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  • Mapping Don Quixote’s RouteSpanish Cartography, English Travelers and National Pride
  • Elizabeth Franklin Lewis (bio)

During the eighteenth century, Don Quijote de la Mancha drew attention for its proliferation of new editions in Spanish; for its numerous translations, especially in English; as well as for the many other “spin-off” works based on the novel and its characters.1 Eighteenth-century translators, editors, and authors identified in this classic story of the misadventures of the “ingenious gentleman” of La Mancha important messages for a modern reading public. Samuel Johnson famously remarked “how few books are there of which one can possibly arrive at the last page. Was there ever anything written by a mere man that was wished longer by its readers excepting Don Quixote, Robinson Crusoe, and the Pilgrim’s Progress?”2 Eighteenth-century essayists and critics considered Don Quijote as more than an entertaining or even inspiring work of fiction: they treated it as an object of study. A 1780 edition created for the Real Academia Española by the printer Joaquín Ibarra added to the novel some important extra-textual material including an analytical study, illustrations, and for the first time, a map that situated fictional evets of the novel in the geography of contemporary eighteenth-century Spain. This map is the first representation of what would come to be known as Don Quixote’s Route—a literary tour made famous by Azorín’s 1905 La ruta de Don Quijote.3 About the same time as the Ibarra edition, British travelers to Spain also evoked elements of [End Page 35] the novel—its setting, characters, and even objects—in their observations of and writings about their experiences with Spanish culture. This essay will compare two early maps of Don Quixote’s route to references to the novel in British travel journals, showing the ways both Spanish and English readers found evidence of Don Quijote in the Spanish landscape. I argue that these editors, geographers, and authors used the novel to support claims of each nation’s cultural superiority thus bolstering national pride.

Enrique Rodríguez-Cepeda identifies various types of eighteenth-century Spanish-language editions of the novel produced in Spain, each intended for a different reading public, including inexpensive pocket versions of the novel (de bosillo) intended for a common audience and high quality luxury editions destined for the libraries of wealthy connoisseurs and government officials as well as gifts to important diplomats and political figures.4 The 1780 Ibarra edition by the Royal Academy presents Cervantes´ novel as an object of admiration and study. Its small run (Rodríguez-Cepeda estimates only about 1000 copies were printed, in comparison to the more than 30,000 copies of the pocket editions), large size, and high economic value indicate that is was an edition destined for collectors.5 This edition also stands out for its preliminary study and biography of Cervantes, for its collection of fine illustrations, and for a map of Spain that highlights Don Quixote’s journeys and adventures, prepared by Tomás López, the Royal Geographer to Charles III (fig. 1). In the prologue to this edition, the Academy states its main interest in undertaking this project as based in a desire to cultivate and promote the study of the Spanish language.6 However, this edition also seeks to build upon, and even improve, an earlier 1737 Spanish-language edition published in London that included the first ever biography of Cervantes, written by Spanish enlightenment thinker Gregorio Mayans, an edition that the Royal Academy calls “magnífica” but also full of errors.7

Following Mayans, the Ibarra edition also includes its own biography and a preliminary study, both written by academy member Vicente de los Ríos.8 The text itself goes back to the original first and second editions of the novel produced by printer Juan de la Cuesta in 1605 and 1615. But added to all of the previous texts was something new—a map showing the itinerary of Don Quixote starting in La Mancha, through Barcelona, and back:

Últimamente para satisfacer más la curiosidad de los lectores, se ha puesto un mapa, que comprende una buena...


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