Major Cervantes exhibition marks anniversary

12th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

12 April 2005, MADRID-Spain's National Library opened its watershed Don Quixote: Biography of a Book exhibition to celebrate the nation's iconic work of literature on the 400th anniversary of its publication.

12 April 2005

MADRID-Spain's National Library opened its watershed Don Quixote: Biography of a Book exhibition to celebrate the nation's iconic work of literature on the 400th anniversary of its publication.

King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia inaugurated the exhibition at the National Library, which has 3,000 copies of the book in Spanish and another 2,800 in dozens of languages, along with a valuable collection of drawings and etchings on the work by Miguel de Cervantes.

The exhibition, organized in chronological fashion, shows how the book went from being a work of popular fiction to a classic work of world literature.

The National Library's show is one of the main events organized in Spain this year to mark the 400th anniversary of the publication of the first edition of Cervantes's book.

Hundreds of events are being staged in Spain and around the world to honour the author and his work this year.

The exhibition was mounted with the idea that "the National Library is the home of Spanish books and, therefore, was responsible for showing society what this book was about," National Library official Mercedes Dexeus said.

The inauguration of the exhibition, tracing the history of the book via a series of exhibits, was also attended by Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and several renowned writers.

The exhibition covers five periods: Appearance and early success of "Don Quixote" (1605-1625); from popular work to classic of world literature (1637-1780); Spanish editions from the end of the 18th century (1780-1800); the Romantic period and industrialization; and the journey of "Don Quixote" (20th century).

A section called the Quixote Laboratory, which provides visitors with audiovisual and interactive displays, ends the exhibition.

The show brings together the gems of the National Library's Cervantes collection, which includes more than 18,000 books and documents related to "Don Quixote," the first modern novel.

In addition, the exhibition launches the special programme of events organized by the National Library on "Don Quixote," including conferences, academic workshops and commemorative publications.

Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes and Chilean author Gonzalo Rojas, among others, will be conference participants.

A number of these events will take place at La Carpa, a new venue created by the National Library to promote learning among the young.

Four centuries ago, in late 1604, the first part of "Don Quixote, a book that came out in 1605, was printed.

The book was apparently printed in Madrid by Juan de la Cuesta and paid for by bookseller Francisco de Robles, who brought out a new edition in the spring of 1605 following the book's initial success.

The story of the knight's adventures became so popular that Alonso Fernandez de Avellaneda published a false second part in 1614.

The following year, Cervantes published a second volume of the adventures of the knight of La Mancha, working with the same printer as in the first edition.

Today, "Don Quixote" is considered a benchmark not just in Spanish but in world literature.

The story of Don Alonso Quixano, the hero of the book, has inspired scores of authors from different cultures and times.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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