Saturday, October 11, 2008

Don Quixote , Book 1


This has been bugging me for a while. I read Don Quixote in high school, in Spanish. (I took a Spanish-For-Spanish-Speakers Class, kind of like regular old English class. We read books, wrote books reports, had vocabulary tests, but in Spanish). I just did NOT remember it being over 978 pages. There was no WAY I would have read that much, in Spanish no less.

When dad came over, he saw it on the counter and said he remembered reading this as well. He flipped to the last few pages and said he did not recognize any of the end.

Then I got to page 479 of this book....and it ended. It ended how I remembered it. The next part was Cervantes' second Don Quixote book. He wrote a book two! The novel I have has both books in it, like getting Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone and The Chamber of Secrets in one book. Ah-HA!

So technically, I am done reading what the world knows as "The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha."

I read the introduction which was really enlightening. The person translating it describes all the different translations through the ages. First translators of the 1600's did a poor job with translating the Spanish to English, not really getting the nuances or even the translations right. In the 1700 and 1800's, puritanical beliefs skewed translators do be literal, and not at all the humorous book it's supposed to be. They made it feel like a drama, a sad woeful tale.

This translation of 1998 or 1999 tries to go back to Cervantes' roots; making it funny, sarcastic and witty. The translator understands that nothing is perfect in translation, but his job was to make Cervantes, and not him, speak.

If you live in a cave, Don Quixote is a man "nearly fifty" who reads SO many fictions of knights, battles, giants, kings, castles, wizards, beautiful princesses, etc. etc. that he believes them to be real and decides to go out into the world as a Knight Errant, righting wrong, saving damsels, slaying giants and defending kingdoms. He convinces his rather dim-witted neighbor Sancho Panza to become his squire and go out into the world.

It's funny; the windmills, the inn (castle) and the people in it, the "armies" that end up being sheep, acting like a fool naked in the wilderness, releasing convicts he thinks are prisoners. Everything he sees has a logical, magical explanation in his eyes. He's one crazy bird.

There were lots of times where I thought, "What is the point now?" because there are many times where Don Quixote is away somewhere and we start to hear the life story of this person or that person (at least 5 people tell their very-detailed life stories). And in the end, EVERYONE that they've met along the way is related somehow to everyone else and they all just happen to meet in this dumpy inn. That was a VERY large stretch/coincidence.

There was too much filler like that, but on the whole, the book was witty and fun.

And yes, I am reading the second book in this volume. Might as well, huh?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You're my hero! I've never made it through Don Quixote. I've tried, but ehhhh. Good luck with book #2.