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Don Quixote

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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.

An abridged version of the adventures of an eccentric country gentleman and his faithful companion who set out as knight and ...

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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.

An abridged version of the adventures of an eccentric country gentleman and his faithful companion who set out as knight and squire of old to right wrongs and punish evil.

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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.
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
From the Publisher

"[Harrison's] language captures the style of the original.... Ambrus's artwork is well suited to the story; he captures the personalities of both knight and squire without reducing them to caricatures."--School Library Journal

"A fast-paced, readable introduction to Cervantes' novel."--Booklist

From Barnes & Noble
This classic book, published in 1605, is the first and greatest of all modern novels & an adventure tale that brings to life two of literature's most beloved characters, Don Quixote & Sancho Panza. A timeless and rewarding reading experience.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781565111806
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 4/28/1997
  • Series: Classic, HighBridge
  • Format: Cassette
  • Edition description: Abridged, 2 Cassettes
  • Pages: 1
  • Product dimensions: 4.40 (w) x 7.14 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Harrison is the editor and compiler of a number of Oxford anthologies, including The Oxford Treasury of Children's Stories, The Oxford Book of Animal Poems, Bright Star Shining and The Oxford Book of Story Poems.
Victor G. Ambrus has illustrated over 200 books. He has won the Kate Greenaway Medal twice and lives in the UK.

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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 probableconjecture: 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.


From the Hardcover edition.

Copyright 2001 by Miguel de Cervantes
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Table of Contents

Introduction vii
Further Reading xxiii
Translating Don Quixote xxv
Acknowledgments xxxiii
Chronology xxxv
A Note on the Text xxxix
The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha 1
Notes 983
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First Chapter

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 completely about 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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Foreword

1. Don Quixote is often called the first modern novel. Do you agree? Why or why not?

2. Many critics have interpreted Don Quixote as a sustained exploration of madness. How is madness represented in the novel?

3. Italian literary critic Giovanni Papini famously argued in the early 1920s that "by virtue of [the power of Cervantes's genius] the shade of Don Quixote has succeeded in deceiving us. We have been led to think that his life was full of deception in the sense that he was himself deceived by carnivorous men, decadent times, and impossible books. His life was indeed full of deception, but he was himself the deceiver, and we of the succeeding generations have been the ones deceived." Papini suggests that generations of critics have idolized Quixote, held him up as a "martyr of pure, militant, and derided Christianity," when in fact the character is vain and proud, thinks only of earthly glory, and aspires to material conquests. He was not, Papini claims, mad at all, but merely pretended to be. What is your opinion of this argument?

4. Critics have debated the question of whether Cervantes's intention in Don Quixote was to ridicule the chivalric romances-which typically featured knights accomplishing the most impossible things-that were so popular in the Middle Ages. Northrop Frye, for instance, writes that "with every beating he gets, [Don Quixote's] dignity grows on us, and we realize how genuinely faithful he is to the code of chivalry. He is courteous, gentle, chaste, generous (except that he has no money), intelligent and cultured within the limits of his obsession, and, of course, courageous. Not only was the code of chivalry areal code that helped to hold a real civilization together, but these are real virtues, and would be if chivalry had never existed." Do you think the book repudiates chivalry?

5. In his 1935 book Don Quixote: An Introduction to Psychology, leading Spanish literary expert Salvador de Madariaga refers to what he calls the "sanchification" of Don Quixote and the "quixotification" of Sancho. How does each character affect the other?

6. Lionel Trilling once claimed that "All prose fiction is a variation of the theme of Don Quixote: . . . the problem of appearance and reality." Discuss.

7. The names of the main characters in the novel are not stable: for example, Don Quixote is variously called Quixada, Quesana, Quixana, Quixote, Jigote, Knight of the Mournful Countenance, and Knight of the Lions; Sancho's wife is known as Juana Guti?rrez, Mari Guti?rrez, Teresa Cascajo, Teresa Panza or Teresa Sancho, Teresaina, and Teresona. What is the significance of the change of name and why are the characters so concerned with coming up with etymologies (most of which are wrong) for explaining how another character has come to have a particular name?

8. Many readers have been disturbed by the fact that Don Quixote recovers his sanity before dying, instead of venturing forth again, as Sancho would have him do. How do you feel about his regaining his sanity? What do you think is the significance of it?




From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Reading Group Guide

"Don Quixote is practically unthinkable as a living being," said novelist Milan Kundera. "And yet, in our memory, what character is more alive?"

Widely regarded as the world's first modern novel, Don Quixote chronicles the famous picaresque adventures of the noble knight-errant Don Quixote de La Mancha and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, as they travel through sixteenth-century Spain. This Modern Library edition presents the acclaimed Samuel Putnam translation of the epic tale, complete with notes, variant readings, and an Introduction by the translator.

The debt owed to Cervantes by literature is immense. From Milan Kundera: "Cervantes is the founder of the Modern Era. . . . The novelist need answer to no one but Cervantes." Lionel Trilling observed: "It can be said that all prose fiction is a variation on the theme of Don Quixote." Vladmir Nabokov wrote: "Don Quixote is greater today than he was in Cervantes's womb. [He] 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. . . . He stands for everything that is gentle, forlorn, pure, unselfish, and gallant. The parody has become a paragon." And V. S. Pritchett observed: "Don Quixote begins as a province, turns into Spain, and ends as a universe. . . . The true spell of Cervantes is that he is a natural magician in pure story-telling."
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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Don Quixote: A Book that Exceeds Expectations

    Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes is an outstanding novel that engages the reader in ways no other novel has accomplished. The Story is centered on a Middle aged man named Alonzo Quixano, from the region of La Mancha, who enjoys reading books of chivalry. He eventually becomes so obsessed with these stories that he reads so many until he puts it upon himself to become a Knight-errant to defeat the wicked and defend the helpless. He names himself Don Quixote de la Mancha (Sir Thighpiece) and finds himself a nag and names it Rocinante (Hackafore) and swears an oath to Dulcinea del Toboso, a peasant women that he labels as a princess. He convinces his local Sancho Panza to follow him as a faithful Squire, promising to make him a wealthy governor of an isle.
    The book is divided into two separate parts, with Part I being published first and Cervantes later publishing Part II. In the story many of the characters have read Part I, making the story even more interesting and entertaining. Throughout the novel the reader follows Don Quixote and Sancho as they go on many adventures throughout Spain, creating mischief as they run around in their fantasy world. Don Quixote and Sancho go around Spain attacking random citizens for insulting Don Quixote, stealing and committing acts in the name Dulcinea. For every wrong Don Quixote does he makes an excuse that he was blinded by an enchanter and as Sancho takes the heat for his actions. Don Quixote has many famous recognizable adventures such as Don Quixote's attack upon the windmills, mistaking them for giants, or when he is tricked and frees a devious galley slave. Or the time when he sees a herd of sheep moving down the desert, and he mistakes them for an army as he charges and ensures carnage upon the sheep.
    I think this was a outstanding book that kept the reader interested all the way through. Cervantes writing style helps enhance the story as it engages the reader with an different writing style. Personally, I like Part I better than Part II, because throughout Part I Don Quixote is reckless and basically does whatever he wants stating that because he's a knight-errant he can basically do what he wants. While in the Second Part he becomes wiser not striking out when he becomes angry or insulted; not being as crazy and reckless. I would recommend this book to anyone even though it is a long book; it is completely worth it as you read about the comical and enchanting tales of Don Quixote de La Mancha.

    11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2010

    The magic is all in the writing style.

    I was very fortunate to have randomly chosen what I consider to be the best translation, by John Rutherford. Alas, I cannot read Spanish, least of all the 17th-century variety, but I believe that Mr. Rutherford may be capturing the enchantment of the writing itself better than any other. Unfortunately, through a technical glitch B&N readers are not able to compare translations (I would have been so interested to see the one by Tobias Smollett), since only the Edith Grossman one is featured on the web site, regardless of whichever edition the prospective buyer clicks on.

    The Grossman may be the most accurate, but it's also rather dry, more modern, more utilitarian, while the Rutherford is more poetic and a whole lot more fun, though much more archaic in style. Compare just the first paragraph of Chapter I. In Grossman's description of the Don's lifestyle, "He had a housekeeper past forty, a niece not yet twenty." Well, here is Rutherford's version: "He maintained a housekeeper on the wrong side of forty, a niece the right side of twenty..." And on it goes.

    I find that the best way to enjoy this classic is not to look for a gripping plot or high drama, which you are not likely to find -- wasn't that just what drove the old guy crazy in the first place? -- but to pick a translation (or, of course, to read the original, if you are so fortunate) that will captivate you, and let it sail you right through this huge work on a magic carpet of comedic lyricism.

    In any case, this book is a real beauty, a wonderful place to spend your time!

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2007

    highly entertaining novel

    This novel is very long! Well worth the time and price. Strongly reccomended!

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2012

    Highly recommended

    An exceptional read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2005

    This book OWNZ!

    This book was great I really loved it. It only took me about 1 1/2 weeks to read the book. IT IS GREAT! I also recommened other great classics and Left Behind:... Series for all AGES! And I'm only 14 so read this book if I can read it so can YOU!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2013

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