12 Pages

Don Quixote: Kierkegaard and the Relation between Knight-Errant and Truth-Witness

ByChristopher B. Barnett

The character of Don Quixote would not seem to rank among Kierkegaard’s most important literary figures and motifs. Indeed, over the course of his oeuvre, Kierkegaard scatters only a handful of references to Don Quixote-the creation of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547-1616), whose world-famous novel, The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote of La Mancha, depicts Don Quixote as a zealous knight-errant in a epoch that regards his vocation as archaic and absurd. Moreover, Kierkegaard never uses Don Quixote as a pseudonym. While figures such as Johannes Climacus serve as noms de plume for Kierkegaard-their stories and insights doubling as the personification of certain world-views-Don Quixote does not take on this role in the Dane’s authorship.