Don Quixote: A New Translation by Edith Grossman

Don Quixote: A New Translation by Edith Grossman

4.6 32
by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Edith Grossman, Christina Moore, George Guidall
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Don Quixote has become so entranced by reading chivalry romances that he determines to turn knight-errant himself. In the company of his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, these exploits blossom in all sorts of wonderful ways. While Quixote's fancy often leads him astray -- he tilts at windmills, imagining them to be giants -- Sancho acquires cunning and a certain

Overview

Don Quixote has become so entranced by reading chivalry romances that he determines to turn knight-errant himself. In the company of his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, these exploits blossom in all sorts of wonderful ways. While Quixote's fancy often leads him astray -- he tilts at windmills, imagining them to be giants -- Sancho acquires cunning and a certain sagacity. Sane madman and wise fool, they roam the world together -- and together they have haunted readers' imaginations for nearly four hundred years.

With its experimental form and literary playfulness, Don Quixote has been generally recognized as the first modern novel. The book has been enormously influential on a host of writers, from Fielding and Sterne to Flaubert, Dickens, Melville, and Faulkner, who reread it once a year, "just as some people read the Bible." This Penguin Classics edition includes John Rutherford's masterly new translation, which does full justice to the energy and wit of Cervantes's prose, as well as a brilliant new critical introduction by Roberto Gonzalez Echevarria.

Editorial Reviews

In 1605, Miguel de Cervantes published El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha (The History of the Valorous and Witty Knight Errant Don Quixote of La Mancha), which he pretended to have translated from a Moorish manuscript. Since that time, this richly imaginative work has become regarded as the first novel and, in the eyes of many, remains the finest ever written. William Faulkner read it every year; novelist Paul Auster described it as "one book that I keep going back to and keep thinking about," and a recent Spanish prime minister perused it every day. In 2002, a panel of 100 renowned writers adjudged it the greatest book of all time. Whether you are approaching Don Quixote for the first time or regaining its pleasures, there's no more readable version than Edith Grossman's new translation. Carlos Fuentes hailed it as "a major literary achievement" and Harold Bloom canonized Grossman as "the Glenn Gould" of translators.
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.
Carlos Fuentes
“A major literary achievement.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781402563690
Publisher:
Recorded Books, LLC
Publication date:
12/01/2011

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.

What People are saying about this

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

Meet the Author

Miguel de Cervantes was born on September 29, 1547, in Alcala de Henares, Spain. At twenty-three he enlisted in the Spanish militia and in 1571 fought against the Turks in the Battle of Lepanto, where a gunshot wound permanently crippled his left hand. He spent four more years at sea and then another five as a slave after being captured by Barbary pirates. Ransomed by his family, he returned to Madrid but his disability hampered him; it was in debtor's prison that he began to write Don Quixote. Cervantes wrote many other works, including poems and plays, but he remains best known as the author of Don Quixote. He died on April 23, 1616.

Edith Grossman is the award-winning translator of major works by many of Latin America's most important writers. Born in Philadelphia, she attended the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California at Berkeley before receiving her PhD from New York University. She lives in New York City.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Don Quixote: A New Translation by Edith Grossman 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read Don Quixote before through l0 chapters and left depressed. Grossman' version is not only refreshing, it gives you a real feel for the spanish and the art of Cervantes. I recommend it highly for those who love Man of LaManche like I do.
bella70 More than 1 year ago
I can see why Cervantes's Don Quixote has left its mark through out the ages. It is the purely the definition of a classic."For what I want of Dulcinea del Toboso she is as good as the greatest princess in the land.For not all those poets who praise ladies under names which they choose so freely, really have such mistresses. . . .I am quite satisfied. . . to imagine and believe that the good Aldonza Lorenzo is so lovely and virtuous(Chapter xxv)."This is probably one of my most favorite quotes from the novel Don Quixote which I truley enjoyed. The way he shapes his lines and the almost perfect word choice makes it new to me every time I read it. This quote also brings up a good point about the novel. His love for Dulcinea. We never really even meet her in the book but to him he is the reason for most of his acts. He tries to show chivalry but usually fails terribly. In these parts of the novel I found it almost funny. Sometimes I think he was trying to put a little satire into it which made it an interesting read. On the other hand it showed his seriousness and morals because he wanted to prove his love for her to everyone he met. As well, I like the fact that it was generally easy to read. I had my doubts about reading it in the first place because of its age and how it had been translated into Spanish beforehand. When I began reading it I realized it was very enjoyable and flowed nicely. I would definitely reccomend it to anyone who likes a good classic read with great word choice. A book that from the looks of it wouldnt really make you think that much until you look inside the things he is trying to imply. Adults and teenagers alike could really enjoy this book for the same aspects of different ones but either way it was a great book. I loved it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This truely is the best novel ever written. I read some reviews complaining that Edith Grossman's translation was too wordy for a less than mature reader. Well, if you can read Dickens then this book is not too wordy for you. Get it, read it, love it.
Pablo_Pacific More than 1 year ago
Edith Grossman's excellent translation is superb...brings this story to life in ways unequaled before! Bravo! Bravo!
Anonymous 11 months ago
Go to 'slide' first result.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Hey there sexy ;)
Anonymous 12 months ago
<_>
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the first two sentences and had to set the book down because i knew that if i read another word then i would keep reading. I am currentky resding anither book and i havr to finish that one before i read this. Spain is so freaking amazing. I luv u bug brother!!!! ~Deep (Malta)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago