Don Quixote in the 20th Century (ca. 1905)

These colorful chromolithograph postcards by the Spanish cartoonist Pedro de Rojas reimagine the adventures of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza for the twentieth century. We see the Knight of the Melancholy Countenance ballooning into windmills, fighting with what appears to be a park ranger (the caption identifies him as the Knight of the Forest), entering a grand hotel with an umbrella under his arm, and jousting while riding in a motorcar. 

The series of postcards closely follows the adventures of Cervantes’ Quixote, beginning with the gentleman reading too many books of chivalry in his study and proceeding through his many adventures to his death. In fact, the series takes part in a long tradition of illustrating the exploits of the hapless knight — see our essay “Picturing Don Quixote” by Rachel Schmidt for more on the book's iconography through the centuries.

We don’t know much about Rojas (and would be curious to learn more if anyone out there does). Born in Seville in 1873, he began working for several Madrid newspapers in his twenties before moving to Cuba in 1903 and, later, to Buenos Aires, where he died on September 4, 1947.

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