1. Introduction

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Cervantes’ Don Quixote (SPAN 300)

The professor introduces himself and the course. He starts explaining the reasons why Don Quixote is a masterpiece and its place and relevance in the history of Western literature. He then comments on the proper pronunciation of the word “Quixote” and the reasons of mispronunciations in French and English. A full explanation of the real title of the work (El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha) follows, along with some key clarifications about the language of the book and few basic notes on historical and cultural background. González Echevarría then moves to the present, commenting on Don Quixote’s heritage in the Western world, proved by the use of words as “quixotic”, and the success of its myth up to nowadays. He finishes his lecture going back to its beginning, referring to the reasons of the endurance of this work, which rely on its deep questioning of the human self. The session ends with an overview of the syllabus.

00:00 – Chapter 1. Don Quixote and its Place in World Literature
10:45 – Chapter 2. Explanation on Pronunciation and Full Title
29:07 – Chapter 3. Clarification about Language; Historical and Cultural Background
41:21 – Chapter 4. Don Quixote as Literary Myth in the Present Western World
52:43 – Chapter 5. Course Overview

Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: http://open.yale.edu/courses

This course was recorded in Fall 2009.