Browsing the lowest, darkest corners of my library, I encountered a Spanish edition of Cervantes classic: Don Quijote de la Mancha. These two dusty volumes, Parts I and II, were purchased in Madrid during a sightseeing trip to Castile and Leon. The fictional exploits in Quijote took place in this region of Spain in the year 1600 or thereabouts. Perhaps I bought the edition to read while traveling, I’ve forgotten. Clearly, this famous classic deserves a spot in my library, but this edition has been superceded by another, more recent, edition. How many copies do I need?
The dusty copies of Don Quijote from the dark corner of my library are the two-volume edition of Florencio Arroyo, 2002, with introduction and essays and a chronology. Small print, and very readable, but not up to the standard of the definitive 400th anniversity edition of the Royal Academy of Spain (Real Academia Española, 2004). The RAE edition has the advantage of being a single volume containing both Part I and Part II.
Looks like I’ll decommission the earlier edition and let the two books “sally forth” to the used-book market.
In addition to the RAE edition of Quijote I have the excellent Grossman translation—Don Quixote, Harper Collins, 2003, which is a great help to me when reading the Spanish language edition. I often get lost in Cervantes’ long rambling paragraphs and the Grossman translation gets me back on track.
My library also has two children’s editions: The Adventures of Don Quixote, illustrated by Barret and Chappell, and the Children’s Classics edition: Don Quixote of the Mancha. Both of these are “keepers”. I especially like the treatment in the Barret and Chappell, which begins: “Chapter I – Don Quixote Reads Himself Silly”. In a few words that sums up Quixote’s condition pretty well.
The Children’s Classic telling of Quixote is well written and follows the original more closely, but unfortunately, it does not include Part II. On second thought, perhaps a children’s version is best to stop after the Don’s arrest at the end of Part I, since the continuation in Part II is somewhat darker and includes the sad death scene; this material may not be appropriate for introducing an American child to Quixote.
Well, I seem to have concluded that four copies of Quixote are appropriate for my library. Your library may include fewer, but I hope that at least one version finds its way to your bookshelves. In English or Spanish Quixote is a classic for everyone to enjoy.
The deaccession count: Days 5, Books 13.
Note: A full version of Quixote is available on the WWW at the Project Guttenberg site. I recommend downloading the EPUB formatted version; quite readable on the Apple iPad using the iBooks App or on the Mac using the free Adobe Digital Editions eBook reader.