Book Review: Don Quixote — by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Edith Grossman (Translator)

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I feel that it is only appro­pri­ate that my first post would be about the book which inspired this blog. A book which still has a warm place in my heart due to the fact that I can still remem­ber my grand­fa­ther read­ing it to me, even though it was the abridged ver­sion tar­get­ing five year olds.
"Don Quixote" in a new trans­la­tion by Edith Gross­man.  The clas­sic story of a dil­lu­sional knight which is still rel­e­vant and funny today as it was cen­turies ago.
  • 992 pages
  • Pub­lisher: Harper Peren­nial; Reprint edi­tion (April 26, 2005)
  • Lan­guage: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060934344

Book Review: Don Quixote - by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Edith Grossman (Translator)

My rat­ing for Don Quixote –5
Buy this book in paper or elec­tronic format*


This is by far the trans­la­tion of Don Quixote I have enjoyed the most.
I do not know if Ms. Grossman's trans­la­tion does jus­tice to the orig­i­nal Span­ish ver­sion because I haven't read it but I enjoyed this book tremendously.

I enjoyed that Ms. Gross­man tried to cap­ture not only the story, but also the prose, rhythm and style of writ­ing of the era even it was long winded and some­what tedious. Even Cer­vantes' self dep­re­cat­ing and self glam­or­iz­ing humor is intact. The foot notes also help the non-Spanish speaker under­stand more of back­ground to the sto­ries, the prose and inside jokes.

Even though this book was writ­ten cen­turies ago I found it con­tem­po­rary, charm­ing, hilar­i­ous and acces­si­ble. I believe that it is a great dis­ser­vice to Cer­vantes that Don Quixote is being thought of as a drama only to dis­re­gard the story's comedic aspects.

Among the 1,000 pages of the book, Cer­vantes weaves unre­lated back­ground sto­ries of char­ac­ters which the duo meets on their adven­tures. I found that to be an advan­tage in such a long book because I could put the book down for a few weeks, read another book, and come back with­out miss­ing a beat.

I believe that if you would take away the "clas­sic lit­er­a­ture" label from this book, which so many peo­ple find ter­ri­fy­ing, you'll find a funny story, some­times sad yet very mod­ern even by today's standards.

While part one is whim­si­cal, part two seemed to me very melan­choly and more philosophical .
Alonso Quix­ano is a retired coun­try gen­tle­man in his fifties who lives in La Man­cha with his niece and house­keeper. Quix­ano has become obsessed with books about knights and chivalry (very pop­u­lar at the time the story was writ­ten) and believes that they are true to their words despite the fact that many of the events are clearly unre­al­is­tic. Quixano's friends think that he has lost his mind from too much read­ing, too lit­tle sleep and food deprivation.
From here the delu­sional Quix­ano sets out in search of adven­ture and takes on his nom de'guerre "Don Quixote de la Man­cha" while announc­ing his love to a neighbor's daugh­ter (unbe­known to her) renam­ing her "Dul­cinea del Toboso".
What fol­lows are adven­ture of mishap occa­sion­ally occur­ring because Don Quixote has a habit for stick­ing his nose in mat­ters which are none of his busi­ness, using chivalry as an excuse to pick a fight wher­ever he can — only to be defeated, injured and humil­i­ated. How­ever to be fair, San­cho Panza receives the brunt of those punishments
That is the end of part one.
Part two, which was writ­ten ten years later, rein­tro­duces us to the now famous Don Quixote and San­cho Panza which are the vic­tims of cruel jokes by rich neigh­bors. Don Quixote gains back his san­ity and proves a capa­ble ruler only to be met, again, with dis­as­trous results.
He dies sane and sad instead of delu­sional and happy.

Buy this book in paper or elec­tronic for­mat*

Zohar — Man of la Book
I bought this book
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account

BOOK BLOGGERS — Have you read Hacks, Syco­phants, Adven­tur­ers, and Heroes? If so link up your review below:

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