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Don Quixote (Signet Classics edition)
     

Don Quixote (Signet Classics edition)

3.9 21
by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Walter Starkie (Translator), Edward H. Friedman (Introduction)
 

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Don Quixote—by far the most famous book in Spanish literature—was originally intended by Cervantes as a skit on traditional popular ballads, but he also parodied the romances of chivalry. As a result he produced one of the most entertaining adventure stories of all time and created, in Don Quixote and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, two of the

Overview

Don Quixote—by far the most famous book in Spanish literature—was originally intended by Cervantes as a skit on traditional popular ballads, but he also parodied the romances of chivalry. As a result he produced one of the most entertaining adventure stories of all time and created, in Don Quixote and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, two of the greatest characters in fiction. By the time of his death in 1615, his work was already famous both in English and in French.

Editorial Reviews

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780451527868
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/28/2001
Edition description:
Unabridged
Pages:
1056
Product dimensions:
4.56(w) x 6.82(h) x 1.52(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

Don Quixote

Part One of the Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La ManchaChapter 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 completely aboutthe 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 (c) 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.
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

de Cervantes Saaverdra, joined the Italian military where he was captured and enslaved by priates in 1575. He was finally ransomed in 1580.

David Case is the founder and current president of Live Free Ministries, a ministry dedicated to restoring kingdom power and authority to spiritual leadership. Since the early 1990s, David Case has held retreats for both pastors and lay persons, helping them break through bondages and pointing them toward fulfilling the call of God on their lives. Having pastored the same church for eighteen years, Pastor Case gives other pastors the tools they need to implement the lifegiver model into a whole-church setting. Case also co-hosts a radio program and ministers internationally. It is David Case's heart to blend "the supernatural of the spiritual realm" with a very solid application into the natural realm.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Don Quixote 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 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 More than 1 year ago
I love in the book
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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
Std res 1
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.