Thursday, March 21, 2013

Mapping Don Quixote

I’m a bit of a map freak. I could look at maps all day long. And as you’ve probably noticed by now, placing the fiction I read into its real-world, geographical context is something I really. find. interesting.

But Don Quixote presents its readers with a real quandary. You can find a few modern maps that purport to track parts of the journey of Quixote and his squire, and you can find some travel pages that will tell you “These are the very windmills that inspired Cervantes’ classic,” but let’s be honest. This thing’s over four hundred years old. And even the few maps that were drawn in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries don’t generally agree on all the landmarks (here is a great resource to skim through.)

But of those maps that show the full view of all three “sallies,” or journeys, covered in the book, there are two that match up sort of closely. This one, published in the first edition of Don Quixote for the Royal Academy of Spain in 1780, shows the one-way journeys (or round-trip journeys that assume returns along the same paths). By the way, this one can be blown up huge if you click through on the image:

This second one, from 1798, shows a more meandering loop for each of the sallies, but generally covers the same ground:

But both maps are zoomed in pretty closely, so it’s hard to see exactly where in Spain the action is unfolding. So, for your viewing pleasure, here are the same two routes, superimposed on the Iberian Peninsula. Green marks the first sally. Red marks the second. And blue marks the third. Do with these what you will.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for putting this map together--it is much appreciated. Don Quixote is the greatest novel ever written--I hope someday to travel the journey myself (of course, looking for adventure and righting wrongs along the way!).