Quixotism as a term or a quality appeared after the publication of El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha in 1605. Don Quixote, the hero of this novel, written by Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, dreams up a romantic ideal world which he believes to be real, and acts on this idealism, which most famously leads him into imaginary fights with windmills that he regards as giants.
Already in the 17th century the term Quixote was used to describe a person that does not distinguish between reality and imagination. The poet John Cleveland wrote in 1644, in his book The character of a London diurnall:
- "The Quixotes of this Age fight with the Wind-mills of their owne Heads"
The word Quixotism is mentioned, for the first time, in Pulpit Popery, True Popery (1688):
- "All the Heroical Fictions of Ecclesiastical Quixotism"
Read more about this topic: Quixotism
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Famous quotes containing the word origin:
“Someone had literally run to earth
In an old cellar hole in a byroad
The origin of all the family there.
Thence they were sprung, so numerous a tribe
That now not all the houses left in town
Made shift to shelter them without the help
Of here and there a tent in grove and orchard.”
—Robert Frost (18741963)
“In the woods in a winter afternoon one will see as readily the origin of the stained glass window, with which Gothic cathedrals are adorned, in the colors of the western sky seen through the bare and crossing branches of the forest.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)
“The essence of morality is a questioning about morality; and the decisive move of human life is to use ceaselessly all light to look for the origin of the opposition between good and evil.”
—Georges Bataille (18971962)