Liberal Arts track or not, Don Quixote ends up on the radar of most post-high gen ed requirements. To a music major like me, any college class that didn’t start with the prefix MUS (MUS 201 = Music Theory II) was a nice break from practicing piano scales. 123123121, with the forgotten cross-thumb at scale degree 4 again.
You know what? I’m late for English class.
Judged by its cover and age, Don Quixote is to be suffered through and endured. My college Professor (with the bowtie) walked us through the subtle joys. It’s a satire, class. It’s making light of heavy things. It’s actually old and funny. The last time I heard that something was old and funny was in Mr. Masse’s 10th grade Poetry class (I remember his name) where we were taught to believe that Bill Shakespeare was one high-larious cat. But, like most cats, Shakespeare is not that funny. Like most cats, he’s irritated that you even exist.
When I took the boys to the library book sale, where everything that they couldn’t give away for free, even as a trial run, is now sold for nickels and dimes, I came across a 1949 translation of the Cervantes work and wagered fifty cents that I’d like it, just like back in college. And I did like it. And I do like it.
There’s nothing like a re-read. It’s like watching E.T. again, where you identify with Elliot who misses his dad and discovers a new alien friend whose countenance reminds you a little of your Aunt Irma. You recognize the story and see the images again. As renewed memories comfort, new ideas jump out. Example: Is E.T. a messiah figure? With the fog and the resurrection and the ascension? Discuss.
By the way, Don Quixote is funny. Not bad for the 1600’s. Not bad for an older starving artist who abandoned more serious work to write a quick novel because he needed the money. Not bad for a 1949 English translation that I bought for a couplea quarters from the library people.
Kee Hoe tay.