Don Quixote Hardcover – 1 Jan 2004
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Top Customer Reviews
I first read Don Quixote in a previous translation, and finally made it through the first volume in a few months. It was like pulling teeth. I knew that it was a famous story, and techically interesting, but the first three hundred pages seemed like repetitive episodes of the same joke. It appeared little wonder that the most quoted chapter around tilting at windmills was the first one.
This time around, with Edith Grossman's translation, it was a great deal more enjoyable. The text flows beautifully, and where it is impossible to translate nuances or technical terms, she explains all in informative footnotes. For once, I can only agree with the publishers: it is the definitive translation.
This is well worth the effort of braving the initial episodes, and taking the time to read properly. For me, it's only after the famous events such as mistaking sheep for an approaching army and suchlike are out of the way, that the book becomes really interesting. There are fascinating novellas that dwell on relations with the Moors, and the perils of young love in the 16th Century, which are at least as good as the main text.
So, by all means, buy this version. Particularly the paperback. The hardback was too heavy to read in bed.
As for the storyline, it concerns the many adventuers of an old man who adopts the life of a knight errant (Don Quixote), and his squire (Sancho Panza). The novel contains many sub-novellas (short stories and digressions), and so it could be thought of not as one book but many. I will not give any more detail, but I will say the mix of the absurd and intelligent, and the masterly writing style of Cervantes (and expert translation by Grossman), makes for one of the best books of all time.
This is the only book of fiction that I am not going to sell on; I hope to revisit Don Quixote every year from here on. Also worth mentioning is the wonderful illustration on the front cover by Pablo Picasso.
Follow up - March 2011: I have read my copy of Don Quixote so many times that the spine has cracked and pages are coming loose and falling out. I also saw fit to rip out the rather off-putting introduction by Harold Bloom, where Bloom compares Cervantes to Shakespeare...it is a rather horrible thing that had to be done away with. Grossman's translation has had me transfixed and at times perplexed (do we admire or pity Quixote?).Read more ›
I couldn't have been morewrong. I had read so many rave reviews of Edith Grossman's translationthat I thought I would give it a go. I'm so pleased I did. This book is"laugh out loud" funny - I was not expecting to read bits aloud andgiggle! I think I expected to have to work hard to get through it but it'sa complete page turner! It also has a cinematic feel which to a nonliterature student like myself seems way ahead of its time and thecharacters, major and minor shine from every page. I now know why peoplesay this was the first modern novel - it contains all the elements of agreat read that we now take for granted. I have not read any othertranslations but Grossman's prose truly brought the book alive for me. I'mamazed how a book written in the late 16th and early 17th century can nowbe read in such an easy and accessible manner. Don Quixote can be read onmany levels (the joy of all great books) but if, like me, you were put offby it's stature, don't be, just dive in and enjoy.
It's very long. The two parts (originally published about a decade apart), are about 500 pages each. If that's daunting, the good news is that one can read just about any chapter at random and have a pretty good sense of whether or not one will like the entire work. Moreover, it's a work that lends itself to episodic reading. It's full of self-contained adventures that can be read in a weekend and then one can put the book aside, read something else, and come back to it weeks later with no ill effects.
It's very easy to read. The prose is very very accessible -- at least in this newest translation. The writing is of its era, which is to say at times its long-winded, flowery, mannered, repetitive. It's also surprisingly funny and coarse -- in a Three Stooges and fart jokes kind of way. There are plenty of other surprises, such as stories within stories, and elements of metafiction in part II.
It's enjoyable on several levels. The episodic adventures of the bumbling knight-errant wannabe and his proverb-laden sidekick can be read and enjoyed on a purely surface level. However, there are plenty of layers to be explored by those with a desire to do so. For example, Quixote's quests raise some fairly large questions of faith and idealism, not to mention questions of sanity and reality. There are plenty of social questions to, such as matter of class and religion, and whether or not Cervantes is satirizing the elite and clergy.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I find Grossman's English serviceable but a bit clunky. But what of the book itself? If this is the greatest work in Spanish literature, so much the worse for Spanish literature. Read morePublished 19 days ago by Mick
Excellent translation, beautiful binding, well worth the money.Published 1 month ago by Mrs. JH Price
this is the very best translation I have ever read - her fluency and ability to translate the humour of the text makes it easy to read aloud, which is what I have done, 5 or so... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
The book itself is a fantastic translation, but this particular copy was of very low quality with fraying pages.Published 3 months ago by RM
A wonderful translation. The physical book, with its American-cut pages, is excellent.Published 8 months ago by Sue Drott
I bought this because I really love this well known classic. This version is simply really beautiful.Published 8 months ago by classicfilmsftw
I can't add much to the synopsis of the book or the critique detailed in the reviews that accompany below. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Nick C
It is one of the best novels there!
Inaugurates the modern novel in the topic, the type of hero-the antiheroe- and stories into each other it includes. Read more
Takes forever to read, but it's worth it - a classic, and deservedly so.Published 17 months ago by Amazon Customer