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Don Quixote [Paperback]

Miguel De Cervantes
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 14 2005 0060934344 978-0060934347 1

Edith Grossman's definitive English translation of the Spanish masterpiece. Widely regarded as one of the funniest and most tragic books ever written, Don Quixote chronicles the adventures of the self-created knight-errant Don Quixote of La Mancha and his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, as they travel through sixteenth-century Spain. You haven't experienced Don Quixote in English until you've read this masterful translation.

This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

There would seem to be little reason for yet another translation of Don Quixote. Translated into English some 20 times since the novel appeared in two parts in 1605 and 1615, and at least five times in the last half-century, it is currently available in multiple editions (the most recent is the 1999 Norton Critical Edition translated by Burton Raffel). Yet Grossman bravely attempts a fresh rendition of the adventures of the intrepid knight Don Quixote and his humble squire Sancho Panza. As the respected translator of many of Latin America's finest writers (among them Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Carlos Fuentes and Mario Vargas Llosa), she is well suited to the task, and her translation is admirably readable and consistent while managing to retain the vigor, sly humor and colloquial playfulness of the Spanish. Erring on the side of the literal, she isn't afraid to turn out clunky sentences; what she loses in smoothness and elegance she gains in vitality. The text is free of archaisms the contemporary reader will rarely stumble over a word and the footnotes (though rather erratically supplied) are generally helpful. Her version easily bests Raffel's ambitious but eccentric and uneven effort, and though it may not immediately supplant standard translations by J.M. Cohen, Samuel Putnam and Walter Starkie, it should give them a run for their money. Against the odds, Grossman has given us an honest, robust and freshly revelatory Quixote for our times.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


“Grossman has given us an honest, robust and freshly revelatory Quixote for our times” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

“A major literary achievement.” (Carlos Fuentes, New York Times Book Review)

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First Sentence
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. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
I have read this book both in English and Spanish, and I can honestly say that it loses very little of its power, wit or message in translation. For all those who have considered reading this book, here are a few good reasons: this book is a very nuanced look at escapism and identity, a wonderful parody of knight stories, along with being a rousing (and very funny) adventure centering around the titular hero, a man who reads one too many books about knighthood and chivalry and decides to become a knight-errant himself. After recruiting a sidekick and choosing a lady to woo per narrative convention, he sets out to conquer the forces of evil, which include, among other things, giant windmills and rogue "knights". Cervantes' insight and ability to parody were both ahead of his time, and in a time where escapism and voyeurism are well and thriving, it is not difficult to imagine someone watching too many TV shows and believing they're a wild west outlaw or what-have-you. A very fascinating experience, and it works well in any language. Highly recommended.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gorgeous book June 15 2004
First of all, I absolutely love this book. It was about a year between the time I bought it and actually got around to reading it, as it's near-1,000 pages of 400 year old writing can seem daunting at first. But, as has been said before, this book is as 'timeless' as they come. It seems alot of the reviewers are missing a major point, however, which I would like to delve into. Perhaps (them missing this point) comes from them reading it as a 'comedy' or reading merely sections of it for a class. But taking this book in as a whole, one cannot help but be moved pretty profoundly.
I mean, yeah, this book is funny as hell!!! I laughed SO hard when Don Quixote and Sancho are at the Inn for the first time, and Don Quixote makes his elixer. And it didn't set so well with either him or Sancho, and almost killed poor Sancho. If you've read it, you know what I'm talking about:)
But the beauty of this book lies in the fact that Don Quixote is living a complete lie. And he seems to know that at times... most of the time, no, but every once in a while it seems like he kind of knows. But it isn't important. What's important is that he KNOWS that he MUST be a knight, that it is the only way for him to live. Screw the world. He'll save damsels in distress (or not) and damn the torpedoes. And believing with all your soul in something that no one else thinks exists, thats something I think one can relate to alot. And another beautiful touch: alot of the people he meets along the way at first are all like 'Your CRAZY man' but they ALL get swept up in it eventually. It's almost like secretly everyone wants to believe.
Truely an amazing book, and one that will find you at page 100, looking ahead to the next 900 pages and instead of thinking 'Bummer! Lots to go' you'll just grin a hungry grin.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A matter of taste Nov. 14 2003
This is a wonderful translation. I first read Quixote seriously in the Putnam, and was completely swept away by it - the prose was just as readable as it is here, and Putnam communicated a love for the text in his notes (as well as a hatred for the translators that had butchered it before) that was a nice accompaniment to the actual story.
Grossman's language is smoother, and I suppose Putnam's prose does have the dust of fifty odd years on it - but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. I don't mind if an old book reads a bit like an old book: slightly dated English gives a book a certain flavor. I like Putnam for the same reason I enjoy Maude's translations of Tolstoy. Grossman does write a better sentence, I think, and she certainly doesn't make the book any more colloquial than Cervantes did - although I was annoyed at her constantly having Sancho say Wassup.
Putnam's Quixote, incidentally, is filled with notes: more notes than most people who aren't scholars will want. Every one of Sancho's proverbs is explained (and those aren't exactly the comic high point of the book, either) and he constantly takes potshots at Motteux and other translations, a la Nabokov when he translated A Hero of Our Time. They're sort of funny, but eventually you want him to get out of the way of Quixote, which is what one actually wants to read - not the translator's thoughts.
But then again: a note can easily be skipped, and it's nice to have the extensive information that Putnam packs in, about the historical situation in Spain, potential variant readings of a passage, all the brouhaha about the fake second half of Don Quixote that actually ends up having a part in the book - and lots of other stuff.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book June 12 2004
I'm sure many of you have already read this great piece of literature. Edith Grossman has a new translation which transcends all other translations. The book was written in 1605. It is the story of Don Quixote who after reading tales about Knights-in-shining-armor decides to become a Knight Errant, and sets out to rescue damsels in distress. His peasant neighbor becomes his squire and records all that happens. Most of his adventures are so hilarious that I found myself bursting out laughing quite often. There was a poll taken once that questioned literary authorities as to what was the best book (secular) they thought ever written and this book came out on top. You can't stop laughing at Don Quixote's mishaps as he goes about rescuing maidens that he presumes to be in distress.
It's great fiction as well as great reading. Was the fore-runner of the modern novel.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Fun!
Potential readers should not be discouraged by the considerable length of the work. It turns out to be far more exciting that one could expect. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Pierre Gauthier
5.0 out of 5 stars Worthy of its reputation
A pleasurable book to read,this translation of DON QUIXOTE made the story easy to understand, and for every reason it stands up to its reputaion as the best-loved novel. Read more
Published on April 8 2006 by Piervy Sto
5.0 out of 5 stars On the importance of DOUBT ...
1575 Cervantes embarked for the umpteenth time (the Spanish king fought with his ships against Arabian kings) in the Mediterranean area, but this time he was captured by a Turkish... Read more
Published on Sept. 20 2005 by FrizzText
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Miss it!
Don Quixote is a somewhat autobiographical account from Miguel Cervantes about a middle class man in Spain, who decides to take on the name "Don Quixote of La Mancha" and... Read more
Published on March 5 2005 by Shirley Mullin
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most delightful and enjoyable of all the classics
Let's face it: some of the great classics are a chore to read. PILGRIM'S PROGRESS and ROBINSON CRUSOE are not exactly page turners. Read more
Published on June 23 2004 by Robert Moore
5.0 out of 5 stars LIKE BEING IN A TIME CAPSULE
Published on June 11 2004 by Steven R. Travers
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Translation and Narration Make Perfect Audio Book
The audio book of Edith Grossman's new translation of Don Quixote was a perfect driving companion for my trip across the country. At a whopping 40. Read more
Published on June 8 2004 by Brian Sawyer
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 Excellent CDs
Plenty of other readers have reviewed the content of the book. I'll limit my remarks to those specially pertinent to this audio edition. Read more
Published on March 10 2004 by Mark G. Jones
4.0 out of 5 stars Muy Bien!
I really enjoyed reading the book Don Quixote. The plot seemed to move along nicely and there weren't too many dull moments. Read more
Published on March 8 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars One of a kind
Don Quixote is rightfully considered one of the all-time great works of literature. It is probably one of the most accessible and timeless novels on any list of great books. Read more
Published on Feb. 19 2004 by S. McCloskey
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