon artist is the reason why his artwork did not become recognized on a large-scale until far after his death in 1879.

Don Quixote and Sancho Panza is a painting that depicts Don Quixote riding into a flock of sheep while Sancho Panza watches from a distance. This piece fits the exhibition because the painting itself and the background of the artist exemplify everything about Don Quixote’s personality. Daumier’s paints the scene in chapter nineteen, volume one when Don Quixote mistakes a flock of sheep for an enemy army and “begins to attack them with his lance with as much ire and daring as if he were really fighting his mortal enemy” (Cervantes 144). Throughout the novel, Don Quixote displays a carefree thought process despite having to pay the consequences of his actions many times. Similarly, Daumier’s cartoons lampooning the government earned him six months in jail yet when he was released, he continued to illustrate satirical cartoons against the current French regime. Daumier’s painting also fits the exhibition because unlike his prints, he generally painted ageless topics from literature. Don Quixote as a character and the title of a literary work, fits the mold of something Daumier would draw inspiration from because his persona is still being discussed four-hundred years later.

Biografía De Sancho Panza written by H.R. Romero Flores

            H.R. Romero Flores wrote Biografia De Sancho Panza hundreds of years ago as a focus on a supplemental character, Sancho Panza. The book is written entirely in Spanish similarly to Don Quixote. In an exhibition about the character of Don Quixote, this book is important because it offers a different perspective to the story. Additionally, Flores’ book is rather dated which is rare compared to many of the other publications on the same topic. In focusing on Sancho Panza, Flores writes about how being in the company of Don Quixote was a gradual “lifting up the degrees of sanity” basically entailing that Don Quixote’s personality was sometimes difficult to tolerate.

 

Don Quixote in England. The Aesthetics of Laughter, book written by Anthony John Close in 1998

Anthony John Close was born in China on February 12, 1937 and died September 17, 2010. Close’s upbringing can be credited to his eventual profession as “One of the world’s leading experts on the early 17th-century Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes, and particularly on his masterpiece, Don Quixote” (Cacho). His father, an employee of the British Council, moved the family around to a variety of countries, including Chile. Close received his BA from Cambridge University in 1960 and his PhD at University College in Dublin where his supervisor was E.C. Riley, who edited the 2008 edition of Don Quixote. As a member of the department of Spanish and Portuguese at Cambridge University from 1967 to 2004, he focused heavily on helping modern day readers understand the “layers of wit and humour” that Cervantes wrote Don Quixote on (Cacho).  In his publication, The Romantic Approach to Don Quixote that was written in 1978, Close highlights Cervantes original goal in publishing the work; to provoke laughter. Additionally, he discusses how years of over-analyzation and cultural usage has moved the focus of the book away from “the misadventures of a deranged lover of reading whose passion for chivalric romances leads him to believe that he can imitate the knights of these stories and wander the dusty roads of Castile, rescuing damsels in distress and fighting evil sorcerers” (Cacho).

As a leading expert on Cervantes and Don Quixote, including one of Close’s publications in an exhibition about Don Quixote was a logical choice. Don Quixote inspired Close because “the novel explores the power of imagination” and “the story of a friendship that endures failures, defeats and ridicule, and that grows deeper and stronger against all the odds” (Cacho). Close’s own journey in life also adds importance to his work being part of the exhibit. As a researcher, his work was said to intentionally deter from the stereotypical set of rules set by the academic community. Furthermore, Close moved to Spain seeking recognition on a broader basis. While these lifestyle parallels to the character of Don Quixote may merely be coincidences, they add to the growing list of behaviors that Don Quixote possibly influenced.

 

El Caballero Don Quijote produced by Manuel Gutiérrez in 2002

Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón was born on January 2, 1942 in Torrelavega, Cantabria, Spain. He is a writer and director and is best known for his films, Habla Mudita, Your Next Life, and Black Litter. He graduated from the University of Madrid with a philosophy major. He wrote and directed El Caballero Don Quijote in 2002, he had already curated a multitude of well-known films. Due to his reputation, it is projected that “given Gutierrez Aragóns stature and his current position heading an organization to promote Spanish film, it is highly likely that El caballero Don Quijote will receive wide international distribution and become a significant version to consider in Cervantine scholarship, in language classrooms, and in the popular imagination” (Kercher 139). El Caballero Don Quijote is important to an exhibition about Don Quixote because it is one of the few films that have been produced about the novel. Gutiérrez Aragón’s film also embodied the adventurous personality of Don Quixote because as a producer, he stepped outside his comfort zone and produced a film on something he did not originally write himself.

Collectively, Don Quixote’s timeless personality has led to his popularity with many kinds of directors, artists, and authors. His lasting presence today shows how well he can be analyzed and used as examples in modern day humanities studies. As is evident in the fullness of the exhibition, Don Quixote has inspired many people and will continue to until the day chivalry dies.

 

 

Works Cited

Adhémar, Jean. “Honore Daumier.” Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, 13 May 2015. Web. 15 Dec. 2016. <https://www.britannica.com/biography/Honore-Daumier>.

“Biografía De Sancho Panza : Filósofo De La Sensatez / Hipólito R. Romero Flores ; Prólogo De Julián Marias.” Biografía De Sancho Panza : Filósofo De La Sensatez / Hipólito R. Romero Flores ; Prólogo De Julián Marias. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2016. <http://www.uclm.es/ceclm/librosnuevos/2005octubre/sancho.htm>.

Cacho, Rodrigo. “Anthony Close Obituary.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 03 Oct. 2010. Web. 15 Dec. 2016. <https://www.theguardian.com/books/2010/oct/03/anthony-close-obituary>.

Cervantes, Miguel De. Don Quixote. Trans. Tom Lathrop. Signet Classics ed. Vol. 1 and 2. New York: Penguin Group, 2011. Print.

Close, Anthony. “Don Quixote in England. The Aesthetics of Laughter.(Resena).” Cervantes: Bulletin of the Cervantes Society of America 21.2 (2001): 220. Print.

Daumler, Honoré Victorin. Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. 1855. The National Gallery, Room E. The National Gallery. Sir Hugh Lane Bequest. Web. 11 Dec. 2016.

Ehrlich, Blake, and John N. Tuppen. “Marseille.” Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Trans. Robin Caron Buss. Encyclopedia Britannica, 30 Jan. 2015. Web. 15 Dec. 2016. <https://www.britannica.com/place/Marseille>.

El Caballero Don Quijote. Madrid : Gonafilm : Distributed by Warner Home Video Española, 2003. The adventures of the legendary Don Quixote and his companion Sancho Panza.

“Honoré-Victorin Daumier.” Honoré-Victorin Daumier | Artist | 1808 – 1879 | National Gallery, London. The National Gallery, n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2016. <https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/artists/honore-victorin-daumier>.

Kercher, Dona M., and Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón. “Looking for Don Quijote’s Own Shadow: An Interview with Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón about His Film El Caballero Don Quijote (2002).” Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies 6.1 (2002): 129-40. Print.

Romero Flores, Hipólito R. Biografía De Sancho Panza, Filósofo De La Sensatez. Barcelona: Barcelona, Editorial Aedos, 1955. Print.

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