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Don Quixote Cerv.336

Imagining Don Quixote

‘Imagining Don Quixote’, a free exhibition focusing on how Cervantes’ novel has been illustrated over time, opened in the British Library’s Treasures Gallery on 19 January and runs until 22 May. It explores how different approaches to illus

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One that got away. Daniel Urrabieta Vierge’s illustrations of Don Quixote (1906)

Curating an exhibition inevitably involves a process of selection or, better maybe, de-selection. Items are chosen to support a coherent narrative, but practical considerations inevitably supervene. The copy of a particular book may be in p

Will Gompertz Don Quixote

The Cervantes Corpus

The jury is out about the question whether the remains exhumed in Madrid are those of Miguel de Cervantes, creator of Don Quixote (pronounced ‘QUICK sot’ in English).The BBC’s Will Gompertz (picture below from BBC i-Player) came to the Brit


The 'Shakespearomania' of Karl Marx

Karl Marx's magnum opus Das Kapital (Hamburg, 1872; British Library C.120.b.1.) may have a reputation as an exceedingly dry and difficult book (causing William Morris to suffer acute ‘agonies of confusion of the brain’ in his reading of the

Tirant IB52043

A Catalan classic rediscovered

Tirant lo Blanc, the chivalric adventures of Sir Tirant the White, by Joanot Martorell and Joan Galba, was first printed in Valencia by Nicolaus Spindeler in 1490.The works with which it is most often compared are Amadis of Gaul and Don Qui

Aesop & Marcolph rotated

Straight man, funny man

The Latin Dialogue of Solomon and Marcolf dates back to the 11th century. Solomon appears in his traditional guise of the sage, uttering dicta of impeccable orthodoxy and solemnity. The peasant Marcolf lowers the tone; he ripostes with eart

Battle of Lepanto

The Art of War: Lepanto 1571

The naval battle of Lepanto, fought off the western Greek coast on 7 October 1571, was hailed as a victory against the Ottoman empire as much artistic as political. It was sung in hendecasyllables by the greatest poets of the time (Góngora


Basque Books in the British Library

The first book in the Basque language was printed in Bordeaux as late as 1545. It is a collection of poems by the vicar of St.-Jean-Pied-de-Port, Bernat Etxepare, entitled Linguae Vasconum Primitiae (‘First fruits of the Basque language’).


Text into image: Quevedo and the Table of Cebes

The Greeks had two words for us: ekphrasis (the verbal description of a work of art) and topothesia (the description of an imagined place). As topothesia is the less common, look it up in your copy of Erasmus De copia: Quae si verae sint,