When a Reader Enters a Book: Sampson and Quixote

How would you feel if you heard that a book had been written about you without your knowledge or permission? You would worry, I’m sure, about how it portrayed you. Unfortunately, Don Quixote has just learned from Sancho Panza that a book of their exploits is spreading across Europe and the book portrays him a madman and Sancho a fool. The knight dispatches his chubby squire to fetch the bachelor who has read the book El Ingenioso Hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha.

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When Don Quixote and Sancho Panza Hear of Their Book

At the beginning of Book II, Don Quixote says, “tell me, friend Sancho, what do folks say of me about this town? what opinion has the common people of me? what think the gentlemen, and what the cavaliers? what is said of my prowess, what of my exploits, and what of my courtesy? What discourse is there of the design I have engaged in, to revive and restore to the world the long-forgotten order of chivalry?” (481). Sancho will only agree to discuss his lord’s reputation, however, if he promises not to get angry. The knight gallantly accedes.

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