Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547-1616) was a Spanish novelist, poet, and playwrite. His literary masterpiece, Don Quixote, often considered the first modern novel, is a classic of Western literature and is regularly regarded among the best novels ever written–at least in the Spanish language.
Cervantes work is considered among the most important in all of literature. His influence on the Spanish language has been so pervasive, that Spanish is often called “la lengua de Cervantes” (the language of Cervantes). He has also been dubbed “El Príncipe de los Ingenios”—The Prince of Wits.
Don Quixote is noble-minded knight, an enthusiastic admirer of everything good and great, yet having all these fine qualities, he is also accidentally blended with a relative kind of madness. He is paired with a character of opposite qualities, Sancho Panza—his squire—, a man of low self-esteem, who is a compound of grossness and simplicity. Idealism and pragmatism contrast continually in this literary masterpiece.
The character of Don Quixote became so well-known in its time that the word quixotic was quickly calqued into many languages. Characters such as Sancho Panza and Don Quixote’s horse, Rocinante, are emblems of Western literary culture.
I’ve read El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha twice. First, when I was in tenth grade in high school, and second when I was in my first year at the Universidad de Costa Rica. I understood the novel better on my second reading of course. The old Spanish language is sometimes difficult to comprehend. Many of the words and expressions used by Cervantes are no longer used in modern-day Spanish. El Quixote is a mandatory reading in Panama.
Below are several photographs of an amazing sculpture of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza at the entrance of the administration building of the Universidad de Panamá. It’s a snow white sculpture which adds cachet to the house of Octavio Méndez Pereira, cofounder of the University of Panama and its first Rector.
Here we go. Enjoy.
In every corner of this phenomenal learning site, I found little gems sparking under the sun. This is one of them. Good Day.