Multiple events marking the 400th anniversary of the appearance of Don Quixote, the iconic figure created by Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes, will be held at the University of Rochester. Lectures, an exhibit, a round table discussion, and a movie screening will all be held on the River Campus on Nov. 1 and 3.
Kicking off the festivities will be a lecture by rare books curator Pablo Alvarez at 12:30 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 1, in the Welles-Brown Room of Rush Rhees Library. Titled "Illustrating Cervantes: The Eighteenth Century Interpretation of Don Quixote," the talk will explore the way illustrated editions of the book in the 18th century contributed to the glorification of Cervantes's classic novel about the journeys and adventures of a Spanish nobleman. Following Alvarez's talk, an opening reception for the exhibit "Illustrating Cervantes" will be held at 1:30 p.m. in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections in Rush Rhees Library. The exhibit will be up through Friday, Nov. 4.
Associate Professor Rachel Schmidt of the University of Calgary will discuss "Gustave Doré's Don Quixote: A Case Study in Book Illustration and the Erotics of National Identity" at 5 p.m. on Nov. 1 in the Welles-Brown Room. Schmidt, who earned her doctorate at Princeton University, specializes in Cervantes and early and modern Spanish literature. Her talk will explore issues of national identity and the ways that French images of Spain influenced Spanish national identity as well as the race and gender issues that come into play. Refreshments will be served, and there will be a reception immediately following her presentation.
Leading off the events for Thursday, Nov. 3, will be a round table discussion at 12:30 p.m. in the Gamble Room of Rush Rhees Library. Assistant Professor of Spanish Ryan Prendergast of the University of Rochester will moderate a panel of four Rochester faculty members: Robert ter Horst, professor emeritus of Spanish; John Michael, professor of English; Richard Kaeuper, professor of history; and Andrew Wadoski, a graduate student in the English department.
Concluding the celebration will be a special screening and discussion of Grigori Kozintsev's Don Quixote at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 3, in the Plutzik Library in the Rare Books and Special Collections Library of Rush Rhees Library. The 1957 adaptation of the novel was originally in Russian, but has been dubbed into English.
Additionally, a rare edition of Don Quixote has been chosen as the "Book of the Month" in the Department of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation. A gift from the Friends of the Library, this 1738 edition was the first deluxe edition of the novel, as well as the first edition in Spanish that was printed in England. It is profusely illustrated with 69 copperplate engravings, including the first portrait of Cervantes and an allegorical frontispiece.
Sponsors of the activities include the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures; Department of English; the Film and Media Studies Program; The Friends of the University of Rochester Libraries; the Department of History; the Office of College Advancement; the Office of the College Dean; the Department of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation; and the Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender and Women's Studies.
All events are free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures at (585) 275-4251.