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Classic Spanish Stories and Plays : The…
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Classic Spanish Stories and Plays : The Great Works of Spanish Literature… (2001)

by Marcel Andrade

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I have mixed feelings about this one. It is a reader of many classic works of Spanish Literature. It includes the highlights, El Cid, Los Cuentos de Conde Lucanor, and of course Don Quixote. The works have been simplified and annotated to make them accessible to an intermediate Spanish language student. The footnotes are informative. The vocabulary is well annotated, and what isn't annotated is available in the glossary. The selections hit the highlights of each work, and includes enough information to give the reader a sense of having experienced each work, complete with a beginning, a middle and an end.

However, if my language skills were good enough to read the originals unadapted, I'm sure I would have enjoyed them much more. In effect, this is what the adaptations were like:

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Is it better to suffer
The blows and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?(1) To die: to sleep;
Sleep is a good thing. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: maybe to dream: ay, there's the rub;(2)

1 0r to end your troubles by facing them.
2 There's the problem.

Then Ophelia's father hides behind a cloth hanging because he has heard that Hamlet is going insane. Hamlet hears him, says a rat, a rat(3) and stabs the wall hanging with his sword. He kills Ophelia's father.

3 A rat has two meanings. It is either a dirty animal or a dishonest man.

You see what I mean? It isn't Shakespeare as it is meant to be, but it's better than no Shakespeare. This book doesn't serve us Don Quixote as it is meant to be, but at least it is some Don Quixote.

As for the works, my favorite was La Verdad Sospechosa. This is a romantic comedy with enough twist and turns to keep you going until the end. I was sure we were going to end up with the wrong guy marrying our young beauty, but thankfully, Juan Ruiz de Alarcon was expert at pulling the rug out from under his audience. I would love to see a modern adaptation of this play! Complete with all the bits the editors of this volume had to leave out.

So, as a stepping stone or a student text, this book is worthwhile. If you have the Spanish skills though, go to the source of course. ( )
  cammykitty | Oct 7, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0658011383, Paperback)

Spanning El Cid (1140) to El burlador de Sevilla (1630), Classic Spanish Stories and Plays contains eight great Spanish classics works including Don Quixote, one of the masterpieces of world literature. Expertly abridged and adapted for the intermediate learner, each tale and play includes ample cultural notes and translations of difficult words. An extensive vocabulary is included at the back of the book.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:00:37 -0400)

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