On the Storied Life of Miguel de Cervantes and His Greatest Creation, Don Quixote
This Week on the History of Literature Podcast with Jacke Wilson
For tens of thousands of years, human beings have been using fictional devices to shape their worlds and communicate with one another. Four thousand years ago they began writing down these stories, and a great flourishing of human achievement began. We know it today as literature, a term broad enough to encompass everything from ancient epic poetry to contemporary novels. How did literature develop? What forms has it taken? And what can we learn from engaging with these works today? Hosted by Jacke Wilson, an amateur scholar with a lifelong passion for literature, The History of Literature takes a fresh look at some of the most compelling examples of creative genius the world has ever known.
Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616) was a soldier, a civil servant, a playwright, and a poet. He was kidnapped by pirates and held prisoner for almost five years. Later in life, he turned to writing novels, and through his masterpiece Don Quixote, he became the most celebrated and important figure in Spanish literature. In this episode, Jacke takes a look at Cervantes’ incredible life and his most indelible creations, including the ingenious (and deluded) knight, his trusty squire, and the blurry landscape where windmills are giants and life is a romantic adventure.