Don Quixote

Don Quixote

4.0 24
by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
     
 

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Widely regarded as the world's first modern novel, and one of the funniest and most tragic books ever written, Don Quixote chronicles the famous picaresque adventures of the noble knight-errant Don Quixote of La Mancha and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, as they travel through sixteenth-century Spain.  See more details below

Overview

Widely regarded as the world's first modern novel, and one of the funniest and most tragic books ever written, Don Quixote chronicles the famous picaresque adventures of the noble knight-errant Don Quixote of La Mancha and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, as they travel through sixteenth-century Spain.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Cervantes's masterpiece is lucky to have found so perfect a translator as the flamboyant Smollett. The rambunctious personalities of author and translator are ideally matched."
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 - Publisher's Weekly
As in Williams's Greek Myths for Young Children and Joseph and His Magnificent Coat of Many Colors , engagingly busy, ornately bordered, comic strip-style artwork gives new and buoyant life to a familiar story. The characteristic understatement of her text, juxtaposed with the humorous mutterings of a quirky cast (delivered in cartoon balloons), breezily chronicles Quixote's hapless quest to ``right all wrongs and protect all damsels.'' (Though Williams's rendition seems appropriate for the intended audience, literary purists may object on principle to the abridgement of such a venerable classic.) Here the would-be knight is rendered as quite the buffoon, as he prepares to tilt at windmills he mistakes for ``giants'' and battle two ``armies'' that are actually flocks of sheep. Time after time, Quixote and sidekick Sancho Panza are badly battered (the former is shown losing his ear and some teeth), but always brush themselves off and continue ``on their way in search of new adventure worthy of so famous a knight and his faithful squire.'' A fun way to become acquainted with this masterpiece. Ages 7-up. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Sharon Tolle
A shortened version of the original, this retold story is much easier for children to read. It still captures the great spirit of Don Quixote's adventures and his dream of being a knight. In each chapter, readers discover how our hero sets out to save a princess or continues on his quest to defeat evil. His fearsome conviction will amaze and even bring a chuckle to the reader. The black-and-white illustrations are full of action and really complement this spirited story.
Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Brits Martin Jenkins and Chris Riddell have obviously had a marvelous time with this "retelling" of Cervantes' classic, early seventeenth century picaresque novel. Still, it cannot have been easy condensing the original nine hundred-odd pages into the fast paced three-hundred-plus here offered. Riddell's exquisite page-by-page illustrations (very fine pen-and-ink sketches that literally fly off the pages, interspersed with occasional full-page and double-spread color paintings) must have been tough calls, too, given the popular impressions of the story's major characters and events inscribed in the contemporary brain by recent years of touring productions of the musical Man of la Mancha. The end result gives one the feeling of a graphic novel wrapped around an especially lucid batch of copy—all beautifully designed and produced. That said, the volume is also a pretty nifty way to introduce a fresh generation or two of young readers to knight errants and squires and the chivalric code Cervantes so brilliantly satirized. Reviewer: Kathleen Karr
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.
School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up-- Cervantes's Don Quixote, the moniker and persona adopted by the addled Senor Quijada , who has read a few too many chivalric romances, hardly needs introduction to adults. However, most young people will have hardly heard him mentioned, much less had any firsthand contact with this larger-than-life literary creation. Bogin has taken some of the more involving, outrageous, and well-known adventures of the knight errant and his squire, Sancho Panza, and put them together into a relatively brief narrative that nonetheless is strikingly true to the tone and style of the Spanish original. Her prose, lively and at times employing modern vernacular to good effect, does full justice to Cervantes's mad Knight of the Sad Countenance. It begs reading aloud, and may well start discussion and contemplation. Boix's illustrations are delicate, detailed, gold-washed watercolors that create a kind of fairy-tale ambience. They will grab readers' attention and imaginations and direct anyone picking the book up to delve into it and to find out what's going on. Taken as a whole, this is a lovely job of bookmaking, providing an examplary introduction to a classic work. --Ann Welton, Thomas Academy, Kent, WA

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375756993
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/10/2001
Series:
Modern Library Classics Series
Pages:
1168
Sales rank:
928,234
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.70(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Life of Cervantes

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra was at once the glory and reproach of Spain; for, if his admirable genius and heroic spirit conduced to the honour of his country, the distress and obscurity which attended his old age, as effectually redounded to her disgrace. Had he lived amidst Gothic darkness and barbarity, where no records were used, and letters altogether unknown, we might have expected to derive from tradition, a number of particulars relating to the family and fortune of a man so remarkably admired even in his own time. But, one would imagine pains had been taken to throw a veil of oblivion over the personal concerns of this excellent author. No inquiry hath, as yet, been able to ascertain the place of his nativity;1 and, although in his works he has declared himself a gentleman by birth, no house has hitherto laid claim to such an illustrious descendant.

One author* says he was born at Esquivias; but, offers no argument in support of his assertion: and probably the conjecture was founded upon the encomiums which Cervantes himself bestows on that place, to which he gives the epithet of Renowned, in his preface to Persiles and Sigismunda.2 Others affirm he first drew breath in Lucena, grounding their opinion upon a vague tradition which there prevails: and a third* set take it for granted that he was a native of Seville, because there are families in that city known by the names of Cervantes and Saavedra; and our author mentions his having, in his early youth, seen plays acted by Lope Rueda, who was a Sevilian. These, indeed, are presumptions that deserve some regard, tho', far from implying certain information, they scarce even amount to probable conjecture: nay, these very circumstances seem to disprove the supposition; for, had he been actually descended from those families, they would, in all likelihood, have preserved some memorials of his birth, which Don Nicholas Antonio would have recorded, in speaking of his fellow-citizen. All these pretensions are now generally set aside in favour of Madrid, which claims the honour of having produced Cervantes, and builds her title on an expression? in his Voyage to Parnassus, which, in my opinion, is altogether equivocal and inconclusive.

In the midst of such undecided contention, if I may be allowed to hazard a conjecture, I would suppose that there was something mysterious in his extraction, which he had no inclination to explain, and that his family had domestic reasons for maintaining the like reserve. Without admitting some such motive, we can hardly account for his silence on a subject that would have afforded him an opportunity to indulge that self-respect which he so honestly displays in the course of his writings. Unless we conclude that he was instigated to renounce all connexion with his kindred and allies, by some contempt'ous flight, mortifying repulse, or real injury he had sustained; a supposition which, I own, is not at all improbable, considering the jealous sensibility of the Spaniards in general, and the warmth of resentment peculiar to our author, which glows through his productions, unrestrained by all the fears of poverty, and all the maxims of old age and experience.

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What People are saying about this

J. M. Cohen
One of the best adventure stories in the world.
Thomas Mann
What a unique monument is this book!... How its creative genius, critical, free, and human, soars above its age!
Carlos Fuentes
Don Quixote is the first modern novel, perhaps the most eternal novel ever written and certainly the fountainhead of European and American fiction: here we have Gogol and Dostoevsky, Dickens and Nabokov, Borges and Bellow, Sterne and Diderot in their genetic nakedness, once more taking to the road with the gentleman and the squire, believing the world is what we read and discovering that the world reads us.
Milan Kundera
The novelist teaches the reader to comprehend the world of a question.
—(Milan Kundera

Meet the Author

Carlos Fuentes is the author of more than a dozen novels, including The Years with Laura D?az, The Old Gringo, and The Death of Artemio Cruz.

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Don Quixote 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This novel is towering, an absolute powerhouse. It is also one of the funniest books I have ever read. There are not many books I would have the desire to read again but this is one of them, only for the sheer enjoyment of it. Don Quixote is one of the most original characters ever set on paper. He and Sancho are just hysterically funny. You will enjoy every minute of this novel. If you don't read it, you are missing out.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Don Quixote definitely backs up the claim that Miguel de Cervantes is the best author in the history of Spanish literature. In Don Quixote, Cervantes wonderfully illustrates the idea of romanticism and chivalry by narrating the tale of an old knight. This novel highlights the idea that we all wish we could be knights. We all wish we could fight evil and protect goodness. Don Quixote is persecuted because, unlike the rest of the world, he actually pursues his fantastic dreams of knight-errantry. He decides to go out into the world to do what he thinks is right, and to achieve a little infamy. He acquires a squire named Sancho, and together they have some outlandish adventures. Don Quixote battles with sheep, attacks innocent barbers, and fights with a few evildoers. Don Quixote does some evil things himself, but in his mind, he is the champion for the oppressed. He always maintains that he is in the right, and he always seems happy with this role as hero. Eventually he is forced to resign from fighting evil by Samson the scholar. Samson defeats him in battle, and Don Quixote relinquishes his position as savior of all things good. He seems to experience a catharsis at the end of the novel, when he signs his will 'Alonzo Quijada' instead of 'Don Quixote de la Mancha'. This event hints at the idea that he knew all along what he was doing. He seems to realize that he was not a hero, and that his dreams were crushed. He was wrong though to think he was not a famous knight errant, and it is a shame he died in such a state of mind. It just goes to show that most famous people never become famous in their lifetime, only after they die do they receive the glory they deserve. Even though Don Quixote was a fictional character, that does not mean that he should not receive the same respect as any dead hero. He may not have saved any damsels in distress, or slain any dragons, or killed any wizards; but he did inspire romance in the hearts of readers around the world for almost five centuries. He goes back to La Mancha and dies a sad, unsatisfying death. This is where the novel itself creates some irony. Don Quixote wanted to become a knight, one who is written about in tales of chivalry. What better way to achieve this limelight than to be the main character in a novel that is arguably the best piece of Spanish Literature ever written. Through all of his misadventures and all of his criticisms, he is not so crazy when you think about it. He does become the most famous knight in the world. He does inspire others to follow in his footsteps. Don Quixote de la Mancha could be considered a hero after all, in fact one of the greatest romantic heroes. Cervantes wrote Don Quixote as a satire to the books of chivalry of that time period, but it turned out to be much more than a satire. It turned out to be a novel symbolic of romance and chivalry, the opposite of Cervantes' intention. Now, people who have this same dedication to romance, chivalry, and the fight against evil are described as Quixotic, a testament to an eternal novel, Don Quixote.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Absolutely brilliant translation - the only one that has overcome the difficulties of the language and has bothered to and very succesfully transferred Cervantes' wit to our modern-day sense of humour and fun. Very highly recommended if interested in the English version.
Anonymous 8 months ago
Hey
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Gemma
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Std res 1
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love in the book
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An exceptional read.
atonalorbit More than 1 year ago
1) This book was advertised with the wrong translator.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
A pleasurable book to read,this translation of DON QUIXOTE made the story easy to understand, and for every reason it stands up to its reputaion as the best-loved novel. Confronting the conventions of Spanish society at his time some four hundred years ago, the author wittily and funnily exposes the folies of the time through the adventures , stories and misfortunes of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza.In a broader sense it is the forerunner off other situations where individuals, communities or systems live a complete lie.This is truely an amazing book, one that you won't want to put down once you have started.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book stands out as a very comical and colorful book with some very unique characters and plenty of twists. I just fell in love with Don Quixote and his somewhat silly squire, Sancho Panza. The book itself was extremely well-translated and easy to read. Though I am sure some twists in the book are a little hard to believe (people finding lost loves and brothers in the period of an hour) I think this book most surely keeps readers to the very end! Most novels around this time seem to focus on the fighting rather than the plot, but this encorperates it all very nicely. I loved it, I recommmend it for all age groups; it won't take more than a week to read if you stick with it! :)
Guest More than 1 year ago
What I enjoyed about this book is that being a fictional story about a person's life, rather than most books which are more heavily oriented in plot, this book follows the true figure of life. There are characters that we meet, as colorful as two grapes that splash against lime. They enter, they are felt, and then they leave. These character are never heard from again. Such is one of the qualities of life. I appreciated that about the book. I also appreciate how Cervantes handles his comedic techniques. Comedy being truly funny if it is taken seriously by the commedian, Cervantes' characters perform the most absurd actions with complete sincerity and determination. They paint their house with honey as casually as we paint ours with paint. There are too many works that become puppets to an audience because they are there to please, and therefore their characters come accross at times as not complete people but instead as merely a means to an end. While these kind of works can please for a minute, they cannot last for a day. Cervantes demonstrates an immense respect for the intellectual capacities of his readers by simply presenting his characters as who they are. They live their lives for themselves, their actions are for themselves and they are not puppets, and it just happens that their lives are entertaining. These are just some random thoughts on the book. Also, as I did not know that the book was divided into two parts before i read it. I found that the second part of the story made more of a profound effect on me. By not including side stories such as the Captive's Story or The Tale of Ill-Advised Curiosity as in the first part, Cervantes focuses more on the inner workings of his two heroes. In the first part we see their shapes, but in the second part we see their substance. In general, though, i find that there is a balance in this, therefore I cannot complain about either part. I would not have liked one part if not for the other, you might say.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Don Quixote is a wonderfully funny book about an old man whose brain has dried up because of such immersion in medieval fairytales and is determined to spend the rest of his life as the knight he has dubbed himself. He and his best friend, Sancho Panza, who is not quite as crazy as the protagonist,go out and save the world from what the audience might think is a harmless thing, but is a threat to humanity to Don Quixote.