Book Notes

Volume 1, Prologue Notes from Don Quixote

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Don Quixote Volume 1, Prologue

After addressing the reader, Cervantes tells of how difficult he found it to write this prologue and spoke of his concerns to a friend. He claims to be worried about several things lacking in his book; famous ancient quotes, sonnets by noblemen or celebrated poets, annotations, and footnotes that he sees in other published books of tales of chivalry. He confesses:

"I'm a loafer by nature, I'm too lazy to go hunting for authors who say what I already know how to say without their help." Volume 1, Prologue, pg. 8

His friend is shocked by Cervantes lack of sense and says that there is an obvious solution. He advises him to simply write some sonnets himself and credit them to any name he chooses, insert some familiar Latin quotes, adding the usual citations in the margins, add a few things here and there that lend themselves easily to annotation -- and quick as a wink -- the book will look as all the others and Cervantes may even come out of it looking like a scholar. On the other hand, his friend points out that, this book doesn't really require any of these extras since the book itself is an attack on these silly romantic tales of chivalry. It would serve the readers better to just write clearly and well.

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Cervantes sees the good sense of his friend's advice and agrees with it. He then praises and claims that Don Quijote is the bravest, purest, chastest knight errant seen in many a year and that Cervantes has done the reader a great favor by writing this book. Also, that he is deserving of gratitude for making known to readers Sancho Panza, squire extraordinaire, who embodies the virtues of every squire ever mentioned in every worthless book about chivalry ever printed.

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