UTPA’s Department of Modern Languages and Literatures in conjunction with the UTPA Library and The Office of International Programs are hosting a commemorative reception and exhibit for the 400th anniversary of the book “Don Quixote” by Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes, which narrates the travel adventures of an old gentleman who thinks he is a knight errant.
“This event is important because it exposes people to the impact this masterpiece has had on Hispanic culture,” Dr. Glenn Martinez, chair and associate professor of modern languages and literatures, said.
Students, faculty, staff and the public are invited to travel back four centuries and view a variety of texts and works related to the literary piece at 5 p.m. Attendees will also have the opportunity to hear remarks about the work and its impact on Hispanic culture at the opening reception from 5-6 p.m. from speakers such as Dr. Lino García, professor of Spanish at UTPA; Dr. Blanca Lopez de Mariscal, head of the Department of Humanities at the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM); and Dr. Judith Farré, assistant professor of Spanish at ITESM. García’s lecture will highlight the life of Cervantes, events leading to the publication of the novel and why the novel has endured 400 years.
Examples of texts that will be showcased are four volumes of the novel and the commemorative edition of "400 years of El Quijote" by the Royal Spanish Academy. There will also be 10 statues and four paintings of Don Quixote, and approximately 26 paintings on display, representing the place where Cervantes wrote the novel, the street in Spain where his wife lived and the church where Cervantes and Catalina were married. Also on display will be the front page of the original edition of the novel, among other items. The exhibit at the library is free of charge and will be on display from Feb. 2-March 1.
García said every major university in the United States has a course dedicated to the novel. UTPA offers the course SPAN 4305 – a study of Cervantes that focuses on the novel. He said the novel is considered a masterpiece for many reasons.
“It is both the first modern novel and major novel in the world. It has lasted 400 years in prestige,” García said. “People still read it, study it and write scholarly articles and books attempting to explain it.”
García said Cervantes was also able to integrate all of the major genres of his time into the novel. More editions and translations have been made of this novel than any other work, except the Bible, he said.
Even for those not familiar with the piece, Martinez said, the event will enable individuals to understand the depth and history of the Hispanic culture.
A similar commemorative event will be held on the ITESM campus in Monterrey in mid-February.
For more information, call Martinez at 956/381-3441.