- Don Quixote
/don' kee hoh"tee, don kwik"seuht/; Sp. /dawn kee haw"te/1. the hero of a novel by Cervantes who was inspired by lofty and chivalrous but impractical ideals.2. (italics) (Don Quixote de la Mancha) the novel itself (1605 and 1615).
* * *▪ fictional characteralso spelled Don Quijote17th-century Spanish literary character, the protagonist of the novel Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (Cervantes, Miguel de). The book, originally published in Spanish in two parts (1605, 1615), concerns the eponymous would-be knight errant whose delusions of grandeur make him the butt of many practical jokes.As part one opens, an aging minor nobleman named Alonso Quixano, enamoured by chivalric romances (chivalry), sets out from his home village of La Mancha on a quest for adventure. Christening himself Don Quixote, he recruits peasant Sancho Panza to be his squire, promising him an island to govern at the completion of their journey. The pair stumble into a series of comedic misadventures in which Quixote imagines the mundane world of the Spanish countryside as something more exciting and dangerous. In one memorable episode, he attacks a row of windmills, believing them to be gigantic knights. (This is the source of the common phrase “tilting at windmills” to mean attacking imagined enemies.)Quixote evades attempts by friends and countrymen to safely bring him back home, while proving himself, despite his obvious madness, to be good and honourable, and winning Panza's admiration and devotion. After numerous humiliations, he finally casts aside his illusions, returns home, and dies.Don Quixote is considered by literary historians to be one of the most important books of all time, and it is often cited as the first modern novel. The character of Quixote became an archetype, and the word quixotic, used to mean the impractical pursuit of idealistic goals, entered common usage. Many 20th-century film, television, and stage adaptations of Don Quixote's story were produced, notably the Broadway musical Man of La Mancha (1965) by Dale Wasserman, Mitch Leigh, and Joe Darion, source of the well-known song "The Impossible Dream (The Quest)."▪ novel by CervantesSpanish in full El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote De La Mancha,novel published in two parts (Part I, 1605; Part II, 1615) by Miguel de Cervantes, one of the most widely read classics of Western literature. Originally conceived as a comic satire against the chivalric romances then in literary vogue, it describes realistically what befalls an elderly knight who, his head bemused by reading romances, sets out on his old horse Rosinante, with his pragmatic squire Sancho Panza, to seek adventure. Widely and immediately translated (first English translation in 1612), the novel was a great and continuing success. Modern English translations include those by J.M. Cohen (1950) and Samuel Putnam (2 vol., 1959).
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