Monuments of Golden Gate Park (Weekly Photo Challenge: Monument

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Good Evening:

Taste in monuments sure has changed over the course of a century. Golden Gate Park hosts a large variety, and most are fairly mundane statues honoring various types of artists:

Francis Scott Key

Francis Scott Key

Goethe & Schiller

Goethe & Schiller

Robert Burns

Robert Burns

…which makes me wonder why statues to artists are, um, well, not exactly artistic.

I prefer the simplicity of the modern style.

Entrance to AIDS Memorial Grove

Entrance to AIDS Memorial Grove

Simple, serious, solemn.

But one of the old-fashioned monuments does appeal to me, because the firm of Cebrian & Molera (Jo Mora, Sculptor) brought a little sense of humor to their 1916 effort.

Cervantes and His Two Greatest Fans

Cervantes and His Two Greatest Fans

Presenting the great Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, but not just the great Cervantes; Jo Mora also included Cervantes’ two greatest admirers, Don Quixote de la Mancha and his trusty squire Sancho Panza.

Have you ever read The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha? I have, and not as required reading for some class; I read the book just for the heck of it–and a heck of a good heck it was! Considered by some the first Western novel (great way to start an argument) or the first modern novel (yeah, I’m one of those annoying types who insist that The Tale of Gengi by Lady Murasaki was the first novel overall), DQ does deserve its reputation as one of the greatest books ever, and still reads very today. If you ever have nothing to do and a week to do it in, you would do worse than to read the first and third books which make up the canonical version.

Because that’s what Cervantes wrote. He didn’t write the second book. The second book, a.k.a. Part Two, was a spurious version written by someone using the pseudonym Avellaneda. That sort of plagiarism was winked at/ tolerated/ legal/ encouraged back then, and Cervantes had no recourse but to recruit his friends the good Don and Sancho to serve as um, well, uh–book critics, skewering the “second book” at every opportunity.

Literature used to be very strange.

Vonn Scott Bair

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