The final project for the Digital Don Quixote Freshman Seminar class at the University of Mary Washington was to create a display case in the Simpson Library. The display case was created in order to showcase the 400th year of Miguel de Cervantes (the author of the novel Don Quixote that was read in the class). In the case there were books written by Cervantes, books about his life, pictures and posters of Cervantes, and a figurine of Cervantes. This essay will highlight the novel La Galatea, Comedias Y Entremeses, a picture of Cervantes in jail, and a portrait of Cervantes.
The first novel that will be discussed, La Galatea, is a literary narrative written by Miguel de Cervantes and published in 1585. The novel’s original name was Primera parte de la Galatea: diuidida en seys libros (First Part of Galatea, divided into Six Books). The novel is a pastoral romance novel which, like Don Quixote, follows many storylines, however, the most important and main story is that of best friends who are shepherds (Elicio and Erastro) that fall in love with Galatea despite her wanting to keep her independence. Most of the story includes characters that are part of minor storylines. Although the original title indicated that there would be a second part and Cervantes fully intended on writing a second part, there was never a part two discovered. This novel is mentioned during the book burning scene in Don Quixote and was used in the Starz series “Black Sails”. This book was chosen for the case because it highlights Cervantes’ strength in writing pastoral novels, it also connects to his other more notable novel, Don Quixote, because it has a similar storyline to that of the character Marcela; however, this novel was written and published before the Quixote novel. This novel was also put in the exhibit because not many people know Cervantes for his other novels and therefore showcasing it allows for people to see the extent of his writing. Additionally, the novel chosen is in a Spanish version, which (although different to the Spanish in Cervantes time) is the original language of the text that Miguel de Cervantes wrote the novel in.
Next the book that will be discussed is Comedias Y Entremeses, this is a part of the Obras Completas, which is a series of the complete works of Cervantes. The Comedias Y Entremeses are the eight plays and eight interludes of Cervantes which appeared in 1615. The plays and interludes were written more in the style of a novel and has similar character development to that of a novel. These plays and interludes that he wrote, were some of the works that he was most prideful of and it is believed he that these works are among those that he is most satisfied with. Cervantes hoped that his dramas would gain attention and make him famous, however, that is not the case because he is most known for his novel Don Quixote and not many people know about the plays and interludes that he wrote. This book was chosen to be put into the display case because it shows Cervantes’ versatility. Although he is not known for his plays and interludes, he is very satisfied with them and they are unique (like Cervantes) because they are more similar to a novel. The book is part of a series that has translated and published the full works of Cervantes for people to read. This novel is in a Spanish translation which, again, is the same language that Cervantes originally wrote the novel in.
The next object in the case is a famous portrait of Cervantes. The portrait is titled “Portrait of Cervantes” by Juan de Jáuregui from 1600, however, it was discovered that the painting (although it is the most associated with the author) is mostly likely not a portrait of Cervantes. People have been calling the painting “Portrait of an Unknown Gentleman” because it is not actually Cervantes. Similarly, it is said that there are no known portraits that have a true likeness to Cervantes. The medium of the painting is unknown and it is said that the original portrait is no longer around, but it is known that Cervantes had written that Juan did paint him at one point. Cervantes has also praised Juan for some of the things he has written. The picture was chosen for the exhibit because it gives people a visual of what Cervantes was thought to have looked like. The painting was also chosen because it is the most famous portrait associated with the author and therefore people may have seen it before and are now able to connect the face to a name.
The final object that will be presented in this essay is another picture of Cervantes. The painting depicts Cervantes in jail, the title of the painting is “Cervantes in Prison”. The painter of the piece is Ilyas Phaizulline who is a Russian artist who paints things on commission and has various paintings of famous themes, people, and scenes from literature. The painting was originally made in 1989, the medium is an oil on canvas and the measurements are sixty by sixty-eight inches or one hundred and fifty by one hundred and seventy centimeters. The painter chose to create the piece because it Cervantes is the author of his favorite book, Don Quixote, and the scene was chosen because Cervantes began to write the novel while in prison. The painting was chosen for the display case because it depicts an important time in Cervantes life, not many people know that Cervantes went to jail. As previously stated, Cervantes time in prison is more significant because that is when he began to write his most famous novel. The painting shows him with papers, quills, and ink in order to highlight the fact that this is where Cervantes began the Quixote.
Overall, the items in the display case that were discussed in this essay explore a range of Cervantes, and represent him over more than one medium. Cervantes is depicted in the exhibit as being versatile, genius, and impactful; this is because he wrote many novels and other pieces, people to translate his work, and he inspired people to paint pictures of him. The books show how Cervantes was able to write different types of novels and the pictures show how Cervantes has made an impression on other creators. The display case was made to celebrate 400 years of Cervantes, represent him and his life, and inform people; all the books, figurines, and pictures allow for people to see the extent of Cervantes’ life and influence.
De, Cervantes Saavedra Miguel, Rudolph Schevill, and Adolfo Bonilla Y San Martin. LaGalatea. Madrid: Impr. De B. Rodriguez, 1914. Print.
De, Cervantes Saavedra Miguel, Rudolph Schevill, and Adolfo Bonilla Y San Martin. Comedias Y Entremeses. Madrid: Impr. De B. Rodriguez, 1915. Print.
Jáuregui, Juan De. Portrait of Miguel De Cervantes. 1600. N.p.
Phaizulline, Ilyas. Cervantes in Prison. 1989. Oil on canvas. N.p.
“Artist Ilyas Phaizulline. Painting “Cervantes in the Prison”” Artist Ilyas Phaizulline. Painting “Cervantes in the Prison” N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2016.
“La Galatea.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2016.
“Miguel De Cervantes.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2016.
“Spain Is Culture.” La Galatea. Literature,Narrative, Miguel De Cervantes at Spain Is Culture. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2016.
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