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Events celebrate 'Don Quixote,' March 8-10

A series of events celebrating the 400th anniversary of the great literary work "Don Quixote" is set for Tuesday through Thursday, March 8-10.

A public reading, a film screening and an academic colloquium -- all under the title "Book Errant: 400 Years Reading 'Don Quixote'" -- are planned by the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures and the Humanities Council.

The first part of Miguel de Cervantes' "Don Quixote" was published in 1604 and has been a bestseller since day one. The most published and translated book after the Bible, it has been described as the first great European novel, the first work of modern literature and the foundation of Latin American fiction. In 2002, the novel was voted the best book of all time by a group of 100 distinguished writers.

"'Don Quixote' is synonymous with the invention of the novel," said Marina Brownlee, the Robert Schirmer Professor of Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures and comparative literature. "This beguiling book, which Faulkner read once a year and which Malraux saw as the most meaningful book for survivors of concentration camps, explores the meaning of history, the arts and technology -- of human nature itself -- in ways that speak to the 21st century as powerfully as they do to the 17th."

The book describes the journeys and adventures of Don Quixote, a knight errant, and his sidekick, Sancho Panza. "'Book Errant'" considers 'Don Quixote' and its intriguing legacy in verbal, visual and filmic expressions from the first 400 years," Brownlee said.

The reading will begin at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the Chancellor Green rotunda and will feature a multilingual "galaxy of quixotic texts" read by University faculty and students. A reception will follow.

The 1957 film, "Don Kikhot," directed by Grigori Kozintsev, will be shown at 8 p.m. Wednesday in 106 McCormick. This Russian film is considered the definitive cinematic version of Cervantes' masterpiece, featuring the great star Nikolai Cherkasov in the lead role.

The academic colloquium will run from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Thursday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday in 101 East Pyne. Participants will include Princeton faculty members Marina Brownlee, Paul Firbas, Francisco Prado Vilar, Nigel Smith and Michael Wood, as well as scholars from other institutions.

For more information, contact the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures at (609) 258-7180.

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