For me, life without literature is inconceivable. I think that Don Quixote in a physical sense never existed, but Don Quixote exists more than anybody who existed in 1605. Much more. There's nobody who can compete with Don Quixote or with Hamlet. So in the end we have the reality of the book as the reality of the world and the reality of history.
All of that is true,' responded Don Quixote, 'but we cannot all be friars, and God brings His children to heaven by many paths: chivalry is a religion, and there are sainted knights in Glory.' Yes,' responded Sancho, 'but I've heard that there are more friars in heaven than knights errant.' That is true,' responded Don Quixote, 'because the number of religious is greater than the number of knights.' There are many who are errant,' said Sancho. Many,' responded Don Quixote, 'but few who deserve to be called knights.
Miguel de Cervantes
Reality is a complex phenomenon, filled with dimensions, not the least of which are two that Christians affirm and understand: the physical and the spiritual. We are invited by Cervantes to enter into Don Quixote's imaginary world and reflect on these players. We are to ignore no points of view: neither the idealism of Don Quixote nor the realism/literalism of Sancho Panza. The point that comes across is this: we must not have a reductionist attitude toward reality.
Do not be afraid to love. Remember dear old Don Quixote, viewing the world with love. He saw many beautiful things no one else saw. Try being dear Don Quixote for a day. You'll see that love improves your vision and allows you to see more than your eye has ever seen before. But be forewarned: Those who look on the world with love will need a handkerchief, not to use as a blindfold, but to blow their nose and dry their tears.
today we read of Don Quixote with a bitter taste in the mouth, it is almost an ordeal, which would make us seem very strange and incomprehensible to the author and his contemporaries, - they read it with a clear conscience as the funniest of books, it made them nearly laugh themselves to death).To see suffering does you good, to make suffer, better still - that On the Genealogy of Morality 42 48 See below, Supplementary material, pp. 153-4. 49 See below, Supplementary material, pp. 137-9, pp. 140-1, pp. 143-4. 50 Don Quixote, Book II, chs 31-7. is a hard proposition, but an ancient, powerful, human-all-too-human proposition to which, by the way, even the apes might subscribe: as people say, in thinking up bizarre cruelties they anticipate and, as it were, act out a 'demonstration' of what man will do. No cruelty, no feast: that is what the oldest and longest period in human history teaches us - and punishment, too, has such very strong festive aspects! -
If it had been easy for Romeo to get to Juliet, nobody would have cared. Same goes for Cyrano and Don Quixote and Gatsby and their respective paramours. What captures the imagination is watching men throw themselves at a brick wall over and over again, and wondering if this is the time that they won't be able to get back up.
There are times when each of us has to have some gumption to take a stand as to what we wish to preserve or change in order to maintain our self-respect and not be as "a reed shaken with the wind" (Matt. 11:7) . . . . We lose much credibility and strength, and we risk being weighed on an uneven balance, when, Don Quixote-like, we go around "tilting windmills".
James E. Faust
When Don Quixote went out into the world, that world turned into a mystery before his eyes. That is the legacy of the first European novel to the entire subsequent history of the novel. The novel teaches us to comprehend the world as a question. There is wisdom and tolerance in that attitude.
I hight don Quixote, I live on peyote, marijuana, morphine and cocaine. I never know sadness, but only a madness that burns at the heart and the brain. I see each charwoman, ecstatic, inhuman, angelic, demonic, divine. Each wagon a dragon, each beer mug a flagon that brims with ambrosial wine.
I think a fictional invention grows according to its own development, not the author's. Characters in fiction are not simply as alive as you and me, they are more alive. Becky Sharp, Elizabeth Bennett, and Don Quixote may not outlive the burning out of the sun, but they will certainly outlive the brief candle of our lives.
When I hear another express an opinion which is not mine, I say to myself, he has a right to his opinion, as I to mine. Why should I question it? His error does me no injury, and shall I become a Don Quixote, to bring all men by force of argument to one opinion? ...Be a listener only, keep within yourself, and endeavor to establish with yourself the habit of silence, especially in politics.
If you read novels of the 19th century, they're pretty experimental. They take lots of chances; they seem to break a lot of rules. You've got omniscient narrators lecturing at times to the reader in first person. If you go back to the earliest novels, this is happening to a wild extent, like 'Tristram Shandy' or 'Don Quixote'.
A novel does not assert anything, a novel poses questions... The stupidity of people comes from having an answer for everything. When Don Quixote went out into the world, that world turned into a mystery before his eyes. That is the legacy of the first European novel to the entire subsequent history of the novel. The novelist teaches the reader to comprehend the world as a question. There is wisdom and tolerance in that attitude.
I don't remember much about the specifics of the economics courses that I majored in - I apparently internalized the key concepts - but I still remember vividly the thrill of reading 'Don Quixote,' Epictetus, 'The Aeneid,' 'King Lear' and 'Candide,' and how contemporary the stories and ideas in these old and ancient texts struck me.
Daniel S. Loeb
I am apparently gentle, unstable, and full of pretenses. I will die a poet killed by the nonpoets, will renounce no dream, resign myself to no ugliness, accept nothing of the world but the one I made myself. I wrote, lived, loved like Don Quixote, and on the day of my death I will say: 'Excuse me, it was all a dream,' and by that time I may have found one who will say: 'Not at all, it was true, absolutely true.'
I absolutely love what I do, and I want to dance for as long as I can and feel good about what I'm putting out there on the stage. But my goal has always been to be a principal dancer with ABT. Before I knew that there'd never been a black woman that was always my goal. I wanted to dance "Odette-Odile" and Kitri in "Don Quixote" and Aurora in "Sleeping Beauty." So that's still my goal. But knowing that it's never been done before I think makes me fight even harder.
Don Quixote followed nature, and being satisfied with his first sleep, did not solicit more. As for Sancho, he never wanted a second, for the first lasted him from night to morning, indicating a sound body and a mind free from care; but his master, being unable to sleep himself awakened him, saying, "I am amazed, Sancho, at the torpor of thy soul; it seems as if thou wert made of marble or brass, insensible of emotion or sentiment!...
Miguel de Cervantes
We have inhabited both the actual and the imaginary realms for a long time. But we don't live in either place the way our parents or ancestors did. Enchantment alters with age, and with the age. We know a dozen Arthurs now, all of them true. The Shire changed irrevocably even in Bilbo's lifetime. Don Quixote went riding out to Argentina and met Jorge Luis Borges there. Plus c'est la meªme chose, plus e§a change.
Ursula K. Le Guin
To think, analyze and invent, he [Pierre Menard] also wrote me, "are not anomalous acts, but the normal respiration of the intelligence. To glorify the occasional fulfillment of this function, to treasure ancient thoughts of others, to remember with incredulous amazement that the doctor universal is thought, is to confess our languor or barbarism. Every man should be capable of all ideas, and I believe that in the future he will be." (Jorge Luis Borges, "Pierre Menard, Author of Don Quixote, 1939)
Jorge Luis Borges
Roque...lined his men up and had them produce all the clothing, jewels, money, and other objects that they had stolen since the last time they had divided the spoils. Having made a hasty appraisal and reduced to terms of money those items that could not be divided, he split the whole into shares with such equity and exactitude that in not a single instance did he go beyond or fall short of a strict distributive justice. They were all well satisfied with the payment received, indeed they were quite well pleased; and Roque then turned to Don Quixote.
Miguel de Cervantes
The fear thou art in, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "prevents thee from seeing or hearing correctly, for one of the effects of fear is to derange the senses and make things appear different from what they are; if thou art in such fear, withdraw to one side and leave me to myself, for alone I suffice to bring victory to that side to which I shall give my aid;" and so saying he gave Rocinante the spur, and putting the lance in rest, shot down the slope like a thunderbolt.
Miguel de Cervantes
The Pepto?' I asked. 'The Pepto, ' he sighed and read the label. 'Yes, the Pepto. This, yes. The candies. They're in here. I found them, yes. I found them here. You. You were sleeping. I found these. They're yours, yes? I want them. If I can have them. These. These Pepto. Oh... yes. If I can have them I'd be grateful, yes... I'd follow you. I'd follow you now until the day you die. From now until then, yes. I'd follow you and I would be your one true compatriot. The Don Quixote to your Sancho Panza, the Batman to your Robin, the Huckleberry Finn to your Nigger Jim. Yours. You. And... hm... yes. From then on I'd do what you ask of me. As your one true ally to do what you need. I'd be the best friend you have. Best. All I ask for, to be yours until forever, is that you bestow upon me these delightful morsels I have found of yours for my consumptive pleasure.' 'Yes, ' I said, not thinking twice. 'Take it. Eat'em.' 'Eat'em, great, ' he said. 'Yes. A strange name, but I like it. That's what you will call me then. Eat'em. Thank you for this.
And those characters [in a fairy tale] dwell in a moral world, whose laws are as clear as the law of gravity. That too is a great advantage of the folk tale. It is not a failure of imagination to see the sky blue. It is a failure rather to be weary of its being blue- and not to notice how blue it is. And appreciation of the subtler colors of the sky will come later. In the folk tale, good is good and evil is evil, and the former will triumph and later will fail. This is not the result of the imaginative quest. It is rather its principle and foundation. It is what will enable the child later on to understand Macbeth, or Don Quixote, or David Copperfield.
In a sense, Joyce was Beckett's Don Quixote, and Beckett was his Sancho Panza. Joyce aspired to the One; Beckett encapsulated the fragmented many. But as each author accomplished his task, it was in the service of the other. Ultimately, Beckett's landscapes would resound with articulate silence, and his empty spaces would collect within themselves the richness of multiple shadows-a physicist would say the negative particles-of all that exists in absence, as in the white patches of an Abstract Expressionist painting. Becket would evoke, on his canvasses of vast innuendo and through the interstices of conscious and unconscious thought, the richness that Joyce had made explicit in words and intricate structure.
The world of literature has everything in it, and it refuses to leave anything out. I have read like a man on fire my whole life because the genius of English teachers touched me with the dazzling beauty of language. Because of them I rode with Don Quixote and danced with Anna Karenina at a ball in St. Petersburg and lassoed a steer in "Lonesome Dove" and had nightmares about slavery in "Beloved" and walked the streets of Dublin in "Ulysses" and made up a hundred stories in the Arabian nights and saw my mother killed by a baseball in "A Prayer for Owen Meany." I've been in ten thousand cities and have introduced myself to a hundred thousand strangers in my exuberant reading career, all because I listened to my fabulous English teachers and soaked up every single thing those magnificent men and women had to give. I cherish and praise them and thank them for finding me when I was a boy and presenting me with the precious gift of the English language.
Life is not interested in good and evil. Don Quixote was constantly choosing between good and evil, but then he was choosing in his dream state. He was mad. He entered reality only when he was so busy trying to cope with people that he had no time to distinguish between good and evil. Since people exist only in life, they must devote their time simply to being alive. Life is motion, and motion is concerned with what makes man move-which is ambition, power, pleasure. What time a man can devote to morality, he must take by force from the motion of which he is a part. He is compelled to make choices between good and evil sooner or later, because moral conscience demands that from him in order that he can live with himself tomorrow. His moral conscience is the curse he had to accept from the gods in order to gain from them the right to dream.
never [enter] into dispute or argument with another. I never saw an instance of one of two disputants convincing the other by argument. I have seen many, on their getting warm, becoming rude, & shooting one another... When I hear another express an opinion which is not mine, I say to myself, he has a right to his opinion, as I to mine; why should I question it? His error does me no injury, and shall I become a Don Quixote, to bring all men by force of argument to one opinion?... There are two classes of disputants most frequently to be met with among us. The first is of young students, just entered the threshold of science, with a first view of its outlines, not yet filled up with the details & modifications which a further progress would bring to their knoledge. The other consists of the ill-tempered & rude men in society, who have taken up a passion for politics... Consider yourself, when with them, as among the patients of Bedlam, needing medical more than moral counsel. Be a listener only, keep within yourself, and endeavor to establish with yourself the habit of silence, especially on politics. In the fevered state of our country, no good can ever result from any attempt to set one of these fiery zealots to rights, either in fact or principle. They are determined as to the facts they will believe, and the opinions on which they will act. Get by them, therefore, as you would by an angry bull; it is not for a man of sense to dispute the road with such an animal.
I agree with Pierre Bayle and with Unamuno that when cold reason contemplates the world it finds not only an absence of God, but good reasons for supposing that there is no God at all. From this perspective, from what Unamuno called the 'tragic sense of life', from this despair, faith comes to the rescue, not only as something nonrational but in a sense irrational. For Unamuno the great symbol of a person of faith was his Spanish hero Don Quixote. Faith is indeed quixotic. It is absurd. Let us admit it. Let us concede to everything! To a rational mind the world looks like a world without God. It looks like a world with no hope for another life. To think otherwise, to believe in spite of appearances, is surely a kind of madness. The atheist sees clearly that windmills are in fact only windmills, that Dulcinea is just a poor country bumpkin with a homely face and an unpleasant smell. The atheist is a Sarah, justifiably laughing in her old age at Abraham's belief that God will give them a son. What can be said in reply? How can a fideist admit that faith is a kind of madness, a dream fed by passionate desire, and yet maintain that one is not mad to make the leap?
Reading list (1972 edition) 1. Homer - Iliad, Odyssey 2. The Old Testament 3. Aeschylus - Tragedies 4. Sophocles - Tragedies 5. Herodotus - Histories 6. Euripides - Tragedies 7. Thucydides - History of the Peloponnesian War 8. Hippocrates - Medical Writings 9. Aristophanes - Comedies 10. Plato - Dialogues 11. Aristotle - Works 12. Epicurus - Letter to Herodotus; Letter to Menoecus 13. Euclid - Elements 14. Archimedes - Works 15. Apollonius of Perga - Conic Sections 16. Cicero - Works 17. Lucretius - On the Nature of Things 18. Virgil - Works 19. Horace - Works 20. Livy - History of Rome 21. Ovid - Works 22. Plutarch - Parallel Lives; Moralia 23. Tacitus - Histories; Annals; Agricola Germania 24. Nicomachus of Gerasa - Introduction to Arithmetic 25. Epictetus - Discourses; Encheiridion 26. Ptolemy - Almagest 27. Lucian - Works 28. Marcus Aurelius - Meditations 29. Galen - On the Natural Faculties 30. The New Testament 31. Plotinus - The Enneads 32. St. Augustine - On the Teacher; Confessions; City of God; On Christian Doctrine 33. The Song of Roland 34. The Nibelungenlied 35. The Saga of Burnt Nje¡l 36. St. Thomas Aquinas - Summa Theologica 37. Dante Alighieri - The Divine Comedy;The New Life; On Monarchy 38. Geoffrey Chaucer - Troilus and Criseyde; The Canterbury Tales 39. Leonardo da Vinci - Notebooks 40. Niccole² Machiavelli - The Prince; Discourses on the First Ten Books of Livy 41. Desiderius Erasmus - The Praise of Folly 42. Nicolaus Copernicus - On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres 43. Thomas More - Utopia 44. Martin Luther - Table Talk; Three Treatises 45. Frane§ois Rabelais - Gargantua and Pantagruel 46. John Calvin - Institutes of the Christian Religion 47. Michel de Montaigne - Essays 48. William Gilbert - On the Loadstone and Magnetic Bodies 49. Miguel de Cervantes - Don Quixote 50. Edmund Spenser - Prothalamion; The Faerie Queene 51. Francis Bacon - Essays; Advancement of Learning; Novum Organum, New Atlantis 52. William Shakespeare - Poetry and Plays 53. Galileo Galilei - Starry Messenger; Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences 54. Johannes Kepler - Epitome of Copernican Astronomy; Concerning the Harmonies of the World 55. William Harvey - On the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals; On the Circulation of the Blood; On the Generation of Animals 56. Thomas Hobbes - Leviathan 57. Rene Descartes - Rules for the Direction of the Mind; Discourse on the Method; Geometry; Meditations on First Philosophy 58. John Milton - Works 59. Molie¨re - Comedies 60. Blaise Pascal - The Provincial Letters; Pensees; Scientific Treatises 61. Christiaan Huygens - Treatise on Light 62. Benedict de Spinoza - Ethics 63. John Locke - Letter Concerning Toleration; Of Civil Government; Essay Concerning Human Understanding;Thoughts Concerning Education 64. Jean Baptiste Racine - Tragedies 65. Isaac Newton - Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy; Optics 66. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz - Discourse on Metaphysics; New Essays Concerning Human Understanding;Monadology 67. Daniel Defoe - Robinson Crusoe 68. Jonathan Swift - A Tale of a Tub; Journal to Stella; Gulliver's Travels; A Modest Proposal 69. William Congreve - The Way of the World 70. George Berkeley - Principles of Human Knowledge 71. Alexander Pope - Essay on Criticism; Rape of the Lock; Essay on Man 72. Charles de Secondat, baron de Montesquieu - Persian Letters; Spirit of Laws 73. Voltaire - Letters on the English; Candide; Philosophical Dictionary 74. Henry Fielding - Joseph Andrews; Tom Jones 75. Samuel Johnson - The Vanity of Human Wishes; Dictionary; Rasselas; The Lives of the Poets
Mortimer J. Adler