Monument to Cervantes, Madrid ~ صرحُ ثيربانتيس في مدريد

text and image @Isabel del Rio

في مركز مدريد، صرح ميغويل دي ثيربانتيس أو (سيربانتيس) كما يتلفظه البعض، الكاتب الإسباني الأكثر شهرة الذي عاش للفترة ما بين ١٥٤٧-١٦١٦. يتضمن الصرح شخصيات من كتبهإلاّ أنّ أكثرهم بروزاً هو تمثال دون كيشوت على حصانه روثيانته من روايته الشهيرة دون كيشوت. تعتبر أول رواية في الأدب الإسباني الحديث التي كسرت تقاليد الرواية الإسبانية وإنشاء بدايات أدب الخيال الحقيقي: المغامرات  الصعبة المراس بحوارات مكثفة  وأحداث لا حدّ لها وشخصيات تدعو قارئها للتصديق بها كالقارئ ذاته بما تحمله من متضادات وأمور لا يمكن التنبؤ بها بالإضافة إلى دلالات تأخذ القرئ بعيداً عن صفحات الكتاب ذاته.  في عمله التأملي واللعوب معاً، يُحضر ثيربانتيس شخصية النبيل دون كيشوت الذي يتبع أحلامه ويزخرف محيطه عكس ما هو عليه مع شخصية الفظ سانتشو پانذا، حارسه الشخصي الذي يطمح أن يجذب دن كيشوت إلى أرض الواقع. هاتان الشخصيتان يمثلان جانبي الطبيعة البشرية: الحالم والواقعي. كلٌّ منا يحمل جزءً منهما. لا جانب أفضل من الآخر ولا جانب أعظم من الآخر. 

The monument to Miguel de Cervantes, the most illustrious Spanish writer of all times (1547 – 1616), is in central Madrid.  It includes characters from all his books, but most notable is the statue of Don Quixote riding on his horse Rocinante, from the novel ‘Don Quixote of La Mancha’.  It is considered the first ever novel, breaking with past literary conventions and creating what is considered the beginning of true fiction:  a relentless adventure, with extensive dialogue, countless goings-on, plausible characters for they are as unpredictable and contradictory as readers themselves, and a significance beyond the pages of the book.  In his both reflective and playful work, Cervantes brings to life the nobleman Don Quixote, who follows his dreams and regularly embellishes his surrounds transforming them into what they are not, and the boorish Sancho Panza, his squire, who aspires solely to bring Don Quixote down to earth.  Such are the two sides of human nature, the dreamlike and the true-to-life, and we all have a little of both; no side better than the other, no side greater than the other.  



A nobleman on horseback

celebrated for having conceivably brought justice 

to the land and fighting 

aggressors of impossible 

dimensions almost to the death

can be seen charging into us, the spectators, wielding his spear and ready 

for battle, imbued with a voracious appetite 

for danger and quest.

Difficult to know whether his obsessions are the product 

of far too much reading (as if that could ever be

a sin) or stem from his love for a woman he has yet to meet.  But then

love is all in the mind, is it not, we hear you say.  We shall call him Q.



As to his ingenious squire, or S if you prefer, riding alongside Q on his ass, 

he has left behind family and home, setting out blindly in search of adventure 

and, more so in his case, opportunity. To the mere observer, such gallant undertakings turn out

to be no more than a series of riotous exploits and grand yet vacuous gestures.  But

if you consider such enhancing of reality to be a way of life, then 

you could well join in.  And so, had it not been for Q convincing S of his vision 

(and any vision always hides some kind of truth), then S would have lived

much like the rest of us: today’s chores the same as yesterday’s and tomorrow’s,

dreaming solely done at sleep time, any desire for change limited 

to the petty brawls of everyday life.  As it was, 

S briefly became the ruler of an imaginary setting, and

he was good at it.  Not all can go wrong when you are a pragmatist.



And in the background, we can admire the man responsible 

for both, since Q and S −a knight and a buffoon− were 

born from his scrutiny and understanding 

and skill.  In the process, this man single-handedly

dismantled the accepted course of things:  the real world of chaos and confusion was transformed 

into one of make-believe −kinder, more relevant− where everything is possible and fictional characters prove to be more alive than the author himself (and if that is not chivalrous on his part, then I don’t know what is).  As to how it was done −the characters’ sometimes 

learned and sometimes trivial digressions heard loudly over and above the written page, their distinctive features revered forever− that is the true mystery.  As befits

a man devoted to the art of writing, he sits and holds

several of his books with his only hand.  We shall call him C.

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