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Most Spaniards have never read Don Quixote

Jessica Jones · 7 Jul 2015, 16:16

Published: 07 Jul 2015 16:16 GMT+02:00

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A new poll on Spaniards’ reading habits has revealed what may not surprise many people: the majority of Spaniards have never read the Spanish classic, "The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha", which is better known by its abbreviated title, Don Quixote.

The book, hailed as one of the greatest modern novels, was written by Miguel de Cervantes and published in 1605 (Part One) and 1615 (Part Two).

While 21 percent of Spaniards said they started reading the novel and failed to finish it, 41 percent of the population has never even attempted to read the classic of Spanish Golden Age literature, the poll, carried out by Spain’s Centre for Sociological Research (CIS), found.

A mere 21.6 percent of Spaniards have read the novel in its entirety, while 7 percent have read the first part and 7.2 percent have read an adaptation or abbreviated version.

Don Quixote follows the trials and tribulations of its eponymous hero, a gentleman from La Mancha who is obsessed with chivalry. After reading many books on the subject, he is inspired to set off on an adventure with his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, and his horse, Rocinante.

The novel recounts the threesome’s adventures as they travel around Spain in search of glory and adventure.

Among those Spaniards who have read the entire novel, 54 percent had to read it at school, while 30 percent read it because of a personal interest in the story.

Story continues below…

For those who have never managed to make it to the end of the almost 1,000-page (depending on the version) tome, the main reason was that it was "difficult" according to the poll. Other reasons Spaniards gave for not finishing the book were that the language was old fashioned and that it was too long.

Don Quixote hit world headlines recently when researchers discovered the body of author Cervantes in a crypt of a Madrid convent, almost 400 years after his death. 

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Jessica Jones (jessica.jones@thelocal.com)

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