Quotes about Miguel de Cervantes
19 Sourced Quotes
The true use of Shakespeare or of Cervantes, of Homer or of Dante, of Chaucer or of Rabelais, is to augment one's own growing inner self.... The mind's dialogue with itself is not primarily a social reality. All that the Western Canon can bring one is the proper use of one's own solitude, that solitude whose final form is one's confrontation with one's own mortality.
Modern critics, who refuse to let a plain thing alone, have now started a theory that Cervantes's work is a vast piece of "symbolism." If so, Cervantes didn't know it himself and nobody thought of it for three hundred years. He meant it as a satire upon the silly romances of chivalry.
Even when the problem of the access to technology is solved so that anyone who wishes can have access to technology, there still remains a problem. For example, just about anyone has access to a public library (at least in America). In that library we find the greatest, most profound, most illuminating literature that human beings have so far produced. Do most people read these books? Have you read Cervantes? Have you read the sonnets of Shakespeare? Have you read Hegel or Nietzsche? Their books are in the library, you have access to them, why have you not familiarized yourself with this literature? (Even if you have, I think you will agree that most people have not. Why?)
The slight, the facile and the merely self-glorifying tend to drop away over the centuries, and what we are left with is the bedrock: Homer and Milton, the Greek tragedian and Shakespeare, Chaucer and Cervantes and Swift, Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy and James and Conrad. Time does not make their voices fainter, on the contrary, it reinforces our sense of their truth-telling capacity.
Someone needs to mention what may be lost. Of course, one of the problems is that what I would judge to be a negative consequence, someone else might see as a positive consequence. For example, telephones in automobiles seem to me a very bad idea. So does spending a lot of hours "communicating" on the Internet when one could use that time reading Cervantes' Don Quixote.
A comparably capacious embrace of beauty and pleasure - an embrace that somehow extends to death as well as life, to dissolution as well as creation - characterizes Montaigne's restless reflections on matter in motion, Cervantes's chronicle of his mad knight, Michelangelo's depiction of flayed skin, Leonardo's sketches of whirlpools, Caravaggio's loving attention to the dirty soles of Christ's feet.
With the dead there is no rivalry. In the dead there is no change. Plato is never sullen. Cervantes is never petulant. Demosthenes never comes unseasonably. Dante never stays too long. No difference of political opinion can alienate Cicero. No heresy can excite the horror of Bossuet.