Don Quixote

Don Quixote

4.3 38
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


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

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
"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."

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Product Details

HighBridge Company
Publication date:
Classic, HighBridge
Edition description:
Abridged, 2 Cassettes
Product dimensions:
4.40(w) x 7.14(h) x 0.78(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 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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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

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Don Quixote 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 38 reviews.
ConnorB More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
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.
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Std res 1
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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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