Don Quijote the first antiromance novel
It has been called the first modern novel and also an “antiromance“ in view of the fact that it breaks a tradition with knights as gracious and heroic. The character Don Quijote is only gracious and heroic in his own fantasy. In the connection between reality and the main characters' fantasies lays also one of the foundations in reading this novel, which exists on many levels–it is much more than a romance or an adventure tale.
The novel Don Quijote (Don Quixote)1 was released in two parts 1605 and 1615, each divided into several volumes (today the full novel is generally printed in one book and often reduced–the full version consists of approximately 1000 pages). Due to a publishing contract the first editions had lots of typos. A corrected edition was soon released. Another curious fact is that before the second part was available, a book that took claim to be the second part was released by an imposter. The real writer was, however, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, commonly referred to Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616).
For a modern reader, Don Quijote could by all means be a pleasant experience. Besides from being a must read merely from the fact that it is one of the biggest works in the history of literature, it has many comic episodes and the story incorporates many possibilities of symbolic interpretations. The dialogues between don Quijote and his armour-bearer Sancho Panza make both amusing impressions and builds fascination around the thematic complexities.
Recommended further reading about the themes and also narrative techniques used in Don Quijote.
Miguel de Cervantes is one of the greatest Spanish writers of all time. He lived in that is called the Golden Age of Spanish literature (around 1580 to 1850). His lifespan also coincided with the Spanish Baroque literature that was characterized by pessimism and melancholy, materialized from the fact that the ideas of the Renaissance were not realized.
1. Full titles in English and Spanish are The history of the valorous and witty Knight-Errant Don-Quixote of the Mancha and El ingenioso hidalgo don Quixote de la Mancha.