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Meditations on Quixote: Translated from the Spanish by Evelyn Rugg and Diego Marin Introduction and Notes by Julian Marias Paperback – February 15, 2000

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About the Author

JosE Ortega y Gasset (1883-1955) was a philosopher and for many years held the chair of metaphysics at the University of Madrid. His other books include The Revolt of the Masses, Man and People, Meditations on Quixote, and What is Philosophy? --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press (February 15, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252068955
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252068959
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,257,029 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Meditations on Quixote is the first major work Jose Ortega y Gasset published in Spain; as such, the reader will stumble across several infant notions that were later subjected to major philosophical treatments by Ortega. Naturally, therefore, this book is often passed over and dismissed. However, I believe it holds within its pages a very mature, coherent argument. It should be noted that Don Quixote is not actually the central focus of these meditations. Rather, Ortega only delves into Cervantes's great novel during the second half of the book (the "first" meditation), using that knight of rueful countenance to clarify his analysis. I will not attempt to explain the philosophy presented in this book, as I feel there is a reason it takes hundreds of pages to express these concepts. It is such with all philosophy; think of it as a food - I can compress all the contents of a five-star dinner into a dense pill and give that to you, but it would not serve justice to the original pieces. Having said that, I can certainly relay (as another reviewer has) the famous expression "I am myself and my circumstance." Ortega puts significance into what this "circumstance" is composed of, mentally dividing the material things in life and their deeper meaning, explaining that this deeper meaning is just as real as the material surface. He then leads into the concept of man as a hero via his own will ("the will to be oneself is heroism"), focusing on Don Quixote, and modern literature in general (as opposed the ideal epics of old), as examples. Julián Marías makes interesting notes throughout. Recommended!
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Format: Paperback
José Ortega y Gasset (1883-1955) was a Spanish philosopher and essayist; he also wrote The Revolt of the Masses, What Is Philosophy?, An Interpretation of Universal History, History as a System and Other Essays Toward a Philosophy of History, Mission of the University, etc.

He wrote in the “To the Reader” section of this 1914 book, “Under the title of ‘Meditations’ this first volume announces several essays on various subjects of no very great consequence … Some of them, like this series of ‘Meditations on Quixote,’ deal with lofty subjects; others with more modest, even humble, subjects; but they all end by discussing Spanish ‘circumstances’ directly or indirectly. These essays are for the author… different means of carrying on one single activity, of expressing the same feeling of affection… The devotion which moves me to it is the keenest one which I find in my heart.” (Pg. 31)

He clarifies, “I hope that, on reading this, no one will draw the conclusion that I am indifferent to the moral ideal. I don’t disdain morality for the sake of toying with ideas. The immoralist doctrines which thus far have come to my knowledge lack common sense.
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Format: Paperback
The great Spanish philosopher Ortega y Gasset left many followers, some of them also important thinkers, like Julian Marias. But most are common people who became much more educated and civilized persons by reading his wonderful books. Ortega was one of the rare species of philosophers who expresse his ideas in a very clear prose. Others in this line are Plato and Augustine, or Bertrand Russell, an Ortega contemporary. Meditations on Quixote is a small book where the master strives to give a synthesis of his thought. A synthesis of this synthesis could be given by two of his phrases: "Yo soy yo y mi circunstancia" (I am myself and my circumstance) and " I only offer a way of considering things" (modus res considerandi). A great philosopher and a great writer. His was my main intellectual influence.
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Jose Ortega Y Gasset--there is no coincidence that the acronym of his name JOYG contains "joy" in it. JOyG's works are like those of another great Spanish writer, Santayana, in that every page has exquisitely written thoughts (through translation from JOyG) that bring great joy to the reader.

If you are not familiar with Jose Ortega y Gasset, consider making a New Year's resolution to read at least one of his works. Perspicacious, poignant and written with a true understanding of the human condition--from glory to ignominy. He writes with passion and a clarity that makes his ideas both accessible and understandable. It will naturally make you left with wanting more.
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