A free Education & Community Enrichment program:
Lecture: Don Quixote and the Transformation of Others
Roberto González Echevarría
Sterling Professor of Hispanic and Comparative Literature at Yale University
Tuesday June 6 at 7 pm
Princeton Public Library
65 Witherspoon Street, Princeton
free and open to the public
By turning himself into Don Quixote Alonso Quijano transforms himself into a semblance of whom he wanted to be, the wandering knight Amadís de Gaula, made famous in the chivalric romances that he avidly read. This is the basic story of Cervantes’s masterpiece and the reason why it has endured; modern readers yearn to be someone else, close to their hopes and aspirations and modestly mimic those models. But Don Quixote does so radically, and as he roams through Spain he meets characters whom he inspires to do the same in various ways. Sancho is the most obvious, but the priest and barber, who are also readers of chivalric romances, disguise themselves as characters from those novels, as does Dorotea. In the end, Alonso Quijano has to return to his former self to die in his own bed, a transformation beyond which there are no others
A native of Cuba, Roberto González Echevarría is Sterling Professor of Hispanic and Comparative Literature at Yale. He has a Ph.D. from Yale, and honorary doctorates from Colgate, the University of South Florida, and Columbia. In 1999 he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 2011, President Barack Obama awarded him the National Medal for the Humanities.
A speaker of Spanish, English, French and Italian, González Echevarría covers Spanish, Latin American, French, and Italian literatures. The author of many books in English and Spanish, his Myth and Archive: A Theory of Latin American Narrative won awards from the Modern Language Association of America and the Latin American Studies Association. The Pride of Havana: A History of Cuban Baseball won the first Dave Moore Award (Most Important Book on Baseball). In 2005 Yale published his Love and the Law in Cervantes. He has written for The New York Times Review of Books, The Wall Street Journal, The Village Voice, The Nation, and USA Today. His work has appeared in Spanish, English, French, German, Portuguese, Polish, Italian and Persian.
His undergraduate course on Cervantes’s Don Quixote is available on the web through Open Yale Courses and was made into a book in 2015.
Read about the Roberto González Echevarría Collection on Severo Sarduy and Other Latin American Writers at Princeton University.