Don Quixote Analysis: The European Novel

The Belief in the European Novel


There is a lot of talk about the first European novel and whether everyone believes which novel was actually the first European novel. A lot of the literary community believe that Cervantes’s Don Quixote de la Mancha (1605, 1615) was the very first literary novel but there are some who disagree. “Several 18th-century novels, each essentially realistic, has at one time or another been designated the first novel in English.” (Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 2012 para.3)

Cervantes’s Don Quixote de la Mancha which is a novel about the adventures of an elderly gentlemen who sets out to do good in an ugly world while deeply inspired by chivalric romance. The novel in my opinion has components of realism and humanism that definitely made it a great choice for the first novel. The novel was widely celebrated upon its release and it was an immediate success. “Published four hundred years ago in Madrid, the book was an immediate success and recognised as one of the classic texts of Western Literature, revered by writers such as Sterne, Goethe, Flaubert, Dostoevsky, Kafka and Melville.” (BBC, 2015, para 1)

On the flip side many figures believe that Cervantes’s Don Quixote de la Mancha did not have the proper components to be the first European novel. “Many people would consider Don Quixote from 1605 by the great Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes as the first European novel, but Murray finds it to be a “transitional work” and believes that the novel had not reached its modern form until the mid-eighteenth century” (Geller, P, 2009, para 7.)

I know that there are other novels that state that they are the first European novel, but I disagree and believe that Cervantes’s Don Quixote de la Mancha exhibited the ideal qualities of a great European novel which happened to be written ahead of its time. What do you believe to be the first European novel?


  1. The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, (2012). Early European Novels, Columbia University Press. Retrieved from

  2. Bragg, M, MAW, N., BBC, (2015), Don Quixote BBC. Retrieved from

  3. Geller, P. (2009). Fjordman: What was the First Novel? Pamela Geller. Retrieved from!

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