Don Quixote's lady:
in a village near his there was a very good-looking farm girl, whom he had been taken with at one time, although she is supposed not to have known it or had proof of it. Her name was Aldonza Lorenzo, and she it was he thought fit to call the lady of his fancies; and casting around for a name which should not be too far away from her own, yet suggest and imply a princess and great lady, he resolved to call her Dulcinea del Toboso - for she was a native of El Toboso -, a name which seemed to him as muscial, strange and significant as those others that he had devised for himself and his possessions.
Don Quixote, Part I Ch. I
translated by J.M. Cohen
This is supposed to be funny - that is, the fact that a man might have some kind of infatuation with a woman he barely knows; and that he would invent for her a name, and a background, and a title; and that he would imagine her a pure being, a holy image, an object suitable for worship; and that he might then conduct his life such that he acts as if this fiction were a reality, and undergoes hardship and ridicule on account of this belief; but that he himself does not care about such obstacles, he ignores the perceptions of the many and relies instead on his own (pathetic) inner vision, based upon how he wishes things were.

And we - the readers of dry classic texts by dead, irrelevant Spaniards, we who know (with St. Anselm) that to exist in reality is greater than to exist in the imagination alone, we who have dreamt of such categories of existence, who have dreamed ontology - we can laugh at the simplemindedness of Quixote, secure in our knowledge that we ourselves shall never fall into such an error.

Dul*cin"e*a (?), n. [Sp., from Dulcinea del Toboso the mistress of the affections of Don Quixote.]

A mistress; a sweetheart.

I must ever have some Dulcinea in my head. Sterne.


© Webster 1913.

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