From text to icon to myth, thousands of illustrations comprise the textual iconography of the Quixote. They represent a key element of its printing history and have played a crucial role in making it both a popular book and a classic novel. Charles-Antoine Coypel, John Vanderbank, William Hogarth, Francis Hayman, Antonio Carnicero, Daniel Chodowiecki, Robert Smirke, George Cruikshank, Tony Johannot, Gustave Doré, Adolphe Lalauze, William Crane, Daniel Urrabieta Vierge, Berthold Mahn, and Salvador Dalí are some of the artists that have illustrated the Quixote, the seminal work by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. The corpus of these illustrations is best exemplified in the over 700 editions of Don Quixote that comprise the Eduardo Urbina Cervantes Project Collection at the Cushing Memorial Library and Archives at Texas A&M University.
Founded in 1995, the online Cervantes Project, led by Eduardo Urbina, is the definitive resource for the study of the life and works of Cervantes. The book collection we celebrate serves as the basis for the study of the textual iconography of Don Quixote. The collection began in 2001 when Urbina proposed a collaborative project with the Cushing Library to collect illustrated editions of the Quixote. In 2006, the project was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to fund the digitization of editions and the creation of a hypertextual archive. This grant built on an earlier National Science Foundation award to support the creation of an electronic variorum edition.
With renewed scholarly interest in visual culture, the collection provides an important research archive for not only scholarship on the Quixote but also for the study of artists, illustrators, and engravers who have interpreted Cervantes’s classic novel over the centuries, as well as for the study of the illustrated book.
Since its inception, the Cervantes collection has grown to over 1,200 volumes and 15,000 engravings, drawings, and vignettes. It includes both the classical, canonical illustrated editions as well as unique extra-illustrated editions, with many very rare items for which few copies are known and available to scholars in public libraries, some 130 of them unique items found only at the Cushing. Editions in the collection run the gamut from the most popular such as the iconic edition illustrated by Gustave Doré, one of the most prolific artists of the 19th century, to rare early editions, to versions for children, to modern artistic interpretations, such as those with illustrations by Gregorio Prieto and Salvador Dalí. The earliest Quixote in the collection is Thomas Shelton’s English translation of 1620; the oldest item in the collection dates from 1573; one of the more recent editions is the Chinese translation from 2001. The countries represented in the collection include Spain, France, Germany, Italy, England, the United States, Belgium, Scotland, Norway, Turkey, Argentina, Poland, Mexico, Russia, China, Sweden, Denmark, Australia, the Netherlands, and Canada. Together the Cervantes collection and archive of images and metadata provide research resources to students and scholars from around the world for the study of the material culture, critical reception, and textual iconography of the Quixote.
Collection Profile and Overview: Miguel Juarez, Eduardo Urbina, and Steven Smith
Illustrations: Jim Lyle