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September 29th, Michaelmas Day

Oh dear! I forgot. Alberto Gutierrez reminds us that "Today, September 29, the Christian World celebrates the feast of St Michael,The Archangel and leader of the ranks of angels. His cult is related to Mount Gargano in the Italian Apulia, and his most famous shrine is Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy, a Benedictine abbey unfortunately besieged by all kind of shops and eating places that affect its loftiness. I wish to remind WAISers that today is the birthday of Miguel de Cervantes, whose work The ingenious Knight Don Quixote de la Mancha is the masterpiece of Spanish literature. According to my Spanish Literature professor, El Quijote was a very serious book; only a fool could laugh reading that novel. I disagreed then and disagree more now. I don't mind being called a fool if that means a few laughs reading the adventures of Don Quijote and Sancho.

Miguel de Unamuno's birthday is also today. Another giant of the Spanish literature you know well. His unorthodoxy and vehemency were expressed in his writings. For me is easy to associate some lines of his book Vida de Don Quijote y Sancho with the current tragedy of Cuba. Not long before his death Unamuno was the target of General Millan Astray,-a good soldier but a bad thinker- who supported the revolt under Franco. "Abajo la inteligencia!"--down with intelligence!-- was Millan Astray's outburst against Unamuno at an official gathering, while Carmen Polo, Franco's wife stood up for the writer".

Alberto carries on the Spanish tradition of celebrating a person's saint's day. If there is any WAISer named Miguel, I apologize for not having sent him greetings. Saint Albert was bishop of Liege in Belgium, assassinated in 1195 on orders from the Emperor Henry VI. His feast day is November 21, so well in advance I send my greetings to Alberto Gutierrez, who is the only Alberto I know, since the name Albert is commonly associated with northern countries. I have visited the Mont St. Michel several times, but the guides never mentioned the Saint, since the republic is secular. They always talked about the tide rushing in at the speed of a horse- As for Don Quixote, I once wrote an article showing how it was first viewed as merely a comic story, It was only in the Romantic period that it was it was reinterpreted as a tragedy, One-eyed Millan Asreay would not win a popularity contest in the Basque provinces.

Ronald Hilton - 09.29.03