The History of That Ingenious Gentleman, Don Quijote de la Mancha

By Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra; Burton Raffel | Go to book overview

Prologue

Leisurely reader: you don't need me to swear that I longed for this book, born out of my own brain, to be the handsomest child imaginable, the most elegant, the most sensible. But could I contradict the natural order of things? Like creates like. So what could my sterile, half-educated wit give birth to except the history of a puling child, withered, whining, its head stuffed with all kinds of thoughts no one else would even think of, like a man bred in a jail cell, where everything grates on your nerves and every new sound makes you still sadder. Peace, a calm spot, delightful meadows, serene skies, murmuring brooks, and a tranquil spirit — they turn even the most sterile Muses fertile, filling the world with wonderful, delightful offspring. Sometimes a father has an ugly child, utterly unlovely, but love drapes a veil over his eyes so he's blind to its faults and sees them as wit and charm and describes them to his friends as clever and graceful. But though I may seem to be Don Quijote's parent, I'm only his stepfather, and I'm not interested in saying things just because everybody else does, or in begging you, dearest reader, with tears in my eyes, to please forgive or overlook my child's faults — because you're neither his relative nor his friend, and your soul sits in its own body, you can make up your mind for yourself, with the best of them, and by God you're the boss in your own house, like a king in charge of his tax-collectors. You know the old saying: whatever I've got under my coat is mine, not the king's. Which means you're under no obligation at all, so you can say anything you like about this history, you don't have to worry about being insulted if you don't like it or rewarded if you do.

But I would have preferred to give it to the world just as it is, plain and simple, not decorating it with a prologue or an endless list of all the sonnets, epigrams, and elegies we put in the front of books. Because, let me tell you, though writing the book was hard work, nothing was harder than this preface you're reading right now. I kept picking up my pen and putting it down, over and over, not knowing what I was supposed to write, and once, when I was sitting like that, just hanging fire, motionless, with the paper in front of me, a pen stuck behind my ear, my elbow on the desk, my hand on my cheek, wondering what I ought to say, one of my friends suddenly came in, clever, smart, and seeing me so buried in thought asked me why, and I didn't hide anything from him, I told him I was worried about the prologue I had to write for Don Quijote's history, and beginning to think I neither wanted to write it nor let that noble knight's adventures see the light of day.

"And why shouldn't I be worried what that time-honored old law-giver we call the Public will say, seeing me, after this long sleep in the silence of oblivion, coming out again, now, with all my years on my back, with reading matter about as juicy as dry grass, totally unoriginal, and a feeble style — a book thin in learned conceits, lacking any erudition or serious ideas, without a single annotation in the margins and absolutely no footnotes at the back, the way I see other books (even if they're stuffed with lies and

-3-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The History of That Ingenious Gentleman, Don Quijote de la Mancha
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 733

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.