Don Quixote for the 21st Century: the first road novel
Time: 10:30 - 13:00
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: HLT186
Duration: 2 sessions (over 2 weeks)
What is the course about?
Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616) was the Spanish novelist and playwright responsible for writing Don Quixote, considered to be the first modern European novel. It has been an inspiration for generations of writers, artists and readers worldwide. Writers from Fyodor Dostoyevsky to Graham Greene, film makers such as Orson Welles and Terry Gillian and artists including Paul Cezanne, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí, have all fallen under the spell of the old Spanish knight who, inspired by all the chivalric romances he has read throughout his life, decides to go on the road to sort out the injustices of Sixteenth Century Spain. In 2002, it was chosen as the most meaningful book of all time in a survey of around 100 well-known authors from 54 countries (The Guardian, 8.5.2002).
Don Quixote portrays Spain’s social, cultural and political landscape during the early modern period when one of the first ethnic cleansings in history is being carried out, on royal orders, by eliminating and expelling from Spain all those considered to be of ‘impure blood’, be they Jews or Muslims.
Cervantes captures the complex and marvellous polyphony of the voices of his time through a unique and cinematic form of storytelling. Published in two volumes in 1605 and 1615, Don Quixote is a novel in which imagination takes centre stage by exploring a world characterized by doubt and uncertainty. It is a novel which breaks ‘the fourth wall’ by forcing its principal characters to be aware that they are being written through the interplay of ever fugitive multiple narrators. It is, moreover, a novel which informs the reader from chapter nine onwards that what they are reading is merely a translation from the original Arabic version.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
This course explores key moments of Cervantes's book in order to understand why it is considered to be the first modern novel.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
Have a clear understanding of the literary importance of El Quijote.
Discuss literary aspects related to the art of the novel.
Have an introduction to Spain during the XVI and XVII century.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is an introductory course and does not assume previous study or reading although you will need a good grasp of English to keep up with the course. As with most of our humanities and cultural courses, an open mind and a willingness to listen to and think about different points of view are more important than specific levels of skills. Thus, this course is for those who enjoy reading and discussing novels and are interested in sharing ideas and listening to the views of others.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Tutor presentation, participant questions and comments, discussions and work on some novel chapters, film extracts, interviews and documents.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Materials and links to readings and film extracts will be provided by the tutor.
Dr. Óscar Salgado-Suárez teaches Spanish language and cultural courses at Birkbeck, University of London; Imperial College and City Lit. His cultural research interests are 20th and 21st Century Spanish and Latin American visual and literary representations with a focus on storytelling, affects and humour studies in relation to historiography, national identities and power formations.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.