Anatomy of Liberty in Don Quijote de la Mancha presents five major facets of liberty as they appear in the first modern novel. Analyzing the novelist’s attitudes towards religion, feminism, slavery, politics, and economics, Graf argues that Cervantes should be considered a major precursor to great liberal thinkers like Locke, Smith, Mill, Montesquieu, Voltaire, Jefferson, Madison, and Twain. Graf indicates not only the medieval and early modern grounds for Cervantes’s ideas but also the ways in which he anticipated and influenced a wide range of modern articulations of personal freedom. Resistance to tyranny, freedom of conscience, the liberation of women, the abolition of slavery, and the principles of a free market economy are all still fundamental to modern Western Civilization, making Don Quiijote de la Mancha extremely relevant to today’s world. Anatomy of Liberty walks us through how Cervantes’s seminal work both foreshadowed and relates to today’s modern society.
Eric Clifford Graf is an independent scholar.