Monday, October 10, 2005

Socialist Reference

Here we have a review for "Hispanic Heritage Month" concerning Don Quixote.
Now notice how she weaves in Hugo Chavez(socialist maverick?) and the socialist agenda:

"Don Quixote de la Mancha' is 400 years old, and the world is throwing it a birthday party all year

By Maria RecioStar-Telegram Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON - He is a madman with a noble cause, a dreamer with determination, and amazingly relevant for a character created four centuries ago.
Don Quixote de la Mancha, the master work by Miguel de Cervantes about a would-be nobleman's search for beauty and truth, is celebrating its 400th anniversary.
The book, published in Spain in 1605, has touched centuries of writers, painters, singers, dancers and even politicians in ways that make it as relevant and modern as ever.
A yearlong, worldwide celebration of Don Quixote began in January and has included marathon readings of the novel, which was published in two parts, in 1605 and 1615; art exhibitions, including an exhibit of 18th-century tapestries now at Southern Methodist University's Meadows Museum; operas; concerts; and ballets.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a socialist maverick, had his government give away 1 million copies of the book in April.
"We are all going to read Quixote to feed our spirit with this fighter who came out to get rid of injustice and fix the world," Chavez said in Caracas. "To some degree, we are followers of Quixote."
Realistic characters
Why is there such an outpouring?
"I think Don Quixote is the greatest novel ever written," said Michael McGaha, a Cervantes scholar at Pomona College in California. "It was the first modern novel.
"The characters [Don Quixote and his squire, Sancho Panza] develop in a realistic way, and they influence each other."
McGaha, a Texas native, holds a doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin and has devoted his life to the study of the novel.
He is not alone in his admiration for the work. In 2002, the Nobel Institute of Sweden polled 100 of the world's greatest authors and asked them to name the best work of fiction ever written. The hands-down winner: Don Quixote.
American novelist and Nobel prize winner William Faulkner read it every year until his death, and Mexican author Carlos Fuentes reads it annually.
The challenging tale of hope, love, life and ambition has intrigued, amused and confounded readers since Cervantes wrote it. The characters and their actions have become terms that are universally understood, such as "quixotic" and "tilting at windmills."
In Spain, the book's opening line, referring to a village in La Mancha "whose name I don't wish to recall," or "de cuyo nombre no quiero acordarme," is a common expression.
The image of the thin knight on his horse with his squire alongside on a donkey has been immortalized by many artists, including Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali.
"People who have never read the book who see the silhouette of the figure immediately recognize him," said Eduardo Urbina, professor of Hispanic studies at Texas A&M University. "He is an icon for Hispanic culture."
Urbina is director of the Cervantes Project, a joint effort of A&M, the Spanish National Library and Spain's Center for Cervantes Studies to put Don Quixote and other Cervantes writings online in a virtual library at cervantes.
"Don Quixote had an extraordinary influence on all modern literature," said Allen Josephs, a professor who teaches Cervantes at the University of West Florida. "Every age finds a new way to interpret Don Quixote."
Originally, the novel was viewed as comic, but in the 18th century it was taken more seriously as a work that valued the individual in a society. Later, in the 20th century, it was recognized as the first novel because of its complexity and structure.
Many Americans know the outline of the story from the movie and the musical Man of La Mancha, but the novel is more complicated and has many stories within stories.
In the book, a low-ranking nobleman, Alonso Quijano, is so crazed by the stories of knights-errant that he loves to read that he assumes the title of Don Quixote de la Mancha and vows to lead a life of derring-do, devoting himself to Dulcinea, his ideal woman who is, unfortunately, imaginary.
Sancho Panza is loyal and tolerates all of Don Quixote's eccentric ways, but their relationship changes and develops throughout the two-part novel.
"Don Quixote is mad and he is sane at the same time," said Michael Gerli, a Cervantes scholar at the University of Virginia. "Can madmen see the truth?" is one of the compelling themes of the book.
"People love the story because of the absurdity, combined with the nobility of Don Quixote, and the characters, especially Don Quixote and Sancho Panza," said Howard Mancing, professor of Spanish at Purdue University. "Many people can relate to their realism and idealism. Plus, the idea that life should be better than it is has perennial appeal."
Difficult life
Cervantes was born Sept. 29, 1547, in Alcala de Henares, a small town near Madrid. The fourth of seven children, he had a difficult childhood as his father, an itinerant surgeon, traveled throughout Spain.
Cervantes received some education in Madrid but as a young man went to Italy as an aide to a nobleman. He later became a soldier, until his left hand was injured permanently in a battle against the Turks at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571.
After recuperating in Italy, he left for Spain in 1575, when he was captured by Barbary pirates and held as a slave in North Africa for five years. He was freed after a ransom was paid, but his harsh imprisonment stayed with him the rest of his life and influenced his writings. He had more hard luck upon his return, struggling to make a living as a tax collector while trying to have a writing career.
Finally, in his 50s, he had success with Don Quixote.
Cervantes was a contemporary of English playwright William Shakespeare's, and Mancing and other scholars say Shakespeare read Don Quixote.
The Spanish author and playwright died April 23, 1616, the same date that Shakespeare is recorded as dying, although Spain was on the Gregorian calendar and England on the Julian calendar. In reality, Cervantes died 10 days earlier.
In Spain, April 23 is known as the "Dia del libro," or Day of the Book, and is often celebrated with a marathon reading of the 126-chapter book. The Dallas Public Library held its first marathon reading of the book starting Oct. 3.
"It's like the Bible," McGaha said. "Everyone finds their own interpretation."

Maria Recio, (202) 383-6103

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