Monday, 2 February 2009

Book Review: Don Quixote

So the first of my 12 books in 12 months was Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. It was unmitigated disaster for me. The book is recommended in The Well-Educated Mind and I have started reading it before and taking notes on it. I started again in January and got about 200 pages into it and gave up. It just was not my cup of tea at all.

I am highly empathic and I find it difficult to read or see things were others make fun of those who are less fortunate and I just found it to painful to read this story. Add to that the fact that slapstick is just NOT my kind of humour and it just was not for me.

One incident that I did find interesting in the book was the obvious critique of the Petrarchan sonnet that occurs at one point. Don Quixote and Sancho Panza come across a rich man who has died from the unrequited love of a woman. The woman arrives at the funeral and points out that it is the man's own fault that he dies since she made it perfectly clear that she was in no way interested in him and that he therefore must take responsibility for his own actions. This was one of the few points in the story where I felt that I got really into the story. I thought she made a very valid point. I am currently studying Renaissance literature and it is interesting to see the prostrating that the male writers are doing in order to show their love for these ethereal beauties that have no interest. This is also interesting in light of today's debate about realistic love stories, you know the kind I mean, where they live happily ever after. It would seem that there has never been a realistic portrayal of love in literature. Or at least not the every day love that most people have.

So I suppose in conclusion the book did have something to tell me even though I didn't get very far in it :D

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