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Don Quixote
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New or Used: 33 copies from $33.34
Cervantes' tale of the deranged gentleman who turns knight-errant, tilts at windmills and battles with sheep in the service of the lady of his dreams, Dulcinea del Toboso, has fascinated generations of readers, and inspired other creative artists such as Flaubert, Picasso and Richard Strauss. The tall, thin knight and his short, fat squire, Sancho Panza, have found their way into films, cartoons and even computer games. Supposedly intended as a parody of the most popular escapist fiction of the day, the 'books of chivalry', this precursor of the modern novel broadened and deepened into a sophisticated, comic account of the contradictions of human nature. Cervantes' greatest work can be enjoyed on many levels, all suffused with a subtle irony that reaches out to encompass the reader.
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Spending 36 hours in the company of a 400-year-old novel sounds intimidating, but it needn't be-not when the book is as constantly amusing, inventive, and moving as Don Quixote. Cervantes's classic mock-heroic tale chronicles the adventures of a self-styled knight-errant whose efforts to restore medieval chivalry are a series of comic disasters. Considered the first modern novel, Don Quixote is one of the most entertaining stories ever told. Although John Ormsby's English translation is now 125 years old, it seems remarkably fresh. The novel's linear narrative is ideal for listening and combined with Roy McMillan's pitch-perfect narration makes those 36 hours nonstop pleasure for literature fans and general readers. Highly recommended.-R. Kent Rasmussen, Thousand Oaks, CA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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.

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.

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