Don Quixote

Don Quixote

by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

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Obsessed with tales of gallant knights, Don Quixote, a middle-aged man from La Mancha, decides to take his own adventure. Donning rusty armor and riding upon an old horse, he sets off to change the world and save his invented damsel in distress in the name of chivalry. Unfortunately, Don Quixote and his squire Sancho Panza are met with a host of ill-intentioned characters, and the pair often find themselves the butt of a joke rather than chivalrous saviors. This renowned tragic comedy, written by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, was first published in Spain in two parts in 1605 and 1615. This is an unabridged version of John Ormsby's English translation from 1885.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781467749640
Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/01/2014
Series: First Avenue Classics T
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 1288
File size: 2 MB
Age Range: 12 - 18 Years

About the Author

Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616) was a Spanish novelist, playwright, and poet, best known as the creator of Don Quixote, the most famous figure in Spanish literature.

A highly respected and enthusiastic audiobook narrator, David Case specialized in creating unique and interesting character voices.

Read an Excerpt

The Life of Cervantes

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra was at once the glory and reproach of Spain; for, if his admirable genius and heroic spirit conduced to the honour of his country, the distress and obscurity which attended his old age, as effectually redounded to her disgrace. Had he lived amidst Gothic darkness and barbarity, where no records were used, and letters altogether unknown, we might have expected to derive from tradition, a number of particulars relating to the family and fortune of a man so remarkably admired even in his own time. But, one would imagine pains had been taken to throw a veil of oblivion over the personal concerns of this excellent author. No inquiry hath, as yet, been able to ascertain the place of his nativity;1 and, although in his works he has declared himself a gentleman by birth, no house has hitherto laid claim to such an illustrious descendant.

One author* says he was born at Esquivias; but, offers no argument in support of his assertion: and probably the conjecture was founded upon the encomiums which Cervantes himself bestows on that place, to which he gives the epithet of Renowned, in his preface to Persiles and Sigismunda.2 Others affirm he first drew breath in Lucena, grounding their opinion upon a vague tradition which there prevails: and a third* set take it for granted that he was a native of Seville, because there are families in that city known by the names of Cervantes and Saavedra; and our author mentions his having, in his early youth, seen plays acted by Lope Rueda, who was a Sevilian. These, indeed, are presumptions that deserve some regard, tho', far from implying certain information, they scarce even amount to probable conjecture: nay, these very circumstances seem to disprove the supposition; for, had he been actually descended from those families, they would, in all likelihood, have preserved some memorials of his birth, which Don Nicholas Antonio would have recorded, in speaking of his fellow-citizen. All these pretensions are now generally set aside in favour of Madrid, which claims the honour of having produced Cervantes, and builds her title on an expression? in his Voyage to Parnassus, which, in my opinion, is altogether equivocal and inconclusive.

In the midst of such undecided contention, if I may be allowed to hazard a conjecture, I would suppose that there was something mysterious in his extraction, which he had no inclination to explain, and that his family had domestic reasons for maintaining the like reserve. Without admitting some such motive, we can hardly account for his silence on a subject that would have afforded him an opportunity to indulge that self-respect which he so honestly displays in the course of his writings. Unless we conclude that he was instigated to renounce all connexion with his kindred and allies, by some contempt'ous flight, mortifying repulse, or real injury he had sustained; a supposition which, I own, is not at all improbable, considering the jealous sensibility of the Spaniards in general, and the warmth of resentment peculiar to our author, which glows through his productions, unrestrained by all the fears of poverty, and all the maxims of old age and experience.

Table of Contents


Don Quixote

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"The highest creation of genius has been achieved by Shakespeare and Cervantes, almost alone." —Samuel Taylor Coleridge

"A more profound and powerful work than this is not to be met with...The final and greatest utterance of the human mind." —Fyodor Dostoyevsky

"What a monument is this book! How its creative genius, critical, free, and human, soars above its age!" —Thomas Mann

"Don Quixote looms so wonderfully above the skyline of literature, a gaunt giant on a lean nag, that the book lives and will live through his sheer vitality....The parody has become a paragon." —Vladimir Nabokov

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Reading Group Guide

1. Don Quixote is often called the first modern novel. Do you agree? Why or why not?

2. Many critics have interpreted Don Quixote as a sustained exploration of madness. How is madness represented in the novel?

3. Italian literary critic Giovanni Papini famously argued in the early 1920s that "by virtue of [the power of Cervantes's genius] the shade of Don Quixote has succeeded in deceiving us. We have been led to think that his life was full of deception in the sense that he was himself deceived by carnivorous men, decadent times, and impossible books. His life was indeed full of deception, but he was himself the deceiver, and we of the succeeding generations have been the ones deceived." Papini suggests that generations of critics have idolized Quixote, held him up as a "martyr of pure, militant, and derided Christianity," when in fact the character is vain and proud, thinks only of earthly glory, and aspires to material conquests. He was not, Papini claims, mad at all, but merely pretended to be. What is your opinion of this argument?

4. Critics have debated the question of whether Cervantes's intention in Don Quixote was to ridicule the chivalric romances-which typically featured knights accomplishing the most impossible things-that were so popular in the Middle Ages. Northrop Frye, for instance, writes that "with every beating he gets, [Don Quixote's] dignity grows on us, and we realize how genuinely faithful he is to the code of chivalry. He is courteous, gentle, chaste, generous (except that he has no money), intelligent and cultured within the limits of his obsession, and, of course, courageous. Not only was the code of chivalry a real code that helped to hold a real civilization together, but these are real virtues, and would be if chivalry had never existed." Do you think the book repudiates chivalry?

5. In his 1935 book Don Quixote: An Introduction to Psychology, leading Spanish literary expert Salvador de Madariaga refers to what he calls the "sanchification" of Don Quixote and the "quixotification" of Sancho. How does each character affect the other?

6. Lionel Trilling once claimed that "All prose fiction is a variation of the theme of Don Quixote: . . . the problem of appearance and reality." Discuss.

7. The names of the main characters in the novel are not stable: for example, Don Quixote is variously called Quixada, Quesana, Quixana, Quixote, Jigote, Knight of the Mournful Countenance, and Knight of the Lions; Sancho's wife is known as Juana Gutiérrez, Mari Gutiérrez, Teresa Cascajo, Teresa Panza or Teresa Sancho, Teresaina, and Teresona. What is the significance of the change of name and why are the characters so concerned with coming up with etymologies (most of which are wrong) for explaining how another character has come to have a particular name?

8. Many readers have been disturbed by the fact that Don Quixote recovers his sanity before dying, instead of venturing forth again, as Sancho would have him do. How do you feel about his regaining his sanity? What do you think is the significance of it?

Customer Reviews

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Don Quixote 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This novel is towering, an absolute powerhouse. It is also one of the funniest books I have ever read. There are not many books I would have the desire to read again but this is one of them, only for the sheer enjoyment of it. Don Quixote is one of the most original characters ever set on paper. He and Sancho are just hysterically funny. You will enjoy every minute of this novel. If you don't read it, you are missing out.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Don Quixote definitely backs up the claim that Miguel de Cervantes is the best author in the history of Spanish literature. In Don Quixote, Cervantes wonderfully illustrates the idea of romanticism and chivalry by narrating the tale of an old knight. This novel highlights the idea that we all wish we could be knights. We all wish we could fight evil and protect goodness. Don Quixote is persecuted because, unlike the rest of the world, he actually pursues his fantastic dreams of knight-errantry. He decides to go out into the world to do what he thinks is right, and to achieve a little infamy. He acquires a squire named Sancho, and together they have some outlandish adventures. Don Quixote battles with sheep, attacks innocent barbers, and fights with a few evildoers. Don Quixote does some evil things himself, but in his mind, he is the champion for the oppressed. He always maintains that he is in the right, and he always seems happy with this role as hero. Eventually he is forced to resign from fighting evil by Samson the scholar. Samson defeats him in battle, and Don Quixote relinquishes his position as savior of all things good. He seems to experience a catharsis at the end of the novel, when he signs his will 'Alonzo Quijada' instead of 'Don Quixote de la Mancha'. This event hints at the idea that he knew all along what he was doing. He seems to realize that he was not a hero, and that his dreams were crushed. He was wrong though to think he was not a famous knight errant, and it is a shame he died in such a state of mind. It just goes to show that most famous people never become famous in their lifetime, only after they die do they receive the glory they deserve. Even though Don Quixote was a fictional character, that does not mean that he should not receive the same respect as any dead hero. He may not have saved any damsels in distress, or slain any dragons, or killed any wizards; but he did inspire romance in the hearts of readers around the world for almost five centuries. He goes back to La Mancha and dies a sad, unsatisfying death. This is where the novel itself creates some irony. Don Quixote wanted to become a knight, one who is written about in tales of chivalry. What better way to achieve this limelight than to be the main character in a novel that is arguably the best piece of Spanish Literature ever written. Through all of his misadventures and all of his criticisms, he is not so crazy when you think about it. He does become the most famous knight in the world. He does inspire others to follow in his footsteps. Don Quixote de la Mancha could be considered a hero after all, in fact one of the greatest romantic heroes. Cervantes wrote Don Quixote as a satire to the books of chivalry of that time period, but it turned out to be much more than a satire. It turned out to be a novel symbolic of romance and chivalry, the opposite of Cervantes' intention. Now, people who have this same dedication to romance, chivalry, and the fight against evil are described as Quixotic, a testament to an eternal novel, Don Quixote.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Absolutely brilliant translation - the only one that has overcome the difficulties of the language and has bothered to and very succesfully transferred Cervantes' wit to our modern-day sense of humour and fun. Very highly recommended if interested in the English version.
davedaurelle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Excellent - life changing book.
carterchristian1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The number of references to this individual who is really very well described y deadwhiteguys is truly admazing to anyone outside Spain. Yet they must truly love him and admire him and have done so through the centuries. Spain is truly a misunderstood country, far more complex than most of us understand. No, Ihave not finished it yet, but I must. I was reading this on a city bus and a girl came up and told me it was her favorite book. Never had this happen before.The pasts I can best identify with are the comment that Don Quixote would stay up all night reading, and then the chapter when the neighbors throw out his library. My daughter would really like to do this.
fothpaul on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Finally finished after starting this a couple of years back. Enjoyed some sections immensely, but found others a struggle to get through.Particularly interesting that a lot of it is still relevant to modern times, just shows how poeple don't really change through time. Some parts actually made me laugh out loud, particularly the slapstick moments and sheer lunacy of the main character.Glad I finished it and I certainly don't regret reading it.
endersreads on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Cervantes has a bit of Dutch humor in him. I am reminded of Sancho producing ejecta (I mean schijt) next to the Knight of the Rueful Figure in the dark who startled at the smell. Also, when Sancho is governing his "island" he writes Quixote and tells him he would send him something, though the only thing the island produces are enema tubes which are "curiously turned and mounted". I found the episode in which Don Quixote and Sancho vomit on each other after having consumed the magical elixir hilarious as well. I digress, I make the book sound perverse. It is far from it. Looking back on the 2 parts of Don Quixote, I must say that I believe the 1st part to be my favorite. Everyone knows the windmill scene. I am reminded of the windmill scenes in the old black and white Frankenstein movie and the one in Evil Dead. I could philosophize on this single adventure for an eternity. I will never forget Dorotea, Cardenio, Don Fernando, Luscinda, the Curate, Camacho... This book is one of the greatest--containing an occult knowledge of life. This is why men such as Voltaire carried it with them. Read Isaac Disraeli's essay "The Man of One Book" to understand me. This perhaps could be my "One Book". It has not only it's own wealth but also a wealth of past histories and chivalrous works within it. Take to the mountains and fields with this book, ye goat herders!
technodiabla on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I decided to delve into Don Quixote to prepare for seeing the play this August in Ashland, Oregon (Oregon Shakespeare Festival). I actually read a slightly abridged version (from Samual Putnam's The Portable Cervantes-- it was still over 700 pages). I only read Book I as the play only covered Book I. I think that reading the book greatly enhanced my enjoyment of the play and vice versa. The story itself is episodic in nature and I think it could have done without so many episodes-- they started to get a bit tiresome. I also found the love quadrangle around Cordenio to be confusing since the bits of it were separated so far apart. The play elucidated much of that. I am sure this is a novel that should be studied thoroughly and with full historical context to fully appreciate it. It was a fine read going into it blindly though and much easier than I expected (good translation helps). As I was reading it I was wondering how on earth they would stage it (battles with sheep herds, horses with personality, etc.) The production was brilliant and I HIGHLY recommend it! Book Rating 3.5
gazzy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Uproarious story of old man (with dementia) who believes he is a knight in the age of chivalry. Monty Python meets Homer's Odyssey.
arelenriel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was excellent. I have made it my goal this summer to work on reading all of the classics that I did not read in high school, or college. Cervantes shows a good blend of historical reality and fantasy that is amazing for a writer of his time. Loved it.
POvidiusNaso on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of the all-time great satirical works in history. The precursor to such gems as Confederacy of Dunces and Catch-22.
davidroche on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Go on, you know you've always said that you mean to read this. And this translation confirms that this is really very brilliant and very funny at the same time.
Randulf on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Grossman has successfully brought the best of the humour out to make this the defintive translation of the misadventures of literatures first chivalric gentleman. I was laughing out loud by the end of the first chapter.
brose72 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The humorous, fanciful adventures and the insightful observations of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza are captured with such mastery of language that I am not able to name a novel ever written in which the author mixes such wit and beauty of expression. New joys and provoking thoughts encountered with every new exploit.
chillihead on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'd been putting off reading Don Quixote for a number of years. I knew I should read it, but I guess its length put me off. I'd also been put off by reading poor translations of other non-English classics, and didn't fancy slogging through 900 odd pages of staid and tortured English.It was only after all the rave reviews that Edith Grossman's recent translation received, that I finally decided to give it a go. And let me say, it is well worth the effort. Grossman has translated Cervantes' Spanish into wonderfully flowing English, capturing as much of the original word play as is possible. Where particular phrases cannot be translated into English whilst retaining their original humour, Grossman provides footnotes explaining the original Spanish meaning.I never thought a 400 year old book could make me laugh out loud, but this one has on many occaisons. It has to be the funniest thing I've read all year (but I have spent a lot of this year reading Proust, so maybe it doesn't have much competition). Although the adventures the "Knight of the Sorrowful Face" experiences are hilarious, my particular favourites being "The Adventure of the Galley Slaves" and "The Adventure of the Cave of Montesinos", they can become a bit repetitive. They all follow the same general pattern, Don Quixote mistakes some common thing or event as a chivalric adventure and is subsequently beaten up. You would think that this would make the book boring, as some reviewers on here have said, but the plot really isn't the point of the book. What really makes the book for me is the wonderful dialogues between Don Quixote and his squire Sancho Panza. Quixote veers from the coherent discussion of a country gentlemen to the ravings of a madman, whilst Sancho at one moment can be a country bumpkin, the next he is discussing the governship of "insulas" with princes, always relying on his endless supply of mixed metaphors and maxims.In short, this is one of the best books I've ever read.
Hanno on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Don Quixote probably was a great book during Cervantes' time, but I found it to be slow, boring and uneventful. In my (humble) opinion most modern readers, used to more concise, faster paced books, will not enjoy this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love in the book
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An exceptional read.
atonalorbit More than 1 year ago
1) This book was advertised with the wrong translator.
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