The best-known book in Spanish literature, telling the story of the adventurous knight-errant and his squire Sancho Panzo, who set out to right the wrongs of the world.
This version also collects both the first and second Don Quixote novels by Cervantes. I haven't seen any other collection which has this, and I can't find the sequel on it's own.
The book itself is very funny. Unlike the way Don Quixote is often protrayed, Don Quixote doesn't go mad, he simply chooses to see the world differently, to see himself as a knight, to see windmills as giants, to see inn's as castles. His exploits cause him to have quite a bit of painful accidents, but he continues on. Sancho Panza, often described as a "simple fool" I believe may have been mentally retarded, because he genuinely believed the things his master told him, despite all evidence to the contrary. At times, he would make up stories to get out of errands Don Quixote sent him on, and, like a child, would come to believe his own fictions.Read more ›
Over the course of 5 weeks I read Don Quixote and the experience was varied. At times enthralled, at times merely mildly amused, I looked eagerly forward to resuming the book and, on occasion, half-heartedly attempted to avoid it. To be blunt, there is much in the book that borders on childlike innocence, but there is much as well that strikes a deep chord of love, idealism, perserverence, and grace. On the surface, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza could be regarded as fools. Beneath this foolishness, however, lie the hearts of lions and an unconquerable spirit which provide the ultimate reward to the reader.
The book ends abruptly and badly. After so many adventures through so many pages it was disappointing to behold the manner in which Cervantes opted to close.Read more ›
This book is recommended to anyone interested in literature. This is not to say that it should not be read seriously and with close attention. Not everyone has the time or money to spend on degrees in Spanish literature
Since the main story has been covered further down the list, I'll just touch on a point or two that were pertinent to my experience. There were more than a few digressions from the main story in the first part (I thought they'd NEVER leave the inn the second time). To keep it short, everything that bothered me about Part One bothered Sanson Carrasco, too (that chapter was definitely and interesting way for the author to meet his critics halfway). I'm going to give you the advice you're probably going to get from EVERYBODY: if part one leaves you shaking your head, keep moving, because part two delivers undiluted Knight of the Rueful Figure with very few middlemen.
In the Signet edition, Mr. Starkie also throws in an introductory essay about Cervantes and a decent amount of footnotes to point out the references to genuine chivalric literature...always a good thing.
If your project this summer (this fall, this year, or whenever) is to fill your head with interesting ideas, Don Quixote is a good book to visit.