the Library's collections.
Film director Terry Gilliam had what he described as a 'thrilling' time today (12 February), viewing rare and inspirational books at the National Library of Scotland.
The animator, actor, writer and founding member of Monty Python's Flying Circus comedy team paid a special visit to the Library in Edinburgh. He saw some early editions of Miguel de Cervantes' 'Don Quixote' — a book first published in 1605, which he has been trying to turn into a film for the past 25 years.
Gilliam was shown early Spanish editions of the novel from 1610, the first English translations from around 1620, and illustrated copies in a number of different languages.
with 'Don Quixote'.
'Don Quixote' is a book that everyone thinks they know about, Gilliam said, but few people read. Referring to the many editions he saw, he said: 'This shows how important 'Quixote' has been over many, many years. To see an early Spanish edition that was once owned by a Scottish nobleman is fascinating and shows how sought after it was.'
Spanish Inquisition censorship
He was also amused to be shown books from the 16th century that had been censored by the Spanish Inquisition. The Inquisition protected Catholic orthodoxy, and was widely known for intolerance and repression. It was lampooned in a series of sketches by the Monty Python team in the 1970s.
Gilliam is in Edinburgh to reveal a 10-metre long illuminated neon-effect quotation from 'Don Quixote' as part of the 'Words on the Street' art installation project being run by Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust.
12 February 2016