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In Defense of Don Quixote
Before the holiday, the World Literature professor assigned the 1 classes' next novel, Don Quixote.
"Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra wrote Quixote in Spanish," he boomed over the end-of-class shuffle of notebooks and bags. "Find a good translation, start reading—and class?" 2 All motion stopped he had their attention. "Do more than read it; prepare to defend why you spent your holiday break reading a thousand pages of turn-of-the-seventeenth-century Spanish literature. Read the experts, check the data: Why does the book still matter?"
Class dismissed, the students entered break feeling uneasy at the prospect of this hefty early-modern novel, but each soon found in its pages a captivating story, beautiful and strange. 3 Clarified with paradoxes of sane and insane, tragic and comic, ideal and real, the novel surprised its newest set of readers with intellectual complexity as well as deeply human—and charmingly 4 adverse—characters.
As the students gradually finished their copies of Quixote, most felt the defense the professor had requested was somewhat unnecessary: It was a literary masterpiece. But research 5 will have been required, so they dutifully opened laptops and visited libraries.
For Monday's post-holiday class, students presented 6 its short defenses of Quixote. Most began with their personal appreciation of the novel and the enduring 7 triviality of questions it raised. Several students then mentioned scholars' praise for Quixote's ideological impact on culture, challenging worldviews and highlighting ambiguities between reality and perception. Quixote, some noted, not only changed the literary imagination by expanding the possibilities of what a novel could intellectually accomplish, but also offered important early contributions to the relatively recent conversations of psychology and women's rights.
To illustrate the book's importance, many students cited a famous 2002 survey of authors worldwide and the ensuing compilation of the world's "100 Best Books." This survey, students found, listed every qualifying "best" book at equal ranking, isolating only one as undeniably first: Don Quixote.8
After the last presentation was completed, the professor explained that 9 the university curriculum required students to read Quixote for World Literature. "Some call it the first great novel; many call it the greatest novel of all time, but superlatives aside, the true reason it's worth reading is somewhat indescribable, isn't it? 10 It changed you it moved you you were drawn to its beauty its ugliness or some confusion of the two. So it goes with great literature: The defense for its permanence is hidden in the piece itself."
Opening 11 their books with a fondness like old friendship, the class began to discuss Quixote together.
8. Which sentence adds supporting information to the paragraph?
9. Which choice most effectively establishes the main topic of the paragraph?
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