Print Story My never having finished Don Quixote is holding me back.
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By gzt (Fri Mar 13, 2009 at 08:53:51 AM EST) gzt, cervantes, don quixote, don quijote, odyssey, auden (all tags)
I've gotten to the point in life where my never having finished Don Quixote is keeping me from my true potential as a human being. Which translation should I buy?


Right now I'm slowly picking off pages of Boswell, the works of Johnson, and The Anatomy of Melancholy. I'm also going through Auden's collected works a couple short poems at a time, with especial attention paid to The Mirror and the Sea. Also looking at The Tempest.

Maybe I should pick up Jacques the Fatalist, too. I think Kundera (who's making the news again) said that and Don Quixote were the two greatest novels. I got my annual bonus today. I already have all the other books I could need.

I should begin work for my exam in May. If I don't make it, I will be ruined. Seriously.

Wow: it's 12:43 and I've pretty much only done work. I worked through lunch, even, but there was a breakfast to celebrate something or other this morning, which cut an hour or so out of the working day. Um, I guess I should have lunch. Yesterday was much the same. I was about to get lunch at 12:45 and the Chief Something or Other Officer called and was all, "Dude, I need some numbers and your coworker wasn't there to field my call." And I was like, uhhh...... And at that moment somebody was all, "We're ordering lunch in," and I said, "Deal!" And got him the numbers.

I love The Odyssey. So much more than The Iliad. I think I was assigned the Odyssey twice in college and The Iliad once. The Mahaabhaarata, though, that's where it's at. Epic literature! Try it! Which makes me more ashamed for not having read Cervantes. It's not really an epic per se, but it has the same spirit. I'm not too ashamed for not having read Ulysses. I tried once and felt silly, because after like 90 pages I felt like the whole sum of my education has been to catch all the clever references in the text and I had just BEEN UNABLE TO TRANSLATE THE SANSKRIT WHICH I SPEAK BUT JOYCE CERTAINLY DID NOT. C'mon! Oh well. I enjoyed it a bit. I just didn't bother to pick it up again.

< Partial Vindication | Why does he have to do that thing with the thing again? >
My never having finished Don Quixote is holding me back. | 5 comments (5 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
someone say Kundera? by BlueOregon (2.00 / 0) #1 Fri Mar 13, 2009 at 09:06:17 AM EST

What a tale of sadness.

In any case, speaking of Don Quixote, I'm not sure I'm being held back by not having finished it, but I have wanted to return to it for some time, where "some time" == "years and years." We read large chunks of it in my 10th grade Spanish class ages ago, but now my Spanish skills are minimal, and what I would really like is a side-by-side Spanish-and-English edition ... does such a beast exist?

I'm pretty sure I could find such a thing in Germany from Reclam, which specializes in reprinting the classics in formats that fit easily in your pocket, but I do not particularly want a Spanish-and-German version.

Yeah, that's what I was referring to... by gzt (2.00 / 0) #2 Fri Mar 13, 2009 at 09:30:08 AM EST
...by saying he was in the news. It's too bad, really, but, you know, I've read so many stories about what so many Communist regimes were like at that time, you know, that I really detest people who jump to sudden judgment. We don't know what he really did. Anyway.

Yeah, I mean, I wouldn't be too ashamed if I'd read substantial chunks of the book. That would probably suffice for my needs. But I haven't. I've read maybe 100 pages out of it. That's a deficiency that needs to be corrected. Man, if I were in charge of a high school literature course, I'd make sure that nobody got out alive without reading Don Quixote, Hamlet, and the Brothers Karamazov.

[ Parent ]
then *my* shame would be ... by BlueOregon (2.00 / 0) #3 Fri Mar 13, 2009 at 10:15:12 AM EST

... not having read tBK (Братья Карамазовы) or really any other Dostoyevsky.

A lot of things I missed when I missed 11th grade English. Never read Catcher in the Rye, either. Not the same thing, I know.

[ Parent ]
The thing about Catcher... by gzt (4.00 / 1) #5 Fri Mar 13, 2009 at 11:26:32 AM EST
...is that if you read it after you turn 17, you realize it's not actually that great of a book. I mean, when I read it before I turned 17, I realized it was not that great of a book, but I mean that in a different way. It kind of saddens me to see people list it sincerely on Facebook profiles as one of their favorite books because I usually think that means either they haven't read anything since high school or they haven't grown up since high school. Perhaps I should be easier on them. If you read it when you're 13 and never touch it again, it might make a big impression on you even though you later learn to appreciate real books, like Brothers Karamazov... In short, you shouldn't bother reading The Catcher in the Rye unless you want to catch any allusions people make to it.

You should read tBK if you have time someday. It's big, so it takes a while, so I understand if you don't have time. Do Pevear and Volokhonsky.

[ Parent ]
I read Smollett translation over the summer/fall by lm (2.00 / 0) #4 Fri Mar 13, 2009 at 10:34:37 AM EST
I don't recommend it. I can't say how good it is relative to other translations but I can say that it isn't very readable.

If you have the time, I would recommend learning Spanish and then tackling the thing in Spanish.

But my displeasure may just be the actual story line. I don't find it all that compelling of a novel. It's kind of neat to see all sorts of literary devices that we now take for granted in their nascence. But the time you spend reading it could be spent doing other things.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
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