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Index of documents > Euromeetings Magazine > Euromeetings Number 15

            When I went to visit the town of El Toboso, it was a rainy and rather fresh afternoon, so much in contrast with the sunny summer days of the Mancha region, when everything is wrapped by a hot air and where we have been told that the rain never falls.  

            While walking through the silent and empty roads I remembered the famous work of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra:  “El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Manchain which the writer wants to outline some aspects of the culture and of the life of that period:

            - the intellectuals were not prepared to face the new times characterized by the materialism, by the sunset of the ideals and by the arising crisis that will rule the period  after the “golden century”.

            -  the “crazy” knight errant reveals the man’s main problem, that’s to say his disappointment when he faces the reality that too often cancels his imagination, his fantasy, his daydreaming;

            -  things may be observed in a different way: for example, windmills becomes giants; a flock of sheep appears as a vast army, the two monks are seen as enchanters.

            Thus, the right concept of reality is completely and definitively lost.

            In Don Quijote, the tragic dimension is originated by the missing correspondence between objects and words. Madness is the way of observing the world with other eyes, undarkened by social ideas and social conditioning.

            Cervantes wants to make a laughing stock of the epic literature for his own purposes. He took part in the Lepanto’s battle and was a real hero engaged in real battles aiming at defending Christianity but, in the last years of his life, he lived in poverty without any award that he surely had deserved for his value and was even forgotten by everybody.

            Cervantes strongly opposed to the way that the feats of the imaginary heroes of the epic literature were felt and lived by the man on the street. Notwithstanding those heroes did not exist, they were all the same exalted.

            In other words, Cervantes wants to readjust men’s opinions about the real value of the soldiers of Christianity by diminishing the character of the imaginary heroes of the chivalry poems.

            Confusion, uncertainty, disillusion dominate his work together with the split of the conscience and of the life that, still today, is present and makes Don Quijote terribly topical.   

During a recent travel to Southern Italy, to Campania I met a dear friend who had just published a book “At the feet of Mount Saro”, a short biographical anthology of the works of a man, Gino De Filippo, locally known as Masta Gino.

            My friend,  Antonio Gallo, wants to bring out the abilities of Masta Gino who was born at Episcopio (Salerno province) and who has always been living and working there.

He has been an unskilled worker, a bricklayer, a house painter but also a poet, a planner who never betrayed his origin or his ambition to improve himself for the community’s good. 

I felt attracted by the drawing of Gino De Filippo, reproduced on the book’s cover, which represents Don Quijote riding his horse, Ronzinante.  I was really lucky to admire, at Antonio Gallo’s house, the original picture given to him as a present.  

I loved the linearity of the drawing, the simplicity of the strokes and the elegance of the shapes. If you carefully observe it, despite the small dimension of the picture, you will certainly appreciate it.

I am quite convinced that everyone, during his lifetime, like Don Quijote goes on tilting at the windmills of his life and of the dramatically  contemporary stormy world.

Egidio Ramondetti - Italia