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The fact that quixotism behaves like a meme in eighteenth-century literatures in English has significant bearing on how we understand “global” or “world” literatures today. Each time a version of Don Quixote appears in a British or early American text, from Parson Adams in Henry Fielding’s Joseph Andrews (1742) to Dorcasina in Tabitha Gilman Tenney’s Female Quixotism (1801), it becomes increasingly difficult to say that the cultural phenomenon of quixotism belongs to Cervantes. In other words, when Quixote becomes “globalized,” he also becomes deracinated, complicated by what Eve Tavor Bannet identifies as his role in negotiating “the relation between local cultures and transnational models.”1

Quixote does this work of cultural translation between the local and the global more prominently than most characters in eighteenth-century fiction because the Quixote character was so widely reproduced, an archetype so influential that it creates its own set of heuristic problems. Along with The Pilgrim’s Progress (1678) and Robinson Crusoe (1719), Don Quixote (1605–15) was one of the few books that Samuel Johnson famously wished was even longer, a sentiment that reflects the extent to which eighteenth-century readers and writers demanded both translations and reproductions of Quixote.2 Such extensive rewriting of Quixote lends the character what David Brewer calls the quality of “inexhaustibility.” As Brewer writes [End Page 49] of another inexhaustible character, Shakespeare’s Falstaff, “the proof of … detachability and inexhaustibility lies in his capacity to migrate into new texts.”3 Crucial here is the relationship between inexhaustibility and detachability, the capacity of Quixote to become something bigger and more culturally variegated than Cervantes’ hidalgo as he migrates into new texts written for differing regional and national audiences with conflicting political purposes.

Not only, then, can we think about world literature in terms of character migration, how characters take on new meaning when written for different national or international audiences. We can also look to quixotism specifically as a model for addressing the heuristic problem of world literature: the problem of literature’s “belonging” once it leaves home and is changed by the journey. Quixote is a model of heuristic problems arising from deracination, imitation, and distortion, a figure belonging simultaneously to the Spanish golden age and the wider literary world. As a globally claimed and consumed character, he is also an archetype of archetypes, a figure for whom imitation of a preexisting and prominent character model—the chivalric knight—is a defining and regenerative feature.

In this sense, we might say that the heuristic problem of quixotism in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries—the period over which the quixote became a character archetype beyond Spanish borders and across the Atlantic—is also the heuristic problem of world literature, which necessarily reflects tensions between the local ownership and the global impact of narratives that migrate. Accordingly, this essay argues for the importance of eighteenth-century quixotism for contemporary discussions of world literature. By linking eighteenth-century quixotism in the English-language tradition with the role of Quixote in mediating nineteenth-century Spanish colonialism in the Philippines, I will demonstrate the transhistorical and transhemispheric reach of eighteenth-century quixotism as a case study in world literature. Given that Quixote’s influence in the Atlantic world is well documented, linking Atlantic quixotism with Pacific quixotism—in this case through an examination of Filipino author Jose Rizal—also demonstrates how the study of quixotism can challenge Eurocentric models of world literature even as quixotism was used for Spanish colonialist objectives in the Philippines. [End Page 50]

World Literature

As Franco Moretti declared at the turn of the millennium, “world literature is not an object, it’s a problem.”4 World literature is specifically a heuristic problem because circulation, translation, shifting contexts and national borders, and shifting demographics and geopolitical relations all create complications for texts that migrate. If world literature is, as David Damrosch describes it, “not an infinite, ungraspable canon of works but rather a mode of circulation and reading,” a mode that becomes relevant when a text is launched, like Don Quixote, “out into a broader world beyond its linguistic and cultural point of origin,” then the very making or becoming of world literature has the potential to agitate just about every heuristic category that scholars have constructed for the study of literature.5 Indeed, this is a significant reason why the idea of world literature has been, in more than a few circles, controversial.

Thinking of world literature as primarily a heuristic problem that affects how we read and contextualize literature is fruitful but also limited. What if, instead, we conceive of the heuristic problem of world literature as a symptom of the human problem of globalization? That is, what would it mean to acknowledge that readers of literature throughout the world are mostly unconcerned with issues of literary heuristics, but certainly constrained in our daily lives by the limitations of language capability, educational opportunity, opportunity of mobility, crosscultural awareness and experience, historical conflicts and misunderstandings, and other like issues that affect what is ultimately the un- or imperfect translatability of experience? The problem of translation—of language and of experience—is a quotidian problem for the person before it becomes a heuristic problem for literary studies.

A solution to a heuristic problem like world literature requires, as Moretti notes, “a leap, a wager, a hypothesis to get started.”6 The wager I offer in this essay is that the study of character is a heuristic enterprise, but also a deeply human enterprise that makes character study a useful way of understanding world literature. As Brewer demonstrates in The Afterlife of Character, readers participate in the “off-page” lives of characters at times as if the characters themselves were real. To read this way—with investment in the imagined lives of characters—is not to suffer from ontological confusion akin to what Don Quixote suffers: we understand that literary characters are not flesh and blood, even as we become intimately engaged in their “lives.”7 Rather, to invest in the imagined lives of characters who transcend the page is a heuristic choice to “humanize” what we might otherwise understand as technical matters of structure, genre, or allusion. [End Page 51] The heuristic choice to “humanize” character by studying what happens when characters take on relevance beyond the page is a form of strategic essentialism, a compromise that connects the minute particulars of a character in a local context with the sprawling, unwieldy, and important effects that global characters achieve off the page in the lives of real people (including, as I will discuss, the life of Rizal).

The considerable investment of eighteenth-century readers in the “lives” of fictional characters—especially, as John Skinner shows, the lives of quixotic characters—renders eighteenth-century quixotism a particularly germane case study for contemporary debates about world literature.8 The ranging character migration of Quixote from Spain to Britain to early America, all before 1815, predates what is now a commonplace critical focus on matters of genre, structure, and the national or regional identity of literary texts. Before character became another of these heuristic categories in literary studies, it was, in the case of quixotism, a social phenomenon more akin to how fan-fiction writers or readers in a non-specialist capacity reimagine and respond to character today. In this way, a critical focus on character and character migration helps mitigate the seeming disconnect between scholarly discussions of world literature and readers’ quotidian experiences with the “lives” of characters whose origins lie abroad.


Vladimir Nabokov, one such reader abroad who appears to have disliked Don Quixote for the cruelty it inflicted upon its protagonist, called that protagonist “a stroke of genius on the part of Cervantes, looming so wonderfully above the skyline of literature, a gaunt giant on a lean nag.”9 J.L. Borges noted that Don Quixote—the character—“is more real to us than Cervantes himself.”10 These impressions, supported by immense literary and cultural interest in Don Quixote, reflect not only that Cervantes has been an influential author, but also more specifically that it is foremost the character of Quixote who appeals so widely and transhistorically. For this reason, as I have argued elsewhere, what we think of as “quixotism” is not matter of any number of Cervantean narrative tactics or structural aspects of Don Quixote, but of those character attributes of Quixote himself that give rise to so many other characters who behave as Quixote behaves.11

By quixotism, then, I mean not the general influence of Cervantes, but the specific characteristics of Quixote. Quixote is not a picaro, a lowlife struggling upward, making his way socioeconomically by his wiles, but an idealist. We know that Alonso Quijano (or Quijada or Quesada) becomes [End Page 52] Don Quixote after enthusiastically reading chivalric romances; but we should also recall that Quixote’s impetus for setting forth on horseback was to right the injustices that the law and civil society failed to address. As Cervantes writes:

he could no longer resist the desire of executing his design; reflecting with impatience, on the injury his delay occasioned in the world, where there was an abundance of grievances to be redressed, wrongs to be rectified, errors amended, abuses to be reformed, and doubts to be removed. […]12

Further, what enabled this justice-oriented idealism was not general madness, but a distinctly literary sensibility, an ability to read imaginatively and a tendency to understand reality as simply a lesser iteration of a fictive world. This literary sensibility, combined with an at times ruthless sense of justice, are so strong in Quixote that he comes to believe that he is a moral and in some cases legal exception in a world of unjust and unscrupulous people, laws, and customary practices. For this reason, Tobias Smollett wrote in the introduction to his 1755 translation of Don Quixote that he set out to avoid “debasing him to the melancholy circumstances of an ordinary madman.”13

Fittingly, then, Smollett’s Launcelot Greaves (1760) provides a lucid example of this difference between the quixote, who believes himself an exception to the laws and customs of ordinary people, and the mad imitator. The comic hero Launcelot, accused of imitating Don Quixote, denies the charge, despite behaving frequently like a madman, but he also retains enough awareness and sense of purpose to identify his mad imitator and aspiring knight-errant, Captain Crowe, as a misguided impostor.14 Even when quixotes like Launcelot are mocked and punished for their exceptionalist deviation from the norm, such figures do not internalize these experiences as marginalization but take them as further evidence of the villainy and inadequacy of the surrounding society (in some cases, these quixotes are both reasonable and correct in their madness). Edmund Gayton, author of Festivous Notes upon Don Quixot (1654), affirmed this notion when he suggested that Quixote “imagined he obliged every place that received him, and thought his landlords indebted to him for his acceptance of their courtesies.”15 Indeed, where Don Quixote is able to avoid paying his bill at the inn by invoking the antiquated laws of chivalry, the picaresque Sancho Panza, whose station does not afford him Quixote’s chivalric privileges, gets captured and tossed in a blanket for trying to skip out on his own bill.16 [End Page 53]

In this scenario, Sancho participates mimetically in quixotic madness but feels the effects of marginalization as a result. Quixote, on the other hand, moves on from the inn without paying, and, more importantly, moves forward with his understanding—that he is an exception to the rules that govern common men like Sancho—not only intact but also reinforced by others who play along in jest. Here we see the crucial points that quixotism is a form of idealism to be differentiated from the picaresque and that a quixote inspires imitation in others. Because the surrounding cast of characters is mimicking and impersonating according to the quixote’s idealistic expectations—thereby affirming the quixote’s expectations in real life—quixotic figures are perhaps not as mad as we think they are.

We witness this mode of quixotism most powerfully in the eighteenth century not only in Smollett’s Launcelot Greaves but also in characters such as Charlotte Lennox’s Arabella, who vows in The Female Quixote (1752) “to live single, not being desirous of entering into any Engagement which may hinder my Solicitude and Cares.”17 Eventually, Arabella’s suitors assent to her quixotism to the extent that they begin to imitate her antiquated language and behavior to gain her favor.

The phenomenon that was eighteenth-century quixotism in the British tradition made its way to early America in characters such as Tabitha Gilman Tenney’s Dorcasina (from Female Quixotism), Royall Tyler’s Updike Underhill (from The Algerine Captive (1797)), and Hugh Henry Brackenridge’s Captain Farrago (from Modern Chivalry (1792–1815). As Sarah Wood observes, “the Don Quixote [early Americans] came to know was mediated through the eyes and minds of the English translators who works were sold in American bookshops, the English novelists whose narratives rolled off the American presses, and the English critics whose articles were reprinted in American journals and magazines.” As Wood also notes, in the eighteenth century, more editions of Don Quixote were printed in English than in Spanish.18

Thus, eighteenth-century quixotism would distort certain contextual elements of Cervantes’ Don Quixote as it appeared in new and differing cultural spaces, but quixotes themselves would maintain the fundamentals of the character archetype: the imaginative idealism, literary sensibility, and exceptionalist deviation from the mainstream that render Cervantes’ Don Quixote different from what Smollett understood as the “ordinary madman.” The portability of this particular kind of eighteenth-century quixote, tested as the character was translated into English in the seventeenth century, then circulated throughout Britain and the wider Atlantic world in the eighteenth, has become a key feature of Quixote’s legacy. This feature enabled versions of Quixote to comment on and mediate the effects of Spanish, British, and [End Page 54] American colonialisms of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, as well as, in the following example, Spanish colonialism in the Philippines in the nineteenth century.

“Quijote Oriental”

To demonstrate just how well traveled quixotism is, we can link the features of eighteenth-century quixotism to another notable idealist very much in the quixotic mode: the Filipino novelist, intellectual, and polymath Jose Rizal. Rizal’s quixotism—or at least the perception of his quixotism in both his life and writings—illustrates how a heuristic emphasis on character provides a model for understanding writing in the disparate literary traditions of Spain, Britain, America, and the Philippines as part of a global character canon. The study of Rizal’s quixotism therefore achieves two important objectives for the study of world literature. First, it challenges a Eurocentric view of world literature—and of one-way literary influence from Europe to the broader world—by accounting for the role of one of Southeast Asia’s most prominent writers in shaping the global image of quixotism. Second, it shows, in the opposite direction of influence, how Eurocentric views of quixotism were part of the Spanish colonial project in the Philippines, and thus how the heuristic choice to study character can draw attention to the impact of characterization off the page. By “characterization off the page,” I refer to the material consequences of Rizal being characterized with a global fiction “owned” and claimed by multiple parties with conflicting political objectives.

Rizal’s execution by Spanish colonialists in 1896 became the rallying cry first for the Philippine revolution for independence from Spain, then for the Indonesian independence movement. Rizal was himself an admirer of Quixote, though the Spanish colonial apparatus used the association of Rizal with Quixote as way of policing Rizal’s politics and writing. Spanish intellectual Miguel de Unamuno called Rizal a “quixote of thought” who “looked with repugnance upon the impurities of reality,” despite that Rizal opposed an armed revolution largely on the pragmatic grounds that the Philippine opposition was not yet prepared for the fight. W.E. Retana, a Spanish colonial administrator, called Rizal “Quijote oriental,” a quixote of the Philippines who represented the Spanish image of the European colonies of Southeast Asia.19

Rizal’s first novel—also widely cited as the first Filipino novel—Noli Me Tangere (1887) (“the Noli”) was aimed at exposing the injustices of Spain’s occupation of the Philippines.20 Its protagonist, Ibarra, avenges the [End Page 55] political and religious persecution and death of his father by building a school dedicated to enlightenment values, a gesture that associates Ibarra with the kind of high-minded and literary idealism that characterized enlightenment quixotism. Whereas Cervantes’ Quixote frequently takes vengeance through belligerent acts, quixotes like Fielding’s Parson Adams or Hugh Henry Brackenridge’s Captain Farrago prefer to appeal to truth and reason (tendencies that place them comically and at times tragically at odds with those around them). Ibarra, however, is an earnest hero whose ambitions, while not synonymous with those of Rizal, still resemble the complexities of Rizal’s thinking about Philippine identity and revolution. Ibarra is, as such, not the comic butt of a Cervantean joke rather a moral guidepost of the sort that quixotes become in the eighteenth century as means of critiquing what their authors perceive as societal strife and decay. As Ronald Paulson notes, the eighteenth century witnesses a shift from readings of quixotes as dunces in satirical narratives in which the joke is on them to quixotes as heroes who serve as engines of critique.

Ibarra’s life mirrors in many ways the life of Rizal, who, like Ibarra, had a distinctly literary sensibility and understood his literary projects as explicit participation in the politics of anticolonial resistance, of making a more just world. Retana, Rizal’s first biographer, praised the Noli for its rendering of Ibarra as conflicted about Spanish occupation, an attempt to cast the recently executed Rizal as less an anticolonialist than as a critic of the dysfunction of the Philippine state itself; then, Retana exposed the so-called radical Rizal through a far less sympathetic analysis of Rizal’s second novel El Filibusterismo (1891).21 The contested narratives of both the life of Rizal and the lives of his protagonists—the conflicting readings of Spanish colonialists like Retana and subsequent scholars who have helped remake Rizal into a national hero of the Philippines—reflect the immense political importance of Rizal not only as an historical figure but also as a character in a broader nationalist narrative of colonial resistance.

Of particular interest here is the Spanish colonialist tactic of framing Rizal as quixote as part of a more comprehensive effort in the late nineteenth century to take control over the narrative of Rizal’s life and writing (that is, to characterize him). Notable for eighteenth-century quixotes—as well as eighteenth-century readings of Cervantes’ original—is the contested nature of the quixote, upon which turns the political critique of the quixotic narrative. If readers of The Female Quixote come to view Arabella as a thoroughly ridiculous figure without redeeming causes or qualities, then French romances become the butt of Lennox’s critique. If, on the other hand, readers understand Arabella’s quixotism as a gesture of empowerment, of claiming agency throughout processes of courtship and inheritance [End Page 56] that otherwise diminished women as unworthy of controlling their own romantic and financial destinies, the critique is very different. Attempts at characterizing the quixotism of Rizal and his characters similarly reflect the political stakes of quixotism both on and off the page.

On one hand, as I have mentioned, Rizal was to Retana a “quixote oriental,” and to Unamuno, a “quixote of thought,” a romantic idealist without practical aptitude, who, like his characters, was too frequently misguided or self-contradictory. As Unamuno writes in Rizal: The Tagalog Hamlet (a title that reflects Unamuno’s awareness of the potency of character archetypes for framing life writing):

Retana insists that Rizal is the Ibarra but not the Elias [Ibarra’s practical-minded ally] of Noli Me Tangere. I think that he is both Ibarra and Elias, and this is especially true when they contradict each other. Because Rizal himself is the spirit of contradiction, a soul that dreads the revolution, although deep within himself he consummately desires it; he is a man who at the same time both trusts and distrusts his own countrymen and racial borders; who believes them to be the most capable and yet the least capable—the most capable when he looks at himself as one of their blood; the most incapable when he looks at others. Rizal is a man who constantly pivots between fear and hope, between faith and despair. All these contradictions are merged together in that love, his dreamlike and poetic love for his adored country, the beloved region of the sun, pearl of the Orient, his lost Eden.22

On the other hand, to his contemporary supporter and Filipino revolutionary, Antonio Regidor, Rizal’s ability to channel quixotism was a profound strength, the sound foundation of Philippine anticolonial resistance, and proof of the intellectual and creative capacities of Filipinos:

If Don Quixote immortalizes its author because it exposes to the world the ailments of Spain, your Noli Me Tangere will bring you an equal glory. With your modesty and your voracious and able appraisal, you have dealt a moral blow to that old tree full of blemishes and decay. Every Filipino patriot will read your book with avidity and upon discovering in every line a veracious idea and in every word a fitting advice, he will be inspired and he will regard your book as the masterpiece of a Filipino and proof that those who thought us incapable of producing intellects are mistaken or lying.23 [End Page 57]

From these two efforts in framing Rizal’s quixotism we can see that Rizal is given the same double edge that quixotes possess, the potential to be used as tragicomic figures at their own expense, or as heroes whose visionary qualities transcend the limitations of conventionally or pragmatically minded contemporaries. In the imaginations of Rizal’s colonizers (who also happen to be some of his first biographers) as well as his allies, Quixote is a common touchstone with conflicting meanings. Rizal’s nineteenth-century Spanish biographers, such as Retana and Unamuno, adopted seventeenth-century readings of quixotism to cast Rizal as well-meaning but flawed, while the more sympathetic account of quixotism we get from Regidor aligns Rizal and his best-known protagonist, Ibarra, with the heroic quixotism that exposes the flaws of the Spanish empire, in both its Atlantic and Pacific iterations.

As John Nery demonstrates methodically in Revolutionary Spirit: Jose Rizal in Southeast Asia, such double-edged characterizations of Rizal gave rise to an extensive sub-genre of Philippine historiography concerned with framing Rizal’s life and character appropriately. This sub-genre includes, tellingly, a thorough analysis of “The Character of Rizal” in the Philippine Review by Trinidad Pardo de Tavera, a scholar who also knew Rizal. Pardo rejects Unamuno’s view that Rizal was a “Quixote of thought,” responding:

What reality repelled him? Neither Rizal nor myself understand what the ‘impurities of reality’ are so long as they are not realities become impure after they had an ideal life. Unamuno’s opinions are a complete misrepresentation of the character of Rizal and are unsupported by any known fact.24

Here again, the attribution of quixotism is primarily a matter of character, a moment in which the Quixote archetype becomes at once a figure of contested readings and interpretations and a figure of immediate social importance.

Character as World System

If the mode of quixotism that proliferated throughout the eighteenth century helps explain the application of quixotism transhistorically and beyond Europe and the Americas, the question remains how this wide resonance of quixotism might contribute productively to contemporary discussions of world literature. As I have shown, quixotism is fundamentally a matter of character above structural matters of or allusions to Cervantes’ [End Page 58] Don Quixote because the character of Quixote is the element of Cervantes’ text that migrates most prominently and becomes, in Borges’ terms, “more real” than Cervantes. The heuristic challenge of reconciling Rizal as quixote with Arabella as quixote with the Don himself, then, is a challenge akin to that of approaching world literature via character canons instead of other generic or heuristic categories.

The idea of fitting a heuristic category with a “global” approach to literature is, of course, not new. When Wai Chee Dimock asked what literary history would look like “if the field were divided not into discrete periods, and not into discrete bodies of national literatures,” organizing literary history in terms of transnational or world literatures was already a widespread practice. Recognizing the unavoidable “national” root of the transnational as an organizational framework, however, Dimock proposed genre as a preferred organizing principle, a “theory of interconnection,” which enlists Moretti’s concept of comparative morphology—a comparison of forms—to map the interconnectedness of literary forms across nations and world-historical periods.25

While a transnational approach to literary history enables us, by definition, to examine developments in literary form across nations, Dimock’s call for “genre as world-system” accomplishes two important objectives that transnationalism traditionally has not. Firstly, “genre as world-system” is more explicitly transhistorical, lending a deep history to the study of genres, like the novel, that have been largely examined by way of flatter period studies. Secondly, it helps us interrogate what has been an organic tendency in transnational studies to emphasize Western literatures, such that transnational means more often transatlantic. To illustrate this point, Dimock cites the geographical narrowness of the “rise of the novel” approach in eighteenth-century studies that has been so prominent in the study of the novel, an approach reflected not only in Ian Watt’s landmark study that gives such an approach its name but also in period studies of the novel’s “rise.”26

I am, like Dimock, intrigued by what it would mean to move even further away from geography as an organizing principle for literary history. By calling attention to the “coevolution and cross-fertilization of literary forms,” Dimock’s “genre as world-system” approach demonstrates convincingly how genres like the epic and the novel are far from products of a discrete historical period or geographical space, nor are they necessarily discrete genres themselves.27 But genre has one weakness in particular as an organizational principle for world literature: generic commonalities reveal themselves in elegant analyses like Dimock’s, but they lack the social capacity of characters and character types. In other [End Page 59] words, both genres and characters have defining characteristics, and both kinds of characteristics are subject to heuristic ambiguities and exceptions; however, only characters have what we can plausibly call “lives.” This distinction is not a populist gesture meant to suggest that literary studies can only be useful if intuitive to readers in non-specialist capacities, but rather a way of addressing the sensitivities of world literature in particular. Such sensitivities concern less what it means for a specialist in the novel to write about the epic than what it means for a literary text of great cultural importance to a given place and people to suddenly become the domain of outsiders. Even when understandings of what characters represent are contested, the lens of character has the ability to represent even complex “literary” readings such that they can be consumed and contested by readers in more immediate and personal ways. For example, the sort of quixote that Rizal embodies matters precisely because Filipinos care about Rizal’s lives, the life led by the historical Rizal as well as the life he takes on as a character of Filipino anticolonial resistance and a symbol of national pride and genius.

The study of eighteenth-century quixotism has long been a fraught endeavor, as scholars from György Lukács and Vladimir Nabokov to Walter Reed, Ronald Paulson, and Sarah Wood have attempted to organize and to codify the fruits of Don Quixote’s vast influence.28 Trying to make sense of quixotism as a transnational phenomenon with close attention to its mimetic popularity in the English-speaking world for the next two hundred years after 1612 (the year of Don Quixote’s first translation into English, by Thomas Shelton) has been and continues to be an exercise in theorizing world literature, even if not explicitly. A focus on character in the process of theorizing world literature provides some common ground for readers across nations and languages in those instances in which characters become globally reproduced. If we take Damrosch’s definition of world literature as a mode of circulation and reading—and if we add Brewer’s insight about eighteenth-century readers becoming ever more invested as characters’ lives are circulated and reproduced off the page—then we can hypothesize two things about the relationship between eighteenth-century quixotism and world literature: one, the more a text makes it out into the world, inspiring circulation and imitation as quixotes do as characters, the more likely are its characters to take on enough transnational and human significance that they can be studied as part of a transnational character canon; two, quixotism is prime testing ground for this type of inquiry. The latter is the case not only because of quixotism’s global reach as an archetypal character mode but also because of the mimetic self-perpetuation that rendered Quixote an archetype in the first place. [End Page 60]

Aaron R. Hanlon

Aaron R. Hanlon is Assistant Professor of English at Colby College. His book project The Politics of Quixotism is a study of Don Quixote’s contributions to political theory, particularly to British and American exceptionalisms in the long eighteenth century. In addition to published work in The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation, Studies in the Novel, and elsewhere, he has forthcoming articles in New Literary History and Modern Philology.


1. Eve Tavor Bannet, “Quixotes, Imitations, and Transatlantic Genres,” Eighteenth-Century Studies 40.4 (2007): 553.

2. James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson, Vol. 9 (London, 1844), 102.

3. David Brewer, The Afterlife of Character, 1726–1825 (Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 2005), 86.

4. Franco Moretti, “Conjectures on World Literature,” New Left Review 1 (2000): 55

5. David Damrosch, What is World Literature? (Princeton: Princeton UP, 2003), 5–6.

6. Moretti, “Conjectures,” 55.

7. Brewer, Afterlife, 1.

8. John Skinner, “Don Quixote in Eighteenth-Century England: A Study in Reader Response,” Cervantes: Bulletin of the Cervantes Society of America 7.1 (1987): 45.

9. Vladimir Nabokov, Lectures on Don Quixote, ed. Fredson Bowers (New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1983), 27–28.

10. J.L. Borges, Professor Borges: A Course on English Literature, eds. Martin Hadis and Martin Arias (New York: New Directions, 2013), 95.

11. Aaron R. Hanlon, “Toward a Counter-Poetics of Quixotism,” Studies in the Novel 46.2 (2014): 141–58.

12. Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote, trans. Edith Grossman (New York: Harper Perennial, 2005), 9. All references are to this translation.

13. Tobias Smollett, ed. “Introduction” in Don Quixote (London, 1755), xxi.

14. Tobias Smollett, Launcelot Greaves, eds. Robert Folkenflik and Barbara Lanning-Fitzpatrick (Athens: Univ. of Georgia Press, 2002), 62.

15. Edmund Gayton, Festivous Notes upon Don Quixot (London, 1771), xi.

16. Cervantes, Don Quixote, 121–122.

17. Charlotte Lennox, The Female Quixote, ed. Margaret Dalziel (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1989), 41.

18. Sarah F. Wood, Quixotic Fictions of the U.S.A., 1792–1815 (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2006), 6–8.

19. Quoted in John Nery, Revolutionary Spirit: Jose Rizal in Southeast Asia (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2011), 21.

20. Here it is worth noting that the Noli, like Don Quixote, has a complicated translation history, and it has been read widely in English translation as opposed to in Rizal’s original Spanish. Anna-Melinda Testa-de Ocampo’s “The Afterlives of the Noli Me Tangere,” Philippine Studies 59.4 (2011): 496–527 provides a thorough discussion of this translation history, including the heavily altered American version of the Noli that was retitled An Eagle Flight (1900). The Noli’s textual migration mirrors in many ways the history of rewriting quixotes for new national audiences and political scenarios. [End Page 61]

21. Maria Theresa Valenzuela, “Constructing National Heroes: Postcolonial Philippine and Cuban Biographies of Jose Rizal and Jose Marti,” Biography 37.3 (2014): 750.

22. Quoted in Petronila Daroy and Dolores Feria, Rizal: Contrary Essays (Quezon City: Guru Books, 1968), 8–9.

23. Quoted in Libert Amorganda Acibo and Estela Galicano-Adanza, Jose Rizal: His Life, Works, and Role in the Philippine Revolution (Manilla: Rex Book Store, 1995), 33.

24. Quoted in Nery, Revolutionary Spirit, 22–23.

25. Wai Chee Dimock, “Genre as World System: Epic and Novel on Four Continents,” Narrative 14.1 (2006): 85–86.

26. Dimock, “Genre as World System,” 91.

27. Dimock, “Genre as World System,” 91.

28. Among these studies, I include György Lukács’ The Theory of the Novel (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1971), Vladimir Nabokov’s Lectures on Don Quixote, ed. Fredson Bowers (New York: Mariner Books, 1983), Walter Reed’s An Exemplary History of the Novel: The Quixotic versus the Picaresque (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1981), Ronald Paulson’s Don Quixote in England: The Aesthetics of Laughter (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1997), and Sarah Wood’s Quixotic Fictions of the U.S.A, 1792–1815 (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2006) as a representative sample of studies that address morphological and heuristic elements of quixotism. [End Page 62]

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