Magazine February 6, 2017, Issue

True Inventions

Statue of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza at the Cervantes memorial in Madrid, Spain. (Photo: Jozef Sedmak/Dreamstime)
The Man Who Invented Fiction: How Cervantes Ushered In the Modern World, by William Egginton (Bloomsbury, 272 pp., $27)

Harold Bloom once wrote that Montaigne created one character (himself), Cervantes created two (Don Quixote and Sancho Panza), and Shakespeare created dozens and dozens. That looks like putting Shakespeare way out in front, but Cervantes’s two are remarkably vital and durable. Dr. Johnson said Don Quixote was one of only three books he ever wished were longer.

William Egginton, a professor at Johns Hopkins, has written a book on Cervantes and his creation, timed to mark the 400th anniversary of the author’s death, that is easy reading and unsatisfying. I mean both as terms of praise. The Man Who Invented Fiction

In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners


Politics & Policy


AT THE CHAPEL OF THE PINK SISTERS The crosses on the convent roofs Gleam sharply as the sun comes up. — Wallace Stevens, “Botanist on Alp (No. 2)” The March wind blows past the ...
Politics & Policy


Against Big-Government Conservatism Samuel R. Staley argues for a permanent revolving-loan bank (“The Infrastructure Bank We Need,” December 31). Staley conditions his proposal on the bank’s being “properly designed and constrained,” ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ So there were no left-wing Puerto Rican transsexual terrorists in federal prison? ‐ Representative John Lewis (D., Ga.) announced that he would skip Donald Trump’s inauguration: “I don’t see this ...


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