2015 marks the four hundredth anniversary of the publication of the complete Don Quixote of La Mancha-an ageless masterpiece that is unusually fertile and endlessly adaptable. Flaubert was inspired to turn Emma Bovary into a knight in skirts . Freud studied Quixote's psyche. Twain was fascinated by it, as were Kafka, Picasso, Nabokov, Borges and Welles. The vel has spawned ballets and operas, poems and plays, films and video games, and even shapes the identities of nations. In Quixote, Ilan Stavans, one of today's pre-eminent cultural commentators, explores these many manifestations. Training his eye on the tumultuous struggle between logic and dreams, he reveals the ways in which a work of literature is a living thing that influences and is influenced by the world around it.
Ilan Stavans is Lewis-Sebring Professor in Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College. He is the author of many books, including Spanglish: The Making of a New American Language and A Most Imperfect Union. He is also general editor of The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature.