On the future of the “Don Quixote Trail” and the landscape of La Mancha
Literary trails have recently been the focus of particular interest of scholarship and its peripheries (e.g. the conference Creative Cities and Regions. Challenges for Cooperation among the Cities of Literature, Conrad Festival, Kaków, 25–26 October 2012 or the Reading Małopolska project), with people having hopes concerning not only learning but also commerce associated with the development of these trails. An analysis of the phenomenon of the “Don Quixote Trail,” which is over two-thousand kilometres long and over one-hundred years old, has been used by the author to present a model of a literary trial (understood as a cultural trail) and to examine the transformations that affect it today. The author focuses on two phenomena with references to the future: on the one hand, on measures aimed at establishing a “Kingdom of Don Quixote” (a postmodern entertainment park), and on the other — on processes and their recognition, which can be described as the “death of La Mancha” (the death of the Cervantes landscape). She refers these phenomena to the “Don Quixote Trail,” known from descriptions by famous “literary” pilgrims. Does the future of the “Don Quixote Trail” lie in El Reino de Don Quijote, the construction of which has had its ups and downs? Do various speculative investments not obscure what does not change so fast in culture? Is not the empirical reality itself perhaps more resistant to change than we think?