In commemoration of World Book Day
Tuesday, April 18th, 2023 (5:30pm – 7pm Boston) | In Person & Via Zoom
“Every abridgement of a good book is a fool abridged.” Michel de Montaigne’s forceful words constitute the central premise for this presentation. There are countless abbreviated versions of Don Quixote, aimed not only at young audiences but also at adult readers, as the original is considered "too long" or "excessively complicated." This session will address not only the socio-cultural factors that have generated today’s prevailing doxa but also its disastrous consequences, both for the individual and the collective reader. The proliferation of these condensed versions ultimately produces a community of readers with less "narrative competence" and atomized views of Cervantes’s great work. How can an intelligent conversation about Don Quixote take place when its readers have not read the same work? James Iffland will propose a series of practical measures to reverse this phenomenon, which for this Cervantes specialist constitutes a degraded "reading ecosystem."
James Iffland is Professor of Spanish & Latin American Studies at Boston University. He has written on a wide variety of topics related to the Spanish Golden Age, and his forthcoming book is titled Usos y abusos: ensayos sobre el destino social del “Quijote”. He is currently Associate Editor of Cervantes: The Bulletin of the Cervantes Society of America. Iffland has been a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, the recipient of a Fulbright scholarship (Argentina), and a visiting professor at Brown University, Harvard University, M.I.T., and the Università degli Studi di Pavia, among others. In 2010 he was inducted into the Orden de Isabel la Católica by the Spanish government in recognition for his contributions to the study and dissemination of Hispanic cultures.