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Assess the strengths and limitations of the view that Don Quixote is a funny book This quotation is adapted from an article by PE Russell in Modern Language Review 64 1969 To answer this essay question first of all the reasons for supporting the view in the above quotation shall be examined Secondly the limitations of regarding Don Quixote as nothing more than comical shall be discussed Finally a conclusion shall be reached in relation to the issues raised throughout the essay For centuries Don Quixote has been a celebrated work for very different reasons For this part of the essay we must assess the reasons for appreciating it as a funny book by looking at the main examples and types of humour that Cervantes employs throughout his account of Don Quixotes adventures Cervantes contemporaries certainly found the book very funny indeed Felipe III commented on hearing somebody laughing hysterically aquel estudiante o esta fuera de si o lee la historia de Don Quixote quoted from A Study of Don Quixote Eisenberg p114 The King thought that the student laughing was either potty or was reading Don Quixote The book is fundamentally a parody of the books of chivalry which is why it was so comical for cultured readers of its day who despised this genre for its lack of verisimilitude and the fact that it appealed more to the senses than the intellect This ridicule of books of chivalry is constant throughout Don Quixote These books were guilty of patent excesses or disparates for example they were commonly set in fantastical or faraway kingdoms such as North Africa or Asia Cervantes mocks this fact by setting his fiction in contemporary Spain His choice of the arid and sparsely populated plain of La Mancha as the place of origin of the adventures of Don Quixote is a clear reversal to achieve a parodic effect
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