Salman Rushdie: how Cervantes and Shakespeare wrote the modern literary rule book

By a set of strange coincidences, complicated by the history of Europe’s uneven adaptation of the Gregorian calendar, April 23 2016 marks the 400th anniversary of the deaths of both Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare. In June I’ll be playing the villain in the Cabaret Theatre’s production of Man of La Mancha (which incorporates the plotline of Cervantes’s Don Quixote) and in July I’ll be playing Oberon in the Cabaret Theatre’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (alongside my daughter Carolyn as Puck).

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 10.45.09 AMCervantes and Shakespeare almost certainly never met, but the closer you look at the pages they left behind the more echoes you hear. The first, and to my mind the most valuable shared idea is the belief that a work of literature doesn’t have to be simply comic, or tragic, or romantic, or political/historical: that, if properly conceived, it can be many things at the same time. —New Statesman