Iowa City to celebrate Don Quixote for two months

The errant knight and his beloved steed, Rocicante -- photo by TK
The errant knight and his beloved steed, Rocinante, in the Plaza de España, Seville — photo by Michael Hansen

El Caballero don Quijote, in Spanish with English Subtitles

Adler Journalism and Mass Communications Building room E105 — Friday, Sep. 18 at 3:30 p.m.

For Iowa City — a UNESCO City of Literature, home of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, can’t throw a rock without hitting a writer, etc. — this month’s 400th anniversary of Don Quixote is particularly exciting. A staple in English and Spanish classes as well as a plethora of other studies, Don Quixote is widely regarded as the first modern novel. The University of Iowa is celebrating the book’s quadricentennial birthday by hosting “Parody, Plagiarism, Patrimony: Don Quixote in the Age of ELectrical Reproduction” — almost two months of activities and events lauding Miguel de Cervantes’ masterpiece.

The celebrations began on Tuesday, Sep. 14 with “Don Quixote’s Four-Century Saga,” a discussion hosted at FilmScene. Other events include multiple art exhibitions held at different locations (one of which will feature student work) and a Friday-night film series showing both Spanish- and English-language adaptations of the book. A free concert featuring the University’s orchestra will be held as well. Public readings, a symposium, a performance of Man of La Mancha, and a presentation of the connections between Quixote and Russian culture round out the festivities.

Many DQ-focused events will cater to families, while others will be geared towards those with a more scholarly interest. Although the month is being coordinated by the University’s Obermann-International Programs Humanities Symposium, organizations like the Iowa City Community Theatre and the Iowa City Public Library will also host. (The University of Iowa’s Spanish MFA program is an especially exciting particiapnt; the director, Mercedes Nino-Murcia, is herself a Don Quixote expert.) Giant windmills, alas, have yet to be incorporated in the festivities.

More information, including a list of sponsors and a complete calendar, can be found online.

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