Don Quixote – windmills for the mind

Stu, of Winstonsdad’s Blog has a copy of Edith Grossman’s highly-regarded translation of Don Quixote and is proposing a “readalong” starting in late summer this year (2010). The idea is to read the book together and publish blog posts about the experience.

I bought this book pretty much when it came out in 2004 and its sat on my shelves every since.  I’ve dipped into it but never made much progress, so I’m going to join in the readalong which Stu suggests will be about 92 pages a week over ten weeks.

If anyone reading this would like to take part then go across to Stu’s site and sign up by leaving a comment.  You don’t have to be reading the same translation of course – it might be interesting to compare different readings anyway.

Harold Bloom wrote about Edith Grossman’s translation in The Guardian,

Though there have been many valuable English translations of Don Quixote, I would commend Edith Grossman’s new version for the extraordinarily high quality of her prose. The spiritual atmosphere of a Spain already in steep decline can be felt throughout, thanks to the heightened quality of her diction.

Grossman might be called the Glenn Gould of translators, because she, too, articulates every note. Reading her amazing mode of finding equivalents in English for Cervantes’s darkening vision is an entrance into a further understanding of why this great book contains within itself all the novels that have followed in its sublime wake.

7 thoughts on “Don Quixote – windmills for the mind

  1. Oh how I wish this had been an option when I was making my befuddled way through Don Quixote! (If you can bear it, see
    I’ve been reading Ulysses for the fourth time with Dove Grey Reader and have really enjoyed my chapter each month – aiming to have a grand celebratory blog about it on Bloomsday 2010. (I’ve only got about 40 pages of Penelope to go!) It’s a wonderful way to read a difficult book as long as the participants contribute in some way, even if it’s only to ask questions. I’ve had some of my ‘dumb’ questions answered which has been terrific so I would certainly recommend this strategy for DQ.
    Can I fit in a re-read and join in with you and Stu? Hmm. I know I read Don Quixote with naivete; I’d like to see the bigger picture in a re-read. I could manage 90 pages a month but 92 pages each week is a bit much on top of all the other reading I want to do. I might just have to lurk along as a bystander, alas.


    • Well, just to to Stu’s page and sign up – you don’t have to take it more seriously than you need to – I’m sure Stu would be very relaxed about participation. No warning letters for not turning up!


  2. I own this translation, but my existing projects for the year are going so slowly I don’t think I can afford another. I’ll watch your progress with interest though.

    Otherwise, gosh, I don’t pay attention for a few days and there’s a ton of new interesting reviews. Flaubert, de Maupassant, Zweig, Mitchell, I’ve printed them all off but it’ll take a while to work through that little lot. Clearly I need to keep up better…


    • Thanks for visiting my blog and taking it seriously enough to print my reviews off! I do that occasionally too – its sometimes the only way to read long reviews I think. If you change your mind about DQ then you know you’d be really welcome


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