Four hundred years after it was first published, Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote is still commonly hailed as one of the finest novels ever written. Now the adventures of the feeble-brained hidalgo who think he’s a knight and his squat, trusty companion Sancho Panza have finally been collected into the mega-volume of graphic design porn they deserve.
Published by the always brilliant minds at Visual Editions, who previously gave the surreal hypertext of Tristram Shandy this jaw-dropping makeover, this latest version of Don Quixote uses design to explore the meta-fictional nature of the text.
Much of Don Quixote‘s effect lies in the juxtaposition of the way the chivalry-mad title character sees the world, and the way it actually is. The most famous example is Quixote fighting windmills he imagines to be giants. In the Visual Editions version, Quixote’s unique viewpoint of the world is separated from the rest of the text with sky blue fonts, footing the errant knight’s every word firmly in the clouds.
For all its age, Don Quixote is also a surprisingly modern-feeling book, one that still manages to surprise and excite literary scholars centuries later. To reflect that freshness, Visual Editions commissioned pictures of modern-day La Mancha from UK photographer Jacob Robinson. It’s enough to make you wonder what Don Quixote would see if he could trot on his mule down the streets of 21st-century Spain. Where would he find his giants now?