Our Project

Welcome to our site!!  Departing from the first map of the fictional adventures

First Map of the Route of Don Quixote in the 1780 Real Academia Española edition, held at the University of Virginia Special Collections Library
First Map of the Route of Don Quixote in the 1780 Real Academia Española edition, held at the University of Virginia Special Collections Library

of Don Quixote published in 1780, we will examine the various routes that have been identified with the novel, and visit the real places that correspond with key passages in the novel as identified in these maps. While in Spain we will visit archives, museums, and libraries and consult historical texts and other objects to situate the novel’s historical contribution to Spanish society. We will interview various professors, museum curators, librarians, collectors, and ordinary Spaniards to document the multiple understandings of the importance of the novel in contemporary society from cultural, economic, and personal perspectives. We will also gather photographs and videos of the places, objects, and people associated with Don Quixote. Our traveling research team will include Dr. Elizabeth Franklin Lewis as the faculty sponsor,  Stephanie Vega, Marc Gehlsen, and  Heather Taylor, with the additional assistance of Sean Coleman here in Fredericksburg .

This project aims to explore the various maps of Cervantes’ 400 year old novel, starting in the 18th century and extending through today, in order to gain an understanding of how, at various points in time, this fictional novel was viewed as connected to each period’s notion of a Spanish spatial, political, economic, and cultural “reality.” We will see how Spain claimed the novel as its cultural territory, tying it closely with the places and spaces of regions like La Mancha. Student researchers will learn about archival research, digital information gathering, oral interview techniques, website planning and construction.

Specifically we plan to:

(In Fredericksburg pre departure, spring semester 2016 as part of a one credit URES 197)

  1. Identify places in Spain, especially in Madrid, the La Mancha Region, and Barcelona, that correspond to the historical maps that we want to visit
  2. Identify Spanish archives and museums that we would like to visit
  3. Gather information and bibliography on Don Quixote, the novel’s reception, and the “Route of Don Quixote”
  4. Learn mapping and other digital techniques and applications for our website

(in Spain, May  2016)

  1. Visit museums, archives and libraries in Madrid, La Mancha,  Barcelona, and Valencia Spain
    1. Gather information
    2. Conduct archival research
    3. Document findings
    4. Visit some of the places named on maps and in the novel to take photographs or video and situate on our own map of our route
    5. Conduct oral interviews about the significance of Don Quixote of professors, archivists, librarians, collectors, and other people we meet.

(Back in Fredericksburg, Fall 2016 )

  1. Finish our map, associating the people, places, and objects we documented with the places we visited.
  2. Present our findings on our this website and to the Mary Washington community back at home!