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Culture

18th century “Don Quixote” theater adaptation rediscovered in USA

Oviedo (Spain) / A professor specializing in the Golden Age of Spanish Literature has found a manuscript at a library at Harvard University in the United States that was believed to be an unknown 18th century theatrical adaptation of Miguel de Cervantes’ “Don Quixote,” the Spanish researcher told EFE on Wednesday.

The as yet unprinted manuscript titled “Don Quixote, A Comedy” (1774-76), has been attributed to James Wadham Whitchurch and was discovered by Emilio Marínez Mata at Houghton Library, which has since published an article about the find in its latest bulletin.

The newly discovered book is reminiscent of “The History of Cardenio,” — William Shakespeare and John Fletcher’s lost play which is thought to have been based on an early scene from Cervantes’ Quixote — but, Martínez Mata said, was different in that this adaptation was throughout very true to the original.

The Wadham Whitchurch play gave, according to the expert, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza (Quixote’s trustworthy squire) an accurate characterization to that featured in Cervantes’ renowned novel.

The Harvard Library Bulletin has published the Wadham Whitchurch comedy with an introduction and notes by both Martínez Mata and Clark Colahan, a former Spanish professor at Whitman College in Washington.

The professor said that Cervantes interspersed the adventures of Don Quixote in order to discuss the moral conundrums of the time and how the iniquitous actions of some characters affected others, and that Whitchurch was true to this narrative except for some alterations made to adapt the story to a play script.

Whitchurch, an Anglican priest known for his “An Essay Upon Education,” also managed to portray the ethical sentimentalism which was so prevalent during the Age of English Enlightenment, Martínez Mata continued.

“(The author also incorporated) a kind interpretation of human nature based on Shaftesbury’s (Anthony Ashley-Cooper, Third Earl of Shaftesbury) idea of morality, which was hugely influential on British thinkers of the 18th century, particularly David Hume, Francis Hutcheson and Adam Smith.”

Martínez Mata is of the view that Whitchurch managed, with his adaptation of Don Quixote, “an expression of the new values of England during its Age of Reason, benevolence and empathy.”

One of the founding examples of modern literature, Don Quixote follows the adventures of Alonso Quixano, a nobleman of questionable sanity who becomes so obsessed with romance novels that he decides to up sticks, become a knight and travel the arid lands of Castilla la Mancha under his pseudonym Don Quixote with his squire, a simple farmer called Sancho Panza.

The Ingenious Nobleman Sir Quixote of La Mancha was first published in 1605.

The first theatrical adaptation of the novel featuring the eccentric knight and his faithful Sancho took place in London, England, in 1611.

Miguel de Cervantes died aged 68 in Madrid in 1616. (March 13, 2019, EFE/Practica Español)

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Comprehension

Lee la noticia y responde a las preguntas. (Read the news and answer the questions.)

Congratulations - you have completed Lee la noticia y responde a las preguntas. (Read the news and answer the questions.). You scored %%SCORE%% out of %%TOTAL%%. Your performance has been rated as %%RATING%%
Your answers are highlighted below.
Question 1
It's said in the text that... (En el texto se dice que...)  
A
se ha encontrado una obra teatro.
B
se está buscando una obra de un escritor inglés.
C
siempre se supo dónde estaba una obra de Whitchurch.
Question 2
According to the text, that work by Whitchurch... (Según el texto, esa obra de Whitchurch...)  
A
es una adaptación fiel de la novela de Cervantes.
B
pudo influir a Miguel de Cervantes.
C
no tiene nada que ver con "El Quijote" de Cervantes.
Question 3
About "Don Quixote", it's said Cervantes... (Sobre  "El Quijote" se dice que Cervantes...)  
A
no introduce otras historias para abordar problemas éticos.
B
introduce pequeñas otras pequeñas historias para exponer problemas éticos.
C
nunca tuvo la intención de plantear problemas éticos en esta novela.
Question 4
This work by Whitchurch is... (Esta obra de Whitchurch es...)  
A
del siglo dieciocho.
B
del siglo dieciséis.
C
del siglo diecisiete.
Question 5
The manuscript was discovered... (El manuscrito se descubrió...)  
A
en la casa de un particular.
B
en una biblioteca.
C
en una tienda de libros.
Question 6
It's said in the video that... (En el vídeo se dice que...)  
A
Mingote realizó ilustraciones de "El Quijote".
B
Mingote nunca llegó a realizar ilustraciones sobre "El Quijote".
C
Mingote está realizando unas ilustraciones para "El Quijote".
Question 7
According to the video, Mingote... (Según el vídeo, Mingote...)  
A
no solía leer esta obra de Cervantes.
B
estuvo fascinado por esta obra de Cervantes.
C
nunca estuvo muy interesado en esta obra de Cervantes.
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There are 7 questions to complete.

Vocabulary

Congratulations - you have completed . You scored %%SCORE%% out of %%TOTAL%%. Your performance has been rated as %%RATING%%
Your answers are highlighted below.
Question 1
A 'manuscrito' is... (Un 'manuscrito' es...)  
A
un escrito a mano.
B
un escrito a mano y a máquina.
C
obra impresa.
Question 2
If 'si no se tiene noticia' of something... (Si 'no se tiene noticia de algo'...)  
A
no se desconoce nada de eso.
B
no se sabe nada de ello.
C
todo el mundo habla de ello.
Question 3
'Hallado' means... (Hallado es...)  
A
encontrado.
B
valorado.
C
perdido.
Question 4
'Inicuo'  means... ('Inicuo' significa...)  
A
cruel.
B
justo.
C
bueno.
Question 5
'Incorporar' means... ('Incorporar' es...)  
A
quitar algo a un conjunto de cosas.
B
dividir algo en partes.
C
añadir algo a un todo.
Question 6
Choose the definite article for the word 'problema': (Elige el artículo determinado para la palabra 'problema':)      
A
lo
B
la
C
el
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