Don Quixote Paperback
by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. Edition Date:: 01/01/2009
Item condition: New
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What begins as a middle-aged country gentleman absorbed with novels of chivalry deliberately evolves into a tale of purely imaginative knight-errantry in this highly influential work of the Spanish Golden Age. This first of modern novels was written in the experimental episodic form, allowing Don Quixote and his 'squire' Sancho Panza to go on quests that just as often as not land them in trouble or earn them the incredulity of those fully engaged in reality. While initially farcical, the novel slowly reveals a more philosophical thread exploring the theme of deception, all the while creating emotional and mental reversals in the two main figures that take them from tilting at windmills to fully comprehending reality. A work that frequently appears on lists in the highest echelon of published fiction, "Don Quixote" is a novel that has deeply influenced a host of notable writers and readers for over 400 years.
About the Author
Edith Grossman's is the hot new translation, but there may be a tendency to confer too much praise on a fresh reading. From what I have sampled, I have no doubt of Grossman's excellence, but this is not the "definitive" DQ (no one's is), and frankly, after some comparison of the early chapters, I've decided to spend my time with Burton Raffel's translation, now only a decade old. Raffel sometimes opts for a colloquial word or two, but it's never jarring, and his overall style seems not only less pretentious to me than Grossman's, but a superior combination of a modern reading with a traditional "tone." Tone and style are important, and Raffel sometimes makes Grossman seem too abstract or fussy, though this is difficult to describe. Raffel's phrasing is more focused and vigorous than Grossman's--though both are said to be accurate. Let me offer a couple of examples that shifted me toward Raffel: