Referencing https://ethicaldative.com/2021/06/20/the-quixote-funny-and-sad, in translating Martín de Riquer’s phrase “… Una diatriba para acabar con algo que hace mucho que se acabó…” I left out “hace mucho.” I should have written: “… A diatribe devoted to ending something which ended long ago…”
If Riquer had written hacía mucho, the translation would change to: “… A diatribe devoted to ending something which “had ended long ago…”
The pluperfect highlights a key point: Don Quijote is an anachronism in his own time. Everything about the crackpot knight on his shambling nag (rocín) is perceived by those he encounters as archaic. He exudes a whiff of olden times which are remote from their contemporary, 17th-century lives.
Cervantes legitimized writing that was meant to entertain, rather than instruct and edify. His beef with the stories that drove Alonso Quijano off the rails was that they were wretchedly told. He blew them out of the water with a new way of telling well nigh invented by him on the fly.
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