Cervantes  Don Quixote
We tend to think of the experimental novel as a recent development,
yet Cervantes was already playing with all of conventions of the for
when it was still in its infancy.   In the second half of the novel, Don
Quixote is often encountering people who have read the first part of
the book -- a technique we might associate with Borges or Marquez,
and not with a contemporary of Shakespeare and Bacon.  "if you put
the whole world into a book, it would be a comedy," writes Brian
Phillips;  "if you put just one human soul into a book, it would be a
Don Quixote does both, and so it is both:  not some
mingling of the two, but a whole tragedy and a whole comedy at the
same time."

I read Cervantes'
classic in a two
volume hardbound
edition of the great
Samuel Putnam's
translation which
once belonged to my
uncle.  If one has
any doubts about
the superiority of this
version, Putnam sets
them at rest in a
lengthy introduction in
which he boasts of his
superiority with
a vanity that is rare
in this unassuming
profession.  More
recently, Edith
Grossman (an
outstanding translator
of contemporary Latin
American fiction) has
offered her version,
which is solid but still
less smooth than

You could never write
Don Quixote today . . .
or could you?  
Definitely check out
the classic Borges
short story "Pierre
Menard, Author of The
Quixote" in his