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Don Quixote's Delusions: Travels in Castilian Spain

Miranda France

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The Hungry Student, Prose: non-fiction, Travel & holiday, Travel writing

A humorous and affectionate look at modern Spain, and a celebration of the country's greatest book, from the pen of a brilliant young writer.

When in 1987 Miranda France spent a year living in Madrid, the post-dictatorship ebullience was at its height. Pornography and soft drugs were legalised alongside more basic freedoms, such as divorce, party-affiliation and kissing in the street. In 1998 she returned to make a journey through the great cities and towns of central Spain: Madrid, Toledo, Segovia, Salamanca and others. With the new prosperity, much has changed. But much has also endured, as she learns from the people she meets, who include a private detective, a shepherd, various nuns, two belly dancers and a Castilian seperatist. She also discovers that Cervantes' Don Quixote, published in 1605 and the most translated book after the Bible, is a work of genius, which still helps to explain the Spanish character: toay's Spaniards still suffer from Don Quixote's delusions and are stubborn, inflexible and unrealistic as they have always been.

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