What kind of fiction is Cervantes' "Don Quixote"?
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Don Quixote de la Mancha is considered one of the masterpieces of world literature. The novel narrates the travels of an insane old man who, believing he is a knight-errant, leaves his village of La Mancha and searches for adventure on the highways and in the villages of seventeenth-century imperial Spain. While the two parts of the novel, published in 1605 and 1615, can be read as a unified whole, they differ considerably in style and approach. The first part is considered by many critics to be a straightforward parody of chivalric romances, while the second part is a more ambitious, self-referential work that involves the reader in an examination of the nature of literature itself. Both parts of the work are rich in humor, social and political commentary, and psychological insight. Some of the major themes that Don Quixote explores are love, imagination, morality, societal norms, class, honor, and the relationship between art and nature. Since its publication, Cervantes's novel has inspired the work of the world's great writers, artists, and composers, including Jorge Luis Borges, William Faulkner, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Henry Purcell, Friedrich Mendelssohn, and Richard Strauss. It remains as popular today as when it first appeared and is admired for its depth and complexity as well as for its appeal as a supremely entertaining story.
Don Quixote is a satire. In Cervantes day there were lots of books about chivalry full of 'noble' tales of heroic wandering knights (Eg. King Arthur and the Kinghts of The Round Table). Many of these books were preposterously pompous and grandiose, (especially when compared to the fact that most real knights were not unswervingly honest, brave warriors for truth and justice, but were, in fact ignorant, violent warlords who aquired wealth through violence.)
Cervantes satirises these forgotten works of chivalry with his sharp and comic tales of the insanely chivalrous Don Quixote, who was inspired to the point of madness by his library of books of chivalry.
Don Quijote de La Mancha is a parody based on historical fiction and stories of chivalry which are very inherent to the 16th century in both Spain and most of Europe. The mockery of historical fiction is evident in the elements of chivarly romance, the length of the story as an epic tale, and the main characters themselves which represent that era of Knights and Princesses all gone bizarrely astray.
"Don Quixote" is a Psychological Picaresque novel...and the other genres treated in this novel are Farce, Satire and Parody.
Cervantes' "Don Quixote" is a very important picaresque novel originally written in Spanish. It gained tremendous importance and popularity throught the world. This novel was instrumental in popularising the novelististic genre known as the picaresque novel. This novel led to the rise and developement of the picaresque novel in England and America. The important fact of the matter is that the picaresque novel continues to be written not only in England and America but also in other countries of South Asia.
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