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Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

The Spain of Don Quixote

Universidad Autónoma de Madrid via edX


This MOOC focuses on Spanish history between the Renaissance and Baroque periods—a time when the Spanish culture set the tone in the Western world.

The monarchy of this Spain created the first global empire of History. The greatest literary works of this period, including La Celestina, Lazarillo de Tormes, were immediately translated in the first European and American printing houses. Spanish fashion was the trendiest at the Courts of Early Modern Europe. Spanish military and political treaties set the standard for political machinations of the era.

In this period—between the 16th and 17th centuries—, Spain’s society achieved excellence in Arts and Literature. Exceptional and talented people such as Cervantes, Lope de Vega, Velázquez, were drawn to Madrid. Literary academies, theatre productions and celebrations flourished in other big cities of the Empire as Seville, Lisbon, Barcelona, Naples, Mexico, and Lima. A synthesis of nations united for the loyalty to the Crown and the Catholic faith. In our tour through the Spain of Don Quixote, we will discuss the relationship between fantastic to real geography. Society was polarized between the privileged—nobility and clergy—and the poor and rogues. Humanism was cultivated in universities. Family, food, housing, games, and celebrations played a part in everyday life.

In times of Don Quixote, the lights of Literature and Art geniuses shined upon the shadows of the Inquisition. Let’s travel to this sublime culture of Spanish Golden Age.


  1. Introduction: Time and Space
  2. Everyday Life
  3. Economy and Society
  4. Policy, Religion and Inquisition
  5. Literature
  6. Fine Arts
  7. Iconography of Don Quixote

Taught by

Pedro García Martín



3.6 rating, based on 11 Class Central reviews

Start your review of The Spain of Don Quixote

  • Anonymous
    The course was great. There was a lot of information related to culture, economics, history, and literature that related to the times in which the book of Don Quixote was written. There were so many articles to read and visual presentations to hel…
  • Anonymous
    The course content and structure are interesting. The amount of content, type of content and the video presentations are all good, you get a good sense of the history of the period with diverse materials. As others have pointed out the English trans…
  • Profile image for Iona Silver
    Iona Silver
    This context of this course gives a delightful insight to the Golden Age in Spain and is exceptionally well presented. The only real problem is with the English translations, which frequently veer from incomprehensible to downright sloppy. This is n…
  • Maureen Theresa
    Lots of amazing information, contextual, with an unusual but successful way in using TV style interviews of characters/personal from the Golden Age, with expert presentations and explanations, academic extracts of books, quizzes to show how much ha…
  • Anonymous
    I absolutely adored this course. I loved the wide selection of topics discussed, historical context of what was happening in the world while Cervantes was alive. From fashion to food, everything was covered in an entertaining manner.
  • Anonymous
    Pretty good course for those who know Spanish since the translation is pretty much the worst thing about this course.
  • Anonymous
    I only audited it, so I lacked access to some parts, but I enjoyed what I learned. The content proved fascinating, as I did not expect the geographical and economic aspects covered, as well as the art, politics, religion, and literary contexts I did anticipate. However, the translations need to be revised for English. Some of them appear machine-made; many awkward constructions, incorrect idioms and verb usages show that a competent completely bilingual editor should have written them.
  • Anonymous
    Well organized. If it was done in English it could have been better in my case....Anyhow I liked it very much and it was well illustrated. History is very important and I appreciate it very much because we forget that Spain has had its glorious days and for a period of time has been leading Europe and the world. The same is for the literature of this country:we don't know too much about it, but we should be conscient that Spain has produced many writers and painters of world fame..
  • Anonymous
    I expect Spanish speakers would have gained more from the course than students like myself who had to rely on English translations ,which were often confusing and unclear. And while the social, historical, agricultural, political, religious, cultural etc. information about this period was interesting, I would have liked more analysis of and critical thinking about the novel itself, as literature, and some attempt to explain why it has been so enduring.
  • Anonymous
    I very much enjoyed this course. Occasionally the English translations were a little confusing but overall it was very good. The structure of the course was efficient and easy to understand and the news reports were funny and entertaining.
  • Anonymous
    Unless you know Spanish, do not take this course. The English translations are not good. They are very difficult to understand; it is evident that a good translator was not used.

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