"a rebirth of knight-errantry"



   Along with several other characters in the book, Don Quixote is under the mistaken impression that the romantic tales of knight-errantry he has been reading are depictions of a real period in history, rather than outlandish distortions of it.  While the adventurous heroes of chivalric romance were often loosely inspired by real figures (see note to page 455), their wanderings strayed far and wide from the realm of fact.  Nevertheless, the powerful image of a lone hero facing fantastical evils and righting wrongs has retained its grip on the popular imagination.  The fictional exploits of knights errant held about the same position in their time as the equally improbable graphic/cinematic adventures of superheroes do today - consumed with fervour by their aficionados, and regarded with contempt by everyone else (with the occasional exception)