Those who approach Cervantes’s Don Quixote for the first time are often surprised at the ease with which a contemporary reader is able to enter a fictional world that was created over 400 years ago. Despite its interest to academics, philosophers, and historians, among others, Don Quixote nevertheless remains surprisingly accessible to readers with no prior knowledge of the writer or his historical context. As will become clear through our readings, that accessibility reflects the novel’s inherent modernity, that is, its embodiment of a way of thinking about the world that is, in the final analysis, not that different from our own. Our goal over the ten weeks of this course will be to explore various aspects of the Quixote’s modernity through the reading of selected chapters and much classroom discussion.
This class assumes no previous knowledge of Spanish or Spanish literature.