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Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
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Don Quixote (original 1605; edition 1964)

by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Walter Starkie (Translator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
16,675197106 (4.08)6 / 484
Member:Marse
Title:Don Quixote
Authors:Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
Other authors:Walter Starkie (Translator)
Info:New York: New American Library, 1964
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:Spanish, Fiction, 16th century, Cervantes, -UL

Work details

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1605)

  1. 61
    Don Quixote de La Mancha, Part II by Alonso Fernandez De Avellaneda (g026r)
    g026r: The spurious continuation, published in 1614 while Cervantes was still working on his own Part II and which affected that work to a significant degree.
  2. 40
    The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens (keremix)
  3. 51
    Monsignor Quixote by Graham Greene (hdcclassic)
    hdcclassic: A modern-day retelling.
  4. 53
    The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer (Othemts)
  5. 53
    Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (DLSmithies)
    DLSmithies: Don Quixote was Flaubert's favourite book, and I've read somewhere that the idea of Madame Bovary is to re-tell the story of Don Quixote in a different context. Don Quixote is obsessed with chivalric literature, and immerses himself in it to the extent that he loses his grip on reality. Emma Bovary is bewitched by Romantic literature in the same way. There are lots of parallels between the two novels, and I think putting them side by side can lead to a better understanding of both.… (more)
  6. 31
    The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne (ateolf)
  7. 10
    The Female Quixote by Charlotte Lennox (Rubbah)
  8. 11
    Guzmán de Alfarache by Mateo Alemán (roby72)
  9. 11
    Handling Sin by Michael Malone (allenmichie)
  10. 14
    One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (caflores)
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English (158)  Spanish (19)  Dutch (6)  Italian (3)  Portuguese (2)  Norwegian (2)  Swedish (2)  Korean (1)  Catalan (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  French (1)  All languages (196)
Showing 1-5 of 158 (next | show all)
"'In any event, I insist that he who has a book printed runs a very great risk, inasmuch as it is an utter impossibility to write it in such a manner that it will please all who read it'" (p. 622, spoken by Carrasco).
__________________________________________________​

In my estimation, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra’s Don Quixote, arguably the first novel ever written, remains the best novel ever written. Sadly, too few people read it any longer — and not just English-language speakers, but also native Spanish-language speakers. In his excellent Foreword to this 1949 first edition, Samuel Putnam attests to this lamentable fact.

And while we’re on the subject of Samuel Putnam, let me hasten to add that I believe him to have written the definitive English-language translation. All translations are not created equal, and this is something every serious English-language reader needs to take into account when reading any non-English-language classic.

Don Quixote is just such a classic. It combines wisdom with a strong narrative line, deep philosophy with comedy bordering on slapstick. ‘The Knight of the Mournful Countenance’ is one of the most memorable characters in all literature, and his sidekick, Sancho Panza, is no slouch either.

I’ll leave to other, more erudite (or at least more scholarly) critics to argue Cervantes’ true intent, vis-à-vis Romance Literature, in writing this novel. For me, personally, the story suffices qua story.

And the prose? Allow me to cite just two passages, the translations of which are almost as poetically alluring as the original:

"At that moment, gay-colored birds of all sorts began warbling in the trees and with their merry and varied songs appeared to be greeting and welcoming the fresh-dawning day, which already at the gates and on the balconies of the east was revealing its beautiful face as it shook out from its hair an infinite number of liquid pearls. Bathed in this gentle moisture, the grass seemed to shed a pearly spray, the willows distilled a savory manna, the fountains laughed, the brooks murmured, the woods were glad, and the meadows put on their finest raiment" (p. 701).

and

"With this, the merry-smiling dawn hastened her coming, the little flowers in the fields lifted their heads, and the liquid crystal of the brooks, murmuring over their white and gray pebbles, went to pay tribute to the waiting rivers. The earth was joyous, the sky unclouded, the air limpid, the light serene, and each of these things in itself and all of them together showed that the day which was treading on the skirts of morning was to be bright and clear" (p. 885)

As for Cervantes’ philosophy as a writer, we have this observation to chew on and digest:

"'For in works of fiction there should be a mating between the plot and the reader's intelligence. They should be so written that the impossible is made to appear possible, things hard to believe being smoothed over and the mind held in suspense in such a manner as to create an astonishment while at the same time they divert and entertain so that admiration and pleasure go hand in hand. But these are things which he cannot accomplish who flees verisimilitude and the imitation of nature, qualities that go to constitute perfection in the art of writing'" (p. 499).

I cannot encourage you strongly enough to read Don Quixote — and to read none other than Samuel Putnam’s translation (unless, of course, you can digest the original). If it were required reading in the secondary or at least college curriculum of every student in the Western world, I firmly believe this would be a better world.

RRB
04/15/11
Brooklyn, NY, USA
( )
  RussellBittner | Dec 12, 2014 |
Don Quixote has always intimidated me. The novel is a literary giant, my own windmill to conquer. This year, over the course of a couple months, I finally read it. I was surprised by the gentle nature and sincerity of the famous knight. I’d always thought of him as a bit clownish, but in reality he is the most human of men, if that makes sense. He’s deeply flawed and so he’s deeply relatable.

I didn’t realize when I started the book that it consists of two separate volumes published 10 years apart. The first volume includes most of the well-known elements of the story, including Don Quixote’s famous attack on the windmills. In the second volume everyone knows who Don Quixote is because they've read the first volume. It adds an interesting element to the book, because he is now trying to live up to his own legend. He's become a celebrity and his cause and condition have become well known throughout the land.
Alonso Quixano is Don Quixote’s true name. He reads book after book dealing with stories of chivalry throughout the ages. He then becomes convinced that he is in fact a knight errant and he must go on a crusade to help the people who are suffering in Spain.

“It is not the responsibility of knights errant to discover whether the afflicted, the enchained and the oppressed whom they encounter on the road are reduced to these circumstances and suffer this distress for their vices, or for their virtues: the knight's sole responsibility is to succour them as people in need, having eyes only for their sufferings, not for their misdeeds.”

He saddles up his horse, Rocinante, and recruits a local farmer named Sancho Panza to embark on his travels with him. Sancho becomes his faithful squire. The two set off and along the way they “help” those who cross their path. The problem is that Don Quixote is delusional about who actually needs his help. The famous windmill scene comes about because he thinks he is fighting giants. He fights for the honor of a woman who barely knows him, Dulcinea del Toboso. The first volume contains a strange mix of stories. Everyone is able to see the Don’s madness except himself and his proverb-spouting squire. Though this is tragic in some ways, it’s also beautiful. There’s something about having complete faith in another person that gives you strength in your own life.

The first volume is entertaining, but lacks the depth I was expecting. It wasn’t until I got into the second volume that I really fell in love with the book. There’s such a wonderful exploration of motivation, delusion, loyalty, and more. Who is Don Quixote hurting with his quest? Is it wrong to allow him to remain convinced of his knighthood? The second volume also pokes playful fun at the first volume, joking that the author exaggerated stories, etc.

“The truth may be stretched thin, but it never breaks, and it always surfaces above lies, as oil floats on water.”

Don Quixote’s naïveté and earnestness about his field of knight errantry make him an easy target. People who want to play tricks on him or friendly jokes or even rob him are easily able to because they know exactly what his weaknesses are. He believes, without a doubt, in the code of knight errantry that he holds himself to. He's also wise about so many things while remaining blind to his own absurdity.

At times he reminded me of Polonius from “Hamlet” spouting off wisdom to anyone who will listen. Sometimes it's good advice, sometimes not but he believes it wholeheartedly. There's a purity in living a life so full of earnestness that you believe in your dreams without faltering and you hold yourself to a higher standard.

BOTTOM LINE: This isn’t a novel I’ll re-read every year or anything, but it was a richly rewarding experience for me. It made me want to believe in some of the magic in life and to not always question the motives of others. Don Quixote and Sancho Panza will be with me for years to come.

"Then the very same thing, said the knight, happens in the comedy and commerce of this world, where one meets with some people playing the parts of emperors, others in the characters of popes, and finally, all the different personages that can be introduced in a comedy; but, when the play is done, that is, when life is at an end, death strips them of the robes that distinguished their stations, and they become all equal in the grave.”

“Time ripens all things. No man is born wise.” ( )
2 vote bookworm12 | Dec 10, 2014 |
This story is about an elderly man who transforms himself into a knight in order to bring back chivalry, all for the love of a farm girl. Throughout the story, Quixote's quick temper cause conflicts.
Ages: High school +
Source: Personal Library
  amandapanda613 | Nov 24, 2014 |
Very, very, very tedious and very, very, very long. I actually liked the stories within the story better than I liked the story of Quixote. The Lothario tale was very entertaining, among others. And I enjoyed Sancho Panza's time ruling his "island." But I found the constant abuse and belittling of Quixote by others to be increasingly annoying, and when Quixote spoke, I had to will myself to pay attention. I'm glad I read it, but I'll never read it again. ( )
  AliceAnna | Aug 10, 2014 |
I have listened to the whole book on Audible.com several times. I find it wonderful and worth the time. ( )
  Benedict8 | Jul 16, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (169 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel deprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ayala, FranciscoIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blecua, José ManuelContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Braunfels, LudwigTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bulbena i Tosell, AntoniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cohen, J. M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dam, C.F.A. vanIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dam, C.F.A. vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
de Riquer, MartínIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Doré, GustaveIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Edman, IrwinIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Estrada, ManuelCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Frenk, MargitContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fuentes, CarlosIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Giannini, AlfredoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Givanel i Mas, JoanForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
González Echevarría, RobertoIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
GrandvilleIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grossman, EdithTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guillén, ClaudioContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Haamstede, N. vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hahn Jr., A.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heine, HeinrichIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hollo, J. A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jarvis, CharlesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kraaz, GerhartIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Legrand, EdyIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Martini, FritzAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Motteux, Peter AnthonyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nordenhök, JensTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ormsby, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ozell, JohnEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pascual, José AntonioContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pol, Barber van deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Putnam, SamuelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rico, FranciscoEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rojo, GuillermoContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rutherford, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schüller tot Peursum, C.L.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schüller tot Peursum, C.U.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Slade, CaroleTranslation Revisions / Introduction / Notessecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smollett, TobiasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Spemann, AdolfTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stade, GeorgeConsulting Editorial Directorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tieck, LudwigTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Valcárcel, CarolinaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vargas Llosa, MarioIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Werumeus Buning, J.W.F.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Werumeus Buning, J.W.F.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Idle reader, you can believe without any oath of mine that I would wish this book, as the child of my brain, to be the most beautiful, the liveliest and the cleverest imaginable.
Prologue: Idle reader: I don't have to swear any oaths to persuade you that I should like this book, since it is the son of my brain, to be the most beautiful and elegant and intelligent book imaginable.
Chapter 1: In a village in La Mancha, the name of which I cannot quite recall, there lived not long ago one of those country gentlemen or hidalgos who keep a lance in a rack, an ancient leather shield, a scrawny hack and a greyhound for coursing.
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Don Quixote was originally published in two parts. This is the complete and unabridged version, containing both parts. Please do not combine with abridged or incomplete versions.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060934344, Paperback)

Edith Grossman's definitive English translation of the Spanish masterpiece. Widely regarded as one of the funniest and most tragic books ever written, Don Quixote chronicles the adventures of the self-created knight-errant Don Quixote of La Mancha and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, as they travel through sixteenth-century Spain. You haven't experienced Don Quixote in English until you've read this masterful translation.

This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:39:33 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

El ideal de vida del simptico y honesto don Quijote choca violenta y dolorosamente con una realidad grosera y vulgar que no le comprende. Este libro de texto y su disco compacto son diseados para el desarrollo de las cuatro destrezas: leer, escribir, escuchar y hablar.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 41 descriptions

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