Friday, September 29, 2006 at 10:56 AM
...de cuyo nombre no quiero acordarme...
(At a village of la Mancha whose name I do not wish to remember...)
I was only a kid the first time I heard those words, words that always bring to mind the image of a lanky hidalgo riding a famished horse in the company of the good man Sancho Panza, at the back of a donkey.
I recall immediately giants and windmills, of course, but also extraordinary lands, such as the island of Barataria, mythical objects like Mambrino's helmet or the balsam of Fierabras, the knight of the white moon, idealized doncellas, irony, fun and cruelty -- a feast of creativity, wit and imagination. And against a dark background, the image of its mastermind, Don Miguel de Cervantes.
Cervantes was born in Spain on September 29th, 1547, and what a life he had: he engaged in several duels, fought against the Turks (where he lost the use of his left hand), was kidnapped and imprisoned in Algeria for 5 years, got married twice and dabbled in all kind of jobs, even while he was writing.
Today, we want to say happy birthday to Don Miguel and pay tribute to his great, imaginative mind. Indeed, he wrote a lot: poems, plays, novellas and novels -- certainly, not just El Quijote.
Curious to find out more? Try an Advanced Book Search by author, browse a bit and discover the richness of his literature. And if you're not a native speaker, El Quijote in its original Spanish is an excellent choice of classic titles with which to practice.