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Don Quixote


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Miguel De Cervantes (1547-1616) was born to a poor family in the town of Alcala de Henares in Spain. After being educated in Madrid (where he was his schoolmaster's 'most beloved pupil') he went to Italy where it was not long before he volunteered for the army. Cervantes took part in the great naval battle of Lepanto (1571), when the Christian powers led by the Venetians defeated the Turks in the eastern Mediterranean. As a result he was wounded in the left hand which rendered it useless and earned him the title 'El Manco de Lepanto'. In 1575, while returning to Spain from another military expedition, he was captured by pirates and taken to Algiers as a prisoner. His captivity lasted for five long years during which he made repeated efforts to escape, firmly believing that 'one should risk one's life for honour and liberty'. When Cervantes was finally ransomed he returned to Spain, not to a hero's welcome as he expected, but to find himself with no money and apparently no future. He turned to writing for his livelihood, drawing on his experiences in prison and as a soldier for his stories and plays. His early works brought neither wealth nor fame but when the first part of Don Quixote was published in 1605 it proved to be an instant success. Translated into English in 1612 it has been one of the world's most popular and influential books ever since. Even with this, however, and the second part which was published in 1614, Cervantes did not become a rich man, but he did obtain for himself a patron and was thereafter able to devote himself fully to his writings.
______ Miguel De Cervantes (1547-1616) nacio en el seno de una familia pobre en el pueblo de Alcala de Henares, en Espana. Tras ser educado en Madrid (donde fue el pupilo preferido de su profesor) partio a Italia, donde pronto se enlisto de manera voluntaria en la armada. Cervantes participo en la gran batalla naval de Lepanto (1571), cuando los Cristianos lidereados por los venecianos derrotaron a los turcos al este del Mediterraneo. Esta batalla le dejo una mano herida que nunca recupero total movilidad, por lo que Cervantes obtuvo el mote de 'El Manco de Lepanto'. En 1575, al volver a Espana tras otra expedicion militar, fue capturado por piratas y llevado a Algeria como prisionero. Permanecio en cautiverio durante cinco largos anos, tiempo en el que intento escapar varias veces con la ferviente creencia de que uno debiera arriesgar la vida por el honor y la libertad. Cuando finalmente fue rescatado, Cervantes volvio a Espana no como para ser recibido como heroe, sino a enfrentarse a una vida sin dinero y, aparentemente, sin futuro. Se volco a la escritura para poder sobrevivir, convirtiendo sus experiencias en el ejercito y prision en relatos y obras de teatro. Sus primeras obras no le trajeron fama ni fortuna, pero cuando la primera parte de Don Quijote fue publicada en 1605, obtuvo un exito inmediato. Traducida al ingles en 1612, el Quijote ha sido uno de los libros mas populares e icnonicos en el mundo. A pesar del exito, y de la publicacion de la segunda parte de la novela en 1614, Cervantes no se convirtio en un hombre rico, pero si logro conseguir un mecenas que le permito dedicar su vida a la escritura.


Gr 9-12-Using model animation and sound effects, the video presents Cervantes' great satire. Don Quixote reads so many books on chivalry that he fancies himself as a knight, or worthy of being one. Accompanied by his sidekick, Sancho Panza, he has a series of adventures until finally, on his deathbed, he renounces knighthood saying "I was mad but now am saved." Several adventures were omitted or shortened in this 30-minute version. Yet the points of emphasis, such as Don's attacking a score of windmills he believed to be monstrous giants, will carry the book's message. The use of models further exaggerate the humor. The British accent of actor Simon Callow contrasts with the voice of the sidekick. The video would be useful in world literature classes at the secondary level. Teachers should show the video before having students read the book, discuss the satire presented, and challenge students to find other examples in the story.-Kathy Akey, Clintonville Senior High School, WI Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

In 2002, 100 major writers from 54 countries rated Don Quixote the world's best work of fiction. Any new translation of Cervantes's immortal classic is thus a major publishing event, and when that translator is Grossman-the prize-winning interpreter of such contemporary Latin American giants as Garc!a Marquez and Vargas Llosa-it is a major event indeed. Grossman's goal was to make the 400-year-old book sound as if it were penned by one of her modern specialties. Using Martin de Riquer's scholarly edition, itself based on the princeps, she translates the text exactly, including the numerous gaps, such as the unexplained theft of Sancho's donkey. Grossman retains the original Latin, of course, but also such Spanish words as !nsula that convey a particular meaning. She modifies the famous opening line of the novel by inserting the word somewhere before "in La Mancha," thereby reinforcing the vagueness of the location. Unlike earlier versions, this Don Quixote doesn't use the antiquated speech of the novels of chivalry that Cervantes is spoofing, thus providing a more readable text. Footnotes, many derived from de Riquer, are kept to a minimum and are included only when an explanation is indispensable; Grossman wants the novel to be read first and revered through the clogging of scholarly apparatus second. The end result of Grossman's two-year labor of love is a Don Quixote that is contemporary without being irreverent, a status Raffel's 1995 effort approached. The older, more faithful standard translations, like those of Putnam (1949), Starkie (1964), and Jarvis (revised 1992) will remain in the canon and in print, as much for their reliability as their quaintness. Where Grossman succeeds is in being faithful to Cervantes's comic spirit and natural style; it is indeed a sign of freshness and spontaneity that this reviewer laughed as if for the first time at passages that he's read many times before. As the literary world prepares for the quadricentennial in 2005 of the publication of Don Quixote's first part and in light of other competing versions, now and possibly to come by then, this is the one to beat. Recommended for all libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 7/03.]-Lawrence Olszewski, OCLC Lib., Dublin, OH Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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 Garc!a M rquez, 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. (Nov.) Forecast: A somber, graceless jacket won't do this edition any favors, but the packaging of the paperback will be most important in determining future sales. In any case, this will be an essential backlist title. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

"A more profound and powerful work than this is not to be met with...[It is] the final and greatest utterance of the human mind." -Fyodor Dostoevsky

"It can be said that all prose fiction is a variation on the theme of Don Quixote." -Lionel Trilling "[Don Quixote is] the first and best of all novels, which nevertheless is more than a novel." -Harold Bloom "When Don Quixote went out into the world, that world turned into a mystery before his eyes. That is the legacy of the first European novel to the entire subsequent history of the novel. The novelist teaches its reader to
comprehend the world as a question." -Milan Kundera

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