The Wisdom of Don Quixote: Rethinking the World’s First Novel

Bard College

Joseph Luzzi (PhD, Yale) is the Asher B. Edelman Professor of Literature and Faculty Member in Italian Studies at Bard College, and he taught previously at the University of Pennsylvania. His work has appeared in The New York Times, TLS, The London Times, the Guardian, Chronicle of Higher Education, and on National Public Radio. Dr. Luzzi’s awards include a Yale College Teaching Prize, Dante Society of America Essay Prize, and Wallace Fellowship at Villa I Tatti, Harvard’s Center for Italian Renaissance Studies. He is the author of five books and recently created The Virtual Book Club: an international community of readers dedicated to exploring major literary works past and present.



Don Quixote is an epic Spanish novel by Miguel de Cervantes, originally published in two parts, in 1605 and 1615. In fact, its full title is The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha. Why do many consider it to be the first—and in the mind of some, the greatest—novel in Western literature? What gives this seventeenth-century masterpiece its enduring appeal, and how do its themes and ideas remain viscerally relevant today? Led by award-winning author and literature professor Joseph Luzzi, we will go deep inside Cervantes’ greatest work as we discover what makes it such a beloved classic worldwide – and even how it came to inspire the Broadway hit Man of La Mancha!




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Linda Sainsbury

Keep tilting at Windmills!

As always, Professor Luzzi doesn’t disappoint! He does an amazing job dissecting Cervantes and getting to the core of who Don Quixote was. His manner, delivery and passion for literature is contagious—wonderful lecture!

3 months ago

Don Quixote

I have listened to Joseph Luzzi a number of times on a number of subjects. All excellent and well done. His presentation for Cervantes was so very good. It brought to mind the humanity, folly, and enchantment the we all migiht have if we would “dream”. This was so well described. Such a privilege to be able to hear such presentations. Many thanks.

3 months ago
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