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The End of Part I Don Quixote April 23, 2012

Posted by nrlymrtl in Don Quixote.
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Tofu is a dreamer too.

I know you were dying to find out how Part I ended. Well, I am not going to spoil it for you. But I do have some bits to chat about.

Remember that chick Dorotea from the previous post? Well, she travels with crew back to civilization and they stay at an inn (castle according to our fearless Quixote). There, Redondo and his ‘wife’ Lucinda stay the night on their way to a nunnery. Of course exclamations of love and surprise get tossed around between Lucinda and Cardeno. Then Dorotea has her moment to proclaim her love to Redondo.

Huh? Love? Maybe shame and misery. But I am viewing this with 21st century eyes where a woman has legal rights and can choose her husband. Back in 1600s Spain, a noble woman who had lost her virtue (which seems irrevocably tied to a small piece of skin that no one ever sees) had few choices. You had more choices as a shepherdess in such a case.

A series of well-meaning people have played their roles in tricking Don Quixote back to civilization and his family’s home. There is quite a discussion at the end about libraries and the dangers of certain books. It was interesting to hear book-burning discussed as a rational, well-intentioned act. Part of me had trouble wrapping my head around that, but then I recalled the book-burnings of J. K. Rowlings Harry Potter books. Even today, certain folks still find this destructive (and in the modern electronic age, futile) act a legitimate way to show displeasure or fear of a book.

So, will I continue on with Part II? It was written 20 years later. I wonder what else Quixote can attack and subsequently have his ass handed to him by? I also wonder about his lady love and if there is any future for them. Will Sancho Panza ever get that island he so desires?


Don Quixote, Beware the Sheep! April 8, 2012

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Clementine and Don Quixote

I am about 12 discs into the 17 discs of Part I of Don Quixote. We already know from my earlier post that our Knight of the Sorrowful Face attacked a herd of sheep, and lost. This dude gets his ass kicked by everything and everyone. Yet, I still route for him. Probably because he is a dreamer….and maybe, just a little, because I like seeing him get into situations that he has to extricate himself from.

So, what intrigued me about the latest installment? One of my favorite topics – the treatment of ladies. Yep, imagine feminism in 1600s Spain, in all it’s glory…. uh. There wasn’t much bra burning going on in Spain in the 1600s, was there?

Don Quixote ends up in the forested hills, a pretty desolate location. There he comes across a madman. His love and grief and shame have driven him to the wilds where he alternately begs and steals from the shepherds. Cardeno eventually sits down and chats with Quixote and tells his tale of woe. In short he and Lucinda have been friends since childhood and had planned to marry. As they near the age to be betrothed to each other, Cardeno is summoned away by the local Duke to be a companion to his son, Ferdando (?). This dude is a womanizer, and goes around the countryside breaking hearts and promises of fair maidens. He eventually sets his eyes on Lucinda and schemes a way to marry her. Cardeno lurks around until the vows are said and then sets out on his personal quest to become mad in the foot hills.

Cardeno goes on and on about Lucinda’s awesome qualities. He truly loves her and holds her in high regard – her beauty and gentleness and her willingness and be his wife and best friend. It is very touching. Until he compares her to a sheep. In all sincerity. I am not kidding. Stop giggling.

Sigh…. I asked my man to compare me to a sheep in a loving way. He snorted.

Later on, Cardeno comes across a young lady in these same hills, Dorotea. It turns out Ferdando did her wrong, taking her virtue (which seems to be a bit of membranous skin that is made way too much of) while promising to marry her. In shame, she fled to the hills to live out the rest of her days and to avoid bringing said shame upon her parents. Cardeno swears with all sincerity to restore her to her family and force Ferdando to give her back her honor by marrying her.

Great. Just what a happy marriage that will be.

Maybe it was better to be a shepherdess in 1600s Spain. At least the male shepherds clearly understood the difference between a human female and a sheep.

Don Quixote: The Beginning Quest March 29, 2012

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I knew very little about Don Quixote 3 weeks ago. I listened to the first lecture in the iTunesU series by Roberto Gonzalez Echevarria and learned a little more and then started by quest to read this massive work.

Prior to me beginning I knew:

  • How to pronounce Don Quixote
  • There was a donkey in the story some place (not surprising for 1600s)
  • At some point our hero says ‘meow’ in an unexpected context (thank Lady Darkcargo for a previous post)

I listened to the ‘prior to reading this book’ lecture on iTunesU and learned a little more:

  • Don Quixote is most likely a derivative of queso – which means cheese. Hence the odd looks our hero gets on his travels (don = lordship and quixote = cheese something)
  • The book was written in 2 parts, like 20 years apart. Hence why my library has the audio version in two parts
  • How the book ends (ugh! I didn’t know and now I do and how will that affect my first impression of this work!)

That last bullet I found particularly amusing because the lecturer spends some quality time talking about how it is nearly impossible in today’s age to come to such a classic innocent of the story. Well, I was pretty close to innocent prior to that lecture!

So I am about 5 CDs into the 17 CD-long Part I and so far I have enjoyed our illusioned hero as he charges around in home-made armor (like a helmet made of plaster) attacking windmills and flocks of sheep. He gets his ass kicked every time.

One side-tale I found interesting occurs when Don Quixote and his ‘squire’ Sancho come across a funeral. A young poet took his own life after being spurned by a beautiful shepherdess. She shows up at the funeral and the dead dude’s friends call her cruel and heartless. She makes this most eloquent speech about how she doesn’t have to accept the advances of anyone, even if they are made with respect. She didn’t encourage his love, and in fact, has discouraged all advances from all men, merely wishing to tend to her flock. His death is not on her head. Don Quixote is so moved by this speech, he offers to champion her in all who would call her less than a worthy woman.

I was surprised to find vomit and bathroom humor in this ancient classic. M3 happen to be in the kitchen at this particular moment, and wanted to know what the hell I was listening to. ‘Don Quixote, love, ‘ said with a sigh. This will be his first, ever-lasting impression of this book. Great.