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Don Quixote de La Mancha: Introduction

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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(to browse works in the Cervantes Collection enter the name of the collection in the above search box)

Don Quixote at USC

This guide offers an overview of the resources available on Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (b. 1547-d.1616) and his masterpiece Don Quixote de la Mancha (Pt. I 1605 and Pt.II 1615) and assists you in locating them in USC Libraries. 

I: Contents and Search Tips

II: The Legacy of Cervantes

For questions or an appointment with the subject librarian contact

I. Contents and Search Tips

Contents of this Guide:

  • Introduction--tips for getting started and locating materials on Don Quixote at USC.
  • New Books in the USC Libraries by Cervantes, updated regularly.
  • Reference Sources--essential print and electronic sources, e.g. encyclopedias, bibliographies.
  • Don Quixote in Spanish--a selection of several Spanish editions.
  • Don Quixote in Translation--translations in English and other languages.
  • Don Quixote Illustrated--print and digital resources with images related to Don Quixote.
  • Don Quixote and Film--books and articles and film adaptations of Don Quixote.
  • Don Quixote and Journals--key print journals and article databases.
  • Don Quixote and Archival Resources at USC

Tip # 1: Each page of the guide has a selection of databases specific to the topic on the page, Web resources and a link to HOMER, the online catalog.

Tip # 2: Search HOMER under the name Quixote (English) or Quijote (Spanish).

Tip # 3: The L.A. Murillo Cervantes Collection in Special Collections contains the largest selection of resources at USC on Cervantes. Search HOMER by the name of this collection.

For questions or an appointment with the subject librarian: email

The Legacy of Cervantes

Cervantes' Don Quixote de la Mancha is a work of universal appeal and influence. It is currently celebrated in a decade- long 400th anniversary with exhibitions, lectures, public readings, film showings and conferences in many countries around the world. Transcending all borders and cultures, it has had lasting impact on literature, language, music, dance and cinema. It is widely recognized as the first and greatest novel ever written; the prototype for the modern novel. A recent survey of one hundred of the best- known authors from 54 countries voted it "the most meaningful book of all time."

Cervantes has been an inspiration to novelists for at least two hundred years. In the U.S. he greatly influenced many writers such as Mark Twain and William Faulkner. England is credited with Don Quixote's first translation, the first critical edition, and the first biography of Cervantes.  Many English novelists acknowledge Cervantes' influence, from Charles Dickens to Graham Greene. According to Spanish author Camilo Jose Cela, "If you have read Dickens, if you have read The Pickwick Papers, it is pure Cervantes..."  Many Spanish and Spanish American poets claim Cervantes as their muse, but less well known is his inspiration to Greek, Russian, Rumanian and Swedish poets.

The Cervantes Prize has been awarded for lifetime achievement in Spanish letters since 1976, and modern Spanish is often referred to as "the language of Cervantes."  Don Quixote also provides the English language with popular expressions such as "tilting at windmills," "the sky's the limit" "a wild-goose chase" and the familiar "quixotic," from the novel's idealistic protagonist. Cervantine scholarship is an international activity, striking in its diversity and quantity. Each year there is a steady stream on Cervantes' life and works and more recently on Cervantes and cinema. Many of the best articles appear in the Anales Cervantinos and Cervantes: Bulletin of the Cervantes Society of America.

Since 1903 filmmakers have attempted to adapt Don Quixote to the silverscreen or in televised productions, with varying degrees of success. The critically-acclaimed 2002 documentary Lost in La Mancha best depicts the artistic process and dilemmas involved in adapting the novel to film.  Even the field of medicine has a conceptual model associated with film, entitled the "Don Quixote effect," which encourages empathy and altruism in medical students by bridging the gap between an illusion on film of a terminally ill patient and the reality of patient care.

Cervantes and his masterpiece are also on the Internet on hundreds of websites and a digital library, Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes, is named in his honor.  Don Quixote continues to resonates with young and old.  The characters and adventures of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, their images and exploits, are ubiquitous and recognizable even by many who have not read the novel or seen the films. (2/2009BR)

Librarian, Special Collections/Boeckmann

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Barbara Robinson
Office: Special Collections, DML 250

Phone: (213) 821-2261