I noticed something the other day. It was surprising at first, then the more I thought about it the more I realized it made sense.
You have classic works like Don Quixote that have created iconic cultural terms; "I felt like I was tilting at windmills." There is big-endian vs little-endian created by Gulliver’s travels and popularized by computer culture. There are many more but since this a random musing I can’t think of them.
The surprising thing is that you have a massive thousand page work and what we have left from it is "Tilting at windmills.". I am not aware of any other popular phrase derived from the knight. I am reading Gulliver’s Travels and all that is culturally familiar is the little vs big satire.
Both of these memes occur rather quickly in the works. You don’t have to read all that much in order to stumble onto them. Is this common? Do so few people read the entire work?
Don Quixote has the cave of Montecino(sp?) and Gulliver’s Travels has the floating island kingdom of inept academic fools (which is hilarious.), to name just two off the top of my head.
The real question is: Are there any iconic cultural memes that occur towards the end of the works?
I am afraid we only enrich our culture with the first 25% of great ideas.