After finishing Moby-Dick, I debated how soon to start Don Quixote again. Should I wait until I finish David Kalupahana’s Causality: The Central Philosophy of Buddhism, which I have on interlibrary loan and which I’m reading for my essay? Or should I start reading Don Quixote for fun and spend less recreational time on streaming? I must say that “The Dogs of Berlin” on Netflix and “Scott and Bailey” on Amazon Prime tempt me more than Kalupahana’s dense scholarship, full of quotes in Sanskrit and Pali with dives into Western philosophers like Hume and Bertrand Russell.
in the end I’ve put aside some of the other books on my to-read pile and have joined in the story of the man from La Mancha so besotted with the Twitter tales of his day that he decides to go on a chivalric quest dedicated to the lady of his dreams, Dulcinea.
Two interesting observations on picking up the book. First, my “new” copy is 40 years old. Second, Cervantes’ comments in the Prologue on his difficulties writing the work remind me of my mixed feelings about my essay.
Have I not good reason to worry about what … the public will say when it sees me after I have been sleeping in the silence of oblivion, emerging now with all my years on my back with a tale as dry as rush, barren in invention, lacking in style, poor in conceits, and devoid of all learning and instruction, without quotations in the margins and notes at the end of the volume ….
My worry is that my essay will be dry and boring, precisely because it has too many quotes and footnotes.
In any case I’m mounted on my own steed Rozinante, the reclining armchair in which I recovered from my hip replacement 20 years ago and which is starting to fray in the re-upholstering done eight years ago when we moved to Princeton.
Don Quixote also takes me away from the physical ailments about which I’ve whined recently. Currently I’m feeling much better because my orthopedist put me on a course of prednisone to see if that can reduce the swelling in my neck that seems to be the cause of the numbness in my finger tips. The numbness has not gone away, but all my other joints feel much less stiff and swollen thanks to the steroids. For that I am grateful. And I still have three more days on the prednisone for the finger tips to improve.