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Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (The Big One)


A long and challenging novel to tackle over the extended mid winter break.

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (1605, 1615)

Don Quixote has become so entranced by reading romances of chivalry that he determines to become a knight errant and pursue bold adventures, accompanied by his squire, the cunning Sancho Panza. As they roam the world together, the aging Quixote's fancy leads them wildly astray, tilting at windmills, fighting with friars, and distorting the rural Spanish landscape into a fantasy of impenetrable fortresses and wicked sorcerers. At the same time the relationship between the two men grows in fascinating subtlety. 

Often considered to be the first modern novel, Don Quixote is a wonderful burlesque of the popular literature its disordered protagonist is obsessed with.

Published in two volumes, in 1605 and 1615, respectively, Don Quixote is considered the most influential work of literature from the Spanish Golden Age and the entire Spanish literary canon. As a founding work of modern Western literature, and one of the earliest canonical novels, it regularly appears high on lists of the greatest works of fiction ever published. It has had major influence on the literary community, as evidenced by direct references in Alexandre Dumas' The Three Musketeers (1844) and Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884). In a 2002 list, Don Quixote was cited as the "best literary work ever written".

@1,000 pages

The John Ormsby translation is available for free in various electronic formats, here. And free audio version, here. There is a more recent translation by Edith Grossman (published by Vintage) which is generally regarded as much easier to read, with extra footnotes, but sacrifices some of the humour. (Cathy - my advice is to try the older, free version which is still pretty well respected, and if you get stuck and can't get past 'the windmills bit', then try moving onto the Grossman translation.)

NB We'll be putting links to articles on this classic work on our Facebook group in the run up to the meet up. Dig in!  

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  • A former member
    A former member

    I really enjoyed the discussion, it was good to see you all! I am already looking forward to the next one : )

    January 16, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Really good discussion of an incredibly difficult book.

    January 16, 2014

  • Vicky D.

    I am new to the group and although I have tried I have not made it very far through the book :(. I hope its OK to come say hello and meet everyone. See you later!

    1 · January 16, 2014

  • Yvonne de J.

    Dear all, with only my Spanish copy of Cervantes' Don Quixote, I lost my English translation somewhere on the way (too much traveling) it is hard to progress. I simply feel I did not read enough. Have a nice evening!

    January 16, 2014

  • Stephanie

    I'll be about 15 minutes late, but I'll be there!

    January 15, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry, not able to attend!! I only got 10% of the way through and bogged down - not my cup of tea I think. Have another commitment tomorrow or I'd come anyway :-)

    January 15, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry. Out of town again!

    January 14, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I did read (amongst other things) Eggers' The Circle over the holidays and would love to discuss that in the bookclub. An option for March?

    January 12, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hey everyone, I have not get beyond the first 20 pages, unfortunately, so I'm not going to come on Thursday. Have fun though!

    January 12, 2014

  • Laura M.

    I won't be done either; I'm about 30% of the way through my Kindle version-don't know what this means in pages though!!

    January 10, 2014

  • Laura M.

    I'm also only 100 pages in or so. But unfortunately am going to have to skip the meet up for a work event. Until next time!

    January 10, 2014

  • Cathy-Central

    I'm not that far yet either but I will keep reading and see how far I get. If anyone else is struggling, just come along anyway and maybe we'll give a prize to the person who got the furthest... haha.

    2 · January 9, 2014

  • Rianne

    Hi all happy NY !
    Just wondering when the next meeting (so after Don Quixote) is going to be?
    And did we decide on the any themes / book lists already?
    Sorry for being eager (o;

    January 7, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Still on the introduction.

    January 3, 2014

  • Kieran

    Out of interest has anyone read Graham Greene's 'Monsignor Quixote'? - It's a retelling of Cervantes' story set in the post-Franco years of the 1970's

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/138995.Monsignor_Quixote

    November 30, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      yes- not Greene's best, though, I think.

      November 30, 2013

  • Kieran

    "This will be worse than the windmills," said Sancho.

    1 · November 4, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Great choice, really looking forward to it :)

    November 3, 2013

  • Laura M.

    My vote goes to Moby Dick (though for some reason I couldn't seem to vote via the link). But I'd be happy with any of the choices. Looking forward to it!

    November 1, 2013

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