This has taken me a couple of years to bring to the Interweb. The idea of publishing my thoughts in an academic journal kept me from using my own blog as a platform. Now that I have some distance from the toxically self-important ivory tower that is academia, I feel liberated enough to use this humble vehicle to say my thoughts.

The idea is quite simple: The Danish philosopher Kierkegaard (1813-1855), who comes up with the idea of existentialism, even if not in those words – he is known as the grandfather of existentialism –, was a fan of Cervantes’ Don Quixote, writing extensively about him. Kierkegaard influenced many of the philosophers who came after him: Friedrich Nietzsche, Miguel de Unamuno, Martin Heidegger, José Ortega y Gasset, and eventually Jean Paul Sartre (although it would be fairer to say Simone de Beauvoir) who finally came up with a formal theory of existentialism. Unamuno relied heavily on Kierkegaard and on Don Quixote to form his theories.

In 1605 Cervantes creates a man who decides to live life by his own rules. Bored with his bourgeois life, he becomes a knight in somewhat shining armor. Don Quixote is a celebration of free will with all the beauty and issues that that carries. Therefore Don Quixote is the great-grandfather of existentialism. As you will be able to see from the bibliography, remarkably little, if anything has been written about this topic.

This is my Master’s thesis which I wrote in 2008 at Simmons College in Boston, for the great professor Louise Cohen. It has not been peer-reviewed by a bunch of pompous, self-serving academics, which is not to say that this paper is any good, it is not. If you have read any of my work on this blog before, you know I write like a horse’s ass. So read at your own discretion. Oh, haha, FYI it’s in Spanish.

el-existencialismo-en-el-quijote

Published by antonioyrocinante

En un lugar de Massachusetts de cuyo nombre no quiero acordarme, no ha mucho tiempo que vivía un maestro de escuela de los de tiza en mano, rotulador rojo, moto flaca, y coche viejo. Una olla de steel cut oats, salpicón las más noches, huevos con bacon los sábados, lantejas los viernes, alguna hamburguesa de añadidura los domingos, consumian las tres partes de su hacienda. Tenía en casa una señora de la limpieza brasileira que venía los lunes, y un vecino paliza que se bebía hasta el agua de regar las plantas. Frisaba la edad de nuestro maestro con los cuarenta y algo; era de complexión recia, seco de carnes, enjuto de rostro, no muy madrugador y nada amigo de la caza. ¹ ¹ Gracias Don Miguel

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