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Customer Review

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good knight Cervantes, 18 Oct. 2006
This review is from: Don Quixote (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
Rutherford's introduction contains a fascinating account of the complexity of the translator's art and it is pleasing to note that this edition has received the recognition is deserves. The narrative flows with supreme ease, feels surprisingly modern whilst capturing its place in history (Spain c.1600). For me Cervantes has a Shakespearian ability to write a story that can exist, with joyful relevance, in any time and place: the legacy of a genius being his or her ability to live in the minds of countless succeeding generations. This is immortality. And the insane, hilarious, haphazard adventures of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza deserve their place in the canon of world literature.

There is so much to enjoy in this tale of chivalry: Cervantes' voice, hidden beneath the narrators, teasing the reader with a fictional account of the history's origins; the digressions, tales of love and loss; Quixote's honourable delusions, metamorphosing his perception of reality (the windmills are the most famous example but there are many others); Panza's mercenary loyalty, his malapropisms interlaced with a stream of proverbs; friends and family; Rocinante and Sancho's `dun'; the imitable maiden Dulcinea. Ultimately I found the evolving relationship between knight errant and squire the most rewarding aspect of the book. The sensitivity in which Cervantes handles this friendship is beautifully drawn out and I was left with a feeling of unbridled love, compassion and affection. Never mind the difference in socials status, master and servant, these two heroes are equals. They suffer together (although Sancho always feels he comes off the worst), they share the same madness and naivety, and they witness the same mirages of the mind (the flying wooden horse scene is very funny). Such is the timeless authority of the humour that it came as no surprise to discover on pages 885-6 a remarkable resemblance to Monty Python's cheese shop sketch. One of the greatest reads I have experienced. Six stars!!!
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