This Day in History : Don Quixote First Published

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Don Quixote de la Mancha and Sancho Panza. By Gustave Doré, 1863

Part one of The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha (better known as Don Quixote) by Miguel de Cervantes was first published on January 16, 1605. Part two followed ten years later, and the novel as a whole went on to inspire countless other authors, artists and performers, as well having the honor of being considered a founder of modern Western literature.

Don Quixote is the story of a bookworm who loses himself to the world of the romantic and chivalrous books he reads. He embarks on a series of quests, along with his faithful squire Sancho Panza, to make the world a better place. Unfortunately, not all of the monsters he is fighting are real, and his quests often end badly.

Perhaps the most famous image of Don Quixote is one of him attacking a windmill, which he believes to be an evil giant.


Don Quixote fighting a windmill on his horse, Rocinante. In the background Sancho Panza next to his donkey. By Gustave Doré, 1863

To this day, people still use the phrase "tilting at windmills" as an idiom for attacking imaginary enemies. Another English language word that came from the man himself is "quixotic", which means "impractically idealistic.

The library carries a large number of materials of the original novel itself, as well as works inspired by it. A sampling is listed below (complete with links to the items in our catalog).


Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

Commentaries, reference and study guides


Orson Wells' Don Quixote

Man of La Mancha - Musical based on Don Quixote.

They Might Be Giants - Not to be confused with the musical group of the same name, a movie inspired by Don Quixote, and takes its name from the windmill scene of Don Quixote.


Man of La Mancha - Music from the Broadway show (adapted into the movie with the same name). The score includes the popular song "The Impossible Dream", which has been sung by many artists (including Frank Sinatra, Luther Vandross and Plácido Domingo).

Don Quixote - Classical music.

For the curious, a more complete list of works inspired by Don Quixote has been compiled at Wikipedia.

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This page contains a single entry by Jennifer published on January 16, 2014 9:15 AM.

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