Wed 26 Jan, 2005 11:36 am
Don Quixote ("Las Aventuras del Ingenioso Hidalgo, Don Quijote de la Mancha") was published for the first time in 1605. It's considered the highest peak of literature in Spanish, and the whole Spanish speaking world is celebrating it's 400th anniversary with lectures, read-alouds, essays and expositions.
One of the things that surprises me about Don Quixote is that Cervantes' old Spanish is easily readable (much more than the Spanish his contemporaries of the Siglo de Oro (Golden Century) wrote and much much more than Shakespeare for English speakers). This may mean that Cervantes' influence over the language has somehow helped to shape it over the centuries. In any case, the ease and fluidity with which Cervantes wrote makes the reading of his works a quite pleasurable experience.
I have read that in some American universities, "El Quijote" is considered one of the "most boring" Classics.
What's your opinion about the book?
I read the book during high school on my own (in English). Well, I had time on my hands back then, but I really enjoyed it. I have a new translation on my shelves, and I must re-read it this year in honor of the anniversary.
Interesting what you say, fbaezer, re the accessibility of the Spanish. I've read that Cervantes is not much honored in his native city. Maybe that's changing...
I read it when I was twelve and again when I was twenty five. ( a handful of years ago!)
In no way was it boring! The magic was still there.
I still use some expressions I read in it. Dulcinea is still my heart lady.
I read it in french and spanish. I dont know how it looks in english.
Besides I admire the man (losing a hand in Lepante battle against the Ottomans).
Thanks, D'artagnan and Francis, for your comments. I hope you're not the only other A2Kers that have read Don Quixote.
D'art, I have never heard about Cervantes not being a prophet in his own land, from his home town Alcalá de Henares to the whole of Spain.
Spain's greatest philosopher of the XX Century, Miguel de Unamuno had this theory: our reason tells us that God does not exist, but if God does not exist it would be unfair for humankind; so we should live our lives in a Quixotic way, thinking (dreaming, hallucinating) that God does exist and acting accordingly.
One thing about Cervantes is that he introduces humor to novels. In this sense, Cervantes (with Rabelais) is the creators of modern novels.
Irony -which Cervantes develops both in Don Quixote and in his "Exemplary Novels"- is a key to the modern spirit: it shows our ability to discover the amiguity of everything that surround us.
Indeed - and celebrating with a fabulous new English translation!!!
I stood for ages in a bookshop the other day, comparing my old Penguin translation with the new one, and the new one is wonderful. Far more readable and lively and possessed of a wondrous tone.
Whether, of course, it is THE tone - well, this is the problem with translation, no???
I will buy it, and re-read, when I can afford to (it is $60 at present to buy here.)
You are fortunate, Fbaezer, to have Spanish and English (at least) at your command - opens up so much wonderful literature.....
Edit: My opinion??? Thinking back - I think I enjoyed it - but I suspect I will enjoy the new translation far more - it has a wonderful ease and flow.
Yes, dlowan. A good translation is so damn important.
I remember browsing the English version of "One Hundred Years of Solitude" and, suddenly, wham, I was hooked again, and reread it in one sit-down.
Cervantes' fluidity, in the original language, is awesome (it creates awe), because it's rich in lexicon and simple at the same time. It's oral, if you know what I mean. He's telling you the story, rather than writing it.
I read "dun key hote" in college, fbaezer. It was a requirement (in English, of course). At the time, I felt that it was very sad. Interesting to me that we talk of the adjective quixotic, and the phonetic is anything but.
Was it El Greco who did the painting of him? I was totally engrossed with the story, and how often we in America use the phrase "tilting at windmills".
Ah, the imagination of the man. <smile>
An incredible amount of artwork has been done regarding Cervantes and Don Quixote, Letty. Perhaps the best known piece is this one:
I'm going to pick up that book after I finish The Decamerin. You convinced me.
Picasso is the best known? My word. Tried to find the el Greco one. To my eye, Picasso's looks rather child like. Maybe that was his intent.
Gad!! Do you know that at this moment I am drinking chamomille tea from a mug with that exact Picasso sketch on it?? Talk about coincidences! (Biught it a couple of years ago at a Picasso exhibit at the Montreal Museum of Art.)
As for Cervantes, the only translation of El Quijote that I have to hand is the J.M. Cohen translation (Penguin edition). But I also have the book in the original Spanish and can always check the English against the Spanish. Since my Spanish is a good deal less than fluent, this isn't always enlightening.
Boring? How can anyone be bored with that marvelous sense of humor?
Kyle, you will enjoy it, I'm sure. How do you like Bocaccio?
I had to read it at school (in German) - but 'Don Quixote was of the few books (then) of the obligatoty ones, I really liked.
Read some passages again, when I visited a related exhibition some time ago. (Could have really done again - especially, when his home village
My dad would wax poetic about some of the stories in Quixote when he'd get drunk. El curioso impertinente. "The ill advised curiosity." Don't test your wife, 'cause your wife will confirm your fears.
What a surprise to find this item on the web:
The insurance co. that killed Don Quixote.
I'm a big fan of the legend of Quixote, though I didn't finish the book (I enjoyed it but did not have the book long enough to finish it, and it's LONG!).
I grew up on some derivates of the Quixote legend and love the story to this day.
I've seen this documentary, which is really interesting.
It's amazing how Gilliam lacks chance. ( the floods scene is incredible!)
For the record, the new English translation is by Edith Grossman.
An interesting update.
During the first trimester of 2005, "Don Quijote" was the #2 best-seller in Mexico and Argentina, and #3 in Spain.
Who says classics are dead?
fbaezer, I think I saw somewhere that it may have been the best selling novel of all times. No, the classics are not dead nor have they ever been, just under cover until all the junk descended into dust.
Just YOU remember now, I'm Letty, not Noddy.