Engraving showing Don Quijote’s entrance into Barcelona.
Michael Eaude’s excellent study on Barcelona: The City that re-invented itself (more on this soon) begins by quoting Cervantes:
“Barcelona,”Don Quixote exclaimed, is a“fountain of courtesy, shelter of strangers, hospice to the poor, land of the valiant, avenger of the offended, reciprocator of firm friendship, a city unique in its location and beauty.”“— There is no need for you to be afraid, because these feet and legs that you touch but do not see undoubtedly belong to outlaws and bandits who have been hanged from these trees, for in this region the law usually hangs them when it catches them, in groups of twenty or thirty, which leads me to think I must be close to Barcelona.”
“Barcelonins, the people of Barcelona, purr with delight at Cervantes, Spain’s greatest novelist, singing their virtues. There is a snag, though. Don Quixote is mad. The noble Knight does not easily distinguish reality from fantasy. Cervantes’ real opinion is as likely to be expressed in Don Quixote’s experiences as in this exaggerated praise. While Sancho Panza wanders around on a sleepless night, he keeps bumping into feet that hang from trees. Don Quixote comforts his squire, who is terrified by this strange fruit:”
Later, Don Quijote arrived at the beach and saw the sea for the first time
The dawn made way for the sun that with a face broader than a buckler began to rise slowly above the low line of the horizon; Don Quixote and Sancho gazed all round them; they beheld the sea, a sight until then unseen by them; it struck them as exceedingly spacious and broad, much more so than the lakes of Ruidera which they had seen in La Mancha. They saw the galleys along the beach, which, lowering their awnings, displayed themselves decked with streamers and pennons that trembled in the breeze and kissed and swept the water…
La pasión barcelonesa por el Quijote se inicia en 1607, con la primera edición conjunta de las dos partes de la novela, y continúa. El filólogo Martín de Riquer ha creado escuela con su visión renovadora de la obra y en la Biblioteca de Cataluña se halla la mejor colección cervantista del mundo El Pais