What Do I Read Next?
Cervantes's first book, La Galatea (1684), is one of the few books in Don Quixote's library to escape the fire. The work is a pastoral novel.
Cervantes's Exemplary Novels is comprised of stories that depict examples of exemplary behavior. Some tales, like "Lady Cornelia," are traditional cloak-and-dagger romances. Others are Kafkaesque; "Doctor Glass Case" chronicles the story of a servant boy who gets to attend school. He goes mad when he falls in love, and in his madness he believes he is made of glass.
Cervantes's final novel was completed three days before his death. Published posthumously, Los trabajos de Persiles y Sigismunda is a scathing denunciation of reason and science in favor of the idylls of the golden age of Spain. The story itself is a quest, as several characters leave an imperfect society and eventually arrive at superior wisdom.
Voltaire's classic satire, Candide, is a picaresque adventure that unmasks many of the pretensions of 1750s Europe. The principal characters are engaged in a quest for understanding.
R. E. Raspe wrote a collection of stories based loosely on the tales of the adventurer Karl Friedrich Hieronymus (Baron von Munchhausen) in 1785. The volume is titled Baron Munchausen's Narrative of His Marvellous Travels and Campaigns in Russia.
Published at approximately the same time as Don Quixote, Shakespeare's Hamlet is the tale of a prince trying to solve the mysterious death of his father. Under the ruse of madness, he succeeds in exposing the perpetrator.
An excellent example of a chivalric tale is Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights, by John Steinbeck. The story retells the exploits of the legendary King Arthur and the tragic Lancelot.
Charlotte Lennox wrote The Female Quixote, or the Adventures of Arabella to warn young women against reading novels. In her story, set just outside of colonial Philadelphia, Arabella pays so much attention to novels that she is unable to attract a husband. In fact, she goes mad as a result of so much reading. A family friend finally works out a romantic ruse by which to cure her.
Gulliver's Travels is Jonathan Swift's satire of Europe, set in the first half of the eighteenth century. Gulliver visits many strange lands, and as a result gains a new perspective on his own country. Upon his return home, he is pronounced mad and spends his remaining days talking to his horses.