Doré himself had something of Quixote's chivalry and spent an arduous life drafting impossible dreams; he knew fame as well as pain, disillusionment, and failure. At age 30 he was ready for Quixote and prepared to realize his dream of illustrating the world's great books.
Doré never became the painter he yearned to be, but he came very close to realizing his desired intimacy with the classics. His sympathy with Cervantes' satire was so close that, of the numerous Quixote interpretations by many outstanding artists, Doré's has become the standard. The French translation of Cervantes that Doré illustrated is forgotten; here is the memorable remnant of that work — all 120 full-page plates, plus a selection of 70 characteristic headpiece and tailpiece vignettes.