Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote is a timeless masterpiece, first published in two parts in 1605 and 1615. Regarded as one of the most influential works in world literature, the novel follows the adventures of an aging gentleman, Alonso Quixano, who becomes convinced that he is a knight-errant named Don Quixote. Accompanied by his loyal squire, Sancho Panza, Don Quixote embarks on a series of misadventures, fighting windmills he believes to be ferocious giants and engaging in chivalrous quests. 

Set in 17th-century Spain, Don Quixote reflects the cultural and historical context of the Spanish Golden Age. Cervantes’s work is a commentary on the changing social and economic landscape of the time, as well as a critique of prevalent literary conventions. The novel’s metafictional elements, including characters aware of their existence in a fictional world, contribute to its innovative narrative structure.

Don Quixote remains relevant today, inspiring countless adaptations, interpretations, and cultural references. Its exploration of the human psyche, the nature of storytelling, and the thin line between reality and illusion has made it a perennial favorite among readers. Various film adaptations and theatrical productions continue to breathe new life into the adventures of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, attesting to the enduring legacy of Cervantes’s magnum opus. Perhaps the best-known adaptation is the musical play Man of La Mancha, which has had numerous Broadway and West End revivals since its 1965 Broadway premiere.

Read the free full text, the full book summary, an in-depth character analysis of Don Quixote, and explanations of important quotes from Don Quixote.

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