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I Wonder Why...?

I will be writing about aspects of Spanish history and their traditions. I am a very curious person and have always needed to know "why" they do it, and "how" it came about. So over the years while living in Spain I have made a conscious effort to discover "el porque de las cosas" and I will be sharing them with you. I hope you find it as fascinating as I do.

Don Quixote: The Birth of the Novel
Saturday, July 29, 2023 @ 12:39 AM

 

Considered one of the foundational works of Western literature, Don Quixote is often cited as the first-ever written novel. Its unique narrative structure and exploration of groundbreaking themes make it an exceptionally influential piece of literature that continues to shape the medium of storytelling.

Origin

Don Quixote was written by Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra and was published in two parts, in 1605 and 1615. It narrates the adventures of a man who, after reading too many chivalric romances, decides to become a knight-errant.

A Novel Form

What sets Don Quixote apart as the first novel is its extensive use of character development, plot complexity, and internal consistency. It shocked the 17th-century audience with its new kind of storytelling that centered not on episodic, plot-driven tales, but on nuanced, ever-changing characters and intricate narratives.

  • Character Development: Prior, characters were generally static, archetypal figures who did not change throughout a story. In Don Quixote, characters undergo substantial personal growth and transformation, establishing a new standard for character portrayal.

  • Plot Complexity: Instead of linear, predictable plotlines, Don Quixote introduced complex and layered narratives. It employs plot twists and unexpected story arcs, keeping the reader in constant suspense.

  • Internal Consistency: Don Quixote maintains internal coherence wherein the events follow a logical, believable sequence. This is different from the episodic storytelling prevalent in the pre-novel literature.

Themes

Don Quixote explores themes that were revolutionary for its time:

  • Reality Vs. Perception: The theme of illusion versus reality is a central topic, with the protagonist mistaking ordinary objects and people for extraordinary beings and feats.

  • Humor: Through its use of satire and humor, the book criticizes the popular literature of the time and provides commentary on societal norms.

  • Heroism: Don Quixote's misguided self-image as a valiant knight sparks discussion about the nature of heroism and virtue.

Influence

Don Quixote, as the harbinger of the modern novel, has had a profound impact on literature. Its themes, plot structures, and character development techniques have been imitated, deconstructed, and reinterpreted by a multitude of authors since its publication.

The book stands as a pioneering masterpiece that is a testament to the enduring power of narrative innovation. It remains not only a monument in the history of literature but also a living influence on the novels of today.



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1 Comments


Christine said:
Sunday, July 30, 2023 @ 12:29 PM

Excellent!!!!!

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