Don Quixote: A New Translation by Edith Grossman

Don Quixote: A New Translation by Edith Grossman

4.4 26
by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
     
 

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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

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Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Carlos Fuentes
“A major literary achievement.”
Thomas Mann
What a monument is this book! How its creative genius, critical, free, and human, soars above its age!
Fyodor Dostoyevsky
A more profound and powerful work than this is not to be met with...The final and greatest utterance of the human mind.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
The highest creation of genius has been achieved by Shakespeare and Cervantes, almost alone.
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 Garc a M rquez, 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. (Nov.) Forecast: A somber, graceless jacket won't do this edition any favors, but the packaging of the paperback will be most important in determining future sales. In any case, this will be an essential backlist title. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In 2002, 100 major writers from 54 countries rated Don Quixote the world's best work of fiction. Any new translation of Cervantes's immortal classic is thus a major publishing event, and when that translator is Grossman-the prize-winning interpreter of such contemporary Latin American giants as Garc a Marquez and Vargas Llosa-it is a major event indeed. Grossman's goal was to make the 400-year-old book sound as if it were penned by one of her modern specialties. Using Martin de Riquer's scholarly edition, itself based on the princeps, she translates the text exactly, including the numerous gaps, such as the unexplained theft of Sancho's donkey. Grossman retains the original Latin, of course, but also such Spanish words as nsula that convey a particular meaning. She modifies the famous opening line of the novel by inserting the word somewhere before "in La Mancha," thereby reinforcing the vagueness of the location. Unlike earlier versions, this Don Quixote doesn't use the antiquated speech of the novels of chivalry that Cervantes is spoofing, thus providing a more readable text. Footnotes, many derived from de Riquer, are kept to a minimum and are included only when an explanation is indispensable; Grossman wants the novel to be read first and revered through the clogging of scholarly apparatus second. The end result of Grossman's two-year labor of love is a Don Quixote that is contemporary without being irreverent, a status Raffel's 1995 effort approached. The older, more faithful standard translations, like those of Putnam (1949), Starkie (1964), and Jarvis (revised 1992) will remain in the canon and in print, as much for their reliability as their quaintness. Where Grossman succeeds is in being faithful to Cervantes's comic spirit and natural style; it is indeed a sign of freshness and spontaneity that this reviewer laughed as if for the first time at passages that he's read many times before. As the literary world prepares for the quadricentennial in 2005 of the publication of Don Quixote's first part and in light of other competing versions, now and possibly to come by then, this is the one to beat. Recommended for all libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 7/03.]-Lawrence Olszewski, OCLC Lib., Dublin, OH Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060934347
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
04/26/2005
Series:
P.S. Series
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
992
Sales rank:
58,178
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.58(d)
Lexile:
1480L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

Read an Excerpt

Don Quixote

Part One of the Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha

Chapter One

Which describes the condition and profession of the famous gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha

Somewhere in La Mancha, in a place whose name I do not care to remember, a gentleman lived not long ago, one of those who has a lance and ancient shield on a shelf and keeps a skinny nag and a greyhound for racing. An occasional stew, beef more often than lamb, hash most nights, eggs and abstinence on Saturdays, lentils on Fridays, sometimes squab as a treat on Sundays -- these consumed three-fourths of his income. The rest went for a light woolen tunic and velvet breeches and hose of the same material for feast days, while weekdays were honored with dun-colored coarse cloth. He had a housekeeper past forty, a niece not yet twenty, and a man-of-all-work who did everything from saddling the horse to pruning the trees. Our gentleman was approximately fifty years old; his complexion was weathered, his flesh scrawny, his face gaunt, and he was a very early riser and a great lover of the hunt. 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.

And so, let it be said that this aforementioned gentleman spent his times of leisure -- which meant most of the year -- reading books of chivalry with so much devotion and enthusiasm that he forgot almost completelyabout the hunt and even about the administration of his estate; and in his rash curiosity and folly he went so far as to sell acres of arable land in order to buy books of chivalry to read, and he brought as many of them as he could into his house; and he thought none was as fine as those composed by the worthy Feliciano de Silva, because the clarity of his prose and complexity of his language seemed to him more valuable than pearls, in particular when he read the declarations and missives of love, where he would often find written: The reason for the unreason to which my reason turns so weakens my reason that with reason I complain of thy beauty. And also when he read: ... the heavens on high divinely heighten thy divinity with the stars and make thee deserving of the deserts thy greatness deserves.

With these words and phrases the poor gentleman lost his mind, and he spent sleepless nights trying to understand them and extract their meaning, which Aristotle himself, if he came back to life for only that purpose, would not have been able to decipher or understand. Our gentleman was not very happy with the wounds that Don Belianís gave and received, because he imagined that no matter how great the physicians and surgeons who cured him, he would still have his face and entire body covered with scars and marks. But, even so, he praised the author for having concluded his book with the promise of unending adventure, and he often felt the desire to take up his pen and give it the conclusion promised there; and no doubt he would have done so, and even published it, if other greater and more persistent thoughts had not prevented him from doing so. He often had discussions with the village priest -- who was a learned man, a graduate of Sigüenza -- regarding who had been the greater knight, Palmerín of England or Amadís of Gaul; but Master Nicolás, the village barber, said that none was the equal of the Knight of Phoebus, and if any could be compared to him, it was Don Galaor, the brother of Amadís of Gaul, because he was moderate in everything: a knight who was not affected, not as weepy as his brother, and incomparable in questions of courage.

In short, our gentleman became so caught up in reading that he spent his nights reading from dusk till dawn and his days reading from sunrise to sunset, and so with too little sleep and too much reading his brains dried up, causing him to lose his mind. His fantasy filled with everything he had read in his books, enchantments as well as combats, battles, challenges, wounds, courtings, loves, torments, and other impossible foolishness, and he became so convinced in his imagination of the truth of all the countless grandiloquent and false inventions he read that for him no history in the world was truer. He would say that El Cid Ruy Díaz4 had been a very good knight but could not compare to Amadís, the Knight of the Blazing Sword, who with a single backstroke cut two ferocious and colossal giants in half. He was fonder of Bernardo del Carpio because at Roncesvalles he had killed the enchanted Roland by availing himself of the tactic of Hercules when he crushed Antaeus, the son of Earth, in his arms. He spoke highly of the giant Morgante because, although he belonged to the race of giants, all of them haughty and lacking in courtesy, he alone was amiable and well-behaved. But, more than any of the others, he admired Reinaldos de Montalbán, above all when he saw him emerge from his castle and rob anyone he met, and when he crossed the sea and stole the idol of Mohammed made all of gold, as recounted in his history. He would have traded his housekeeper, and even his niece, for the chance to strike a blow at the traitor Guenelon.

The truth is that when his mind was completely gone, he had the strangest thought any lunatic in the world ever had, which was that it seemed reasonable and necessary to him, both for the sake of his honor and as a service to the nation ...

Don Quixote. Copyright © by Miguel Cervantes. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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What People are saying about this

J. M. Cohen
One of the best adventure stories in the world.
Milan Kundera
The novelist teaches the reader to comprehend the world of a question.
—(Milan Kundera
Carlos Fuentes
“A major literary achievement.”

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