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Today In History : January 16, 2022

On This Day In History

On January 16, 1605, Miguel de Cervantes’ El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha, better known as Don Quixote, was published. Many scholars consider this book the first modern novel. Some think of it as one of the greatest novels of all time.

The protagonist is Alonso Quixano, who is obsessed with chivalric romances he reads about. His obsession with stories of knights and chivalry leads to madness and delusions. He adopts the name Don Quixote and, along with his squire Sancho Panza, he roams around La Mancha. He takes on challenges which exist entirely in his mind. His most famous adventure is when he attacks windmills, which he believes to be giants.

Cervantes’ satiric novel was immediately successful. It found readership not only in Spain and Portugal, but also throughout Europe, and even in the Americas. This work inspired important writers, such as Mark Twain, well over 250 years after it was first published. Its lasting appeal can be seen even today, as there have been recent films based upon the novel.

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