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Cardenio between Cervantes and Shakespeare: The Story of a Lost Play

Sancho Panza is here depicted as a creative man, full of stories and adventures to tell. However, these stories appear to be just results of his own imagination; moreover, the servant seems compelled to narrate them in order to fight the demons of life: tedium and depression. Yet, some critics even suggest that the noble hidalgo might just be an alter ego of the protagonist, who invented him just to feed his imagination. The sketch strikes for its simplicity and expressiveness. The two stylized heroes stand in front of a completely white and plain background with just a few windmills under the shining sun.

Despite the stylization, Picasso perfectly succeeded in expressing the features of the characters. Don Quixote figures tall and elegant on Rocinante; he wears his helm, shield and lance, appearing to look forward in search of something. The much less noble Sancho Panza is just next to his lord; his rounded shape and his head, which apparently stares inquisitively at Don Quixote, expressing his shallower and less dreamy character.

They manage to express the fervid imagination of Don Quixote, yet also his passion and the comic absurdity of his deeds.

The surrealist painter had always been deeply fond of literature and was not new to illustrations for novels or plays. Legend tells that the German composer Richard Strauss, during a period of lack of creativity, had to turn to Cervantes and his work to find the right inspiration. Don Quixote op. Lasting roughly 40 minutes, it is divided into three sections: the introduction, the theme with ten variations and the ending.

Furthermore, Richard Strauss gave Don Quixote and his humble squire two clear voices throughout the poem. The figure of Sancho Panza, instead, is introduced by a bass clarinet and a tuba, then turning into a viola; thus Strauss achieved to describe the clumsy and simple character of the faithful servant. It is one of the most produced and acclaimed musicals ever performed on Broadway. It had its premiere in Goodspeed Opera House in , and began its long experience on Broadway in , running for 2, performances.


  1. Finding Shakespeare’s “lost play”, Cardenio | The Shakespeare blog;
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Winner of five Tony Awards , Man of la Mancha has also been revived four times. Interestingly, Wasserman took a different approach on the original story. He used Miguel de Cervantes and his servant as protagonists who become stuck in a dangerous situation and have to disguise as Alfonso Quijana, namely Don Quixote, and Sancho Panza , to save themselves.

The secret connection between Cervantes and Shakespeare - Los Angeles Times

Thus, they become narrators and actors; authors and heroes of the extraordinary adventures of the man from la Mancha. Yet, these eight pieces of art from eight different artistic geniuses represent a good starting point to understand the enormous value of Don Quixote. Europe Spain Books. William Shakespeare.

From Shakespeare's 'Cardenio' to Ovid's Getic poetry, missing texts hold tantalizing possibilities

Authorship Debate. The History of Cardenio is based on a story written by Miguel de Cervantes, one of Europe's greatest prose novelists; dramatized by William Shakespeare, one of Europe's greatest verse dramatist; in collaboration with John Fletcher, the most popular and respected English dramatist of the seventeenth century. Shakespeare and Cervantes both died in , within a few days of each another.

Only three years before, Shakespeare wrote a play based upon Cervantes' most famous work Don Quixote , shortly after publication of its English translation. The title of the play refers to a character in Don Quixote. Cardenio was an immediate theatrical success. None of Shakespeare's other late plays received two court performances in their first season.

The History of Cardenio – William Shakespeare

Despite its success, the play has been neglected, even considered 'lost. Shakespeare's part-authorship of Cardenio with John Fletcher was not accepted until the second half of the twentieth century. And like Pericles and The Two Noble Kinsmen , Cardenio was not included in the edition of Shakespeare's plays, presumably because it was written in collaboration. The history of Cardenio is both a story told about Cardenio, and a story told by Cardenio. Also, in Renaissance England, history could mean both "fiction" and "fact", both "words" and "events.

Article excerpt

The History of Cardenio is a remarkable play, a moving and amusing middle-class romance, or post-romance, written by Shakespeare and Fletcher in , and well worth restoring to the repertoire of the English dramatic imagination. The administrator has disabled public write access. THanks for the summary.


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