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Episode 88: How to Read Don Quixote

On this week’s episode of The Literary Life Podcast, Angelina Stanford, Cindy Rollins and Thomas Banks are joined by James Banks to discuss the value of reading Don Quixote and how to approach the book. They talk about translations and how to choose a translation of this particular work. James shares how he first read Miguel de Cervantes’ classic work and gives a little contextual background on him as an author. He also argues that Don Quixote is a romance in the tradition of Spenser and is more of a satire of modernity than of chivalry. Other ideas discussed are the comic duo, the Spanish Renaissance literature, the travel novel, and how to dive into reading Don Quixote.

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Listen to previous episodes with James Banks by going to The Literary Life podcast Episode 32 and Episode 33.

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Commonplace Quotes:

Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren’t very new at all.

attributed to Abraham Lincoln

I take it to be part and parcel of the same great process of Internalisation which has turned genius from an attendant daemon into a quality of the mind. Always, century by century, item after item is transferred from the object’s side of the account to the subject’s. And now, in some extreme forms of Behaviourism, the subject himself is discounted as merely subjective; we only think that we think. Having eaten up everything else, he eats himself up too. And where we ‘go from that’ is a dark question.

C. S. Lewis

Say you’re an idiot. And say you’re a Congressman. But I repeat myself.

Mark Twain

I don’t like the word “allegorical.” I don’t like the word “symbolic.” The word I really like is “mythic,” and people always think that means “full of lies” when what it really means is full of a truth that cannot be told in any other way but a story.

William Golding, BBC interview


by G. K. Chesterton

The people of Spain think Cervantes
Equal to half a dozen Dantes:
An opinion resented most bitterly
By the people of Italy.

Book List:

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

The Discarded Image by C. S. Lewis

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Monsignor Quixote by Graham Greene

History of Tom Jones by Henry Fielding

The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens

The Shadow of Cervantes by Wyndham Lewis

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