Primary image (Left): Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel de. Don Quixote. Translated by Judge Parry. New York: John Lane, 1900. Artist: Walter Crane
Secondary image (Right): Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel de. The History and Adventures of the Renowned Don Quixote. Translated by T. Smollett, M.D., vol. 1, Dublin: John Chambers, 1796. Artist: Antonio Carnicero, Engraver: John Hall
A room filled to the brim with books, not unlike a head replete with ideas, provides the backdrop for the inauguration of the figure and personage of Don Quixote. At the start of the novel, the reader watches as Alonso Quijano builds his new identity based on the chivalric tales that litter his study. A character that has been hidden in the recesses of Quijano’s mind is brought forward as he shines and tests his inherited armor. The image marks the birth of Don Quixote, adventurer, and un-doer of wrongs. This moment of “Don Quixote Testing His Helmet” exposes the essential concept of creation. As God breathes life into his handiwork, Alonso Quijano surrenders his old life for the life of a knight errant. Armed with the knowledge of the words, phrases, and lines of his books, Don Quixote is ready to begin his adventure.