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Don Quixote de La Mancha: DQ Illustrated

Overview of print, electronic and film resources, on Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra and his masterpiece Don Quixote de la Mancha

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Don Quixote Illustrated

This page contains a selection of books and online resources with images by artists and book illustrators depicting scenes and characters from the novel Don Quixote de la Mancha, by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra.

I: Books and Exhibition Catalogs with illustrations of Don Quixote

II: Information about the illustrated editions of Don Quixote.

I.Books and Exhibition Catalogs with Illustrations of Don Quixote

II. Illustrations of Don Quixote

Few novels are as suitable for illustration as Don Quixote de la Mancha, with its abundance of action adventures, processions of characters from all walks of Spanish life, carnavalesque costumes, remarkable diversity of animal life and picturesque scenery, from the inhospitable plains of La Mancha to the rugged Sierra Morena.  Although the novel had immediate success as an entertaining read, the early editions were not illustrated.

Interest in illustrating the adventures of the Knight and his Squire took off slowly. By the 18th c. artists of all nations artistically rendered characters and scenes within the novel and outside.  As Sancho wagered (Part II,71 ) "...before long there won't be a tavern, an inn, a hostelry, or a barbershop where the history of our deeds isn't painted."  It has become the most frequently illustrated book in history.  The first known depiction of the figure of Don Quixote is a German engraving from 1613 of the Knight of the Sad Countenance and his entourage, published in Cartel, Auffzuge, Vers and Abrisse in Leipsig in 1614. This was followed in 1618 and 1620 by French and English editions with an illustrated title page or single illustration. In 1657 a Dutch edition included many illustrations by Jacobo Savry. 

The USC Libraries collection contains editions with illustrations from the 17th to the 21st c., including the first illustrated English edition, Part I-II, published in London in 1687 and the Quechua-Spanish bilingual edition of Part I, published in Lima in 2005.  By far the most recognized illustrations of the Quixote are the 1863 romantic engravings by Gustave Doré, represented in various editions. Beyond the printed book there are a "wild variety" of imagery and creative works-tapestries, statues, posters, ceramics, calendars and all manner of tourist souvenirs, especially in Spain, Latin America and Puerto Rico--depicting Don Quixote and Sancho and their imaginary world. (2/2009BR)

Librarian, Special Collections/Boeckmann

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Barbara Robinson
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