‘This Devil must certainly be an honest fellow,’ said Sancho, ‘and a good Christian. For if he weren’t, he wouldn’t swear by God and his conscience. So I suppose the there must be some good people even in Hell.’–Sancho Panza speaking about a “Devil” that has that has come to seek Don Quixote (Cervantes, 697).
I would love to do a book review of “Don Quixote”, but this book is so long that I am not sure how one could do it justice in a short space; it is really worthy of a semester long course. I would love have taken one on this book, especially right after the course I had on Chaucer. The book is wonderful on its own, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza are wonderful characters, but the reader (me included) would benefit from some background on the tales of chivalry that Cervantes is parodying; and as a young reader when I first encountered this book, there was no way I knew enough to recognize that he was doing this. \
Now, I am in the second book of “Don Quixote”. The first half was published in 1604 and the second a decade later. The book is going much faster for me now; I feel as though both of the main characters are far deeper and richer in the second book. Don Quixote’s mix of madness and clarity is beautiful. Sancho Panza’s loyalty, simpleness, and sayings often have me laughing out loud. The deeper I get into it, the more I love these two.
There is a reason this book is on so many lists of books that you must read in your life. Of course, so many of the images and situations are still alluded to in our art and culture. But beyond this, it is a spectacular novel.
Go find a copy. Read it.