• The University of Oviedo holds an exhibition to show the most valuable volumes of ‘Quijote'

    April 25, 2016

    The academic institution joined the activities to commemorate 400 years of Cervantes death with an exhibition in the Central Library from April 25 to May 9

    Left to right, Ramón Rodríguez, director of the Library; Leopoldo Sánchez Torre, interim Vice-Rector for University Extension and Communication; and Vicente Gotor, interim rector.

    The University of Oviedo joins the 4 hundredth anniversary of Cervantes death with an exhibition which will include the best copies of the Quijote kept in the Central Library of the academic institution.

    The collection by Cervantes owned by the University of Oviedo has, among others, two printed copies from 1605, the same year of the first edition of the first part of the Quijote. The Cervantes exhibition of the University of Oviedo will be open to the public from April 25 to May 9 in the main hall of the Library, in the University Extension Cultural Center LAUDEO.

    The University actually has two of the six printed copies released in 1605, coinciding with the publication of the first part of the masterpiece.

    The University of Oviedo is, of all higher education institutions, the one that hosts oldest editions of Quijote, and also of other works written by Cervantes. The Central Library hosts 348 volumes, among which we may find really valuable copies.

    The bibliographic material written by Cervantes kept by the University of Oviedo stands out among the rest of Spanish universities for two reasons. The libraries of the academic institutions are not especially rich in old literary works because in their syllabi in the 17th and 18th centuries literature was not really relevant. Moreover, monastic libraries, which eventually became part of universities due to the ecclesiastical disentailment, never kept literary works, except for some Greek and Latin authors.

    The University of Oviedo is thus important not only because it has the largest collection of works by Cervantes, but also because it hosts some of its first copies. Oviedo has two of the six copies from 1605, coinciding with the publication of the first part of the Quijote. They correspond to the editions of Lisbon, by Jorge Rodríguez, and Madrid, by Juan de la Cuesta. Both are shown in the exhibition. The one by Juan de la Cuesta is especially relevant as it was the basis for several reeditions of the masterpiece written by Cervantes, until 2005, when the text reviewed by Francisco became the new basis.

    October Revolution

    October 13, 1934, during the Revolution that took place in Asturias, the Historical Building of the University of Oviedo, nowadays the University Extension Cultural Center, was destroyed by fire. The same fire then devastated the Provincial University Library, the Library of the Faculty of Law, the University Archive, the Icon Galley and the Picture Gallery.

    Thanks to two fundamental initiatives the University has nowadays excellent historical material. These two initiatives are, the donation of the Alumni Association and Friends of the University of the Roque Pidal and Bernaldo de Quirós Library, consisting of more than 22,000 volumes; and the transfer as inheritance, of one thousand books donated by José María Queipo de Llano Fernández de Córdoba. The oldest editions of Quijote and other works by Cervantes that are currently hosted by the University of Oviedo come from the private collection of Roque Pidal.

    Front picture: Lisbon edition, by Jorge Rodríguez.