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Don Quixote editions

Folio Society devotees

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Edited: Apr 17, 2011, 5:09am Top

One Folio Society edition (requested by r0lan6) and a Spanish one (Madrid, Espasa Calpe, 1966) with tipped-in illustrations by Segrelles that I particularly tresor.

Apr 17, 2011, 5:23am Top

Amazing, thank you! By the way what is the translation like between the two editions?

Apr 17, 2011, 5:27am Top

Beautiful, thank you very much for sharing photos. The Folio Society version is of course lovely, but personally I really like the Spanish edition with the drawings on the slipcases.

Edited: Apr 17, 2011, 5:36am Top

> 2, 3

Thank you. Smollett's translation is, of course, very much an 18th cent. version but very well known and respected. My recommendation is to read Edith Grossman's modern translation.

By the way, the Spanish books are two heavy, leather bound volumes measuring 24.5 cm x 32.5 cm. profusely illustrated.

Apr 17, 2011, 5:47am Top

Beautiful editions. I re-read Quixote every two years or so. I like the Grossman and Smollett translations. One translation I have never tried is the Cohen one in the Penguin Classics which is also well respected. But I think Grossman is probably regarded as the current definitive English translation.

Apr 17, 2011, 5:55am Top

Hi David,

I have the Cohen translation. I do have to admit that I have never read an English translation to the end. I keep checking certain passages, words, expressions, to see how the translator has fared. This may sound very obvious since it applies to all literary works, but nothing compares to reading the original. I agree with you that Grossman's is the best option right now, and my admiration for your reading habit!

Edited: Apr 17, 2011, 6:09am Top

> 6

It's always a great pleasure to re-read Cervantes, Antonio. I love the digressions and the humour (often quite painful humour). Cervantes along with Lord of the Rings is one of those books I regularly turn back to. I think I mentioned to you before that I like Tirant Lo Blanc as well and would love to see a FS edition. I enjoy Spanish language fiction generally - Borges and Marquez are also great favourites. It seems to me that any novelist writing in Spanish will trace his pedigree back to Cervantes (even Borges despite being an Anglophile).

But I would love to read Cervantes in the original Spanish. Does he place demands on a native Spanish reader in the way Shakespeare is challenging to an English reader ?

Apr 17, 2011, 6:29am Top

To read Cervantes is to read human nature. All literature, everywhere, is indebted to Cervantes. And one should not forget his 'Novelas ejemplares'. Please don't think of me as being chauvinistic. Shakespeare and Cervantes are world referents, one for drama and the other for the novel.

I have to say that, unfortunately, there are Spanish readers, even more so younger ones, who find it tiring to read Cervantes and are impatient with Don Quijote. (However again in comparison with Shakespeare in English, Cervantes in Spanish is easier to read.)

As with all good literature, a reader can go back to Don Quijote and find new meaning in the narrative.

We have to persuade Folio Society to publish Tirant lo Blanc!

Apr 17, 2011, 7:22am Top

Before anyone jumps rightly on me, I should clarify that in >8 drasvola: above I mean all literature since Cervantes. ;-)

Apr 18, 2011, 9:07pm Top

> 7 - A Folio edition of Tirant lo Blanc would be an automatic buy, even if it meant going without food for a few weeks.

Apr 19, 2011, 10:04am Top

Since I don't have $4000 to spare, I'm happy to just read this:


Edited: Apr 19, 2011, 10:10am Top

Along with the Blake illustrated Inferno, the Don Quixote LE is at the very top of the list of titles I regret not having purchased. Looks marvelous.

Apr 19, 2011, 10:28am Top

>11 drasvola:

Very odd review. From the tangled, or perhaps not to mix metaphors, turbulent, swirl of water imagery ("riverine, Delta, tributaries, irrigating, trickling, swamp, river, ocean") in the opening paragraphs to the Orwellian ominousness of the picture of commuters fixated on their e-books in the conclusion, I'm not quite sure of the writer's intentions or attitude towards his subject. And although the reviewer likewise points out, as in posts 7 & 8 above, the enormous debt subsequent Spanish literature owes to Cervantes, as I'm sure it does, I'm still hankering for a few concrete examples of this.

(Incidentally, although I'm sure the Arion Cervantes is exquisite, and likely to become a high-water mark of fine press books, I still can't get excited about Wiley's illustrations. More and more I'm enchanted by Edy Legrand's.)

Apr 19, 2011, 10:37am Top

> 13

Why... this is a milestone! I agree with you that Don Quixote would never have shown a skull on his bookshelves. Not very felicitous.

Edited: Apr 19, 2011, 1:32pm Top

For the most part, I read Burton Raffel's translation and looked at the Ormsby from time to time.

Had not heard of Tirant Lo Blanc, but gutenberg has it, so I've just made a pdf to download to my tablet. Thanks!

I've read some of the books that are mentioned in DQ. Amadis of Gaul, Orlando Furioso, Morgante will probably be next. I'm particularly interested to see where Rabelais might have found inspiration in the last as well.

'Novelas ejemplares' are great. I'm always talking them up to people I meet.

Do you ever find that people are a wee bit untruthful when saying they've read this or that great work of literature? A lot of people say they've read DQ yet no one seems to remember any parts of the story other than the ones that have entered the collective unconscious. Then they say, well I read it in college...

Gulliver's Travels is another one. I feel bad telling them that they didn't read it. But, I got to a point where I realized most people were lying and disinclined to talk about books. But, God forbid, they're not Philistines.

Thanks for the Paris review article, neat!

I love that Q on the spine of the LE box.

Apr 19, 2011, 12:13pm Top

> 13

You say you are "hankering for ... examples". The following link (from an unlikely source) is just for starters, and not related only to influence on literature in Spanish. The essays and studies on Cervantes are incredibly vast, as I'm sure you know.


Edited: Apr 19, 2011, 12:32pm Top

> 15

You are so right!

I should clarify that Tirant lo Blanc was written in Valencian (not too different from Catalan) by Joanot Martorell, the Spanish title being Tirante el Blanco.

One of the aspects of Don Quixote (or Quijote in modernised spelling) is that it is also a book on books with the incident in which the barber and the priest go over Don Quijote's library and condemn many books to be burned.

The "Novelas Ejemplares" are fundamental to the understanding of the 'picaresque' genre.

With books that are set as paradigmatic of a culture, there is always the problem that people feel embarrased if they admit not having read a certain author or work. It happens all the time with Don Quijote everywhere. More sincere people will admit that they never finished for some reason or other. One of the most rewarding instances for me in this respect is that I have read aloud Don Quijote to a female friend over the course of several weeks, and we enjoyed that inmensely, coming close to tears when Don Quijote dies. He had been one of the family for us.

Thank you for your thoughful comments.

Apr 19, 2011, 12:35pm Top

> 17

And one of the books saved from the barber's bonfire is indeed Tirant Lo Blanc.

Apr 19, 2011, 12:44pm Top

Well, if you got through all of Don Quijote aloud to your friend, that would definitely qualify for a "long term" relationship. 8^P

Apr 19, 2011, 12:48pm Top

> 19

Haha, absolutely...

Apr 19, 2011, 12:53pm Top

> 18

Exactly, David. We wrote about this some time ago...

Jun 15, 2015, 6:06pm Top

I've just come across a new edition of Don Quijote published by Ediciones Destino. It has a brilliant cover illustration, though that's not the only reason I've just ordered it. It's been rendered into modern Spanish by the author (and Cervantes biographer) Andrés Trapiello, and has an introduction by Mario Vargas Llosa. I thought it might appeal to any Devotees with Spanish as a second language, who like me, may struggle to read over a thousand pages of 400 year old Castellano and would prefer a more accessible, yet still very faithful version. Perhaps Borges (who notoriously preferred an English translation of Don Quijote to the original Spanish which he read later) would have enjoyed this new edition...

Edited: Jun 16, 2015, 3:10am Top

>22 cronshaw:

I've just added the Destino, modernised, edition of Don Quijote to my library. Trapiello supposedly devoted 14 years to the "translation" (so he says himself in the preface to the book). The edition has no notes whatsoever. Let me tell you that, even in a "modern" Spanish version, some notes would have been welcome to help the reader. On the other hand, there isn't that much of a huge difference between the Spanish that Cervantes used and current literary usage. Spellings here and there, grammatical turns, some old words, etc. However, notes are a big help to reach into a deeper understanding of allusions and references.
Lately, there have been attempts to render Don Quijote more accessible by shortening the length and removing all the narrative within the narrative that is distracting to some readers. The effort, in my opinion, is ill-advised. And yet, in spite of everything, Don Quijote shall remain the greatest of all stories and an archetype in world literature.
I have no comment on the outlandish opinion of Borges...

Jun 16, 2015, 11:46am Top

>22 cronshaw:

On re-reading my post, I fear that I give the impression that it's worthless to purchase the book. I don't mean that at all, and my congratulations to you, cronshaw, for your genuine interest in Don Quixote plus the effort to tackle it in the original (17th or 21st century version). I bought the Trapiello edition because I was so much interested in knowing how the "translation" had been handled. He's done a fine job. But the lack of any notes (only a brief explanation on how he went about the selection of what was old and so required updating, plus an interpretation -- doubtful -- of what Cervantes meant by the words "Yo más no puedo" in chapter XXIX of the Second Part) rubbed me the wrong way.

Jun 16, 2015, 12:44pm Top

>23 drasvola:,24 Thanks, Antonio, that's good to know. I'll probably get a 17th century original version too at some stage. When I read the blurb about the book, the description of its use of modern language appealed to me given my imperfect Spanish—so now I hope I'll be able to get useful up-to-date language practice and enjoy a great classic at one and the same time!

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