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"Backgrounds and Context" invites readers to explore the creative process that culminated in the publication of Don Quijote. Included are selections from works parodied by Cervantes (Amadis of Gaul and Orlando Furioso) and a portion of the spurious sequel to Part 1 written by Fernandes de Avellaneda. "Criticisms" presents fifteen major interpretations of both the novel and selected episodes, describing Cervantes' intellectual milieu, revealing how he infused new life into the literary modes and motifs he had inherited, and illustrating the fundamental importance of Don Quijote in the history of modern fiction.