The Man Who Invented Fiction

  • Literature
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Fri, December 02, 2016
  • 12:00 pm — 1:00 pm
The Man Who Invented Fiction

Professor William Egginton will present and sign his book “The Man Who Invented Fiction: How Cervantes Ushered in the Modern World” at the Library of Congress.

Professor William Egginton, who teaches in the Spanish Program of the Department of German and Romance Languages at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, will present new book entitled The Man Who Invented Fiction: How Cervantes Ushered in the Modern World.

In the early seventeenth century, a crippled, graying, almost toothless veteran of Spain’s wars against the Ottoman Empire published a book. It was the story of a poor nobleman, his brain addled from reading too many books of chivalry, who deludes himself that he is a knight errant and sets off on hilarious adventures. That book, Don Quixote, went on to sell more copies than any other book beside the Bible, making its author, Miguel de Cervantes, the single most-read author in human history. Cervantes did more than just publish a bestseller, though. He invented a way of writing. This book is about how Cervantes came to create what we now call fiction, and how fiction changed the world.

The Man Who Invented Fiction explores Cervantes’s life and the world he lived in, showing how his influences converged in his work, and how his work –especially Don Quixote– radically changed the nature of literature and created a new way of viewing the world. Finally, it explains how that worldview went on to infiltrate art, politics, and science, and how the world today would be unimaginable without it.


Venue map

Mary Pickford Theater, James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave SE, Washington, DC 20540



More information

Library of Congress.


This event is cosponsored by the Hispanic Division and the Poetry and Literature Center of the Library of Congress.



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