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Don Quixote Paperback – Deckle Edge, April 26, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 992 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (April 26, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060934344
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060934347
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (625 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,600 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

There would seem to be little reason for yet another translation of Don Quixote. Translated into English some 20 times since the novel appeared in two parts in 1605 and 1615, and at least five times in the last half-century, it is currently available in multiple editions (the most recent is the 1999 Norton Critical Edition translated by Burton Raffel). Yet Grossman bravely attempts a fresh rendition of the adventures of the intrepid knight Don Quixote and his humble squire Sancho Panza. As the respected translator of many of Latin America's finest writers (among them Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Carlos Fuentes and Mario Vargas Llosa), she is well suited to the task, and her translation is admirably readable and consistent while managing to retain the vigor, sly humor and colloquial playfulness of the Spanish. Erring on the side of the literal, she isn't afraid to turn out clunky sentences; what she loses in smoothness and elegance she gains in vitality. The text is free of archaisms the contemporary reader will rarely stumble over a word and the footnotes (though rather erratically supplied) are generally helpful. Her version easily bests Raffel's ambitious but eccentric and uneven effort, and though it may not immediately supplant standard translations by J.M. Cohen, Samuel Putnam and Walter Starkie, it should give them a run for their money. Against the odds, Grossman has given us an honest, robust and freshly revelatory Quixote for our times.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

“Grossman has given us an honest, robust and freshly revelatory Quixote for our times” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

“A major literary achievement.” (Carlos Fuentes, New York Times Book Review)

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Customer Reviews

This is the funniest book I have ever read.
M. Callaghan
A wonderful novel, a great translation, and a superb reading by George Guidall, who beautifully captures the story's humor and pathos.
Janet Rowell
This is just as well, because the book is on the long side and you have to be prepared for a marathon read to get to the end.
Richard Cooke

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

765 of 783 people found the following review helpful By Philip Haldeman on March 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Edith Grossman's is the hot new translation, but there may be a tendency to confer too much praise on a fresh reading. From what I have sampled, I have no doubt of Grossman's excellence, but this is not the "definitive" DQ (no one's is), and frankly, after some comparison of the early chapters, I've decided to spend my time with Burton Raffel's translation, now only a decade old. Raffel sometimes opts for a colloquial word or two, but it's never jarring, and his overall style seems not only less pretentious to me than Grossman's, but a superior combination of a modern reading with a traditional "tone." Tone and style are important, and Raffel sometimes makes Grossman seem too abstract or fussy, though this is difficult to describe. Raffel's phrasing is more focused and vigorous than Grossman's--though both are said to be accurate. Let me offer a couple of examples that shifted me toward Raffel:

Grossman:

"Some claim that his family name was Quixada, or Quexada, for there is a certain amount of disagreement among the authors who write of this matter, although reliable conjecture seems to indicate that his name was Quexana. But this does not matter very much to our story; in its telling there is absolutely no deviation from the truth."

Raffel:

"It's said his family name was Quijada, or maybe Quesada: there's some disagreement among the writers who've discussed the matter. But more than likely his name was really Quejana. Not that this makes much difference in our story; it's just important to tell things as faithfully as you can."

(Notice how Raffel makes immediately clear in the last sentence what Grossman so literally translates.
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427 of 442 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 3, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Faulkner said Don Quixote was his favorite book and that, along with The Bible, he dipped into it yearly. I'm not sure what Cervantes would have made of some of Faulkner's more troublesome work, but the world has designated Don Quixote the Father of the Modern Novel and perhaps the greatest novel ever. I'm a fan of this book and a habitual (some would say neurotic) comparer of translations. Since I don't read of speak Spanish, I have to rely on the English translations that have been published. There are three that are worthwhile: Ormsby's, Samuel Putnam's and now Edith Grossman's. Grossman, who is the translator of Garcia Marquez's books into English, has produced a translation that's contemporary and authentic--somehow, not an oxymoron. It has a fresher feel than Putnam's (the translation Nabokov used when teaching the book), though I wouldn't say it supplants Putnam. If you're looking for a copy of Don Quixote in English, Grossman's translation is a good first choice. She manages to maintain the feel of the language Cervantes wrote in (as far as I can tell) yet her translation, as the NY Times reviewer noted, is as readable as the latest novel from Philip Roth. You can't go wrong with Putnam or Grossman, but on this one, I have to give the nod to Grossman.
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191 of 202 people found the following review helpful By Adam Dukovich on November 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I have read this book both in English and Spanish, and I can honestly say that it loses very little of its power, wit or message in translation. For all those who have considered reading this book, here are a few good reasons: this book is a very nuanced look at escapism and identity, a wonderful parody of knight stories, along with being a rousing (and very funny) adventure centering around the titular hero, a man who reads one too many books about knighthood and chivalry and decides to become a knight-errant himself. After recruiting a sidekick and choosing a lady to woo per narrative convention, he sets out to conquer the forces of evil, which include, among other things, giant windmills and rogue "knights". Cervantes' insight and ability to parody were both ahead of his time, and in a time where escapism and voyeurism are well and thriving, it is not difficult to imagine someone watching too many TV shows and believing they're a wild west outlaw or what-have-you. A very fascinating experience, and it works well in any language. Highly recommended.
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134 of 144 people found the following review helpful By Daryl Anderson VINE VOICE on January 21, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Note: Amazon.com seems to have a hard time linking reviews to specific editions - it makes a difference. This review is of the Modern Library edition, ISBN-0679602860, translated by Samuel Putnam. I am reposting it, hoping it will link correctly this time).
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When you approach reading (or rereading) a "classic" work you really, mostly, don't have to think about whether to read it -- that decision was either made by someone assigning it to you or, more wonderfully, by you, yourself deciding to swim contra-current against the cultural waters... following Neil Young's advice to "turn off that MTV."
So. You are going to read it. And, if you are paddling the Amazon.com, here, you are going to buy and OWN it. The question really becomes which edition you should own.
This is the one.
Its a fine translation - surprising in its avoidance of archaic language. It has a nice structure - the inevitable notes are available but not obtrusive.
This edition, the Modern Library hardback edition, translated by Putnam, is also a nice book to own. It isn't one of those pretty faux-leather "shelf-candy" copies that'll break your wallet first. This is a hardworking book - the essence of the Modern Library idea. But it is a wonderful packaging of the whole 1000+ pages that is both readable and shelvable. No thousand-page paperback will survive an actual reading as anything you would want excepting as backup next to the latrine.
Did I mention that it is a great book, great story? Well, others over the years have managed that :-). But I will loudly agree. I'm rereading it only now after a 35 year hiatus (yes, indeed, classics can be lost on the young - thats why you want books that last.
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