Wit and Wisdom of Don Quixote (1867)

From whole multi-paragraph excerpts to single lines, this wonderful little book dedicates itself, as the title declares, to presenting the "wit and wisdom" to be found in Miguel de Cervantes' masterpiece Don Quixote. As the preface states, the translator and compiler of the book (a woman named Emma Thompson, or at least so a handwritten note on the title-page to this copy proclaims) very much situates the work in the apparently very Spanish penchant for proverbs. The book is not grouped into distinct sections, each addressing a particular theme, as one might expect publishers to insist on today. Instead, we are faced with an appropriately chaotic and meandering presentation of the unique mind of the "Knight of the Rueful Countenance" — one which offers up such enigmatic treats as "Gifts are good after Easter" and such sage advice as "The bow cannot remain always bent, and relaxation, both of body and mind, is indispensable to all."

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