(Dul – sin – AY – uh)
She is Tom Sawyer’s Becky Thatcher. She is The Little Red-Haired Girl of Charlie Brown. She is the sacred muse of Alonso Quixano who in 1605 stepped into some rusty armor to become the immortal Don Quixote de la Mancha. In Cervantes’ book we never meet Dulcinea. She exists only in Alonso’s mind.
Believing himself to be a knight and a peasant girl of his village to be the magnificent Princess Dulcinea, every deed, every journey and every quest is made in her name. But the girl, Aldonza Lorenzo by name, is utterly unaware of these events as Don Quixote never speaks to her and loves her only from afar. But his ‘Lady Dulcinea’ plays a vital role in Alonso’s life and her presence is felt throughout the book.
Outwardly we laugh at the absurdity of a man jousting with windmills, thinking them to be giants. But inwardly we crave his sense of mission and purpose, his dedication to a cause, his willingness to pay any price to achieve the honor of his beloved.
So who is the silly one? He, for seeing beyond what is, to serve a beauty that could be, should be, ought to be? Or me, for remaining trapped in a black and white world where little men hide behind technicalities?
The most celebrated writer in Spanish literature, Miguel de Cervantes laid down his pen on April 23, 1616, and quietly passed away simultaneously with William Shakespeare, the most celebrated writer in English literature. In a single sunset, these two great voices were silenced.
Neither will ever be forgotten.
Shakespeare gave us Romeo and Juliet, a love story with a tragic ending, but Cervantes gave us Don Quixote, with its shimmering image of the feminine ideal. Others might look at Aldonza Lorenzo and see only an average woman of the village, strong, funny and down-to-earth, but Don Quixote sees her differently:
“Her name is Dulcinea, her kingdom, Toboso, which is in La Mancha, her condition must be that of princess, at the very least, for she is my queen and lady, and her beauty is supernatural, for in it one finds the reality of all the impossible.”
Don Quixote sees himself as her knight and champion, and Dulcinea as the most perfect woman on earth.
Every groom is Don Quixote. And every bride, his Dulcinea.
Wizard Academy is proud to offer – as our gift to lovers worldwide – Chapel Dulcinea, a romantic open-air wedding chapel in Austin, Texas.
It doesn’t cost money to fall in love, so it won’t cost any money to be married at Chapel Dulcinea. And just like God, Chapel Dulcinea is always open and ready for visitors.
It is our hope that every visitor to Dulcinea will leave with a fresh commitment to see the beauty rather than the flaw, and the courage to follow the dream that whispers to the heart.
Illumined by flaming torchlight and filled with the sounds of falling water, the interior of the chapel is natural stone and the historic church bell in its tower rings only after the second “I do.”
Chapel Dulcinea was the first building completed at the new campus of Wizard Academy, a non-profit business school teaching the science behind every art.
But we have no personal obsession with Quixote; we are merely illustrating the universal obsession that has been echoing across language, culture and civilization for more than 400 years. The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha is the second most widely read work of literature in the history of the world, translated into virtually every known language, selling almost as many copies as the Bible.
Since his emergence from the pen of Cervantes in 1605, Don Quixote has been tracked but never found, hunted but never captured, and glimpsed but never fully seen. Is he imaginative or insane? His Houdini-like escape from the shackles of reality seem one moment to illustrate the statement of Jules de Gaultier, “Imagination is the one weapon in the war against reality,” and the next to prove the adage, “He is so heavenly minded that he is no earthly good.” Is Don Quixote a tragic figure or a comic one? An elegant champion or a delusional man?
Paintings and novels and movies and discussions about the future are walks into non-existent worlds. Wandering willy-nilly into these worlds is inevitable, as fully half your brain is devoted to it. A voluntary going is called escapism, visualization, or strategic planning. But to enter such a world unwittingly is mental instability.
Don Quixote seems to be the archetypal story about each of us. In him, we see ourselves happy, funny, dark, sad, triumphant, tragic, dangerous and harmless, all at once.
John Steinbeck whispered, “A story has as many versions as it has readers. Everyone takes what he wants or can from it and thus changes it to his measure.” When viewing this collection, remember: Each of these artists read the same story but in it saw very different men. And each of them is Don Quixote.
Which of them is you?
Looks like a postcard, doesn’t it? These photos were taken by Wizard Academy graduate and benefactor Speedy Peacock, an accomplished professional photographer. Speedy’s website can be found at www.PeacockPhotography.com. You’ll like Speedy a lot.
“I suppose I do sound crazy,’ Binnesman admitted. ‘But everyone has a touch of madness, and those who can’t admit it are usually farther gone than the rest of us.” – David Farland, The Runelords
“Don Quixote is greater today than he was in Cervantes’s womb. He looms so wonderfully above the skyline of literature, a gaunt giant on a lean nag, that the book lives and will live through his sheer vitality. . . . He stands for everything that is gentle, forlorn, pure, unselfish, and gallant. The parody has become a paragon.” – Vladmir Nabokov
“Don Quixote is practically unthinkable as a living being. And yet, in our memory, what character is more alive? Cervantes is the founder of the Modern Era. . . . The novelist need answer to no one but Cervantes.” – Milan Kundera, novelist
“…not only the great monument of literature in Spanish but a pillar of the entire western literary tradition. The extraordinary significance and influence of this novel were reaffirmed, once again, in 2002, when one hundred major writers from fifty-four countries voted Don Quixote the best work of fiction in the world. One reason for the exalted position it occupies is that Cervantes’s book contains within itself, in germ or full-blown, practically every imaginative technique and device used by subsequent fiction writers.” – Edith Grossman, translator
“It can be said that all prose fiction is a variation on the theme of Don Quixote.” – Lionel Trilling
“When I was a young student in Latin American schools, we were constantly being asked to define the boundary between the Middle Ages and the Modern Age… for me the modern world begins when Don Quixote de la Mancha, in 1605, leaves his village, goes out into the world, and discovers that the world does not resemble what he has read about it.” – Carlos Fuentes
“It will not be denied that the breaking point, the point where the modern world broke away laughing from this last medievalism–that the symbolic act and moment was ‘Don Quixote’… I want to ask whether, if Don Quixote returned to-day with the same wild ways of knight errantry, it would not rather be the knight errant that was sensible and the world all around him that was crazy… The rational world has turned out much more irrational than the Dark Ages… The nations have found more nonsense and nightmare in the building of guns than they ever did in the breaking of lances.” – New York Times Book Review – G. K. Chesterton, Sept.15, 1912
“Don Quixote begins as a province, turns into Spain, and ends as a universe. . . . The true spell of Cervantes is that he is a natural magician in pure story-telling.” – V. S. Pritchett
“One man, scorned and covered with scars, still strove with his last ounce of courage to reach the unreachable stars; and the world was better for this.” – Don Quixote
“In utter loneliness a writer tries to explain the inexplicable. He must believe that what he is doing is the most important thing in the world. And he must hold to this illusion even when he knows it is not true.” – John Steinbeck
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