Orwell and Cervantes

24 May

In the early 1940 Orwell described the Don Quixote and Sancho Panza “dualism of body and soul…noble folly and base wisdom, [which] exist side by side in nearly every human being.”

If you look into your own mind, which are you, Don Quixote or Sancho Panza? Almost certainly you are both. There is one part of you that wishes to be a hero or a saint, but another part of you is a little fat man who sees very clearly the advantages of staying alive with a whole skin. He is your unofficial self, the voice of the belly protesting against the soul.

George Orwell, “The Art of Donald McGIll,” in The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell, ed. Sonia Orwell and Ian Angus, vol. 2: My Country Right or Left 1940-1943 (Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1968), p. 192.


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