I’m having a great day in what concerns students. A new student came in who is studying to become a Catholic priest. His seminary requires that he take 30 credit hours in philosophy and he also wants to take my Cervantes class. It’s an absolute dream come true to have a Catholic theologian in the Cervantes class. I do what I can but someone who really knows the doctrine would be perfect.
The funny thing is that the student at first was wary of telling me he’s studying to be a priest. Only after I exhibited signs of extreme joyfulness did he relax. He did look puzzled, though.
Then I heard from my favorite student who was in my Cervantes class the last time I taught it. He’s been accepted into a Spanish PhD program at an Ivy. The guy is… how do I put it?… not diverse. And his research interests are… also not diverse. I mean, they are diverse but in the old sense. Not the prestigious kind of diverse. But he’s kicking ass nonetheless.
Cervantes is truly performing miracles for me. Even the enrollment numbers are fantastic, and that’s in spite of the fact that I teach on Friday mornings when students are notoriously reluctant to be in class.
5 thoughts on “The Cervantes Touch”
I’m amazed by how the musical “Man of La Mancha” completely missed the point of “Don Quixote” with all that “To dream the impossible dream…” stuff. As you know, Cervantes was making fun of sentimental people who try to create their own reality – not celebrating or praising them. He even shows how destructive such people can be: by liberating the prisoners, Don Quixote enabled them to abuse poor Dulcinea. The parallels with today are painfully obvious: the modern-day Don Quixotes are people who want “restorative justice” (rather than punishment) for rapists or murderers. Such people refuse to recognize that human evil is real.
As someone pointed out a long time ago, there is nothing new under the sun.
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Don Quijote keeps trying to force people to proclaim things they know to be untrue. As I explained to my students, this is the root of the totalitarian mentality.
It’s one thing to be content to dream your dreams and explore your imagination. But it turns into something completely different when you try to force others to live in your fantasy world against their will. To use a modern-day example, I don’t care if some guy wants to pretend he’s a woman. But if he starts trying to force me to play act with him, that I don’t accept.
““Man of La Mancha” completely missed the point of “Don Quixote” with all that “To dream the impossible dream…” stuff.”
Except that the MoLM isn’t supposed to be a faithful version of either DQ or Cervantes’ life…
If anything it’s about the transformative power of theater (loosely inspired by an element or two of DQ)
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The funniest adaptation of DQ is the Soviet one where poor DQ is some sort of a proto-Communist commissar and agitator.
“DQ is some sort of a proto-Communist commissar”
Reminds me of an East German murder mystery I read (originally published a year or two before the wall came down).
A group is on vacation in Bulgaria and on some excursion is listening to a local legend. One member of the group goes on a long tangent trying to turn the story into a Marxist parable… and everybody rolls their eyes and tells him to shut up.
Later there’s a conversation where one person wishes that East German newspapers actually had some…. news in them (while painfully trying not to be too critical…).