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Don Quixote (Penguin Classics) Paperback – February 25, 2003

4.4 out of 5 stars 93 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The highest creation of genius has been achieved by Shakespeare and Cervantes, almost alone." —Samuel Taylor Coleridge

"A more profound and powerful work than this is not to be met with...The final and greatest utterance of the human mind." —Fyodor Dostoyevsky

"What a monument is this book! How its creative genius, critical, free, and human, soars above its age!" —Thomas Mann

"Don Quixote looms so wonderfully above the skyline of literature, a gaunt giant on a lean nag, that the book lives and will live through his sheer vitality....The parody has become a paragon." —Vladimir Nabokov

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About the Author

Miguel De Cervantes Saavedra was born in Spain in 1547 to a family once proud and influential but now fallen on hard times. His father, a poor barber-surgeon, wandered up and down Spain in search of work. Educated as a child by the Jesuits in Seville, the creator of Don Quixote grew up to follow the career of a professional soldier. He was wounded at Lepanto in 1571, captured by the Turks in 1575, imprisoned for five years, and was finally rescued by the Trinitarian friars in 1580. On his return to Spain he found his family more impoverished than ever before. Supporting his mother, two sisters, and an illegitimate daughter, he settled down to a literary career and had hopes of becoming a successful playwright, but just then the youthful Lope de Vega entered triumphantly to transform the Spanish theatre by his genius. Galatea, a pastoral romance, was published in 1585, the year of Cervantes’ marriage to Catalina de Palacios y Salazar Vozmediano. But it did not bring him an escape from poverty, and he was forced to become a roving commissary for the Spanish armada. This venture, which led to bankruptcy and jail, lasted for fifteen years. Although he never knew prosperity, Cervantes did gain a measure of fame during his lifetime, and Don Quixote and Sancho Panza were known all over the world. Part I of Don Quixote was published in 1605; in 1613, his Exemplary Novels appeared, and these picaresque tales of romantic adventure gained immediate popularity. Journey to Parnassas, a satirical review of his fellow Spanish poets, appeared in 1614, and Part II of Don Quixote in 1615 as well as Eight Plays and Eight Interludes. Miguel de Cervantes died on April 23, 1616, the same day as the death of Shakespeare--his English contemporary, his only peer.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1072 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Rev Ed edition (February 25, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142437239
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142437230
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.9 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,019 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
The audio book of Edith Grossman's new translation of Don Quixote was a perfect driving companion for my trip across the country. At a whopping 40.5 hours, I listened to the 35 CDs almost nonstop but didn't even finish it in the car (though only about 20 minutes were left when I arrived).
As I suppose I could have guessed, the text of Don Quixote is particularly well suited to the audio book format. Among other things, it's largely a book about storytelling, and many long sections of the book felt very much in the spirit of The Canterbury Tales. Characters enter, tell their stories to the main characters (and to us readers in the process), and then go their merry way. It strikes me as the perfect book to read to a child a chapter a night, as each chapter stands on its own as an isolated adventure or even a story within a story. Like A Thousand and One Nights, it begs to be read aloud in installments.
Of course, the success of a good oral story depends on the reader, who needs the right voice, interpretation, interest, and believability to tell the tale in a gripping, convincing manner. George Guidall is the perfect narrator for this story. From the first pages of the Preface, I could already tell that his voice was the one I'd imagine for Don Quixote (and, by extension in my mind, Cervantes himself). His narration always captures the humor of the book without turning it into slapstick comedy and he effectively reads all characters, both male and female, as rich, distinct voices without resorting to caricature. For example, he characterizes his female voices by using a softer tone, not a higher pitch. He doesn't try to sound like a woman; rather, he simply conveys the fact that a female is speaking. I often find this is a challenge for readers of audio books.
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Format: Paperback
Don Quixote De La Mancha is a long book which many people nowadays wouldn't stop and read. Where's the time? But it is nonetheless a story everyone knows. Who hasn't heard of that crazy man chasing after the windmills with his partner Sancho Panza? It is work of art that has universal appeal due to it's clash between reality and idealism...something with which we all deal with in our lives. I read Don Quixote while in college and aside from it being a portrait of decadent Spanish society at the height of Spain's glorious empire, the book is often vulgar and downright hillarious. A true work of comedy. I recommend this book to everyone. Give it a chance even if it is so long. It's well worth it. You'll not only laugh out loud, you will have educated your mind with what is called the first novel and one of the masterpieces of world literature.
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Format: Audio CD
Plenty of other readers have reviewed the content of the book. I'll limit my remarks to those specially pertinent to this audio edition.
This recording is one of my favorite recorded books. George Guidall, as always, performs very well as a reader, taking up the many voices of the characters of this novel with great skill, clarity, and expression. I never found my interest flagging. The thirty-five CDs of this set are a great achievement.
The only problem I found in this set of CDs is that some of the information printed on them is not correct:
1. Each CD is marked "Tracks Every 3 Minutes," which is completely false. Each approximately 70-minute CD is divided into eight to fourteen tracks of varying lengths corresponding to natural breaks in the text.
2. Each CD is marked "First printed in 1605." This notice is only true in the case of the first 17 CDs. In truth, the last eighteen CDs, which contain Part II, should note that the text was first printed in 1615.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've always enjoyed reading the great books of Western literature. In my youth, I was able to get along through all but the worst of translations if nothing better was available. As I've gotten older, I've become far more discriminating and I put a lot of time and effort into looking for the translation that is equal parts good for me and true to the original language.

Tom Lathrop's translation is everything I had been looking for in my search for a readable Don Quixote.

It is a complete translation, leaving out nothing that Cervantes put into the first edition of Don Quixote. The translator is a noted scholar of Spanish and Cervantes' works, which gave me great confidence when making my choice. Lathrop's introduction explains his thoughts on various parts of the text and why his choices are to be preferred over those of other recent translations. His arguments are quite convincing and his explanations provide great insight into the text and the mind of Cervantes.

The English of Lathrop is easily readable. It is in no way archaic; rather, it is timeless while remaining lively and spirited, capturing the humor and tragedy of the tales of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. In many cases, original Spanish words and idioms not easily translated are left in and explained in footnotes that are both informative and humorous in their own right. Lathrop's footnotes also point out where Cervantes alludes to other works of literature while telling his tale so that the reader misses nothing.

Tom Lathrop's translation from Signet should be considered among the best of the English translations of Don Quixote. Five stars all the way!
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