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After a lifetime of reading books on chivalry, Don Quixote decides to embark on a quest of his own. Taking up a lance and sword, he sets out to become a wandering knight, defending the helpless and vanquishing the wicked. Hopelessly unprepared and increasingly losing his grip on reality, he travels across Spain accompanied by his faithful and equally ill-suited squire, each calamitous adventure widening the gap between reality and the romantic ideal of Quixote's books. Cervantes' comic vel is widely regarded as one of the foundation stones of modern fiction. James Fenton's stage adaptation of Don Quixote marks the 400th anniversary of Cervantes' death. It premiered at the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, with the Royal Shakespeare Company in March 2016. This playtext contains song lyrics by James Fenton. The music was composed by Grant Olding.
James Fenton was born in Lincoln in 1949 and educated at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he won the Newdigate Prize for poetry. He has worked as political journalist, drama critic, book reviewer, war correspondent, foreign correspondent and columnist. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and was Oxford Professor of Poetry for the period 1994-99. His poetry collections include Children in Exile and Out of Danger, for which he was awarded the Whitbread Prize. He wrote libretti for Haroun and the Sea of Stories (New York City Opera) and Tsunami Song Cycle (BBC Symphony Orchestra), and his theatre includes Pictures from an Exhibition (Young Vic), and Tamar's Revenge and The Orphan of Zhao (both for the Royal Shakespeare Company). In 2007 James Fenton was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry. He is editor of The New Faber Book of Love Poems. Yellow Tulips: Poems 1968-2011 was published by Faber & Faber in 2012.