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Don Quixote - Volume 1

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Book Overview: 

Don Quixote is an early novel written by Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. Cervantes created a fictional origin for the story in the character of the Morisco historian, Cide Hamete Benengeli, whom he claims to have hired to translate the story from an Arabic manuscript he found in Toledo’s bedraggled old Jewish quarter.

The protagonist, Alonso Quixano, is a minor landowner who has read so many stories of chivalry that he descends into fantasy and becomes convinced he is a knight errant. Together with his companion Sancho Panza, the self-styled Don Quixote de la Mancha sets out in search of adventures. His “lady” is Dulcinea del Toboso, an imaginary object of his courtly love crafted from a neighbouring farmgirl by the illusion-struck “knight” (her real name is Aldonza Lorenzo, and she is totally unaware of his feelings for her. In addition, she never actually appears in the novel).

Published in two volumes a decade apart, Don Quixote is the most influential work of literature to emerge from the Spanish Golden Age and perhaps the entire Spanish literary canon. As a founding work of modern Western literature, it regularly appears at or near the top of lists of the greatest works of fiction ever published.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .As chance would have it, when he had got to this line there happened to come by a peasant from his own village, a neighbour of his, who had been with a load of wheat to the mill, and he, seeing the man stretched there, came up to him and asked him who he was and what was the matter with him that he complained so dolefully.

Don Quixote was firmly persuaded that this was the Marquis of Mantua, his uncle, so the only answer he made was to go on with his ballad, in which he told the tale of his misfortune, and of the loves of the Emperor's son and his wife all exactly as the ballad sings it.

The peasant stood amazed at hearing such nonsense, and relieving him of the visor, already battered to pieces by blows, he wiped his face, which was covered with dust, and as soon as he had done so he recognised him and said, "Senor Quixada" (for so he appears to have been called wh. . . Read More

Community Reviews

“Don Quixote”, I answered, and looked into almost shocked facial expressions, followed by quiet, uncomfortable giggling.

What was the question? If my friends at the coffee table had asked: “What is your favourite book, Lisa?”, and received that answer, they would have nodded knowingly, sympathetic...more

A book of parallels, Don Quixote by Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, through two of the most emblematic characters ever conceived, discusses what's imagined and what's seen, the ideal vs. the real, the conflicts between illusion and actuality and how these solid lines start to blur by...more

I first finished Part I of Don Quixote fifty years ago, and, although I never got around to reading Part II, over the years I managed to convince myself that I had. I suspect this may be true of many other readers as well, for when people share their favorite parts of the story, they invariably m...more

When I read excerpts of Don Quixote in high school, which I think must be a requisite for any Spanish language class taken by anybody ever, I was astounded that something so seemingly banal could be as wildly popular and possess such longevity as this book is and does. At the time, I did not find...more

Whatever else Don Quixote may be, I never found it boring. Parts of it were very funny, others had wonderful similarities with Shakespeare, some bits were more serious: it's like a mini library in a single volume. Wonderful.

Overall, it has quite a Shakespearean feel - more in the plotting and ta...more

“¡Cambiar el mundo, amigo Sancho, que no es locura ni utopía, sino Justicia!"

Antes de comenzar a escribir mi reseña de este libro maravilloso, debo pedirle mis sentidas disculpas a don Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, puesto que considero una falta de respeto el no haber leído su Don Quijote de la M...more

To compensate for an unliterary childhood (no furtive torch readings of Alice under the duvet until the wee hours for me), I hit the universities to read English Literature, which I failed to study, focusing instead on the local record shop and depression. To compensate for an unliterary literatu...more

The Double-Edged Sword

It is a double-edged sword isn't it, reading great books too early in life?

If we read a book too early in life, we may not grasp it fully but the book becomes part of us and forms a part of our thinking itself, maybe even of our writing. But on the other hand, the reading i...more

done quixote!!!
pun quixote!!
fun quixote??
none quixote...

and that's not entirely true; there are some rollicking good times in here, but the first part is so much endlessly episodic violence, and while the second half becomes calmer and more focused, it never got my imagination engaged nor my bloo...more

I guess the goal of reviewing something like Don Quixote is to make you less frightened of it. It's intimidating, right? It's 940 pages long and it's from 500 years ago. But Grossman's translation is modern and easy to read, and the work itself is so much fun that it ends up not being difficult a...more

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