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The ten thousand things and the one true only.

by Kip Manley

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Things to keep in mind:
The secret of glory.

Señor Unamuno has made his great protest in this sense.

They say that thy biography, my lord Don Quixote, was written to amuse, and to cure us of the folly of heroism; and they add that the fun-maker achieved his object. Thy name has come to be, for many, another name for mockery, a hocus-pocus to exorcize heroisms and belittle grandeurs. We shall not recover our manliness of yore until we resent the hoax in good earnest and play the Quixote with the greatest seriousness and uncompromisingly.

Most readers of they story, sublime madman, laugh at it; but they cannot profit by its spiritual content until they mourn over it…. In that jocular volume is the saddest story ever written; the saddest, yes, but the most consoling to those who can enjoy, through tears of delight, redemption from the wretched practicality to which our present mode of life condemns us.

No mockery of the human spirit, however irrational that spirit may be, ever survives the hour of its expression. Don Quixote was not a mockery, but an affirmation of chivalry and honor. Cervantes himself had no illusions left at the end of a hard life, but he knew that the sentiment of glory was no illusion, that nothing worthy was ever done that was not done for the sake of glory. But such an interpretation of Cervantes is not the obvious one; and what we will call a facile quixotism has prevailed, many fools facetiously mouthing phrases like “fair damsel in distress,” “the goodly Knight that pricketh on the plain,” and so on, for the few graceful spirits that penetrate this perverse screen of mockery to the great morality underlying it.

Herbert Read

—posted 104 days ago


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