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More Virgil than Cervantes

The British Library has recently purchased a rare copy of a little-known French verse adaptation of Cervantes’ novel Don Quijote. The Abbé Jouffreau de Lagerie (or Lazerie), published his Don Quichote: Poëme héroï-comique, in two parts in 1

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


The early illustrated editions of Don Quixote: the Low Countries tradition

The first complete illustrated edition of Cervantes’s novel of Don Quixote appeared not in the original Spanish but in a Dutch translation, printed in Dordrecht in 1657. It contained as many as 24 illustrations, plus two frontispieces. Jaco

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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

Quixote and the cats

Cats and Quixote

At the opening of Don Quixote Cervantes describes the would-be knight’s bachelor home life: In a village of La Mancha, the name of which I have no desire to call to mind, there lived not long since one of those gentlemen that keep a lance

7-headed Luther

Allegories with labels

A minor by-product of the Charlie Hebdo controversy has been the realisation that even in their less controversial cartoons the cartoonists made sure the figures they were lampooning were recognised because they were clearly identified in a


Don Quixote as Napoleon: propaganda in Spain’s war of independence, I.

Cervantes’ novel Don Quixote (1605, 1615) has not only inspired later writers, artists and subsequently film-makers, but his characters have also been used for other purposes, notably in propaganda and advertising. The behaviour of Don Quix

Cide Hamete Benengeli

Mysterious Manuscripts, lost and found

In the current British Library exhibition ‘Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination’, pride of place is occupied by Horace Walpole’s foundational 1764 shocker, The Castle of Otranto. Walpole’s preface reads: The following work was found i

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

Quixote Bronze head 1730

Robotic and Quixotic

The current exhibition at the Science Museum on Robots and their history prompts some thoughts about robots in Spain. Probably the most famous robot in Spanish literature is the bronze head in the house of Don Antonio Moreno, which appears