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

ISBN-13: 978-0142437230 ISBN-10: 0142437239

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1072 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (February 25, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142437239
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142437230
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (728 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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Customer Reviews

This is by far one of the best books that I ever had the pleasure of reading.
Shawn McDowell
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

837 of 857 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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439 of 454 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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203 of 215 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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142 of 152 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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