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View Diary: Books That Changed My Life—Don Quixote (39 comments)

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  •  Times have changed (8+ / 0-)

    Even though the book is supposed to be funny, I really did not find it so.  Like you, I felt sorry for Don Quixote.  Apparently, this is a common reaction nowadays, which Nietzsche takes note of in On the Genealogy of Morals, where he discusses the changing attitudes toward cruelty:

    … it is not long since princely weddings and public festivals of the more magnificent were unthinkable without executions, torturings, or perhaps an auto-da-fé, and no noble household was without creatures upon whom one could heedlessly vent one’s malice and cruel jokes.  (Consider, for instance, Don Quixote at the court of the Duchess.  Today we read Don Quixote with a bitter taste in our mouths, almost with a feeling of torment, and would thus seem very strange and incomprehensible to its author and his contemporaries:  they read it with the clearest conscience in the world as the most cheerful of books, they laughed themselves almost to death over it).
    Of course, Nietzsche being Nietzsche, he goes on to say that the world was a much more cheerful place when mankind was not yet ashamed of its cruelty.

    Whew!  That kind of cheerful I can do without.

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