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(also Don Quijote), the hero of M. Cervantes’ novel El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha (2 vols., 1605-15).
While wandering about the ruined and oppressed Spain of the late 16th century, Don Quixote is always prepared to undertake knightly deeds in the name of love for humanity, even though life roughly crushes his illusions. The incongruity of the latter with historical reality leads to innumerable ironical and grotesque situations. Don Quixote embodies the tragedy of a humanist who becomes convinced that the ideals of justice and harmony in human relations cannot be realized. His tragicomic and humanistic meaning has universal human significance. Don Quixote, the “knight of the doleful countenance,” has been variously interpreted in works of world literature and art, and his name has come to be used to designate a man who is noble, bold, and magnanimous but remote from reality. Don Quixote has often been mentioned in the critical and journalistic essays of many Russian writers, including V. G. Belinskii, N. A. Dobroliubov, D. I. Pisarev, I. S. Turgenev, M. E. Saltykov-Shchedrin, F. M. Dostoevsky, and A. V. Lunacharskii.
REFERENCESTurgenev, I. S. “Gamlet i Don-Kikhot.” In Polnoe sobranie sochinenii i pisem v 28 tomakh. Soch., vol. 8. Moscow-Leningrad, 1964. Pages 169-92.
Derzhavin, K. N. Servantes: Zhizn’ i tvorchestvo. Moscow, 1958. Snetkova, N. Don Kikhot Servantesa. Moscow-Leningrad, 1965. Servantes i vsemirnaia literatura: Sb. statei. Moscow, 1969. Predmore, R. L. The World of Don Quixote. Cambridge (Mass.), 1967.
M. A. GOL’DMAN