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Don Quixote of La Mancha

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<b>Newly introduced by leading Quixote scholar Ilan Stavans, this 400th Anniversary edition of <i>Don Quixote of La Mancha</i>--called the most popular book in history after the Bible and the first modern novel--inaugurates Restless Classics: interactive encounters with great books and inspired teachers. Each Restless Classic is beautifully designed with original artwork, a new introduction for the trade audience, and a video teaching series and live online book club discussions led by passionate experts. </b> <p></p>Described as &quot;the novel that invented modernity,&quot; Miguel de Cervantes's <i>Don Quixote of La Mancha</i> has become since its publication in Spain in two parts--the first in 1605, the second in 1615--a machine of meaning, endlessly adapted into ballet, theater, dance, film, music, and television, not to mention a veritable tourist industry. <br /> Lionel Trilling argued that &quot;all prose fiction is a variation on the theme of <i>Don Quixote</i>.&quot; Mark Twain was a passionate fan. Flaubert modeled <i>Madame Bovary</i> after it. Dostoyevsky reimagined its protagonist in <i>The Idiot</i>. And Borges, in his story about Pierre Menard, looked at it as the gravitational center of Hispanic civilization. Milan Kundera fittingly summarized this unstoppable devotion when he said that &quot;Cervantes teaches the reader to comprehend the world as a question.&quot; <br /> Of course, <i>Don Quixote</i> has its detractors, too. Nabokov, for instance, maintained it was one of the cruelest narratives ever. Still, after 400 years, the book remains with us, winding improbably through history like the famous errant knight and his companion, Sancho Panza. <br /> The commemorative Restless Classics edition, published on the four-hundredth anniversary of its full release, features John Ormsby's canonical English translation, illustrations by award-winning Mexican artist Eko, and an insightful, thought-provoking introduction by Ilan Stavans, one of the foremost public intellectuals today. <i>Don Quixote</i>, Stavans writes, is &quot;not only a novel but a manual of life. You'll find in it anything you need, from lessons on how to speak and eat and love to an exhortation of a disciplined, focused life, an argument against censorship, and a call to make lasting friends, which, in Cervantes's words, is 'what makes bearable our long journey from birth to death'.&quot; <br /> The volume includes access to an interactive series of video lectures by Stavans, available online at restlessbooks.com/quixote. The videos serve as map to this restless classic, which speaks more eloquently than ever to our perennial desire to sacrifice for a dream in order to see its true worth.

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4.1 out of 5 stars
97 total reviews
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Most helpful positive review
Often called the most influential work of Spanish literature, Don Quixote is another classic novel that I've always meant to read but never made the time. Nearly two decades ago while living in a Spanish speaking country, I picked up a Spanish copy of Don Quixote with the plan to read the book as a way to reinforce my language studies. At that time I only made it through about 30 pages. Interestingly, I felt like I had read a sizable portion of the overall book. The copy I had purchased was only about 130 pages so I figured I'd read about one-fourth and promised myself that I'd eventually go back and finish. What I didn't know was that the Spanish copy I had purchased had been very significantly abridged and summarized and was not a true representation of the overall heft of this story. I recently picked up an English copy and found it weighing in at just under 1000 pages of text with another 50 or so pages of end notes and about 20 "roman numeral" pages of introduction prior to the story. I was shocked and at that point decided that I'd do better to tackle the book in English rather than returning to the Spanish knowing that it would take me at least double or triple the effort to read that many pages in Spanish given the slightly antiquated language and abundance of unfamiliar terminology. So I dove headlong into reading Don Quixote. I found out that the English volume contained two "Parts." Evidently the first part was published by Cervantes in 1605 and the second part was published as a sequel 10 years later in 1615. Apparently about 8 or 9 years after the successful publication of the book, an unidentified author wrote and released an unapproved sequel to the story. This anonymous author directly insulted Cervantes in the text and blatantly modified the character, behavior and motivations of the central characters of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. It's unclear exactly when Cervantes started writing his official sequel but he was definitely spurred on by this derogatory piece of literature defaming his own story. In the official "Part 2" of Don Quixote we have some very over-the-top meta fiction in which all of the characters are familiar with the first official book as well as the spurious unauthorized sequel. There are numerous sequences of dialog between characters where they discuss the unauthorized book and condemn it as slanderous drivel. Don Quixote is especially offended and wants to do all he can to make the world know of the false nature of this second book and the true nature of himself and his adventures. As is likely the case of most readers approaching Don Quixote, I didn't know a lot of the details of the overall story. Naturally I'd heard about the "tilting at windmills" scene through countless allusions elsewhere. And I've long been a fan of the musical "Man of La Mancha" and so I knew some general story aspects from that as well. Certainly not enough to know the entire 1000 page story but I knew that Don Quixote was a man who read a lot of fantastic literature about knights and chivalry and somehow got it into his head that not only were all the stories real but that he was called by divine right to be one of these knights and to ride into the world righting wrongs and fighting for justice. He has sworn his heart to the lovely Dulcinea, also a figment of his troubled mind...a conglomeration of a real woman he knows and a fantasy maiden he idealizes. He takes his friend and neighbor Sancho Panza as squire and the two of them set out into the world looking like the most pathetic knight and squire you can imagine. Most of the story in Part One focuses on a wide variety of adventures showcasing just how entrenched Don Quixote is in his own personal fantasy as well as how truly inept he is at being a knight. Still, through a large amount of luck and with a large amount of mocking and derision, he manages to come off victorious in a number of very strange situations. He is convinced that an evil enchanter is working to block his way and thus when things do go wrong for one reason or another or when his eyesight drifts closer to reality than fantasy, Don Quixote is quick to excuse any glimpses of reality as evidence of interference from this vile enchanter. In the meantime, Sancho Panza sees the world clearly but rides along very loyally beside his friend and master in the hope of obtaining some part of the fortune. As the story went on I tried to decide just how far Sancho was drawn into the fantasy of Don Quixote. Sancho could certainly see the world for what it was and he ended up getting some bad scrapes and beatings as a result of his master's behavior. And yet he wandered along through the adventures in the hope of some reward. I think he partly believed Don Quixote's madness as truth but part of him also acknowledged that Don Quixote was likely a little bit crazy. In which case what does that say about why Sancho sticks around? He constantly says it's because he hopes to gain fortune and become governor of an island, but I wonder if there is a part of him who knows Don Quixote is crazy and he sticks around in an effort to help protect him or at least be comfort to him. As Part One goes on, friends and family from Don Quixote's village come up with a variety of plans to try and bring Don Quixote home and to cure him of his madness. These plans end up just as zany and outrageous as some of Don Quixote's "normal" adventures. In the end, they finally do manage to bring him home for some time so he can rest and heal after many tribulations. But he does eventually sally forth again and thus begins Part Two. As I mentioned above, Part Two has a lot of meta-fictional elements in that it seems that the larger part of the world has already read Part One and is already very aware of who Don Quixote is and what he is doing. Even though Part One made it rather clear that Don Quixote didn't have all of his wits about him, some of the reading public treat him as a true knight errant and are overjoyed to meet him and hear about his ongoing adventures. More frequently however, the people who have read his story know and understand that he is a little off-kilter and they decide to take advantage of both he and Sancho. They treat them as though they truly are knight and squire and they set up fantastic adventures for them all for the purpose of entertaining onlookers who are in on the joke. Even though the scenes often get outrageously funny there is a tragic sense to them in that the central players in the scene are being grotesquely taken advantage of for the sake of amusement. That concept in itself seems like an interesting commentary on just what constitutes entertainment. It didn't seem quite as tragic to laugh at Don Quixote in part one when his fantasy and imagination got him in trouble. But in part two when he embarks on similar adventures prodded by people who know as much as the reader, it feels a little wrong somehow. Part Two seems to focus a lot more on developing the characters of Don Quixote and Sancho in terms of a more philosophical ilk rather than the first part which made some various political and social commentary but seemed largely invested in having a rollicking adventure at the expense of a madman. I found that I liked some of the adventures and escapades of Part One more than the second part but overall I found Part Two more thoughtful and interesting. On the whole I felt like they made a wonderful counterpart to one another and should definitely be read together. Overall I really enjoyed reading Don Quixote even though at times I felt very lost and a little bogged down. There are a lot of political, social and literary references throughout the book, some of which had endnotes for me to reference and others did not. There were many very wordy sections filled with commentary on life and virtue and the nature of everything under the sun. These segments usually worked to break the flow of reading for me and left me a little stuck on that section as I tried to digest what was being said and work it into the overall message. There were many great passages that were absolutely brilliant in terms of observation as well as just great turns-of-phrase. Having finished the novel, I feel like I have completed a major achievement. And yet at the same time, I feel like I only barely scratched the surface of this book. There was just so much meat to be found in every chapter that I felt very overwhelmed and often just "plodded through" to make sure I was making progress. I would love to one day take a course devoted to studying this novel and dissecting some of the major themes and passages. I have no doubt that this book could fill an entire course or more and still leave plenty left untouched. To those thinking about reading this book alone, don't be daunted by its length or content. It is definitely something that can be completed. At the same time I would suggest that if you have access to anybody with deeper insight into the text, it would certainly not go amiss to ask them four some suggestions and pointers to help direct your reading. I would have loved some outside insight to help guide me through different passages. For now, the book returns to my bookshelf. The story and characters will run through the back of my mind for years to come and I hope that someday I can take the book off the shelf and dive into deeper study of this remarkable work of art. **** 4.5 out of 5 stars

About This Item

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Newly introduced by leading Quixote scholar Ilan Stavans, this 400th Anniversary edition of Don Quixote of La Mancha--called the most popular book in history after the Bible and the first modern novel--inaugurates Restless Classics: interactive encounters with great books and inspired teachers. Each Restless Classic is beautifully designed with original artwork, a new introduction for the trade audience, and a video teaching series and live online book club discussions led by passionate experts.

Described as "the novel that invented modernity," Miguel de Cervantes's Don Quixote of La Mancha has become since its publication in Spain in two parts--the first in 1605, the second in 1615--a machine of meaning, endlessly adapted into ballet, theater, dance, film, music, and television, not to mention a veritable tourist industry.
Lionel Trilling argued that "all prose fiction is a variation on the theme of Don Quixote." Mark Twain was a passionate fan. Flaubert modeled Madame Bovary after it. Dostoyevsky reimagined its protagonist in The Idiot. And Borges, in his story about Pierre Menard, looked at it as the gravitational center of Hispanic civilization. Milan Kundera fittingly summarized this unstoppable devotion when he said that "Cervantes teaches the reader to comprehend the world as a question."
Of course, Don Quixote has its detractors, too. Nabokov, for instance, maintained it was one of the cruelest narratives ever. Still, after 400 years, the book remains with us, winding improbably through history like the famous errant knight and his companion, Sancho Panza.
The commemorative Restless Classics edition, published on the four-hundredth anniversary of its full release, features John Ormsby's canonical English translation, illustrations by award-winning Mexican artist Eko, and an insightful, thought-provoking introduction by Ilan Stavans, one of the foremost public intellectuals today. Don Quixote, Stavans writes, is "not only a novel but a manual of life. You'll find in it anything you need, from lessons on how to speak and eat and love to an exhortation of a disciplined, focused life, an argument against censorship, and a call to make lasting friends, which, in Cervantes's words, is 'what makes bearable our long journey from birth to death'."
The volume includes access to an interactive series of video lectures by Stavans, available online at restlessbooks.com/quixote. The videos serve as map to this restless classic, which speaks more eloquently than ever to our perennial desire to sacrifice for a dream in order to see its true worth. Newly introduced by leading Quixote scholar Ilan Stavans, this 400th Anniversary edition of Don Quixote of La Mancha—called the most popular book in history after the Bible and the first modern novel—inaugurates Restless Classics: interactive encounters with great books and inspired teachers. Each Restless Classic is beautifully designed with original artwork, a new introduction for the trade audience, and a video teaching series and live online book club discussions led by passionate experts. 

Described as “the novel that invented modernity,” Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote of La Mancha has become since its publication in Spain in two parts—the first in 1605, the second in 1615—a machine of meaning, endlessly adapted into ballet, theater, dance, film, music, and television, not to mention a veritable tourist industry.
     Lionel Trilling argued that “all prose fiction is a variation on the theme of Don Quixote.” Mark Twain was a passionate fan. Flaubert modeled Madame Bovary after it. Dostoyevsky reimagined its protagonist in The Idiot. And Borges, in his story about Pierre Menard, looked at it as the gravitational center of Hispanic civilization. Milan Kundera fittingly summarized this unstoppable devotion when he said that “Cervantes teaches the reader to comprehend the world as a question.”
     Of course, Don Quixote has its detractors, too. Nabokov, for instance, maintained it was one of the cruelest narratives ever. Still, after 400 years, the book remains with us, winding improbably through history like the famous errant knight and his companion, Sancho Panza.
     The commemorative Restless Classics edition, published on the four-hundredth anniversary of its full release, features John Ormsby’s canonical English translation, illustrations by award-winning Mexican artist Eko, and an insightful, thought-provoking introduction by Ilan Stavans, one of the foremost public intellectuals today. Don Quixote, Stavans writes, is “not only a novel but a manual of life. You’ll find in it anything you need, from lessons on how to speak and eat and love to an exhortation of a disciplined, focused life, an argument against censorship, and a call to make lasting friends, which, in Cervantes’s words, is ‘what makes bearable our long journey from birth to death’.”
     The volume includes access to an interactive series of video lectures by Stavans, available online at restlessbooks.com/quixote. The videos serve as map to this restless classic, which speaks more eloquently than ever to our perennial desire to sacrifice for a dream in order to see its true worth.

Specifications

Series Title
Restless Classics
Publisher
Restless Books
Book Format
Paperback
Original Languages
English
Number of Pages
960
Author
Miguel de Cervantes
ISBN-13
9781632060754
Publication Date
October, 2015
Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)
9.00 x 6.00 x 1.70 Inches
ISBN-10
1632060752

Customer Reviews

5 stars
43
4 stars
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3 stars
15
2 stars
6
1 star
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Most helpful positive review
3 customers found this helpful
Often called the most ...
Often called the most influential work of Spanish literature, Don Quixote is another classic novel that I've always meant to read but never made the time. Nearly two decades ago while living in a Spanish speaking country, I picked up a Spanish copy of Don Quixote with the plan to read the book as a way to reinforce my language studies. At that time I only made it through about 30 pages. Interestingly, I felt like I had read a sizable portion of the overall book. The copy I had purchased was only about 130 pages so I figured I'd read about one-fourth and promised myself that I'd eventually go back and finish. What I didn't know was that the Spanish copy I had purchased had been very significantly abridged and summarized and was not a true representation of the overall heft of this story. I recently picked up an English copy and found it weighing in at just under 1000 pages of text with another 50 or so pages of end notes and about 20 "roman numeral" pages of introduction prior to the story. I was shocked and at that point decided that I'd do better to tackle the book in English rather than returning to the Spanish knowing that it would take me at least double or triple the effort to read that many pages in Spanish given the slightly antiquated language and abundance of unfamiliar terminology. So I dove headlong into reading Don Quixote. I found out that the English volume contained two "Parts." Evidently the first part was published by Cervantes in 1605 and the second part was published as a sequel 10 years later in 1615. Apparently about 8 or 9 years after the successful publication of the book, an unidentified author wrote and released an unapproved sequel to the story. This anonymous author directly insulted Cervantes in the text and blatantly modified the character, behavior and motivations of the central characters of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. It's unclear exactly when Cervantes started writing his official sequel but he was definitely spurred on by this derogatory piece of literature defaming his own story. In the official "Part 2" of Don Quixote we have some very over-the-top meta fiction in which all of the characters are familiar with the first official book as well as the spurious unauthorized sequel. There are numerous sequences of dialog between characters where they discuss the unauthorized book and condemn it as slanderous drivel. Don Quixote is especially offended and wants to do all he can to make the world know of the false nature of this second book and the true nature of himself and his adventures. As is likely the case of most readers approaching Don Quixote, I didn't know a lot of the details of the overall story. Naturally I'd heard about the "tilting at windmills" scene through countless allusions elsewhere. And I've long been a fan of the musical "Man of La Mancha" and so I knew some general story aspects from that as well. Certainly not enough to know the entire 1000 page story but I knew that Don Quixote was a man who read a lot of fantastic literature about knights and chivalry and somehow got it into his head that not only were all the stories real but that he was called by divine right to be one of these knights and to ride into the world righting wrongs and fighting for justice. He has sworn his heart to the lovely Dulcinea, also a figment of his troubled mind...a conglomeration of a real woman he knows and a fantasy maiden he idealizes. He takes his friend and neighbor Sancho Panza as squire and the two of them set out into the world looking like the most pathetic knight and squire you can imagine. Most of the story in Part One focuses on a wide variety of adventures showcasing just how entrenched Don Quixote is in his own personal fantasy as well as how truly inept he is at being a knight. Still, through a large amount of luck and with a large amount of mocking and derision, he manages to come off victorious in a number of very strange situations. He is convinced that an evil enchanter is working to block his way and thus when things do go wrong for one reason or another or when his eyesight drifts closer to reality than fantasy, Don Quixote is quick to excuse any glimpses of reality as evidence of interference from this vile enchanter. In the meantime, Sancho Panza sees the world clearly but rides along very loyally beside his friend and master in the hope of obtaining some part of the fortune. As the story went on I tried to decide just how far Sancho was drawn into the fantasy of Don Quixote. Sancho could certainly see the world for what it was and he ended up getting some bad scrapes and beatings as a result of his master's behavior. And yet he wandered along through the adventures in the hope of some reward. I think he partly believed Don Quixote's madness as truth but part of him also acknowledged that Don Quixote was likely a little bit crazy. In which case what does that say about why Sancho sticks around? He constantly says it's because he hopes to gain fortune and become governor of an island, but I wonder if there is a part of him who knows Don Quixote is crazy and he sticks around in an effort to help protect him or at least be comfort to him. As Part One goes on, friends and family from Don Quixote's village come up with a variety of plans to try and bring Don Quixote home and to cure him of his madness. These plans end up just as zany and outrageous as some of Don Quixote's "normal" adventures. In the end, they finally do manage to bring him home for some time so he can rest and heal after many tribulations. But he does eventually sally forth again and thus begins Part Two. As I mentioned above, Part Two has a lot of meta-fictional elements in that it seems that the larger part of the world has already read Part One and is already very aware of who Don Quixote is and what he is doing. Even though Part One made it rather clear that Don Quixote didn't have all of his wits about him, some of the reading public treat him as a true knight errant and are overjoyed to meet him and hear about his ongoing adventures. More frequently however, the people who have read his story know and understand that he is a little off-kilter and they decide to take advantage of both he and Sancho. They treat them as though they truly are knight and squire and they set up fantastic adventures for them all for the purpose of entertaining onlookers who are in on the joke. Even though the scenes often get outrageously funny there is a tragic sense to them in that the central players in the scene are being grotesquely taken advantage of for the sake of amusement. That concept in itself seems like an interesting commentary on just what constitutes entertainment. It didn't seem quite as tragic to laugh at Don Quixote in part one when his fantasy and imagination got him in trouble. But in part two when he embarks on similar adventures prodded by people who know as much as the reader, it feels a little wrong somehow. Part Two seems to focus a lot more on developing the characters of Don Quixote and Sancho in terms of a more philosophical ilk rather than the first part which made some various political and social commentary but seemed largely invested in having a rollicking adventure at the expense of a madman. I found that I liked some of the adventures and escapades of Part One more than the second part but overall I found Part Two more thoughtful and interesting. On the whole I felt like they made a wonderful counterpart to one another and should definitely be read together. Overall I really enjoyed reading Don Quixote even though at times I felt very lost and a little bogged down. There are a lot of political, social and literary references throughout the book, some of which had endnotes for me to reference and others did not. There were many very wordy sections filled with commentary on life and virtue and the nature of everything under the sun. These segments usually worked to break the flow of reading for me and left me a little stuck on that section as I tried to digest what was being said and work it into the overall message. There were many great passages that were absolutely brilliant in terms of observation as well as just great turns-of-phrase. Having finished the novel, I feel like I have completed a major achievement. And yet at the same time, I feel like I only barely scratched the surface of this book. There was just so much meat to be found in every chapter that I felt very overwhelmed and often just "plodded through" to make sure I was making progress. I would love to one day take a course devoted to studying this novel and dissecting some of the major themes and passages. I have no doubt that this book could fill an entire course or more and still leave plenty left untouched. To those thinking about reading this book alone, don't be daunted by its length or content. It is definitely something that can be completed. At the same time I would suggest that if you have access to anybody with deeper insight into the text, it would certainly not go amiss to ask them four some suggestions and pointers to help direct your reading. I would have loved some outside insight to help guide me through different passages. For now, the book returns to my bookshelf. The story and characters will run through the back of my mind for years to come and I hope that someday I can take the book off the shelf and dive into deeper study of this remarkable work of art. **** 4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful negative review
The only thing I find ...
The only thing I find more absurd than the main character is the fact that this pointless tale is considered a classic. It is by far the worst book ever written. Forcing children to study this in school should be considered child abuse. Having survived the torture that is reading this horrible story, I am tempted to give the whole book burning school of thought further consideration. I am giving this 1/2 star for no other reason than because I can't throw rotten produce at it online.
Most helpful positive review
3 customers found this helpful
Often called the most ...
Often called the most influential work of Spanish literature, Don Quixote is another classic novel that I've always meant to read but never made the time. Nearly two decades ago while living in a Spanish speaking country, I picked up a Spanish copy of Don Quixote with the plan to read the book as a way to reinforce my language studies. At that time I only made it through about 30 pages. Interestingly, I felt like I had read a sizable portion of the overall book. The copy I had purchased was only about 130 pages so I figured I'd read about one-fourth and promised myself that I'd eventually go back and finish. What I didn't know was that the Spanish copy I had purchased had been very significantly abridged and summarized and was not a true representation of the overall heft of this story. I recently picked up an English copy and found it weighing in at just under 1000 pages of text with another 50 or so pages of end notes and about 20 "roman numeral" pages of introduction prior to the story. I was shocked and at that point decided that I'd do better to tackle the book in English rather than returning to the Spanish knowing that it would take me at least double or triple the effort to read that many pages in Spanish given the slightly antiquated language and abundance of unfamiliar terminology. So I dove headlong into reading Don Quixote. I found out that the English volume contained two "Parts." Evidently the first part was published by Cervantes in 1605 and the second part was published as a sequel 10 years later in 1615. Apparently about 8 or 9 years after the successful publication of the book, an unidentified author wrote and released an unapproved sequel to the story. This anonymous author directly insulted Cervantes in the text and blatantly modified the character, behavior and motivations of the central characters of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. It's unclear exactly when Cervantes started writing his official sequel but he was definitely spurred on by this derogatory piece of literature defaming his own story. In the official "Part 2" of Don Quixote we have some very over-the-top meta fiction in which all of the characters are familiar with the first official book as well as the spurious unauthorized sequel. There are numerous sequences of dialog between characters where they discuss the unauthorized book and condemn it as slanderous drivel. Don Quixote is especially offended and wants to do all he can to make the world know of the false nature of this second book and the true nature of himself and his adventures. As is likely the case of most readers approaching Don Quixote, I didn't know a lot of the details of the overall story. Naturally I'd heard about the "tilting at windmills" scene through countless allusions elsewhere. And I've long been a fan of the musical "Man of La Mancha" and so I knew some general story aspects from that as well. Certainly not enough to know the entire 1000 page story but I knew that Don Quixote was a man who read a lot of fantastic literature about knights and chivalry and somehow got it into his head that not only were all the stories real but that he was called by divine right to be one of these knights and to ride into the world righting wrongs and fighting for justice. He has sworn his heart to the lovely Dulcinea, also a figment of his troubled mind...a conglomeration of a real woman he knows and a fantasy maiden he idealizes. He takes his friend and neighbor Sancho Panza as squire and the two of them set out into the world looking like the most pathetic knight and squire you can imagine. Most of the story in Part One focuses on a wide variety of adventures showcasing just how entrenched Don Quixote is in his own personal fantasy as well as how truly inept he is at being a knight. Still, through a large amount of luck and with a large amount of mocking and derision, he manages to come off victorious in a number of very strange situations. He is convinced that an evil enchanter is working to block his way and thus when things do go wrong for one reason or another or when his eyesight drifts closer to reality than fantasy, Don Quixote is quick to excuse any glimpses of reality as evidence of interference from this vile enchanter. In the meantime, Sancho Panza sees the world clearly but rides along very loyally beside his friend and master in the hope of obtaining some part of the fortune. As the story went on I tried to decide just how far Sancho was drawn into the fantasy of Don Quixote. Sancho could certainly see the world for what it was and he ended up getting some bad scrapes and beatings as a result of his master's behavior. And yet he wandered along through the adventures in the hope of some reward. I think he partly believed Don Quixote's madness as truth but part of him also acknowledged that Don Quixote was likely a little bit crazy. In which case what does that say about why Sancho sticks around? He constantly says it's because he hopes to gain fortune and become governor of an island, but I wonder if there is a part of him who knows Don Quixote is crazy and he sticks around in an effort to help protect him or at least be comfort to him. As Part One goes on, friends and family from Don Quixote's village come up with a variety of plans to try and bring Don Quixote home and to cure him of his madness. These plans end up just as zany and outrageous as some of Don Quixote's "normal" adventures. In the end, they finally do manage to bring him home for some time so he can rest and heal after many tribulations. But he does eventually sally forth again and thus begins Part Two. As I mentioned above, Part Two has a lot of meta-fictional elements in that it seems that the larger part of the world has already read Part One and is already very aware of who Don Quixote is and what he is doing. Even though Part One made it rather clear that Don Quixote didn't have all of his wits about him, some of the reading public treat him as a true knight errant and are overjoyed to meet him and hear about his ongoing adventures. More frequently however, the people who have read his story know and understand that he is a little off-kilter and they decide to take advantage of both he and Sancho. They treat them as though they truly are knight and squire and they set up fantastic adventures for them all for the purpose of entertaining onlookers who are in on the joke. Even though the scenes often get outrageously funny there is a tragic sense to them in that the central players in the scene are being grotesquely taken advantage of for the sake of amusement. That concept in itself seems like an interesting commentary on just what constitutes entertainment. It didn't seem quite as tragic to laugh at Don Quixote in part one when his fantasy and imagination got him in trouble. But in part two when he embarks on similar adventures prodded by people who know as much as the reader, it feels a little wrong somehow. Part Two seems to focus a lot more on developing the characters of Don Quixote and Sancho in terms of a more philosophical ilk rather than the first part which made some various political and social commentary but seemed largely invested in having a rollicking adventure at the expense of a madman. I found that I liked some of the adventures and escapades of Part One more than the second part but overall I found Part Two more thoughtful and interesting. On the whole I felt like they made a wonderful counterpart to one another and should definitely be read together. Overall I really enjoyed reading Don Quixote even though at times I felt very lost and a little bogged down. There are a lot of political, social and literary references throughout the book, some of which had endnotes for me to reference and others did not. There were many very wordy sections filled with commentary on life and virtue and the nature of everything under the sun. These segments usually worked to break the flow of reading for me and left me a little stuck on that section as I tried to digest what was being said and work it into the overall message. There were many great passages that were absolutely brilliant in terms of observation as well as just great turns-of-phrase. Having finished the novel, I feel like I have completed a major achievement. And yet at the same time, I feel like I only barely scratched the surface of this book. There was just so much meat to be found in every chapter that I felt very overwhelmed and often just "plodded through" to make sure I was making progress. I would love to one day take a course devoted to studying this novel and dissecting some of the major themes and passages. I have no doubt that this book could fill an entire course or more and still leave plenty left untouched. To those thinking about reading this book alone, don't be daunted by its length or content. It is definitely something that can be completed. At the same time I would suggest that if you have access to anybody with deeper insight into the text, it would certainly not go amiss to ask them four some suggestions and pointers to help direct your reading. I would have loved some outside insight to help guide me through different passages. For now, the book returns to my bookshelf. The story and characters will run through the back of my mind for years to come and I hope that someday I can take the book off the shelf and dive into deeper study of this remarkable work of art. **** 4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful negative review
The only thing I find ...
The only thing I find more absurd than the main character is the fact that this pointless tale is considered a classic. It is by far the worst book ever written. Forcing children to study this in school should be considered child abuse. Having survived the torture that is reading this horrible story, I am tempted to give the whole book burning school of thought further consideration. I am giving this 1/2 star for no other reason than because I can't throw rotten produce at it online.
1-5 of 97 reviews

Often called the most ...

Often called the most influential work of Spanish literature, Don Quixote is another classic novel that I've always meant to read but never made the time. Nearly two decades ago while living in a Spanish speaking country, I picked up a Spanish copy of Don Quixote with the plan to read the book as a way to reinforce my language studies. At that time I only made it through about 30 pages. Interestingly, I felt like I had read a sizable portion of the overall book. The copy I had purchased was only about 130 pages so I figured I'd read about one-fourth and promised myself that I'd eventually go back and finish. What I didn't know was that the Spanish copy I had purchased had been very significantly abridged and summarized and was not a true representation of the overall heft of this story. I recently picked up an English copy and found it weighing in at just under 1000 pages of text with another 50 or so pages of end notes and about 20 "roman numeral" pages of introduction prior to the story. I was shocked and at that point decided that I'd do better to tackle the book in English rather than returning to the Spanish knowing that it would take me at least double or triple the effort to read that many pages in Spanish given the slightly antiquated language and abundance of unfamiliar terminology. So I dove headlong into reading Don Quixote. I found out that the English volume contained two "Parts." Evidently the first part was published by Cervantes in 1605 and the second part was published as a sequel 10 years later in 1615. Apparently about 8 or 9 years after the successful publication of the book, an unidentified author wrote and released an unapproved sequel to the story. This anonymous author directly insulted Cervantes in the text and blatantly modified the character, behavior and motivations of the central characters of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. It's unclear exactly when Cervantes started writing his official sequel but he was definitely spurred on by this derogatory piece of literature defaming his own story. In the official "Part 2" of Don Quixote we have some very over-the-top meta fiction in which all of the characters are familiar with the first official book as well as the spurious unauthorized sequel. There are numerous sequences of dialog between characters where they discuss the unauthorized book and condemn it as slanderous drivel. Don Quixote is especially offended and wants to do all he can to make the world know of the false nature of this second book and the true nature of himself and his adventures. As is likely the case of most readers approaching Don Quixote, I didn't know a lot of the details of the overall story. Naturally I'd heard about the "tilting at windmills" scene through countless allusions elsewhere. And I've long been a fan of the musical "Man of La Mancha" and so I knew some general story aspects from that as well. Certainly not enough to know the entire 1000 page story but I knew that Don Quixote was a man who read a lot of fantastic literature about knights and chivalry and somehow got it into his head that not only were all the stories real but that he was called by divine right to be one of these knights and to ride into the world righting wrongs and fighting for justice. He has sworn his heart to the lovely Dulcinea, also a figment of his troubled mind...a conglomeration of a real woman he knows and a fantasy maiden he idealizes. He takes his friend and neighbor Sancho Panza as squire and the two of them set out into the world looking like the most pathetic knight and squire you can imagine. Most of the story in Part One focuses on a wide variety of adventures showcasing just how entrenched Don Quixote is in his own personal fantasy as well as how truly inept he is at being a knight. Still, through a large amount of luck and with a large amount of mocking and derision, he manages to come off victorious in a number of very strange situations. He is convinced that an evil enchanter is working to block his way and thus when things do go wrong for one reason or another or when his eyesight drifts closer to reality than fantasy, Don Quixote is quick to excuse any glimpses of reality as evidence of interference from this vile enchanter. In the meantime, Sancho Panza sees the world clearly but rides along very loyally beside his friend and master in the hope of obtaining some part of the fortune. As the story went on I tried to decide just how far Sancho was drawn into the fantasy of Don Quixote. Sancho could certainly see the world for what it was and he ended up getting some bad scrapes and beatings as a result of his master's behavior. And yet he wandered along through the adventures in the hope of some reward. I think he partly believed Don Quixote's madness as truth but part of him also acknowledged that Don Quixote was likely a little bit crazy. In which case what does that say about why Sancho sticks around? He constantly says it's because he hopes to gain fortune and become governor of an island, but I wonder if there is a part of him who knows Don Quixote is crazy and he sticks around in an effort to help protect him or at least be comfort to him. As Part One goes on, friends and family from Don Quixote's village come up with a variety of plans to try and bring Don Quixote home and to cure him of his madness. These plans end up just as zany and outrageous as some of Don Quixote's "normal" adventures. In the end, they finally do manage to bring him home for some time so he can rest and heal after many tribulations. But he does eventually sally forth again and thus begins Part Two. As I mentioned above, Part Two has a lot of meta-fictional elements in that it seems that the larger part of the world has already read Part One and is already very aware of who Don Quixote is and what he is doing. Even though Part One made it rather clear that Don Quixote didn't have all of his wits about him, some of the reading public treat him as a true knight errant and are overjoyed to meet him and hear about his ongoing adventures. More frequently however, the people who have read his story know and understand that he is a little off-kilter and they decide to take advantage of both he and Sancho. They treat them as though they truly are knight and squire and they set up fantastic adventures for them all for the purpose of entertaining onlookers who are in on the joke. Even though the scenes often get outrageously funny there is a tragic sense to them in that the central players in the scene are being grotesquely taken advantage of for the sake of amusement. That concept in itself seems like an interesting commentary on just what constitutes entertainment. It didn't seem quite as tragic to laugh at Don Quixote in part one when his fantasy and imagination got him in trouble. But in part two when he embarks on similar adventures prodded by people who know as much as the reader, it feels a little wrong somehow. Part Two seems to focus a lot more on developing the characters of Don Quixote and Sancho in terms of a more philosophical ilk rather than the first part which made some various political and social commentary but seemed largely invested in having a rollicking adventure at the expense of a madman. I found that I liked some of the adventures and escapades of Part One more than the second part but overall I found Part Two more thoughtful and interesting. On the whole I felt like they made a wonderful counterpart to one another and should definitely be read together. Overall I really enjoyed reading Don Quixote even though at times I felt very lost and a little bogged down. There are a lot of political, social and literary references throughout the book, some of which had endnotes for me to reference and others did not. There were many very wordy sections filled with commentary on life and virtue and the nature of everything under the sun. These segments usually worked to break the flow of reading for me and left me a little stuck on that section as I tried to digest what was being said and work it into the overall message. There were many great passages that were absolutely brilliant in terms of observation as well as just great turns-of-phrase. Having finished the novel, I feel like I have completed a major achievement. And yet at the same time, I feel like I only barely scratched the surface of this book. There was just so much meat to be found in every chapter that I felt very overwhelmed and often just "plodded through" to make sure I was making progress. I would love to one day take a course devoted to studying this novel and dissecting some of the major themes and passages. I have no doubt that this book could fill an entire course or more and still leave plenty left untouched. To those thinking about reading this book alone, don't be daunted by its length or content. It is definitely something that can be completed. At the same time I would suggest that if you have access to anybody with deeper insight into the text, it would certainly not go amiss to ask them four some suggestions and pointers to help direct your reading. I would have loved some outside insight to help guide me through different passages. For now, the book returns to my bookshelf. The story and characters will run through the back of my mind for years to come and I hope that someday I can take the book off the shelf and dive into deeper study of this remarkable work of art. **** 4.5 out of 5 stars

My wife asked me how t...

My wife asked me how this was, and I told her it was really, really great and that I really looked forward to reading it and so on. She said "Well, it's a 'classic,' right?" Well, yes. But there are many, many classics that I've read and have no intention of reading again, or that I couldn't pick up and read a chapter or two in bed. There are very few classics that make me laugh and cry at the same time. There are very, very few classics which can stand with both Chaucer and Sterne. That fun stuff aside, Quixote must also be one of the great litmus tests in literary history. Once you can answer the question "what do you think about the Don?" you can probably also answer the question "what do you think about literature?" Gabriel Josipovici argued that DQ is a disenchantment of *all* idealism, and thus a founding moment in (his understanding of) modernism. You could easily read the book as an attack on any fictional work at all: it misleads you, it lies to you, it turns you into a lunatic. But if, like me, you're a soft touch, you can equally well say that, although the narrator of DQ is always talking about how the one thing s/he wanted to do in this book is to convince you not to read chivalric romances, because the more 'truth' there is in a book the better, the point of the book is in fact that the narrator is wrong. If s/he wasn't wrong, DQ wouldn't have the cry/laugh effect I noted above. And it turns out that the characters have a much better grasp of the way we use fiction than the narrator does. The Don might be a little bit nuts, but even his craziness is preferable to a world in which telling stories is thought to be 'wrong,' the position he ends up taking just before he dies. We readers might be as mad as Quixote, and as mad as the Duke and Duchess who play such tricks on him (p 956). But as Don Antonio says, "Don't you see, sir, that the benefits of Don Quixote's recovery can't be compared with the pleasure that his antics provide?" (930) Or as Don Quixote has it, "to tell jokes and write wittily is the work of geniuses; the most intelligent characters in a play is the fool, because the actor playing the part of the simpleton must not be one." (507)Frankly, I'd much rather build or read a good book than explain why all building and reading are for the birds. My pomo professors would be appalled.

I read it in translati...

I read it in translation, so I don't know what a difference that might make. Many parts of this are still hilarious after centuries, some scenes are moving, some magnificent. Talk about iconic? Tilting at windmills, Sancho Panza, Dulcinea del Toboso, a man made mad by reading too many books of chivalry... Its second part even pokes fun at itself--17th century metafiction! If it doesn't get the full five stars, it's because it does have stretches I found dull and pointless and meandering. Just felt at times the joke was extended far too long, with one incident after another repeating itself: Quixote goes on a rampage due to his delusions of chivalry. Victim of his outrage beats him up. Rinse. Repeat... But this is one of the earliest novels, at least in the Western tradition, and still one of the greatest and influential in the Western canon--and for good reason.

Don Quixote has always...

Don Quixote has always intimidated me. The novel is a literary giant, my own windmill to conquer. This year, over the course of a couple months, I finally read it. I was surprised by the gentle nature and sincerity of the famous knight. I'd always thought of him as a bit clownish, but in reality he is the most human of men, if that makes sense. He's deeply flawed and so he's deeply relatable. I didn't realize when I started the book that it consists of two separate volumes published 10 years apart. The first volume includes most of the well-known elements of the story, including Don Quixote's famous attack on the windmills. In the second volume everyone knows who Don Quixote is because they've read the first volume. It adds an interesting element to the book, because he is now trying to live up to his own legend. He's become a celebrity and his cause and condition have become well known throughout the land. Alonso Quixano is Don Quixote's true name. He reads book after book dealing with stories of chivalry throughout the ages. He then becomes convinced that he is in fact a knight errant and he must go on a crusade to help the people who are suffering in Spain. "It is not the responsibility of knights errant to discover whether the afflicted, the enchained and the oppressed whom they encounter on the road are reduced to these circumstances and suffer this distress for their vices, or for their virtues: the knight's sole responsibility is to succour them as people in need, having eyes only for their sufferings, not for their misdeeds." He saddles up his horse, Rocinante, and recruits a local farmer named Sancho Panza to embark on his travels with him. Sancho becomes his faithful squire. The two set off and along the way they "help" those who cross their path. The problem is that Don Quixote is delusional about who actually needs his help. The famous windmill scene comes about because he thinks he is fighting giants. He fights for the honor of a woman who barely knows him, Dulcinea del Toboso. The first volume contains a strange mix of stories. Everyone is able to see the Don's madness except himself and his proverb-spouting squire. Though this is tragic in some ways, it's also beautiful. There's something about having complete faith in another person that gives you strength in your own life. The first volume is entertaining, but lacks the depth I was expecting. It wasn't until I got into the second volume that I really fell in love with the book. There's such a wonderful exploration of motivation, delusion, loyalty, and more. Who is Don Quixote hurting with his quest? Is it wrong to allow him to remain convinced of his knighthood? The second volume also pokes playful fun at the first volume, joking that the author exaggerated stories, etc. "The truth may be stretched thin, but it never breaks, and it always surfaces above lies, as oil floats on water." Don Quixote's naïveté and earnestness about his field of knight errantry make him an easy target. People who want to play tricks on him or friendly jokes or even rob him are easily able to because they know exactly what his weaknesses are. He believes, without a doubt, in the code of knight errantry that he holds himself to. He's also wise about so many things while remaining blind to his own absurdity. At times he reminded me of Polonius from "Hamlet" spouting off wisdom to anyone who will listen. Sometimes it's good advice, sometimes not but he believes it wholeheartedly. There's a purity in living a life so full of earnestness that you believe in your dreams without faltering and you hold yourself to a higher standard. BOTTOM LINE: This isn't a novel I'll re-read every year or anything, but it was a richly rewarding experience for me. It made me want to believe in some of the magic in life and to not always question the motives of others. Don Quixote and Sancho Panza will be with me for years to come. "Then the very same thing, said the knight, happens in the comedy and commerce of this world, where one meets with some people playing the parts of emperors, others in the characters of popes, and finally, all the different personages that can be introduced in a comedy; but, when the play is done, that is, when life is at an end, death strips them of the robes that distinguished their stations, and they become all equal in the grave." "Time ripens all things. No man is born wise."

Ive owned this copy o...

I've owned this copy of Don Quixote for about 30 years, and have begun reading it on several occasions, but could never get much beyond the first 100 pages. This summer, bed-ridden from an accident, I decided I would finally, finally read it to the end. This time it was the last 100 pages that had me bogged down, not because they were boring, but because it felt like this book would never end. I had always assumed (based on "The Man of La Mancha" and other references) that Don Quixote's behavior, though delusional, affects those around him positively by making others see themselves in a better light, i.e. Dulcinea when treated as a lady, begins to behave like a lady. But this is not the case at all. In fact, no one changes their behavior because of Quixote. Except for his squire, Sancho Panza, people treat him even more abysmally than if he had been in his right mind. There is a lot of slapstick humor in this book, but most of the tricks played on him are not really very funny, in fact, they are mostly cruel beatings and tortures. I think the real essence of this book is not in its hero, Don Quixote, but in the displaying of the reality of living in 16th century Spain: the random cruelty, the abuse of power (the duke and duchess), the treatment of prisoners, the Moors, the false politesse of the upper classes. There is also the metaliterary aspect of the novel and its parody of romances of knighthood. I'm glad I read it, but it was not at all what I thought it would be.

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Electrode, Comp-456283621, DC-prod-cdc01, ENV-prod-a, PROF-PROD, VER-30.0.3-ebf-2, SHA-8c8e8dc1c07e462c80c1b82096c2da2858100078, CID-5e51b8c8-897-16f082f7c69a14, Generated: Sun, 15 Dec 2019 06:12:07 GMT