“Los Pajaritos del Aire”
Disappearing Menus and After-Dinner
Speaking in Don Quixote
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra’s Don Quixote was published in Madrid, in two parts—the first in 1605, the second in 1615. It recounts the midlife crisis of Alonso Quijano, a late sixteenthcentury Spanish gentleman of limited means who reads too many romances of chivalry, which he apparently believes to be true accounts of history. Suffering from a limited diet and a lack of sleep, he takes it into his head to become a knight-errant, adopts the name Don Quixote, and sets out across Spain in search of chivalric services to be performed. He engages with the world on the basis of his chivalric romances, but travels with a down-to-earth and gluttonous squire, Sancho Panza, a peasant farmer who is happy to take a holiday from his wife, but who is sufficiently ignorant to half-believe Quixote’s assurances that it is usual for chivalric servants to be ultimately rewarded with the governorship of some island. As they proceed, these two physiological stereotypes—the fat man and the lean man—learn to negotiate both with each other and with a usually benign world. This intensely ironic work contains philosophical, political, and moral discourse and plenty of commentary on literary theory as it holds up a superficially absurd
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Publication information: Book title: Educated Tastes: Food, Drink, and Connoisseur Culture. Contributors: Jeremy Strong - Editor. Publisher: University of Nebraska Press. Place of publication: Lincoln, NB. Publication year: 2011. Page number: 194.
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